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 17, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Cracking Down on Hamas - Matt Rees and Aharon Klein (TIME)
    Shin Bet head Avi Dichter has warned that the road map doesn't sufficiently pressure the Palestinian Authority to crack down on terrorist groups.
    Dichter has at times been at odds with Israeli military intelligence officials who believe that Hamas launches its attacks in waves spurred by diplomatic or military developments.
    In contrast, Dichter has advised Sharon that Hamas tries to strike constantly, succeeding only when it beats Israeli security.
    In that assessment, political maneuvers can't put off Hamas these days; only targeted killings and arrests can.

U.S. Questions Egypt on WMD, Missiles (Middle East Newsline)
    U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton held talks over the weekend in Cairo with Egyptian leaders on a range of sensitive subjects including Egypt's WMD and missile programs, and Cairo's cooperation with Saddam Hussein's Iraq and North Korea.
    "All of the testimony and evidence found in Iraq have shown significant Egyptian involvement in Iraq's missile and WMD programs," a U.S. official said. "The issue has become too big to ignore."
    In December 2002, the U.S. asked Egypt to grant it access to scores of scientists who were employed in Saddam's nuclear program, but the Egyptian regime of President Hosni Mubarak did not cooperate with the U.S. request, officials said.

Poll: Majority in U.S. See No Arab-Israeli Peace - Lydia Saad (Gallup)
    In a new poll, conducted June 12-15, just 38% of Americans predicted Arab-Israeli peace was possible. Six in 10 now doubt a resolution to the conflict will ever be worked out.
    Only 18% think the U.S. should favor Israel, 4% say it should favor the Palestinians, while 74% say the U.S. should not take either side.

