Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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January 29, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Uniformed PA Police to Return to Duty (Palestine Media Center-Ramallah)
    The Palestinian Cabinet decided Monday to deploy Palestinian police in official uniform to immediately enforce the rule of law and public order and to stop all forms of chaos and anarchic armed demonstrations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
    Premier Qurei said he had reminded the preventive security force that only police officers had the right to arrest civilians.
    See also Israel May Allow W. Bank Police to Rearm (Reuters)
    "The functioning of the [PA] police force to keep law and order is something we support," an Israeli government official said.
    "We have given permission to deploy in several towns and we have no objection (in principle) to police carrying small arms for such purposes."
    Recent low-level security talks had led to an "understanding" because of an apparent 25% increase in crime in Palestinian towns, the official said.

French Anti-Semitism Drives More Jews to Settle in Israel - Philip Delves Broughton (Telegraph-UK)
    Growing anti-Semitism in France has prompted a big rise in the number of French Jews emigrating to Israel.
    Figures released in Israel Wednesday showed that 2,380 moved last year and 2,556 the year before.
    In the 1990s only about 800 French Jews emigrated to Israel each year.
    Natan Sharansky, an Israeli minister, said on Sunday: "Last year the number of anti-Semitic incidents in France doubled and 47% of all anti-Semitic attacks in Western Europe occurred there."

Israel to Join with India in Moon Mission (DeepikaGlobal-India)
    Israeli Minister of Science and Technology Eliezer Sandberg, who visited India last month, said Prime Minister Sharon has given his go-ahead to proposals to join India in the moon mission Chandrayaan-I in 2008.

Useful Reference:

The Beneficiaries of Saddam's Oil Vouchers: The List of 270 (MEMRI)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Palestinian Bomber Murders 10 Israelis on Jerusalem Bus
    A suicide bomber blew up a bus in Jerusalem on Thursday, killing at least 10 and wounding 45, in an attack just 15 meters from Prime Minister Sharon's official residence. Bret Stephens, editor in chief of the Jerusalem Post, said he heard the boom and ran to the scene. "There was glass everywhere, human remains everywhere, shoes, feet, pieces of guts. There were pieces of body everywhere,'' he said. Sharon's spokesman, Raanan Gissin, said the attack illustrated why Israel is building a separation barrier in the West Bank. Israel says the structure is needed to keep suicide bombers out of Israel. "The rest of the world should sit back and let us do what we need to do to defend ourselves,'' Gissin said. (AP/New York Times)
  • Report on Iraq Case Clears Blair and Faults BBC
    Senior British judge Lord Hutton on Wednesday cleared Prime Minister Tony Blair and his government of any deliberate attempt to deceive the British public over the threat from Iraq. In the long-awaited 740-page report, Hutton called "unfounded" the assertion - reported by the BBC on May 29 - that government officials had used intelligence they "probably knew" was wrong. The judge castigated the BBC for sloppy, inaccurate reporting and "defective" editorial supervision. In reaction, the chairman of the BBC's board of governors, Gavyn Davies, resigned. (New York Times)
        See also What Went Wrong at the BBC - Trevor Asserson (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel-Hizballah Prisoner Swap Begins - Yossi Melman, Yuval Yoaz, and David Ratner
    A German air force plane carrying kidnapped Israeli businessman Elhanan Tennenbaum and the coffins of three IDF soldiers - Benny Avraham, Omar Suwad, and Adi Avitan - landed Thursday in Germany as part of the long-awaited Israel-Hizballah prisoner swap. A plane carrying 36 Arab prisoners from Israel also landed at the airport. A total of 435 Arab prisoners - among them 400 Palestinians - are to be released under the deal. In an interview with Hizballah's Al-Manar television aired Wednesday, Tennenbaum said he went to Beirut to find information about missing navigator Ron Arad. (Ha'aretz)
  • Key UN Members to Oppose ICJ's Handling of Fence Issue - Shlomo Shamir and Nathan Guttman
    UN sources said Wednesday that 20-30 countries including the U.S., Russia, and other European countries will deliver opinions to the International Court of Justice at The Hague saying that the issue of Israel's separation fence does not belong in the ICJ. (Ha'aretz)
  • PA, Israel Unveil "Economic Road Map" - Mati Wagner
    Israeli government officials and their Palestinian counterparts this week took part in creating a blueprint for economic cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis, dubbed the economic road map, calling for a free trade area (FTA) between a future Palestinian state and Israel. In tandem, the two states would establish border passages allowing labor flow and Palestinians would be given preference over other foreign workers. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • My Brother's Killer is to be Set Free in a Prisoner Exchange - Saul Singer
    On Monday the call came: "How do you feel about your brother's killer being released?" My brother, Alex Singer, was born in White Plains, N.Y., in 1962. After graduating from Cornell, he moved to Israel in 1984, and eventually became an officer in the army's Givati Brigade. On Sept. 15, 1987, he was killed in southern Lebanon on his 25th birthday. Only now have we become aware that Anwar Yassin, the terrorist who killed him and two other members of his squad, had been in an Israeli jail for the past 17 years, sentenced to serve until 2017. There is perhaps no greater measure of the value Israelis attach to life than their willingness to risk their lives for another. Indeed, that is how my brother lived - and how he died. The writer is editorial page editor of the Jerusalem Post. (Wall Street Journal, 29 Jan 04)
  • The Reign of the Thugs - Bassam Eid
    How do you change chaos into order? It is obvious to the whole world that both the Palestinian people and the Palestinian government have been unable to control security in the Palestinian territories. We all know that there are several gunmen who threaten and spread fear among the Palestinians. What Palestinian interior minister would be daring enough to punish them? Would the minister be killed if he imposed a penalty upon them? In Tulkarm, the Al-Aqsa Brigades direct and manage the city's civil and security life. They threaten, beat, and kill. Nablus is ruled by two armed illiterate thugs, feared by the population. The explosion that targeted the American convoy in Gaza on October 15 was a red light to the Palestinian people to reconstruct the security system. I recommend that the Palestinian government call upon Jordan, Egypt, and perhaps Turkey to assist by sending their security forces to restore order in the Palestinian territories. The writer is director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. (Ha'aretz)
  • CBC's Fear of the T-Word - Editorial
    On Thursday night, Peter Mansbridge, the trusted anchor of CBC's The National, used the e-word - extremist - to describe those who seek to blow up buses packed with civilians in Jerusalem - individuals to whom most Canadians would apply another word: terrorist. CBC news writers, and presumably the executives to whom they report, believe that by calling a terrorist a terrorist, they would be choosing sides in the divisive conflict in the Middle East. Unfortunately for the CBC, the word terrorist is perfectly clear in its meaning. It refers to an individual who subjects civilian targets to unpredictable violence in order to achieve a political objective. To substitute "extremist," with its overtones of ideological fervor, for the much more specific "terrorist" is itself an expression of favoritism. (Montreal Gazette)
  • Iranian Theocracy Incapable of Reform - Reza Bulorchi and Nir Boms
    What you see is not always what you get when it comes to the Middle East, a region that has not yet begun the process of democratic change. What Iranians have seen from Khatami and his faction over the past seven years has been nothing more than just the rhetoric of reform. Iran's theocracy is based on a theory of government called Velayat-e faqih, or absolute clerical rule. The interpretation of what is or is not an "Islamic principle" falls within the authority of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his hand-picked Guardian Council. In Iran, elections serve as a veneer to mask a rigid theocracy. Under the current political structure, a metamorphosis of the Islamic Republic from within by the likes of Khatami is an impossible task and a "reformed" Velayat-e faqih system is a contradiction in terms. We need to see the clerical regime for what it really is: a theocracy, intrinsically and structurally incapable of reform. Reza Bulorchi is the Executive Director of the U.S Alliance for Democratic Iran. Nir Boms is a fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. (In the National Interest)
  • Observations:

    The Day the Road Map Died - Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)

    • The "road map" for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict died last Thursday in the office of Condoleezza Rice in the White House, during a conversation with the prime minister's bureau chief Dov Weisglass. In its place, the "Bush vision" [as outlined on June 24, 2002] has returned to diplomatic discourse as the political goal of Israel and the U.S.
    • The U.S. administration is partner to the Israeli assessment that there is nobody to talk to on the Palestinian side. The political process has been frozen until the departure of Arafat.
    • Sharon spoke of several months of waiting, during which he will try to implement the road map, before he goes over to unilateral disengagement. But the waiting period has been drastically shortened, and Washington is now willing to hear about disengagement steps, on condition that they suit the Bush vision.

        See also U.S. Folds Up Road Map, Blaming the Palestinians - Ron Kampeas
    The Bush administration is quietly folding up the Israeli-Palestinian road map. In recent statements, top Bush officials have made it clear that the plan is moribund and that, for the most part, the Palestinians are to blame. (JTA)

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