Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
IDF Begins Relocation of 48 Graves from Gaza - Yuval Yoaz (Ha'aretz) Palestinian Prime Minister: War for Jerusalem Has Started - Ali Waked (Ynet News) Palestinians to Rename Gaza Enclaves after "Martyrs" - Nidal al-Mughrabi (Reuters) Rockets Fired Thursday from Lebanon Were Made in Iran - Yoav Stern (Ha'aretz) U.S. to Battle Israel's Arrow Missile with Patriot for India (Reuters/Express India)
IDF Begins Relocation of 48 Graves from Gaza - Yuval Yoaz (Ha'aretz)
Palestinian Prime Minister: War for Jerusalem Has Started - Ali Waked (Ynet News)
Palestinians to Rename Gaza Enclaves after "Martyrs" - Nidal al-Mughrabi (Reuters)
Rockets Fired Thursday from Lebanon Were Made in Iran - Yoav Stern (Ha'aretz)
U.S. to Battle Israel's Arrow Missile with Patriot for India (Reuters/Express India)
News Resources - North America and Europe:
Excerpt from President Bush's weekly radio address, August 27:
During the past two weeks, Prime Minister Sharon and the Israeli people took a courageous and painful step by removing Israeli settlements in Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank. I congratulate the Prime Minister for his bold leadership.
Now that Israel has withdrawn, the way forward is clear. The Palestinians must show the world that they will fight terrorism and govern in a peaceful way. We will continue to help the Palestinians to prepare for self-government and to defeat the terrorists who attack Israel and oppose the establishment of a peaceful Palestinian state. We remain fully committed to defending the security and well-being of our friend and ally Israel. (White House)
One of Israel's most-wanted men, the Hamas military leader Muhammad Deif, issued a video on Saturday in which he warns the Palestinian Authority not to try to confiscate Hamas's weapons and promises Israelis that "all of Palestine will become a hell" for them.
Palestinians disclosed in interviews that the release of a French television journalist last week was a result of a deal between Mr. Abbas and leaders of a prominent clan, who had kidnapped the journalist. Mr. Abbas released six members of the Issa clan from prison last week, including convicted murderers, to secure the release of the journalist Muhammad Ouathi. Some considered the release a humiliation for Mr. Abbas and warned that it could lead to further kidnappings. They said the episode was an indication of the lawlessness that continues in Gaza and of the power of the clans. (New York Times)
Enjoying a moment of international sympathy, Sharon's government efforts are now focused largely in the West Bank, land of far more religious and strategic importance to Israel than Gaza. Sharon is acting on assurances he received last year from President Bush after presenting him with his plan to evacuate all 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza and four in the West Bank. The April 2004 letter from Bush has become a cornerstone of Israeli efforts to seek additional U.S. aid, propose borders beyond the demarcation between Israel and the territories, and build within West Bank settlement blocs such as Ma'ale Adumim. "In this case, the Palestinians are not giving the quid pro quo" for the Gaza pullout, said Dore Gold, an adviser to Sharon. "This time, the quid pro quo comes from the United States."
Gold worries that the attention being paid to the evacuation of Jewish settlements is overshadowing Israel's security requirements. Bush's letter acknowledged Israel's right to "secure, defensible borders," and Gold's policy institute recently published a report suggesting such boundaries might reach as far east as the Jordan Valley given the uncertainty in Iraq, Iran and Jordan. "Israel withdrew lock, stock and barrel from Gaza, and that withdrawal cannot be replicated in the West Bank," Gold said. "I do not think the viability of a Palestinian state depends on its size. Just look at Bahrain and Singapore." (Washington Post)
A suicide bomber detonated himself outside the central bus station in Be'er Sheva on Sunday morning. Two people sustained serious injuries in the attack and close to 30 people were treated for shock. The bus station was slightly damaged thanks to quick action by security guards, who approached the terrorist and averted a more devastating disaster. (Ynet News)
See also Abbas Condemns Be'er Sheva Bombing as 'Terrorist Attack'
The Palestinian Authority swiftly condemned as "terrorist" a suicide bombing in Be'er Sheva earlier in the day that wounded 10 people, one critically, but Israel put the Palestinians on notice that there would be no further progress toward a diplomatic solution unless the PA took "the necessary steps" to combat terrorism. (Ha'aretz)
Despite the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Israel and Washington to end the dispute over Israel's sale to China of spare parts for attack drones, U.S. sanctions continue. U.S. sanctions involve limitations on the transfer of U.S. military technologies to Israel. These sanctions, which also involve Israeli industries that have not done business with China, have limited the ability of Israeli industries to do business with various U.S. industries. They have been a major blow to the Israel Air Force, since its access to the Pentagon's Joint Strike Fighter program has now been restricted. In addition to the blow to its prestige, Israel will incur heavy financial damage due to the clause in the agreement requiring Israel not to send back the drone's repaired spare parts to China. (Ha'aretz)
Palestinians see Israel as leaving the Strip because of the Qassam rockets, the mortar bombs, and, above all, the suicide bombers, a terror campaign that combined with demographic considerations to make Israel's continued presence there too costly in Sharon's estimation. The disengagement is the product of the Palestinian rifle, and not the political shift of Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen), they believe. Indeed, the disengagement in Gaza is the fulfillment of Arafat's dream of "runaway statehood" come true. Arafat wanted a state not bound by agreements, a state won by blood and not ink. It is therefore no wonder that there are already many Palestinian voices - from among not only the Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but also the Fatah - calling for endeavors to achieve a similar result in the West Bank. (Jerusalem Report)
[Egypt is conducting] a novel spectacle that the government of Hosni Mubarak desperately hopes will be perceived, at least in Washington, as a "free and fair" presidential election campaign. Freedom isn't on the march in Cairo; at best, it's a slow crawl. But compared with the chaos in Iraq, maybe that doesn't look so bad to the Bush team. Or maybe there just isn't the stomach to insist on more. (Washington Post)
See also . . . and American Paralysis - Robert Kagan
Do Egypt's citizens really have what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called "the freedom to choose" their rulers in this election? By her own "objective standards," the answer is no. If the Bush administration isn't willing to let Islamists, even radical Islamists, win votes in a fair election, then Bush officials should stop talking so much about democracy and go back to supporting the old dictatorships. If the decisive moment in Egypt passes without change, many will ask what, exactly, is new about the administration's approach. Arab peoples watching carefully to see whether Bush is serious about his commitment to democracy will have reason to doubt that he is. (Washington Post)
Life after Gaza - Mortimer B. Zuckerman (U.S. News)
2. Will the Palestinians continue to be directed toward the destruction of Israel, or will they seek to build up their own nation-state?
3. Will there be a stable government with real control of the territory that will stop terrorism and disarm radical groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as well as the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a terrorist paramilitary group ruled by Fatah?
4. Will Palestinians continue to claim Israeli withdrawal as a victory through terrorism, thereby justifying more terrorism?
5. Will the billions of dollars of new aid disappear into the private bank accounts of their leadership groups, as it has for years, or instead be put into programs for the welfare of their people?
6. Will they dismantle the refugee camps that, despite all the foreign aid, have been a permanent condition of Gaza life and resettle their people in decent housing?
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