Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
If your email program has difficulty viewing this page, see web version.


February 24, 2005

To contact the Presidents Conference: click here

In-Depth Issues:

Iraqi TV Airs Confession of Syrian Agent (AP/Ha'aretz)
    Iraqi state television Wednesday aired the confessions of an alleged Syrian intelligence officer and a group of Iraqi insurgents he purportedly trained to behead people and carry out attacks against American and Iraqi troops.
    Lt. Anas Ahmed al-Essa, 30, said his group had been recruited to "cause chaos in bar America from reaching Syria....We received all the instructions from Syrian intelligence."
    Al-Iraqiya TV later aired interviews with Sudanese and Egyptian nationals who had also trained in Syria to carry out attacks in Iraq.

Three Palestinians Killed by Palestinian Gunfire - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Three Palestinians were killed by Palestinian gunfire on Monday.
    A gunman who fired into the air to celebrate the release of prisoners in the Jenin area accidentally shot and killed Omar Saleh, 34, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.
    In Gaza City, masked gunmen kidnapped and murdered Deeb Hamattu, 35, a senior officer in the PA's Military Intelligence Force.
    In the northern Gaza Strip, Farida Abu Rayan, 50, was shot and killed during a violent brawl between her relatives and a rival family.
    In another incident, gunmen kidnapped and later released the director of the library at the American University near Jenin.
    The gunmen told him they had mistaken him for the dean of the law faculty, Dr. Amin Dawwas, whom they were planning to kill.

Outcry in United Arab Emirates Over Official's Israel Visit - Taieb Mahjoub (AFP/Daily Star-Lebanon)
    An unprecedented visit to Jerusalem by Mohammed al-Abbar, director of the Dubai government's department of economic development, has caused an outcry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
    An editorial Monday in Al-Ittihad, the official daily of the government of Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, called his private contacts with Israelis "irresponsible and unacceptable."
    "It's the first time in the history of our country, with its spotless record, that an individual dares, by such contact with Israel, to overrun the publicly announced policy of our country," the paper added, hinting that Abbar should be punished.

    See also Qatar Welcomes Israeli Official - Gil Hoffman (Jerusalem Post)
    Deputy Education Minister Michael Melchior is in Qatar at the invitation of the Qatari Foundation, headed by the wife of the Emir of Qatar.


Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

Related Publications:
Israel Campus Beat Israel HighWay

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Sharon Calls for "Real" Palestinian Steps
    Israeli Prime Minister Sharon Wednesday demanded the Palestinians take "real steps" to dismantle terror organizations and their infrastructure. "It must be clear to the new Palestinian leadership that a cease-fire can only be the first step and that they must take real steps to dismantle terrorist organizations and (their) infrastructure and advance sweeping governmental reforms," said a statement released by his office. (UPI/Washington Times)
  • Syria Elite Seeks Lebanon Pullout - Nicholas Blanford
    About 140 Syrian intellectuals and human rights activists Wednesday published an open letter urging Damascus to withdraw its estimated 14,000 troops from Lebanon to avoid further international censure. Accusations that Damascus was responsible for the assassination last week of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri have spurred an outpouring of anti-Syrian anger in Lebanon. A dormitory for Syrians in north Lebanon was burnt down last week and mobs in Sidon have attacked Syrian workers. Thousands of Syrian laborers have fled in the past week, fearing further reprisals. As many as one million Syrians work in Lebanon. (Times-UK)
  • The Unheralded Revolution in Iraq - Jim Hoagland
    Nearly one-third of the 140 winning candidates on the Shiite parliamentary list are women. Moreover, those 45 women tend to be more educated, better informed, and more committed to change than are their male counterparts. Overall, 31% of Iraq's newly elected 275 parliamentarians are women. The example they have set cannot be lost on Arab women at large. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel: World Court Ruling on Security Fence Based on Erroneous Data - Yuval Yoaz
    The ruling last year by the International Court of Justice on the separation fence between Israel and the Palestinians was based on erroneous and outdated information, the State Prosecution said in a document submitted to the High Court of Justice Wednesday. The World Court almost totally ignored the terror attacks that made it imperative to set up the fence, the considerations that led to planning its route, and the state's duty to protect its citizens. The document notes that the Hague court's ruling took the form of an advisory opinion and is not legally binding. According to the state, the Hague judges assumed that the fence would include 16% of the West Bank on the Israeli side, whereas the actual fence route includes just 3.3%. (Ha'aretz)
  • Egypt Insisting on Israeli Withdrawal from Gaza Border Corridor
    Egypt insisted Wednesday on Israeli withdrawal from the corridor between Gaza and Egyptian territory, known to Israelis as the Philadelphi Road, as part of an agreement they are negotiating to complement an Israeli withdrawal from the rest of Gaza. "Israel must withdraw from the Salaheddin corridor before Egyptian forces move into the Egyptian-Palestinian border line," said Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
  • Talks Over Withdrawal from West Bank Cities Falter - Amos Harel
    Talks between Israel and the PA on handing over security responsibility for West Bank cities have run aground. Two meetings this week on the handing over of Tulkarm ended without agreement. As was the case with the talks on Jericho last week, the Palestinians demanded that Israel move its checkpoints back to the lines of September 28, 2000. (Ha'aretz)
  • Muslim Brotherhood Slams Return of Egyptian Ambassador to Israel
    Egypt's largest Islamic group, the Muslim Brotherhood, has condemned the country's decision to appoint a new ambassador to Israel. Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Habib said: "This move reflects the Egyptian government's keenness to normalize relations with the Zionist enemy...[and] to improve relations with the American administration." The Brotherhood is technically outlawed, but Brotherhood-aligned legislators form the largest opposition bloc in parliament. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
        See also How Egypt Molded Modern Radical Islam - Zvi Mazel (ICA/JCPA)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Good Intifada: How to Pressure Syria to Get Out of Lebanon - Editorial
    Some Lebanese are calling for their own peaceful intifada - the "shaking off" of foreign rule. The task for the Bush administration is to support this exercise in people power by raising the political, economic, and diplomatic price Syria must pay for the occupation. President Bush could do much merely by championing Lebanese freedom in every speech he delivers on the Middle East. Other effective and low-cost measures include freezing all diplomatic contacts with Syria until it complies with UN Resolution 1559, which calls for full Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon, and calling attention to the plight of Syrian dissidents.
        Also, would it be asking too much of all our European partners - now that we're friends again - to designate the Syrian-sponsored Hizballah as a terrorist organization (France still refuses to do so) and treat prominent members of the Syrian regime as personae non gratae by denying them entry visas and investigating their ties to money laundering and drug trafficking? If there was ever a moment to make an ally of the Lebanese people in their quest for freedom, this is it. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Syria, Lebanon, and Terrorism - Yossi Olmert
    Bashar Assad has followed the rigid anti-American, anti-Israel, and pro-Iranian policies of his father. He has also continued the unabated use of terrorism and the intensive involvement in Lebanon. An active American policy using overt and covert political and intelligence operations, backed by financial inducements, designed to approach the Sunnis of Syria, will pay America dividends, not just in Syria, but also in Iraq and in the rest of the Sunni Middle East. (Washington Times)
  • Egypt's Brutal Answer - Editorial
    On Monday President Bush again called on Egypt to "lead the way" toward democratic change in the Middle East. Ayman Nour, the head of the liberal Tomorrow Party, has been imprisoned because he offered a fresh democratic alternative in a Middle East stirred by the votes of Iraqis and Palestinians. Mubarak's answer to Bush's appeal has been to order a new wave of anti-American incitement in the state-run press and to have his goons rough up Nour, a man who proposes exactly the moderate, step-by-step change that Bush advocates - and that Egypt desperately needs. Mubarak is no longer testing Bush; he is spitting in his face. (Washington Post)
  • Syria's Times - James S. Robbins
    Syria has been on the front lines resisting the move to bring democracy to Iraq since Operation Iraqi Freedom began. Marines fought Syrian nationals in the swamps southeast of Baghdad. A source who was on the scene at the time said the last-ditch defenders of Saddam Hussein's main palace were Syrians. Syria remains a major transit point for men, money, and material going into Iraq to support the insurgents. Bluntly, Damascus is helping kill Americans on the battlefield. (National Review)
  • Observations:

    Interpreting Abbas - Editorial (New York Sun, 23Feb05)

    • Last week the New York Times headlined an interview: "Abbas Declares War With Israel Effectively Over." What Abbas actually said was that the war with Israel would be over "when the Israelis declare that they will comply with the agreement I made in Sharm el-Sheik." In other words, at best it was a conditional termination of hostilities. Declaring the "end of conflict" is a Palestinian concession that they are keeping up their sleeves for permanent status negotiations.
    • The Roadmap for Peace, to which the Bush administration has committed itself, is explicit in demanding that the Palestinians offer an "unconditional" cease-fire - and not a truce that is dependent on how they interpret Israel's response. In Arabic, the truce Abbas is declaring is not even called a cease-fire but rather a "calm."
    • According to the road map, moreover, the Palestinian Authority is supposed to begin to "dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism." The Palestinian leadership has made clear that it is not intending to go this far. But for a Palestinian cease-fire offer to be more than just words, this minimal road map standard still needs to be met.
    • Everyone hopes that Abbas is able to lead to a new era of relations with Israel. But this will happen only if the world holds him to his agreements to implement what he still has to do and doesn't prematurely feed him with a public relations advantage that he does not deserve.

    To subscribe to the Daily Alert, send a blank email message to:
        [email protected]
    To unsubscribe, send a blank email message to:
        [email protected]