Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Terrorists Hide from Israeli UAVs (UV Online-UK)
- June 16, 2005
Issue of the Week:
Summer in Israel: What's Happening, Where, and How Can You Get in on It?
Saudi Arabia Exempt From Nuke Inspections - George Jahn (AP/Guardian-UK)
U.S. and Iraqi Troops Capture a Top Militant Leader in Mosul - Richard A. Oppel Jr. (New York Times)
Spain Breaks Up Terror Network - Giles Tremlett and Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian-UK)
Paris Court Convicts Three Aides to Shoebomber Reid (Reuters)
Jihad in U.S.: From Pakistan with Love - B. Raman (South Asia Analysis Group-India)
U.S. Soldier Earns Silver Star for Her Role in Defeating Iraqi Ambush - Ann Scott Tyson
Base Offers Course on Insurgents' Bombs - Louis Sahagun (Los Angeles Times)
Israel Joins 13 Nations in Submarine Exercise (Stars and Stripes)
Draft of 1917 Balfour Declaration Auctioned for $884,000 (AP/Ha'aretz)
Gaza Coast Regional Council vs. Israeli Knesset
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Israel's imminent withdrawal from the Gaza Strip will see the country strengthen control over strategic nerve centers such as Jerusalem, according to Prime Minister Sharon. "It amounts to a decision to leave an area of less security importance in order to strengthen those with a high strategic value for us," the prime minister told a development forum in the northern Israeli town of Carmiel Thursday. "The disengagement plan cannot be summed up just as leaving Gaza. It also invests big efforts in developing the Galilee, the Negev, and greater Jerusalem," Sharon added. (AP/Yahoo)
Egypt has stepped up its involvement in the planned Israeli withdrawal by stationing 40 police and intelligence officers in Gaza and the West Bank to help reform Palestinian security services. According to senior Arab officials, Cairo has been promised that it would be given 48 hours' notice of any Israeli attack, allowing its own force to retreat in time.
A key concern in Cairo and other Arab capitals is the potential emergence of the radical Hamas group as the main force in Palestinian politics after the withdrawal. An opinion poll published by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research on Monday showed support for Hamas surging to 30% compared with 25% in March and 18% last December. Senior Arab officials say as much as $800m of Gulf capital will be poured into Gaza's infrastructure after the Israeli exit, to improve the PA's image and ability to deliver services. (Financial Times-UK)
The Bush administration is working to assemble a large new international aid package for Palestinian areas after Israel's disengagement from Gaza, American officials said Thursday. The package, which some officials said could approach $3 billion over three years, would supplement roughly $1 billion a year already given by the U.S. and others for the PA. (New York Times)
Kesari Ruza, testifying Thursday in the federal terrorism conspiracy trial of fired university professor Sami Al-Arian, described how she, along with her friend Alisa Flatow of New Jersey, and another American student boarded a bus heading for a beach resort on the Gaza Strip on April 9, 1995. At Kfar Darom, a suicide bomber drove a van loaded with explosives into the bus. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the group Al-Arian is accused of supporting, later claimed responsibility.
The 20-year-old Flatow suffered a severe head injury and died the next day at a Jerusalem hospital. Seven other people also perished and 40 were injured. Jurors, some of whom have nodded off during mostly mundane testimony so far in the trial, intently listened to the witnesses and watched a 10-minute amateur video shot at the scene of the bus bombing. (AP/Newsday)
President Bush issued the following statement Thursday: "The June 17th presidential elections are sadly consistent with [Iran's] oppressive record. Iran's rulers denied more than a thousand people who put themselves forward as candidates, including popular reformers and women who have done so much for the cause of freedom and democracy in Iran. The Iranian people deserve a genuinely democratic system in which elections are honest - and in which their leaders answer to them instead of the other way around. The Iranian people deserve a truly free and democratic society with a vibrant free press that informs the public and ensures transparency. They deserve freedom of assembly, so Iranians can gather and press for reform and a peaceful, loyal opposition can keep the government in check. They deserve a free economy that delivers opportunity and prosperity and economic independence from the state. They deserve an independent judiciary that will guarantee the rule of law and ensure equal justice for all Iranians. And they deserve a system that guarantees religious freedom, so that they can build a society in which compassion and tolerance prevail." (White House)
See also When Is an Election Not an Election? An Iranian Farce - Michael Ledeen (National Review)
U.S. Secretary of State Rice said Thursday that Egypt's plan for multiparty presidential elections was not enough and that "more needs to be done" to advance democracy. "This is an important first step that they are taking," Rice said. "Is it enough? I think, on an absolute scale, no. More needs to be done." Some diplomats and analysts believe the U.S. approach to political change in Egypt has shifted in favor of those who advocate caution to keep Islamists out of power until they clarify or modify their policies. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel and the U.S. recently began discussing the participation of Hamas in the elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council, and have raised the possibility of demanding that PA Chairman Abbas ban Hamas from running. A senior source in the Prime Minister's Bureau said Abbas's postponement of the elections, scheduled for July 17, was related, among other things, to Israel's reservations about the participation of "a racist party that calls for the annihilation of the Jews." The U.S. has promised Israel it will refrain from official talks with Hamas until it renounces armed struggle and agrees to abide by legal constraints, the source said. These issues may come up in a meeting scheduled for Sunday in Israel between Prime Minister Sharon and Secretary of State Rice. (Ha'aretz)
See also Foreign Ministry Protests EU Contacts with Hamas - Ze'ev Schiff
Israel's Foreign Ministry said Thursday it has protested increasing EU contacts with Hamas. "We believe Europeans should be strengthening moderate Palestinians and not appeasing the extremists," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev. "Anything that demonstrates acceptance of Hamas as a legitimate player is a problem." "Hamas is a murderous terrorist movement that has been responsible for countless acts of suicide bombings throughout Israel against innocent civilians," he said. Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by both the U.S. government and the EU.
