Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 24, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Arafat Signed Oslo Accords Hoping Jews Would Flee - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Abdel Bari Atwan, Palestinian editor of the London-based daily al-Quds al-Arabi, said Arafat told him in 1994 that he agreed to sign the Oslo Accords because he was hoping the agreements would force thousands of Jews to flee Israel.
    Arafat "told me...'The day will come when you will see thousands of Jews fleeing Palestine. I will not live to see this, but you will definitely see it in your lifetime. The Oslo Accords will help bring this about.'"
    Atwan also disclosed that "Arafat was the one who established the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in response to the attempt to marginalize him after the failure of the Camp David summit."
    Atwan said Arafat rejected the offers Israel made at the summit "because he wasn't prepared to sign a final agreement with the Jewish state."
    "He was well aware that such an agreement would make him go down in history as a traitor because he would have to give up the right of return for the refugees and most of the sovereignty over east Jerusalem."

Iraqi Defense Minister Brands Al-Jazeera a "Terror Channel" (AFP/Yahoo)
    Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan branded the Arabic-language satellite television Al-Jazeera a "channel of terrorism," in an interview in the London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.
    Shaalan charged that Iraqi "terrorist" Omar Hadeed, who he alleged has links to al-Qaeda, is a brother of Al-Jazeera's office director in Iraq, Hamed Hadeed, and that the journalist was receiving videos showing beheadings in Fallujah from his brother.
    Asharq Al-Awsat reported Friday that Hadeed, a former bodyguard of Saddam Hussein, is a top aide to Iraq's most wanted man, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and that he led the battle against U.S. forces in Fallujah.

Gaza Out of Control - Andrew Metz (Newsday)
    "We are entering a very dangerous time," said Gaza Palestinian militant Abu Shadi at the funeral of a Palestinian killed by Palestinians, shot during a confrontation between competing factions of the dominant Fatah party.
    "Everyone has their own gun and there is no one person in control. It is going to be a slaughterhouse."

