Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Gaza Poll: Hamas 45%, Fatah 36% - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
See also Hamas "Mother of Martyrs" Runs in Palestinian Poll - Nidal al-Mughrabi (Reuters)
- December 8, 2005
Issue of the Week:
Israel's Election Campaign Begins
Israeli Navy Quits Sending Ships through Suez Canal - Arieh O'Sullivan (Jerusalem Post)
Breach in the Wall - Danny Rubinstein (Ha'aretz)
Shelling Gaza Smartly - Arieh O'Sullivan (Jerusalem Post)
Zarqawi: Profile of a Killer - Loretta Napoleoni (Foreign Policy)
U.S. National Guard Begins Exchange with Israeli Forces - Master Sgt. Bob Haskell (Army News Service)
South Florida Police Get Terrorism Training in Israel - Nicole T. Lesson (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
Learning to Treat Mass Casualty Disasters in Israel - David M. Novick (Dayton Jewish Observer)
Israel Offers Free Eye Treatment - Bibich N. Maloba (Cameroon Tribune)
Video News in English from Israel Channel 2 TV (JerusalemOnline)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran expressed doubt on Thursday that the Holocaust took place and suggested that Israel be moved to Europe. "If the Europeans are honest, they should give some of their provinces in Europe - like in Germany, Austria or other countries - to the Zionists, and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe."
Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Prime Minister Sharon, said Ahmadinejad's words were an example of a consensus in some parts of the world that Jews "do not have the right to establish a Jewish, democratic state in their ancestral homeland." The White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, said, "It just further underscores our concerns about the regime in Iran, and it's all the more reason why it's so important that the regime not have the ability to develop nuclear weapons." (Reuters/New York Times)
See also Ahmadinejad's Comments Provoke Condemnation - Paul Hughes
Ahmadinejad's comments provoked quick condemnation. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called them "totally unacceptable" and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said, "I condemn them unreservedly. They have no place in civilized political debate." (Reuters)
Israel on Friday denounced a lawsuit filed by Palestinians against a former Israeli security chief. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in New York federal court, said former Shin Bet director Avi Dichter is responsible for a July 2002 airstrike that killed 15 people in the Gaza Strip including Salah Shehadeh, a top Hamas operative wanted for masterminding suicide bombings. "We see this as a cynical manipulation of the courts by groups with extremist agendas," said Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry. (AP/Newsday)
If Egypt's parliamentary elections were supposed to be an exercise in democracy, they instead served as a reminder of the unyielding, unchecked power of the state. After the banned Muslim Brotherhood began whittling away at the governing party's monopoly on power, police officers in riot gear and others in plainclothes and armed civilians working for the police began blocking polling stations, preventing supporters of the Brotherhood from casting their votes. Results of the election showed that the Muslim group had increased its representation in Parliament to 88 members from 15, while the governing National Democratic Party retained the vast majority of the 454 seats. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Nir Kahana, 20, was killed by a Palestinian at the Kalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem Thursday. "The Palestinian arrived at the crossing and during his security check pulled a knife from his bag and stabbed the soldier. The soldier died instantly," the army said. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades of Fatah claimed responsibility for the attack. (Ha'aretz)
See also Slain Soldier Insisted on Serving at Crossings Unit - Ahiya Raved (Ynet News); Crossings Unit Suffers First Casualty - Hanan Greenberg (Ynet News)
A Palestinian teenager was detained by security forces Friday after troops discovered that he was carrying two pipe bombs. The youth aroused suspicion at the Hawara checkpoint near Nablus because he wore a heavy jacket despite the unseasonably warm weather. He said he had been sent to pass the bombs to Palestinian terrorists waiting on the opposite side of the checkpoint. (Jerusalem Post)
An Israel Air Force missile struck a house in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing two Palestinians and wounding six others, Palestinian sources said. The army said the target was a senior member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades who was responsible for "numerous terror attacks against Israeli targets." (IDF/Ha'aretz)
The U.S. hasn't applied pressure on Israel to resume talks over establishing convoys for Palestinians between the Gaza Strip and West Bank, despite having brokered an agreement calling for them, diplomatic officials said Thursday. Israel suspended work on the issue following Monday's suicide bombing in Netanya. Prime Minister Sharon's spokesman Raanan Gissin said that "there's no pressure" on Israel from the Americans to return to discussions about meeting the deadline for the convoys. Gissin said the convoys issue would only be taken up after PA action against terror: "The whole discussion of operating this new arrangement will be delayed until the Palestinian Authority is serious about fighting terror," he said.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Welch, who arrived in Israel on Thursday, told Israeli officials, "If the Palestinian Authority won't deal with terror, someone else should," according to Israeli sources familiar with the conversation. An American official described Abbas's need to crack down on terror as the primary focus of Welch's visit. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Israel to Join the International Red Cross
