Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Arab World Wants Hamas to Replace Arafat (Itim/Jerusalem Post)
Stunning Arms Haul in Falluja (BBC News)
Jordan and Syria Agree on Redrawing Border (AP/Dar Al-Hayat-Saudi Arabia)
Harvard Study Finds No Link Between Poverty and Terrorism - Alvin Powell (Harvard Gazette)
Satellites Guide GIs in Iraq's Deadliest Urban Mazes
- Eric Lipton
(New York Times)
Chicago Presbyterian Church to Invest in Israel
- Manya A. Brachear (Chicago Tribune)
Palm Beach Sheriff, Deputies Head to Israel to Train - Bill Douthat (Palm Beach Post)
Tucson High-Tech Delegation Visits Israel - Teya Vitu (Tucson Citizen)
Israeli Women Reach Out to Central Asia - Wendy Blumfield (Jerusalem Post)
China, Israel Sign Financial Cooperation Protocol
Indonesians Make Trip to Holy Land (Jakarta Post/Asia News Network)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Iran refused Thursday to abandon plans to operate uranium enrichment equipment that could be used either for energy purposes or in a nuclear bomb-making project, European and Iranian officials said. The refusal threatened to scuttle a nuclear agreement Iran reached 10 days ago with France, Britain, and Germany to freeze all of Iran's uranium enrichment activities. It also gave new ammunition to the Bush administration, which asserts that Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program and cannot be trusted. (New York Times)
See also "Jury is Still Out" on Iran's Nuclear Ambitions - IAEA Chief
The UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has accounted for all declared nuclear material in Iran, but it does not have a full picture of Tehran's clandestine arms ambitions, the agency's chief said Thursday. Addressing a meeting in Vienna of the IAEA's Board of Governors, Mohamed ElBaradei said the agency "is not yet in a position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran." (UN News Centre)
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw laid a wreath at Arafat's grave during a West Bank visit on Thursday. Straw's gesture reflected the fact that the EU maintained contacts with Arafat in his last years rather than shun him as Washington did, accusing him of inciting violence. A senior British official said earlier the Palestinians had made the right noises about stopping violence but had yet to show how they would implement their pledges. Straw's trip was cast by sceptics as a bid by Prime Minister Tony Blair to show he was giving priority to pursuing Middle East peace. (Reuters)
See also Israel Fumes at Straw's Floral Tribute to Arafat - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
See also Straw: Hamas-Linked Charity is Legal - Herb Keinon
The Palestinian Relief and Development Fund (Interpal) - a British-based charitable organization that Israel and the U.S. maintain is a front organization for Hamas - is operating within the confines of British law, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Wednesday. (Jerusalem Post)
Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief, was on Thursday forced to issue a retraction after saying he had made "direct contact" with Hamas, listed by the EU as a banned terrorist group. Solana said he had not "wished to imply that direct contacts between himself and Hamas had taken place." (Financial Times-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Special Border Police commandos shot dead two Hamas terrorists in a firefight in Hebron Thursday as the security forces wiped out the infamous Kawasmeh Hamas cell responsible for a string of attacks including the double suicide bus bombings in Beersheba. On Wednesday night Israeli security forces closed in on a house in the center of the city and called on the fugitives to surrender. After three hours an armored IDF bulldozer was brought in and began demolishing the house. In the ruins, troops discovered an opening to a secret chamber and the Palestinian fugitives opened fire from inside. Israeli forces returned fire, killing two Hamas men and severely wounding a third, Iyad Abu Shidam, 28, the Hamas "operations officer" in the city.