The EU informed the U.S. of a substantial shift in its contacts with Hamas, allowing low-level European diplomats - below the rank of ambassador - to conduct talks with Hamas representatives who are running in the elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council. Israeli representatives charge that this will weaken PA Chairman Abbas and the PA itself, granting legitimacy to a terror group ahead of the elections. The EU decision does not demand any moves on the part of Hamas that could moderate the organization and get it to accept a resolution of the conflict with Israel through non-violent means. Such demands were made of the PLO when it first sought recognition and cooperation from Washington. (Ha'aretz)
On Thursday, the radical Islamic Jihad fired two Kassam rockets at the southern Israeli town of Sderot. One rocket hit a parked truck and another landed near a college. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the strike on Hizballah's television station. Islamic Jihad has in recent weeks intensified its attacks against Israeli targets, violating an agreement with the PA to maintain a temporary cease-fire. (Ha'aretz)
See also Increasing IDF Concern Over Withdrawal Under Fire in Gaza - Amos Harel
Brig.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said the recent deterioration of security in the Gaza Strip and the frequent Kassam rocket fire on Sderot increase concern that part of the Palestinian factions will try to paint the Israeli withdrawal as flight, and accompany it with mortar and rocket barrages. Col. Erez Zuckerman said, "the likelihood of the evacuation being accompanied by fighting has grown." (Ha'aretz)
The Israeli Navy has started building an underwater barrier leading out to sea from the north Gaza shore. The barrier, which essentially extends the northern security road separating Gaza from Israel into the Mediterranean, is primarily aimed at thwarting Palestinian terrorists swimming up to the Israeli coast. (Jerusalem Post)
Scores of unidentified gunmen in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday went on the rampage inside a medical center run by Jalilah Dahlan, wife of PA Civil Affairs Minister Muhammad Dahlan, destroying furniture, computers, and other equipment. Dahlan is in charge of coordinating the disengagement with Israel. He is said to be at loggerheads with many former security commanders in the Gaza Strip. "This attack reflects the state of anarchy and lawlessness, which endangers the lives of people," said Jalilah Dahlan. "About 70 gunmen raided the hospital, shooting into the air and destroying everything in their way." (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
At the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar, Richard Holbrooke, America's former ambassador to the UN, reminded the audience that, by now, two and a half generations of Arabs have been brought up on textbooks that do not show Israel on any map, and that such continued denial, on a grassroots level, is a major hindrance to any peaceful settlement.
I had a friendly conversation on this issue with one of PA Minister Muhammad Dahlan's aides, who confessed that "we Palestinians do not believe in a two-state solution, for we can't agree to the notion of 'Jewish state.'" "Judaism is a religion," he added "and religions should not have states." When I pointed out that Israeli society is 70% secular, bonded by history, not religion, he replied: "Still, Palestine is too small for two states." This was somewhat disappointing, given the official PA endorsement of the road map. "Road map to what?" I thought, "to a Middle East without Israel?"
I discussed my disappointment with an Egyptian scholar renowned as a champion of liberalism in the Arab context. His answer: "The Jews should build themselves a Vatican," he said, "a spiritual center somewhere near Jerusalem. But there is no place for a Jewish state in Palestine." In 2005, I still cannot name a single Muslim leader (or a journalist, or an intellectual) who has publicly acknowledged the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a dispute between two legitimate national movements. The writer is president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, named after his son, a Wall Street Journal reporter murdered by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002. (Jerusalem Post)
Over the weekend, Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa - Arafat's nephew - said the PA has no intention of disarming terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as required under the U.S.-sponsored "road map" peace plan. The PA, under Mahmoud Abbas, continues to finesse its way around its road-map obligations. In the past few months, Abbas has shuffled the Palestinian security hierarchy. But he refuses to crack down, even as gangs foment violence against their fellow Palestinians in cities like Ramallah. Even the much-vaunted "ceasefire" announced four months ago by Abbas and Hamas appears to be an essentially tactical ploy, meant to last only until Israel disengages from Gaza in August.
