Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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West Bank Terrorists Have Anti-Aircraft Missiles, Anti-Tank Rockets - Amir Buhbut (Maariv-Hebrew)
See also Israel Warns of Renewed West Bank Violence (Scotsman-UK)
Abbas Appoints New Security Agency Chief - Ibrahim Barzak (AP/Washington Post)
See also Who is Rashid Abu Shbak?
See also Abbas Appoints "Collaborator Hunter" - Khaled Abu Toameh
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Syria has not withdrawn a significant part of its intelligence presence in Lebanon, U.S., European and UN officials said. The continuing presence of covert Syrian intelligence operatives would violate the promise President Bashar Assad made to the UN last month to withdraw all Syrian personnel. Syrian military intelligence has taken up new positions "in the south of Beirut and elsewhere, and has been using headquarters of parties affiliated with the government of Syria as well as privately rented apartments for their purposes," said a report UN Secretary-General Annan made to the Security Council and released Tuesday. About 5,000 Syrian intelligence operatives were deployed in Lebanon, U.S. and European officials said. (Washington Post)
A U.S. District Court jury in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday convicted prominent Washington-area Muslim spiritual leader Ali Al-Timimi, 41, of inciting his followers to train overseas for violent jihad against the U.S. Five days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, Timimi told his followers that "the time had come for them to go abroad and join the mujahideen engaged in violent jihad in Afghanistan," according to court papers. The jury decided that his words were enough to send him to prison for what prosecutors said will be a mandatory life sentence. "If one's demonstrated intention is to procure a violent act, that's not protected speech,'' said Ruth Wedgwood, a law professor at Johns Hopkins University and a former federal prosecutor. (Washington Post)
The number of serious international terrorist incidents more than tripled last year, according to U.S. government figures. Overall, the number of what the U.S. government considers "significant" attacks grew to about 655 last year, up from around 175 in 2003. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Palestinian militants fired three Kassam rockets at Sderot on Tuesday, causing no damage or injuries. Palestinians also fired an anti-tank missile at Israel Defense Forces troops in the Philadelphi Route bordering Egypt. (Ha'aretz)
In the last three weeks there has been a significant increase in terrorist attacks against Israeli communities and civilians inside and outside the Gaza Strip, constituting a blatant contravention of the ceasefire agreement. Palestinian terrorists have fired Kassam rockets, mortar shells, and anti-tank missiles. Ten explosive devices have been uncovered and detonated. Fire was opened at Israeli communities and IDF forces in over 30 different incidents. As a result of these attacks three soldiers and an Israeli civilian were wounded. In addition, eight attempted infiltrations into Israel were thwarted, involving 25 Palestinians. (Israel Defense Forces)
Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to arrive in Israel on Wednesday, accompanied by dozens of Russian business figures and government officials. During his Thursday meeting with Prime Minister Sharon, Putin is likely to be faced with Israeli concerns regarding Russian nuclear cooperation with Iran and a contentious missile sale to Syria. (Yediot Ahronot-Ynet)
See also Putin's Visit to Israel a Milestone - Eytan Bentsur
Putin's visit is an indication of his profound alliance with Israel. Putin asserts that he is determined to enhance relations, foster cooperation, and play a more active role in advancing the peace process in the Middle East. The writer is former director general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Yediot Ahronot-Ynet)
See also Putin Pushes "Road Map" in Visit to Egypt (AP/Washington Post)
EU representatives boycotted a conference of the Israel Ministry of Science because it was held at the ministry's offices in eastern Jerusalem. When Ministry of Science Deputy Director General Ran Yishai invited foreign diplomats and scientific attaches to the conference three weeks ago, the Dutch attache wrote back: "We very much value the initiative, but the Ministry of Science is in eastern Jerusalem and we are prevented from attending." Several days later another letter was received: "On instructions from the Presidency, European Union personnel cannot come to the conference." The rotating presidency of the EU is today under The Netherlands; thus the Dutch attache must have imposed his opinion on the other attaches.
Yishai replied: "Thank you for your letter. I remind you that Israel is not Indonesia, and here we don't receive instructions from The Netherlands or from any presidency." Despite the boycott, representatives from 40 countries decided to attend the conference, including the U.S., Canada, China, Brazil, and Thailand. (Maariv-Hebrew, 26Apr05)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Syrian soldiers flashed victory signs as the last of them withdrew from Lebanon Tuesday, but no show of bravado can disguise the fact that the victory was Lebanon's. Even after the assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri two months ago and the anti-Syrian protests that swept the country, many so-called realists said that rapid Syrian withdrawal was too much to expect.
As the last of the Lebanese militias to disarm, Hizballah still threatens to be a disruptive force as Lebanon moves back toward democracy. But cut off from its Syrian sponsors, Hizballah may yet find that its welcome, at least as an armed group, has worn thin. It is unlikely the Cedar Revolution would have taken place when and how it did without the example of Iraq's elections. If we've learned one thing from this experience, it is that the Arab world isn't resistant to democratic change, but ripe for it. (Wall Street Journal, 27Apr05)
Despite the attempts by Damascus to call Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon honorable, the humiliation of being expelled, by a Lebanese and international consensus, could not go unnoticed. True, Damascus is still having trouble letting go of its long-time reign of Lebanon and the political, military, and economic profits it had acquired from its occupation. The Syrians aim to continue reaping such benefits by using the cards they still possess. After all, Beirut is still an hour away from Damascus, and the Syrians have quite a few allies in Lebanon, the primary one being Hizballah. This group will be the next target of a Lebanese revolution, and Hassan Nasrallah is likely to feel the noose tightening around his neck. The writer is head of the Middle East History department at Tel Aviv University. (Yediot Ahronot-Ynet)
The Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon is far from satisfying the U.S. For Washington, Syria's Assad remains a problematic and dangerous leader. The U.S. charges that Syria is allowing Iraqi rebels into its territory and allows rebel leaders to use Damascus as a base. The U.S. demands that Syria stop helping Hizballah, prevent any transfer of Iranian weapons through Syria to Hizballah, and shut down the offices of the Palestinian terror groups operating in Damascus. For the U.S. administration, Assad at best is unreliable, and at worst is an incorrigible conniver who should not be engaged until he has met all the U.S. demands. The withdrawal from Lebanon only erases one article from the list of complaints. (Ha'aretz)
A new play, My Name Is Rachel Corrie, opened this month at the Royal Court Theatre, one of London's most prestigious venues. Corrie was a young American radical who burned mock-American flags at pro-Hamas rallies in Gaza in February 2003. A short while later she died after jumping in front of an Israeli army bulldozer that was attempting to demolish a structure suspected of concealing tunnels used for smuggling weapons.
My Name Is Rachel Thaler is not the title of a play likely to be produced anytime soon in London. Thaler, aged 16, a British citizen, born in London, was blown up at a pizzeria in an Israeli shopping mall. Rachel Levy, 17, was blown up in a grocery store; Rachel Levi, 19, was shot while waiting for the bus; Rachel Gavish, was killed with her husband, son, and father while at home celebrating a Pessah meal; Rachel Charhi was blown up while sitting in a Tel Aviv cafe, leaving three young children; Rachel Shabo was murdered with her three sons aged 16, 13, and 5, while at home. (Jerusalem Post)
Disarmament and Rule of Law in Palestine
- Haim Malka
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