The Hamas cell in Hebron supplied at least five suicide bombers in the past few years and carried out 16 attacks responsible for the deaths of 104 Israelis. Five weeks ago security forces captured Imad Kawasmeh, the cell's leader, and security sources said it was his interrogation that led to the rest of the cell. Since Kawashmeh's arrest, security forces have detained some 400 Hamas activists, including some suicide bombers and weapons suppliers. (Jerusalem Post)
The Fatah revolutionary council on Thursday endorsed PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas as its official candidate in the upcoming election for the chairmanship of the PA, putting an end to jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti's ambition to run as a Fatah candidate in the election. Fatah activists said Thursday that Barghouti, defying his own party, has decided to run in the election. The Higher Committee of Fatah, an unofficial body consisting of scores of young guard Fatah figures, has openly challenged Abbas's nomination as "illegal and undemocratic." Abu Hassan Hijawi, a spokesman for Fatah prisoners in Israeli prisons, voiced support for Abbas and urged Barghouti not to run, saying it was inappropriate for a man sitting behind bars to present his candidacy. 16 Palestinians have thus far announced or signaled their intention to run to replace Arafat, reflecting the Palestinians' first real taste of democracy. (Jerusalem Post)
See also The Trouble with Barghouti - Editorial (Jerusalem Post)
Prime Minister Sharon told U.S. Secretary of State Powell this week that the Egyptians are doing more than in the past to prevent the smuggling of arms and ammunition from Sinai to Gaza, but it was not enough. "It is not enough to guard the 200-kilometer border and deploy troops. The smuggling has to be stopped in the mainland," Sharon said. He told Powell that his goal was to completely disengage from Gaza and have "neither responsibility nor blame." He also said that solving the smuggling problem will enable Israel to pull back from the Philadelphia route on the border between Egypt and Gaza, and will allow the reopening of the airport and sea port in Gaza in the future. (Ha'aretz)
Palestinians have conducted hundreds of unauthorized drillings for water in the northern West Bank in the area from which Israel is planning to withdraw. Israeli sources have voiced concerns that if the drilling is not stopped, as the PA promised in an agreement with Israel, the northeastern aquifer, which provides water to communities in the Jezreel Valley, the Gilboa, and the Beit She'an Valley, will be harmed. Overuse of the aquifer will increase the salinity of the water, making the growing of crops impossible. Israeli officials believe that following the withdrawal, the Palestinians will step up the pumping of water. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Ten years ago, policymakers believed that peace could be made with a dictatorship. Today, we must instead embrace a peace process that is anchored in the expansion of freedom within Palestinian society. Today, many hope to identify a Palestinian strongman as quickly as possible who can prevent chaos, rein in the extremists, and reach a deal with Israel. Similarly, many view the upcoming Palestinian elections as an opportunity to legitimize a Palestinian leadership that could quickly be "strengthened" by Western and Israeli largesse.
What was not understood then, or often even now, is that a non-democratic Palestinian regime will, by its nature, always threaten Israel. Non-democratic regimes always need to mobilize their people against external enemies to maintain internal stability. This is why the regime in Egypt, having lost Israel as a political enemy by signing a peace treaty, sponsors what is perhaps the most rabid anti-Semitic incitement on earth. That is also why the Saudi regime funds a Wahhabi fanaticism at home and abroad that is terrorizing our entire world. And that is why the Palestinian Authority used all the resources, not to improve the lives of Palestinians but rather to strengthen hatred toward Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
It is a mistake to view Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) as the post-Arafat leader of the Palestinians. He might become head of the PA, but that does not mean the PA bureaucracy, Fatah, or the security services will heed his authority. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas will ignore his orders unless forced to act otherwise.
While the PLO and PA are largely paper organizations, or at most bureaucracies, it is Fatah where the power really resides. Abu Mazen certainly does not control Fatah. That organization's new head is Farouk Kaddoumi, a hard-liner who is much more popular than Abu Mazen. In addition, it is those with the guns who are the ones who are going to decide whether terrorism continues and whether violence will be turned against Palestinian moderates, even if they are supposedly the movement's new leaders.
