Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 10, 2004

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In-Depth Issues:

Suha Arafat Rejects $2 Million Settlement from PA - Arnon Regular (Ha'aretz)
    Suha Arafat has rejected a $2 million financial settlement from the PA to allow completion of the tests that would finally determine Yasser Arafat's death, according to French sources, who are becoming increasingly impatient with Arafat's wife.
    French officials were astonished to discover that Suha's constant companion and financial adviser was Pierre Rizk, who headed the intelligence service of the Christian Phalange during the Lebanese civil war and was in close personal contact with the group responsible for the massacre at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in 1982.
    See also Suha, PA Leaders Reach Settlement (Maariv International)

Iran Supplied Hizballah with Eight Drones - Jacky Hogi (Maariv International)
    Iran has supplied Hizballah with eight unmanned aerial vehicles and has trained 30 of the groupís operatives to operate them, a senior commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards told the London-based Arab daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat.
    One of those drones penetrated Israeli air space on Sunday.
    The official said the drones had been used in surveillance missions over Iraq to monitor the movements of U.S. forces.
    The drone carries three cameras, digital radar, and electronic broadcasting devices. It can reach an altitude of 6,000 feet and a maximum speed of 120 km/h.

Shin Bet: TA Bomber Intended to Attack French Embassy - Tsahar Rotem (Ha'aretz)
    The Palestinian suicide bomber who killed three people at the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv last week had intended to attack the nearby French Embassy, the Shin Bet security service announced Tuesday.
    An attack on the American Consulate in Jerusalem was also considered.
    Bassam Hundkaji of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who led the suicide bomber into Israel, passed through Israeli checkpoints using a press card he had obtained through A-Najah University in Nablus.

Terror Threat Real, Says UK Spy Chief - Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian-UK)
    Britain faces a serious threat of terrorist attacks on the scale of the Madrid bombing which killed more than 190 people, the head of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller, warned Monday.
    "There is a serious and sustained threat of terrorist attacks against UK interests at home and abroad, including against the business community," she said.

Useful Reference:

