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 12, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

International Peacekeepers Are Not the Solution - Benny Avni (New York Sun)
    Responding to Senator Warner's proposal to send a NATO force to the Palestinian areas, Sharon adviser Dore Gold said, "Peacekeeping forces have been useful only in the context of resolved conflicts. In unresolved conflicts they are more the source of problems than a solution."
    He said peacekeepers become a target if they are in lieu of peace agreements.
    In Lebanon, the UN forces tended to appease the Hizballah terrorist organization to avoid casualties, he said.
    He added that peacekeepers are more effective preventing uniformed forces from crossing borders, such as the Israeli army, than in preventing infiltration of non-uniformed combatants, like terrorists.

NPR's Terror Problem: When is a Terrorist a Terrorist? - Alex Safian (National Review)
    Suicide bombers strike civilian targets in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, and National Public Radio quite reasonably labels the attacks "terror" and the attackers "terrorists," but when - at almost the same time - Palestinian suicide bombers launch five attacks against Israelis, NPR reporters, and hosts, as they have in the past, virtually banish the word "terror" from their vocabulary.
    Is this because NPR believes that Israelis, even women and children on a bus, are not "innocents," or perhaps that, by definition, those who attack Israelis cannot be terrorists?
    According to NPR's online style guide for reporters, the word terrorism "connotes" that the victims are "innocents." NPR's definition then explicitly questions whether Palestinian attacks against Israelis should be termed "terrorism."

Egypt FM: Intifada Has Run Its Useful Course, Should End (IslamOnline-Qatar)
    The Palestinian uprising has run its useful course and to continue it would threaten the loss of the gains it has achieved, Egypt's foreign minister said Friday.
    Ahmed Maher told the official daily Al-Ahram, "The armed intifada has reached the point where it cannot further achieve its objective, and it will be exploited against the Palestinian people and their rights."
    Maher said the "gains (of the intifada) need to be preserved so that they are not transformed into losses."

