Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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February 3, 2004

To contact the Presidents Conference:
[email protected]

Israel's Security Fence: Upcoming Hearings at the International Court of Justice
  (Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations)

In-Depth Issue:

Flights Cut on Fear of Al-Qaeda Attacks - Sara Kehaulani Goo and Dana Priest (Washington Post)
    Intelligence indicating that al-Qaeda terrorists are seeking to release a chemical or biological agent aboard an airliner, or transport a radiological device in cargo, was one of the factors that prompted the cancellation of six international flights last week, senior administration officials said Saturday.
    Several intelligence officials said that al-Qaeda appears desperate to mount a spectacular attack to show followers, new recruits, and financial donors that it remains viable.
    CIA officials say 75% of al-Qaeda's leadership has been killed or captured since Sept. 11, 2001.

Damascus Releases 92 Political Prisoners (
    Syrian authorities on Saturday released 92 political prisoners, raising the number of released prisoners since last Thursday to 122 persons.
    Syrian human rights activist Anwar al-Bunni said that most of those released belong to the Ikhwan al-Muslimin (Muslim Brothers) group, the Hizbul Tahirir al-Islami (Islamic liberation party), or the Baath party of Iraq.
    Among the released are 12 Palestinians who belong to the Democratic Front, the PLO, and the Palestinian Liberation Front.
    Among the released Palestinians are Mustafa Khalil, leader of the Fatah movement in Lebanon, and three officers from the Islamic trend who carried out a coup attempt against the late President Hafez al-Assad in 1981.

French Jewish Singer Heckled at Charity Concert (AFP/Expatica - Netherlands)
    At a charity concert Saturday in Macon, France, as Jennifer Djaoui, 25 - known by her stage name Shirel - sang a song entitled "Jerusalem," "around 30 young people of North African origin sitting in the front rows started to insult Shirel with cries of 'dirty Jew, death to Jews, we'll kill you'," said the head of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France, Roger Cukierman.
    The singer "was very shocked" by the insults and was comforted by Bernadette Chirac, the wife of the French president, who was in the audience.

