Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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May 24, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

IDF Has Photos of Palestinians Killing Two Palestinian Children (IMRA)
    An IDF source confirmed Sunday that two Palestinian children who died in Rafah were murdered by Palestinian gunmen and that the IDF photographed the shooting.
    The source explained that the pictures have not been released because information derived from the photographs would compromise security in the field at this time.
    See also Rafah is a Nightmare - Amir Oren (Ha'aretz)
    When men obeyed the calls over the loudspeakers to turn themselves in to the IDF authorities (and to the intelligence people who wanted to question them), they were confronted by members of the terror organizations, who opened fire on them and killed two children.
    A senior officer in Gaza reported Thursday that the IDF has pictures of this incident - of Palestinians killing their children.

Senior Security Source: Hizballah Planning Major Terror Attack - Gideon Alon and Arnon Regular (Ha'aretz)
    Hizballah is planning a major terror attack along the northern border with Lebanon, a senior security source said on Sunday.
    The source also said that Hamas militants in Gaza were still in possession of body parts of IDF troops.

Three Hamas Members Killed in Nablus "Work Accident" (Ha'aretz)
    Three Hamas members were killed Sunday in Nablus while handling explosives.
    Palestinian security sources said the men were traveling in a car that pulled up alongside an abandoned vehicle that was used to store their explosives.

Hamas Planning Mega-Attack Against Israeli High-Rise Building (Jerusalem Post)
    Hamas is planning a mega-terror attack, using several suicide bombers or booby-trapped cars in Israeli high-rises, a senior official told Army Radio on Sunday.

