Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 9, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

IDF Expecting Rise in Terror in Gaza (Ha'aretz/Jerusalem Post)
    Senior IDF officers expect an escalation in terrorism in the Gaza Strip in the near term, Israel Radio reported Wednesday.
    In a separate report, IDF Southern Gaza Brigade commander Colonel Pinkie Zuaretz said smugglers in the Sinai Desert are currently holding huge amounts of anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles and katyusha rockets for eventual introduction into the Strip.

Disguised Saudi Gunmen Try to Free Terror Leader - Michael Theodoulou and Daniel McGrory (London Times)
    Three al-Qaeda militants dressed as women staged an audacious attempt to free Nimir Bigami, the wounded ringleader of the killing spree in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, from the Ministry of Interior medical complex in Riyadh where he is under guard.
    The terrorists were cloaked from head to foot in women's veils.
    Once inside the hospital, the gunmen threatened foreign staff and shouted Bigami's name, but when they failed to reach the prison wing they were able to flee the hospital, again evading security guards.

Saudi Poll Shows Wide Support for Bin Laden - Henry Schuster (CNN)
    Almost half of all Saudis said in a poll conducted last year that they have a favorable view of Osama bin Laden's sermons and rhetoric, but fewer than 5% thought it was a good idea for bin Laden to rule the Arabian Peninsula.

U.S. Navy Purchases Israeli Defense System Against Suicide Boats - Amnon Barzilai (Ha'aretz)
    The U.S. Navy, which has been searching for anti-terror systems since the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen three years ago, has signed a $200 million deal with the Rafael Armament Development Authority for anti-terror gun-stations.
    Gadi Katzir, a senior Rafael official, said the battle stations feature an advanced "Top Lite" optical system, which identifies, monitors, and destroys targets from a distance of up to 2.5 kilometers from a ship.
    The Navy intends to install this system, called the Typhoon, aboard all of its war vessels.

