Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 22, 2004

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In-Depth Issues:

IDF: Iran Has Secret Nuclear Program - Arieh O'Sullivan (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF believes that Iran is running a secret nuclear weapons program in parallel to the one it had agreed this week to temporarily suspend.
    "Without a more determined stance by the West against Iran, they will reach a point of no return within six months," said a senior officer.
    From then it would take another 18 to 24 months to produce a nuclear bomb.

Two Presbyterian Staff Members Who Met with Hizballah Are Fired - John H. Adams (The Layman)
    Two high-level Presbyterian Church (USA) employees have been fired in the aftermath of their taking part in a controversial meeting with a representative of Hizballah, a group blamed for murdering hundreds of Americans and Israelis.
    The two were among the staff leaders who were with 22 other Presbyterians on a "fact-finding" trip to the Mideast.

UN Plans to Oversee Palestinian Elections - Arnon Regular and Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)
    The UN will be soon sending over a special delegation to help organize the elections in the PA.

Mother Celebrates Wedding of Palestinian Martyr Son (Palestinian Media Watch)
    The hope that the PA will improve dramatically after the demise of Arafat is based on the mistaken assumption that its problems stemmed mainly from Arafat as an individual and not from the society he created.
    Um Al-Ajrami, a Palestinian mother of a suicide terrorist, spoke on PA TV on Nov. 17, 2004, about a group of women, all mothers of martyrs, who go to other mothers of martyrs (Shahids) during the period of mourning:
    "We don't say to the mothers of the Shahids, 'We have come to comfort you,' but 'We have come to bless you on the wedding of your son, on the Shahada of your son.'...For us, the mourning is joyous. We give out drinks, we give out sweets."
    The Palestinian mothers' positive, even joyous, responses to their sons' deaths - and their celebration of their sons' "marriages" to the maidens of Paradise - is a result of years of PA indoctrination.

