Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Iran Asks Interpol to Arrest Five Argentines (Reuters)
Ex-FBI Employee's Case Raises New Security Concerns - Joby Warrick and Dan Eggen
Busted Los Angeles Drug Ring Had Ties to Hizbullah - James Gordon Meek (New York Daily News)
New Jersey Department of Homeland In-Security - Steven Emerson and Stephen M. Flatow (New York Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Baton-wielding police officers from Hamas dispersed a pro-Fatah demonstration by schoolgirls from Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza on Tuesday. The headscarved students had gathered in front of the town's police station chanting "Shia, Shia, Shia," a derogatory reference to Iran's backing of Hamas, after going on strike in protest at the killings of Fatah members Monday. Hazem abu Shanab, one of the few remaining Fatah senior figures in Gaza, said the Hamas paramilitary police had arrested "hundreds" of Fatah supporters or members overnight, and that "hundreds more" were on the wanted list. (Times-UK)
See also Economic Woes Behind New Unrest in Gaza - Karin Laub
The backdrop to the violence in Gaza: skeletons of unfinished apartment towers, shuttered factories, empty store shelves and skyrocketing prices for bread and cigarettes after five months of rule by the Islamic militants of Hamas and isolation from the world. Still, Hamas' grip on power doesn't appear in serious danger. (AP)
Iran has given the UN blueprints involved in making a nuclear warhead, but it has failed to comply with other demands of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Diplomats told the Associated Press that IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei's latest confidential assessment is likely to show substantial but not full compliance by Iran with its pledges to come clean on past activities - and confirm at the same time that Tehran continues to enrich uranium in defiance of the UN Security Council. (USA Today)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
According to a U.S. diplomatic source, Secretary of State Rice is unlikely to return to the Middle East before the Annapolis peace meeting, tentatively set for Nov. 27. Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams are continuing regular meetings in an effort to draft a joint statement of principles to be presented at Annapolis. But American sources said Washington would press ahead with the event even if the Israelis and Palestinians failed to agree on the wording of a joint document. (Jerusalem Post)
"It was women whose votes had led to the defeat of Fatah in 2006, so it was significant now that many women came to the rally. I saw one woman go up to an armed policeman and dare him: Kill me, you Shi'ite." This was related by a devout Muslim, a Hamas adherent who left the movement. "The masses who came to the rally did not come for Arafat or for Mohammad Dahlan, or because they were promised NIS 200 or a phone card. They came out of hatred for Hamas," says the former movement activist.
A friend of his, who has remained a Hamas activist, agrees: "There has been a consolidation among some of the Fatah activists, because of anger and hatred for Hamas, after mistakes of ours that are impossible to ignore....We knew that there was a large public in Gaza that supports Fatah, which hasn't disappeared. But this is a public without a leadership. The leaders have fled." (Ha'aretz)
See also Excessive and Lethal Use of Force Against Civilians in Gaza
Pictures showed members of the police firing indiscriminately at the rally participants. The police also chased rally participants and beat them with batons and sticks. Our staff did not find any member of the police who was injured by gunfire. (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
See also Anger in the Palestinian Press at Gaza Deaths (BBC News)
Palestinians in Gaza fired three Kassam rockets and four mortar shells towards Israel Tuesday. One of the rockets landed near Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal's house. (Ynet News)
See also Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues Wednesday
Palestinians fired two Kassam rockets Wednesday morning that landed near Sderot. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
"Anyone with eyes can see...the situation in Gaza and understand that the legitimate Palestinian government headed by Salam Fayyad, or Mahmoud Abbas - even if they wish to advance the two-state principle and although they are partners to the principle that terror is not a means of achieving Palestinian national goals - when it comes to actual implementation, there are certainly problems carrying it out. They do not have absolute control in Gaza; Hamas has control. There are problems in Judea and Samaria as well."
"Our duty lies partly in making sure we have a partner for talks and understandings on the permanent status issues...as long as we know, determine and stipulate ahead of time, before entering the process, that even if we have a partner today and even if it is our duty to examine whether the partner on the other side is capable of reaching the understandings with us, they still have the burden of proof during implementation. Before this partner turns from a partner for understandings to a partner for implementation, they will have to carry out the Roadmap. So the talks being held today with them hold no immediate concessions. That was the condition for embarking on this dialogue. That was part of the basic understandings." (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Since its establishment, the State of Israel has been badly disappointed by agreements transferring responsibility for Jewish holy places to neighboring Arab or Palestinian rule. On September 28, 1995, the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement was signed on the White House lawn, making the Palestinians responsible for civilian and security matters in additional areas of the West Bank. The holy sites in those regions, or adjacent regions (access to which passed through or close to Palestinian areas), were designated as "sites of religious significance" or "archaeological sites." The agreement also dealt with the status of 23 places holy to Jews, including the tombs of biblical figures.
With the outbreak of the second intifada in the fall of 2000, Joseph's Tomb in Nablus was attacked, set ablaze and desecrated. The "Shalom al Israel" synagogue in Jericho was attacked. Holy books and relics were burned, and the synagogue's ancient mosaic was damaged. Bullets were fired at Rachel's Tomb as soon as the riots began. Palestinian Authority security forces, who were responsible for keeping order, not only failed to prevent the violence, they actively participated in it. Two Israeli soldiers were killed in the battles. Unfortunately, there has been a discernable deterioration in Palestinian treatment of Jewish holy sites in 2007, including the Tomb of Joshua bin Nun at Kefel Hares.
Israel's experience since the Oslo agreements has shown that the responsibility for Jewish holy sites or the roads leading to them should remain in Israeli hands. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Now is the time for the Palestinian side to bite the bullet, to set forth realistic positions in order to find a common platform with Israel. Here is what I believe the Palestinians must do:
1) Road map. The Palestinians must implement the first phase of the road map and uproot violence from their midst. The struggle against the terrorist infrastructure must be relentless and ongoing. This should be done not as a "goodwill" gesture toward Israel, but because it is in the supreme interest of the Palestinians.
2) Right of return. Even the most moderate Israelis, myself included, vehemently opposes the influx of millions of Palestinian refugees or their descendents into sovereign Israel. The Palestinian leadership must finally tell its people that adhering to the right of return as an ideology would torpedo any hopes for a negotiated settlement with Israel.
Israelis must feel certain that their lives will not again be placed in jeopardy by terrorism. Israel will not tolerate terror against any Israelis. And terrorism is also a threat on the authority of the Palestinian leadership. The writer is president of the Peres Center for Peace. (Jerusalem Post)
Rice: Will a Palestinian State Fight Terrorism? (State Department)
Secretary of State Rice told the United Jewish Communities General Assembly in Nashville on Tuesday:
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