Pakistan Weighs Recognition of Israel (Kyodo News-Japan)
    Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said Monday there is a need to think about recognizing Israel.
    "We must think about it seriously. There should be no emotionalism involved," he said in a TV interview prior to a two-week visit to Western Europe and the U.S.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Hamas Poses Challenge to Abbas's Authority
    A faceoff with the popular and well-organized Hamas would be a tough battle for Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, analysts say. "If he was going to use force tomorrow, I don't think he has a chance," said Ali Jerbawi, a political scientist at the West Bank's Bir Zeit University. Few Palestinians voice support for Abbas, who took office April 30 and has a popularity rating in the single digits in most polls. In Jabaliya, many view Abbas as a stooge of Israel and the U.S., and consider the PA as corrupt thieves. (AP/Washington Times)
  • EU, UN Pressure Iran on Atomic Program
    Both the EU and the head of the UN atomic watchdog agency on Monday joined the U.S. in calling for Tehran to accept an intrusive inspections regime designed to curtail its nuclear program. U.S. officials said they are pushing for a vote to censure Iran at a meeting of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency now underway in Vienna. If that fails to produce results, the next step could be to refer the dispute to the UN Security Council. The Bush administration says Iran is using its civilian nuclear program as a cover for secretly developing nuclear weapons. (Washington Post)
  • A French Hug for Hamas
    Hamas still has a friend in France. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw urged an EU meeting in Luxembourg Monday to outlaw the political wing of Hamas because "Hamas's political and military wings are very extensively intertwined." "Hamas has rejected the road map and is literally trying to blow it up," said Straw. Yet French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin stymied the move. (New York Daily News)
  • Jordanian Campaign Trail Tough for Women
    Fayza Nueimi, one of 54 female candidates in Tuesday's Jordanian elections, is the first Bedouin woman to run for parliament. Just shaking hands with a man is a bold step for a Bedouin woman, let alone sitting down with men and women together to discuss political issues. In all, 765 Jordanians are competing for 110 seats in the first parliamentary vote under King Abdullah II, who ascended to the throne in 1999. (AP/New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Weisglass: No Progress on Roadmap Until Hamas Stops Attacks
    Prime Minister Sharon's bureau chief, Dov Weisglass, speaking in the name of the prime minister, told National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice in Washington on Monday that Israel will not implement the Roadmap peace initiative until Hamas terror attacks are put to a stop. Weisglass also met with Secretary of State Powell. Head of the Shin Bet security service Avi Dichter is also in Washington, where he met with Rice and is expected to meet with top CIA officials.
        State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, "The idea of a cease-fire as a step along the way is a good one, but ultimately it has to lead to that kind of dismantlement that the president talked about, denying them the ability to carry out attacks, because Hamas is clearly an obstacle to peace." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Egypt Awaits Hamas Reply on Cease-Fire
    Hamas sources said the Egyptians did not demand an explicit cease-fire declaration or an end to all "military operations," but merely that Hamas "end some forms of resistance." This means an end to attacks inside Israel but not to attacks against soldiers or settlers in the territories, the sources said. However, such a partial cease-fire would be unacceptable to Jerusalem. Even a full cease-fire would be acceptable to Israel only as a temporary measure: Jerusalem continues to insist that the PA begin collecting terrorists' weapons within weeks of a cease-fire declaration. (Ha'aretz)
  • Dahlan Demanding Release of Barghouti and Other Terrorist Leaders
    Mohammed Dahlan has reportedly demanded that, as part of a future cease-fire accord, Israel free Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is currently on trial for murder and conspiracy, Israel Radio reported Tuesday. Dahlan's list of demands includes freeing his former aide, Muhsein Abu Mutlek, from prison, and granting a pardon to PA General Security Chief Tawfik Tarawi, wanted by Israel for alleged complicity in terror attacks. Dahlan also wants Israel to agree to his granting authority to Gaza Preventative Security Chief Rashid Abu Shbak, also under Israeli suspicion over alleged terror ties. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Mortar Fire Wounds 2 Israelis in Gaza - Amos Harel
    Two Israelis involved in defense work suffered light shrapnel wounds Tuesday morning from mortar shells fired at the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the southern Gaza Strip. IDF troops were exchanging fire with Palestinians in the Gush Katif area. (Ha'aretz)
  • EU Wary of Funding PA Security Services - Lamia Lahoud
    The European Union is reluctant to pay for the reconstruction of the PA's security forces and wants to leave it up to the U.S., because the U.S. wants to exclude the EU from monitoring security aspects of the road map, PA and EU officials said Monday. The EU expects to disperse to the PA some $245m. this year, similar to its level of assistance in 2002. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Wish List, Not a Road Map - Shlomo Avineri
    The Middle East "road map" is a wish list, not a map, setting down the rough contours of what should be the nature of a Middle East peace, with the emergence of a Palestinian state living peacefully next to Israel. But why do the U.S. and the other members of the "quartet" believe they can now succeed when the same ideas failed so dismally to achieve a peaceful outcome at Camp David and Taba in 2000? The road map does not take into account the political realities that led to failure to reach agreement in 2000. Most Israelis who supported the Oslo accords are no longer convinced that the Palestinians are reconciled to the existence of Israel. The political will - on all sides - does not exist for an overall agreement. In other recent inter-ethnic conflicts - Kosovo, Bosnia, Cyprus, and Kashmir - the conventional wisdom is that a definitive "solution" is unreachable. Only in the Middle East does the conventional wisdom persist that a solution can be found. Yet here, too, one should aim at conflict management, not an elusive solution to the conflict. (Financial Times-UK)
  • Arafat is Back - Danny Rubinstein
    Yasser Arafat's back. At least that's the conclusion of many Palestinians in light of recent events. While Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas was in Jordan for cataract surgery, Arafat immediately showed he was in control of the situation in the wake of last Wednesday's bus bombing in Jerusalem. (Palestinian newspapers ran obituaries honoring the teenaged "martyr Abdel Muati Shabana, the hero of the Jaffa Road operation.") Arafat immediately ordered the heads of the security services to convene in Ramallah to discuss the situation. Abbas's star is declining very fast and Arafat, as has happened many times in the past, has quickly reassumed control over the leadership. (Ha'aretz)
  • Mixing Science and Politics - The Boycott of Israeli Scientists - Catherine Zandonella
    While some British researchers have called for a boycott of Israeli scientists, the worst danger is not to individual scientists but to the culture of open communication among researchers, boycott opponents say. Scientists want scientific work to be judged on its merits, not on the basis of the researcher's citizenship. (The Scientist)
  • Observations:  

    Assessing the Record of Hamas Ceasefires - Shoshanah Haberman
    (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

    • If the past is any indication, a ceasefire agreement is likely; such ceasefires have been regular occurrences in PA-Hamas relations.
    • Ten ceasefires have been declared or offered by Hamas since 1993. In some cases, they followed periods of PA-Hamas confrontation; at other times, they came on the heels of intense pressure placed on the PA after particularly egregious acts of terrorism committed by Hamas or other groups. All ceasefire offers were presented at a time when Hamas needed a moment to step back and regroup after an exhausting confrontation with a more powerful foe (either Israel or the PA).
    • Throughout each of these ceasefire episodes, Hamas leaders continued to support the creation, through religiously sanctioned violence, of an Islamic state in all of Palestine, suggesting that Hamas ceasefires have served as "breathers," allowing the organization to consolidate before undertaking another set of attacks.
    • Without PA efforts to dismantle the considerable military infrastructure built by Hamas, to deprive its leaders of broadcast and print media outlets, to shut down training and operational facilities, and to collect weapons, there is nothing to prevent any new ceasefire from going the way of previous ones.

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