Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Charity Cash for Palestinian Poor Was Siphoned to Suicide Bombers - Eric Silver (Independent-UK)
Israel Campus Beat
- November 27, 2005
Israeli Election Season Begins
Hizballah: We Have Right to Abduct Troops - Hanan Greenberg (Ynet News)
Arafat Report "Broke BBC Rules" (BBC News)
White Supremacist David Duke Holds Rally in Syria - Yaakov Lappin (Ynet News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
More than 1,500 Palestinians crossed freely from Gaza into Egypt on Saturday via a border point controlled for the first time by Palestinians, under the European Union's supervision. The Rafah border crossing is Gaza's main gateway. Israeli forces continue, however, to keep a video watch from a nearby base and retain control over the movement of all goods and trade in and out of Gaza. (BBC News)
See also Palestinians Taking Control of a Gaza Border - Greg Myre
Palestinians in Gaza will be able to come and go to Egypt and the wider world without passing through Israeli security. As part of the Gaza travel agreement, buses are to begin shuttling Palestinians between Gaza and the West Bank beginning Dec. 15. (New York Times)
The Muslim Brotherhood may be banned, but it has demonstrated in the latest parliamentary elections that it is by far the strongest Egyptian opposition group, trouncing the secular political opposition and weakening the governing party's power monopoly. Results released Sunday showed the Brotherhood winning 29 more seats on Saturday for the second round of parliamentary voting. It won 47 seats in the first round. With one more round to go, the Brotherhood already has 76 seats - more than five times its total in the departing parliament.
Mubarak's governing National Democratic Party has already won 195 seats. Turnout was low, often 10-25%. Political analysts said the Brotherhood's success was at least partly a function of the absence of any other organized political opposition. (New York Times)
See also Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Chief: We Don't Recognize Israel, But Won't Fight It -
In an interview, Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Mehdi Akef sought to allay Western concerns about the group's newfound strength, saying it would not try to change Egypt's foreign policy, including its peace treaty with Israel. "We do not recognize Israel, but we will not fight it. We will respect all the treaties," said Akef, whose organization is considered the mother group for many Islamic fundamentalist movements, including the militant Hamas in the Palestinian territories. (AP/ABC News)
See also Brothers on the March to Islamic State - Issandr El Amrani (Times-UK)
Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Saturday that the Bush administration, "who have used uranium ordnance in Iraq, should be tried as war criminals." "What kind of right do you think you have to say Iran cannot have nuclear technology? It is you who must be held accountable, and you have no right to ask questions," he said. (New York Times)
Syrian defiance of the UN inquiry into the killing of a former Lebanese prime minister collapsed Friday as Damascus agreed to give up five senior regime members to be interviewed in Vienna by UN investigators. (Telegraph-UK)
Results released Sunday showed Fatah's younger activists trouncing the entrenched old-timers in the Palestinian ruling party's first-ever primaries, held Friday in five of the biggest districts in the West Bank, which Palestinian analysts said could give it a crucial boost in January parliamentary elections. (AP/Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Should the UN report on the investigation of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri's assassination implicate Syrian President Assad's regime, Israel can expect escalation along its northern border, IDF Intelligence Chief Aharon Ze'evi Farkash told the Cabinet on Sunday. Ze'evi Farkash said the recent escalation along the northern border is part of a strategic move by Hizballah aimed at obstructing international pressure on Iran and Syria. "Iran and Hizballah are saying 'we are still here, acting on the military and terrorist front against Israel.' Last week's failure only motivates them to carry out acts in order to restore their dignity; acts that may include kidnappings abroad."
The deputy chief of the Shin Bet security service reported severe terror attack alerts. He noted that an average of 40 terror attacks continue to take place every week. However, the Shin Bet "has registered a decrease in the number of rocket launchings and shooting attacks." (Ynet News)
The PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports that Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayad, considered a top professional, resigned because Interior Minister Nasser Yousef added another 2,500 Fatah militants to the security services, with the approval of Mahmoud Abbas, and plans to add another few thousand Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists in the near future. Adding thousands of people to the security services would be a budgetary burden on the Palestinian treasury, and Fayad would not stand for it. However, senior Palestinian officials explain that putting thousands of militants into the security services is the only way Abbas can obtain calm.
