Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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U.S. Turns Down Israeli Offer of Extensive Humanitarian Aid
- Zohar Blumenkrantz and Amiram Barkat (Ha'aretz)
See also Six Jewish Hurricane Victims Identified (Ynet News)
- September 8, 2005
Issue of the Week:
The UNeasy Relationship between Israel and the United Nations
Palestinians Say PA Security Forces Involved in Moussa Arafat Assassination - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
France Tells PA to Act on Violence (AFP/Gulf Times-Qatar)
Rice to Boycott Assad (AP/Ynet News)
Captured Iraqi Terrorist Had Plans for London Attacks - Pam Hess (UPI/Washington Times)
U.S.: Pakistani Terror Group Quietly Aiding Global Terror (AP/Khaleej Times-UAE)
Israel and Egypt Ask U.S. to Expand Trade Agreement - Hadas Manor (Globes)
Israel Set to Join EU Galileo Space Project
- Ora Coren (Ha'aretz)
Faculty Efforts to Combat Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israeli Bias at the University of California-Santa Cruz
- Leila Beckwith, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, and Ilan Benjamin (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
CD Project Lifts Curtain on Forgotten Music of Jewish America (DPA/Ha'aretz)
The Final Days of Yasser Arafat - Avi Isacharoff and Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Egyptian government officials leaked partial results Thursday of the first multi-candidate presidential election to show that President Hosni Mubarak had won at least 70% of the vote, but controversy swirled about alleged irregularities and fraud in Wednesday's vote. Senior officials put voter turnout at about 30%. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for November. (Washington Post)
The kidnapped son of slain ex-security chief Moussa Arafat was released Friday, two days after he was seized by the attackers who killed his father. Manhal Arafat was seen entering the office of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza City, accompanied by Palestinian officials. The killing occurred a block from the headquarters of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service, which failed to respond, and 400 yards from Abbas' Gaza residence. (AP/Newday)
Ahead of the Sept. 15 pullout, youngsters are making a daily mockery of security cordons Palestinian forces are supposed to maintain around Gaza's former settlements, as they prepare to take over. It's not just restless youths. Palestinian forces concede they will be no match for armed factions challenging the Palestinian Authority's quest for an orderly takeover in Gaza to make it a proving ground for a future state. "We'll have to rely on the cooperation of the armed groups," said Col. Marwan Awad, watching his men catch up with youths on a sand dune, not far from an Israeli tank, to shoo them away.
Law enforcement hardly figures in cities like Khan Yunis, a dusty concrete clutter of 200,000 people and a hotbed of gunmen. Flags of militant groups, especially Islamists sworn to destroying Israel, outnumber those of the PA. "Realistically, there's unlikely to be a dramatic turn for the better or worse on security in Gaza in the near term. This will be no model for a future state," said Mouin Rabbani of the International Crisis Group think-tank. (Reuters)
Christians in the Holy Land have handed a dossier detailing incidents of violence and intimidation by Muslim extremists to church leaders in Jerusalem, one of whom said it was time for Christians to "raise our voices" against the sectarian violence. The dossier includes 93 alleged incidents of abuse by an "Islamic fundamentalist mafia" against Palestinian Christians, who accused the PA of doing nothing to stop the attacks. The dossier also includes a list of 140 cases of apparent land theft, in which Christians in the West Bank were allegedly forced off their land by gangs backed by corrupt judicial officials.
A spokesman for the Apostolic Delegate, the Pope's envoy to Jerusalem, said nothing had been done to tackle the problem despite repeated appeals to the PA to rein in Muslim gangs. The dossier currently in church hands details far worse allegations of violence, notably the torture and murder of two Christian girls in 2003. (Telegraph-UK)
In an indictment filed at Judea Military Court Thursday, IDF prosecutors charged Palestinian Mahmoud Waridat, 26, with undergoing training at an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan. Waridat, who was arrested in July, received training in small-arms and bomb-making at "al-Farouq," an al-Qaeda camp outside Kandahar, in the summer of 2001. (Reuters)
A man accused of plotting to assassinate President Bush was indicted Thursday on additional charges; prosecutors now say he also planned to establish an al-Qaeda cell in the U.S. Prosecutors say Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, 24, of Falls Church, Va., joined al-Qaeda in 2002 while studying in Saudi Arabia and that he discussed possible terrorist operations, including a plot to kill Bush either by shooting or by a suicide bombing. Thursday's indictment includes new details, including an alleged plan to smuggle Saudi al-Qaeda members into the U.S. through Mexico, where they would join Abu Ali as part of an al-Qaeda cell dedicated to terrorist acts. According to the indictment, Abu Ali also guarded an al-Qaeda safe house in Saudi Arabia in May 2003 and translated materials from English to Arabic for al-Qaeda. Abu Ali was arrested by the Saudis in June 2003 and held for nearly two years before he was brought back to the U.S. in February to face charges. (AP/Washington Post)
Former South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian sent money to relatives of Palestinian terrorists who were convicted in an attack at an Israeli military camp that killed three people, according to financial records introduced Wednesday in his terrorism-support trial. Al-Arian sent nearly $2,000 each to family members of four men jailed after the Feb. 14, 1992, attack, FBI accountant Michael Wysocki testified. When the attackers were caught, they proclaimed themselves members of the terrorism group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which Al-Arian is accused in a federal indictment of supporting. (AP/Miami Herald)
Security forces clashed with members of the Jund al-Sham Islamic militant group near the city of Hasaka in northeastern Syria on Thursday, killing one and arresting three others. Jund al-Sham (Soldiers of Syria) is a well-known organization that was set up in Afghanistan by Syrian, Palestinian, and Jordanian militants and has links to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq. The group has claimed responsibility for an October attack on resort hotels in Sinai, Egypt, that killed 34 people, and a March bombing at an international school in Qatar that killed a British resident. (AP/Guardian-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
On Thursday, an expanded panel of Supreme Court justices gave a go-ahead to the demolition of the Gaza synagogues when it decided by a 4-3 majority not to hold further debates on the issue. A final decision on the matter will be made at a cabinet meeting on Sunday. In their decision, the judges noted that, "There exist various political considerations that influence the decision. The fate of the synagogues in the evacuated areas is a complex and multi-faceted matter under the direct responsibility of the government." (Ha'aretz)
Israel has committed itself to allowing guarded convoys to travel between Gaza and the West Bank, as an interim solution to the transport problem between the Palestinian territories. Speaking at a joint press conference with Quartet Special Envoy for Disengagement James Wolfensohn, Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres said, "We are working to ensure that this won't allow terrorists and weaponry to be smuggled to Gaza. In recent days, we have been holding deliberations on setting up passages from Gaza to Egypt, Gaza to Jordan, and from northern Gaza to Israel."
"The principles are more or less agreed upon. A customs envelope will remain, goods will be checked on entry, and people will enter and leave under joint supervision. We don't rule out the possibility of a third party monitoring borders when the Rafah passage opens," Peres said. "Gaza will turn into a Palestinian problem, not an Israeli one....If they don't take control of Gaza, it will be very difficult to continue. If they take control of terror, they will open the door to peace. All the burden is now placed on Palestinian shoulders." (Ynet News)
Three grenades were thrown at IDF troops from across the Israeli-Egyptian border Thursday, Army Radio reported. (Jerusalem Post)
The body of a Hizballah gunman killed two months ago in clashes with IDF soldiers near Mount Dov was returned to Lebanon on Thursday, after a request by the Lebanese government via the International Red Cross. (Jerusalem Post)
The Palestinian Authority has failed to live up to even one agreement reached with Israel over the last five years, former Shin Bet Chief Avi Dichter charged Thursday. During a lecture in Jerusalem, he extensively described the Palestinian culture of lies and failure to deliver on agreements. "This cannot go on," he said. "It's important not to allow the Palestinians to work with us while resorting to the culture of lies." Dichter said Israeli trust in Palestinian pledges has been gravely undermined in the past five years as a result of the Palestinian tendency to bend the truth. "We must not accept their culture of lies, but we must be familiar with it," he said.
Dichter said that Palestinian terror organizations are doing everything in their power to reestablish infrastructures in the West Bank, while continuing to develop Kassam rockets. "The moment the Hamas can carry out an attack, it will do it," he said. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Recently the Israel Defense Forces held a comprehensive review of the steps that should be taken if the Palestinians continue to fire Kassam rockets after the evacuation of the Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip or start firing high-trajectory projectiles from the West Bank as well. The prevailing thinking at the meeting, which included experts on international law, was that the rules of the game have changed and that Israel has full rights to self-defense, including the employment of artillery against the sources of the bombardments. Chief of Staff Dan Halutz supported the idea that before an Israeli response, it would be possible to warn the Palestinian population to leave the area.
Regarding attacks from the West Bank, Israel would not be able to exercise restraint with regard to any rocket or mortar fire against Israeli communities along the Green Line. Such attacks must be seen as a strategic threat that would ultimately lead to the reoccupation of the West Bank. (Ha'aretz)
The Palestinians have never controlled territory of their own. The state that refused to allow itself to be established under the 1947 UN partition resolution, and that then lost the subsequent war, was split between Jordanian annexation and Egyptian military rule. The Palestinians received their first opportunity at self-government from the Oslo process. The results were disappointing.
Now, the Palestinians are being given a chance to erase that first impression. This time, the international community is willing to invest not only diplomatic effort, but also aid totaling billions of dollars over the course of several years. There is no lack of weak, needy states in Africa and Asia where the world refrains from investing energy and money. If the Palestinians insist on implementing the darker scenarios, and Gaza becomes "ungoverned territory" or a "failed state," they will lose an opportunity that will not return.
After mid-September 2005, Gaza will become the Palestinian national laboratory. If management allows the lab to blow up, it will have no hope of success, either in the January elections or in its efforts to persuade the Israeli public that it should support additional withdrawals. (Ha'aretz)
As former World Bank leader James Wolfensohn, now Washington's special envoy for disengagement, lobbies world leaders to offer significant support for Palestinian development projects, a parallel effort is necessary to create new, transparent public and private social-service organizations unaffiliated with Hamas or other groups engaged in terrorism or political violence. This is not as massive an undertaking as some suspect; the amount of money Hamas actually spends on social welfare is relatively small compared with UN aid. The UNRWA cash budget for 2005 was $339 million, while U.S. and Israeli estimates of Hamas' annual spending on social welfare range from $40 million to $75 million. A serious international aid effort funding reformed Palestinian service providers could dwarf Hamas social-welfare institutions with qualitatively and quantitatively superior services to crowd out Hamas' competing services. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
In an audiocassette released August 27, 2005, by the military wing of Hamas, Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades commander Muhammad Deif said: "I thank Allah the exalted for His support in the Jihad of our people and for the liberation of the beloved Gaza Strip, and I ask him to help us to liberate Jerusalem and the West Bank, Acre, Haifa, Jaffa, Safed, Nazareth, Ashkelon, and all of Palestine." "Gaza is just the beginning....We will not rest until all of our nation returns." (MEMRI)
For about two days, the Israeli press celebrated the "fruit of peace" in the wake of the disengagement, until it turned out it was all wishful thinking. Diplomatic ties with Pakistan have not been initiated, Jordan's King Abdullah did not arrive in Israel, and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak dismissed reports in Israel regarding his "willingness" to visit the country. Relations with Morocco, Tunisia, or Persian Gulf states have not been upgraded.
For a long time now, Arab and Islamic countries have exploited Israel to facilitate better relations with the U.S. This is what Pakistan's president did this time around. In the past, Arab and Islamic leaders had to pay for this cynical use of Israel with an official visit there or even the establishment of diplomatic relations. Today, a photo opportunity with Israeli leaders will suffice. (Ynet News)
Iran's insurgency leader in Iraq is Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani. Iran supplies his network and introduced a new breed of roadside bombs more lethal than any before. Based on a design from the Iranian-supplied Lebanese militia Hizballah, the weapon employs "shaped" explosive charges that can punch through a battle tank's armor like a fist through a cardboard wall.
Sheibani's 280-strong team is divided into 17 bomb-making and death squads. Extensive pay records from August 2004 show Iran paying the salaries of at least 11,740 members of the Badr Shi'ite militia. Jordanian intelligence estimates there has been an influx of a million Iranians into Shi'ite Iraq in the south, location of the richest oil fields. This included 12,000 armed men and intelligence officers. Some 46 Iranian infantry and missile brigades are poised near the common border to move into Iraq, (Washington Times)
At least 50 Jewish students from New Orleans have expressed interest in coming to Israel to start the academic year, after Israeli universities and the Jewish Agency announced this week that they would provide full scholarships for students whose lives have been disrupted by Hurricane Katrina. The scholarships cover tuition and board and apply to students of all religions, as long as they are registered at Tulane University or any other New Orleans colleges and universities recognized by Israel. Click here for more information. (Ha'aretz)
You know what homeless is? We are now homeless. We have left behind the farm where our children grew alongside the flowers in our greenhouses, and we're living in a kibbutz near Tel Aviv. Eventually, together with the state, we hope to build a new home. We want it to be a farm, so that we can grow flowers again. It takes years to build a home. It takes mere minutes to be made homeless. We could never have imagined this moment back in 1978 when we decided to join a group of 27 families who were going to establish the village of Ganei Tal.
So many tears fell during those last years in Gush Katif. The IDF soldiers who came to protect us were the same soldiers who have now evicted us. But no, we did not give up. We believed in our way. Now, after 27 years, we are homeless, but I do not accept this as a defeat. In that letter that I left on the front door of the house I wrote to the soldiers, "We won because our struggle will never be forgotten. We won because Gush Katif will never be forgotten. Gush Katif will become part of Jewish and Zionist history; it will become not just another chapter, but a symbol, a model to be imitated." (Washington Post)
The recently ended season of excavations at the top of the City of David slope in Jerusalem was accompanied by much excitement. With every passing day, more and more parts of an enormous building were unearthed. "It is without doubt a public building. It matters little if it is a palace or a fortress. The fact is that a structure like this from this period has not been found in Jerusalem until now, so the findings are most certainly sensational," said Dr. Gabi Barkai of Bar-Ilan University.
The excavation took place in a rectangular strip 10 meters wide by 30 meters long, and the structure that has been unearthed occupies the entire site, even extending beyond its boundaries. It is constructed from immense stones that were placed on an earthen landfill in which hundreds of broken pieces of pottery were found. Dr. Eilat Mazar, the Hebrew University archaeologist in charge of the site, states that the pottery can be dated to the 12th and 11th centuries BCE, to the Jebusite period which immediately predates King David's reign.
"For years, there have been those who contended there was no evidence of public construction in 10th century BCE Jerusalem," says Mazar. "Based on this, they claim that David and Solomon were not important rulers, as described in the Bible. Now there is evidence of such construction, and those who minimize the importance of David and Solomon have to deal with the facts. Because in an out-of-the-way and remote settlement you would not find a structure like this, the construction of which required abundant resources and a great capacity to plan and execute." "According to the Bible [II Samuel, Chapter 5], David conquered a fortress and then built a palace outside the boundaries of the Jebusite city," says Mazar.
Two weeks before the end of the excavation season, Mazar headed home with a rare find that had been unearthed that day in one of the structure's rooms: a bulla, a round clay seal about one centimeter in diameter in which its owner's name was inscribed. With the help of a needle and a magnifying glass, she cleaned the grains of dust from the bulla and gradually its inscription was revealed. Three lines in a Hebrew script characteristic of the late First Temple period contained the name of Yehokal ben Shlamyahu ben Shavi, who is mentioned twice in the Book of Jeremiah as a senior minister in the government of Zedekiah. (Ha'aretz)
Most people are aware that the Jewish state has first-rate scientists who work in sterling research institutions; that Israel's hi-tech industry is among the world's most innovative; that Teva is a world-leading pharmaceutical locomotive; and that Israeli farming techniques are studied worldwide. What few realize is how much depth and variety of initiative, invention, and pioneering is behind such feats.
How many know that the Pentium technology so many use routinely when turning on their computer is Israeli, or that all phone calls in China are routed through a system developed by Israel's ECI Telecom, or that the first anti-virus software was developed in Israel? What do most of us know about Israeli firms' contribution to such things as non-invasive surgery, miniature modems, signaling systems, and NASA's Spirit rover mission to Mars? How many of us know that Israeli-grown cows have the world's highest milk-production yields? Helen and Douglas Davis's Israel in the World: Changing Lives Through Innovation presents an integrative picture of a society bent on self-fulfillment and collective achievement against all odds. (Jerusalem Post)
After last week's meeting between the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Israel, Ishaac Moosa Akhir sent the following e-mail to the Jerusalem Post: "I am a doctor at a local hospital in Karachi....My family background is Sephardic Jewish and I know approximately 10 Jewish families who have lived in Karachi since 200 years or so." (Jerusalem Post)
Shlomo and Dina Jin, of Kai Feng, China, were joined in matrimony according to Jewish law in Jerusalem on Wednesday. The two have been married as non-Jews for about two decades but tied the knot again, this time as newly converted Jews. Their daughter Shalva converted to Judaism over a year ago and has completed National Service. Jewish traders arrived in Kai Feng and established a synagogue in 1163. To this day about 500 descendants of the community maintain a strong Jewish identity. (Jerusalem Post)
The War on Terror is Paramount at the Sinai-Gaza Border - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad (bitterlemons-international.org)
Major-General (res.) Amos Gilad is head of political military policy in the Israel Ministry of Defense. He negotiated the Sinai-Gaza border agreement on behalf of Israel.
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