After almost six decades of rejection, Israel saw the road cleared Thursday for its emergency and disaster relief organization to join the International Red Cross. The price of admission was relinquishing its symbol, the Red Star of David. Instead, the Red Cross approved a new "neutral" symbol - a Red Crystal. The Star of David may still be used at home, and on foreign missions it can be put inside the Crystal, provided the host country agrees. If that's a victory, we'd hate to see a defeat. Muslim countries refused to adopt the Red Cross, and instead chose the Red Crescent, the only other recognized symbol. It's a disgrace that the Star of David, which symbolizes the faith that spawned both Christianity and Islam, is excluded. (Wall Street Journal, 9Dec05)
It really is too bad that Syria and a number of other Arab states are still fighting the same tired old battles they've waged since 1948 to keep Israel out of international organizations. Damascus, for example, still seems to think it's worth spending its rapidly dwindling diplomatic capital on trying to bar Israel's entry into the relief agency movement represented by the Red Cross and Red Crescent symbols. We're just glad the rest of the world has finally come to its senses and approved a step that will allow Israel to become a member. It is long overdue. (New York Times)
The election of Mahmoud Abbas after the death of Arafat was a breath of fresh air to anyone who expected new political moves between the Palestinians and Israel and negotiations without bloodshed. Abbas is far from being a supporter of moderate Zionist ambitions, but he reached the conclusion that the Palestinian struggle for achieving independence cannot be conducted through terror. But the more time passes and the suicide bombings as well as rocket fire of Kassams from Gaza following the disengagement continue, there's no sign that Abbas is ready or able to take real steps against terror organizations like Islamic Jihad. He hasn't even begun collecting weapons as he promised in the road map.
So there's no other conclusion than that in effect there is no positive meaning to Abbas's leadership. He's not contributing to freeing his people from the swamp in which they have sunk. His leadership does not contribute to peace, and weakens his supporters in Israel. Abbas is wasting, or has wasted until now, the historic opportunity that befell him.
It is very difficult to understand his apathy toward Islamic Jihad's terror activity. In this way, he contributes to the anarchy in Palestinian society, to gangland rule. Islamic Jihad is a small organization that is not interested in the elections, and wants to continue with its terror activity and war against Israel into the future. Nonetheless, the PA chairman is not ready to risk taking action against it. With his weak leadership, Abbas is responsible, even if indirectly, for the deterioration and suffering that always follows a terror attack.
Israel must wait for another individual to head the Palestinians, a braver leader that might arise after the elections. (Ha'aretz)
The fact that the Palestinian national movement is collapsing and its leaders are paralyzed is the single most important fact dooming any hope of Middle East peace for years to come. In the Fatah primaries, relative moderates were roundly defeated by those engaged in terrorism. Abbas's regime has been unable to impose order in the Gaza Strip after the Israeli withdrawal, and there is no reason to believe this will change. It is making no serious effort against corruption or to stop terrorist attacks against Israel. Could it possibly be clearer that Abbas is the Palestinian leader in name only and is incapable of negotiating any agreement with Israel or implementing anything he promises?
The takeover of control over the Gaza-Egypt border is actually hurting Abbas. The PA's border controls are a joke, and both terrorists and weapons are passing through freely. Yet Israel is not the one most endangered by this situation. Israel can defend itself far better than can the PA from an influx of Palestinian terrorists.
It is too late for the nationalists to crush the Islamists, even if they decided to do so. Whether Hamas will actually take over the Palestinian movement - I think it won't - it is setting the agenda and intimidating anyone advocating moderation. Within the next two months, local and parliamentary elections are going to confirm Hamas's new leverage. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
It is naive on the part of the U.S. and Europe to think that 100 bloody years of conflict between the Zionist and the Arab national movements, and three decades of a violent struggle between Israelis and Palestinians, will come to an end only by encouraging the election of Marwan Barghouti and his gang. At the end of January we will discover that Israel's new partner is very democratic, but also very extremist in its demands.
