Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Palestinian Militants Try to Abduct Foreign Journalist (DPA/News24-South Africa)
Arafat at Heart of Rights Abuse Report - Gethin Chamberlain (Scotsman-UK)
See also The Intrafada: An Analysis of Internal Palestinian Violence (Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group)
Hit Squads and Sleeper Cells - Daniel Pipes (Jerusalem Post)
Searching for Gaza's Tunnels - in Pictures (BBC News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
President Bush on Wednesday declined to condemn the deadly attack on Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli military forces in Rafah in Gaza, saying he wanted to get "clarification'' of the incident from Israeli officials. "I continue to urge restraint,'' Bush said. (AP/Guardian-UK)
See also News Resources-Israel: What Really Happened in Rafah?
About 40 Iraqis were killed Wednesday by American forces in an attack near the Syrian border. American officials said they had fired on a suspected guerrilla safe house, but Iraqis said the Americans had strafed civilians at a wedding party. American officials said they had called in air support after an American military operation in the area had come under hostile fire. Lt. Col. Ziyad al-Jbouri, the deputy police chief of Ramadi, said that between 42 and 45 people had died, including 15 children and 10 women. (New York Times)
The U.S. allowed adoption of a UN Security Council resolution rebuking Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes by abstaining rather than using its veto power to kill the measure. James Cunningham, the U.S. deputy ambassador, told the council he abstained because the resolution did not touch on "terrorists smuggling weapons into Gaza through tunnels.'' "While we believe that Israel has the right to act to defend itself and its citizens, we do not see that its operations in Gaza in the last few days serve the purposes of peace and security,'' Cunningham said. (Reuters/New York Times)
See also Observations: Israel's Statement to the UN Security Council
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Seven Palestinians were killed in Rafah on Wednesday - five armed men and two youths - when IDF troops prevented a crowd that included a few dozen armed men from marching on their positions in the Tel Sultan neighborhood, where the IDF had been operating since Tuesday. An Apache helicopter launched warning flares and then fired a missile into an open field, but failed to stop the marchers. Then a tank sent machine gun fire into an open area, and finally it was decided to shoot a few tank shells into an abandoned house near the civilians.
The shells were fired as a deterrent and were not aimed directly at the demonstrators. "At no stage of the incident were the demonstrators in the sights of our tanks," a senior officer said. The IDF's inquiry found that the first shells hit the house's wall and probably collapsed it. Altogether four shells were fired and apparently, following the wall's collapse, a shell passed through the house and exploded close to civilians.
Palestinian sources at first reported 22 dead. Officers said the Palestinians had "inflated" the number of casualties for a greater international effect, adding civilians who had died of disease to the list of casualties.
A senior officer dismissed criticism of using tank shells for deterrence. "This is a war environment, not police work. There is no call to operate crowd-control means there. You can't operate water hoses against a demonstration with armed men." (Ha'aretz)
See also Map of Rafah Incident (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
The Palestinian Authority initiated the parade that set out from the center of Rafah and headed towards IDF troops, said IDF Spokeswoman Brig.-Gen. Ruth Yaron. "No soldier or no commander gave or received orders to fire directly at civilians," said Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon.
"We went to Rafah with force, because we want to leave Gaza," said Prime Minister Sharon's spokesman, Ra'anan Gissin. "But we can't leave Gaza and leave intact its terrorist infrastructure." "We are dealing with a war zone and are engaged in a legitimate fight against terrorist organizations." "Unfortunately, people get caught in the cross fire, but this does not give the press the right to turn it into a crime scene, and accuse us of all sorts of crimes before all the data is available," Gissin said.
IDF officers did not rule out the possibility that one of the exploding tank shells detonated a bomb placed by Palestinians on the road and this could have led to the casualties. (Jerusalem Post)
The Tel Aviv District Court Thursday convicted senior West Bank Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti in the deaths of 26 Israelis. Barghouti, 43, was charged with leading dozens of terror operations, including suicide and shooting attacks that led to the death and injury of hundreds of Israeli citizens and soldiers. According to the charge sheet, Barghouti headed the Fatah, Tanzim, and Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade terror groups in the West Bank and was subordinate to Arafat. His trial began in August 2003. The state prosecutor said Barghouti funded and planned terror attacks and is not the political activist he claimed to be. (Ha'aretz)
See also Marwan Barghouti, Fatah-Tanzim, and the Escalation of the Intifada (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs);
Text of Barghouti Indictment - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 (IMRA)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Discourse has changed. Anti-Semitic hate mail is becoming more commonplace and more virulent. According to the FBI, in 2002 there were 931 anti-Jewish hate crimes and 155 anti-Muslim attacks; neither is acceptable. What is new is the infection of mainstream discourse with anti-Semitic references. Most disappointing has been the ease with which the questioning of Jewish officials' motivations has infiltrated some in the academic community. Allegations of dual loyalty have even crept into U.S. government interagency discourse. (National Review)
See also Sen. Hollings: Bush Went to War to Appease American Jews
Retiring Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D-SC) is defending statements he made in a newspaper opinion article that President Bush went to war with Iraq to protect Israel and appease American Jews. Abraham Foxman, president of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote Hollings: "This is reminiscent of age-old, anti-Semitic canards about a Jewish conspiracy to control and manipulate government." (AP/Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
Calling the terrorists "militants" or "radical Islamists" presupposes the existence of moderates willing to confront the radicals. Outside of Turkey, it is very hard to find moderate clerics who will stand up to Islamist terrorists, even though the majority of their victims are Muslim. In Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr has been murdering his religious opposition and using armed gangs to establish political rule. He appears immune to anything resembling condemnation. In this fight the enemy does not play by our rules, or by any rules at all. (Wall Street Journal)
Israel Has No War With the Palestinian People But With Terror
Israel's Permanent Representative to the UN told the Security Council on Wednesday:
To subscribe to the Daily Alert, send a blank email message to:
To unsubscribe, send a blank email message to: