Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Video Warns of Terrorist Attacks in Los Angeles and Australia (Reuters/New York Times)
Israel Campus Beat
- September 11, 2005
What Comes after Disengagement?
Assad Meets With Palestinian Militants (AP/Yahoo)
Israeli General Opts Not to Disembark at London Airport - Dan Izenberg (Jerusalem Post)
The Land of Israel in 1914 - Photo Gallery (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The last Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip left Monday morning, officially ending Israel's nearly four-decade presence and marking the start of the Palestinians' most ambitious attempt at self-rule. (Washington Post)
See also Last Israeli Soldier Leaves Gaza
The Israel Defense Forces locked the gate at the Kissufim crossing between Israel and Gaza on Monday. The IDF evacuation of the Philadelphi route on the Gaza-Egypt border took place simultaneously. Palestinians flooded into the empty settlements and carried off what was left in the debris, including chairs, tables, and shopping carts. Men tore down electricity poles, grabbing the wires, ripped out toilets, and walked off with doors and window frames. (Ha'aretz)
See also Hamas Celebrates Victory of the Bomb - Chris McGreal
"We are celebrating the victory of the bomb," declares a Hamas poster with a picture of an armed masked man superimposed to look as if he is crushing settler homes and Israeli soldiers with his feet. "The first Palestinian victory, the first Israeli defeat," says another. "It's the first time the resistance has won. Gaza is the beginning of the road to the liberation of Jerusalem," said Diyab Hassan Ouda. (Guardian-UK)
See also below Observations: Who'll Control Gaza? - Greg Myre (New York Times)
A rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip into the southern Israeli town of Sderot during the army's pullout Monday. Commander of the pullout, Gen. Dan Harel, said the attack was a violation of the security promises made by the Palestinians ahead of the withdrawal. "We are not going to investigate which terrorist organization was responsible for this; the responsibility lies with the Palestinian Authority," Harel told public radio. (AFX/Forbes)
Egypt deployed the first of 750 soldiers assigned to police its desert frontier with the Gaza Strip on Saturday. (AP/USA Today)
Advisers appointed by Tony Blair after the London bombings are proposing to scrap the Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day because it is regarded as offensive to Muslims. They want to replace it with a Genocide Day that would recognize the murder of Muslims in Palestine, Chechnya, and Bosnia as well as people of other faiths. Holocaust Day was established by Blair in 2001 after a sustained campaign by Jewish leaders to create a lasting memorial to the 6m victims of Hitler. It is marked each year on January 27. The advisers argue that the special status of Holocaust Memorial Day fuels extremists' sense of alienation because it "excludes" Muslims.
A Home Office spokesman said it would consider the proposals for a separate Genocide Day for all faiths but emphasized that it regarded the Holocaust as a "defining tragedy in European history." (Sunday Times-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Early Monday, a Palestinian mob from Khan Yunis raided the settlement of Morag and set the community's synagogue on fire. Synagogues in Netzarim, Neve Dekalim, and Kfar Darom were torched as well. Palestinian police were unable to contain the mobs. "Tomorrow we'll liberate all of Palestine," the Palestinians yelled. Early Monday, PA Chairman Abbas said synagogues in evacuated settlements will be destroyed by the PA. (Ynet News)
See also Israel to Leave Gaza Synagogues Intact - Aluf Benn and Amos Harel
The Israeli cabinet voted 14-2 Sunday against demolishing some two dozen synagogues in the evacuated Gaza Strip settlements. While supporters of the synagogue destruction said they didn't want the Palestinians to desecrate or demolish them, opponents of the demolition say Jews must not be the ones to destroy synagogues, regardless of what the Palestinians do.
The government had voted two weeks ago to destroy the synagogues, and the state defended the demolition before the High Court of Justice, which ruled that destroying the synagogues was permissible. However, at Sunday's cabinet meeting, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz said, "Jewish sentiment, Jewish law, and deeply significant emotions are involved here, [telling me] I must not give a directive to the Israel Defense Forces to destroy the synagogues. And if critics and cynics say I changed my mind, I accept this." (Ha'aretz)
See also Jews Do Not Destroy Synagogues - Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt
It is possible, even likely, that we may well be witness to repugnant scenes of rampaging Palestinian youth desecrating that which is holy to us all as Jews. All our oppressors desecrated and destroyed synagogues and all massacred Jews. And yet, despite that knowledge, our ancestors never once descended to the level of their oppressors. They never pre-empted the destruction of their synagogues by lending their own hands to that destruction. Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt is Chief Rabbi of Moscow and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Conference of European Rabbis. (Ha'aretz)
Israel is lobbying to have the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) reduced in size, saying that the organization collaborates with Hizballah. "The UN is in fact collaborating with a terrorist organization," says a political source in Jerusalem. "This is an intolerable situation, when the UN speaks at the same time of fighting terror." In many places along the Israel-Lebanon border, Hizballah has positions adjacent to UNIFIL positions, and deployment of the force serves as an excuse for the Lebanese government not to deploy in the south, as required by UN Security Council resolutions.
Israel's position is that, given the political changes in Lebanon, it is time to reevaluate UNIFIL's size and mission, ahead of the periodic discussion in the UN on extending its mandate, which will take place in January. UNIFIL was created in 1978, and currently has 2,000 soldiers and 50 observers, backed up by a force of 400 civilian workers. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
On Friday Husni Mubarak was officially declared the winner of Egypt's presidential elections, collecting 88.5% of the votes. Compared with the real democracy that Egypt's 76 million people need and deserve, the election was an elaborate and largely meaningless sham. Egyptians need real democracy so that they can demand an end to the corruption and nepotism that stifle economic and educational opportunity and a halt to the social and political injustices that fuel sterile cycles of violent unrest and repression. (New York Times)
Over the past two months, I spent a great deal of time in Gush Katif, both with families in the last minutes of their lives there, as well as with the soldiers and officers. What I saw was not a division into two camps of evacuating soldiers and evacuees. The settlers and the army were of the same camp. Yet an invisible but very tangible border arose; not between soldiers and settlers, but between those who shared the pain of disengagement and those who did not. Our sages tell us that empathy is the ultimate sign of oneness. (Jerusalem Post)
See also "What Will the Americans Say?" - Natan Sharansky
Whoever suggests bringing in the Americans to be the supreme judge on the issue of Israeli settlements understands nothing about the basics of American government and policy. After Bush issued his letter on Israeli settlement blocs, I asked a senior White House official in Washington if the U.S. was now ready to recognize the annexation of a single square meter of Maale Adumim, in return for disengagement. "No," came the immediate reply. "We will be pleased if in the end you receive all of Maale Adumim, but only in the framework of negotiations with the Palestinians."
To expect anything different from any American administration is to push them into a corner they don't want to be in. If we waited for American approval, even the Jerusalem suburbs of Pisgat Zeev and Gilo would not exist today. We certainly need to take American concerns into account, we need to be diplomatic and explain and not surprise them. When I was minister of construction, I phoned the American ambassador before every announcement of new construction in the territories. The response each time was: "We don't agree, of course, but we thank you for keeping us informed." This is how we should act in the future; to update them, to take them into account, but not to wait for their approval.
We must never forget for a second that it's not the role of America to raise the flag of Zionism. The task of strengthening settlements and building and protecting Jerusalem isn't their job; it's ours, and we can't transfer it to anyone else - even our closest friends. (Makor Rishon-Hebrew, 9Sep05)
Who'll Control Gaza? - Greg Myre (New York Times)
See also Legal Acrobatics: The Palestinian Claim that Gaza is Still Occupied Even After Israel Withdraws - Dore Gold (ICA/JCPA)
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