Therefore, the key will once again be in the hands of the West. All the means of pressure available there - from severing diplomatic ties to stopping the transfer of money - must be applied to the democratic leadership that is about to arise in the Palestinian Authority, in order to force it to be flexible, to compromise, and to talk peace. Otherwise, the next leader to conduct the negotiations with Israel will be as democratic as Yasser Arafat and as liberal as Izz al-din al-Qassam. (Ha'aretz)
Although Saddam Hussein deserves to be shot like a dog, we nonetheless decided to give him a trial. First, to demonstrate the moral superiority of the new Iraq as it struggles to live by the rule of law. Second, and even more important, to bear witness. War crimes trials are, above all and always, for educational purposes. This one was for the world to see and experience and recoil from the catalogue of Hussein's crimes, and to demonstrate the justice of a war that stripped this man and his gang of their monstrous and murderous power.
It has not worked out that way. Instead of Hussein's crimes being on trial, he has succeeded in putting the new regime on trial. The lead story of every court session has been his demeanor, his defiance, his imperiousness. The evidence brought against him by his hapless victims made the back pages at best. Why have we given him control of the stage? With every appearance, he dresses more regally, carrying on as legitimate and imperious head of state. What kind of message does that send to Iraqis who have been endlessly told that Hussein and his regime were finished?
If anything, Hussein should be brought in wearing prison garb, perhaps in shackles, just for effect. And instead of the press being behind a glass wall, it is Hussein who should be placed in a glass booth, like Eichmann, like some isolated specimen of deranged humanity, symbolically and physically cut off from the world of normal human values.
Both President Bush and his opponents in Congress are incessantly talking about "benchmarks" to guide any U.S. withdrawals from Iraq. But there is one benchmark that is always left unspoken: We cannot leave until Saddam Hussein is dead, executed for his crimes. As long as he is alive and well-dressed, every Iraqi will have to wonder what will happen to him and his family if Hussein returns. Only Hussein's death will assure them that he will not return. (Washington Post)
As Iran edges closer to acquiring a nuclear bomb and its missiles extend an ever darker diplomatic shadow over the Middle East and Europe, Iran is likely to pose three threats. First, Iran could dramatically up the price of oil by interfering with the free passage of vessels in and through the Persian Gulf as it did during the 1980s or by threatening to use terrorist proxies to target other states' oil facilities. Second, it could increase the pace and scope of terrorist activities against Iraq, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf states, Israel, and other perceived supporters of the U.S. Finally, it could become a nuclear proliferation model for its neighbors. (Strategic Studies Institute-U.S. Army War College)
The U.S. already is thinking about a post-Assad Syria as a building block in its efforts to spread democracy in the Middle East. But Israel fears Assad's departure could make the situation even worse, though it doesn't believe Assad is going anywhere soon. At a U.S.-Israel strategic dialogue session last week, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said Assad's departure could be "transformative" and could even lead to elections. However, Moshe Maoz, a Hebrew University scholar considered Israel's foremost Syria expert, marveled at the American confidence about a peaceful post-Assad Syria. Even if democracy does rise in Syria, there's no way of predicting which party would emerge triumphant, Maoz said. (JTA)
Instead of staging a costly second trial on the remaining counts, the government should begin deportation proceedings immediately. Al-Arian is a legal resident but not a citizen of the United States. New federal law makes associating with a terrorist group a deportable offense. This country has no place for zealots who train and equip suicide bombers. Let Al-Arian take his "pride" for such despicable actions to a country that shares his philosophy. (Bradenton Herald Today)
President Bush, in back-to-back speeches defending the Iraq war, has crossed Israel off the list of countries hit by Islamic terrorists. In his address this week to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, Bush said: "The terrorists in Iraq share the same ideology as the terrorists who struck the United States on Sept. 11, blew up commuters in London and Madrid, murdered tourists in Bali, killed workers in Riyadh, and slaughtered guests at a wedding in Amman, Jordan." How could Israel fail to make the President's cut? Especially after a suicide bomber killed five and wounded 60 in Netanya on Monday. Not to mention that Israel has been the prime target of terror forever. (New York Daily News)
Journalist Oriana Fallaci spoke Monday in New York about how Western nations are selling their own homelands and culture to their mortal enemies. Fallaci noted that many other groups have assimilated into European societies, but Muslims have not. "They want to impose on us their own habits and way of life. They have no intention of integrating with us. On the contrary, they demand that we integrate with them." Fallaci said that Europeans - French, Dutch, Germans, English, Italians - are about to reach the status of the Comanche, Cherokee, and Sioux: "We will end up on their reservation." She noted that some Muslim spokesmen, confident of their imminent supremacy, already refer to non-Muslim Europeans as "indigenous people" or "aboriginals." (FrontPageMagazine)
The heroes of these stories are not polished diplomats or experienced spokesmen, but just plain old good middle Americans, lovers of Zion who encountered anti-Israel sentiment and decided to fight it. I meet people like this almost every day - ordinary folks who love Israel and who fight to defend its honor.
