Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Syrian Mosques Sending Fighters to Iraq
- Jack Fairweather (Telegraph-UK)
See also Pressure Works - David Frum (National Review)
FBI Subpoenas AIPAC Officials, Searches Office - Curt Anderson (AP/Washington Post)
French Try Once Again to Ban Hizballah TV (Reuters)
Sharon Seeks New Coalition - Zvi Zrahiya and Mazal Mualem (Ha'aretz)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
After the death of Arafat, the Bush administration intends to press the next Palestinian leader to make key structural changes to insure the rule of law, effective counterterrorism, and transparency before reviving final-status negotiations with Israel. On Monday, the president's nominee for secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, promised that America would not send a new envoy or endorse a peace conference after the January 9 Palestinian elections. Last week, the national security council's senior adviser on the Middle East, Elliott Abrams, met with European ambassadors at the White House where he stressed the president's statement that an eventual final settlement would have to acknowledge Israel's claim to the territory on the West Bank that hosts the majority of settlements.
An administration official familiar with the president's policy said Tuesday, "There will not be a round of shuttle diplomacy and there will not be efforts to push final status issues. But there will be increased diplomatic efforts to help the Palestinians succeed in their reforms and help Prime Minister Sharon succeed in the Gaza disengagement." (New York Sun)
Iran is increasing support for anti-Israel terrorists to jeopardize chances for successful Palestinian elections and a resumption of the peace process after the death of Arafat, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Daniel Ayalon charged Tuesday. Ayalon said Iran has increased funding for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the armed wing of Fatah, providing 70% of its budget. "The Iranians have played an extraordinarily negative role throughout" the 4-year-old Palestinian uprising, said Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel who heads the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. (USA Today)
Canada's Ambassador Allan Rock on Tuesday delivered a scathing denunciation of the General Assembly's resolutions isolating and attacking Israel, confirming a shift in Canada's approach to the Middle East. "References to Israeli security needs are often overlooked in the General Assembly. Repeatedly emphasizing Israel's responsibility under international law obscures equally important responsibilities of other parties to the conflict," Rock said. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Marwan Barghouti Wednesday filed the necessary papers to run as an independent candidate in the January 9 election for PA chairman, throwing Palestinian politics into disarray. Barghouti is currently serving five life sentences in an Israeli jail. In addition, Hamas announced it would not take part in the elections.
Senior Fatah officials expressed concern about Barghouti's candidacy. "We will do all we can in the coming days to convince Marwan to remove his candidacy to avoid a split in Fatah," Barghouti associate Hatem Abdel Kader said Wednesday. (Ha'aretz)
Israel has consented to the deployment, beginning in January, of 750 "high-quality" Egyptian troops on the western side of the border between Gaza and Sinai. In talks with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Jerusalem Wednesday, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz presented Suleiman with data showing that smuggling had increased since his previous visit to Israel, when he had promised to rein it in. Suleiman said in response that "replacing the policemen with quality soldiers will alter the picture." (Ha'aretz)
Were the Syrian president to declare he wants to come to Jerusalem tomorrow, "we would say to Assad, 'By all means you are most welcome, but you have to start to move Hizballah away from our border,'" a senior diplomatic official said Wednesday. When Egyptian President Sadat made his dramatic visit to Israel in 1977, "all hostilities between Israel and Egypt ceased, all incitement stopped," he added.
The official's comments came in the wake of reports claiming that Assad signaled he was interested in making a Sadat-like trip to Jerusalem. Officials in the Prime Minister's Office said the Syrians know how to contact Israel if they are genuinely serious about opening up a dialogue. "They don't call us, they call the media, which makes me believe that this is all designed to get the U.S. off their back," said one official. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Mofaz Blasts Syria on Terror - Arieh O'Sullivan (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
In Israeli eyes, a ceasefire should be no more than a relatively short corridor leading the PA towards fighting terrorism and dismantling the terror infrastructure. Combating terror is perceived as both a practical necessity and an essential litmus test as regards the prospects of future peace. For its part, the new Palestinian leadership will probably argue that they are not strong and popular enough to undertake a comprehensive battle against terror so soon after assuming power. In reality, the PA does have enough armed elements to successfully confront the terror groups, certainly in Gaza, but does not command enough popular support, and hence political will, for such a move.
The U.S. should monitor the fulfillment of a Palestinian-Israeli ceasefire based on its intelligence capabilities. In so doing, it should encourage the development of bilateral Israeli-Palestinian security exchanges rather than revert to a trilateral (Israeli-Palestinian-U.S.) security framework that has proven problematic in the past since it made it easier for the parties to project their problems on the third party rather than try to solve them bilaterally. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
In the opinion of Bassam Tibi, an academic of Syrian origins who lives in Germany, Europeans are facing a stark alternative: "Either Islam gets Europeanized, or Europe gets Islamized." Institutions that have been affected by Islamophile correctness run the gamut. In Britain, a judge has agreed to prohibit Hindus and Jews from sitting on a jury in the trial of a Muslim. A British bank boasts that it will comply with shari'a prohibitions on the uses of money.
Or consider the European reception of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the religious authority of the Muslim Brotherhood who is wanted on charges of terrorism in his native Egypt. Like Tariq Ramadan in Switzerland, he emphasizes that Muslims must keep apart from liberal democracy as it is practiced in the West while also availing themselves of its benefits and advantages. But unlike Ramadan, he approves of wife-beating in the forms sanctioned by the Qur'an; as for homosexuals, he is agnostic on whether they should be thrown off a high cliff or flogged to death. Yet this year, in an official ceremony at London's City Hall, al-Qaradawi was welcomed as "an Islamic scholar held in great respect" by the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, an enthusiastic supporter of gay pride. (Commentary)
Disengagement's Architect - David Horovitz (Jerusalem Post)
Brig.-Gen. Eival Gilady, until recently the head of the IDF's Strategic Planning Division, two years ago initiated what Ariel Sharon came to adopt as his disengagement plan.
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