Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference: click here
Palestinian Rocket Hits Palestinian Children (Reuters)
Exiled Terrorist Leader to Gaza When Israel Leaves - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
- July 21, 2005
Issue of the Week:
What Archeology Says about the Jewish Life in Jerusalem 2000 Years Ago
U.S. Prosecutors: Terrorist Wills Found in Florida Prof's Computer (AP/Ha'aretz)
Senator: U.S. Should Get Tough with Saudis - Chris Mondics (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Declare War on Economic Jihad - Matthew Kalman (Daily Mail-UK/IMRA)
Bangladesh at Crossroads in its Islamic Path - Charles Tannock (Taipei Times)
Five Iraqi Children with Heart Defects Treated in Israel (Israel21c)
Palau Welcomes New Israeli Ambassador (Pacific Islands Report - Palau)
Woman Keeps Up Aid to Israel Cent by Cent - Anna Tong (San Jose Mercury News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Police shot and killed a suspected suicide bomber at an Underground station in south London Friday. A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "We can confirm that just after 10 a.m. armed officers shot a male at Stockwell Underground station." The officer or officers involved clearly felt this suspect was about to detonate a bomb. (Sky News-UK)
See also London Police Pursue Failed Suicide Squad in New Bombing Attempt - Tom Baldwin, Phillip Webster, and Stewart Tendler
Terror returned to the streets of London Thursday as bombers once again sought to murder, maim, and cause mayhem on the transport system. Near-simultaneous targeting of three Tube trains, at Shepherds Bush, the Oval, and Warren Street, and later a London bus in Hackney, were made by a second squad of suicide bombers. Witnesses said at least two of the men who carried out the attacks were astonished to be alive after the detonation systems for the explosives failed. All four bombs failed to detonate properly. (Times-UK)
Syria said on Thursday its border troops had been fired on by U.S. and Iraqi forces. The Foreign Ministry told heads of diplomatic missions in Damascus that Syrian border troops had been subject to attacks "not only by infiltrators and smugglers but by the Iraqi and American forces." "The border clashes amounted to about 100 armed clashes, some of which were carried out by American soldiers who opened fire arbitrarily at those present behind the dirt rampart," said the ministry.
U.S. officials accuse Syria of not doing enough to stop insurgents from crossing into Iraq to fight U.S. and Iraqi forces and often say that guerrillas are using Syria as a conduit for the transfer of funds to fuel the insurgency. "Syria...needs to take steps to go after those...elements that may be operating on their territory," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. "Syria has been out of step with the rest of the Middle East," said McClellan. (Reuters)
The Treasury Department identified four nephews of Saddam Hussein on Thursday who it said had operated from Syria and played significant roles in providing money, weapons, explosives, and other support to the anti-American insurgency in Iraq. The four are thought to have fled Syria for Lebanon and Yemen, and one is in custody. The assessment indicates the degree to which relatives and former lieutenants of the Iraqi leader who have not yet been captured have been playing instrumental roles in the insurgency. Among the 55 individuals on the "most wanted" list of former Iraqi officials that the Pentagon issued in 2003, fewer than 10 remain at large. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
During a visit to Ariel in the West Bank on Thursday, Prime Minister Sharon said that in the future an expanded Ariel would be an integral part of Israel. "I reiterate and clarify that this bloc is one of the most important. It will forever be part of the State of Israel. There is no other thought and no other direction of thinking. I came here today to see how the city can be expanded and the bloc strengthened, as I do and shall do in the other blocs. This bloc will forever be an inseparable part of the State of Israel, territorially contiguous with the State of Israel like the other blocs," Sharon said. (Ha'aretz)
See also Sharon: We Will Forever Be in Maale Adumim
In an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro published Friday, Prime Minister Sharon said, "There must be no mistake about it - we will forever be in Maale Adumim....The southern section of the territories, Judea, will never be disconnected from the northern section, Samaria. There are several ways to solve this problem." The prime minister also noted that the West Bank security fence does not mark the final-status border between Israel and the Palestinians. "We mustn't forget that the territories, and particularly Judea and Samaria, are the cradle of Judaism," he added. "Hebron is a holy city in Judaism. What other nations have forefathers buried in Hebron such as Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Isaac, Rebecca, and Leah?" (Ynet News)
See also Sharon Working to Keep Big West Bank Settlements - Aluf Benn
Sharon wants to redraw the map, give away the less strategic Gaza Strip for a stronger hold over Israel's "settlement blocs" in the hills overlooking Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The Bush administration wants Sharon to deliver in Gaza, and is ready in return to back the Israeli leader's settlement blocs policy. Bush's letter to Sharon from April 2004 pledged to acknowledge the "realities on the ground" in determining future Israeli-Palestinian borders - a pro-Israel departure from previous U.S. policy, which had never gone that far. It was carefully written, leaving space for "creative ambiguity" over the future of settlement blocs. In practice, the administration has turned a blind eye to ongoing construction in the settlement blocs, but raised objections to Sharon's plan for building thousands of new housing units between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim, the largest West Bank settlement. But three months ago, standing next to Bush, Sharon pledged to go on with the project.
