Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 19, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

A Call for Arafat to Resign - Ahmad Al-Rab'i (Al-Sharq Al-Awsat-UK/MEMRI)
    In the Palestinian Authority there are 12 security apparatuses, and their number has nothing to do with security but with the fact that there are 12 people who must each be given a security apparatus so they will be important.
    Some of the [apparatus] heads are exploiting their apparatuses to gain influence and maybe even to get rich.
    Arafat has appointed his cronies heads of some of the apparatuses, has set himself at their head, and transformed his headquarters into the joint operations room of all the security apparatuses.
    Arafat employs day-to-day tactics with no strategy, and thinks it important to appear in control of everything. This mentality has caused the missing of a rare opportunity, which former prime minister Abu Mazen tried to exploit. Prior to that, other opportunities were missed.
    Arafat hangs onto his post, even though he knows that his heading the leadership is truly an obstacle to the Palestinian enterprise.
    The greatest service Arafat can do for the Palestinians is to submit his resignation. If he does this, the Palestinians will esteem him, and he will do an important service for the [Palestinian] cause.

Utter Chaos and Its Aftermath - Danny Rubinstein (Ha'aretz)
    The events in Gaza attest to the crumbling of Arafat's regime.
    During 1994-2000, when the peace process was ongoing and the Palestinian leadership had sufficient means to build apparatuses for the state in the making, it instituted reprehensible governing methods.
    In 1995, Palestinian intellectual Edward Said wrote: "Arafat is building in the territories a government that is a combination of Lebanon's chaos and Saddam Hussein's tyranny in Iraq."
    PA economic monopolies (on fuel, cement, and more) became a regular money machine for squeezing the population dry.
    The distribution of franchises and assets to cronies was also common.
    It would not be much of an exaggeration to state that the PA failed to establish a judicial system.
    Most conflicts and disputes did not reach court because the rival sides settled on their own, through power brokers, like arbitrations among mobsters.

Car Bomb Blast Kills Hizballah Official (AP/Washington Post)
    Hizballah militia official Ghaleb Awali, 40, was killed Monday in a car bomb explosion in a southern Beirut suburb, a spokesman for the Islamic militant group said.

