Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Unmasking the Insurgents - Rod Nordland, Tom Masland, and Christopher Dickey (Newsweek)
Groups Condemn University of Toronto "Israeli Apartheid Week"
- Beth Duff-Brown (AP/Washington Post)
Palestinian Police Force Boosted by an English Ulster Veteran - Stephen Farrell and Ian MacKinnon (Times-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Monday that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas would ultimately need to disarm the militant groups. "A cease-fire can help end the violence, but ultimately we need to dismantle those terrorist organizations that exist," he said. (Reuters)
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday: "Without a Palestinian state that is viable, that can represent the aspirations of the Palestinian people, there really isn't going to be a peace for either the Palestinian people or for the Israelis....We're going to be working with the parties, now that they've begun to make those fundamental choices, to push forward toward the date when we have a two-state solution. And I think it's in our grasp." (State Department)
Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, 41, is among the more provocative critics of radical Islam and immigrants in the Netherlands. Since the execution-style killing last November of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam, Wilders now travels everywhere with six bodyguards. He cannot sleep in his own home and sees his wife twice a week, at a safe house. A video clip on Internet chat sites has a soundtrack of Arabic song and automatic-weapons fire, and a photograph of the intended target: Wilders. "We are in an undeclared war," he says. "These people are motivated by one thing: to kill everything that we stand for." (Washington Post)
"I felt like Sharansky's book [The Case for Democracy] just confirmed what I believe," Bush said in an interview in the Oval Office last Thursday. "He writes it a heck of a lot better than I could write it, and he's certainly got more credibility than I have. After all, he spent time in a Soviet prison and he has a much better perspective than I've got." "That thinking, that's part of my presidential DNA," Bush said. "I mean, it's what I think; it's a part of all policy. Yes, it'll be in the State of the Union. It's in the Inaugural Address....It is part of my philosophy." (International Herald Tribune)
The tomb of Yasser Arafat grows more elaborate with each passing day. A shrine is rising from the rubble of the Mukata, replete with landscaped gardens, newly transplanted mature olive trees, and Palestinian flags framing a steel-and-glass burial chamber whose doors open toward the holy city of Mecca. Sakher Habash, 67, a member of the central committee of Arafat's Fatah movement and its recognized chief ideologue, is now executive director of the National Committee for Immortalizing the Symbol of the Immortal Leader Yasser Arafat, overseeing a 50-person committee charged with reinventing the Mukata compound as a kind of Arafat theme park. (Toronto Star)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told PA security advisor Muhammad Dahlan on Monday that the deployment of PA forces in Gaza was insufficient, as terrorist cells continued to fire at Israeli targets. A barrage of eight mortar shells was fired at Gush Katif on Monday, damaging a home in Neveh Dekalim. The defense minister demanded a committed crackdown on terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, which would include all groups, including the small ones; rounding up and interrogating suspected terrorists; and collecting illegal arms and shutting down arms manufacturing factories.
Hamas claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they were in response to the shooting of a Palestinian girl. However, Israel said jubilant Palestinian rifle fire celebrating the return of pilgrims from Mecca killed the girl.
On the West Bank Monday, an Israeli citizen was wounded after a Molotov cocktail hit his car near Migdalim, a soldier was wounded by a pipe bomb in Hebron, shots were fired at IDF troops near Jenin and Kadim, an explosive device was discovered on the Tunnel Road from Jerusalem to Gush Etzion, and several Israeli cars were stoned near Beitar Ilit. (Jerusalem Post)
The government decided Monday to double the rate of absorption of the Falash Mura - Ethiopian descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity and have since returned to Judaism - from 300 to 600 per month so that as many as 20,000 can arrive by the end of 2007. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
A long silenced majority of ordinary Iraqis defied threats of deadly mayhem to cast votes for a new, and hopefully democratic, political order. All who claim to be fighting in the name of the Iraqi people should now recognize that - in an open expression of popular will - Iraqis have expressed their clear preference that these battles be fought exclusively in the peaceful, constitutional arena. Today, along with other Americans, whether supporters or critics of the war, we rejoice in a heartening advance by the Iraqi people. (New York Times)
In recent weeks police in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands have rounded up dozens of terrorist suspects. According to intelligence reports, security services have thwarted a dozen major terrorist attacks in Europe since September 11. Intelligence experts believe Europe is targeted for two reasons: ideology and opportunity. Islamist terrorists still consider Europe part of the hated and infidel West. In addition, Islamic terrorists - some of whom carry European passports - can hide and move about much more easily amid Europe's large Muslim and Arab populations than they can in the U.S.
In Spain, where the government thought that withdrawing its troops from Iraq after last year's Madrid train bombings would take it off the terrorist target list, security services have since foiled Islamist attacks against the main criminal court and Madrid's soccer stadium. Embarrassment over finding some of their nationals among the terrorists killed by U.S. forces in Iraq has also led governments in Europe to step up efforts to stop the recruitment in their countries of suicide bombers for the jihad in Iraq. (Wall Street Journal, 1Feb05)
I applaud Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Daniel Ayalon's decision to cancel his appearance at a conference scheduled for Thursday at Columbia University on the Arab-Israeli peace process, in the wake of the documentary film "Columbia Unbecoming," in which Jewish students tell of faculty intimidation over Israel. It must have been a difficult call. It's the mission of Israeli diplomats to make Israel's case, and in pursuing that mission, they seek to stand on any podium. A speech at Columbia is precisely the sort of event that an Israeli ambassador covets - in normal times. The writer is senior associate at Tel Aviv University's Dayan Center. (New York Sun, 27Jan05)
Fagin and Blair - William Rees-Mogg (Times-UK)
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