The Bush administration is sticking to its cautious approach to the Israeli-Palestinian arena. With its Iraq policy in shambles as a guerrilla war rages, and the Arab democratization initiative hardly taking off, Sharon's withdrawal appears to be the only possible success in the region. It is little wonder, then, that American officials assert, "Disengagement is the center of American Mideast policy." (Salon.com)
U.S. Secretary of State Rice, who landed in Israel Thursday, praised Prime Minister Sharon's determination in carrying out the upcoming pullout and said she would encourage the PA to fight terrorists. (Ynet News)
Even though the number of casualties caused by Palestinian rockets is relatively small, their psychological impact on Negev communities is great. The town of Sderot closed its day camps and sports facilities this summer, and parents are sending their children out of town. Sharon has declared that the Israel Defense Forces must put an end to the firing in any way it deems correct. Thus, if in the future there are similar attacks on Israeli cities by steep-trajectory weapons fired from Palestinian areas, Israel will have no choice but to reoccupy these areas. Such a development depends first and foremost on the Palestinians and their ability to maintain control. The road map has no chance of taking off if the militias of Hamas and related organizations continue to be armed and to maintain an army of their own that threatens Israel. That is a formula for war, not for a political agreement. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Israel and the Palestinians
While Sharon has surprised his critics, it is not conceivable that he would leave Israel more vulnerable than he found it when he took office. He will be adamant that Israel get what it has been promised: "secure and recognized borders." Who made that promise? The international community did, in UN Security Council Resolution 242 of Nov. 22, 1967 - the only agreed basis for negotiations between Israel and all its Arab neighbors. Resolution 242 also calls on Israel to relinquish land occupied in the 1967 war - but not to withdraw from all territories since, by definition, that would leave Israel without secure borders. Every American president since Lyndon Johnson has confirmed this understanding of 242.
If giving up all of the West Bank would mean unacceptable insecurity, how much territory must Israel retain to be reasonably safe from future aggression? That question is being asked and answered by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a think tank headed by Dore Gold, an author, former Israeli ambassador to the UN, and advisor to senior Israeli officeholders.
Gold's approach is to focus on the "minimal territorial requirements" that will enable Israel to defend itself "based on a purely professional military perspective." While recognizing that Israelis have national, historical, cultural, and religious interests in the West Bank, Gold argues that security must be Israel's "first priority in deciding how this disputed territory is to be divided." And the goal must be to ensure Israel's survival over the long term. The new West Bank security barrier has prevented many suicide bombers from reaching their targets. But Gold and the military strategists working with him are convinced that a fence alone cannot counter all the threats Israel needs to guard against. (Townhall.com)
Prime Minister Sharon's efforts to ensure an orderly pullout from Gaza and the northern West Bank stands in stark contrast to the failure of leadership on the part of PA Chairman Abbas, particularly when it comes to facing down the rejectionist groups like Hamas. For Israel, the problem remains what it has been in one form or another since Mr. Rabin signed the Oslo I agreement in September 1993 - the absence of a functioning Palestinian leadership that is willing and able to take action against Palestinian terrorist organizations operating in territory it controls. A sustained campaign will be necessary to destroy missile factories and training camps, and put terrorist financiers out of business in Palestinian-controlled areas of Gaza. Until Mr. Abbas's security forces show they are prepared to carry out such a campaign, Israeli security forces will need to stay in parts of Gaza - even after the 9,000 civilians living in settlements leave. (Washington Times)
One key obstacle is the Fatah old guard's resistance to any change. Initial efforts have been made to deal with corruption, but they are not visible to the public. The absence of security, however, is painfully visible, and Abbas's reorganization of the security services has yet to be implemented in a way that provides law and order. Businessmen in Gaza complained to me that chaos holds sway - people are building without permits, public revenues are down by 75% because no one is paying taxes, and even traffic police are afraid to intervene if there is an accident. One would think that promises of greatly increased international aid might have at least helped put Palestinians back to work. Yet those promises have yet to materialize and produce change on the ground. In addition, Hamas is posing an increasing challenge to Abbas as it enhances both its political and military capabilities. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
