Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Israeli Arrow Anti-Missile Missile Shoots Down Scud in U.S. Test - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
Iran Building Stealth Missile? (AP/Persian Journal-Iran)
Iran Seeks Nuke Bomb "Booster" from Russia - Louis Charbonneau (Reuters)
Homeland Security Given Data on Arab-Americans - Lynette Clemetson (New York Times)
Explaining the Arab-Israeli Conflict Through Numbers
- Dennis Prager (Jewish World Review)
Maryland Homeland Security Delegation in Israel to Learn Anti-Terror Strategies - Sarah Bronson (Ha'aretz)
From Uzbekistan to Jerusalem: Olympic Hopes Grow - Dina Kraft (New York Times)
Israel Gives Drip Irrigation Systems to Uzbekistan (UzReport.com-Uzbekistan)
A Jewish Palestine - H. Sacher (Atlantic Monthly, July 1919)
Thoughts about Disengagement - In Pictures: Gaza Settlers Speak Out (BBC News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Pakistan has captured Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who is sought by the U.S. as a suspect in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, following a joint Pakistani-U.S. intelligence operation, senior Pakistani police and intelligence officials said Friday. Ghailani is on the FBI's list of 22 most wanted terrorists. A senior Pakistani official said U.S. agents had been participating in Ghailani's interrogation since the arrest. Electronic intercepts conducted by U.S. technical teams based in Pakistan led them to Ghailani's hideout in Gujrat, 125 miles south of Islamabad. (Washington Post)
A statement purportedly from an al-Qaeda-linked group threatens European cities because the continent didn't respond to bin Laden's demand that they leave Iraq and Afghanistan within three months. "We will create waterfalls of blood that will drag you to their depths. You have condemned your people to that. The infidel Europe has done the same to its people by following America. We will destroy European cities, starting by you, [Italian Premier] Berlusconi," the statement said. Italy has been a steadfast U.S. ally and has contributed 3,000 soldiers to the coalition. (AP/Washington Post)
British, French, and German officials met their Iranian counterparts in Paris Thursday to try to salvage the agreement by which Tehran promised not to develop a nuclear weapons program. Pessimism is growing in the British Foreign Office where there is now a belief that Iran is intent on creating the capacity to produce a nuclear bomb. The U.S. secretary of state, Colin Powell, said Thursday that it was more and more likely that the matter of Iran's nuclear programs would have to be referred to the Security Council. (Guardian-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Palestinians fired five Kassam rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot Friday. Six people were treated for shock, and municipal infrastructure sustained some damage. Two rockets hit open areas, and a short time later, three rockets landed inside the town. (Ha'aretz)
In Rafah in the Gaza Strip, Omar Abu-Sita was killed along with an associate, Zaki Abu-Zarka, by missiles fired from the air at his car. Abu-Sita, commander of the Abu Rish faction, had been wanted by Israel since 1993 for the murder of his employer, Uri Megidish, in Gan Or in Gush Katif. Abu-Sita was also involved in the killing of an IDF officer in November 2000, as well as other attacks that killed three Israelis in 2001 and 2002.
In the West Bank village of Zaida, north of Tulkarm, Islamic Jihad member Zahar Ashkar was killed during an exchange of fire with IDF troops. He was responsible for a number of attempts to dispatch booby-trapped cars to Israel and for several shooting attacks. (Ha'aretz)
A military court on Thursday sentenced Hamas militant Ra'ad Huteri to 22 life sentences for recruiting the terrorist who carried out the suicide bombing outside the Dolphinarium nightclub in Tel Aviv on June 1, 2001. The attack killed 21 people, mostly teenagers from the former Soviet Union, and wounded another 120. (Ha'aretz)
German surgeons have amputated the leg of Palestinian legislator and former information minister Nabil Amr, who was shot by masked gunmen on the night of July 20th in his Ramallah home, minutes after his return from a television interview where he criticized Arafat. Palestinian security sources revealed Wednesday that Arafat suspended an investigation into the shooting, claiming that Israel was behind it. Amr was known as a particularly outspoken critic of corruption and inefficiency in Arafat's administration. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The Future of the Palestinian Authority:
Almost two weeks of extraordinary political turmoil - and violent unrest - over Arafat's corrupt reign ended Tuesday in the worst possible way. Nothing happened. The revolt fizzled. Arafat promised to relinquish some control of internal security forces to Prime Minister Qurei and his cabinet. But Arafat has made such promises before, and he never delivered. There's little reason to think that this time will be any different. And that's a pity, because it's a huge missed opportunity for the Palestinian people. Arafat's not done sabotaging his people's future for his and his cronies' gain. (Chicago Tribune)
Thanks to the Palestinian Authority, corruption and nepotism are now ingrained in the occupied territories. The PA only safeguards its own interests, the interests of its VIP cardholders and business contractors. The feeling of triumph among many Palestinians that Israel has finally accepted the fact that the ever-defiant Gaza Strip cannot be subdued came to an abrupt end as Gaza has fallen into chaos and anarchy. Palestinians can no longer afford deferring all of their problems to a post-occupation reality that requires many years to be attained.
