Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Lebanon Arrests Group Planning Attacks on UN Peacekeepers (AFP)
Iran Deeply Involved in 2006 Lebanon-Israel War (MEMRI)
New Animated Film on Hamas TV Focuses on Child Martyrdom (MEMRI)
Dubai Bans Israel from International Forum - Sharon Wrobel (Jerusalem Post)
CAMERA Prompts LA Times Correction on IDF (CAMERA)
Tourism to Israel Jumps 86% in September - Nathan Burstein (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Secretary of State Rice on Monday expressed hope that a successfully negotiated vision of a Palestinian state would marginalize the militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza. "There will have to come a time when the Palestinian people will have to decide whether the prospect of that state is in their interest, and I think they will decide that it is," Rice said after meeting with Mahmoud Abbas. "But people are going to have to accept that it means accepting the existence of Israel and the right of Israel to exist."
Rice repeatedly called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, but made it clear that Hamas, which calls for Israel's destruction, would have no role in the upcoming negotiations. "We've been very clear what the criteria are for involvement in this process," she said. "If you're going to have a two-state solution, you have to accept the right of the other party to exist. If you're going to have a two-state solution that is born of negotiation, you're going to have to renounce violence." (Los Angeles Times)
Nabil Gheit, the mayor of Ras Hamis, a Palestinian neighborhood on the eastern fringe of Jerusalem, says he can't think of a worse fate than being handed over to the Palestinian Authority. "If there was a referendum here, no one would vote to join the Palestinian Authority," Gheit said. "We will not accept it. There would be another intifada [uprising] to defend ourselves from the PA." Many Palestinians dislike the idea of their neighborhoods, which are generally more prosperous than other parts of the West Bank, being absorbed into the chaotic Palestinian territories.
Gheit, 53, with two posters of "the martyr Saddam Hussein" hanging over his cash register, can hardly be called an admirer of the Jewish state. He says he'd be happy to one day live in a properly independent Palestinian state, but not one that looks anything like the corruption-racked and violence-prone areas that are split between the warring Hamas and Fatah factions. "At least in Israel, there's law," he says. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel on Monday released a Hizbullah fighter suffering a mental illness and the bodies of two others, in exchange for the body of an Israeli civilian. Sources in the Prime Minister's Bureau said the swap also included information from Hizbullah regarding a separate issue, and that the information would be examined in the coming days. However, the Lebanese daily Al-Akbar on Tuesday reported that Hizbullah gave Israel documents written in missing Israeli aviator Ron Arad's handwriting. Arad's aircraft went down over Lebanon in 1986. The Israeli whose body was returned was Gabriel Dwait, a 27-year-old immigrant from Ethiopia, who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea on January 20, 2005.
Israel and Hizbullah have been conducting negotiations aimed at securing the release of captured Israel Defense Forces reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud (Udi) Goldwasser, whose abduction on July 12, 2006, sparked the Second Lebanon War. (Ha'aretz)
Secretary of State Rice said Monday there was no need to set a timetable for reaching a permanent accord between Israelis and Palestinians as a pre-condition for the Annapolis conference set for November. She hinted that the conference could be delayed until December if necessary. According to Rice, the U.S. needs to allow the Israelis and Palestinians to be "realistic with each other about what they can achieve" before the international conference. "This is the beginning of negotiations, not the end. We don't need to try to go too far," Rice said. (Ynet News)
Tel Aviv University's Peace Index survey, carried out on Oct. 8-10, found that only 39% of the Israeli Jewish public believe the upcoming Annapolis conference can increase the chances of reaching a permanent peace agreement, while 56% believe it cannot. Only 30% of the Jewish public perceive Hamas as a desirable partner for dialogue and would like to see Hamas representatives participate in the conference. Some 59% oppose transferring the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem to Palestinian sovereignty in exchange for a peace agreement, compared to 33% who support such a move. 87% are not prepared for the return of even a single Palestinian refugee to Israel in the context of a permanent peace settlement. (Ha'aretz)
Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket that landed Monday evening in Israel's western Negev region, Army Radio reported. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Prime Minister Olmert and Foreign Minister Livni have expended the best of their political and diplomatic capital battling the so-called Palestinian "right of return" to Israel. Olmert has worked endlessly over the past year to convince Abbas to concede on the issue. He also singled out the "right of return" as the deal-breaker in the Saudi peace initiative. Livni's diplomacy has positioned the "right of return" as the single major threat to Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state. The issue is a "non-starter" politically and diplomatically. There is "wall-to-wall" agreement in Israel rejecting the "right of return" to Israel.
Israel is therefore mistaken to waste most of its diplomatic energy "killing" the Palestinian "right of return," when there is no danger that Israel will be forced to absorb millions of Arab refugees. Diplomatically, Israel has already won that battle. But on two other "core issues," borders and Jerusalem, that are no less critical to Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state, and are today in great peril, Israel has a bloody diplomatic fight ahead. Israel must therefore insist on its rightful and well-established claims backed by international law and U.S. diplomatic assurances to demand defensible borders opposite Palestinian demands for a full Israeli withdrawal to the 1949 Armistice lines. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Don't Blame Condoleezza - Alon Pinkas
Rice has the unenviable but attainable task of reconciling the parties' diverging ideas of Annapolis: Israel, which wants a Seinfeld summit (about nothing) and the Palestinians, who want things they neither deserve nor will get. She needs to essentially draft a concluding statement before the summit even convenes, a statement that, by the laws of nature and politics, cannot please everyone equally. It has to be general enough for Olmert to maintain his coalition and fend off claims that he made concessions without reciprocity. Yet it has to be substantive enough if some form of bilateral negotiations will follow. It must be kept vague in terms of not rendering one side a loser and, at the same time, contain details that would constitute a formative document, one that will be referred to in later stages. (Jerusalem Post)
The Muslim Brotherhood, established in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna, has been outlawed by the Egyptian government since 1954. Today, it packages itself as a moderate organization, and its members hold 88 seats (about a fifth) in the Egyptian parliament as independents.
The latest version of the Muslim Brotherhood's political party platform calls for the adoption of a "Civic Islamic State." Perhaps the most alarming feature of the draft platform is the call to create a Council of Islamic Scholars that could end up being elected by Islamic clerics, not through free and fair elections, reminiscent of Iran's Guardian Council. This undemocratically selected body could have the power vested by the state to veto any and all legislation passed by the Egyptian parliament and approved by the president that is not compatible with Islamic Sharia law.
Mohamed Habib, the Muslim Brotherhood's second-in-command, said in an interview in August that the Brotherhood would not recognize the "Zionist entity" or "unjust" international treaties, in reference to the peace treaty signed with Israel in 1979. (Christian Science Monitor)
Iran's Al-Qaeda: If the Revolutionary Guards Aren't Terrorists, Who Is? - Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal)
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