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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June 4, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Arab Leaders Reject Bush Demand to Advance Normalization with Israel - Daniel Sobelman (Ha'aretz)
    The Qatari-based Al-Jazeera satellite channel reported that the opening of the summit was postponed by two hours due to Arab leaders' rejection of Bush's demand to advance the normalization of ties with Israel.
    See also Behind the Smiles at the Summit - Zvi Bar'el (Ha'aretz)
    The leaders of the five Arab nations who met with President Bush say they'll fight terror and won't finance it, but the definition of a terrorist will continue to divide the U.S. and the Arab states.
    On the two issues discussed behind closed doors - returning the Jordanian and Egyptian ambassadors to Israel and normalization of Saudi-Israeli relations - the Arabs "made note" of the American request.

Long-Range Rocket Engines Found in Iraq (London Times)
    Rocket motors for long-range missiles have been discovered in Iraq.
    Senior Whitehall sources said that in the past few weeks U.S. and British weapons experts discovered that the Abu Ghraib military base was developing a weapon with a range of about 960km (600 miles), capable of reaching Israel and other parts of the Middle East.
    Under limits set by the UN Security Council, Iraq was allowed missiles with a range of up to 150km only.

Arab Hostility Toward U.S. Growing, Poll Finds - Michael Dobbs (Washington Post)
    According to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, 71% of Palestinians expressed "a lot of confidence" or "some confidence" in bin Laden compared to 1% for President Bush.
    The only Arab countries where Bush outscored the man viewed by most Westerners as an international terrorism mastermind were Lebanon and Kuwait.

Muslims Lament Israel's Existence - Meg Bortin (International Herald Tribune)
    Most Muslim populations surveyed in the Pew poll believe by wide margins that the needs of Palestinians cannot be met so long as the State of Israel exists.
    In a wave of sentiment that bodes ill for the future of the U.S.-sponsored "road map" to peace, Muslims lined up strongly behind the opinion that "the rights and needs of the Palestinian people cannot be taken care of as long as the state of Israel exists."
    This conviction is strongest in Morocco (90%), followed by Jordan (85%), the Palestinian Authority (80%), Kuwait (72%), Lebanon (65%), Indonesia (58%), and Pakistan (57%).

    See the full survey report - Views of a Changing World, June 2003 (Pew Charitable Trusts)

Useful Reference:

