Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Palestinian Fatah Leader: Iraqis Must Defeat U.S.
Barghouti Pulls Even with Abbas in PA Pre-Election Polls - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
French Lose Their Own Test Explosives on Flight
- Matthew Saltmarsh (International Herald Tribune/New York Times)
Looking Inside the Mind of a Suicide Bomber - Paul Goodman (MSNBC)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
See also U.S. Targets in Saudi Arabia Vulnerable (AP/Washington Post)
See also The Iraq Effect? - Michael Scott Doran
Jacques Chirac and others - including, most recently, Pervez Musharraf - have surmised that the war in Iraq has made the world a more dangerous place. They are wrong. Monday's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Jiddah notwithstanding, the real stuff of politics in the Arab world is conflict between Muslims, not America and its policies. (Wall Street Journal, 7 Dec 04)
The global investigation into A.Q. Khan's black market trade in nuclear technology has stalled, according to interviews with diplomats and officials from several countries. Senior investigators said they were especially worried that dangerous elements of the illicit network of manufacturers and suppliers would remain undetected and capable of resuming operations once international pressures eased. Investigators said records obtained in Libya and elsewhere showed that some nuclear equipment purchased or manufactured by the network had yet to be found, raising the possibility that it was diverted to unidentified customers. (Los Angeles Times)
Former FBI terrorism expert Matthew Levitt, director of terrorism studies at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told a federal jury Monday that the Quranic Literacy Institute of Oak Lawn, IL, served as "a money-laundering clearinghouse" for the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The testimony came in a lawsuit filed by Joyce and Stanley Boim, the parents of an American teenager shot to death by two Hamas militants in Israel eight years ago, who say the institute, two Islamic charities, and an alleged Hamas fundraiser, Mohammed Salah, bankrolled the purchase of weapons by Hamas and thus are responsible for the death of their son David. Levitt used canceled checks to show that Salah received payments averaging $3,000 a month in the early 1990s from a Saudi whose name appears on federal government terrorism lists. (AP/Fresno Bee)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Staff-Sgt. Nadav Kodinsky, 20, was killed and four other IDF soldiers were wounded Tuesday when a bomb exploded near the Karni crossing in northern Gaza. The troops also came under heavy gunfire and RPG attack from Palestinians. At least three Palestinian combatants were killed in the battle. Hamas claimed responsibility for the bombing.
The IDF unit was searching for weapons and fugitives in a Palestinian chicken coop when the explosion occurred. The searches were conducted on foot and not in armored vehicles to prevent harming the structures and hothouses belonging to Palestinian farmers. (Jerusalem Post)
British Prime Minister Blair will visit Israel and the PA in two weeks to promote his idea for an international peace conference on the Middle East after the Palestinian elections, to grant the new PA leadership international legitimacy. Prime Minister Sharon is opposed to the renewal of the political process until the Palestinians take action to fulfill the first stage of the road map - putting an end to terrorism and implementing security reforms. He is ready for the conference to take place without Israeli participation, that it be a one-day event for professionals, and deal with PA reforms.
Elliot Abrams, who handles the Israel-Palestinian brief for the U.S. National Security Council, visited London and said the U.S. shares Israel's concern that the conference not be turned into a fast track to a final status accord. British sources said Monday, "We'll talk about what the Palestinians are planning, and how the international community can help." They said no decision has been made yet about inviting Israel. (Ha'aretz)
The Palestinian Authority will ask donor countries meeting in Oslo this week for $4 billion over three years, Palestinian Economics Minister Maher al-Masri said Monday in Ramallah. The World Bank said international donations averaging $950 million a year from 2001 to 2003 had warded off economic disaster, but that "donor fatigue" loomed. (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
A Palestinian worker was lightly wounded Monday by a Palestinian mortar shell launched into Neveh Dekalim in Gush Katif from the Palestinian town of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza. Also Monday, Palestinians fired a Kassam rocket from northern Gaza that landed north of the Israeli town of Sderot. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Palestinians now seem embarked on a wide-open presidential election. The two leading candidates offer a stark choice to voters. Mahmoud Abbas, 69, was the first prime minister of the PA after Arafat caved in to international pressure to create the post in 2003. Marwan Barghouti, 45, is in an Israeli jail, serving five life sentences after being convicted of ordering attacks against Israelis. It's unclear how he could possibly be effective as a jailed president. Worse, the election of a leader whom Israel refuses to set free would no doubt intensify a Palestinian sense of victimization. Sharon has declared that Barghouti will remain in prison and can wage whatever kind of campaign his jailers allow him. (Los Angeles Times)
See also The Anti-Barghouti Campaign - Danny Rubinstein
A widespread campaign denouncing Marwan Barghouti's candidacy for head of the PA is being waged in recent days among the Palestinian public, although everyone is careful not to taint the honor of "the architect of the intifada," as his fans call him. From the point of view of the top echelons of Fatah, the election process was going smoothly until Barghouti violated the rules of the game.
The political positions among the candidates are almost identical, but if Barghouti doesn't withdraw his candidacy, Abu Mazen's majority will be reduced, placing him in a position of weakness vis-a-vis his rivals in Fatah and outside the movement. A weak Palestinian leader is one who will have great difficulty making the political decisions and the painful concessions required in any settlement with Israel. (Ha'aretz)
When the King Fahd Academy opened in Bonn nine years ago, it was heralded as a bridge between Germany and the Arab world. Yet the academy has morphed into one of Europe's breeding grounds of Islamic extremism, where a preacher has called for jihad against the West, schoolchildren are taught martyrdom, and a parents' group has become a who's who of suspected Islamic activists across the country. The school continues to use Saudi texts and teach Wahhabism to Germans. (Wall Street Journal, 7 Dec 04)
Israel's Morality and the World's Myopia - Daniel Gordis (American Jewish Committee)
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