The Palestinians have got to understand that, absent the dismantling of Hamas, Israel won't be obligated to undertake any further moves. Terrorism and democracy can't exist side-by-side, no matter what kind of faustian deals are cut. In the end, the terrorist menace is as great a menace to Palestinian moderation as it is to Israel. (New York Post)
After watching this charade for more than a decade, including meetings with Arafat in Ramallah and dinners I hosted with Palestinian and Jewish leaders to discuss joint ventures, my conclusion was that we were taken for a dishonest ride by Arafat and his aides. Focusing only on diplomacy as the path to success is wrong.
At this moment, the Palestinian Authority continues to use threats of terrorism as a negotiating tool. As recently as February 2005, PA officials warned that without the release of thousands of prisoners, an upcoming Palestinian-Israeli summit would not succeed. "If Israeli intransigence on this issue continues, the summit will fail," said Minister of Communications Azzam al-Ahmed. "If the prisoners aren't released, we will return to the cycle of violence." Hamas, too, maintained its terrorist rhetoric regardless of diplomacy between U.S. officials and the PA.
The roadmap should be replaced with a carrot and stick approach that recognizes that the center of gravity for peace in the region is the growth of a pro-peace, prosperity, and freedom wing of the Palestinian people. The primary requirement for peace should be the destruction of the terrorists. This inherently is not a diplomatic task. Smoke and mirrors will not work. (Middle East Forum)
As the four-week Lebanese elections approach their last round on Sunday, opposition leaders and Western diplomats contend that Syrian intelligence operatives, intertwined with the Lebanese security services, are still operating and influencing the vote despite the withdrawal of Syrian troops and official denials from Damascus. "The Syrians are still controlling the army, the security services," said a former high-ranking Lebanese intelligence officer. "They issue orders by phone, by e-mail, by fax," the former officer said. "Everybody in this government is still manipulated by Syria."
The Syrians are working to increase turnout for the long-exiled Gen. Michel Aoun's candidates on Sunday in the last round of parliamentary voting. Their goal is to secure the rule of Syria's handpicked Lebanese president, Emil Lahoud, which has grown more likely with Gen. Aoun's electoral victories in the last week. (New York Times)
Sheikh Mohammed Mashouq al-Khaznawi, a moderate Islamic cleric who once worked with the Syrian government to temper extremism, had been emerging as one of its most outspoken critics. He advocated Kurdish rights and democracy, galvanizing many of the 1.7 million Kurds against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. "[Syrian intelligence] wrote a report saying he...should be stopped. They said he would start a revolution," says Sheikh Murad Khaznawi, the eldest of Sheikh Mohammed's eight sons.
On May 10, the cleric disappeared in Damascus. Three weeks later, he was found dead.
His murder sent shock waves through Syria's marginalized Kurdish community, sparking mass demonstrations earlier this month and mobilizing a community that represents the most potent domestic threat to President Assad. "The stability of Syria is in the hands of the Kurds," says Ibrahim Hamidi, correspondent of the Arabic Al Hayat daily. "They are organized, they have an Islamic identity, regional support through the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, and Iran, international support with some European countries lobbying for them, and political status because of [the Kurdish empowerment in] Iraq." (Christian Science Monitor)
Mounting Lebanese and international pressure on Syria has prompted Hizballah to secure its position, together with Syria and the pro-Syrian establishment, in the internal Lebanese scene and consolidate its role as an armed force in Lebanon. The Shiite organization is currently acting vigorously to implant the belief that it is critical that Lebanon preserve Hizballah's military strength as a strategic deterrent against Israel. This platform earns the organization support from the pro-Syrian establishment and even from some senior people in the opposition who were adamant on the Syrians departing the country.
The impetus for Lebanon to sponsor Hizballah's military power and thereby shield the organization officially is expected to increase. However, the more "Lebanese" Hizballah becomes, the more it will encounter difficulties in engaging in non-legitimate activities, such as the aid that it now gives to Palestinian organizations in the territories. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies-Tel Aviv University)
Mubarak will be easily re-elected to a fifth presidential term in September, yet everyone agrees that something has changed in the Arab world's largest and most influential nation. Half a dozen independent newspapers feel free to criticize Mubarak, his government, and even his family, when once that could have meant prison. Where the ruling National Democratic Party had a monopoly on power for three decades, now dozens of parties and political movements are springing to life. Egypt's version of the "Arab Spring," as the democratic changes sweeping the region are known, is particularly significant because it has the strong encouragement of Washington. (Times-UK)
See also Mubarak Vows to Name Vice-President - Roula Khalaf (Financial Times-UK)
The bitter memory of the 15-year civil war is still very fresh in the minds of most Lebanese, who blame the PLO for sparking it back in 1975. Since the Palestinians in Lebanon, who number at least 200,000, are mostly Sunnis, if they are resettled they will tip the demographic balance in favor of the Lebanese Sunni community, which does not suit either the Shiites or the Maronite Christians.
