Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Report: PA May Not Survive Arafat's Death (Jerusalem Post)
Frenchwoman Fabricated Anti-Semitic Attack - Ariane Bernard (New York Times)
Some Arab Israelis Find Fence Beneficial - Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson (Knight Ridder/Kansas City Star)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The UN General Assembly will convene on Friday in an emergency special session to examine the advisory opinion issued last week by the International Court of Justice, which found Israel's construction of a separation barrier to be illegal. (UN News Center)
To be debated Friday is a Palestinian-drafted resolution which demands Israel comply with the world court's advisory opinion. Diplomats said it is fairly easy for the Palestinians to get the draft adopted by the assembly, but the measure would be undoubtedly blocked by Israel's closest ally, the U.S., at the Security Council. (Xinhuanet-China)
See also U.S. Opposes Palestinian UN Move
The U.S. said it opposes a Palestinian-backed resolution that demands Israel comply with the world court ruling. U.S. Ambassador John Danforth called the General Assembly resolution one-sided and said the ICJ opinion will do nothing to promote peace in the Middle East. Israel's deputy UN ambassador Arye Mekel said Tuesday that Israel was "engaged in a diplomatic campaign, with a special emphasis on the Europeans," aimed at getting them to abstain as they did in the December vote asking the court for an advisory opinion. (AP/Los Angeles Times)
UN Middle East Envoy Terje-Roed Larson Tuesday painted a grim picture of lawlessness in the Palestinian Authority, questioned its failure to institute critical reforms, and blamed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. "The PA, despite consistent promises by its leadership, has made no progress on its core obligation to take immediate action on the ground to end violence and combat terror, and to reform and reorganize the PA," he said.
"Clashes and showdowns between branches of Palestinian security forces are now common in the Gaza Strip, where PA legal authority is receding fast in the face of the mounting power of arms, money, and intimidation....Lawlessness and gang rule is becoming common in Nablus....This collapse of authority cannot be attributed only to the Israeli incursions and operations inside Palestinian towns." (AP/Washington Post)
See also UN Official Slams Arafat - Eliel Shahar
"The fact that Arafat is locked up in the Mukata in Ramallah is no excuse for the PA's complete lack of cooperation in clamping down on terror organizations," Larson told the UN Security Council. He also said Arafat is personally responsible for torpedoing Egyptian initiatives to bring together the Palestinian security apparatuses. "If Arafat expects the international community to work with him, he must carry out changes, which are currently not being undertaken," he added. (Maariv International)
Saudi schoolchildren are being taught to disparage Christianity and Judaism in a textbook issued by the education ministry, a report by the Washington-based, pro-reform Saudi Institute said Tuesday. The book forms part of the kingdom's revised curriculum - supposedly cleaned up after complaints that demonizing the West had become endemic in Saudi schools. A lesson for six-year-olds reads: "All religions other than Islam are false." The institute said the new curriculum had "the same authors and the same ideas" as the old one, but in different language. (Guardian-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon said Tuesday that the IDF is unaware of any successful attempts to smuggle weapons into Gaza from Egypt since Israel launched its major operation to thwart smuggling in Rafah last month. He also said that after two weeks of IDF presence in the Beit Hanun area of the northern Gaza Strip, "there is pressure coming from the (Palestinian) population on the PA and the terror groups to cease the firing of Kassam rockets." (Jerusalem Post)
Two Israelis were lightly wounded Wednesday after Palestinian terrorists opened fire on their vehicle adjacent to Barkan near Ariel in the West Bank. (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
An undercover Border Police unit Tuesday killed Nueman Takhina, a senior member of the Islamic Jihad's military wing in Jenin. Over the last few days, other senior Jenin-area members of the al-Kuds Brigades have been arrested. Security sources said Tuesday that the number of terror attack warnings now stands at 49, up from 35-40 a month ago. (Ha'aretz)
Arafat has instructed Palestinian officials to refrain from contact with Israeli defense officials in the West Bank and Gaza to prevent local "deals" being made between Palestinians and the army concerning the separation fence route. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
A favorite cliche put forward by Israel's critics has been proved false: Each targeted killing by Israel of terrorist leaders like Yassin and Rantisi will result in ten more suicide bombers volunteering both to murder and to die. Even among the followers of Hamas, however, there is no infinite stream of killers. And the unfinished fence has already stemmed the flow of slaughterers into Israel.
An old friend of mine, a hero of the Yom Kippur War and a veteran of Israel's peace ranks, told me of a lesson we must learn: "It comes from our experience of the last years with the Palestinians, that they take concessions for weakness. Every concession encourages more demands. Since there are limits to the concessions we can make, and these are less than the perilous ones we made in 2000 at Camp David and Taba, we have to give only what we can, and not what the Palestinians expect....It may just be that negotiating with the Palestinians is a charade. But they do understand power. That is why the intifada is coming to an end. They know that they have been defeated." (New Republic)
Palestinians say they feel humiliated when Israeli authorities search their belongings at checkpoints. Strangely, not a single human rights organization has protested the daily humiliation Israelis suffer because of the PA's "factory of terror." In Israel, every Israeli is searched numerous times a day, subjected to body searches with a metal detector every time they enter a bank or a post office or a supermarket, enter a mall or train station, or visit a hospital or medical clinic. Israelis are searched when they go to the local Starbucks or Pizza Hut, when they go to the movies or the theater or a concert, and even when they go to a wedding or a bar mitzvah. No one abroad talks about the humiliation Jews in Israel are subjected to.
Three years ago Jews in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem were closed in by an ugly high concrete wall - that blocked the bullets of Palestinian gunmen from Beit Jallah. Israelis' freedom of movement is compromised daily as countless citizens seek to avoid crowded areas or events, avoid traveling close to public buses, stay out of their own capital, and make long detours to avoid traveling across the West Bank and the Jordan Valley, where drive-by shootings threaten their lives. (Middle East Facts)
Some Palestinian leaders believed violence would be a tool of negotiations. Palestinian militants like the now-jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti argued that the only way Israel will yield land would be if Israelis bleed during the armed uprising. "If the intifada stops, the negotiations will not succeed. The intifada and the struggle are two basic conditions for the success of the negotiations," Barghouti told a Persian Gulf newspaper, Al-Bayan, in 2001. Palestinian polls say many Palestinians believe violence is a way towards a two-state solution, while many others believe the violence of the last four years has been aimed against Israel's very existence.
The fence provides Israel's leadership with political breathing space to pursue diplomatic options. A rational debate cannot emerge over the din of bombs. Barghouti was wrong. When Israelis get blown up, Israeli attitudes hardened. (Newsday)
Pride and Dissent in the Israeli Military -
Brig.-Gen. Gershon HaCohen
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