Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
UK Terror Attacks Thwarted (Scotsman-UK)
UN Includes Anti-Semitism in Resolution on Tolerance - Shlomo Shamir (Ha'aretz)
Fatah Fugitive Hidden by Arafat Killed in Ramallah - Margot Dudkevitch (Jerusalem Post)
Ramallah Lynch Perpetrator Sentenced to Life - Margot Dudkevitch (Jerusalem Post)
Weather Puts Halt to Spread of Locusts - Nir Hasson (Ha'aretz)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Leaders meeting in Sharm el-Sheik on Iraq's future plan to give strong backing to the interim government's war against insurgents, but won't set a deadline for withdrawing U.S.-led forces from Iraq - despite a push by France and some Arab countries. Iraq asked Egypt to convene the conference to bolster world support for its battle against insurgents and its plan to hold national elections. (AP/Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel will agree to coordinate next summer's disengagement from Gaza with the PA, but "if the PA does not take steps against terror, it will be impossible to advance," Prime Minister Sharon told U.S. Secretary of State Powell on Monday. "I understand the problems of a new leadership, but at some stage they need to take steps against terror. If they do, and prevent Kassam [rocket] launches, there will be coordination."
Sharon promised Powell, who visited both Jerusalem and Ramallah, that Israel would make every effort to ensure the success of the PA election and would facilitate freedom of movement by opening transit points and withdrawing troops, but only where this does not harm Israel's security. Sharon stressed that Israel rejects European proposals to skip the first stage of the road map peace plan, which requires the PA to fight terror and carry out reforms, and go straight to final-status talks. "The Palestinians are daydreaming if they think that after Arafat's death, all they need to do is submit a list of demands to Israel," he said. Sharon also told Powell that Hizballah "has replaced Arafat as the driving force behind Palestinian terror."
In an interview with Israel Television, Powell praised Sharon's attitude as "flexible and open." In Ramallah, Powell said, "We have to ensure that terrorism and violence will not be permitted once again to stop this process." In Jericho, Powell said that statehood "won't be determined by picking a date, but by progress and action on the ground." (Ha'aretz)
See also Powell Interview with Israel Television (State Department)
Israel will take the necessary steps to enable the Palestinians to conduct their elections, Prime Minister Sharon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday. Sharon said there are already some technical-organizational discussions about the elections under way with the Palestinians.
Brig. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser, head of research in Military Intelligence, told the committee that the current Palestinian leadership has a different approach and attitude than did Arafat, and that it wants to create a change in Palestinian political culture. They understand they have to deal with the anarchy and unify all the security services, he said. "The current leadership does not believe in continuing the terror attacks," he said. "It does not rule them out, but it does not believe in terror as the way to achieve national goals." (Ha'aretz)
Rafael "Raful" Eitan, 75, was hit by a large wave at Ashdod port Tuesday while overseeing the construction of a new breakwater. Eitan was a former deputy prime minister as leader of the Tzomet Party and served as agriculture and environment minister. A legendary IDF paratroop commander and the 11th chief of staff during the Lebanon War, Eitan had fought in the Palmach during the 1948 War of Independence and was severely wounded in the battle for Jerusalem. In 1956 he was the first to parachute into the Mitla Pass during the Sinai Campaign.
"The man was courageous, a true leader, and impersonated the true qualities of a fighter. It might sound strange but it suits him to die at work," former president Ezer Weizman told Army Radio. "He will always be remembered as a symbolic fighter that embodies the Jewish people's struggle in the Land of Israel." (Jerusalem Post)
The U.S. House and Senate approved on Saturday a spending bill for 2005 which includes $2.2 billion in military assistance and $360 million in economic assistance for Israel. It also includes an additional $50 million in refugee resettlement assistance. The bill contains a provision allowing Israel an extra two years to finish using $9 billion in loan guarantees, allowing five years rather than three. The bill also requires the U.S. secretary of state to report to Congress on whether UNRWA employees or facilities have been involved in Palestinian terrorist activities. (Jerusalem Post)
Fatah's 21-member central committee on Monday chose Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as its candidate for the PA chairmanship. The 88-member Fatah revolutionary council is due to meet Thursday to decide on its candidate. West Bank Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, currently serving consecutive life-sentences in an Israeli prison, is a member of the revolutionary council and is considering declaring his candidacy. Barghouti confidant and Jerusalem Fatah leader Ahmed Ghanem said, "the main difference between Abu Mazen and Marwan is that Marwan still believes that the struggle (the intifada) will lead the Palestinians to achieve their goals." (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Sharon is asking for something of great symbolic and practical importance: a reduction in the poisonous hate toward Israel that Palestinians are force-fed daily in school and on TV. "The venomous propaganda in the Palestinian media and education system is the root and foundation of the expansion of the suicide terrorism phenomenon,'' Sharon said. Palestinians should have taken care of this long ago, if they really want to someday live in peace with their neighbors. It is impossible to negotiate at a diplomatic level while broadcasting hatred toward your partner in peace. Sharon called his demand "a test of the Palestinian leadership." It is, and a fair one. (Chicago Sun Times)
It seems highly unlikely that any Palestinian figure will be capable in the foreseeable future of marshaling the legitimacy needed to make peace with Israel, or the military power to impose that peace on the Palestinian terrorist groups that will certainly oppose it. No Palestinian leader today is capable of reversing the warlike brainwashing of children and of reeducating them for coexistence. Fatah leaders such as Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Qurei may be perfectly acceptable to both Israel and the U.S.; but it is far from certain that they will ever be acceptable to the Palestinians. At this stage it would be premature, if not counterproductive, for the U.S. and the other members of the Quartet to designate some Palestinian as Arafat's successor and railroad him into signing a treaty he might be either powerless or unwilling to fulfill. (Jerusalem Post)
The more one looks at Iran's civil nuclear program, the more it looks like a concerted project to build an atomic bomb. There are serious questions about how much of Iran's nuclear program remains hidden from international inspectors. Even if scrupulously respected by the mullahs, the suspension can be instantly abrogated. (Telegraph-UK)
In the grim reality of Arab politics there is no graceful passing of the torch, or stately retirement. Death has become the de facto term limit. Arab heads of state in large part operate with lifetime sinecures, and then their sons or close advisers usually take over. Just as happens to any system that lacks a way to reinvigorate itself with competition, new ideas and younger blood, the result is predictable: corruption grows, innovation wanes, and progress halts. That's why it would be dangerous to hope for too much from Arafat's successor. Old leaders die hard, but old habits die harder. (Washington Post)
Arafat's Scorched Earth - Yossi Klein Halevi (National Catholic Reporter)
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