Palestinians Demand Egypt Release Palestinian Prisoners - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Hundreds of Palestinians gathered outside the Egyptian embassy in Gaza City Saturday, calling on Egypt to release Palestinian prisoners held in Egypt.
    They accused Egyptian authorities of detaining dozens of Palestinians who went to Egypt for medical treatment over the past three years.
    One source put the number of Palestinians held in Egyptian jails at "more than 100."
    Some of the protesters claimed their sons had been brutally tortured by the Egyptian security forces.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Forces Raid Iraq Mosque, Kill 32 Militiamen
    U.S. and Iraqi forces raided Kufa's Sahla mosque Sunday where they said insurgents stored weapons, and the military said at least 32 fighters loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr were killed. American troops smashed the gate to the mosque complex with an armored vehicle and killed people inside, mosque employee Radhi Mohammed said. U.S. soldiers fought militiamen near the mosque and then raided it for weapons after an Iraqi counterterrorism force "cleared" the site, the military said. Soldiers seized a machine gun, two mortar tubes and more than 200 mortar rounds, along with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and rounds. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Thousands March in New York's Salute to Israel Parade
    Thousands of people marched up Fifth Avenue in the annual Salute to Israel parade on Sunday. "There's a message here, and the message is that Israel is constantly under attack, as are freedom-loving peoples around the world," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. (AP/Newsday)
        See also Tens of Thousands March to Hail Israel (New York Post)
        See also Jewish Girl Scouts Win Right to March
    A troop of 11-13-year-old Jewish Girl Scouts in Scarsdale, New York, who were warned by the national Girl Scouts against marching in uniform at the annual Israel Day Parade because it would be "insensitive to Arab Scouts," received a last minute okay, a troop leader said. Though the national Girl Scouts urges its scouts to join parades of other cultures as a gesture of solidarity - such as Mexican pride, Hispanic heritage, and Asian New Year - it has told Jewish troops in the past that a parade for Israel is different because it is political and other parades are ethnic. (Jerusalem Post)
  • No So Gentle Rhetoric from Senator Hollings - Matthew Berger
    In a speech Thursday, Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D-SC) blasted the pro-Israel lobby for the second time this month and suggested that presidents and lawmakers for years have followed policy prescribed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. "You can't have an Israel policy other than what AIPAC gives you around here," Hollings said. "I have followed them mostly in the main, but I have also resisted signing certain letters from time to time, to give the poor president a chance." Several American Jewish organizations suggested Hollings was scapegoating the Jewish community and providing ammunition for anti-Semitic attacks. (JTA)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Alert Soldiers Foil Suicide Attack at Jordan Valley Checkpoint - Margot Dudkevitch
    Alert soldiers of the Nahal Haredi unit thwarted a suicide bomb attack after spotting a terrorist wearing a coat approaching their checkpoint at the Bekaot junction in the Jordan Valley on Saturday afternoon. The soldiers became suspicious of his dress and behavior and called out to him to halt. When he ignored them, a warning shot was fired in the air. The terrorist then blew himself up about 30 meters from the soldiers, wounding the checkpoint commander lightly and three Palestinian civilian bystanders. "The alertness and swift response of the soldiers prevented an attack that could have had grave results," said Jordan Valley district commander Col. Roni Belkin. (Jerusalem Post)
  • PA Distributing Arms to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza - Yoav Stern and Arnon Regular
    Palestinian Authority security services in the Gaza Strip have distributed arms to Hamas and Islamic Jihad gunmen over the last few days, to help them fight against the IDF in Rafah, senior Israeli defense officials said Sunday. The officials specifically accused the PA's National Security Service, headed by Gen. Abdul Razek Majaideh, and the regular PA police, headed by Razi Jabali. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF: There is No Humanitarian Disaster in Rafah - Margot Dudkevitch
    "There is no humanitarian disaster in Rafah, no starvation or insufficient water," Brig.-Gen. Shmuel Zakai, the Gaza divisional commander, said Friday. Zakai also cited an example of the cynical use made by the terrorists of the civilian population. "A group of armed terrorists was shooting at our troops and wanted to cross the road. They grabbed a young Palestinian boy and used him as a shield as they crossed and continued shooting at soldiers, fully aware that our soldiers would not shoot back because of the boy," he said. The IDF is investigating the death of a three-year-old girl who Palestinians claim was shot in the Brazil neighborhood on Saturday. "To our knowledge and according to initial findings, no soldiers shot in the vicinity where the girl was located," a military official said.
        Since the beginning of Operation Rainbow, a total of five houses have been demolished, and all were structures used by terrorists to shoot at troops or detonate bombs, said Zakai. He said almost all the footage broadcast by the Palestinians to the world were of houses demolished over the past three and a half years, and not recently. "They recycled old footage....None of those broadcast were destroyed in recent days, weeks, or months," he said.
        Regarding footage of plowed up roads, Zakai said these were the result of terrorists placing bombs underneath the road surface and covering them up with asphalt, so as to detonate as troops entered the camp. Similarly, many of the damaged houses documented by Palestinians are a product of powerful explosives placed by terrorists inside the walls of houses to harm IDF troops searching the area. Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon said, "Even if we won't be in the Gaza Strip, we will have to ensure there is no terror. We will defend Ashdod and Nahal Oz, but if the terror continues we will re-enter Rafah and Zeitun [in Gaza City]." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • An Alliance of Democracies - Ivo H. Daalder and James M. Lindsay
    The UN is not up to the task of handling the most pressing security challenges. Its blue-helmeted troops can help keep the peace when warring parties choose not to fight. But they cannot make peace where none exists. We need to build an international order that reflects how states organize themselves internally. The great dividing line is democracy. Democratic states should rally together to pursue their common interests.
        An Alliance of Democratic States would unite nations with entrenched democratic traditions, such as the U.S. and Canada; the EU countries; Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia; India and Israel. Its purpose would be to strengthen international cooperation to combat terrorism, curtail weapons proliferation, and advance the values of democratic government, respect for human rights, and a market-based economy. This effort offers the only hope of escaping the doomed alternatives of going it alone or pursing a traditional multilateralism in which concern for procedure has long trumped a commitment to effectiveness. Ivo Daalder is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. James Lindsay is vice president and director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Washington Post)
  • Does Oppression Cause Suicide Bombing? - Alan M. Dershowitz
    While some people believe that suicide bombing results from desperation and oppression, there is no such link as a matter of fact or history. Suicide bombing is a tactic selected by privileged, educated, and wealthy elitists because it has proven successful. Why do these overprivileged and well-educated young men and women support this culture of death, while impoverished and oppressed Tibetans continue to celebrate life despite their occupation by China for half a century?
        The answer lies in differences among the leadership. The leaders of Islamic radical causes, especially the Wahhabis, advocate and incite suicide terrorism, while the leaders of other causes, such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., advocated different means. The bombers accept death because they have been incited into a frenzy of hatred by imams preaching "Kill the infidels." The time has come to address the real root cause of suicide bombing: elitist incitement by certain religious and political leaders who are creating a culture of death and exploiting the ambiguous teachings of an important religion. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    A Double Standard on Gaza - Editorial (Wall Street Journal Europe; 24 May 04)

    • Last Wednesday, the UN Security Council criticized Israel's demolition of homes in Gaza but failed to condemn the Palestinian terror that brought about the offensive in the first place.
    • The UN's text must be considered a real showcase of even-handedness when compared to the statement by the Irish foreign minister who currently speaks for the European Union. Brian Cowen's comments came after an Israeli shell accidentally hit Palestinian demonstrators. Cowen was so eager to bash Israel that he didn't even bother to check Palestinian casualty claims. "Initial reports suggest that at least 23 people, many of them schoolchildren, were killed," he said. In reality, only eight Palestinians died.
    • Cowen even had the gall to liken the demonstrators' death to a Palestinian terrorist attack earlier this month, where members of Yasser Arafat's Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades shot four children, aged 2 to 11, at point blank range before the eyes of their eight-months-pregnant mother before killing her too.
    • The Israeli operation in Gaza is designed to root out the arms smuggling in Rafah, which is at the border with Egypt. The whole area is honeycombed with tunnels that surface in private homes, built often with the open encouragement of the PA.
    • Contrary to popular opinion, international law is on Israel's side. Art. 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention indeed prohibits the destruction of private property by an occupying power. But Israel's critics as well as the UN resolution fail to quote the text in its entirety. Such actions are illegal, "except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations."
    • Preventing terrorists from firing at Israelis from these houses and putting an end to the smuggling of explosives and rockets appear to us to be "absolutely necessary" operations. It is the use of civilian structures by Palestinian terrorists for military attacks which violates international law.

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