Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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December 1, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

IDF Investigation: Palestinian Was Not Forced to Play Violin at Checkpoint (IDF)
    Maj. Gen. Moshe Kaplinski, the head of Central Command, conducted an investigation into a filmed incident reported widely in the media of a Palestinian man shown playing a violin at the Beit Iba checkpoint.
    The investigation found that the Palestinian arrived at the checkpoint and was asked by the soldiers to open the violin case.
    He opened the case and started to play the violin of his own volition. Several moments later, he was asked by the liaison officer to stop playing.
    The investigation was based on testimony of the soldiers at the checkpoint, footage filmed by the women of "Checkpoint Watch," and a letter written by members of the group which supports the soldiers' testimony that the man was not asked to play the violin.

Military Intelligence: Egypt Facilitated Smuggling of Weapons and Terrorist Trainers (Middle East Newsline)
    Military Intelligence reports over the last two months include a determination that Egypt has facilitated the smuggling of weapons and insurgents from Sinai into Gaza for attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians.
    "We are not only talking about weapons," a senior military source said. "We are talking about the infiltration of Egyptian and other trainers to help improve the capability of Palestinian terrorist groups and the Palestinian Authority."
    The MI assessment comes amid Israel's effort to launch security cooperation with Egypt.
    Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abu al-Gheit and intelligence chief Gen. Omar Suleiman are scheduled to visit Israel and the PA on Dec. 1.

Senior Fatah Leader Killed in West Bank (AP/Washington Post)
    Nasser Badawi, 37, a senior Fatah official, was walking at the entrance to Balata in Nablus Tuesday when three gunmen in a taxi opened fire on him, killing him, Fatah officials said.
    The Israeli military said it had no troops in the area.
    Balata is ruled by competing armed factions of Palestinians, and infighting is not uncommon.

