Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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January 31, 2005

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In-Depth Issue:

Abu Mazen Promises Hamas: Return to Armed Struggle If All Fails (IMRA)
    Israel Television Channel One reported Sunday that Abu Mazen gave Hamas secret promises that if everything falls apart they can return to the path of armed struggle.

Pakistan: Peres Interview Sparks Violence (Jerusalem Post)
    Dozens of Muslims attacked the offices of Pakistan's largest media corporation in Karachi after it broadcast an interview with Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres.
    The attackers assaulted employees, destroyed equipment and vehicles, and set fires in the studios, Army Radio reported.

Saudi Hate Publications Fill American Mosques (Center for Religious Freedom-Freedom House)
    An 89-page report released Friday on a study of two hundred documents disseminated or published by the government of Saudi Arabia and collected from more than a dozen U.S. mosques exposes the hate propaganda disseminated in America by Saudi Arabia.
    The report concludes that the materials examined reflect a "totalitarian ideology of hatred that can incite to violence," and the fact that it is "being mainstreamed within our borders through the efforts of a foreign government, namely Saudi Arabia, demands our urgent attention."
    By spreading its "hate ideology within U.S. borders, it is committing a human rights violation."
    The documents promote contempt for the U.S. because it is ruled by legislated civil law rather than by totalitarian Wahhabi-style Islamic law. They condemn democracy as un-Islamic.
    One aspect of the Saudi propaganda examined is its aim to replace traditional and moderate interpretations of Islam with extremist Wahhabism, the official religion of Saudi Arabia.
    Saudi textbooks and other publications propagate a Nazi-like hatred for Jews and avow that the Muslim's duty is to eliminate the State of Israel.
    This project was undertaken after many Muslims requested help in exposing Saudi extremism in the hope of freeing their communities from ideological strangulation.

