Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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May 3, 2004

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In-Depth Issues:

A Massacre of Americans in Kosovo - Stephen Schwartz (Weekly Standard)
    More details have emerged on the murder of three American security officers and the wounding of 11 in Kosovo on April 17 by a Palestinian from Jordan.
    As the group of Americans, along with some Turkish personnel, was leaving a prison in Mitrovica on their first day on the job, Sergeant Major Ahmed Mustafa Ibrahim Ali opened fire.
    The Palestinian carried an M-16, from which he apparently fired 400 rounds, leading NATO investigators to examine whether his four colleagues in a Jordanian detachment assigned to guard the prison had helped him by feeding his weapon as he fired.
    One of them remains under arrest as a possible accomplice.
    The Associated Press reported, "When he had shot all those he could see, Ali paced around the vans [in which the Americans had been riding], searching for more victims."
    The carnage continued until Ali's weapon jammed.

The Psychoanalytic Roots of Islamic Terrorism - Phyllis Chesler (FrontPageMagazine)
    What kind of culture produces human bombs, glorifies mass murderers, and supports humiliation-based revenge?
    According to psychoanalyst and Arabist, Dr. Nancy Kobrin, it is a culture in which shame and honor play decisive roles and in which the debasement of women is paramount.
    In an as-yet unpublished book, The Sheik's New Clothes: The Psychoanalytic Roots of Islamic Suicide Terrorism, Kobrin, and her Israeli co-author, counter-terrorism expert Yoram Schweitzer, describe barbarous family and clan dynamics.
    Clearly, only evolution of democracy and the elevation of women can begin to change such dynamics.
    Yet historically and theologically, Arab and Muslim culture strongly opposes both democracy and equality for women.
    This is why the battles to liberate Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East are so very difficult.