The influence of Israel or the U.S. and the West on Palestinian politics is quite limited. Israel can try to use confidence-building methods and flexibility to show that the moderates can deliver results to the Palestinians. However, the hard-liners of all factions discount Israeli concessions as tricks while simultaneously portraying them as victories won by armed struggle. Hence, the effects of such concessions will be very much diluted. (Beirut Daily Star)
See also "We Are at War" - Graham Usher
"With Yasser Arafat I was assured that our political aims were safe," said Zakaria Zubeidi, leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the northern West Bank. "I don't trust Abu Mazen with our national constants - I mean, Jerusalem and the right of return for the Palestinian refugees. None of the factions do." (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
There never has been any real, intrinsic connection between the Arab-Israeli conflict and Islamist terror. The root causes of Islamist terror lie elsewhere, and even if Israel were forced to submit to all of the most extreme Palestinian demands (which would have meant Israel disappearing from the map), worldwide terror would not be eliminated. On the contrary, the terrorists would see this as vindicating and encouraging further acts of terror elsewhere. The Arab-Israeli problem is usually used by Arab regimes as a subterfuge to explain away their own lack of democracy and their rampant corruption - just as some European governments use it to mask their often unholy business and political alliances with those same corrupt and undemocratic regimes.
Should there evolve a Palestinian leadership which will destroy the terrorist infrastructure and stop violence, hand over illegal arms, and stop anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement in its media and schools - in short, implement all those measures which had been in previous agreements but were never honored by Arafat - this would be an important step in the right direction. (Washington Times)
There has been much talk that if the Iraqi election is held and some Sunni Arab provinces (perhaps three of the 18) do not participate, the election will be illegitimate. Nonsense. In 1864, was Lincoln's election illegitimate because 11 of the 36 states did not participate in the presidential election? If Iraq's Sunni Arabs - barely 20% of the population - decide they cannot abide giving up their 80 years of minority rule, ending with 30 years of Saddam Hussein's atrocious tyranny, then tough luck. They forfeit their chance to shape and participate in the new Iraq. (Washington Post)
If the war on international terror means that the Americans will be engaging in hard-hitting combat, they should not be preaching morality to others. The extensive harm done to civilians in Iraq by the Americans or in the Ivory Coast by the French did not come in response to attacks by Iraqis or Africans against population centers in the U.S. or France. Neither case may be compared to the Palestinians, who intentionally strike at civilians in Israel.
The method employed by the Americans calls for using warplanes and artillery in urban areas. When the Russians did this in Chechnya, President Clinton sharply criticized them. The Iraqi insurgents, who include many foreigners, also show little compassion for the civilians. They have killed more Iraqi civilians than have the Americans.
The defense industries in Israel have developed special warheads for missiles fired from helicopters which cause a minimum of collateral damage. Israel Air Force graphs show a steady decline in the number of casualties of those not involved in terrorism. Israel is at least trying to correct the situation and does not preach to others how to behave on the battlefield. (Ha'aretz)
March 11 - the day of the Madrid terrorist bombings - unleashed an urgent debate in Europe about law enforcement: how to better track and stop militant Muslims within and across borders. Nov. 2 - the day provocative Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered allegedly by a Muslim extremist - dramatically pushed that debate into the cultural sphere: how to integrate (or not) Europe's burgeoning Muslim minority. (Christian Science Monitor)
Two weeks ago, the National Post and I were served with a notice of libel by the Canadian branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Until recently, CAIR has had considerable success winning acceptance in the U.S. and Canada as something close to an official spokesman for local Muslim communities. CAIR was founded in 1994 by alumni of an older group, the Islamic Association for Palestine. The IAP, founded by senior Hamas figure Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, calls for the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamic state under Islamic law in Israel's place.
