Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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April 22, 2004

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In-Depth Issues:

Hamas Leader Seeks Arab-Muslim Pact vs. Israel-U.S. - Inal Ersan (Reuters)
    Syrian-based Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal on Monday called for an Arab and Muslim alliance to defeat the United States and Israel.
    "Our battle is with two sides, one of them is the strongest power in the world, the United States, and the second is the strongest power in the region (Israel)....We will not be victorious unless the other side of the battle is Arab and Muslim. All of the Arabs and Muslims."
    "If the (Islamic) nation would fight the same way (Palestinians and Iraqis) are fighting in Rafah, Jenin, and Falluja then by God we will defeat both the United States and Israel," he said.

Arafat Evicts Fugitives from Ramallah HQ (AP/MSNBC)
    Arafat forced 20 fugitives hiding in his West Bank headquarters to leave on Thursday, fearing the Israeli army was about to invade the complex to grab them.
    The fugitives, all members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a militant group linked to Arafat's Fatah faction, have been hiding in Arafat's headquarters for months.

Israel Facing Palestinian "Arson Terrorism" - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel is facing a new wave of "arson terrorism" by Palestinians, Fire and Rescue Services Commissioner Shimon Romach said, after multiple, deliberately set fires destroyed dozens of dunams of land this week.
    Several fires were set by Palestinian arsonists in the Ben-Shemen Forest in the Modi'in region and in the Nataf Forest near Jerusalem, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

Air Marshals Mull "Pattern Recognition" Use at Airports - Leslie Miller (AP/Contra Costa Times)
    A pilot program using "behavior pattern recognition" is under way at Boston's Logan International Airport, where two of the planes used by the Sept. 11 hijackers took off.
    Israeli officials have employed a version of the technique for years to protect air travelers against terrorists.
    Security officials watch people as they move through terminals, looking for odd or suspicious behavior: heavy clothes on a hot day, loiterers without luggage, anyone observing security methods.
    Rafi Ron, former head of security at Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport, was hired to train Logan's state troopers in behavior pattern recognition.

