Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

June 28, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Funding Supports, Legitimizes, and Honors Terrorists - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook (Palestinian Media Watch)
    U.S. law prohibits the funding of any governmental structure, institution, organization, or company that sponsors or promotes terrorism.
    Governmental and non-governmental organizations in the PA continue to receive hundreds of millions of dollars from the U.S., some of which goes to frameworks that sponsor Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and to others that glorify terrorists and terrorism, delegitimize Israel's existence, and promote hatred of the American people, government, and values.
    Palestinian universities continue to host branches of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and should be ineligible for U.S. aid.


IDF Soldier Convicted of Manslaughter in Killing of British Civilian in Gaza (Israel Defense Forces)
    The Military Court for the Southern Command on Sunday convicted an IDF soldier of manslaughter in the death of British civilian Tom Hurndall on the Philadelphi Route in Rafah in Gaza on April 11, 2003.
    The soldier opened fire in complete violation of IDF rules engagement.


Arkansas Graduate Student Planned to Use Chemistry Studies to Help Islamic Jihad - Dave Hughes (Northwest Arkansas News)
    Arwah Jaber, a University of Arkansas graduate student, has been charged in U.S. District Court with planning to travel to the Palestinian territory to fight in a holy war and provide support to a foreign terrorist organization.
    Jaber, a naturalized citizen born in the West Bank, was working toward his doctorate in chemistry.
    On May 11, Jaber emailed one of his professors that he could not graduate in May as he had hoped:
    "I decided to take an honorable job in Palestine with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization to pursue a more noble cause - freedom, justice and peace for the Palestinians and to fight the Israeli terrorism."
    Jaber admitted to federal authorities he told his professor his knowledge of chemistry would help the Jihad cause.


