Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with Access/Middle East
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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May 22, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Dahlan's Plan: Recruit Terrorists into PA Security Forces - Ben Caspit (Maariv-Hebrew)
    Muhammad Dahlan has begun to develop a new security plan to co-opt terrorists in Gaza into the PA security forces
    Dahlan is also planning a campaign to purchase illegal weapons from the Palestinian population.
    Dahlan continues to oppose any direct confrontation with Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
    Sources in the Israeli security services say Dahlan has the means to overcome terror in Gaza, but "he simply doesn't want to."

New Arafat Move Undermines Abbas - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    In a move seen as a challenge to PA Prime Minister Abbas, Arafat on Wednesday issued a "presidential decree" moving the authority over the regional governors from the Interior Ministry to Arafat's own office.
    Most of the 14 governors are Arafat loyalists who returned with him from Tunis in 1994. PA sources said Arafat made the decision in a bid to prevent Abbas and Muhammad Dahlan from replacing them.
    Dahlan has renewed contacts with Jibril Rajoub, former chief of PA Preventive Security in the West Bank. Rajoub has been a strong supporter of Abbas, who wants him to play a role in the reorganized security apparatus in the West Bank.

India's Right-Wing Government Supports Israel - Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr. (Beirut Daily Star)
    The right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has always entertained a starry-eyed admiration for the Jewish state.
    India's stand on the Palestine-Israel conflict has been marked by a pendulum swing from unstinted support for Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to an uncritical leaning toward Israel.

Canadian Magen David Adom Resolves Tax Dispute (Canadian Jewish News)
    In July 2001, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) notified Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel (CMDA) that its charitable status was being revoked, charging that ambulances donated by CMDA were being used in the West Bank, Gaza, and east Jerusalem in contravention to Canadian public policy.
    In a bargain struck with the CCRA, CMDA has changed how it operates, had its registration revoked on May 3, 2003, and was then re-registered as a charitable organization on May 4.