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Palestinian Bus Bomber Murders 16, Wounds 100 in Jerusalem
    A Palestinian bomber disguised as an Orthodox Jew detonated himself Wednesday on a crowded bus in downtown Jerusalem, killing 16 other people and wounding 100. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said after the attack, "Israel will continue to pursue to the fullest the Palestinian terror organizations and their heads, those who initiate, finance, and dispatch murder Jews." Raanan Gissin, a top adviser to Sharon, answered critics who argued that the attempt to kill Gaza Hamas leader Rantisi on Tuesday almost guaranteed a retaliatory attack by Hamas. "It takes a couple of days to prepare such an attack," Gissin said. "They planned it long before this. This really explains why we had to take that action." (New York Times)
  • Bush: Cut Off Hamas Funding
    After the bus bombing in downtown Jerusalem, for which Hamas claimed responsibility, President Bush urged all nations "to fight off terror, to cut off money to organizations such as Hamas, to isolate those who hate so much that they're willing to kill to stop peace from going forward." The State Department has designated Hamas a terror group. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Saudis Should Stop Bankrolling Hamas
    "If anyone came to my hometown in Phoenix and set off a bomb on a bus and killed 16 people and injured 100, my citizens would expect us to respond," U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) told MSNBC. "Do you want to call that a cycle of violence? You can call it what you want, but these acts of terror, these organizations, funded by the Saudis, at least encouraged by Yasser Arafat, are inexcusable." (CNS News)
        See also Bush Under Fire in Congress for Criticizing Israel
    Supporters of Israel in and out of Congress assailed President Bush Wednesday for criticizing Israeli attacks on Palestinian militant groups. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Cal.) said if the Palestinians will not disarm terrorists, "then Israel clearly will do so....We would do so. Any self-respecting society will do so."
        "There has been an ongoing debate within leadership circles in Hamas over the last few days about how to approach Abu Mazen," an Israeli official said. "One faction has said we have to fight against Abu Mazen and intensify terrorism....Rantisi is one of their most vocal forces." (New York Times)
  • U.S. Offensive Against Saddam Loyalists
    Thousands of American troops backed by jets, helicopters, and unmanned drone aircraft swarmed the area of Duluiyah, 45 miles north of Baghdad, this week to round up Saddam Hussein loyalists who have launched near-daily attacks on U.S. forces. Some 400 suspects were detained in the raid. (AP/San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Clashes in Iran Intensify
    Dozens of hard-liners riding motorbikes chased down about 300 protesters, beating them with sticks in the streets outside a Tehran University dormitory Wednesday. The protesters chanted "Death to Khamenei" and threw stones at police. (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Jerusalem Bombing Casualties Include American; Wounded Include Arab Bus Driver and NJ State Senator's Daughter
    Alan Beer, 47, a Cleveland-born computer programmer who immigrated to Israel in 1998, was killed in the bus bombing in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)
    The bus driver was Ibrahim Atrash, an Arab from the eastern Jerusalem village of Sur Baher, who was lightly wounded. (Ha'aretz)
        One of the wounded is the daughter of New Jersey State Senate Majority Leader Robert Singer. (CNS News)
        Natan Sharansky, the Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, stood next to the bus ruins shaking his head: "My daughter rides that bus, so immediately you start checking where your family is." (Jerusalem Post)
        Former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky explained to reporters the difference between the innocent dead in Jerusalem and in Gaza: "None of our operations target innocent people. If we harm the innocent, it is a failure for us. But the terrorists target the innocent. For them, this is a success - the goal of the operation." (Telegraph-UK)
  • Mofaz Orders IDF to Step Up War on Hamas
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has instructed senior IDF commanders and other security chiefs to escalate their operations against Palestinian terrorist groups, and especially Hamas. "We will use every means at our disposal against terror and against Hamas," Mofaz said Wednesday. Israel's security establishment believes that the Hamas terrorist infrastructure in Hebron under the leadership of Abdullah Kawasme is responsible for Wednesday's bus bombing. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Kills Two Senior Hamas Men in Gaza - Arnon Regular
    Two senior Hamas men were killed by missiles fired from attack helicopters in Gaza Wednesday. According to military sources, Tito Massoud, 35, of Hamas's militant wing, was responsible for the northern Gaza Strip and served as commander of the Qassam missile cells that have launched more than 100 volleys toward Sderot and Israeli towns in Gaza. Sufil Abu Nahaz, 29, one of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin's bodyguards, was also a prominent Hamas activist who was involved in the wave of terror attacks of February-March 1996. (Ha'aretz)
  • Barak: Palestinian Leadership Worthless Without Crackdown on Terror Speaking in New York Wednesday to the Council on Foreign Relations, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak said that if the new Palestinian leadership does not crack down on militant groups, then it is "worthless." Barak said Israel should "stand like a rock, not take a single step forward (in the peace process) until it becomes clear" that Palestinian Prime Minster Mahmoud Abbas is taking action against Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other groups conducting attacks on Israelis. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Hamas's War to End All Wars - Amir Oren
    The terror bombing in Jerusalem was another massacre of civilians on the endless production line created by the Hamas decision to conduct a war to end all wars against Israel. It was not the attack on Hamas leader Rantisi that spawned Wednesday's attack. The basic responsibility, the direct cause of the escalation that now threatens the political process and which sent the number of Israeli casualties in the three-year war over the 900 mark, sits on the shoulders of the Palestinians who reject any peace deal - particularly Hamas, which is growing in strength. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Exercising Right to Defend Itself - Licia Corbella
    Hamas, an Islamist terrorist organization, has the stated aim of destroying the State of Israel and killing as many Jews as possible. Peace is not on the agenda of Hamas, or Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. These groups believe it is an affront to Islam to allow Jews to live on what they believe to be holy Islamic land. Now, if you were running Israel, what would you do? It only makes sense that if the Palestinian Authority doesn't reign in those people vowing to murder you, you have to go and do it yourself. And that's what Israel did. Until the leaders of Palestinian terrorist groups, their funders, and supporters are either killed or jailed, there will be no peace in the Middle East. The author is the editor of the Calgary Sun. (Calgary Sun)
  • Observations:  

    Whose Fault? - Max Abrahms (Los Angeles Times)

    • President Bush's close friendship with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon may be wearing thin. The IDF strike on Hamas leader Rantisi was not only a personal affront, the president declared, it risked derailing the entire peace process. The resulting escalation, by implication, is therefore Israel's fault.
    • This interpretation is dubious. To justify it, you would have to believe that Rantisi did not pose an imminent threat to Israel, and that Hamas was currently a viable partner for peace. Both ideas need a rethink.
    • Rantisi is a senior Hamas leader and, as such, was and remains a legitimate military target. Terrorism apologists commonly draw a distinction between the political and military wings of terrorist groups. This would be akin to saying that Osama bin Laden was not a terrorist because he did not actually fly the planes.
    • The road map does not make targeted strikes illegal, but it does ban Palestinian incitement and the type of terror that scuttled Oslo. Only when this happens will Israelis find security and the Palestinians dignity - as President Bush used to say.

      Max Abrahms is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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