The brutal forward history is that Gaza will remain backward, even though a group of American investors will invest between $300 and $500 million in its industry. To be sure, the EU and the U.S. will invest, too, and make loans, and even insist on the probity of accounting procedures. But a population that has lulled itself into living off the UN refugee dole and blamed all its misfortunes on the Jews for more than a half-century is not likely to stir itself from its misery. Gaza and its miseries, like the miseries of the whole Arab world, are mainly self-inflicted. (New Republic)
Terror Attacks in London
The Islamists will not be satisfied with the American withdrawal from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan or Iraq, the Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza, or the Russian withdrawal from Chechnya. To the Islamist, these are merely restitutions, the recovery of what is deemed to be rightfully Islamic. The real project is the extension of the Islamic territory across the globe, and the establishment of a worldwide "caliphate" founded on sharia law and the temporal reign of ayatollahs and imams. The fanatics must be defeated. (Telegraph-UK)
After every major terrorist incident, the excuse makers come out to tell us why imperialism, Zionism, colonialism, or Iraq explains why the terrorists acted. These excuse makers are just one notch less despicable than the terrorists and also deserve to be exposed. When you live in an open society like London, where anyone with a grievance can publish an article, run for office, or start a political movement, the notion that blowing up a busload of innocent civilians in response to Iraq is somehow "understandable" is outrageous. There is no political justification for 9/11, 7/7, or 7/21. (New York Times)
One of London's avowed criteria for banning religious extremists is whether the individuals in question are banned by the U.S. government, with the British Home Secretary rendering final judgment on specific cases. Despite this declared policy, Britain permitted Tariq Ramadan, an Islamist professor whose U.S. entry visa was revoked in 2004, to speak at a London conference this week. His trip was paid for by the British police, who consider him a moderating force. Britain is also reportedly expected to permit Yusuf al-Qaradawi - a Muslim cleric who defends suicide bombings and who was banned from the U.S. after the September 11 attacks - to attend a conference in September if he chooses to accept the organizers' invitation. He previously visited London in 2004 as a guest of Mayor Ken Livingstone. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Three years ago I asked the political leader of Islamic Jihad in Gaza: "What's the difference between suicide, which the Koran condemns, and martyrdom?" "Suicide," he replied, "is done out of despair. But remember: most of our martyrs today were very successful in their earthly lives." The London bombers had immigrant parents who had worked hard to make something of themselves and several of the 9/11 hijackers came from wealthy families.
While our spokesmen assure us that Islam is an innocent bystander in today's terrorism, those who commit terrorist acts often tell us otherwise. For too long, we Muslims have been sticking fingers in our ears and chanting "Islam means peace" to drown out the negative noise from our holy book. Far better to own up to it. (TIME)
Are the roots of Islamic terrorism in the Middle Eastern conflicts? If the answer is yes, the solution is simple to formulate, although not to achieve: leave Afghanistan and Iraq, solve the Israel-Palestine conflict. But if the answer is no, as I suspect it is, we should look deeper into the radicalization of young, Westernized Muslims. In justifying its terrorist attacks by referring to Iraq, al-Qaeda is looking for popularity or at least legitimacy among Muslims. But this is largely propaganda, and Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Palestinians are hardly the motivating factors behind its global jihad.
First, let's consider the chronology. The Americans went to Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11, not before. From the beginning, al-Qaeda's fighters were global jihadists, and their favored battlegrounds have been outside the Middle East: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, and Kashmir. Abdullah Azzam, bin Laden's mentor, gave up supporting the PLO long before his death in 1989 because he felt that to fight for a localized political cause was to forsake the real jihad, which he felt should be international and religious in character. The writer, a professor at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, is the author of Globalized Islam. (New York Times)
The Anglicans are only the most recent on a list of mainline Protestant churches to endorse a boycott of companies with ties to the Jewish state. The United Church of Christ (UCC) took similar action last month, and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) passed a resolution last year. But there is little evidence that the leaders of these churches are representing the sentiments of their members. These denominations are mainline, but their anti-Israel position is far from mainstream. Even Israel's Arab enemies are backing away from these tactics. Saudi Arabia, because it needs U.S. approval to join the WTO, is poised to drop its long-standing boycott of American companies that do business with Israel.