For years, Arafat failed to expand the authority to fairly represent all segments of the population. As a result, the great majority of Palestinians became permanently marginalized. While the refugee camps of Gaza remained intact, skyscrapers were erected to cater to the needs of the corrupt elites who were so quick to abandon the battlefield. The writer is a Palestinian-American journalist. (Palestine Chronicle-USA)
As Israel readies itself to pull out of Gaza, leaders of the nationalist young guard have exploited the fact that most of Arafat's loyalists are corrupt and inept, and hated by the public. Because Israel is withdrawing unilaterally, the leaders of the old guard are no longer needed to negotiate the end of Israeli occupation. So in the eyes of the next generation, they have become increasingly irrelevant. The mounting public clamor for fundamental reforms and clean government has emboldened young-guard leaders to challenge Arafat directly, and the current turmoil in Gaza represents the most serious challenge to Arafat's leadership since 1983. The writer is director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah. (Wall Street Journal, 30 July 04)
The recent New York Times editorial calling for Arafat's resignation has given his dwindling prestige the final push. Terje Roed-Larsen blamed Arafat for the collapse of the Palestinian Authority. Colin Powell called him a master of yo-yo rhetoric. With three opinions on every subject and a degree in doublespeak, Arafat is a pro at fooling the public. He's never kept to any agreement and has turned his nose up at every possible offer. Clinton, Bush, and now John Kerry, are united in the belief that he is an obstacle to peace. Even Shimon Peres told Javier Solana that Arafat is a fruitcake.
Arafat is now in the classic dictators' bind: The moment he weakens, the Palestinians will rebel against him. Which means he will hang on for dear life until the Palestinians get up the nerve to settle the score and kick him out. Now, they even have a permit from the New York Times. (Ha'aretz)
Senior Palestinian figures have lately been telling Prime Minister Sharon that they expect him to raze the settlements that Israel evacuates. They argue that if the settlers' houses remain intact, Arafat's people will take them over, after handing out due portions to rival factions. The "intifada aristocracy" will turn all of Gush Katif into the most exclusive suburb in the Strip and reap the fruits of the evacuation without sharing any of the booty with the population at large.
Under pressure from Arafat, the Palestinian leadership has announced that the PA alone will inherit the settlements. That should be taken as a warning. If those same corrupt bureaucratic bodies become "responsible" for the settlements, then the state of chaos will spill over from the rest of Gaza into the evacuated areas as well, and the most aggressive will tear off pieces of what used to be the Katif bloc for themselves. (Jerusalem Report)
Special Middle East envoy Dennis Ross's new book, The Missing Peace, is an encyclopedia of the peace process between Israel and the Arabs. Ross thinks the Americans should have set down clear rules when it came to broken commitments. The U.S. was guilty of not being ready to stop the process when a significant violation took place. Ross writes that the Americans were "afraid" it would hurt the process, so they created an atmosphere in which violating a commitment did not appear to be a serious matter.
He says the Americans also made the mistake of not giving enough attention to the public on both sides. He argues that if the two peoples do not undergo basic transformations, there is no chance for peace. The Palestinians, and Arabs in general, need to recognize that Israel has legitimate and just needs. That has not happened to this day. Ross concludes from his experience that no Israeli concession will be considered a major concession by the Arabs. (Ha'aretz)
See also The Peace that Got Away - Peter Grier (Christian Science Monitor)
While the UN scolds Israel about its fence to keep out suicide murderers, to the applause of the European and Arab worlds, both sit mostly powerless while Arabs in turn systematically mass murder black Africans in the Sudan. Can we at least drop the falsity: In the new global CNN media circus, an Arab must kill 1,000 innocents deliberately to warrant the condemnation that the world allots to a Jew who kills one Arab inadvertently. (National Review)
The 9/11 Commission report is mistaken in speaking of "political grievances" as it tries to explain the Islamists within the parameters of classical logic. The politics of compromise, as practiced in democracies, does not work with the kind of enemy the U.S. now faces. This enemy does not want to give and take. He wants you to obey him in every detail or he will kill you.
