Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Israeli Invention Detects Newest Explosives - Mark Scodie (Jewish Chronicle-UK, 12Aug05)
- August 11, 2005
Issue of the Week:
When Terrorism Strikes
Israel Lifts Warning Against Travel to Turkey (AP/Ha'aretz)
Fatah Power Struggle Intensifies - Arnon Regular (Ha'aretz)
PA Eyes Mobilization of "Professional Civilians" to Counter Hamas - Arnon Regular (Ha'aretz)
Dimona Black Hebrews Join IDF to Set Up a Nahal Kibbutz - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
Jewish Woman, Palestinian Doctor Reunited - Phil Rogers (NBC5-Chicago)
Magen David Adom Donates Ambulance to Kenya (MDA/ISRAAID)
Israeli Scientists Discover Locusts' Secrets - Judy Siegel-Itzkovich (Jerusalem Post)
Ashkelon Desalination Plant Begins Operations - Dalia Tal and Gadi Golan (Globes)
Israeli High-Tech Exports to U.S. Up 11% - Hadas Manor (Globes)
Tisha B'Av Begins Saturday Night - Eli Birenbaum (Ynet News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
President Bush told Israel's Channel One television Thursday that the planned Israeli pullout from Gaza "will be good for Israel." "First of all the previous system wasn't working. There was an intifada, there was death, there was killing. And if you notice, there's been a calm in attacks." "I can understand why people think this decision is one that will create a vacuum into which terrorism will flow," he said. "I happen to disagree. I think this will create an opportunity for democracy to emerge and democracies are peaceful." "I think in the long run two states living side by side in peace is the ultimate solution for Israel's security," he said. "In the meantime we've got to work to dismantle terrorist organizations, and that's precisely what the road map calls for." (Reuters)
The PA is planning rallies as if it were the homestretch of an election campaign. Small sewing factories are cranking out thousands of Palestinian flags and street banners, T-shirts, and backpacks that proclaim, "Today Gaza, tomorrow the West Bank and Jerusalem." But Jamal Hamad, 73, is adamant that nothing will be gained with the Israeli withdrawal. "What does it matter if the Jews move a short distance away?" he asked. "The Jews will still be here, here, and here," he said, pointing in rapid succession to Gaza's eastern border; toward the Mediterranean, where the navy patrols; and to the sky, where Israeli aircraft maintain constant surveillance. "The only thing that will make me happy...is to go back to my home in Jaffa," he said. (New York Times)
See also Palestinians Prepare Victory Banners - Martin Patience
Across Gaza, Palestinians are gearing up to celebrate the end of Israel's 38-year occupation. While the PA is festooning Gaza with the Palestinian flag to mark the withdrawal, 10,000 green Hamas banners have been prepared to celebrate the pullout. One read, "With the blood of our martyrs, we kicked the enemies out." (USA Today)
Egypt's presidential commission announced Thursday that nine candidates would have the chance to challenge President Hosni Mubarak in the nation's first multicandidate race for the office in September, including Ayman Nour of the Tomorrow Party and Noman Gomaa of the Wafd Party. The Muslim Brotherhood, the most organized of the nation's opposition groups, is negotiating with the two candidates about a possible endorsement. The commission disqualified 19 other candidates.
