Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
in association with Access/Middle East
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Israeli Death Toll in Intifada Higher than Last Two Wars - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz) The Car Bomb Conundrum - Samantha Levine (U.S. News) Indian Province of Assam to Buy Israeli Technology (Kuwait News Agency)
Israeli Death Toll in Intifada Higher than Last Two Wars - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)
The Car Bomb Conundrum - Samantha Levine (U.S. News)
Indian Province of Assam to Buy Israeli Technology (Kuwait News Agency)
News Resources - North America and Europe:
Israel plans to rezone land within existing settlements to allow for the construction of another 533 housing units, most of them close to Jerusalem, Israeli officials said yesterday. The announcement comes a week after the government issued tenders for the construction of 1,001 new housing units on the West Bank and was planning to issue tenders for another 633 units, though it has not yet done so. Together with the new units from rezoning, this would amount to 2,167 permits to build apartments beyond Israel's 1967 boundaries. The announcements come after Washington signaled that it would accept settlement growth within the boundaries of existing settlements.
The Palestinian Authority and the Arab League say it is a direct violation of Israel's agreement in 2001 to freeze all settlement activity, including "natural growth." They have said that the United States, by turning a blind eye to Israeli settlement activity that breaks its own promises, is destroying the so-called road map to peace. But the road map is tattered, partly because of Palestinian support for the violence of the intifada. (New York Times)
Israel's defense chief has approved a new route for its West Bank barrier in response to an Israeli court ruling to shift some sections to avoid cutting off Palestinian villagers from their land, officials say. The rerouting, affecting a slice of the barrier in the central West Bank, would fence in 3,750 acres of land instead of a planned 8,500 acres along the original course, the officials said on Monday. The new route, ratified by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, must still be approved by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's cabinet. (Reuters)
Encouraged by religion, wealth and a slowdown of violence inside Israel, Jews from abroad are snapping up luxury Israeli real estate, driving prices to levels rivaling those of the 1990s, during periods of relative peace. Whether it's garden apartments near the ancient walls of Jerusalem's Old City or high-rises looming above Tel Aviv's Mediterranean shore, affluent Jews in the United States, Europe and South America are latching on to posh properties here. (Washington Post)
Under mounting pressure from Egypt, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat yesterday met for the first time in a month with Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan, whom Arafat associates have blamed for last month's unrest in the Gaza Strip. Egypt wants to see a stable Palestinian government in Gaza after Israel's planned withdrawal. The Arafat-Dahlan meeting comes against the background of reports that Mahmoud Abbas, the first Palestinian prime minister, is in tentative talks with Arafat - through PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia - about returning to political activity. Abbas resigned as prime minister last fall after Arafat refused to cooperate with him by giving up security powers. (Ha'aretz)
The elite IDF Duvdevan unit arrested wanted fugitive and senior member of the Fatah Al-Aksa Brigades Adnan Abayat, who for the last couple of months hid in an obstetric hospital in Bethlehem. Abayat was found hiding out in the hospital's laundry and was armed with two Kalashnikov rifles, three M16 rifles with telescopic sights, 15 ammunition clips and a grenade launcher. (Jerusalem Post)
What is the toll of terrorism, once terrorism has become not an occasional horror but a fact of everyday life? How do people adapt, and at what cost? Looking to the future, these are questions Americans might ask. Everyone in Jerusalem deals with hamatzav in his or her own way, depending on one's personal threshold for danger, or one's personal calculus for safety. These are highly subjective matters. Israel has assimilated terror, and institutionalized it. A bombing scene is cleaned up in hours, and one day later, there is often no sign it ever happened.
Will America of the next decade resemble more closely the Jerusalem of today than it will the America of today? Maybe. How scary is that? Plenty. But I'm a little less scared of it than I was before I met my old friend Bernie, and his family, surviving with love and dignity and a sense of purpose. In Israel the constant grind of terrorism has not only penetrated people's sense of denial, it has sanded it almost completely away. But what it has exposed is not blind, paralyzing fear. It is something else altogether. The Israelis live defiantly, indomitably, with a heightened intensity, as though each day might be their last. (Washington Post)
See also Israeli State of Mind - Editorial (Baltimore Sun)
For the past three years British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has been practising a policy of “constructive engagement” towards Iran. He, and his advisers, believed that the regime in Tehran appeared to be a valuable potential ally in the war against terrorism. The regime in Tehran has interpreted the EU’s desire to develop a constructive relationship as Western weakness, and America’s acquiescence while she is involved in Iraq as confirmation of that weakness. The regime in Tehran has never been a plausible potential ally in the War on Terror for the simple reason that it has been one of the main sponsors of terrorism across the world since its inception. (Times -- UK)
What should dictate our approach to the Saudis is that they need us to buy their oil just as much as we need them to sell it to us. Not just now, but also in the future. Yet conventional wisdom among self-appointed foreign policy experts ignores this basic reality, and as a result, Saudi Arabia holds the diplomatic catbird seat, enjoying perks available to few, if any, other nations. While the Saudis obviously would like sky-high oil prices, the reality is that long-term considerations place the ceiling substantially lower. So if the Saudis face market pressures that force them to keep oil prices in check, why does the U.S. State Department go to tragic-comic lengths to keep them happy? In late 2001, after State discovered that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis—and that all of them had submitted applications that never should have been approved under the law—it sent out a press release saying that the U.S. had “not changed its procedures or policies in determining visa eligibility as a result of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.” Sadly, State was telling the truth. And to this day, that pledge still largely holds true. (Townhall.com)
Iran Out of Control - Ehud Ya'ari (Jerusalem Report)
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