Jews Most Likely Target of Canadian Hate Crimes (
    One quarter of the 928 hate crimes reported by police between 2001 and 2002 were anti-Semitic in nature, according to a Statistics Canada survey of the country's 12 major police forces.
    Muslims were the victims of 11% of hate crimes.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Security Council Backs Measure on Iraq Turnover
    The Security Council voted unanimously on Tuesday in favor of an American and British resolution to end the formal occupation of Iraq on June 30 and transfer "full sovereignty" to an interim Iraqi government. While the resolution put an international stamp on the American-led military force in Iraq, American diplomats said they had reined in their earlier hope that it might attract more nations to contribute troops. Kurdish leaders had asked the U.S. to include in the resolution a guarantee of Kurdish rights, but American officials rejected the request after it was strongly opposed by prominent Shiites. The absence of such a guarantee threatened to create a serious split between the Kurds and the new Iraqi government. (New York Times)
        See also Kurds Threaten to Walk Away from Iraqi State (New York Times)
        See also The Resolution's Weakness - William Safire
    In his eagerness for the approval of the Shiite religious leader - and driven by desperation to get Tuesday's UN resolution in time for the G-8 meeting - President Bush may be double-crossing the Kurds, our most loyal friends in Iraq. (New York Times)
        See also The Road Map for a Sovereign Iraq - Paul Wolfowitz (Wall Street Journal)
  • Arab Leaders' Outrage at G8 Plans for Future of Middle East
    The leaders of Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, and Pakistan are understood to be boycotting Wednesday's G8 summit amid a diplomatic furor over its plans to lay down goals for a Greater Middle East and North Africa. President Bush's original plan was to propose renewal for the Greater Middle East, an idea enthusiastically backed by King Abdullah II of Jordan and also supported by the leaders of Turkey, Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan. But President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt has said he is "furious" about being dictated to by the G8 group of the world's richest countries. France and Russia have also blocked plans for a Democracy Assistance Group which was to be unveiled at the G8 meeting, saying it smacked of regime change. (Scotsman-UK)
  • Geneva Conference Promises Aid to Palestinian Refugees
    Several delegations pledged $10.5 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) at an international conference in Geneva. The head of UNRWA, Peter Hansen, said, "Before we had this conference, there was a clear sign of a certain donor fatigue and a clear sign of many other crises demanding funding and money....We have to face it, there is a limited amount of international funding available for this and there are increasing needs globally." Hansen noted that UNRWA is running a $120 million deficit in this year's appeal, and that financial contributions for Palestinian refugees during the past few years have declined by more than half. (VOA News)
  • American Murdered in Riyadh
    Robert Jacobs, 62, who trained the Saudi National Guard as an employee of the Vinnell Corporation, was found shot dead in his apartment in Riyadh Tuesday. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • U.S. Ambassador: We Will Not Pressure Israel on Gaza - Tal Schneider
    The U.S. expects the disengagement plan to take place in 2005, but understands if internal political considerations might delay the process, American ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer said Tuesday in Washington. Kurtzer also said that the U.S. trusts that Israel will implement the plan and that his country will not put pressure on Israel. (Maariv International)
  • Resignations Leave Prime Minister with Minority Coalition - Nadav Shragai and Mazal Mualem
    Ariel Sharon now heads a minority coalition numbering only 59 MKs out of 120, following the resignation Tuesday of two National Religious Party members - Housing Minister Effi Eitam and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Yitzhak Levy - in protest over this week's cabinet decision approving the revised disengagement plan. Sharon's coalition had numbered 68 MKs, but lost 7 National Union MKs when Ministers Avigdor Lieberman and Binyamin Elon were fired on Friday. Sharon's government is widely expected to survive the summer Knesset session with the help of the Labor Party. (Ha'aretz)
  • Soldier Hurt in Hizballah Border Attack - Uri Ash
    An IDF soldier was lightly wounded Tuesday after Hizballah terrorists fired 20 rockets and mortar shells at IDF positions on Har Dov near the Israel-Lebanon border. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinians in Gaza Rocket Sderot in Israel - Uri Glickman
    Five people suffered from shock after a Kassam rocket fired by Palestinians from Gaza hit a residential area in the southern Israeli town of Sderot. Two cars were damaged by the blast. (Maariv International)
  • "Island of Israeli-Palestinian Sanity" to be Dismantled as Part of Gaza Disengagement
    Industry and Trade Minister Ehud Olmert announced the permanent closure of the Erez industrial zone located along the border between Israel and Gaza, following Sunday's cabinet vote on disengagement. He also cited the difficulties which Israeli security forces have faced in monitoring the entry of Palestinian workers to the zone. The government will finance the transfer of factories, he indicated.
        Today, 170 Israeli-owned and Palestinian-owned factories operate at Erez, employing 4,000 Palestinians and 300 Israelis. IDF Spokeswoman Brig. Gen. Ruth Yaron called the Erez Industrial Park an "island of sanity in a sea of insanity," but during the last few months 14 people were killed in Palestinian terrorist attacks at the nearby Erez crossing point. (Ha'aretz/CNSNews)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Goldberg Manipulations - Andrea Levin
    The New Yorker's Jeffrey Goldberg is not known for dishonesty; he's recently won awards for daring stories on Hizballah and Iraq. But a May 31 piece entitled "Among the Settlers: Will They Destroy Israel?" is so distorted, included being sloppy with facts, as to raise questions about his other writing. The title signals the thrust of the piece and rightly indicates there will be little interest in balanced or thorough consideration of the genesis, purpose, and legality of the settlement enterprise. Instead, readers find a 24-page spread, rich in stereotypes and heavily devoted to lurid portraiture of Jewish residents as emotionally unstable and physically repellent, with "fingernails [that] were chewed and dirty," "sour-faced," and with "bulbous eyes" and "outsized teeth."
        He completely ignores essential information about the history of settlements. There is no mention of the Labor party's embrace of the Allon Plan, that defined Israel's defensive territorial needs in the wake of the Six-Day War, consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 242. In the next decade, under Labor prime ministers, 76 settlements were built. He declares simply: "Most international legal authorities believe that all settlements...are illegal," failing to mention that the United States does not characterize the settlements as "illegal." (CAMERA)
  • Syria's Hand in Lebanese Politics - Zvi Bar'el
    Lebanon is now in the middle of a political fight in advance of the presidential elections. President Lahoud's six-year term ends this November and, according to Lebanon's constitution, there is no possibility of extending or renewing a president's term. Lahoud is an ally of Syria, which would prefer that he continue in office. However, in order to achieve this, Syria must make the Lebanese parliament amend the constitution.
        Lahoud's biggest opponent is Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and his group of supporters in parliament. Ostensibly, Syria can prompt Hariri's resignation, but Syria needs Hariri, who is the best international contact man Lebanon ever had. He is welcomed in Washington and in European capitals and if there is anyone who can raise funds for Lebanon, it is Hariri. (Ha'aretz)
  • Observations:

    Telling the Truth about the Palestinians - Khaled Abu Toameh
    (Middle East Forum)

    • When Arafat returned to the West Bank and Gaza [in 1994], the first thing he did was to restrict freedom of speech. Over 38 journalists were forced out of their jobs or the country.
    • Arafat has complete control over the Palestinian media to this day. Almost all Palestinian newspapers are financed by the PLO, and serve as a mouthpiece for the organization. Some days the headlines for the three major Palestinian papers are identical. Palestinian journalists were freer to write what they wanted under Israeli occupation before the PLO returned.
    • When Palestinian journalists are intimidated, it affects foreign journalists, who depend on Palestinians to be their guides and translators in the territories. When foreign journalists interview Palestinians, many translators often mistranslate or even reprimand Palestinian interviewees critical of the Palestinian Authority.
    • Some foreign media organizations, including American ones, knowingly hire consultants or journalists who are really political activists, and rely heavily on them for their reporting.

      The writer, an Israeli Arab, is the West Bank and Gaza correspondent for the Jerusalem Post and U.S. News and World Report.

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