The government controls all of the major media outlets in Egypt, and some political analysts say it is already using those outlets to promote Mubarak's re-election. "Frankly, I think it is a farce," said Dr. Mostafa Kamel al-Sayed, a political science professor at American University in Cairo. "One has only to look at national papers, which have become electoral campaigns for the National Democratic Party." Dr. Mohammed al-Sayed Said, deputy director of the government-financed Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said the elections themselves were, at best, a small step forward, but also were part of a trend of political awakening that seemed to be spreading across Egypt. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
The head of Hamas's Kassam Brigades, Ahmed Al-Ghandour, told reporters in northern Gaza Friday, "Arms is a holy issue. It is impossible for us to abandon our arms even if we all get killed. The issue of arms is not one for discussion." Al-Ghandour, who tops Israel's list of wanted militant suspects, added, "We will preserve our structure and increase our force and we will not join any (Palestinian security) services." Another Hamas leader, Abu Ubaida, said: "We will maintain and preserve the arms of resistance and we will increase our force and arms to liberate all of the Palestinian land. Palestine is not only Gaza." About 1,000 Hamas militants staged an exercise on Friday, simulating the storming of Jewish settlements and attacks on Israeli troops. (Ha'aretz)
See also Islamic Jihad: Attacks Will Continue After Pullout - Khaled Abu Toameh
Islamic Jihad leader Muhammad Hindi said Thursday his group would continue to launch attacks. "The Zionist retreat from the Gaza Strip won't end the resistance," he said. "The resistance will continue until the expulsion of the occupation from all our lands, including the West Bank, Jerusalem, and all of Palestine." "The pressure of the resistance, as well as the steadfastness of our people and the rockets of our fighters all led the enemy to take the decision to run away from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
A military court sentenced former IDF soldier Taysir El-Heyb, a member of Israel's Bedouin minority, to eight years in prison on Thursday after finding him guilty of the fatal shooting of British pro-Palestinian activist Tom Hurndall in 2003. (AP/Ha'aretz)
Soldiers manning a Tulkarm roadblock on Friday arrested a Palestinian attempting to smuggle a Kalashnikov rifle and two ammunition clips in his car. (Jerusalem Post)
Israel's landmark decision to leave Gaza and transfer control to the Palestinian Authority is a bold reaffirmation of its unwavering commitment to peace and could make a substantial contribution to bolstering Israeli-Palestinian relations. Concerns about what will happen in Gaza the day after Israel leaves are well placed. In the weeks leading up to this seminal moment, Islamic Jihad carried out a terrorist bombing in the Israeli coastal town of Netanya, and Hamas launched more than 100 rockets from Gaza into Israel. There is no guarantee that the terrorist groups will be quiet for the rest of this month or that they will desist after Israel leaves. After all, they seek the wholesale destruction of Israel, and make no secret of it.
The PA has done precious little to prepare its people for the historic transfer of authority over Gaza, to convey the message that this is a watershed opportunity for the Palestinian people. Essential to making the Israeli-Palestinian peace process a success for both sides will be concrete actions to end terrorism against Israel. That was the first step required in the road map. The writer is president of the American Jewish Committee. (International Herald Tribune)
"After the disengagement, terrorism's center of gravity will shift to the West Bank and target the settlements, while Gaza will serve as a rear echelon and support base for this activity," researchers Shalom Harari and Dr. Mark Heller from the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies write in Strategic Assessment quarterly. They say the PA's inability to exercise effective control of events on the ground or produce any tangible benefits for Palestinians will have a negative impact on its political status and strength, and enable Hamas to emerge as the main beneficiary of disengagement. (Globes)
Gabi Kreim, the architect in charge of planning Gush Katif, remembers the beginning: monster dunes of 10 and 20 meters. And the jeeps with the balloon wheels from the Land Settlement Department trying to cut a path through the dunes to locate the right place: the place where Zionism would plant the Gush Katif settlement bloc. Yigal Allon asserted in May 1968 that the creation of a Jewish presence in the heart of the Gaza Strip was of supreme national importance. Motta Gur thought that establishing settlements in the center of the Gaza Strip was of great military importance. Yisrael Galili believed that the settlements would forge a strategic buffer between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Ariel Sharon proposed that the Gaza Strip be sundered by means of five penetrating "settlement fingers."