Russia Warns of "Wahhabism Threat" in Pankisi (Civil Georgia-Georgia)
    Russia's Counter-Terrorism Operations Center in the North Caucasus alleged on Nov. 16 that there are signs of increasing influence of Wahhabism in Georgia's Pankisi gorge, which borders Russia's rebel republic of Chechnya.
    "Intimidation of the local population is used as a method for breeding Wahhabism there," said Center spokesman Ilia Shabalkin.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Bush Says Iran Speeds Output of A-Bomb Fuel
    President Bush said Saturday there were indications that Iran was speeding forward in its production of a key ingredient for nuclear weapons fuel, a move he said was "a very serious matter'' that undercut Iran's denials that it was seeking to build weapons. Diplomats had said on Friday that Iran had told the International Atomic Energy Agency that it was racing to produce uranium hexafluoride, a gas that can be enriched into bomb fuel, before it begins to observe the temporary suspension of nuclear activity that it negotiated with the Europeans. (New York Times)
        See also A "Good-Cop, Bad-Cop" Approach on Iran
    Richard Armitage, who is leaving his post as deputy secretary of state, explained in an interview with Al Jazeera on Friday the U.S. strategy of suddenly increasing the heat on Iran's nuclear program. "The incentives of the Europeans only work against the backdrop of the United States being strong and firm on this issue," he said. "In the vernacular, it's kind of a good-cop bad-cop arrangement. If it works, we'll all have been successful." (New York Times)
  • Israel Vows to Ensure Palestinian Election
    Israel will do "everything in its power" to enable Palestinian elections to take place, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Monday after meeting in Jerusalem with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Powell Arrives in Israel - Arnon Regular and Aluf Benn
    Political sources in Jerusalem attach little significance to Powell's visit because he is about to step down from his post and the Palestinian leadership is still unstable. According to political sources, Sharon will state that there has been no change in the PA since Arafat's death. (Ha'aretz)
  • Arafat Rumors Turning Poisonous - Mitch Potter
    "Nothing the French say will dispel the conspiracy theories" about what killed Arafat, said Ethan Dor-Shav, a political scientist with Jerusalem's Shalem Center. "It was 100% predictable that the Palestinians needed Arafat to die as a martyr. The possibility of a normal death of old age was simply unacceptable. He had to die by the hands of Israel. It was absolutely necessary for the national myth."
        "Every Palestinian wants to see him as a hero; they expected him to be martyred," said Mohammed Yaghi, of the Palestinian Center for Mass Communication, a Ramallah-based think-tank. "If we created a myth about Arafat's death, we have also created the expectation that everyone must now live up to this myth. There will be unity of purpose, a national responsibility to finish what he started." (Toronto Star)
        See also Poll: 80% of Palestinians Believe Arafat Was Poisoned
    A poll conducted by the Center of Opinion Polls and Survey Studies at Najah University on November 19-20, 2004, asked: "Several Palestinian personalities support the conviction that Arafat died by being poisoned, do you believe this?" Yes - 80%, No - 9%. (IMRA)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF: Gaza Terror Groups Continue to Operate With Same Intensity - Amir Buhbut
    Despite an initial drop in attacks after Arafat's death, Palestinian terror operations in Gaza have quickly returned to their previous level of intensity, senior IDF officials said. According to a Southern Command officer, 16 terrorists were killed in the past two weeks, the same number that were killed in the two weeks before Arafat's medical deterioration. According to a senior military officer, "Terror groups are continuing to operate in order to send a message to the new Palestinian leadership to take them into account."
        Hamas has appeared to stop firing Kassam rockets at southern Israel. The officer explained, "It is a strategic decision of Hamas to create an equation in which the Kassam would be used only when the IDF enters Palestinian territory." (Maariv International)
  • Farmers Fight Locusts in Southern Israel - Amiram Cohen
    Hundreds of farmers in southern Israel will be out spraying insecticide Monday in a bid to stop the locusts swarming into the country. Millions of locusts ate their way through parts of Eilat on Sunday and streamed into the western Negev. So far damage to crops has been marginal. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Locusts: Nutritious and Delicious...But Are They Kosher? - Nir Hasson (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • From Arafat to al-Zarqawi - Dore Gold
    Western diplomats may have been stunned by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's blatant effort to ward off the newest coalition offensive against terrorist strongholds in Fallujah, but they should not have been surprised. The UN appears to be more preoccupied with defending those most directly threatening international peace and security, while criticizing the policies of those protecting world order and asserting their right of self-defense. In effect, Annan was providing diplomatic cover for the likes of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi while undercutting the embattled legitimate government of Iraq.
        This wasn't the first time the UN tilted to the wrong side. During the last decade, the UN was repeatedly afflicted with this syndrome as it sought to deal with one explosive crisis after another. Its highest officials assigned equal responsibility for the outbreak of wars to the victims of attacks as much as to those who planned and executed them.
        In the Middle East, it led the UN's judicial arm in The Hague - the International Court of Justice - to insist that Israel dismantle its security fence in the disputed West Bank without calling for specific measures against the suicide terrorism that caused it to be built in the first place. One wonders if the UN had existed in the Middle Ages whether it would have banned the use of shields and armor while sanctioning the employment of the cross-bow. The writer heads the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and is the author of Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos. (New York Sun, 19Nov04)
        See also Dear Kofi... - Editorial
    Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has replied to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's letter objecting to coalition efforts in Fallujah. "The terrorists and insurgents operating from places like Fallujah are exporting their violence to other parts of the country, terrorizing and killing innocent Iraqis....I was a little surprised by the lack of any mention in your letter of the atrocities which these groups have committed. I believe that the blame for the violence and difficulties in Iraq at the moment should be laid squarely at their door." (Wall Street Journal, 10Nov04)
        See also Assignment UN - Arnold Beichman
    The UN General Assembly, a haven of anti-Americanism, regularly condemns one country, Israel, another democracy, as a putative violator of human rights. Over and over again the General Assembly has stigmatized Israel by overwhelming majority votes while ignoring human-rights violators like Cuba and North Korea. This is the institution Kofi Annan calls - no snickering, please - "the indispensable home of the human family." The writer is a research fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. (Washington Times)
        See also The Crisis of Legitimacy: America and the World - Robert Kagan
    Ever since the UN's creation almost six decades ago, the Security Council has failed to function as the UN's more idealistic founders intended. And it has never been accepted as the sole source of international legitimacy, not even by Europeans. Europe's recent demand that the U.S. seek UN authorization for the Iraq war, and presumably for all future wars, was a novel - even revolutionary - proposition. The writer is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. (Centre for Independent Studies-Australia)
  • Long Live Free Fallujah! - Stephen Schwartz
    With the liberation of Fallujah and the fall of the jihadist regime in the town, it is apparent that American media intend to keep their story on message: the message being that the U.S. military operation there has failed and that Fallujans, and Iraqis in general, still hate the intervention forces. At the same time, other reports tell a more significant and eloquent story: the jihadists had set up a Taliban-style dictatorship, in which women who did not cover their entire bodies, people listening to music, and members of spiritual Sufi orders - that is, ordinary Fallujans - were subject to torture and execution. Strangely, throughout the Iraqi struggle, Western media have joined Western politicians in a reluctance to name the "foreign fighters" in Fallujah as what they are - mostly Wahhabis, and mainly Saudis. (Tech Central Station)
  • Observations:

    A Look at Life after Arafat - Mortimer B. Zuckerman (U.S. News)

    • The great delusion in the West was that Arafat would lead the Palestinians to democracy and peace if only he were given more concessions. Instead, we ended up with neither security nor democracy.
    • Now the Palestinians are to be guided, it appears, by some 10 feuding groups and their warlords who have about 40,000 guns (to say nothing of the criminal gangs that control swaths of the West Bank and Gaza).
    • Washington should hold the Palestinians accountable. The fatal flaw of Oslo was that violations of Palestinian obligations provided the rationale not for rebuke but for more concessions.
    • The U.S. should also resist the clamor from Europe to begin political negotiations before terrorist groups are dismantled.
    • There must be no rush to push a new road map. The emerging Palestinian leadership must prove its will and ability to transform the nation. A democratic Palestine offers the only chance to become a peaceful neighbor to Israel instead of a terrorist entity.

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