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Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • New Al Qaeda Tape Urges Muslims to Attack
    Al Jazeera broadcast an audiotape Wednesday said to have been recorded by Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second most powerful figure in al Qaeda after Osama bin Laden, calling on Muslims to attack Western interests with the same ferocity as the Sept. 11 assaults and deriding Arab governments that aided the war on Iraq. The sudden appearance of a Qaeda recording heightened already elevated security concerns about the threat of a terrorist attack. Intelligence analysts warned that it might contain a coded signal to sleeper cells to begin a new wave of attacks. (New York Times)
        Text of Tape (BBC)
  • U.S. Asks Iran to Crack Down on Al Qaeda
    Administration officials are deeply concerned about intercepted communications strongly suggesting that al Qaeda leaders in Iran played a role in directing the bombings in Riyadh. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said: "There's no question but that there have been and are today senior al Qaeda leaders in Iran. And they're busy." (New York Times)
  • Saudis Foil Jet Attack on Skyscraper
    Three men, believed to be Moroccans, were arrested in Saudi Arabia as they were about to hijack an airliner and crash it into the National Commercial Bank in Jeddah, security sources said Wednesday. (Telegraph-UK)
  • New Palestinian PM Says Arafat Still in Charge
    In an interview in Egypt's al Mussawar weekly, new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas said President Yasser Arafat remained in charge, despite a U.S. and Israeli refusal to deal with him. "We do not do anything without his [Arafat's] approval," Abbas said. (Reuters)
  • Israeli Foreign Minister: Time for Arafat to Go
    Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Wednesday that it's time for Israel to get rid of Yasser Arafat. Shalom said Israeli generals do not oppose the concept of expelling Arafat, though they believe now is not the right time. Shalom also said it is time for Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to get down to business. "We hope that he will do what all the world expects him to do, to put an end to terrorism, to stop the violence, to stop the incitement," Shalom said. Shalom added that there is only so long Abbas can make excuses about why he's not fighting terror, or he will become as irrelevant as Arafat. (CBS News)
  • Kurd-Arab Clashes Imperil Iraq Cease-Fire
    A wave of village burnings, forcible evictions, and armed clashes between Kurdish forces and Arab fighters is sweeping through north-central Iraq, centering on the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. Major Robert Gowan said, ''We are trying not to allow any forcible evictions. We are trying to stop people from being killed.....We want to freeze the situation in place and have property disputes settled by some kind of court.'' (Boston Globe)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Israel Told to Accept Road Map "Formally" - Aluf Benn and Nathan Guttman
    The U.S. administration is demanding Israel formally accept the road map. Prime Minister Sharon's chief of staff, Dov Weisglass, met Wednesday with U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in an effort to find a formula that would enable Israel to accept the plan, while taking into account its comments and reservations. The Palestinians have insisted they won't start acting against terror until Israel declares its formal acceptance of the road map. Sharon and Foreign Minister Shalom have told the Americans that the road map, in its current form, could not win approval among a majority in the current Israeli government coalition.
        Senior officials in Washington have found the answer to Ariel Sharon's "yes, but" - and it's "not now." The Palestinians spotted a breach between Jerusalem and Washington and hurried to demand that Sharon accept the map as is. The Americans made clear to Sharon that they also believe Abbas' chances of taking control of the PA and smashing terror are very small, but Israel should not be seen as trying to obstruct him. (Ha'aretz)
  • U.S. Okays Israeli Sale of Phalcon to India - Aluf Benn
    Washington has lifted all its objections to Israel's selling a Phalcon airborne radar plane to India and has given the Israel Defense Ministry a green light for the $1 billion deal, without any conditions or limitations. There is no American equipment on the plane, but Israel coordinates its defense sales with Washington since it vetoed a similar sale to China three years ago. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Israeli-Palestinian Peace Won't End Arab Hatred of U.S. - Robert Lane Greene
    Let us stop with the self-deception that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian bloodletting will take away the grievance that causes young Arab and Muslim men to hate America. It won't. The real issue, as Bernard Lewis has argued, is that Islamist terrorists and their sympathizers are in permanent and furious denial of the state of the contemporary Muslim world. They cannot be placated by any change in American policy, whether reasonable or far-fetched. They can only be satisfied by the reestablishment of an Islamic caliphate, governed by sharia, from Morocco to Indonesia. (New Republic)
  • The Wake-Up Call to Banish Visions - Wesley Pruden
    What the Israelis want does not strike a reasonable man as unreasonable. They want to stop the killing first. The road map prescribes "parallel steps," concessions by both sides. This might work as a plan to settle a dispute between Domino's and Pizza Hut. But genuine peace talks require honorable men on both sides of a dispute, and George W.'s administration, if not the president himself, insists on looking for honor where there is only dishonor. Civilized men are dealing with a seventh-century culture that cannot comes to terms with civilization. All the road maps, however exquisitely drawn by all the president's men, lead only to dead ends. The writer is editor in chief of the Washington Times. (Washington Times)
  • Observations:   Israel in the EU?

    • Israel Considers Asking to Join EU
      Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told a visiting EU delegation Tuesday that "he is not excluding that this government will ask for full EU membership," said Marco Pannella, an Italian member of the European Parliament who is spearheading the initiative. A spokesman for Shalom said, "In principle, the minister thinks a possibility exists for Israel to join the EU, since Israel and Europe share similar economies and democratic values." (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
    • Italian PM: "We Look on Israel as a European Nation"
      "In the future, Europe must include Israel," Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi reportedly told World Jewish Congress leaders on Wednesday. "We look on Israel as a European nation to all intents and purposes: Cultural, economic and political," he said. In March 2002 Berlusconi first said that both Israel and Russia should join the EU. (Jerusalem Post)
    • Israel's Membership in EU Ruled Out
      Israel's desire to become a member of the EU is highly unlikely in the foreseeable future, commented the Brussels-based online "EUobserver." Any acceptance of Israel as a member is likely to be based on a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and substantially improved Arab-Israeli relations. (IRNA-Iran)
    • Iraq and Israel in the EU: Peace through Accession? - Leon Hadar
      A diplomatic coup that could put the Europeans in the Middle East's driver's seat could begin by removing the obstacles to the prompt entry of Turkey into the EU. They should also announce their readiness to open negotiations with a free and democratic Iraq, as well as with Israel and an independent Palestinian state that could lead to latter's gradual accession into the EU - albeit a goal that would take many years to achieve. It's time for the Europeans to conclude that they cannot continue to secure their interests in a region, with which they maintain strategic, business, and demographic ties, by burnishing their "pro-Arab" credentials and by propping-up bankrupted, corrupt political elites. (Cato Institute-Washington)

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