An initial government decision was made in June 1970. In 1972, the first Nahal outposts (combining military service with agricultural settlement activity) were set up at Netzarim and Morag. But it was only during the period of the first Rabin government that a detailed plan was drawn up for permanent civilian settlement. In February 1977, Prime Minister Rabin arrived for the ceremony to "civilianize" the paramilitary settlements. He said that the settlement of Netzer Hazani is Israel's security and that it is an integral part of the State of Israel. (Ha'aretz)
Diplomatically speaking, the withdrawal has already been a great success. Internationally, Israel is suddenly no longer being criticized as an incorrigible occupation power, but is instead being praised for its good will. Even vocal critics like French President Chirac are suddenly posing for photo ops with Sharon and praising the Gaza plan as a "courageous decision." Seen in military terms, Sharon is currently reducing the size of the front, withdrawing the settlers from an area he already believes is lost. The price of defending a few thousand Israelis in a sea of 1.4 million Palestinians has become too high. "The withdrawal will improve Israel's security - and stabilize the political situation," Sharon explains.
Sharon's friend, President Bush, guaranteed that the large settlements in the West Bank would remain in place. A return to the borders of 1967 will not happen under Sharon. "Jerusalem," Sharon says, categorically, "will never be divided again." (Der Spiegel-Germany/New York Times)
As an early advocate of Israeli unilateral disengagement, I admit to increasing nervousness as the actual withdrawal from Gaza and four settlements in the West Bank is drawing closer. The uncertainty and risks are now far more visible than before, highlighting the possibility that Prime Minister Sharon's plan might go badly wrong. As a result, instead of less violence, the withdrawal might also trigger an escalation of missile attacks launched from Gaza, causing more destruction and casualties.
Hundreds of Kassam missiles and other forms of short-range rockets have been fired at Israeli targets outside of Gaza in the past two years. A number have hit houses, schools, streets, and cars and killed civilians. The Israeli withdrawal could well lead to Palestinian acquisitions of more powerful missiles, capable of striking strategic targets - including ports, power plants, and chemical facilities. This is known as the Hizballah model. The writer directs the Program on Conflict Management at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. (Wall Street Journal, 12Aug05)
See also Over Gaza: The View from an Israeli Helicopter - Matt Rees
Four miles north of Gaza, the twin smokestacks of the Ashkelon power plant blink their red warning lights. These are within easy range of the rockets of Hamas once Israel takes its troops out of northern Gaza, as are the massive circular fuel tanks around its perimeter, and Israeli officials fear a strike against the plant could cripple Israel's electricity grid. (TIME)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Tony Blair has been a rare beacon of light in the global war on terrorism, and his clarity of thought is especially important now after the British have come under repeated terrorist attack. But the British prime minister has one flaw in his analysis of the current situation that unfortunately comes up far too often. Looking to explain to the British public the "deep roots" of the terrorist attacks on London last month, Blair first pointed to "the critical issues in the Middle East" that need to be "dealt with and sorted out."
The purported link between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and al-Qaeda's rage is patently groundless. Historically, al-Qaeda was not born in 1948, 1967 or 1973, in response to any of the Arab-Israeli wars. It was established in 1989, at the time of the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan. Its ideological fathers, like Abdullah Azzam, saw their struggle in global terms. Throughout the 1990s, when Israel actually did make concessions in the peace process to Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization, starting in 1993 with the Oslo agreements, it didn't affect al-Qaeda's rage against the West. Al-Qaeda pursued Western targets in the very same period. After the first World Trade Center attack, in 1993, U.S. citizens were bombed in Saudi Arabia in 1995, followed by the U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998 and the USS Cole in 2000.
For nearly a decade, Blair's formula for ameliorating the rage of global terrorism through Israeli concessions was shown not to work. There is simply no correlation between the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and al-Qaeda's terror campaign against the West. (JTA)
According to the latest report on Sudan from the UN, so far this year the U.S. has given $468 million in foreign assistance to Sudan, mostly for humanitarian relief in the western region of Darfur. The U.S. contribution comes to 53% of all outside donations - a proportion about twice the size of the nation's weight in the global economy. Saudi Arabia has contributed a grand total of $3 million; the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have given less than $1 million between them. No other Arab country even makes the list. This Arab indifference is shameful. The victims of Sudan's worst crisis, in Darfur, are Muslim.