Falluja Yields a Trove of Arms and Information - Patrick J. McDonnell (Los Angeles Times)
    Among the most novel finds in Falluja, the capital of the Iraqi insurgency, was an ice cream truck that had been converted into a mobile car-bomb factory.
    "You got an ice cream truck, it's loaded with munitions, weapons, equipment to construct a car bomb," said a senior U.S. military official.
    66 of the city's 133 mosques were discovered with significant quantities of weapons, and U.S. forces exchanged fire with snipers who took cover in minarets and inside the compounds.
    U.S. officials are processing a bounty of seized intelligence material, including telephone records of suspected insurgent group leaders and their contacts, ledgers of foreign fighters, and data on insurgents found on computer hard drives, compact discs, and other media.
    U.S. troops discovered several crude chemical laboratories, including caches of poisons, beakers, and protective gear including gas masks.
    Notes found in the labs indicated that rebels were conducting training and research on chemical weapons.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran Hails UN Nuclear "Victory"
    Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani has claimed a "great victory" over the U.S. after the UN said it would not punish Iran's nuclear activities with sanctions. Rohani said Iran would never give up its right to nuclear power and stressed during talks with European countries that Iran's freeze on uranium enrichment was only temporary. Rohani said the "whole world had turned down America's calls....We have proved that, in an international institution, we are capable of isolating the U.S. And that is a great victory....Everybody said that the Americans had failed and we had won." (BBC News)
        See also Tehran's Triumph: Europe and the UN Bless Iran's March Toward a Nuclear Weapon - Editorial (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Bush Says Iran Must Go Beyond Nuclear Suspension President Bush said Tuesday, "The Iranians agreed to suspend but not terminate their nuclear weapons program. Our position is that they ought to terminate their nuclear weapons program." (Reuters)
  • Palestinian Incitement Lessens But Hatred Continues
    The Palestinian media has scaled back its incitement to violence against Israel, but the hatred continues, said Yigal Carmon, head of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), an Israeli monitoring group. "Ten years of incitement on top of many, many years of incitement, it's not going to end in a year or two," Carmon said, noting that PLO Chairman Abbas' order for the Palestinian media to stop incitement appeared in a London-based paper rather than a local one. Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, said that while incitement to violence has stopped, the Palestinian media continues "pumping people up" with a message of hatred. (CNSNews/Townhall)
        See also PA Weighs Ending Media Incitement - Lamia Lahoud
    PLO Chairman Abu Mazen met recently with the head of the Palestinian Broadcasting Authority and asked him to prevent the broadcast of inciting material, a Palestinian official said Monday. However, they stopped short of an order to stop incitement in the Palestinian media - a key Israeli demand - the official said, with Palestinians and Israelis differing over what constitutes incitement. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also PA Denies End of Anti-Israel Media Incitement (UPI/Washington Times)
  • U.S. Aid to Help Palestinians Pay Utility Bills
    The Bush administration plans to give $20 million in aid to help the PA pay Palestinian utility bills to Israeli companies, freeing up the authority's resources for the January election, officials said Tuesday. The State Department had initially planned to give the money to the PA to support the election and to help pay Palestinian salaries, but key U.S. congressional leaders raised objections, arguing that adequate safeguards had yet to be put in place to ensure that the PA spends the money properly. (Reuters)
  • Sharon Criticizes EU Bias in Favor of Palestinians
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel took a swipe at the EU on Tuesday, telling the visiting prime minister of Estonia that he hoped his country's recent accession to the group along with nine others "will positively affect Europe's position and will result in a more balanced approach by the European Union toward Israel." (AP/International Herald Tribune)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • PA to Set Up Interim Police Force of 750 - Arnon Regular
    PA Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath told the Palestinian daily Al-Ayam that the PA plans to create a 750-member police force, answerable to the Interior Ministry, to act against armed militants, masked gunmen, and criminal elements while the Palestinian security forces are undergoing reorganization. The PA National Security Council headed by Prime Minister Qurei issued a directive to Tanzim-Fatah members who operate independently to report to their units and follow orders, if they want to continue receiving their salaries. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Accepts Egyptian Offer to Increase Forces - Aluf Benn
    Israel has accepted Egypt's offer to beef up its forces on the border between Sinai and the Gaza Strip and to train Palestinian officers, government sources said Tuesday. Egypt proposed deploying 750 armed troops on the Egyptian side of the Philadelphia route in the Rafah area to reinforce security and prevent arms smuggling. Today, only policemen are deployed there in keeping with the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hamas Bombmaker Gets 67 Life Sentences
    An IDF military court Tuesday sentenced senior Hamas member Abdullah Barghouti, 31, a relative of jailed Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti, to 67 life sentences for preparing bombs used in attacks that left more than 60 people dead and hundreds injured. He prepared the bomb belts used in the terror attacks at the Sbarro pizza parlor, Moment cafe, and the cafeteria at Hebrew University's Mount Scopus campus, all in Jerusalem. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinians Fire Rocket at Israel - Margot Dudkevitch
    A Kassam rocket landed at the entrance to the town of Sderot Tuesday. Palestinians also fired three mortars at Gush Katif. No injuries or damage were reported. A female would-be suicide bomber was arrested in Bethlehem, Israel Radio reported. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Civil War on Terrorism: How Much of a Threat Does Islamic Radicalism Pose to Western Europe?
    Bernard Lewis, a British historian at Princeton University, said recently that by the end of the century "at the very latest," the European continent would be "part of the Arabic west, the Maghreb." At present there are not more than 13m Muslims in the EU, out of a total population of 457m. Even if there is a massive surge of immigration and the fertility of white Europeans falls even further, it is difficult to see how this will lead to a merger between Europe and North Africa.
        The demographic picture in particular places is admittedly more dramatic. The Muslim population of France is now nearly 10% of the total. And it is officially projected that the three largest Dutch cities will have 50% non-Western populations (most of them Muslim) by 2020. It is here that traditional liberal attitudes are undergoing a rethink. Mohammed B, the murderer of Theo Van Gogh, was not a marginalized or oppressed figure. He spoke excellent Dutch and was studying for a diploma. It looks increasingly apparent that - as with the 9/11 hijackers - the problem is not lack of integration or opportunity, but a vicious ideology. (Economist-UK, 27Nov04)
        See also Europe Must Unite to End Terror - Gijs De Vries
    Europe urgently needs to counter both the radicalization and the marginalization of young Muslims. (Financial Times-UK)
        See also Europe Tries to Sharpen Antiterror Efforts - Andreas Tzortzis (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Fatal Failure: UN Won't Recognize Connection between Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism - Anne Bayevsky
    The UN General Assembly held another emergency session in July to condemn Israel for building a wall to prevent terrorism, but not to name and condemn Palestinian terrorists, their PA patrons, or their state sponsors. This fall, another 20 anti-Israel resolutions are in the process of adoption at the regular session of the General Assembly. Another of the annual UN-sponsored NGO conferences "in support of the Palestinian people" was held at UN headquarters in September.
        A damage register was created for alleged victims of Israel's security fence, but nothing for victims of Palestinian terrorism. The chief of UNRWA, Peter Hansen, gave a spirited defense of employing Hamas members. And then there was the expert report on racism and xenophobia that blamed Israel for the rise of anti-Semitism, but that was still studying whether "alleged" ethnic motivations had anything to do with the genocide and displacement of more than a million people in the Darfur region of Sudan. (National Review)
  • Arafat, the Man Who Wanted Too Much - Harvey Sicherman
    Arafat leaves a broader international legacy as well. His career was a monument to Western weakness and ineptitude in dealing with international terrorists. Unwilling to disqualify him or hold him to account, unable to settle the conflict upon which he thrived, the democracies set a disastrous example for their enemies. The man who wanted too much finally overreached against an enraged Israel and an American president steeled by the 9/11 attack. But the damage was done. Many more lives may be lost before it is undone. (Foreign Policy Research Institute)
  • Observations:

    Time to Get Tough on Terrorism, UN Warned - Anton La Guardia (Telegraph-UK)

    • After decades of argument over whether one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, a group of international "wise men" will this week tell the UN to outlaw all terror attacks on civilians or risk losing its moral authority.
    • In a report to be unveiled on Thursday, the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, a panel appointed to reform the UN, said it must send "an unequivocal message that terrorism is never an acceptable tactic, even for the most defensible of causes."
    • This is a slap in the face for Palestinians, Iraqi insurgents, Kashmiri rebels, al-Qaeda militants, and other groups that claim to be fighting foreign domination.
    • It is also a rebuke to Muslim states that have for years blocked agreement on an all-embracing UN convention on terrorism on the grounds that it should exclude groups fighting "occupation" or "colonialism."
    • On the question of "resistance" to occupation, the report declares that "there is nothing in the fact of occupation that justifies the targeting and killing of civilians."
    • The panel was appointed by UN secretary general Kofi Annan to find ways of healing the divisions over Iraq and fending off Washington's threats to treat the UN as "irrelevant" in dealing with modern dangers.
    • The report proposes a definition of terrorism which refers to "any action that is intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants, when the purpose of such act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act."
    Corrected link:
    Palestinian Priorities After Arafat: Palestinian Unity or Peace?
    - Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi (ICA/JCPA)

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