In addition, in the last few weeks, the PA has given senior Palestinian officials higher ranks and bonuses. Some refer to this as "election economics." Abbas and his Fatah people want to win voters' hearts in the upcoming elections. Palestinian election economics also includes the approval Abbas has recently given for building plans and for development projects by municipal and village councils. More than once, the Palestinian Finance Ministry has been bypassed as the projects get approved. (Ha'aretz)
An unofficial EU draft report which fails to recognize Israel's right to a "united capital" could harm the newly warming relations with Europe, Israeli officials warned on Saturday. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev deplored the unbalanced draft policy statement on eastern Jerusalem, calling it a "throwback to the past," and explained that if it were approved it "would have repercussions on the way we perceive the European involvement here."
The report refers to the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ramot, French Hill, East Talpiot, Gilo, Pisgat Ze'ev, and Har Homa [together home to over 200,000 Israelis] - as "illegal settlements." The report does not honor any Israeli claims to eastern Jerusalem or Israel's declaration that it is building the security barrier to prevent terrorist attacks. The "internal EU document has not yet been given official status nor has it been adopted by the EU," Regev noted. (Jerusalem Post)
See also British Foreign Office "Unrelentingly Pro-Palestinian" Says Israel - Chris McGreal
An Israeli source said: "We are not in the slightest bit surprised that this should have come from the British. On the one hand they always say they understand Israel's problems and want to be an intermediary and on the other they are accusing us and attempting to embarrass us. They cannot be trusted." (Guardian-UK)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
NATO was created in 1949 to safeguard the freedom of Western nations from the Soviet threat. Now it is imperative for the alliance to defend us against the threat of Islamist terror. Here is my road map: First, accept that we share a new existential threat in the form of Islamist terror. Its elimination requires a collective effort. Jihadism has replaced communism, as communism replaced Nazism, as a mortal danger, so NATO must put defense against Islamist terrorism at the center of its strategy. Secondly, we must accept that it is impossible to draw a clear line between international and homeland security.
Thirdly, acknowledging that NATO is a gathering of liberal democracies, we should invite to join the organization those countries who share the values and systems and that are in the forefront of the fight against terrorism. NATO should invite Japan, Australia, and Israel to become full members. Regional partners will bring the expertise needed to fight a global enemy. Also, NATO should transform its Mediterranean Dialogue into a Partnership for Freedom, where cooperation is linked to the promotion of political freedom, economic liberalization, and religious tolerance in North Africa and the Middle East. NATO must transform itself into an Alliance for Freedom, willing and able to collectively secure our liberties and democracies before it is too late. The writer is a former prime minister of Spain. (Wall Street Journal, 28Nov05)
Mohammad Sidique Khan, who blew himself up at Edgware Road in London on 7 July, in a video recorded just before his death, says in a distinctly Yorkshire accent, "Muslims, I strongly advise you to sacrifice this life for the hereafter." Blowing yourself up in the middle of a crowd is an act of ethics in the name of Allah, according to Khan. The impulse that drove Khan to the bosom of al-Qaeda lies in the sick culture that glorifies "martyrdom" and projects young suicide bombers as heroes. The origins of this culture lie in the Iranian revolution. The Iranian revolutionaries exported the culture of "martyrdom operations" first into Lebanon and then into the Palestinian territories where there is now a thriving culture of celebrating suicide bombers as "martyrs."
I have four things to say to those who support suicide bombings. One, if suicide killing was a viable weapon of a just war, then the Prophet Muhammad himself would have used it. Two, a Muslim community cannot really be in a state of despair - however bad its situation. Indeed, despair in Islam is a cardinal sin. As classical Muslim scholars have repeatedly pointed out, despair signifies rejection of God's mercy and abandonment of hope. Three, suicide is also a cardinal sin in Islam. Life is the ultimate gift of God: nothing signifies ingratitude more than taking your own life - whatever the cause. According to Islam, suicide is one thing that God may never forgive. Four, taking one innocent life is, according to the Koran, like murdering all humanity. Indeed, even in a fully fledged state of war, killing innocent women and children is forbidden. The scholars who support suicide bombings know all this better than I do. Which makes their position even more perverse. (New Statesman-UK)
How Did We Forget that Israel's Story Is the Story of the West? - Charles Moore (Telegraph-UK)
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