Anti-Semitism: The Pipeline of Hatred
    A Powerpoint presentation

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Bush Meets Arab Leaders in Egypt
    President Bush, meeting with Arab leaders from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, and the Palestinians in Sharm el-Sheikh Tuesday, said, "All progress towards peace requires the rejection of terror. The leaders here today have declared their firm rejection of terror, regardless of its justifications or motives. They've also committed to practical actions to use all means to cut off assistance, including arms and financing to any terror group, and to aid the Palestinian Authority in their own fight against terror." (White House)
        See also On Camera But Unaware, Bush Displays His Fervor
    In one moment caught by an Egyptian TV camera, Mr. Bush and Mr. Abbas could be seen smiling and talking to each other off to the side. "By the time the lunch was over, they looked like they were old pals," said a high-ranking Saudi official. (New York Times)
  • Israeli Gesture Sets Stage for Summit
    Israel freed about 100 Palestinian prisoners Tuesday in a goodwill gesture ahead of Wednesday�s Mideast peace summit with President Bush. (MSNBC)
  • Powell Issues Warning to Yasser Arafat
    At a news conference in Sharm el-Sheikh Tuesday, Secretary of State Powell said: "For Mr. Arafat to serve as a spoiler, or attempt to be a spoiler, I hope will be met by resistance from all of the Arab leaders who are here today, and such spoiling activities would be met with resistance by the international community. But above all, I hope the Palestinian people will see that in this new leadership, which they elected through their legislature, we have a chance that had previously been denied to the Palestinian people and will not let anyone, to include Mr. Arafat, deny them that opportunity." (VOA News)
  • U.S. Jews View New Peace Efforts
    Publicly, most Jewish organizations support the "road map" for Israeli-Palestinian peace that President Bush is promoting in his Middle East travels this week and at his summit with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his new Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas. But privately, there is much skepticism about what will transpire in the coming weeks and months, with fears that Israel will be forced to make too many concessions or that Palestinians will get a state without first cracking down on terrorism. "Everybody is hesitant," said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. "A lot of people have reservations because they see this as a very risky approach." Hoenlein and others say the 14 reservations about the road map that Israel submitted to the U.S. last month mirror the concerns they have been expressing for months, and there is still strong concern that Arafat retains much of the control of the security system in the West Bank and Gaza. (JTA)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • The Aqaba Summit - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon meets President George Bush and Palestinian Premier Mahmoud Abbas in Aqaba, Jordan, Wednesday in a three-way summit aimed at formally launching the road map peace process. Senior Israeli officials say that Israel, the PA, and the U.S. are all expected to stop just short of delivering the type of dramatic statements that could drastically change the parameters of the conflict. David Hacham, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz's adviser on Arab affairs, said although a call to end the "militarization of the intifada" would be a step short of an all-out call to end Palestinian terrorism, it would not be without significance. For Abbas to make such a statement with the eyes of the world upon him would be important, Hacham said, because it would constitute a form of obligation to which Israel could later hold him. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Sharp Rise in Terror Alerts - Amos Harel
    There was a sharp rise in security alerts Tuesday, with the Shin Bet counting at least 63 specific alerts and the IDF attributing the tension to the terror organizations wanting to disrupt the Sharm el-Sheikh and Aqaba summits. (Ha'aretz)
  • Sharon to Offer Contiguity for Interim State - Aluf Benn
    Sharon has in the past offered a contiguous territory to the Palestinians with a system of tunnels and bridges to connect the Palestinian enclaves in the West Bank. (Ha'aretz)
  • Jerusalem Elects First Ultra-Orthodox Mayor
    Acting mayor Uri Lupolianski, 52, of the Torah Judaism list was elected mayor of Jerusalem Tuesday. He took over from mayor Ehud Olmert several months ago, when Olmert decided to run for the Knesset and was later named to the cabinet. A father of 12, Lupolianski is a 15-year veteran of the city council who served as Olmert's senior deputy over the past decade. Lupolianski is best known for founding the charitable Yad Sarah organization, which for the past quarter-century has provided free medical equipment and services to needy Israelis. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Bolstering the Palestinian Premier - Editorial
    The Arab states can do much more. They have one central task: to strengthen the new Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas. This means conferring on Mr. Abbas the same authority they once gave Yasser Arafat and condemning violent groups like Hamas and their rejectionist agendas. Unfortunately, the Egyptian foreign minister recently stated his government's allegiance to Mr. Arafat. And no Arab leader has directly condemned suicide bombings or their sponsors. (New York Times)
  • Europeans Distort Bush Vision in Road Map - Ehud Ya'ari
    European pens worked elements into the road map that have the potential to distort the original "Bush vision" of a different Palestinian leadership. There is too much emphasis on international conferencing and too little insistence on the necessity of negotiations - and reaching agreement - between the two sides. Essentially, the danger is that a Palestinian state may be established without prior agreement with Israel, without a firm commitment to peace but only with some kind of cease-fire. Israel should try to reach an understanding that a Palestinian state, should we get to that stage, will only be established on the basis of a prior agreement regarding the refugees' "right of return." The same goes for Israeli demands to limit this state's sovereignty and for the dismantling of the terror organizations, rather than having them folded into the security services of the Palestinian Authority.
        If the road map has the power - which I seriously doubt - to serve as an exit mechanism from the cycle of violence, there is no reason now to start writing its epitaph. And if, as Hamas has promised, there is only one road map - that which leads the suicide bombers to Paradise - then the document will in any case turn into a collection of dead letters. (Jerusalem Report)
  • Appearances Can Be Deceiving - Eli J. Lake
    By some appearances, the chances for peace between Israelis and Palestinians seemed brighter this week than in a very long time. But appearances can be deceiving. The most looming obstacle to peace is the uncomfortable truth that suicide bombs are so inexpensive and easy to produce that almost anyone can make them, and the most effective way to prevent their devastating effect is through measures that punish almost all Palestinians unlucky enough to live in the communities from which the bombers flow. The fact that these Israeli measures have actually prevented terror attacks punctures the cycle of violence argument, favored by European and American peace processors, which posits that Israel's response to terror in fact increases it.
        Arafat is the most potent symbol of the Palestinian national movement. As the Americans attempt to shunt him aside, it's unlikely the Palestinian people will necessarily go along with it, unless they believe it is their choice to do the shunting. Unfortunately, there is no reason to believe Palestinians should feel particularly invested in the political deals that are affecting them. Who knows if Abbas can sell a deal to the Palestinians? (UPI)
  • Time for the Palestinians to Choose Life - Bassem Eid
    I was shocked to see the images on television of Palestinian children going to the Muqata on the Day of the Child to support Arafat. The Palestinian president is still talking about shaheeds and he encouraged children to become martyrs. (This statement has not yet been condemned by any organizations for the protection of children.) It seems Arafat is still encouraging Palestinians to victimize themselves, an attitude that is without logic or ethics. Instead of talking about peace and life, instead of supporting coexistence, instead of fulfilling the consciousness of human beings, Arafat is calling for death. (Ha'aretz)
  • Observations:  

    Israel's Positions and the Aqaba Summit
    (Prime Minister's Office/Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

    • The basis for any real progress depends on the Palestinians fighting terrorism.
      1. Dismantling terrorist organizations - their headquarters, training facilities, etc.
      2. Arresting terrorists and bringing them to justice.
      3. Confiscating illegal weapons and handing them over to a third party outside the Palestinian Authority. Stopping the smuggling of arms.
      4. Taking effective measures to prevent impending terror attacks - like arresting suspects based on intelligence.
      5. Halting the incitement in the Palestinian media, mosques, and schools - creating an atmosphere of peace.
    • Real peace comes from deeds, not words.
    • A "hudna" or temporary cease-fire is unacceptable because it will only allow the terrorist groups to regroup and reorganize themselves.
    • Israel has taken sincere and concrete steps to improve the living conditions of Palestinians based on their requests; now is the time for the PA to also take concrete action against terror.
    • Israel has offered to redeploy from major cities in the West Bank and in Gaza where the PA can take security control. We have no interest in staying there, but we must insure the safety of our citizens. The PA must guarantee that Israeli citizens will not be subjected to continued rocket attacks. Wherever the PA takes responsibility, we will leave.
    • Both Israelis and Palestinians deserve a real peace, one that will last for generations. Israel is willing to make painful compromises for genuine, true, durable peace. Israel made peace with Egypt in 1979, with Jordan in 1994, and hopes to make peace with all our neighbors in the region.

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