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.


April 6, 2005

To contact the Presidents Conference: click here

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Preparing for Rocket Attacks on Ashkelon (IMRA)
    Israel TV Channel 2 reported Tuesday that Israel is preparing for rocket attacks that may hit Ashkelon after Israel withdraws from the Gaza Strip.
    A radar system for tracking incoming rockets and a loudspeaker system to warn the public to take cover are already being installed.
    In addition, the roofs of school buildings are being reinforced.

Differing Israeli and Palestinian Perceptions of Disengagement - Arieh O'Sullivan (Jerusalem Post)
    A senior IDF officer explained: The Palestinians "think the past four and a half years were just some long night and that they are back on the Oslo bus."
    "But we are headed to a totally different destination. They are now waiting for the fruits and we are getting off the bus where we choose."

C-SPAN Backs Down from Plan to "Balance" Views on Holocaust - Josh Gerstein (New York Sun, 4Apr05)
    In the face of protests from historians and Jewish groups, C-SPAN backed down from plans to air a lengthy speech from an author whom critics and a British court have labeled as a holocaust denier.
    Instead, the network's popular "Book TV" program included only two brief video clips from David Irving, the British historian who in 2000 lost a highly publicized libel case against an American professor, Deborah Lipstadt.
    In arranging the program, C-SPAN producers said they hoped to "balance" Lipstadt's views with those of Irving.
    This drew fire from a Washington Post columnist, Richard Cohen, who called the approach "mindless" and branded it as "the 'Crossfire' mentality reduced to absurdity."
    See also C-SPAN's Balance of the Absurd - Richard Cohen (Washington Post)

Jewish Group Launches Campaign to Combat Divestment from Israel - Holly Lebowitz Rossi (Beliefnet)
    The American Jewish Congress (AJC) has launched a campaign urging Jewish groups and financial professionals to purchase stock in companies that are the target of divestment, in an attempt to convince those companies to continue to do business in Israel.
    "Preying on the emotions of well-meaning individuals who think that they are contributing to peace, these divestment campaigns coincide with other efforts which seek to undermine Israel's self-defense, its economy and its legitimacy," said AJC President Paul Miller.
    The AJC itself bought shares of Caterpillar Inc., the construction equipment company, and is working to defeat a shareholder resolution that opposes the sale of equipment to Israel.


Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

Related Publications:
Israel Campus Beat Israel HighWay
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Sharon: "Link Jerusalem to Maale Adumim" - Allyn Fisher-Ilan
    Prime Minister Sharon told lawmakers Monday, "We must link Jerusalem to Maale Adumim." Sharon believes an extension of Israel's biggest settlement, home to 30,000 people, is in line with Bush's assurance to him last year that the Jewish state could expect to keep some large settlement blocs under a final peace accord. Israel considers all of Jerusalem its undivided capital. Building up Maale Adumim is viewed by Sharon as a way of safeguarding that claim. (Reuters)
        See also Israel Sees Bush Commitment - Barry Schweid
    Prime Minister Sharon is counting on President Bush to keep his commitment that Israel can retain several large Jewish towns near Jerusalem as part of a peace accord with the Palestinians, Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday. On a Sharon visit to Washington a year ago Bush voiced his support for Israel retaining Maale Adumim and a few other Jewish population centers near Jerusalem in any peace accord with the Palestinians. The president said the demographic situation in that part of the West Bank had changed. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Bush: Road Map Calls for No Expansion of Settlements
    President Bush said Tuesday, "Our position is very clear that the road map is important, and the road map calls for no expansion of the settlements." (White House)
        See also Rice: No Prejudging Final Status Issues
    Secretary of State Rice said Tuesday, "The President said...there are certain realities on the ground, including large population centers, that will have to be taken into account when a final status agreement is reached, and making it unlikely that there would be a return completely to the armistice line. Now, the President was also very clear that this has to be something that is negotiated. So we want to be very clear about the President's language because anything that appears to prejudge how that negotiation might come out is not what the President said. What he did say is: all the parties are going to have to take into account the existing realities. And population centers are a part of that reality."  (State Department)
        See also U.S., Israel Search for Common Ground on Settlement Construction - Herb Keinon
    Israel and the U.S. are drafting a statement on settlement construction that will come out of next week's meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon that is vague enough for both sides to live with, a senior diplomatic official said Tuesday. "To present the settlement issue as the major issue right now is counterproductive to the interests of both Israel and the U.S., which are to get disengagement under way and to get Abu Mazen to act against terrorism," the official said.
        He added that the statement will have sufficient leeway for Israel to interpret it to mean that it can build in densely populated settlement blocs, but not in isolated settlements, without getting an overt U.S. okay. Israel is expected to agree not to take any action that may jeopardize final-status arrangements with the PA. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Iraqis End Deadlock on Forming New Government - Edward Wong
    Iraq's major political parties agreed Tuesday to select Jalal Talabani, a Kurdish leader, as president; Adel Abdul Mahdi, a prominent Shiite Arab politician, as vice president; and Sheik Ghazi al-Yawar, the Sunni Arab president of the interim government, as the other vice president, breaking a two-month deadlock in negotiations to form a new government. (New York Times)
  • Al-Qaeda Suspects in Saudi Battle - Margaret Neighbour
    Saudi troops engaged in a fierce battle with suspected members of al-Qaeda in the northern town of Al-Ras. At least eight gunmen were killed in the fighting, which began on Sunday. Some 51 security personnel were wounded. Al-Ras is in the conservative Qassim province, the heartland of Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi doctrine which some critics say has fuelled intolerance and anti-Western violence. Saudi officials say at least 90 civilians and 39 members of the security forces have been killed in the past two years. (Scotsman-UK)
        See also Saudi Forces Kill Top Militant - Dominic Evans
    Saudi forces overpowered gunmen on Tuesday after a fierce three-day battle in which Abdulkarim al-Mejjati, a top militant suspected of masterminding al-Qaeda bombings in Casablanca, was killed, security sources said. (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Gunman Wounds Israeli in Gaza Shooting Attack - Amos Harel and Nir Hasson
    A Palestinian gunman wounded an Israeli working on a fence in the hothouse area of Morag in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hizballah Cell Cracked in Nablus - Margot Dudkevitch
    Three Palestinians suspected of being recruited by Hizballah to compile intelligence on the deployment of IDF troops and the locations of IDF bases, and surveil the movements of an Israeli VIP who was to be targeted for attack, were arrested in Nablus on Feb. 25. Security officials said Hizballah's involvement in Palestinian terror cells is especially predominant in Samaria and Gaza. Hizballah contacted Palestinians visiting relatives in Lebanon in order to recruit them. One suspect admitted he photographed military checkpoints and settlements and transferred the photos over the Internet to his handlers in Lebanon. He was also given a GPS device, which he used to pinpoint the locations of various targets for his handlers. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Sharon Weighs Relocating Gaza Jewish Communities - Nir Hasson and Nadav Shragai
    Prime Minister Sharon is considering moving the entire Gush Katif population en masse to a new location near Ashkelon after a meeting with a dozen settlers due for evacuation, sources in the Prime Minister's Office said Tuesday. The proposal calls for establishing four new communities on 1,000 acres in the Nitzanim area. It would entail moving an army base out of the area, but would preserve the area's nature reserves. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Backing Seen Weakening for Abbas - Charles A. Radin and Sa'id Ghazali
    Mahmoud Abbas, who is being hailed internationally for his peacemaking efforts with Israel, is failing on virtually every important domestic front and is rapidly losing support in the territory he governs, Palestinian and Israeli officials, activists, and analysts say. Numerous attempts to disarm the gunmen have failed. Abbas's programs for injecting new blood into stagnant ministries and getting rid of ineffective and corrupt officials are stalled. And Abbas is incurring deepening enmity both from the Palestinian establishment, which is resisting him at every turn, and from the young guard of the ruling Fatah movement, whose members believe he is not fulfilling his principal commitments.
        Leaders of the old guard - in particular PA Prime Minister Qurei and Fatah chairman Kaddoumi - are openly confronting Abbas. Qurei opposed Abbas's efforts to arrange an orderly PA takeover of Israeli settlements in Gaza, while Kaddoumi never accepted the Oslo accords that led to the creation of the PA, and continues to call for armed struggle. (Boston Globe)
  • Islam's Grand Wizard of Deception - Steven Emerson
    No case illustrates the murderous deception of Western society by Islamic militants more than the recent episode involving Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss professor who was denied a visa to teach at Notre Dame. His supporters in the U.S. rallied vigorously around Ramadan, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and academic boards around the country. In several interviews given to various European publications over the last few years, Ramadan has repeatedly provided a justification for terrorist acts against U.S. allies such as Israel and Russia and, more recently, against the U.S. itself. When asked if car bombings against U.S. forces in Iraq were legitimate, Ramadan responded, "Iraq was colonized by the Americans. The resistance against the army is just."
        In France, some leftist intellectuals have recognized Ramadan for what he is. Bernard-Henri Levy, who wrote the best-seller Who Killed Daniel Pearl?, accused Ramadan of having a "racist vision of the world" and promoting anti-Semitism. The writer is executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. (WorldNetDaily)
  • Observations:

    Arab-Israeli Peace - Stuck in Neutral - Aaron David Miller (Los Angeles Times)

    • There are many who are still pressing for big-time, end-game diplomacy, but reality argues otherwise. Four years of bloody conflict have left Palestinians and Israelis wary and bitter, unable or unwilling at the moment to strike the grand bargain necessary to end their conflict.
    • That the Palestinian issue has lost its centrality - at least for now - is undeniable. Right now, the Middle East is rocked by much bigger ideas than ending the shepherds' war between Israelis and Palestinians. A much criticized U.S. invasion has traumatized the entire region and awoken a political culture that's been in a coma for half a century.
    • That the fairest and freest elections ever held in the Arab world took place in Palestine and Iraq under Israeli and U.S. military occupations attest not only to the depth of dysfunction in Arab politics but also to the hunger for change.
    • Simply put, there's almost no chance for a grand bargain now, and everyone, including the Arabs, knows it. Israel's historic decision to leave Gaza will most likely lead to a period of consolidation, not dramatic advance. Israel will need time to heal the self-inflicted political wounds of withdrawal; Palestinians will have their hands full managing Gaza.
    • And the Bush administration, whose policies during its first term helped downgrade the Palestinian issue, is not likely to go for broke during its second. The administration believes (with some justification) that its benign neglect and pressure on the Palestinians to reform helped set the stage for progress.

      The writer advised six secretaries of state on Arab-Israeli negotiations.

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