Last month, Joseph Britt noted, "We've heard a lot since Sept. 11, 2001, about how Arabs feel humiliated, ashamed, resentful at being regarded by the West as inferior in some way....Perhaps it is time to say plainly that the way to earn respect is through deeds worthy of respect." (Washington Post)
See also True Saudi Security - Editorial (Los Angeles Times)
On Aug. 9, 2001, the Hamas terror organization dispatched a suicide bomber to the Sbarro restaurant in the center of Jerusalem, killing 15 innocents and wounding 150. My precious 15-year-old daughter, Malki, was one of the dead. Conventional wisdom holds that terrorists are deprived individuals, desperate and with nothing to lose. But my daughter's murderer was a privileged university student, the son of a prosperous, land-owning restaurateur, and a newly religious Muslim who lacked for nothing. Members of terror organizations are depicted frequently as fringe elements unsupported by the establishment, but the father of my daughter's murderer freely admitted to NBC that he has been receiving compensation payments since the massacre.
The channeling of government money to institutions that support terrorism is illegal under U.S. law, but enforcement has been strikingly lax. In September 2001, a replica of the bombed Sbarro premises was constructed on the grounds of Al-Najah University in Nablus. Streams of Palestinians, including children, visited the display paying homage to the perpetrators of the atrocity. The U.S. Agency for International Development has been funding Palestinian universities, including Al-Najah, to the tune of $41 million. Five of these, Al-Najah included, have on-campus Hamas and Islamic Jihad chapters, though they are deemed terror organizations. (New York Jewish Week)
"A reprehensible act by a bloodthirsty Jewish terrorist who sought to attack innocent Israeli citizens." These are the words of Ariel Sharon denouncing the murder by Eden Natan Zada of four Arab residents (two Christians, two Muslims) from the town of Shfaram. Clear condemnation of the act, vivid identification of the guilty, solidarity with the victims. Israel felt itself shamed. Has any Palestinian leader ever uttered such a resonant cleansing of the terrorist from the body politic? Not by a long shot. (New Republic)
See also On Condemning Terrorism - Jeff Jacoby
Without being prompted, without making excuses, Jewish communities instinctively reacted to Zada's monstrous deed with disgust and outrage, all the more angrily because the perpetrator was a fellow Jew. When that is the way every community responds to terrorism, terrorism will come to an end. (Boston Globe)
The Presbyterian Church USA and other churches have adopted get-tough policies toward Israel ostensibly designed to force peace with the Palestinians, but they are more likely to sabotage peace than to advance it. The policy will worsen Israel's already ingrained security anxieties, which make the Jewish state deeply chary of deals that might increase its vulnerability. And the policy will feed Palestinian delusions that others will produce a state for them without the Palestinians themselves ever having to accept the permanence of Israel as part of the deal. The churches' misplaced do-gooderism, blind to history and morally obtuse, will strengthen Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other rejectionist/terrorist elements among the Palestinians and undermine the post-Arafat leadership's efforts to regularize Palestinian governance as a precursor to the negotiated statehood that Israeli policy supports. (Cox News Service/Minneapolis Star Tribune)
See also "Don't Demonize Israel," Reform Jewish Leader Tells Lutherans - Rachel Zoll
Union for Reform Judaism leader Rabbi Eric Yoffie told the national meeting of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Thursday that despite any mistakes Israel has made, the nation still had a right to defend itself against "the indiscriminate killing of her civilians." "Please do not minimize the impact of terror and do not demonize or isolate Israel, as if, somehow, she alone were responsible for the current conflict," Yoffie said. (AP/Washington Post)
