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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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May 9, 2002

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Thursday, May 9, 2002 is Yom Yerushalayim commemorating the 35th anniversary of the reunification of Israel's capital. Click here to join a simulcast from Israel at 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. (EST) with President Moshe Katzav, Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky, and Mayor Ehud Olmert. (One Jerusalem)

In-Depth Issue:

Arafat - A Democratically Elected Leader?
    Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, writing recently in the New York Times, referred to Yasser Arafat as the democratically elected leader of the Palestinians. On January 21, 1996, Arafat was elected President of the Palestinian Authority with 88 percent of the vote, defeating Samiha Khalil, a 72-year-old grandmother.
    What is less known is that Arafat's term of office expired three years ago, and he has never stood for reelection.
    The Oslo II Accord specifies in Ch. 1, Art. III, Para. 4: "The Council and the Ra'ees [President] of the Executive Authority of the Council shall be elected for a transitional period not exceeding five years from the signing of the Gaza-Jericho Agreement on May 4, 1994."

Useful Reference:

  • Involvement of Arafat and PA Officials in Terrorism
        Based on documents uncovered in Operation Defensive Shield
  • Palestinian Incitement and Education to Hate
        A special report from the Prime Minister's Office

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    Daily Alert Back Issues

    The Washington Rally for Israel
  • Speeches
  • Photos
  • News Resources - USA and Europe:
  • Powell: Palestinian Reforms Essential
    After a meeting with the British Foreign Secretary, Secretary of State Powell said, "We talked about the need to see reform in the Palestinian Authority, and we will be discussing it with the Palestinian leaders." Earlier, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer reiterated the administration's support for reforming the authority. "It is time for the Palestinian Authority to reform. That is what the president is watching." (CNN)
  • Debating the Replacement of Arafat
    A consensus has emerged in recent days among Europeans, Arabs, the United States and Israel that the Palestinian Authority must be overhauled to be more democratic, more accountable and less corrupt if a Palestinian state is ever to be born. (New York Times)
  • New Intelligence Indicates Saddam Coming Close to a Nuclear Weapons Capability
    Turkey's intelligence service believes Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's regime has successfully produced a nuclear device. According to U.S. intelligence officials the new information adds to a growing body of intelligence on Saddam's efforts to produce nuclear arms. Secretary of State Powell said on May 5 that Saddam is "working feverishly" on nuclear weapons, but he did not note any Iraqi nuclear breakthrough just yet. (Geostrategy-Direct/IMRA)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Cabinet Approves Military Operation in Gaza
    Following Tuesday's suicide bombing in Rishon Lezion, the security cabinet unanimously approved a military operation in the Gaza Strip. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Bush Okays "Limited Incursions" into PA Areas
    After hearing about the suicide bombing in Rishon Lezion, President Bush conveyed to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that he would understand if Israel elects to carry out "limited incursions" into Palestinian Authority areas to preempt terrorist attacks. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Briefing: The End of the Siege at the Church of the Nativity
    After 37 days, an agreement to solve the crisis at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem has been achieved. 26 wanted people have been exiled to Palestinian Authority territory in the Gaza Strip. 13 wanted terrorists will stay within the church until a country that agrees to receive them is found. (IMRA)
  • Global Commentary and Think Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Middle East Is a Disaster, But Not an Emergency - Jonathan Rauch
    Israel's recent West Bank incursions have in fact bettered the prospects for successful negotiations by demonstrating to Palestinian militants that violence is a high-cost, low-return strategy. The day American and other foreign forces landed in Palestine, any militant with a dime's worth of sense would know exactly what to do: Test the peacekeepers by attacking Israel. (National Journal )
  • Sharon's Peace-Processing - Jim Hoagland
    Sharon has come up with a reasonable set of demands that he presented to Bush as "Israel's peace plan." While keeping his tanks poised to go anywhere they are needed to prevent new terror attacks, he is taking the initiative in diplomacy as well. (Washington Post)
  • Preparing for the Post-Arafat Period - Amir Oren
    The security infrastructure in the territories was tainted by terrorism. Palestinians speaking with Israelis talk about mounting political and personal criticism of Arafat. (Ha'aretz)
  • Yasser Arafat, Leader for Life - James S. Robbins
    At the 2000 Camp David negotiations, Arafat was the strongest person in the room. The Palestinian leader was the only one there who could emerge stronger by leaving, so when he did not get everything he wanted, he went home. Barak's government fell, Clinton's term expired, and Arafat moved on. (National Review)
  • Semantics of Murder - Amir Taheri
    The recruiters never use their own children. No one related by blood to the leaders of Hamas or Islamic Jihad has died in suicide bombings. Arafat's wife, Suha, says she would offer her son for suicide attacks. Mrs. Arafat, however, has no son, only a daughter, living with her in Paris. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Tales of the Tyrant - Mark Bowden
    A detailed portrait of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (Atlantic Monthly)
  • Talking Points:

  • Following Operation Defensive Shield, the Palestinians themselves have begun a process of internal soul-searching about their past strategy and the quality of their leaders.
  • This is a welcome development which could lead to positive changes.
  • The Palestinians must eliminate the multiplicity of uncontrollable armed organizations that threaten Israeli security and Palestinian civil society.
  • After the Bush-Sharon Meeting

    According to a senior official in Sharon's entourage, President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon agreed on the following:

  • Arafat either has to be pushed aside or "kicked upstairs" to a symbolic position.
  • The reform and reconstruction of the PA is a precondition to "entering into a meaningful political dialogue."
  • The new framework calls for a reformation of the PA, followed by negotiations with a centralized authority leading to interim and then final-status agreements.
  • Negotiations will be held when there is a restructured PA in place.
  • The U.S. agrees with Israel that a meaningful political process is not possible with the PA as it is currently constituted.
        From Jerusalem Post