Jewish Scholars to Join Religious Dialogue Forum in Qatar - Gina Coleman (Khaleej Times-Dubai)
    Jewish scholars will join their Muslim and Christian counterparts in Qatar for the Third Doha Conference for Religious Dialogue, to be held on June 29 and 30.
    Rabbis from Israel and from other parts of the world will attend the opening session, but only those from outside Israel will participate in the actual discussions.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israeli Soldiers Come Under Fire from Syria
    Israeli soldiers on the Golan Heights came under fire from Syria on Monday but no one was hurt and the troops did not shoot back in a bid to avoid escalation, the Israeli army said. (Reuters)
        The soldiers were fixing a fence along the border near Kuneitra. (Ynet News)
  • Effort to Rout Out Foreign Fighters Along the Syria-Iraq Border - Sabrina Tavernise
    Most of the 300-mile border with Syria, a major entry point into Iraq for foreign militants, is unguarded. "They will come from wherever we are not," said Col. Stephen Davis. Marine commanders argue that success cannot be measured in the amount of territory seized and occupied, but instead in punching holes in the web of insurgent networks. (New York Times)
  • Islamic Law Controls the Streets of Basra in Iraq - Louise Roug
    Religion rules the streets of Basra in Iraq, a once cosmopolitan city, where women no longer dare go out uncovered. Unmarked cars cruise the streets, carrying armed, plain-clothed enforcers of Islamic law. Many members of the Badr Brigade, a paramilitary force affiliated with the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), a leading Shiite party, have signed on to the Basra police force, where their first loyalty is to the party. On the Basra provincial council, 35 of the 41 members are affiliated with Islamic Shiite groups. (Los Angeles Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Fire Continues in Gaza
    Two mortar shells and a Kassam rocket landed Monday night in Neve Dekalim in Gush Katif, Army Radio reported. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Police Catch Palestinian Youths with Weapons
    Police at the Kalandia checkpoint north of Jerusalem stopped three Palestinian youths Monday carrying bags containing Molotov cocktails and a knife. Nine Palestinians have been stopped at IDF checkpoints this week in attempts to smuggle weapons into Israel, seven of them at Kalandia. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Russia's State Prosecutor Orders Probe of Jewish Law Code for Anti-Russian Incitement - Amiram Barkat
    Russia's state prosecutor has ordered an examination of the Shulhan Arukh, a 16th century code of Jewish law, in a probe of the Congress of Jewish Organizations, which distributes an abridged version in Russian. Last Thursday, the Russian State Prosecutor's Office questioned Rabbi Zinovy Kogan, chairman of the Jewish umbrella organization, about the contents of the volume, especially regarding its treatment of non-Jews. The inquiry was launched following a letter signed by 500 public figures, including some 20 members of the nationalist Rodina party, urging the state prosecutor to outlaw the Jewish religion and all Jewish organizations operating in Russia. Israeli Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin opened Monday's session by condemning the Russian decision. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Rethinking Iran - Editorial
    The elimination of political liberals from the Iranian government should make it easier for Western governments to explicitly side with Iran's demoralized but still substantial pro-democracy movement. At the same time, the election as president of religious hard-liner Mahmoud Ahamadinejad has merely made the twin threats facing the Iranian regime - domestic revolution or international isolation - more acute. (Washington Post)
        See also Iran Unveiled: New President, Same Old Authoritarian Regime - Editorial
    If there's a silver lining here, it is that the West may at last see the unveiled face of the Iranian regime and begin acting accordingly. (Wall Street Journal)
  • "No More Mullahs" - Amir Taheri
    The surprise victory of Mahmoud Ahamadinejad marks a shift of power within the Khomeinist regime from the mullahs to the military. In this case the most prominent of all political mullahs - Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the man designated as the likely winner by almost everyone - has been defeated by a virtually unknown nonmullah in a high-profile election. Ahamadinejad exploited anti-mullah feeling; he spoke of "16 years of decline, despotism and theft." Yet his victory marks the ascendancy of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards.
        With Ahamadinejad, you'll get what you see. Unlike former president Khatami, who claimed that Islam was the same thing as democracy, Ahamadinejad has no qualms about saying that the two are incompatible. Ahamadinejad says Iran is entitled to any weapons it might want, including nuclear arms, abandoning the ambiguity so dear to Jack Straw and Joshcka Fischer. The writer was executive editor of Kayhan, Iran's largest daily newspaper. (Wall Street Journal, 28Jun05)
  • Do the Saudis Really Have Huge Oil Reserves? - William Tucker
    The Saudis possess 25% of the world's proven reserves. They routinely proclaim that, for at least the next 50 years, they could easily double their current output of 10 million barrels a day. But is this true? Almost 90% of Saudi production comes from six giant fields, all of them discovered before 1967. The six, all producing at or near capacity for almost 40 years, are showing signs of age. All require extensive water injection to maintain their current flow. Matthew R. Simmons, a Texas investment banker with 20 years' experience in oil, concludes in Twilight in the Desert that Saudi production may have already peaked. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Dan Rather: "U.S. Media Supports Israel" - Yitzhak Benhorin
    Retiring CBS News anchor Dan Rather was asked in an interview about U.S. media bias against Israel: "I recognize there is a widespread perception among some people but it's not my experience at all. In the U.S. in my life time, until this very day, there is a deep understanding of the history of Israel and all the difficulties. There is no doubt in my mind that overall the Americans and the American reporters have a strong sense of support." (Ynet News)
  • Observations:

    The Great Pretense - Barry Rubin (Jerusalem Post)

    • It is in the interests of pretty much everyone to pretend there is a real chance for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement and that there is progress. The reality is deadlock, with the Palestinian leadership incapable of making a treaty to end the conflict.
    • Mahmoud Abbas's strategy seeks to reconcile radical rivals rather than fulfill commitments or make peace with Israel. To avoid antagonizing them, he has no intention of confiscating terrorists' arms, stopping anti-Israel incitement, burying the goal of eliminating Israel forever, or pressing too hard to stop attacks on Israel.
    • Abbas will probably not establish a stable government in the Gaza Strip after Israel's withdrawal. Nor will he crack down on corruption, suppress the gunmen creating anarchy in Palestinian towns, or really gain control over security forces.
    • Even if Abbas "wins" the next election, a blocking majority of Hamas, Islamists, leftists, and Fatah militants will intimidate him against making the steps needed for peace or to meet his commitments.
    • The U.S. government wants to show that it is doing everything possible to resolve the conflict. In fact, that is true since the failure to progress is due to Palestinian intransigence, the Arab states' refusal to help, and a European policy that encourages these.
    • In sharp contrast to Europe, American leaders are in no hurry to get to final negotiations. They know Abbas cannot deliver and fear trying to achieve a peace agreement will produce another total breakdown, as happened in 2000.
    • The Palestinians' suffering remains overwhelmingly self-inflicted. And as long as they have no government to stop anarchy and terrorism while developing a real strategy to achieve peace, they will have to content themselves with favorable media stories and European pronouncements that have no effect on the material situation.

      The writer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center, and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs.


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