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Bush: "Palestinian Leadership Has Failed the People Year After Year"
    Speaking to the Newspaper Association of America on Wednesday, President Bush said: "Ariel Sharon came to America and he stood up with me and he said, we are pulling out of Gaza and parts of the West Bank. In my judgment, the whole world should have said, thank you, Ariel. Now we have a chance to begin the construction of a peaceful Palestinian state."
        "The Palestinian leadership has failed the people year after year after year. And now is the time for the world to step up and take advantage of this opportunity and help to build a Palestinian state that's committed to the principles of individual rights, and rule of law, and fairness, and justice so the Palestinian people have a chance to grow a peaceful state, and so that Israel has a partner in peace - not a launching pad of terrorist attacks on her border."
        "The development of a nuclear weapon in Iran...would be intolerable to peace and stability in the Middle East...particularly since their stated objective is the destruction of Israel." (White House)
  • Ten Killed in Saudi Suicide Bombing
    A suicide bomber detonated a vehicle loaded with explosives next to a police building in central Riyadh on Wednesday, killing ten people and wounding 148. (New York Times/Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Concerned U.S. Backing Down from Assurances - Herb Keinon
    Senior Israeli diplomatic officials said Wednesday the U.S. is "watering down" assurances President Bush gave Prime Minister Sharon, less than a week after the two met in Washington. The officials said that Secretary of State Powell in recent days has played down Bush's ideas about the shape of the final status deal, and rather highlighted that any changes must be agreed upon by both sides.
        U.S. officials say these comments are necessary to calm down the Arab world and the U.S.'s European allies concerned that the U.S. has dramatically shifted its Mideast policy, but Jerusalem is concerned that if the watering down continues, Bush's assurances will be robbed of any real significance. According to Israeli officials, the U.S. decision on what to emphasize has depended very much on the audience being addressed. (Jerusalem Post)
  • A U.S. "Trusteeship" for the Palestinians - Aluf Benn
    In the letter President Bush sent to Prime Minister Sharon last week, the Americans demanded that the paragraph regarding borders include the condition that changes must be agreed on by both sides, giving the Palestinians a veto over the formulation of the final agreement. The U.S. has appointed itself as the guardian of Palestinian rights, as the custodian of a future Palestinian state, quietly creating an American "trusteeship" for the Palestinians. (Ha'aretz)
  • Blair Urges Quartet Meeting on Palestinian State - Douglas Davis
    British Prime Minister Tony Blair has called for a meeting of the Quartet next month to help the PA transform the concept of statehood into "a real possibility." On Monday he assured his critics that Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza would not prejudge final status negotiations or marginalize the road map. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Operations Against Palestinian Rockets Continue - Arnon Regular and Amos Harel
    Nine Palestinians, five of them armed militants, were killed and at least 40 were wounded Wednesday as Israeli forces continued operations in Beit Lahia and Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip to prevent Palestinian rocket and mortar fire on Israeli towns. "Everyone we hit was either armed or planting bombs," an IDF spokesman said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Jerusalem Shooting was Terrorist Attack - Etgar Lefkovits
    Jerusalem police said Wednesday that a shooting attack in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Hamivtar on Monday that left Nir Gil, 24, seriously wounded was apparently a terror attack, and not criminally related as previously thought. Gil was shot in the head at close range. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah, on Wednesday claimed responsibility for the shooting. (Jerusalem Post/Maariv-Hebrew)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Force Can Crack Islamist Terror - Janet Daley
    Washington and Israel - and London, too - are, for the moment, in the same game. Their goal is the eradication of an international terror network that uses the fate of Palestinian refugees as a pretext when it suits, but is actually dedicated to a transcendental vision of Arabic conquest of historical territories.
        The closest parallel in modern history to this dream of reclaiming ancient lands from the usurper was the Nazi dream of Aryan reclamation of those parts of Europe with Germanic roots. The Wagnerian, German romantic mythology of expulsion from homelands leading to a sacred Teutonic mission of rebirth has an uncannily similar ring to the new Islamist claims of Muslim displacement and injustice. Europe should have learned its lesson about dealing with this kind of insanity - and about what happens when you try to pretend that it is somehow capable of rational containment. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Hamas vs. America - Erick Stakelbeck
    The killing of Hamas leader Rantisi represented a victory not just for Israel, but also for the U.S. in its ongoing war against radical Islamic terrorism. Hamas has been an avowed enemy of America for years. Rantisi wrote an article published on a Hamas Web site in April 2003 titled, "Why Shouldn't We Attack the United States?" In it, he argued that attacking America was not only "a moral and national duty - but above all, a religious one." In another piece published soon after, he openly called for "terror against the United States."  (New York Post)
  • Israel Kills a Pioneer in Physician-Assisted Suicide - James Taranto
    Rantisi was a pediatrician who practiced an innovative variety of physician-assisted suicide: sending bomb-laden young Arabs to blow themselves up, killing many Israelis in the process. An obituary in the Guardian, a British paper, describes him as "the man who loved the Palestinian children so much that he admitted openly that he was prepared to slaughter Israeli infants to guarantee the future of their Palestinian counterparts." Israel does a better job than the Palestinian "leaders" of looking out for the welfare of Palestinian children. "Israeli government sources said they had struck at the first available opportunity, but had to wait for weeks because Rantisi had surrounded himself with children," noted the Associated Press. (Wall Street Journal)
  • $50 Billion Later, Taking Stock of U.S. Aid to Egypt - Charles Levinson
    Egypt has received over $50 billion in U.S. aid since 1975. Rather than helping, American aid is "depressing the need for reform," according to former U.S. ambassador to Egypt Edward Walker. USAID has been ineffective at changing economic policy because Cairo knows that it will get the U.S. money regardless of its economic policy, according to Walker. "[USAID] is distributed by the Egyptian government in an anarchic way, through personal contacts and political influence," says Ismail Sabry Abdallah, a former Egyptian minister of development. Each year USAID gives $200 million to the Egyptian government in cash handouts to do with as it pleases. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Observations:

    Will America Be Guilty of State-Sponsored Terror If It Kills bin Laden? - Robert Stewart (Orlando Sentinel)

    • Rantisi led an internationally recognized terrorist organization and vowed that Hamas "will not leave one Jew in Palestine."
    • If American forces kill bin Laden, will European leaders accuse the Bush administration of sabotaging the peace process? Will America be guilty of state-sponsored terror and be decried for not first using every available diplomatic option for dealing with bin Laden? Of course not.
    • Yet similar charges are now being leveled against Israel by those in Europe and elsewhere who should know better.
    • There can be no diplomacy, no international agreements, and no peace with terrorist organizations. They must be eliminated, root and branch. There is no other option, no diplomatic means of dealing with an organization whose mission statement begins and ends with the destruction of Israel.
    • Hamas is not a nation with diplomats; it is a terrorist organization with suicide bombers.

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