France to Curb Anti-Jewish Arab TV Broadcasts (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
    France will soon pass a law to curb anti-Semitic television broadcasts coming from the Middle East and fine satellite operators who distribute anti-Jewish programs, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said on Saturday.
    He said the law would force satellite operators to inform Paris which stations they carried and threaten them with fines if they transmitted provocative broadcasts.
    Satellite television is widely watched in the poor suburbs around French cities where most recent anti-Semitic attacks have occurred.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Musharraf Named in Nuclear Probe
    Pakistan's top nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, has told investigators that he helped North Korea design and equip facilities for making weapons-grade uranium with the knowledge of senior military commanders, including Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president. Khan also told investigators that Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg, the Pakistani army chief of staff from 1988 to 1991, was aware of assistance Khan was providing to Iran's nuclear program, and that two other army chiefs, in addition to Musharraf, knew and approved of his efforts on behalf of North Korea. (Washington Post)
        See also Pakistanis Question Official Ignorance of Atom Transfers (New York Times)
  • Columbia U. Hires Durban Conference Architect, Sparks Protest
    Mary Robinson, an architect of the UN Durban human rights conference in 2001, has been hired as a professor by Columbia University, drawing criticism from Jewish and pro-Israel groups, which see her appointment as another example of anti-Israel bias on the Columbia faculty. The groups blame Robinson for allowing the Durban conference to become a global platform for anti-Israel venting. As the UN high commissioner for human rights, Robinson rejected many American demands to remove anti-Israel language from final conference documents.
        "Under Mary Robinson's leadership the Human Rights Commission was one-sided and extremist. In her tenure at the HRC, she lacked fairness in her approach to the Israeli/Palestinian issue," said the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, James Tisch. (New York Sun)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • PM's Pullout Plan to Include 20 Settlements - Yoel Marcus
    "This vacuum, for which the Palestinians are to blame, cannot go on forever. So as part of the disengagement plan I ordered an evacuation - sorry, a relocation - of 17 settlements with their 7,500 residents, from the Gaza Strip to Israeli territory," Prime Minister Sharon told Ha'aretz Monday. "The aim is to move settlements from places where they cause us problems or places where we won't remain in a permanent arrangement. Not only settlements in Gaza, but also three problematic settlements in Samaria," he said. "We are talking of a population of 7,500 people. It's not a simple matter. We are talking of thousands of square kilometers of hothouses, factories and packing plants. There are people who are third generation there," he said.
        "It will be necessary to reach an agreement with the residents, to rebuild what will be's not a quick matter, especially if it's done under fire." Sharon said various agencies are already at work on the plan, under his orders. He said the process will take one to two years. "Clearly this must be done with American agreement and support. We are not taking any steps that contravene their positions. Agreement is needed on both the evacuation and the matter of the fence. It is important that everything we do be part of the Bush vision and fits in the American concept." (Ha'aretz)
        See also PM Shocks Likud with Withdrawal Ideas - Gideon Alon
    Prime Minister Sharon told the Likud Knesset faction Monday that the settlements in Gaza must be removed "because of security problems and the demographic situation. I don't know if it will be done all at once or gradually, but it would be wrong to maintain a Jewish presence in Gaza over the years." According to MKs who were at the meeting, Sharon said, "This situation cannot last forever. We must take a series of steps that reduce the friction between Jews and Palestinians....We have to create a situation in which we provide maximum security to the citizenry even without an agreement with the Palestinians." As for the West Bank, Sharon said "at this stage, only small moves that will ease things for Israel will be undertaken." "At this stage, these are ideas, thoughts."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Sharon Considers Shifting Israeli Arab Areas to PA - Ben Caspit
    Areas in Israel with large Arab population concentrations, such as Umm el Fahm, may be transferred to PA control, according to a plan under consideration by Prime Minister Sharon. "I requested that the legality of this matter be checked," Sharon told Maariv. (Maariv-Hebrew)
  • IDF Kills Bethlehem Bomber's Hamas Dispatcher - Margot Dudkevitch
    Two soldiers were seriously wounded, another moderately, and a fourth lightly in an operation in the al-Aida refugee camp north of Bethlehem directed at Hamas fugitive Mahmoud Aboroude, responsible for dispatching a Palestinian policeman in a suicide attack on a Jerusalem bus last week in which 11 people were killed. After the soldiers entered the house in which Aboroude was hiding, he opened fire after being discovered and was shot dead. (Jerusalem Post)
  • FM Legal Adviser: UN Abused Its Power - Tovah Lazaroff
    The UN abused its power in asking the International Court of Justice at The Hague to rule on the legality of Israel's construction of a security barrier, Foreign Ministry legal adviser Alan Baker said Monday. Baker said that despite objections filed by 33 countries, it is unlikely the court will drop the case. According to AP, in 24 previous requests for advisory opinions, the court only once found the case did not meet its criteria. Although the court's decision will be nonbinding, Israel and the Palestinians see the case as an important battleground for determining the project's fate. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • High-Stakes Gamble from a Master Strategist - Uri Dan
    The "relocation" of Jewish settlements won't be limited to 17 in the Gaza Strip, but will extend to the West Bank and may total 30, possibly more. Sharon believes any Israeli prime minister who follows him may be pressured to pull back much further, to the pre-1967 borders. Sharon believes those borders are militarily indefensible. So he came to the conclusion, after three years of bloodshed and seven years of fruitless negotiation - the so-called "Mideast peace process" - to separate Israelis from Palestinians as much as possible by "relocating" some settlements and erecting a security fence along the West Bank. Sharon visualizes Israel holding on to about 50% of the West Bank - in some 100-plus settlements - as well as the strategic Jordan Valley. (New York Post)
        See also Sharon Spokesman: Gaza Withdrawal One of Several Options - Ken Ellingwood
    A Sharon spokesman cautioned that the idea of evacuating 17 Gaza settlements was merely one of several scenarios being reviewed as part of the prime minister's proposal to separate Israelis and Palestinians if the two sides fail to reach a peace agreement. "This is only an initial option - one of several being considered," said Raanan Gissin. Gissin said the number of Gaza settlements that might be removed in any unilateral separation by Israel could be much lower. (Los Angeles Times)
  • A Fence Built for Peace - Silvan Shalom
    The International Court of Justice must reject this attempt to exploit its mandate for political objectives and instead protect the legitimacy and propriety of the institution and the goals of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. The request violated the UN's own rules of procedure and separation of responsibilities. The risk, beyond considerable damage to the peace process, is that "success" will lead to other dangerous political questions being posed to the court - on Iraq, Kashmir, or Chechnya, for example. Silvan Shalom is Israel's foreign minister and deputy prime minister. (Guardian-UK)
  • The UN and The Jews - Anne Bayefsky
    In every UN body, Arab and Muslim states have opposed any effort to give meaningful definition to the notion of terrorism, largely because of its obvious implications for the Palestinian "uprising." The UN Counter Terrorism Committee, set up by the Security Council in the wake of 9/11, has yet to identify publicly a single terrorist organization or state sponsor of terrorism. At the UN, Israelis and Jews are, by definition, oppressors, as are the nations and organizations that rally to their cause, and there is no reason to think that this underlying reality will change anytime soon. Perhaps it is time to stop holding seminars and conferences on whether the UN glass is half-full or half-empty. The contents of the glass have been poisoned. (Commentary)
  • Observations:

    21st Century Threats Facing Israel - Maj. Gen. Dan Haloutz
    (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • Israeli society is the first place where legitimacy is needed for military actions. Many of the questions raised regarding our actions come from the Israeli people. Being raised on democracy and pluralism, being raised as an open society, Israeli society asks questions that we must answer with the right answers.
    • Low-intensity conflicts are continuous, compared with full-scale conflicts that are usually shorter, sharper, and with an end result to the conflict that is much clearer.
    • Continuous conflict is a kind of war of attrition, not only between military forces, but also between societies. It comes down to which society can endure more, which society is capable of bearing the conflict and continuing their lives at the same time.
    • Our neighbors are now dispersing their military forces as part of a new doctrine calling for a "low signature," meaning mainly a change from armored forces to infantry forces, with a greater use of anti-tank missiles, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, and katyusha rockets.
    • The challenge of full-scale war is not behind us. Many countries in the region do not accept the presence of Israel as a natural fact. If the time comes that someone in the region thinks we have lost our strength, we can expect to be challenged.
    • Israel must also very carefully follow the potential for regime changes in the region, and we must face the fact that Western weapons are replacing Eastern bloc weapons, a factor that poses a great risk to Israel in the hands of unfriendly regimes.

      Maj. Gen. Dan Haloutz is Commander of the Israel Air Force.

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