The Feminist Revolution in the Israel Air Force - Amir Buhbut (Maariv International)
    Ten years after the IAF was required to allow women to participate in pilot training, the air force is unveiling its first all-woman fighter squadron.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • UN General Assembly Debates World Court Ruling on Israeli Barrier
    The UN General Assembly held an emergency meeting Friday to debate an Arab-sponsored draft resolution demanding that Israel comply with an advisory ruling by the World Court to stop construction of a security barrier in the West Bank. A vote is not expected before Monday as Arab sponsors of the resolution make modifications to win the support of the EU. U.S. Ambassador John Danforth says the U.S. will vote against the resolution. (VOA News)
        See also General Assembly to Vote on Anti-Fence Resolution
    The Palestinian draft resolution calls on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to prepare a list of monetary damages caused to the Palestinians by the fence - to be used to press Israel for reparations - and a convening of signatories to the Geneva Convention to discuss the ICJ ruling. After the breakdown of law and order in Gaza over the weekend, Israel's deputy permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Arye Mekel, said: "Look who's trying to teach us about the rule of law....The Palestinian Authority itself is a model of anarchy."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also below Observations: Israel's Response to the UN General Assembly - Ambassador Dan Gillerman (Israel's UN Mission)
  • 9/11 Commission Finds Ties Between al-Qaeda and Iran
    The final report by a bipartisan commission on the origins of the 9/11 attacks will contain new evidence of contacts between al-Qaeda and Iran. According to a senior U.S. official, the Commission has uncovered evidence suggesting that between eight and ten of the 14 "muscle" hijackers - those involved in gaining control of the four 9/11 aircraft and subduing the crew and passengers - passed through Iran in the period from October 2000 to February 2001. Commission investigators found that Iran had a history of allowing al-Qaeda members to enter and exit Iran across the Afghan border. (TIME)
  • Jewish Fury Over Argentine Failure to Prosecute Bombers
    Hundreds of people gathered outside a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires Sunday on the 10th anniversary of an Islamist bomb attack that killed 85 people and wounded more than 200. Argentina and Israel have blamed Hizballah terrorists, backed by Iran. Sergio Brunstein, of Active Memory, a group representing the victims, said: "This is a day of pain for all Argentina. That we know the names of those responsible and yet still fail to bring them to justice is a cause for national shame." A trial of those accused of aiding and abetting the perpetrators, which began in Buenos Aries almost three years ago, has failed to come to a resolution. Attempts to extradite an Iranian diplomat suspected of masterminding the attack have also proved fruitless. (Telegraph-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Gunmen Attack HQ of New Gaza Security Chief - Arnon Regular and Gideon Alon
    Hundreds of armed Fatah members, together with an angry crowd numbering hundreds more, attacked the headquarters of the Palestinian military intelligence in Rafah Sunday with gunfire, Molotov cocktails, and stones, in reaction to Arafat's appointment of his nephew, Musa Arafat, previously head of military intelligence, as head of the PA's Gaza security apparatus. 18 Palestinians were wounded in the fighting. Another group of armed Palestinians set alight the headquarters of military intelligence in Khan Yunis. Arafat annulled Musa Arafat's appointment on Monday. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Nepotism Rules in Gaza - Khaled Abu Toameh
    To many Palestinians, the appointment of Musa Arafat as the overall commander of the PA's National Security Force is like hiring a cat to guard the cream. Some, including top officials, describe him as one of the biggest symbols of corruption in the PA, accusing him of involvement in illegal trading in weapons, car theft, black market sales of alcohol, and extortion. According to Israeli security sources, Musa Arafat's men have also been involved in terror attacks. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Dahlan Likely Behind Unrest - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Many Palestinians are convinced that former PA Security Minister Muhammad Dahlan is responsible for the growing pressure on Arafat to implement security and financial reforms. Dahlan has been traveling around Gaza talking before various forums about the need to implement genuine reforms and end corruption. Dahlan - who recently raised eyebrows in Gaza when he purchased one of the city's most expensive villas - has been telling Fatah activists that the time has come to get rid of all the corrupt leaders, including the commanders of the PA security forces and senior officials in Arafat's entourage.
        Dahlan's outspoken criticism of Arafat has led many Palestinians to believe that he is part of a wider conspiracy orchestrated by the U.S. and Israel to replace Arafat. PA National Security Adviser Jibril Rajoub recently told a Saudi newspaper that Dahlan was an Israeli "collaborator." What is evident is that the anti-corruption drive in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is gaining momentum. However, some Palestinians pointed out that the Fatah gunmen who are pressing for reforms and democracy are the same men who have been acting as judges, juries, and executioners for many years. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Kills Palestinian Terrorist Wearing Explosive Belt, Officer Seriously Injured - Uri Ash
    An IDF officer was seriously injured Monday during an arrest operation in the West Bank village of Seida northeast of Tulkarm. During the course of the operation, troops thwarted a suicide bombing by shooting to death a Palestinian terrorist wearing an explosive belt. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Kills Would-be Bomber Who Targeted Jerusalem Cafe
    Last Tuesday, Hamas terrorist Malek Nasser a-Din entered Jerusalem through a breach in the security fence and arrived at the Caffit Cafe in the German Colony wearing a suicide belt and a gun, intending to shoot the restaurant's guards and blow himself up inside. For reasons still unknown, he failed to carry out the attack and returned to his home in Hebron, where he was killed in an exchange of fire with IDF troops on Thursday, security forces revealed Sunday. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Soldier Wounded on Jordanian Border - Margot Dudkevitch
    An IDF soldier was lightly wounded when shots were fired along the Jordanian border in the Beit Shean valley. The Jordanian army killed three gunmen who had shot at the Israeli patrol and captured a fourth attacker. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Two Israelis Wounded in Samaria Shooting
    Two Israeli civilians were lightly wounded from shots fired at their vehicle east of Tapuah in Samaria on Sunday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Clueless in Gaza - Editorial
    Israel's impending evacuation has made the people of Gaza think seriously about how they wish to be governed. And it is clear that they are less than enthusiastic about Yasser Arafat, whose appointment of his cousin, Musa Arafat, was the proximate cause of the discontent. By any measure, he has failed to deliver good governance to his people. Four years ago, at Camp David, he was offered sovereignty over the whole of Gaza, almost all the West Bank, and much of Jerusalem. He rejected the proposal, and instead launched a second Palestinian uprising. This has brought death and suffering to Israel; but for Palestinians, it has been a catastrophe, leading to violence, privation, border closures, and a collapse of living standards - to say nothing of dictatorial government.
        It is becoming increasingly clear that, as long as Arafat retains his baleful influence, no solution is possible. Israel has done everything it can to marginalize the old warhorse, short of assassination or forced exile. Now, perhaps, the Palestinians will succeed where the Israelis have failed, and sideline the man who has proved the single greatest obstacle to peace. (Telegraph-UK)
  • For the First Time, Pressure From Within - Chris McGreal
    Bitterness, fear, and desperation have bubbled to the surface in Gaza, producing what some Palestinian commentators are describing as a mutiny that challenges Arafat's web of control, if not his position as leader. Several days of chaos have been marked by kidnappings, open threats to some in the Palestinian leadership for their corruption, and mass protests against Arafat's appointment of a relative and close political allies to sensitive security posts in Gaza. Mahdi Abdul-Hadi, head of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs in Jerusalem, said, "Arafat is facing for the first time a challenge from within his own house. It's a mutiny." (Guardian-UK)
        See also Whiff of Mutiny Swirls Over Gaza - Mitch Potter (Toronto Star)
  • Observations:

    Israel's Response to the UN General Assembly on the ICJ Fence Decision
    - Ambassador Dan Gillerman (Israel's UN Mission; 16 July 2004)

    • For years, if not decades, this Assembly has entertained the Palestinian representative's attempts to manufacture a virtual reality. An alternate world in which there is but one victim and one villain, in which there are Palestinian rights but no Palestinian responsibilities, in which there are Israeli responsibilities but no Israeli rights.
    • This persistent campaign has contributed little to the credibility of the UN, and nothing to the cause of peace. With each successive partisan initiative we are left to wonder how can the UN contribute to the welfare of both peoples, if it sees the suffering of only one?
    • The path to peace does not lie in The Hague or in New York, it lies in Ramallah and Gaza, from where the terrorism is directed.
    • Israel has respect for the institution of the International Court of Justice and we believe in its ideals. We represent a people that knows all too well the cost of living in a society in which individuals are not protected by the balanced application of the rule of law.
    • Israel's Supreme Court is probably the only court in the entire Middle East in which any Arab can challenge his own government's actions and be assured of justice, rather than jail. On June 30th, in response to one such petition, Israel's Supreme Court recognized Israel's authority to erect a fence as a defensive measure against terrorist attacks.
    • The Supreme Court also affirmed that had the fence been built along the so-called "green line" - an arbitrary line that has never served as an international border - that itself would have been evidence that the route was being determined by inappropriate political considerations rather than justifiable security ones.
    • At the same time, the Israeli Supreme Court stressed that the fence must be carefully balanced against the rights of those affected by it. The court laid out a detailed proportionality test by which such a balance could be reached, and went on to find, by reference to that test, that sections of the fence required rerouting.
    • We are not impressed by lectures from Palestinian spokesmen about respect for the rule of law. We have all witnessed first hand the extent of the Palestinian leadership's respect for law in its support for a brutal campaign of terrorism that violates every basic legal norm. We have learned of their concern for human rights and humanitarian law, when rejoicing over the murder of innocent citizens in terrorist attacks, not only in Israel but around the world, or when plundering international donor money intended to benefit their own people.
    • The terrorism that made the fence necessary is not only a grave violation of international law, it is the enemy of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, and its eradication is an indispensable step to lasting peace. By closing the avenues to terror, we can open the path to peace. The barrier between Israelis and Palestinians is not the security fence, but the terrorism that made it necessary.

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