Since 9/11, three CAIR associates in the U.S. have been indicted on terrorism-related charges. New York Senator Chuck Schumer has charged that CAIR members have "intimate links to Hamas." Illinois Senator Richard Durbin, noted for his sensitivity to Islamic concerns, has said that CAIR is "unusual in its extreme rhetoric and its association with groups that are suspect." (American Enterprise Institute)
The images of Mohammed al-Durra hiding from Israeli fire behind his father's back in the early days of the second intifada shocked the whole world. For many Arabs and Muslims, the boy became the symbol of Palestinian suffering. Yet it was nothing but a hoax; it has been proven that Israeli soldiers could not have killed the boy. France 2 distributed the dramatic coverage free of charge to the global media. What turned these images into a modern blood-libel against Israel was the voice-over of Charles Enderlin, the France 2 correspondent in Jerusalem. Even though Enderlin was not in Gaza when the alleged killing happened, he told viewers with great confidence that the "shooting comes from the Israeli position." (Wall Street Journal Europe, 26Nov04)
It didn't take a genius to see that the more Jews stood up for themselves, the less the world liked it, whereas other races were cheered on and drooled over as "freedom fighters," no matter how bloody their hands got. Could it be that anti-Semitism in England in particular was based on the fact that we had gone in the opposite direction to the Jews - from powerful to powerless - and felt great resentment about this fact? After all, they'd had a good deal more than loss of empire to deal with in the 20th century - the loss of one third of world Jewry.
Israel is a country the size of Wales, which within the first 25 years of its re-establishment (remember, the Jews were in the countries of the Middle East some seven centuries before the Muslims even existed) single-handedly fought off murderous attacks from such neighboring dictatorships as Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. What the Jews had done, unique of all the oppressed races of the world, was to come back better than ever.
Anti-Semitism can be as in-your-face as smashing up synagogues. But it can also be sly, sneaky, subtle and sometimes surreal. It must, in my opinion, go some way to explaining why Israeli human rights issues are so obsessively concentrated on, while many Arab and African countries are allowed to treat their citizens with as much subhuman sadism as they wish. There is one human rights rule for democratic Israel - which can be summed up as "Be perfect or we'll come down on you like a ton of bricks" - and another for the dictatorships which surround it - "Do what you like to your people, it's your culture!"
I loathe the EU as I believe it to be a massive threat to what remains of the world Jewry which its leader, Germany, did so much to destroy. I cannot trust an organization which has a belligerent Germany, aided and abetted by its vicious short sidekick, France, at its head - especially when that Germany is increasingly painting itself as the real "victim" of the Second World War. Israel is not without its problems - but they are problems which are a result of other countries' ignorant and destructive instincts and actions rather than its own. (Times-UK)
Anti-Semitism in Egypt predates the Arab-Jewish conflict. As far back as 1860, Egyptian bureaucrats interpreted citizenship decrees to exclude Jews. As a result of the Nationality Law of 1929, 90% of the country's 80,000 Jews were denied Egyptian citizenship, though many had ancestors in Egypt going back centuries. Nevertheless, Jews managed to contribute more than their share to Egypt's well being. They introduced modern industry to Egypt, specifically textile and sugar. They established the suburb of Maadi, and introduced public transportation (the Suarez Company). Daud Hosni, one of Egypt's foremost composers, is Jewish, and his grandchildren now live in Israel. Murad Farag, an active Zionist and Egyptian patriot, was one of the lawyers who contributed to the writing of Egypt's first constitution. (UPI/Washington Times)
Frank Foley worked as an intelligence chief in the 1920s and 30s at the British embassy in Berlin. Foley headed the embassy's visa section and had no diplomatic immunity. But secretly he was station chief in Germany for the forerunner of MI6. Once the pogroms against the Jews began in the early 30s he "tore up the rule book," says Michael Smith, author of a book on Foley. He ignored strict regulations and issued thousands of visas to Jews trying to escape persecution. (Guardian-UK)
Ethical Dilemmas in Fighting Terrorism - Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin
See also Israel's Commitment to Domestic and International Law in Times of War - Judge Amnon Straschnov (ICA/JCPA)
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