Syracuse University, in upstate New York, suspended its Israel program, apparently simply to be on the safe side. But one especially stubborn undergraduate, Carly Mangel, decided to fight it. Together with friends, Carly wrote to the university administration, sent emotional letters from students who wanted to study in Israel, and kept an entire file of documents, reports, and recommendations from various people who called upon the university to change its policy. Three weeks ago, Syracuse decided that it isn't actually so dangerous to study in Israel, and its students could once again study there.
Several years ago in Florida, members of a small but active Jewish community noticed that the local paper's coverage of Israel had a decidedly pro-Palestinian slant. They began to clip articles, count news reports, assess headlines, and check photos: for every pro-Israel article, the paper had 4-5 that showed Israel in a negative light. Israelis were always the aggressors, Palestinians always the victims. Community members met with the editors, presented the articles that had appeared, and asked for fairer coverage. They showed the editors statistics about terrorism, presented the Israeli point of view, and tried to explain the complexity of the situation. Wonder of wonders, not only did the editors promise to be more careful, but in fact, gradually, over the course of months, community members began to see a change. The writer is the winner of the Israeli reality TV show "The Ambassador." (Ynet News)
When Maynard Hanson of Aberdeen, S.D., traveled to Germany, Austria, and France last spring, the 79-year-old and a group of World War II veterans made quite an impression on an Israeli woman. While there, they visited a concentration camp they passed through during the war and they attended various ceremonies the woman also attended.
"Her father was once one of the concentration camp inmates," said Hanson, a World War II veteran from the 65th Infantry Division. "We walked through that very camp during the war. As we were walking through, we walked by a bunch of bodies. One of the guys noticed one of the corpses had movement in his eye. He pulled him off the pile and we immediately got him to the hospital." "He was that lady's father," Hanson said.
The lady was Miriam Griver-Meisels, president of Hadassah Israel. Griver-Meisels was impressed by the soldiers, who had traveled back to the area and shown such respect. On Nov. 11, Veterans Day, five men - Hanson of Aberdeen, Ray Callanan of Farmington, Mo., Robert Patton of Chapel Hill, N.C., Mickey Dorsey of Johns Island, S.C., and Lynn LaBarre of Diamond Head, Miss., who is now deceased - had medals and commendations presented to them at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, a living memorial to the Holocaust in New York City, by Amir Ofek, consul for public affairs from the Israeli Consulate. (Aberdeen [South Dakota] News)
Frits Philips, the former head of Royal Philips Electronics who died on Monday at the age of 100, helped save the lives of hundreds of Dutch Jews during the Second World War after the Nazis forced him to open a factory in a concentration camp near Eindhoven. In a Schindler-style operation, 382 out of the 469 Jewish workers there survived. Later, Philips was awarded the Yad Vashem medal by Israel. (Financial Times-UK)
The Holocaust ended 60 years ago. Many undoubtedly wonder why John Demjanjuk, now 85, should not be left in peace. No one should shed a tear for Demjanjuk and the other mass murderers, even if they are now elderly. They committed unsurpassable crimes, willfully torturing and slaughtering unthreatening, defenseless Jewish men, women, and children by the tens of thousands. There is no statute of limitations for murder in this country, and, recognizing the historic nature of the Holocaust, the German Parliament repeatedly voted to extend the statute of limitations for murder there as well. Legally, the perpetrators' culpability for their willful crimes is beyond doubt. Is it any less clear morally?
That Demjanjuk and others escaped justice for decades, many rejoicing over their crimes, should not earn them a permanent "get out of jail" card. Eluding criminal punishment and living well after murdering so many, and while one's surviving victims bear their scars every day, is no argument for being allowed to continue to elude punishment. (Los Angeles Times)
Military and Security Implications of Israel's Disengagement from the Gaza Strip - Moshe Sharvit (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies-Tel Aviv University)
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