Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Hamas Leader Seeks Arab-Muslim Pact vs. Israel-U.S. - Inal Ersan
Arafat Evicts Fugitives
from Ramallah HQ (AP/MSNBC)
Israel Facing Palestinian "Arson Terrorism" - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
Air Marshals Mull "Pattern Recognition" Use at Airports - Leslie Miller (AP/Contra Costa Times)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
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)
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:
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)
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)
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)
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 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):
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)
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)
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)
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)
Will America Be Guilty of State-Sponsored Terror If It Kills bin Laden? - Robert Stewart (Orlando Sentinel)
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