OPEC Approves of $50 Oil, Holds Output - Peg Mackey and Francois Murphy (Reuters)
    OPEC producers agreed Sunday to keep output limits on hold, convinced that oil prices near $50 a barrel are not stifling world growth.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iraqis Defy Threats as Millions Vote - Anthony Shadid
    Millions of Iraqis turned out Sunday to cast ballots in the country's first free elections in a half-century. At least 44 people were reported killed in suicide bombings, shootings, and mortar and rocket attacks. Officials estimated voter turnout at 60% - a figure that would make Sunday's vote perhaps the freest, most competitive election in an authoritarian Arab world. (Washington Post)
        See also Arab Media Focuses on Iraqi Voting, Not Violence - Hassan M. Fattah
    After nearly two years of providing up-to-the-minute images of explosions and mayhem in Iraq, and despite months of predictions of a blood bath on election day, for news directors at Arab satellite channels and newspaper editors on Sunday, the story was not the violence, it was the voting. Overwhelmingly, Arab channels and newspapers greeted the elections as a critical event with major implications for the region. (New York Times)
  • Security Council Rebukes Lebanon on Disputed Shabaa Farms - Evelyn Leopold
    The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously rebuked Beirut by declaring that the disputed Shabaa Farms area was not part of Lebanon. Its resolution said the "continually asserted position" by Beirut was "not compatible" with past council resolutions or reports by Secretary-General Annan. Anne Patterson, the U.S. acting ambassador, told the council that the biggest impediment to peacekeeping was "the continued specter of armed militias in southern Lebanon, coupled with the Lebanese government's unwillingness to assert its sole and effective control over all its territory." (Reuters)
  • CIA Said to Rebuff Congress on Nazi Files - Douglas Jehl
    The CIA is refusing to provide hundreds of thousands of pages of documents sought by a government working group under a 1998 law that requires full disclosure of classified records related to Nazi war criminals. A book, U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis, that was released by the working group in May has shown that the American government worked closely with Nazi war criminals and collaborators, allowing many of them to live in the U.S. after World War II. Historians who have studied the documents made public so far have said that at least five associates of the Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann, the architect of Hitler's campaign to exterminate Jews, had worked for the CIA, and that the CIA tried to recruit two dozen more war criminals or Nazi collaborators. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel to U.S.: Don't be "Intoxicated by the New Smell of Peace in the Air" - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minister Sharon's aide Dov Weisglass is to meet U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday carrying a dual message: Abbas is making the right moves, but they are still not sufficient to warrant permanent settlement discussions. Rice will be coming to the region next Sunday for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Weisglass is expected to tell the U.S. administration that there can be no permanent settlement talks until there is a permanent Palestinian commitment to stop violence - a requirement that a "hudna," an internal Palestinian cease-fire, does not fulfill.
        Israel is increasingly concerned by messages from Europe that both sides must now take advantage of the current "window of opportunity" to "jump-start" the negotiations. Israel's message to Washington, one official said, "is not to be intoxicated by the new smell of peace in the air." Israel expects the Palestinians to carry out their commitments under the Road Map's first phase, which means stopping terror, violence, and incitement by arresting terrorists, confiscating weapons, and destroying bomb, mortar, and Kassam rocket manufacturing factories.
        Defense Minister Mofaz told the cabinet Sunday that there has been a 75% decrease in the number of attacks over the last few days. At the same time, there was still a high number of terror warnings, and several militant groups are continuing efforts to carry out attacks. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Halts Offensive Operations in Gaza - Amos Harel and Yair Ettinger
    IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon Friday froze all offensive operations in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinians have resumed responsibility for security in areas under their control. PA security forces finished deploying in the southern part of the Gaza Strip on Friday. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel to Transfer West Bank Cities - Margot Dudkevitch
    PA security officials said there is a plan to deploy on Wednesday in Ramallah, Tulkarm, Kalkilya, Jericho, and Bethlehem. However, the heavy influence of Hizballah and Iran on terror groups in Nablus, Jenin, and Hebron will delay the transfer of those cities. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Fatah May Stall PA Parliamentary Elections After Defeat in Gaza Municipal Elections - Arnon Regular
    Senior Fatah officials are acting to put off PA parliamentary elections planned for July, following the Hamas victory in municipal elections in Gaza last Thursday. At a meeting in PA Prime Minister Qurei's office on Friday, officials suggested postponing the parliamentary elections for fear of another quashing defeat. Hamas won a sweeping victory in seven out of ten authorities. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Hamas Sweeps Gaza Elections in Show of Strength
    "Hamas's victory proves Islam is the solution," blared a slogan from loudspeakers as thousands of supporters celebrated in the streets. "Our people have a consensus on the choice of jihad and resistance and the election has underscored that concept," said Hamas spokesman Muhir al-Masri. (Reuters)
        See also Ten Wounded at Hamas Post-Election Rally - Khaled Abu Toameh
    At least 10 people were wounded, some seriously, in an armed confrontation Saturday between Hamas and Fatah supporters in the central Gaza Strip at an outdoor rally staged by Hamas to celebrate its victory in the Gaza municipal elections. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • So Much for the Argument that Arabs Don't Want Democracy - Editorial
    The world won't know for a week or longer which candidates won Sunday's historic Iraq elections, but we already know the losers: The insurgents. The millions of Iraqis who defied threats and suicide bombers to cast a ballot showed once and for all that the killers do not represent some broad "nationalist" resistance. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Great Palestinian Victory - Danny Rubinstein
    The disengagement is perceived in Gaza and the West Bank as a great victory. The Israeli explanations that it is a "disengagement" and not a withdrawal, and certainly not a retreat, do not interest the Palestinians. All the summits and all the diplomatic talks never achieved for the Palestinians what the armed struggle and resistance achieved: a disengagement, say senior PA leaders like Mohammad Dahlan and Hamas leaders like Mahmoud Zahar. The pictures of the Palestinian police deploying throughout Gaza are being displayed in the Palestinian press as victory photos. (Ha'aretz)
  • Iran's Choice - Jackie W. Sanders
    On Nov. 29, 2004, the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors adopted a resolution that once again deferred reporting Iran to the UN Security Council for violations of its nuclear safeguards agreements. Iran promised again to suspend all enrichment-related activities. Yet it used a different definition of suspension than that contained in the agreement and rushed to produce as much uranium feedstock as possible before the suspension deadline. Iran also stated that the suspension is "temporary" and that it will never give up its "right" to enrich uranium. The U.S. believes Iran is engaged in a clandestine effort to develop nuclear weapons. Only the Security Council has the power to require Iran to take all necessary measures to restore international confidence. The writer is the President's Special Envoy for Nuclear Non-Proliferation. (Wall Street Journal, 28Jan05)
        See also Iran's Nuclear Sites Tough Targets - Eric Rosenberg
    Iran's nuclear operations are dispersed throughout that country, with some key centers hidden underground. Iran is believed to have as many as 20 nuclear-related facilities in a nation with a larger land mass than Alaska. (Hearst/Eugene, OR, Register-Guard)
  • Observations:

    In Europe, an Unhealthy Fixation on Israel - Robin Shepherd (Washington Post)

    • Even while the Old World vows never to forget the Nazi genocide of the Jews, it also embraces an increasingly - and alarmingly - antagonistic attitude toward the Jewish state that arose from the ashes of World War II. European sympathy for the Palestinians runs high, while hostility toward Israel is often palpable.
    • Despite all the Holocaust commemorations, the memory of that event really does appear to be fading in Europe. Increasing numbers of younger Europeans have no real sense of what the Nazis did. This faltering awareness of the most vivid example of racist mass murder in the 20th century is accompanied by enduring anti-Semitism.
    • Yet the intense antagonism toward Israel appears to be a subset of the wider European hostility toward the U.S. Many European intellectuals see Israel as one of the central pillars of U.S. hegemony in the modern world. European leftists implacably opposed to America are implacably opposed to Israel as well.
    • Repairing transatlantic relations is a two-way process. Americans should be aware that on one crucial issue, at least, it is Europe, and not America, that needs to clean up its act.

      The writer is an adjunct fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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