Israel Wins European Basketball Title (Ha'aretz)
    Maccabi Tel Aviv crushed Italy's Skipper Bologna 118-74 Saturday night to become the European basketball champions in 2004.
    Maccabi previously won the competition in 1977, 1981, and 2001.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Likud Rejects Sharon's Gaza Withdrawal Plan
    Prime Minister Sharon's Likud party voted in a nonbinding referendum Sunday by 60% to 40% to reject his proposal to withdraw troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip. (Washington Post)
        Sharon said that while he regretted the outcome of the vote, he would respect it and would now consult with his faction and his coalition partners on his next moves. (Ha'aretz)
        See also below Observations: Why the Likud Voted No to Sharon's Disengagement Plan
  • Prince Abdullah: "Zionists" Behind Attack in Saudi Arabia
    On Saturday, Muslim militants gunned down at least seven people in the Saudi Arabian port city of Yanbu, including two Americans, two Britons, and an Australian. But Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Abdullah said, "Saudi Arabia is being targeted by Zionists...we are 95% sure that Zionists' hands were behind what happened." (Reuters)
  • Australia Outlaws Palestinian Islamic Jihad
    The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) radical group has been officially outlawed under Australia's counter-terrorism legislation, which carries penalties of up to 25 years' jail, the government announced. According to the new regulation, it is an offense to belong to, recruit for, train with, provide training for, or make funds available to the organization in Australia or abroad. (AFP/Yahoo)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinians Murder Mother, Four Daughters in Gush Katif - Arnon Regular and Gideon Alon
    Tali Hatuel, 34, who was seven months pregnant, and her daughters Hila, 11, Hadar, 9, Roni 7, and Merav, 2, were murdered Sunday by Palestinian terrorists at the entrance to the Gaza Strip. Two gunmen fired at the car, which stopped by the side of the road after Tali was wounded. The gunmen then raced to the car and fired their Kalashnikov rifles for up to half a minute before IDF troops arrived, killing the children at point-blank range. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Thousands Mourn Slain Mother, Girls - Nir Hasson
    David, the father of the family, is its sole survivor. Tali worked in the social welfare department of the Gaza Coast Regional Council, helping people who had lost relatives in terror attacks. President Moshe Katsav said at the funeral that Arab leaders should be ashamed of such atrocities: "You are a disgrace, talking about Allah while a mother and four children are murdered. Is this what you call a struggle for freedom?" (Ha'aretz)
  • Four Palestinian Terrorists Killed in Nablus - Arnon Regular
    Two senior Al-Aqsa Brigade commanders and two other terrorists were killed in Nablus after two IDF missiles struck their vehicle, Palestinian sources said. Israeli sources said the operatives were responsible for sending children carrying explosive devices to the Hawara checkpoint, and had attempted to send suicide bombers to Jerusalem during Passover, Purim, and Independence Day. Earlier Sunday, security personnel at the Karni crossing in the Gaza Strip found an explosive belt hidden in a Palestinian truck on its way to the West Bank. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Nablus Terrorists Responsible for Numerous Terrorist Attacks (IDF)
  • Schwarzenegger: "Am Yisrael Hai" - Etgar Lefkovits
    Vowing to fight for coexistence and mutual respect among mankind around the world, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sunday laid the cornerstone of Jerusalem's Museum of Tolerance, and paid tribute to the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. "Israel is looking forward past the suicide bombers, the terrorists, past the blood, the violence and the hatred to a time people can live side by side in peace and coexistence," he said. The governor ended his speech with the Hebrew saying, "Am Yisrael hai" – the nation of Israel lives – and added his signature movie line, "I'll be back."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Arab League Blocked a Palestinian State - Bernard Lewis
    The conflict with Israel produced a great sense of failure in the Arab world. In 1948 there was no Israel, and the Jewish population of Palestine was a little more than half a million. The UN in 1947 adopted a resolution for the partition of the former British Mandate in Palestine. The Arab League met, formally denounced this resolution, and resolved to prevent it by any means including force of arms. The Arabs were confident it would be a simple matter. It turned out that it was quite the reverse. And that was a cause of terrible humiliation. They were only half successful. They prevented the establishment of the Arab state but not the establishment of the Jewish state. (Atlantic Monthly)
  • My Fellow Ex-Ambassadors Are Not an Attractive Sight - Robin Renwick
    52 former British ambassadors recently criticized Prime Minister Blair's policy in Iraq and alleged subservience to the U.S. The fact that the letter was not signed by a couple of hundred other former ambassadors, including this one, was thought scarcely worthy of mention. Many of the signatories were former Arabists in the Foreign Office, affectionately known as the Camel Corps. Some members of the Corps have shown a tendency over the years to develop a quite passionate attachment to the Arab world that, unfortunately, has not always been reciprocated by the Arabs. They have tended to concentrate on the crimes of the Israelis, rather than those of the Palestinians. Most of us would prefer to be more even-handed. Lord Renwick was British Ambassador to the U.S. from 1991 to 1995 (Telegraph-UK)
  • IDF Humanitarian Officers Serve at Checkpoints - Joel Leyden
    In September 2000, a group of Israeli reserve officers created and implemented "Volunteers of Hope," serving as humanitarian officers in order to ease tensions with Palestinians passing through IDF checkpoints. According to program director Col. Bezalel Triber, the volunteers "assist our young soldiers with security and provide an understanding, helping hand to the Palestinians. To assist women who are holding babies and children, aid the elderly and sick, and provide an open ear to Palestinian professionals who have special problems. These are Israel's ambassadors to our Palestinian neighbors and they perform brilliantly." (Israel News Agency)
  • Observations:

    Why the Likud Voted No to Sharon's Disengagement Plan - Ron Dermer
    (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • The main reason that Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan was overwhelmingly defeated in the Likud is that party members were not convinced that the plan would improve Israel's security situation. In fact, the majority of voters thought the plan was a reward for terrorism.
    • Voters did not consider the referendum a vote of confidence in Ariel Sharon. Sharon remains extremely popular within the Likud.
    • Voters did not think they were “slapping President Bush in the face” by voting against the disengagement plan, nor did the vast majority believe that a vote against the plan would harm Israel's relations with the United States.
    • Voters did not believe that a vote against the plan would weaken the Likud. On the contrary, it is far more likely that Likud voters feared that a vote in favor of the plan would split the party and alienate it from its base.
    • In sharp contrast to what happened in Madrid last year, the terror attacks that occurred the day of the vote had little impact on the outcome. If anything the attacks only strengthened the resolve of those determined to vote against the plan.

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