Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Egypt Doesn't Want Gaza - Jacky Hogi (Maarivenglish.com)
Israel to Supply Oil to U.S. Forces in Iraq - Iason Athanasiadis (Beirut Daily Star)
Officers Training in Jordan to Lead New Iraqi Army - Thom Shanker (New York Times)
Pakistan: Despite Reform Plan, Few Changes Seen at Most Radical Madrassahs
- Ron Synovitz (Radio Free Europe)
Press Conference of Israeli Delegation at The Hague (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The U.S. and Israel are discussing a fresh approach to Mideast peace with a plan that acknowledges that productive talks between Israel and Palestinian leaders are not possible at this moment. Israeli officials describe the Sharon plan as an "interim arrangement," but suggest it could be in place for a long time. In talks with U.S. officials, Israeli officials also appear to be seeking to trade Israeli withdrawal from territories for receiving greater flexibility to build housing in West Bank areas it would want in a final peace deal. Interviews with senior officials suggest the administration views the plan as a vehicle to demonstrate progress. (Washington Post)
See also U.S. Urges Israel to Work with Arabs in Pullout
The Bush administration, pressed by Israel to endorse its plan to withdraw from parts of Gaza and the West Bank, is urging Prime Minister Sharon to work with Palestinian leaders in carrying out the pullout, a senior Bush administration official said Wednesday. (New York Times)
With the victory of religious hard-liners in this week's parliamentary elections in Iran, the CIA is warning of a new era of repression and inflexibility. A new CIA assessment says the election has dealt a severe blow to Iranian reformers and will strengthen the authoritarian rule of the country's clerical government. (New York Times)
Bethlehem and its nearby villages is the hometown of the last two suicide bombers to strike Israel. Israel turned over security control of Bethlehem to the PA almost eight months ago as a test case of whether the PA had the will and capability to thwart violence against Israelis. The image that Bethlehem is supposed to be under PA control makes it the ideal place for Muslim militants in Hamas and Islamic Jihad to recruit bombers. (Christian Science Monitor)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
An Israeli reservist was shot dead Thursday by Palestinian gunmen who opened fire near the Erez crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The gunmen were killed after an exchange of fire. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, linked to Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility. (Ha'aretz)
Israeli security forces Wednesday confiscated more than NIS 35 million from three Arab banks in Ramallah. According to defense sources, the money came from Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and other countries, with much of the funds going to Hamas-affiliated organizations, as well as directly to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah terror cells. The chairman of the Cairo-Amman Bank, Abdel Malik al-Jabbar, said, "the soldiers showed bank officials a list of 56 accounts to be confiscated. Then they took NIS 2.8 million from the bank safe, the same amount that was in those 56 accounts." Israel has promised the money will be used instead on projects "that benefit Palestinian welfare." Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said, "The money should be used to improve conditions for the residents of the territories, not to kill Israelis." (Ha'aretz)
See also Tale of a Money Trail - Matthew Gutman (Jerusalem Post)
See also U.S. Critical of Israeli Raid on Banks
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher criticized Israel on Wednesday for raiding Palestinian banks in search of funds for terror groups without coordinating with Palestinian financial authorities. "Some of these actions that were taken risk destabilizing the Palestinian banking system, so we would prefer to see Israeli coordination with the Palestinian financial authorities in order to stem the flow of funds to terrorist groups," he said. (AP/Washington Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
A November report from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan detailing the harm to Palestinians said to result from Israel's security fence does not describe a single terrorist act against Israelis. The human rights of Israelis are not part of the equation. Suicide bombing violates these rights and freedoms of Israelis derived from international treaties: the right to life, freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, equality, freedom from persecution, security of the person, health and well-being, safe working conditions, protection of the family and the child, education, an adequate standard of living, and self-determination, as well as freedoms from incitement to violence, religion, movement, and association. Israelis are subject to crimes against humanity, attempted genocide, and an effort to accomplish ethnic cleansing. (Chicago Sun-Times)
In December 2003, Imam Fawaz Damra, 41, a Palestinian-born religious officer of the Islamic Center of Cleveland, was arrested for failing to disclose his affiliation with Islamic extremist groups including the Al-Kifah Refugee Center, an operation linked to al-Qaeda, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In addition, money raised in Imam Damra's mosque went to the Holy Land Foundation, which the federal authorities have closed as a Hamas front. The real story is less the exposure of an extremist imam than the willingness of mosque congregants to stand up and call for his removal.
Islam in America suffers from the domination of radical leaders grouped in "the Wahhabi lobby" - mainly, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Authoritative sources in the Muslim community have long argued that up to 80% of the main mosques in America are controlled by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which has been targeted for a tax investigation by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee as a probable recipient of funds from outside the U.S. - i.e., from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (TechCentralStation)
The more Jews warn that anti-Semitism has come roaring out of the closet, the more people don't like the Jews. Which is a bit of a problem if you believe, as I do, that the oldest hatred has indeed alarmingly resurfaced but is hiding under the respectable skirts of hostility to Israel. As Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks told the EU conference, an unholy alliance between the Left, the far-Right, and the Islamic street means millions are being told that alone among nations, Israel has no right to exist and that all the troubles of the world are the work of the Jews. Coverage of Israel is obsessive and disproportionate, and marked by a hysteria and malice not applied to any other conflict. (Observer-UK)
See also The Left's Anti-Semitic Chic - George F. Will
Fears about Mel Gibson's movie's exacerbating religiously motivated anti-Semitism are missing the larger menace - the upsurge of political anti-Semitism. Like traditional anti-Semitism, but with secular sources and motives, the political version, which condemns Jews as a social element, is becoming mainstream and chic among political and cultural elites, mostly in Europe. Europe's susceptibility to political lunacy, and the Arab world's addiction to it, is not news. (Washington Post)
Israel's Security Doctrine and the Trap of "Limited Conflict"
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