For decades, the Syrian dictatorships imposed economic blockades against Lebanon, suffocating its economic lifeline with the Arab markets. Yet Lebanon remained loyal to the Arab cause through a war blockade of Israel. Lebanon does have a second trade route with the Arab world. It is south, via Israel, through Jordan - a nation in peace and open borders with Israel - then out to the rest of the Arabian Gulf. We must reach out and ask for peace from our Israeli neighbor. We must control our border, protect against any possible terrorist infiltration, respect the Israeli citizen, and then we can see our trucks travel to our markets. (GlobalComment.com)
I recently finished a four-year stint in the International Press Office of the IDF Spokesperson's Unit. In 2002, I escorted the first group of journalists to enter Jenin following the conclusion of fighting there. In that role, I saw how Israel created the conditions under which an enormous lie could enter international discourse as truth. The commander of the operation in Jenin insisted on keeping journalists out because, simply put, he was afraid one of them would get killed. Israel learned a valuable lesson from Jenin: During a low-intensity conflict, give the press maximal access. In the wake of the events in Jenin, the army made media-pool access during every major operation a standard practice. The IDF started embedding reporters with troops, a practice that continues to this day. The army also began giving priority in these pools to foreign reporters. (New Republic)
In what could turn out to be the archeological find of the century, a prominent Israeli archeologist claims to have uncovered the ancient palace of King David near the Old City of Jerusalem. The 10th century BCE building was discovered by Dr. Eilat Mazar in Jerusalem's ancient City of David. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Biblical Pool Uncovered in Jerusalem - Thomas H. Maugh II
Workers repairing a sewage pipe in the Old City of Jerusalem have discovered the biblical Pool of Siloam, a freshwater reservoir that was a major gathering place for ancient Jews making religious pilgrimages to the city. The pool was fed by the now famous Hezekiah's Tunnel and is "a much grander affair" than archeologists previously believed, with three tiers of stone stairs allowing easy access to the water, said Hershel Shanks, editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review, which reported the find Monday. The excavators have been able to date the pool fairly precisely after they found four coins buried in the plaster from the time of Alexander Jannaeus, a Jewish king who ruled Jerusalem from 103 to 76 BCE. (Los Angeles Times)
See also Monumental Water System of Biblical Times Uncovered by Archaeologists near Jerusalem (Israel Government Press Office/IMRA)
Josef Stalin encouraged settlers in the Jewish Autonomous Region in the late 1920s to develop a community that would keep alive traditions such as the Yiddish language and Jewish songs and dances. But the religion itself was stamped out. Today, as religion makes a resurgence across Russia in the wake of the Soviet Union's collapse, this region along the Chinese border has become an important center of Jewish life. Out of the 190,000 people in the autonomous region, only about 5,000 are Jewish. But Birobidzhan, a city of 77,000, has a Jewish flavor that belies its small Jewish population. (Los Angeles Times)
Jerusalem Post cartoonist Yaakov Kirschen began his "Dry Bones" series in 1973 and it now appears in 40 North American papers. Kirschen founded an association called the Dry Bones Project a year ago, which aims to fight anti-Semitism by using humor and comics. "Anti-Semites are the people who want to kill us," he explains. "In the old days the lie would be 'the Jews have poisoned the wells.' Today, you'll find people saying 'the Jewish state has poisoned the Palestinian aquifers' - the same lie, but fixed up. The only way to get into these people's head and really change their viewpoint, I think, is through humor." (Jerusalem Post)
Jewish organizations, led by the major American groups, have tried to alert international organizations to the threat that anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic violence in Europe again poses to Jewish communities and to democracy itself. The Jewish NGOs encourage the international organizations and European governments to face up to their responsibilities to protect their Jewish citizens, accept that anti-Semitism is different from other forms of discrimination, and begin to monitor and combat the threat through governmental and police action. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
After the Israeli Withdrawal from Gaza - Barry Rubin (Jerusalem Post)
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