The "enemy" in question will not be happy even if, in the spirit of generosity, you gave him half of your power and wealth. Nor would he settle for a total American withdrawal from the world. Nor would he be satisfied if you helped wipe Israel off the map. Because this enemy's conflict is not political but existential. He wants to rule you because he thinks he is the holder of "the highest form of truth." (New York Post)
Israel today is not the same country it was four years ago. What is new is a deep disillusionment among that segment of society that used to call itself the left, whose members for the most part still believe in the two-state solution. At the same time, however, they fear that this solution is no longer attainable. They have become convinced that Israel lacks an adversary who shares its understanding of political bargaining. There is, they fear, "no partner." And much as they would like to feel regret over the harsh measures Israel has imposed on the Palestinians in the past few years, the blows that Israel has endured - above all the suicide bombings - have hardened their hearts to their enemy's suffering.
I asked Israeli historian Benny Morris if, in the wake of 9/11, he now saw the intifada in a more Islamic context. He responded that the conflict could be viewed on two levels: a "territorial conflict between two peoples, unfortunately turned into a zero sum game by the Palestinians," and as "a war against the existence of the State of Israel." This has "merged with the pan-Arab, pan-Islamic radical struggle against the West, against modernism, against liberal values and democratic values. They see the West as a threat to their own culture, and they see Israel as an outpost of this West. So when Hamas wages the struggle against this entity called Israel, they're also waging the pan-Islamic struggle against the West itself. And we are on the front line." (Prospect-UK)
The Big Lie is that Israel is guilty of stealing or occupying Palestinian territories. Yet until the end of World War I, the territories that were to become the Palestine British Mandate were a deserted province of the Turkish Empire. As Bernard Lewis noted, "From the end of the Jewish state in antiquity to the beginning of British rule, the area now designated by the name of Palestine was not a country." In the post-WW I agreements that disposed of former Turkish lands, 99% of the Middle East's Turkish territories were assigned to the Arabs, on condition that 1% will be designated a Jewish national home. Britain received a League of Nations mandate over Palestine (that included then Jordan) only because it undertook to establish a Jewish national home there.
In 1947 Jordan occupied and arbitrarily annexed the West Bank. When in 1967 Israel ejected Jordan, the West Bank territories reverted, legally, to the status of disputed land, with the Jewish people having the prime legal claim to it. The disputed territories were never Palestinian Arab. The West Bank remains in legal dispute pending a settlement. Israeli settlements - occupying a mere 3 to 4% of government-owned land - cannot therefore be considered illegal. The writer is president of the Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress. (Jerusalem Post)
In the crucial financial front of the war against militant Islam, the Justice and Homeland Security Departments on Tuesday began a major offensive against the ruthless terror organization, Hamas, with a sweeping indictment of its American funding arm. The indictment charges the so-called charitable organization, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), and seven individual defendants with underwriting Hamas to the tune of nearly $60 million since the late 1980s. The indictment demonstrates that "charitable giving" includes paying for indoctrination in madrassas, mosques, and summer camps - schooling the people who will one day kill us that they should be killing us. More importantly, these "alms" subsidize the families of suicide bombers and go to direct purchases of military arsenals and equipment.
The war cannot be won unless we can stop new terrorists from being minted faster than we can neutralize the currently active crop. That means following the money and choking off the supply lines. (National Review)
See also Charity or Terrorist Front? - Editorial
The indictment brings welcome clarity to the discussion of terrorist financing in the U.S. No longer is there any doubt about what the government thinks it can prove about this prominent Muslim charitable institution. (Washington Post)
See also The Holy War Foundation - Stephen Schwartz (FrontPageMagazine)
Iran is Terror Central: It has become an operational headquarters for parts of al-Qaeda, continues to sponsor Hizballah and Hamas, and senior officials remain under indictment in U.S. courts for masterminding the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia. The regime also remains bent on acquiring nuclear weapons. Iran's decision-makers are committed to supporting terrorism, developing nuclear weapons, and annihilating Israel.
First, the administration must ante up promised support for the Iranian people, using the tools at our disposal to embarrass the regime for its abysmal human-rights abuses and rally behind dissident student groups and unions. Second, the administration must persuade the EU and the IAEA to stand firm in their confrontation over Iran's nuclear program and refer the matter to the UN Security Council. Finally, the U.S. must lead in the containment of Iran. Engagement with the current leadership of Iran will not achieve policy change; all it will do is buy an evil regime the time it needs to perfect its nuclear weapons and to build a network of terrorists to deliver them. The writer is vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. (Newsday/Los Angeles Times)
There are three main kinds of anti-Semitism in France. There is the old, ingrained, Catholic kind, that put Captain Dreyfus on Devil's Island and that still produces, in polite conversations at middle-class dining tables, the kind of remarks you would never hear in London or New York. A new kind is that of the intellectual left, whose anti-Israeli polemics are interpreted, by extension and by association, as in essence anti-Semitic. Thirdly, there is the nastiest, the most violent and the most visible kind: the anti-Semitism of disaffected youths, mainly of North African origin. The common consensus is that this last kind of anti-Semitism is responsible for almost all of the 510 physical or verbal assaults registered against Jews in the first six months of 2004 and the 593 registered in the whole of 2003 in France.
