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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

June 6, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Palestinian Terrorists in Jenin Fire Rockets at West Bank Settlements - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    Islamic Jihad terrorists have fired about five rockets at the settlements of Ganim and Kadim from Jenin in recent weeks.
    The rockets exploded in the air shortly after being launched.
    The Israel Defense Forces voiced concerns that the fire would increase after the area is evacuated under the disengagement plan.
    IDF sources say the Islamic Jihad network in Jenin receives $250,000 a month for their activities from Damascus, apparently via banks in Europe.
    The group is continuing to attack Israeli targets and no longer sees itself committed to the cease-fire declared after talks with the PA three months ago.


Israel Campus Beat
- June 5, 2005

Point Counter-Point:
    Two Views on Zionism and Israeli Nationalism

Anarchy Continues in Palestinian Territories - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Ali Faraj, a Fatah leader who spent many years in Israeli jails, was killed on Friday along with his brother, Hussam, when gunmen opened fire at their car near Nablus.
    PA security officials said the attack was carried out by four brothers to avenge the murder of their father during the first intifada on charges of "collaboration" with Israel.
    In Ramallah, a gun battle erupted on Friday between Fatah gunmen and PA security officers after a local woman complained she had been harassed by a member of Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades.
    In the Gaza Strip on Saturday, gunmen from the Fatah Hawks briefly detained a PA diplomat and prevented him from traveling to Egypt in protest of the PA's refusal to hire them as security officers.
    See also Palestinian Gunmen Seize Government Buildings in Nablus - Atef Sa'ad (Reuters)
    About 15 members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, part of Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, fired in the air at the entrance to Nablus Governor Mohammed al-Alul's office and stormed into the Interior Ministry in the West Bank city on Sunday.
    Witnesses said an employee at the governor's office was slightly wounded when the gunmen shot him accidentally.
    The militants, wanted by Israel, shouted out demands for jobs and guarantees of safety under any deal to transfer Nablus to Palestinian security control.
    In an interview with al-Arabiya television on Saturday, Abbas said cracking down on militant groups would lead to civil war.


Useful Reference:

Liberation of the Temple Mount and Western Wall by Israel Defense Forces
    Transcript and broadcast of Voice of Israel Radio, June 7th, 1967 (Isracast)