Joint Israeli-Jordanian Exercise in Red Sea (Jerusalem Post)
    A joint Israeli-Jordanian exercise took place Monday in the Eilat-Aqaba Bay, staging the possibility of water pollution in the Red Sea.
    14 ships participated in the exercise.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • CIA Says Pakistanis Gave Iran Nuclear Aid
    A new report from the Central Intelligence Agency says the arms trafficking network led by the Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan provided Iran's nuclear program with "significant assistance," including the designs for "advanced and efficient" weapons components. (New York Times)
        See also Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction (CIA)
  • Powell: Israeli-Palestinian Cooperation Good
    Cooperation between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority in advance of the Palestinian election has been good so far, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday at an international conference in Egypt. "They are both committed to the road map, and the first step ahead of us is to have good, full, free, solid elections on the ninth of January for a new president of the Palestinian Authority." Powell said that both sides had agreed that the best way for Palestinian residents of eastern Jerusalem to take part is to use the voting by mail model from the 1996 elections. (CNN)
  • U.S. Plans Controversial Missile Sale to Jordan
    The U.S. Defense Department said on Tuesday it planned to sell Jordan 50 AMRAAM air-to-air, anti-aircraft missiles in a deal valued at $39 million. Israeli media had reported Defense Minister Mofaz asked the Pentagon to cancel the planned sale, fearing the sale to Amman could encourage Egypt to make similar arms deals with Washington, tipping the strategic balance in the Middle East. (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Abbas Won't Give Up "Right of Return"
    PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas told the Palestinian parliament Tuesday that he would follow in Arafat's footsteps and demand that Israel recognize the right of return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. Abbas' ideas about a peace deal with Israel have always been close to those of Arafat: a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with east Jerusalem as a capital, and Israeli recognition of the right of return of some four million refugees and their descendants. (AP/Ha'aretz)
  • Lt. Gen. (res.) Rafael Eitan: 1929-2004 - Ze'ev Schiff
    Raful: A warrior-farmer who was esteemed by his soldiers, about whom it was said that every time he received a promotion it was the last one, and that he would shortly leave the army - until he became chief of staff. He personally participated in all of Israel's wars, was wounded five times, and was unequalled in his bravery. Behind his tough exterior lay a love of poetry, and he would often write in rhyme. He always remained a farmer, even more than a soldier. (Ha'aretz)
        See also "Raful's Boys"
    A great believer in the centrality of the army in Israeli life, Eitan created a special military framework for youth who otherwise would have dropped out of the army or not be conscripted for lack of education. "Raful's Boys," as they became known, went through abridged basic training and lengthy educational courses meant as remedial programs, and thousands of young men who otherwise would have been left behind were integrated into Israeli society. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Swept Away to Sea After a Lifetime in Battle - Arieh O'Sullivan (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Motivation at Record High: 92% Request Combat Service
    The IDF Personnel Directorate said Tuesday that 92% of fresh conscripts ask to serve in IDF combat units. (Maariv International)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Misjudgments and Misconceptions in Overview of Efforts to Secure Mideast Peace - Zalman Shoval
    It is quite amazing how many misconceptions can be packed into one [Financial Times] editorial ("The real price of Middle East peace," Nov. 17). First, "land for peace" never intended that Israel, after being the victim of aggression in 1967, should return to the vulnerable former armistice lines; on the contrary, Security Council Resolution 242 expressly stated that Israel would not be required to withdraw from all "the territories occupied in the recent conflict" and that any withdrawals would be to "secure boundaries." As Lord Caradon stated at the time: "I know the 1967 border very well. It is not a satisfactory border." Israel being anywhere in the territories, at least until a permanent agreement will be negotiated, is certainly not "illegal."
        Second, what should be a basic truism is that as long as the Palestinians will not rid themselves of the vestiges of "Arafatism" and stop terror, violence and incitement, they should not expect the U.S., Britain, and the rest of the free world, including Israel, to help them in attaining statehood. Lastly, by virtue of history, morality, and legality, the Jewish people would have had every right to claim all the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan river. But while all Israeli prime ministers always supported compromise of some sort, either functional or territorial, for the sake of peace and reaching an understanding, the Arabs did not. (Financial Times-UK)
  • Natan Sharansky's Vision, and President Bush's - Joel C. Rosenberg
    When Natan Sharansky stepped into Condoleezza Rice's West Wing office last Thursday, he had no idea she would soon be named the next secretary of state. He was just glad to see her holding a copy of his newly published book, The Case for Democracy. "I'm already half-way through your book," Rice said. "Do you know why I'm reading it?" Sharansky, who spent nine years in KGB prisons (often in solitary confinement), hoped it had to do with his brilliant analysis and polished prose. "I'm reading it because the president is reading it, and it's my job to know what the president is thinking," said Rice. (National Review)
        See also Sharansky Accepts the President's Invitation - Dana Milbank (Washington Post)
  • Why Is Iraq as Difficult as It Is? - Interview with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz - Radek Sikorski
    Saddam Hussein didn't stop fighting us, at least until he was captured in December last year. Al-Zarqawi didn't surrender when Baghdad fell. He stepped up his efforts. There are all these organizations that are barely known that people ought to know about. There was the M-14 division of the Iraqi intelligence service, its so-called "anti-terrorism" division, which specialized in hijackings and bombings, kidnappings and assassinations. There was the M-16 division, which perfected new bombing techniques. Many of these guys are out in Falluja and Ramadi in western Iraq today making bombs. The people who murdered and tortured for 35 years are not quitting and still think they can win. (Prospect Magazine-UK)
  • Identifying Moderate Muslims - Daniel Pipes
    The idea that "militant Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution" is finding greater acceptance, but there is growing confusion over who really is a moderate Muslim. Anti-Islamist Muslims who have found their voice since September 11 include distinguished academics such as Azar Nafisi (Johns Hopkins), Ahmed al-Rahim (formerly of Harvard), Kemal Silay (Indiana), and Bassam Tibi (Gottingen). Important Islamic figures like Ahmed Subhy Mansour and Muhammad Hisham Kabbani are speaking out. The American Islamic Forum for Democracy, headed by Zuhdi Jasser, is active. The Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism appears to be genuinely anti-Islamist.
        Internationally, 2,500 Muslim intellectuals from 23 countries signed an important petition posted a month ago by a group of liberal Arabs calling for a treaty banning religious incitement to violence and specifically naming "sheikhs of death" (such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi of Al-Jazeera television). The bad news: There are lots of fake-moderates parading about. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    The Trouble with Barghouti - Editorial (Jerusalem Post)

    • There is considerable distance between jailed Palestinian Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and the "new leadership, not compromised by terror" that the U.S. president has been calling for. If there is anyone more responsible than Arafat for the needless terror war that has cost thousands of Israelis and Palestinians their lives, it is Barghouti, who proudly claims to be that war's architect.
    • Barghouti told the London-based Al-Hayat one year after the attacks began: "I knew that the end of the month of September [2000] would be the last opportunity before the explosion, but when Sharon arrived at Al-Aksa Mosque it was the most suitable moment for the breakout of the intifada....The meaning of this [was an opportunity for] setting fire to the entire region, since the issue of Al-Aksa inflames and ignites the sensibilities of the masses."
    • "There were those who were opposed to the conflict," Barghouti continued. "At the same time, I saw within the situation a historic opportunity to ignite the conflict....After Sharon left, I stayed in the area for two hours with other well-known people and we spoke...of how people should react in all the towns and villages and not only in Jerusalem. We made contact with all the factions."
    • The "intifada," in other words, did not just "break out." It was broken out through considerable and premeditated effort, in large part by Barghouti.
    • Barghouti's indictment before an Israeli civilian court accused him of direct involvement in 33 separate attacks, including suicide bombings, roadside shootings, and other attempted murders. The court found sufficient evidence to convict him of five murders, for which he was sentenced to five consecutive life terms in prison.
    • If a majority of Palestinians want Barghouti to lead them, why should Israel insist on keeping him in jail? The reason is a matter of both national dignity and the rule of law. If Palestinians want to elect terrorist leaders from Hamas or Fatah, it is their right to do so. But it is quite another matter for Israel to actively facilitate such a choice by ignoring the judgment of its own legal system and any elementary notion of justice.

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