Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Palestinian Gunmen Sought to Disrupt West Bank Pullout (AP/Jerusalem Post)
PA Ministry of Culture
Glorifies Suicide Terrorist (Palestinian Media Watch)
Palestinians Sign Export Deal for Gaza Greenhouse Produce
- Arnon Regular
Israel's Exports to Arab Countries Up 21% - Shira Horesh (Globes)
Israel Boycotts Al-Arabiya after Israeli Diplomat Taken Off Program
- Yoav Stern (Ha'aretz)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Completing an emotional pullout unmarred by serious violence, Israeli soldiers and police officers finished their evacuation of 25 settlements in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank on Tuesday. While the evacuation of four West Bank settlements on Tuesday pulled Jewish residents out of an area nearly twice the size of Gaza, Israeli troops will continue to patrol the area. (New York Times)
Israel has redrawn its borders before the world's eyes, completing with dazzling speed its pullout from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank. "We disengaged the people from the land in the Gaza Strip and the northern part of the West Bank. Now it's the Palestinians' turn to disengage themselves from violence and terror," said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Gideon Meir. Once Palestinians begin reining in their militants, "we can start to talk about the final status of the territories," he said. If Gaza becomes Hamas-stan, as many Israelis fear, few will expect Israel to hand over more territory. (AP/Washington Post)
President Bush said Monday: "This past week, Prime Minister Sharon and the Israeli people took a courageous and painful step by beginning to remove settlements in Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank. The Israeli disengagement is an historic step that reflects the bold leadership of Prime Minister Sharon. Both Israelis and Palestinians have elected governments committed to peace and progress, and the way forward is clear. We're working for a return to the road map. We're helping the Palestinians to prepare for self-government and to defeat terrorists who attack Israel, and terrorists who oppose the establishment of a peaceful Palestinian state. We're providing $50 million in direct assistance to the Palestinians for new housing and infrastructure projects in Gaza."
"We remain fully committed to defending the security and well-being of our friend and ally, Israel, and we demand an end to terrorism and violence in every form, because we know that progress toward peace depends on an end to terror. We'll continue working for the day when the map of the Middle East shows two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security." (White House)
European powers have called off Aug. 31 talks with Iran about its nuclear program, France said Tuesday, marking a breakdown in two years of negotiations with Tehran to halt its sensitive atomic work. French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said talks on a formal European proposal made earlier this month would not go ahead because Iran had resumed certain nuclear work in breach of a promise to freeze it while talks lasted. (Reuters/Boston Globe)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel and Egypt agreed Tuesday on the deployment of 750 Egyptian security forces on the Gaza-Egypt border. The troops would act to prevent weapon smuggling in a manner that will allow IDF forces to leave the Philadelphi route. Under the deal, the Egyptians pledged to refrain from transferring weapons to the Palestinians. (Ynet News)
See also Egyptian Troops Will Take Control of Egypt-Gaza Border
Under the new agreement, Egyptian troops will be responsible for the security tasks Israeli soldiers used to conduct on the Gaza side of the border. (AP/New York Times)
Disarming the Palestinian terrorist groups is a prerequisite to a diplomatic process, Israeli officials made clear Tuesday, a day after Hamas and Islamic Jihad said the PA promised not to confiscate their arms. "If the process is going to move forward after disengagement, then we have to see the Palestinians fulfill their road map obligations and disarm the terrorist groups," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev. (Jerusalem Post)
The IDF began issuing land expropriation orders this weekend for construction of the separation fence around Ma'ale Adumim, a city east of Jerusalem with a population of 30,000. The U.S. argues that a fence around the city would impede territorial contiguity between the southern and northern West Bank. However, Minister Haim Ramon (Labor) said this issue could be resolved if Israel simply built a new road connecting Bethlehem to Ramallah, thereby ensuring that the West Bank would not be cut in two. (Ha'aretz)
Sharon plans to build a new road between Bethlehem and Ramallah that would pass east of the fence slated to be built around Ma'ale Adumim. (Ha'aretz)
Synagogues in Tel Katifa and Slav in Gush Katif whose construction allows for their dismantlement and reassembly will be moved into Israeli territory, the High Court of Justice determined Tuesday. The High Court also ordered examining the possibility of fully or partially moving the Bedolah synagogue and the Yemenite synagogue from Neveh Dekalim into Israel, as well as moving the dome of the Netzarim synagogue.
The state and Gush Katif rabbis agreed to evacuate not just the contents of synagogues (holy books, religious ritual items, furniture, memorial plaques), but also unique and symbolic items including doors, decorative design, memorials, stained glass, and paintings. Efforts will be made to make use of at least some of the building stones from the Gaza synagogues in new synagogues to be built in Israel. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The Gaza Strip and the coastal towns to its north, for most of the years between 1250 BCE and 135 CE - the era in which Jews lived in and often ruled the land of Israel - eluded firm Israelite or Judean control and, indeed, Jewish habitation. It is not even clear that the great Hebrew kings David and Solomon, under whom the kingdom reached its vastest expanse, ever directly controlled the Gaza area. These historical details are of little interest to the Islamic fundamentalists. Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas leader, said recently, the fundamentalists seek to control not just the Gaza Strip and the West Bank; as he put it, "All of Palestine is our land."
Probably most Arabs would like to "de-Judaize" all of Palestine, and many, no doubt, see the Gaza evacuation as a first step. But that remains a distant dream. Gaza may be reverting to "gentile" rule, but whether the West Bank - in which lie the true historical roots of the Jewish people - will do so also is another, and far more painful, question. (New York Times)
I saw Gaza on my first visit to Israel in 1968. It was created in the same year as the UN created Israel: 1948. It was supposed to be a temporary camp for Palestinians displaced by the new Israeli state. Its inhabitants were supposed to be able to return to new plots of land inside Israel or accept a living space in the lands of their surrounding Arab "brothers." (This was 19 years before the 1967 war.) Alas, the "brothers" did precious little. Gaza had better propaganda value as a festering sore of human misery to be waved before the world. It soon became a sewage-smelling slum.
But aid did pour in; billions of it, enough to make that tiny plot a mini Garden of Eden, a prosperous, healthy, thriving enclave beside the blue Mediterranean south of Ashkelon. Fifty years later, it was still a sewage-smelling slum, wreathed in chaos. What happened to all the money? Well, the Palestinian leadership embezzled half of it; the rest went on guns, bullets, and explosives. (Daily Express-UK, 24Aug05/BICOM)
Television images of desperate settlers forcibly evicted by Israeli soldiers caused a national trauma in Israel. For a growing number of Israelis, it's now Gaza last - the last time Israelis will be forced out of their homes anywhere, except for four tiny hilltop settlements with 700 inhabitants in the northern West Bank that are part of the Gaza package deal.
The Bush Doctrine holds that democracy is the best solution for most problems facing the Muslim world. But throughout the Middle East, Islamists are emerging as the political mainstream. Is the U.S. prepared to deal with Islamist parties as the democratic alternative to presently friendly authoritarian regimes? Israel is not prepared to live cheek by jowl with an Islamist neighbor. A Palestinian state in the West Bank would be irredentist, seeking to recover Palestinian land to the west - i.e., Israel. (Washington Times)
Gaza and the Next War - Editorial (Washington Times)
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