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Reluctant U.S. Shows Signs of Shift on Hamas - Adam Entous
    The Bush administration is showing signs of easing its hard-line approach toward Hamas, in response to the militant group's rising political clout in the Palestinian territories and appeals for flexibility from European allies, officials and diplomats said. The White House acceded to Hamas running candidates in Palestinian elections, even though the group has refused to disarm and Washington lists it as a major terrorist organization. Senior administration officials said they may be open to contacts with some of Hamas's political affiliates, and would not rule out dealings with the group if it gave up its weapons and ended violence.
        The White House said President Bush has not changed his view that Hamas is a terrorist group that must be disarmed. "We're not acquiescing," a senior administration official said. "We do not deal with...terrorists." But the official added: "How do you pursue this without limiting democratic choices?" Another senior official called it a shift in emphasis, not policy. It could be reversed if Hamas-sponsored violence escalated, experts said. (Reuters)
        See also below Observations: Hamas Finding Fertile Ground in West Bank - Charles A. Radin (Boston Globe)
  • U.S. Seeks to Keep EU Deal with Syria on Hold - Adam Entous
    The Bush administration wants the EU to hold off on signing a trade and aid pact with Syria, citing doubts Damascus has withdrawn all intelligence agents from Lebanon and concerns about its role in Iraq, U.S. and European officials said on Saturday. In talks with EU leaders this week in Washington, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other officials said such a step would be premature. (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • Hizballah Wins Easy Victory in Southern Lebanon Elections - Hussein Dakroub
    Hizballah, the armed Shiite Muslim movement, and its Shiite Amal allies said they had won all 23 seats in southern Lebanon in the second stage of national elections Sunday. "All the south came out today to send a clear message to the Americans that they embrace the resistance weapons and that they are independent in their decision and they are not subservient to international resolutions," said Sheik Nabil Kaouk, Hizballah's commander in southern Lebanon. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also The Struggle for Lebanon's Soul - Michael Young
    Saadeddine Hariri, son of the late Rafik Hariri who was assassinated on Feb. 14, was abruptly elevated in April to inheritor of his father's political mantle by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah (the Hariri fortune was made in the kingdom, and the family bows to Saudi authority). The young Mr. Hariri has revived Sunni Lebanese morale, while seeking electoral alliances across the political and sectarian spectrum. He is expected to control, with his close ally Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader, almost two-thirds of the seats in the new parliament. The other largest blocs will include two Shiite parties - Hizballah and Amal.
        Hizballah refuses to disarm, and has threatened violence if disarmament is forcibly attempted. No one doubts its readiness to place its interests above those of the rest of society. However, faced with a domestic consensus for change and an international community patiently, but firmly, insisting on implementation of UN Resolution 1559, Hizballah could soon find its position untenable. The writer is opinion editor of Beirut's Daily Star. (Wall Street Journal, 6June05)
  • Al-Arian Trial: From Advocacy to Terrorism - Eric Lichtblau
    Whether Sami Al-Arian crossed the line from outspoken advocacy to terrorism is now a central question as he and three co-defendants go on trial in federal court in Tampa on Monday on terrorism and racketeering charges. Al-Arian is accused of being a leading figure in Palestinian Islamic Jihad and in financing and organizing terror attacks. The case, a decade in the making, has served as a flashpoint for debates over the limits of academic freedom, the role of American Muslims in supporting the Palestinian intifada, the government's expanded powers under the USA Patriot Act, and its strategy in terror investigations before and after the Sept. 11 attacks. In preparation for the trial, the government has collected more than 20,000 hours of taped phone conversations through wiretaps. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • 100,000 New Yorkers Salute Israel
    Tens of thousands of onlookers lined the sidewalks of Manhattan's Fifth Avenue Sunday to view the annual Salute to Israel parade - one of the most spectacular in the 41 years the "salute" has been held. Some 100,000 people participated in the parade, according to the organizers. (Ha'aretz)
        See also 5th Avenue Goes Blue-and-White for Salute to Israel Parade - Uriel Heilman (Jerusalem Post)
  • Arabs Stone Jews on Jerusalem's Temple Mount - Etgar Lefkovits
    Several hundred Arab teens pelted police and Jewish visitors with stones on the Temple Mount Monday, lightly injuring two Jewish visitors, police said. The clashes came as Israel marked Jerusalem Day, and 38 years since the reunification of the capital. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Works to Prevent PA Execution of 50 Collaborators - Yuval Yoaz
    Israel has gone to great lengths to prevent the PA from executing approximately 50 Palestinians convicted of collaborating with Israel. Israel approached U.S. Ambassador Dan Kurtzer on the matter, and went ahead with the release of Palestinian security prisoners last Thursday only after the PA said it did not intend to carry out the sentences. (Ha'aretz)
  • Soldier Loses Eye in Anti-Fence Riot
    An Israel Defense Forces soldier lost an eye after being hit by a stone during a demonstration by hundreds of Palestinians against the separation fence on Friday in the West Bank village of Bil'in, near Ramallah. Attending the protest were PA minister Ahmad Majdalani and Israeli MK Ahmed Tibi. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Postponement of Elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council - Shlomo Brom
    Suspicions are being voiced that the delay in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections is due to the desire of leading figures in Fatah, Abu Mazen's own party, to gain a few months' grace in order to put their house in order and improve their chances of winning. Fatah's image among Palestinians is very negative and it is currently torn by internal power struggles.
        Hamas, unlike Fatah, is seen to have "clean hands." Hamas has thus far boycotted the PA as a by-product of the despised Oslo Agreements and it has therefore not been contaminated by involvement in the day-to-day management of PA affairs. Instead, Hamas, like other Islamist movements, has maintained its own network of social welfare agencies that provide educational, health, and charity services to the needy and reinforce its image as a decent alternative to the regime.
        The circle supporting Abu Mazen within Fatah estimates that it needs several months to carry out the necessary internal reforms and get rid of the corrupt "Tunisians" (those who came with Arafat from Tunis). They also assume that a few more months of peace and quiet will bring about perceptible improvements in living standards and that these, along with implementation of the Israeli disengagement, will enhance Fatah's popularity. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • Syria Remains Defiant - Editorial
    Syria still exercises considerable leverage in Lebanon, and despite the threat of further sanctions from Washington, it has no intention of limiting its regional role. Bogged down in Iraq, Washington probably lacks the stomach to overthrow Bashar. However, under the Syria Accountability Act it holds the threat of financial sanctions over a regime which badly needs to inject life into a moribund economy. In response to the sanctuary enjoyed by Iraqi insurgents, American troops could also claim the right of hot pursuit across the Syrian border. It is not in the region's interest that a malevolent power like Damascus should throw down the gauntlet with impunity. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Observations:

    Hamas Finding Fertile Ground in West Bank - Charles A. Radin (Boston Globe)

    • Palestinians across the West Bank say they simply do not feel they are getting help with their problems from the long-dominant Fatah movement, founded by Arafat. And they are far from certain that the war with Israel is over. So they are exercising the democracy urged on them by the Western world to explore a radical alternative - putting Hamas in charge. The group is dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state and creation of Islamic Palestine in its place.
    • A seismic shift in the politics of the region, from secular to fundamentalist, could be developing, with negative implications for already troubled U.S. attempts to cultivate pro-Western democracy. Last month, the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center asked likely voters in the Palestinian legislative council elections what they would do if the choice boiled down to secular vs. religious options. About 48% said they would go with ''fundamentalist trends," while 38% said they would favor secularism.
    • ''I don't think [Hamas] will return to armed struggle. But if there is a need, why not? If it is necessary," said Ahmad Khadoura, 47, a Kalkilya baker. Hashem al Masri, who has been acting mayor of Kalkilya since the Hamas slate took over city hall two weeks ago, said, ''There is a certain reality now. The fact that we cannot ignore it does not mean that we accept it....There will be no peace and no security until the Palestinian people...get all their rights and live in their complete homeland" - the entire State of Israel. ''It will take a long time, but the Palestinian people will win."
    • ''It is an absurdity to argue that Hamas will be moderated by participation in electoral politics," said Barry Rubin, a specialist in Arab politics who directs the international affairs research unit at Israel's Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. ''Hamas' whole special feature is radicalism, terrorism, and refusal to compromise or accept Israel....Without this, they would be just another party." Hamas's success is undercutting any chance that Abbas could disarm terrorist organizations or forge compromises with Israel.


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