The UCC's divestment resolution specifies exactly what Israel's final border must look like and what Israel must give up, including Judaism's two most holy sites. It would seem beyond the bounds of decency for a Christian church to demand that the Jewish state cede sovereignty over its sacred places. Is there any other religion to which these denominations would presume to dictate the disposition of its holy sites? (Wall Street Journal)
The fact that Israel is a tiny, besieged democracy surrounded by an Arab world whose main desire is still to extinguish the one Jewish state, has been lost amid a sea of media bias. One school of thought says the problem lies in the obsessive focus on the conflict itself. If only the world could see Israel as the modern, engaging, and entertaining place it really is, then, the theory goes, the country's image would improve. Others contend that as long as Israel's right to exist is called into question, an infinite number of pleasant stories about life there will not convince anyone it deserves to survive.
Pollster and political consultant Frank Luntz argues that the focus should be on Israel as "a proponent of peace, an advocate for justice, and a force for compromise." Yet a campaign based on how generous Israel has been in giving up Gaza, and even future concessions in the West Bank, will earn Israel no credit when the Palestinians inevitably ask for more. In fact, the last decade of post-Oslo Israeli concessions has resulted in an increase in vituperation against Israel and Zionism, not a decrease. The writer is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. (Israelinsider)
More than 90% of Poland's Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, and most of those who survived emigrated long ago. The result is that a land that once was home to 3 million Jews - 10% of Polish society, the largest Jewish population in Europe - is now more than 99.9% non-Jewish. Millions of Poles have never knowingly met a Jew.
I arrived in Krakow near the end of the annual Jewish Culture Festival, a nine-day extravaganza of concerts, lectures, films, and exhibitions. An elegant catalog, 160 pages long, lists a dizzying array of offerings. In Krakow, with just 200 Jews in a metropolitan population of 1.5 million, it is astounding. Jews and Jewish culture are being embraced far more ardently in their absence than was ever the case when they were such a visible presence. At the festival's closing concert, before an outdoor stage dominated by a giant electric menorah, 10,000 exuberant Poles swayed, cheered, and sang along as dozens of Jewish artists performed. The concert lasted for seven hours and was broadcast live on TV. (Boston Globe)
58 years ago, Lippa Katz of Kibbutz Givat Brenner buried barrels packed with weapons stolen from the British army in a 3-meter-deep hole to hide them. On Sunday, the hiding place was uncovered, revealing 48 Sten guns and Canadian rifles, 14 machine guns, 136 hand grenades, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Katz and his comrades cunningly removed this large quantity of munitions from the British air force base at Tel Nof by concealing the arms under piles of refuse in a garbage wagon. Until his dying day, decades after the establishment of the state, Lippa guarded the secret location of the cache, saying he had sworn to Haganah commanders Yitzhak Sadeh and Israel Galili that he would never disclose its location without their permission. (Ha'aretz)
A comedy about the life of Jews in Germany today swept six German film academy awards, besting the film "Downfall" about the last days of Hitler, which did not win a single prize. "Alles auf Zucker!" by German-Jewish director Dani Levy focuses on two Jewish brothers - Jaeckie Zucker, a secular man married to a German woman, a compulsive gambler and a billiards champion, and Samuel Zuckermann, an ultra-Orthodox rabbi. The two brothers haven't spoken to each other in 40 years, but their mother's will mandates that the two sons will receive their inheritance only on the condition that they reconcile. (Ha'aretz)
The Israeli Ambassador to Egypt has visited an Egyptian cinema house to view prominent Egyptian comedian-actor Adel Imam's new film "Al Safara Fil Amarah" (The Embassy in the Building). It is the first time an Egyptian film has presented a character that plays the role of the Israeli ambassador. The film revolves around an Egyptian oil engineer who has lived in Dubai for a quarter of a century, and finally returns home to discover that the Israeli Embassy is located right next door to his apartment. (Albawaba-Jordan)
The Jewish people has throughout the millennia of its existence managed to retain some key elements of its identity while also adapting to the societies and cultures in which it found itself. That ability to rebuild and recreate itself was what allowed a people that began as a Temple cult and became a people of books to survive exile and dispersion. It was nothing less than the capacity to be different in different times and places, even as it remained attached to a covenant and a history, that enabled the Jews to endure. (Jewish Political Studies Review)
Terrorists Hit London Again; It's Time to Learn from Israel - Editorial
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