Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 28, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Charity Cash for Palestinian Poor Was Siphoned to Suicide Bombers - Eric Silver (Independent-UK)
    Millions of pounds donated by British and other European charities to help the Palestinian poor were diverted to fund terror and support the families of suicide bombers, Israeli prosecutors said Sunday.
    Ahmed Salatna, 43, a Hamas activist from the West Bank town of Jenin, was remanded in custody by a military court charged with distributing £6.2m for such purposes over the past nine years.
    The recipients included the family of a man who blew himself up at the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem in August 2001, killing 15 people and wounding 107.
    The charge sheet names two British charities, Human Appeal International and Interpal.
    Other charities mentioned were the French CBST, the Italian ABSPT, and the Al-Aqsa Foundation, which operates in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, and Sweden.
    Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, said Salatna directly transferred the European funds to Hamas cells, suicide bombers, and their families.
    "Jenin is known as the capital of the suicide bombers.... Salatna's arrest will be a major blow to those who rely on economic support from Hamas in order to carry out terrorist acts and to give their families financial backing," said Rosenfeld.

Israel Campus Beat
- November 27, 2005

Point Counter-Point:
    Israeli Election Season Begins

Hizballah: We Have Right to Abduct Troops - Hanan Greenberg (Ynet News)
    The bodies of three Hizballah terrorists killed in a clash with an IDF force near the border village of Rajar last Monday were handed over to Lebanon on Friday.
    During the three terrorists' funeral in Beirut, Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah said: "It is our duty and natural right to abduct soldiers."
    "We won't renounce our right and duty to assist Syria and Iran, which helped us against the Israeli occupation," Nasrallah added amid chants from the crowd: "Death to Israel, death to the U.S."

Arafat Report "Broke BBC Rules" (BBC News)
    The BBC governors have upheld part of a complaint against a journalist who said she "started to cry" as a dying Yasser Arafat left the West Bank in 2004.
    Barbara Plett's comments "breached the requirements of due impartiality," they ruled.

White Supremacist David Duke Holds Rally in Syria - Yaakov Lappin (Ynet News)
    Louisiana-based white supremacist leader David Duke visited Syria last week, where he delivered an anti-Semitic speech attacking "Zionists occupying New York" and the State of Israel.
    The speech was carried by Syrian state television.
    See also View David Duke Addressing Damascus Demonstration (MEMRI TV)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Egyptian Border Opens for Gazans
    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)
  • Egypt's Islamist Party Surges at Polls - Michael Slackman
    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)
  • Defending Nuclear Ambitions, Iranian President Attacks U.S. - Nazila Fathi
    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)
  • Syria Caves In to UN Over Beirut Murder - Tim Butcher
    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)
  • Housecleaning in Palestinian Ruling Party - Mohammed Daraghmeh
    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:

  • UN Report May Escalate Tension on Northern Border - Ronny Sofer
    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)
  • Palestinian Election Economics - Danny Rubinstein
    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)
  • Israel: EU Report May Hurt Relations - Tovah Lazaroff
    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 vs. Islamist Terror - Jose Maria Aznar
    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)
  • The Culture of Martyrdom - Ziauddin Sardar
    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)
  • Observations:

    How Did We Forget that Israel's Story Is the Story of the West? - Charles Moore (Telegraph-UK)

    • If you read Bernard Donoughue's diaries, just published, of his life as an adviser to Harold Wilson in the 1970s, one difference between then and now that hits you hard is Donoughue's (and Wilson's) firm belief that the cause of Israel is the cause of people who wish to be free, and that its enemies are the old, repressive establishments. As a boy, I loved this narrative. I cheered as Israeli courage swept away the outnumbering Arabs who tried to destroy it again and again.
    • But then a different narrative supervened. People called "the Palestinians" began to be mentioned. Once upon a time, the word "Palestinian" had no national meaning; it was simply the description on any passport of a person living in British-mandated Palestine. During the 19 years to 1967 when Jordan governed the West Bank, the people there had no self-rule, and no real name. UN Resolution 242, which calls for Israel to leave territories it occupied in 1967, does not mention Palestinians; it speaks only of "Arab refugees." Palestinian nationality came along, as it were, after the fact.
    • Since then, Israel, which was attacked, has come to be seen as the aggressor. Israel, which has elections that throw governments out and independent commissions that investigate people like Sharon and condemn him, became regarded as the oppressive monster. The idea, now promoted by all Arab regimes and by Muslim firebrands with a permanent interest in deflecting attention from their own societies' problems, is that Israel is the greatest problem of all.
    • I think, given its difficulties, Israel stands up better than most before the bar of history. I want to ask my fellow Europeans: are you happy to help direct the world's fury at the only country in the Middle East whose civilization even remotely resembles yours? And are you sure that the fate of Israel has no bearing on your own? In Iran, the new President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes the link. The battle over Palestine, he says, is "the prelude of the battle of Islam with the world of arrogance," the world of the West. He is busy building his country's nuclear bomb.

      The writer is former editor of the London Daily Telegraph.

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