Submission, Part 1
    Watch the film "Submission," a movie by Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh criticizing the treatment of women under Islam, that cost Van Gogh his life.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Arafat to Be Buried in Ramallah
    Palestinian officials said Tuesday they had asked the Israeli government for permission to bury Arafat at his Ramallah headquarters. (New York Times)
        See also Arafat to Lie in State in Cairo on Thursday, Burial in Ramallah on Friday (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • Israel Hopes to Work with More Moderate Palestinian Leadership
    Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, on a visit to China, said, "Israel hopes the Palestinian people will be led by a responsible leader who will fight terror and allow us to return to dialogue and negotiations for peace. If such a partner emerges, we will be there." (AFP/Yahoo)
        See also Mofaz: Peace Talks Could Resume in Post-Arafat Era (AFP/Yahoo)
  • Powell: Seize the Opportunity
    Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday: "We stand ready to move forward. We have been ready ever since the meetings at Sharm el-Sheikh and Aqaba last year with the roadmap. The roadmap is intact. The President is committed to the roadmap. He is committed to a two-state solution....What we have been looking for for this whole period is responsible leadership on the part of the Palestinians so that we can get going." (State Department)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Poll: 57% of Palestinians Favor Attacks Against Israel from Gaza After Withdrawal
    From a Palestinian poll taken on November 3-5, 2004: If Israel withdraws from the Gaza Strip, do you support or reject launching attacks against Israel from inside the Strip? I strongly support 23% [Gaza residents 30%], I support 34% [Gaza 21%], I reject 27% [Gaza 25%], I strongly reject 10% [Gaza 18%].
        Do you think that Israel's approval of the redeployment from Gaza came as a result of? Pressure caused by Palestinian resistance 47%, The economic and security uselessness of staying in Gaza 33%, International pressure on Israel 15%. (Center for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies, An-Najah University, Nablus/IMRA)
  • Peace Index: Israel Erred in Allowing Arafat In After Oslo - Ephraim Yaar and Tamar Hermann
    According to the Peace Index survey of the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research of Tel Aviv University conducted November 1-3, 2004: A majority of Israeli Jews view Arafat as a terrorist (79%) and only a very small minority (5%) see him as a statesman. A clear majority (64%) also think that, in retrospect, Israel erred in allowing him to return from Tunis in 1994 in the framework of the Oslo agreement. There is also a substantial rise in the rate of those (75%) who think Arafat in fact has controlled the Palestinian street since the start of the intifada.
        Nevertheless, there is no optimism on the Israeli Jewish side that, with other Palestinian leaders, it will be possible to reach an agreement with the Palestinians. This can be explained by the wide consensus in the Jewish public that most of the Palestinians have not accepted the existence of Israel and would destroy it if they could. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • After Arafat, Hope - William Safire
    Here comes Tony Blair to Washington. In Iraq, the gutsy Brit stands shoulder to shoulder with the U.S., at considerable political cost at home. Blair needs a big favor to get the Bush-haters in Britain off his back, so welcomed Bush's re-election with "the need to revitalize the Middle East peace process is the single most pressing political challenge in our world today." That means: Let's you, me, Vladimir Putin, and Kofi Annan get together and tell Sharon to re-offer the old Barak-Clinton deal to whichever Palestinian will listen. Then the Muslim violence will stop all over the world. C'mon, Tony; we don't thank one big ally by selling out a smaller one. (New York Times)
  • Sharon Doesn't Fear Arafat's Passing - Martin Sieff
    Political sources in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv say Sharon is confident that his warm, close ties with Washington will continue and that he is not anticipating any increased diplomatic pressure to give any new concessions to the Palestinians. Israeli officials say Bush officials continue to signal their appreciation that Sharon forced through his plan to evacuate Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip next year, defying immense pressure and anger from his own ruling Likud Party to do so. The president's defining characteristic in diplomacy as well as domestic politics is fervent loyalty to those who have shown it to him and he puts Sharon now very much in that category, the Israelis believe.
        Sharon's determination to push through approval for the Gaza withdrawal plan took a lot of the pressure off Bush to do something concrete in the area. The Palestinians are still a very long way from creating a credible and stable post-Arafat leadership that can woo concessions out of Washington. (UPI/Washington Times)
  • A Window of Opportunity - David Makovsky
    Without major fanfare, Mahmoud Abbas is assuming his duties as head of the PLO in Arafat's absence. The U.S. challenge is to support Abbas without giving him a made-in-America "bear hug." The U.S. should also urge Israel to work with the post-Arafat PA as it plans its withdrawal in order to bolster the new leadership's legitimacy as well as revive the trust between these two peoples. Moreover, coordination is the best hope for Israel, for it does not want to revive the image of the hastily executed pullout from Lebanon in 2000, when the rejectionist Hizballah took credit for the Israeli exit. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Arafat's Last Threat to Israel - Daniel Pipes
    There will be no successor to Arafat - he made sure of that. Instead, this is the moment of the gunmen. Militiamen grasping for land and treasure will dominate the Palestinian scene for months or years ahead. Persons familiar from past diplomacy or from television (Mahmoud Abbas, Ahmed Qurei, et al.) lack gunmen, and so will have limited relevance. Eventually, two strongmen will emerge with the ability to negotiate with the Israelis and Americans. The geographic division of the West Bank and Gaza, of only minor import until now, looms large upon Arafat's passing. Whoever rules in the one unit is unlikely to gain traction in the other, making the notion of a "Palestine" that much more difficult to promote.
        Israel has been spared from U.S. pressure during the past three years only because Arafat continued to deploy the terrorism weapon. This grace period will come to an end once clever and powerful Palestinian leaders realize that by holding off the violence for a decent interval, they can rely on Israel's only major ally pressuring the Jewish state into making concessions. (FrontPageMagazine)
  • "Father" Bled His People Dry - Mark Dooley
    No one who truly cares for the plight of the Palestinians should weep for a world without Arafat. Arafat has consistently turned advantage into loss by privileging vanity over pragmatism and terror over accommodation. Thanks to his corrupt and autocratic dictatorship, the hopes of a generation have been squandered. It is to Europe's great shame that it bankrolled his murderous outfit for so long. (Irish Sunday Independent, 7 Nov 04)
  • Arafat Never Abandoned Goal of Eliminating Israel - Michael C. Kotzin
    Arafat's leadership repeatedly prevented Palestinians and Israelis from resolving their differences in a peace that would address the legitimate needs of both peoples. He time and again brought suffering to both Israelis and Palestinians and foiled American plans for bringing stability to the Middle East. The writer is executive vice president of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Observations:

    Overcoming Arafat - Editorial (Wall Street Journal Europe, 10 Nov 04)

    • After free and open elections to establish democratic legitimacy for those who the world will now rely on to forge a settlement with Israel, if one is to be had, a new Palestinian government must then unequivocally forswear the terror, corruption, and incitement of chaos that marked Arafat's reign.
    • Arafat's successors would do well to start by dismantling the myriad overlapping and competing security services that both facilitated terror and provided Arafat with plausible deniability of his role in fomenting it.
    • What the U.S. and Europe should avoid at all costs is a repeat of the fatal Oslo process, where Palestinian transgressions were not only overlooked but used as an argument to pressure Israel to make new concessions, supposedly to promote Palestinian "good will."
    • With Arafat's demise, some Europeans will surely pressure Israel to again make one-sided concessions to encourage the emergence of a more "moderate" Palestinian leadership. President Bush would be ill-advised to follow this advice. The only hope for peace is a PA leadership that truly wants peace.
    • The worst possible scenario would be for international pressure to force Israel to accept some bogus cease-fire with Hamas, the core Palestinian terrorist group that is bent on the destruction of the Jewish state. That would preclude Israel from striking at Hamas, which has been the only effective way it has had in dealing with that group.
    • Subduing terrorist groups is the real key to Mideast peace. One can hope that Arafat's demise might turn out to be the best thing he has ever done for his people. For thousands of Palestinians and Israelis, though, it comes too late.

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