The real time-bomb quietly ticking away at the heart of 21st century French society is not anti-Semitism, but France's absolute failure to properly integrate its Muslim community (estimated at 5-6 million strong). France has created a genuine racial underclass, living in decaying, crime-ridden estates in which France has sadly come to specialize. The problem of failed Muslim integration in France is made 100 times worse by the nation's profound inability to recognize it. (Guardian-UK)
Camp Koby, a special camp for children who had lost parents or siblings in terrorist attacks, is named in memory of another teenager, Koby Mandel, who had been bludgeoned to death by Palestinian attackers in a cave just outside a West Bank settlement. His parents, a rabbi and a writer originally from the U.S., created the camp in part as an answer to their own grief. Thousands of the bereaved were left untended after the initial crisis passed. These survivors included more than 4,000 Israeli children. (New York Times)
Carmen bin Ladin is the ex-wife of Osama's older brother Yeslam, and she tells her own story in Inside the Kingdom, a vivid account of the oppressive lives of Saudi women. The daughter of a Swiss father and Iranian mother, Carmen was raised as a Muslim of liberal outlook. After meeting Yeslam in Geneva, in the mid-1970s she followed her husband to live in his mother's compound outside Jeddah, entering what sounds like a luridly decorated marble tomb. From then on, she was no longer free. When she did venture out, she had to wear a choking abaya and thick socks to hide her ankles. "It was like carrying a jail on your back," she writes.
Inside the house she could not listen to music, pick up an uncensored book or newspaper, or watch anything on television but a dour man reading the Quran. "The Saudis are structured by a hateful, backward-looking view of religion and an education that is a school for intolerance," she writes. (Wall Street Journal)
The first member of the Black Hebrew community to enlist in the IDF, Uriahu Butler, 18, was inducted into the army Thursday. "This is an historic day of great joy," said Ben Ami (Carter) Ben Israel, founder of the community. "Until now, other people sent their kids to protect us; now it's time for us to pay our debt." The 2,500-strong community, whose full name is "The Original African Hebrew Israelite Nation of Jerusalem," came to Dimona in the Negev in 1969. At the beginning of this year, the interior minister granted them residency, which does not carry mandatory military service. "But for us enlistment is mandatory," said Butler's father, Avraham. By next March, some 70 boys and girls from the community are due to enlist. (Ha'aretz)
See also First Black Hebrew Inducted - Leora Falk (Jerusalem Post); The Black Hebrews (Jewish Virtual Library)
Senior Housing at the MetroWest Jewish Center is not usually high on the list of residences for retired Roman Catholic nuns. But after a lifetime of battling anti-Semitism within the church, it seems fitting that this is where Sister Mary Rose Thering, a Dominican nun, has ended up. Sister Rose, 83, recounts what has been a lifelong mission to change her church's teachings and attitudes about Jews. Sister Rose taught in the department of Jewish-Christian studies at Seton Hall and helped pass a bill that makes Holocaust education mandatory in every school in New Jersey. By her own count she has made 54 trips to Israel. (New York Times)
Ahmed has become one of a cadre of West Bank Palestinians who some say are stealing away the clues to the remaining history of ancient Israel. "Since the intifada started there is no other work - so everyone digs," Ahmed says. On a typical morning, Ahmed says he is just one of dozens of locals toting a pick and shovel. Unlike the authorized, supervised, and documented digs with professional archeologists that dotted the area before the Oslo Accords ceded control to the Palestinian Authority in 1994, the diggers today are herders, waiters, and lawyers who can find no other way to make a living.
Archeologists cringe as amateurs ignore the rules of digging, recording, and preserving historical sites. "In the next generation we won't be able to see and enjoy what's there," says archeologist Ronen Bitan. "It's a shame as an archeologist, regardless of political opinion, when my legacy is being ruined: that's a real tragedy." (Jerusalem Post)
Sharon Outlines Advantages of Disengagement (Jerusalem Post)
Prime Minister Sharon outlined the main advantages of the disengagement plan Thursday:
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