The Palestinian Authority should disengage the Palestinian refugee problem once and for all from the internal Lebanese conflict. This could be achieved through a bold move by Abbas to order PLO guerrillas in Lebanese refugee camps to hand over their weapons to the Lebanese authorities in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1559, which calls for disbanding all armed militias in Lebanon. The Lebanese government would have no choice but to become responsible for the internal security of these camps that have become a safe haven for gangsters and Islamic fundamentalist groups.
The second step should be the absorption of most of the Palestinian refugees from Lebanon by large Western countries such as Canada, Australia, and even the U.S. The writer is the founder of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) in Dubai. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
In "How We Would Fight China," in the June issue of The Atlantic Monthly, military correspondent Robert D. Kaplan analyzes the encroaching specter of a cold war between the U.S. and China. Kaplan quotes a U.S. Marine general in the Pacific Command who explains that the nascent U.S. strategy for dealing with China will be based on multilateral military cooperation. The U.S. is quietly building deep military alliances with countries such as Singapore, India, Australia, Japan, and Thailand, which will all play key roles in containing China. Kaplan also notes the technological gap between the U.S. military and these crucial allies in the Pacific.
This week it was reported that following Israel's misguided sale of Harpy aerial drones to China, Washington is now demanding control over Israel's weapons exports to India and Singapore. Yet what Israel's cultivation of its own bilateral strategic ties with countries like Singapore and India shows is that when Israel is behaving in a strategically responsible way, it is also advancing America's strategic interests.
Israel was wrong to sell weapons systems to China. But the damage done to U.S. national security interests has been effectively brought under control. The damage that the U.S.'s increasingly hostile position toward Israel is doing to U.S. national security interests will not be so easily contained. Why would Singapore or India or any other U.S. ally trust an America that would abandon Israel? And how will the U.S. be more secure if it increases its dependence on Arab regimes that are inherently hostile to it and everything it stands for? (Jerusalem Post)
"Palestine Awareness Week," sponsored by the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz, California, featured an Israeli and a Palestinian woman from a group called the Parents Circle, who made presentations to hundreds of local public high school students during regular school hours. Supposedly, both women had family members killed by the opposite side, tragedies that compelled them to reach out to create a "dialogue" in the name of peace and non-violence.
It is true that Robi Damelin lost her son, David, a 28-year-old graduate student who was killed while guarding a checkpoint in the West Bank set up to prevent suicide bombers and terrorists from getting into Israel. But Nadwa Saranda explained that her sister, Naela, was supposedly knifed to death in eastern Jerusalem by a "Jewish settler." Yet according to Al Quds, the Palestinian national newspaper, Naela was stabbed in the chest several times near the Jerusalem Municipality building by 23-year-old Mohammed Sha'lan from the village of Hizma, who claimed he thought she was an Israeli. (FrontPageMagazine)
"Moses dragged us for 40 years through the desert to bring us to the one place in the Middle East where there was no oil," quipped Israeli prime minister Golda Meir. Now John Brown, a Catholic Texan cutting-tools executive, and Tovia Luskin, a Russian Jewish geophysicist and career oilman, hope to prove that not only is there oil, but that Moses pointed to it. In chapter 33 of the book of Deuteronomy, Moses says the land of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh will yield the "precious fruits" of "the deep lying beneath," of the "ancient mountains" and of the "everlasting hills." In this text Luskin saw, says his company's lawyer, "a classic description of an oil trap." The company, Givot Olam (Everlasting Hills), has drilled three wells since 1994 and found oil, but not enough to be worthwhile. (Economist-UK)
The bad news is that the number of anti-Israel demonstrations and activities on American campuses was at its peak last semester. The good news is that the general opinion toward Israel has improved slightly. Pro-Palestinian organizations are continuing their battle and even intensifying it, with anti-Israel rallies becoming routine and Palestinian speakers greeted on campuses as heroes. A poll by Israel on Campus Coalition showed that many Jewish students spoke of intimidation by professors and anti-Israeli advertisements in academic material. But now, pro-Israel groups are fighting back in a stronger way. The writer won Israel's reality TV show "The Ambassador" and is spending the year in the U.S. (Ynet News)
Talk Is Cheap - Robert Satloff (New Republic)
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