Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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May 5, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Palestinians Say They Won't Disarm Militants (Reuters)
    The Palestinian Authority reiterated Wednesday it had no intention of disarming militants despite constant Israeli calls for such a move and a recent pledge to crack down on unlicensed weapons.
    "We have no intention of withdrawing arms of resistance," Rashid Abu Shbak, the head of the internal Preventive Security Service, said in Gaza.

Israel HighWay
- May 4, 2005

Issue of the Week:
    60th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Nazi Death Camps

Captured: Al-Qaeda No. 3 Who Controlled Terror Cells in Britain - Zahid Hussain and Daniel McGrory (Times-UK)
    Pakistani security forces seized al-Qaeda's third-in-command after a gunfight near the Afghan border.
    President Bush described Abu Farj al-Libbi, a Libyan with a $5 million price on his head, as a "top general" for Osama bin Laden and a "major facilitator and chief planner for the al-Qaeda network."
    Western intelligence agencies regard al-Libbi as commander of the terror network's day-to-day operations, and the one who runs its terror cells abroad, including recruits in Britain.
    Al-Libbi is said to have planned two assassination attempts against President Musharraf of Pakistan.

U.S. Sells World's Best F-16s to United Arab Emirates - Arieh O'Sullivan (Jerusalem Post)
    The United Arab Emirates this week took delivery of the most advanced F-16 warplane ever produced - the "Block 60" version.
    The planes are more advanced than the newest Israeli F-16 I "Block 50+."
    It is one of the few weapon systems in the hands of an Arab state qualitatively superior to that in the Israeli arsenal.
    The UAE is paying $6.4 billion for the 80 jets.

Useful Reference:

"Never Again Will We Find Ourselves Unprepared" - Prime Minister Sharon on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Prime Minister's Office)
    "Jews will never again exist in a world with no home, with no haven to run to, and no Jewish defense force to protect them."
     "Never again will we find ourselves unprepared."


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Congress Imposes Restrictions on Aid to Palestinians - Glenn Kessler
    Congress has imposed tight restrictions on $200 million in aid to the Palestinians to support political, economic, and security reforms. None of the aid will be given directly to the Palestinian Authority and must be funneled through nongovernmental organizations. $5 million of the aid is to be used for an independent examination of the authority's accounting procedures and expenditures.
        Danielle Pletka, a vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, had testified before Congress that the Palestinians were not ready to absorb a huge infusion of aid. While it would be nice to give diplomatic support to Abbas, she said Wednesday, Congress has a "fiduciary obligation not to throw money down a toilet." (Washington Post)
  • UN Reminds Syria, Lebanon All UN Demands Not Met - Evelyn Leopold
    The UN Security Council on Wednesday welcomed "noticeable progress" in Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon, but said there had been no progress on other provisions of its Resolution 1559, adopted last Sept. 2, that called for the disarmament of militias so the Beirut government could control all its territory.
        Warning shots were fired Wednesday to ward off the UN verification team surveying abandoned Syrian bases in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley when the team drove toward a post of the Syrian-backed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, which refused to let them in. (Reuters)
  • U.S. Blacklists Charity as Front for Islamic Jihad
    The U.S. on Wednesday froze the assets of the Elehssan Society, "a charitable front for the brutal terrorist group the Palestinian Islamic Jihad," said U.S. Treasury Undersecretary for Enforcement Stuart Levey. "Elehssan masquerades as a charity while actually helping to finance PIJ's acts of terror against the Israeli people and other innocents," he said. (Reuters)
        See also U.S. Warns Syria Over Militant Financing (AFP/Yahoo)
  • Defense Analyst Charged With Sharing Secrets - Jerry Markon
    Defense Department policy analyst Lawrence Franklin, 58, has been charged with disclosing classified information related to potential attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, the Justice Department announced Wednesday. Law enforcement sources said the information was given to two top officials of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • "The Firing of Kassam Rockets Will Continue After the Disengagement" - Itzik Saban and Yossi Yehoshua
    Disengagement was supposed to reduce friction with the Palestinians, but the IDF assessment is that this won't happen. After the pullout from Gaza, 44 Israeli towns and villages in the Negev, within Israeli territory, will come within range of Kassam rockets.
        The IDF is very disappointed with how the chairman of the PA has functioned. "Abu Mazen is past his high point; the question is what will be the depth of his crash downward," a senior officer on the IDF general staff stated. Another problem is the expected result of the Palestinian elections in July. "Three weeks before the disengagement we will get the leadership of Hamas. Gaza will become Hamas-stan," the officer said. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew, 5May05)
        See also Will a Gaza "Hamas-stan" Become a Future Al-Qaeda Sanctuary? - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror and David Keyes (ICA/JCPA)
  • Palestinian Rocket Lands Near Israeli Town of Sderot - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinians fired a Kassam rocket that landed near the southern Israeli town of Sderot on Thursday. (Ynet News)
  • Handover of West Bank Towns on Hold - Attila Somfalvi and Ali Waked
    Israel's Security Cabinet decided Wednesday to freeze the transfer of three more West Bank cities promised to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas until the Palestinian leader carries out reforms within his security forces and makes stronger efforts to stop terror. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said the Palestinians had not fulfilled their commitments to collect weapons from terrorists. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Disarming Hizballah, Freeing Lebanon - Editorial
    Lebanon cannot genuinely be considered free so long as Hizballah - which is in reality the cat's paw of the mullahs in Tehran - retains its armed force. It is five years since Israel ended its occupation of southern Lebanon, the purported reason why Hizballah needed to be armed to the teeth. The terrorist organization maintains 13,000 rockets it can target northern Israel with. With the money it receives from Iran ($100-200 million a year) and logistical support from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards based in Lebanon, Hizballah would more than hold its own in a military confrontation with the Lebanese Army. This situation is intolerable. Elections run the real risk of becoming empty exercises if a sovereign nation's army is forced to stand down should Hizballah not accept the results. (Washington Times)
  • A Treaty That Has Outlived Its Usefulness - Reuven Pedatzur
    Next month, at the UN 2005 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the fate of the treaty will be decided. Quite a number of those participating in the conference are convinced that the treaty in its present form has outlived its usefulness and that the time has come to formulate new rules, which will enable the international community to carry out proper supervision, to impose punishments, and even to prevent additional countries from arming themselves with nuclear weapons. The writer is a senior lecturer in the Strategic Studies Program at Tel Aviv University. (Ha'aretz)
  • A Time for Generosity - Ehud Ya'ari
    The die will be cast within the coming three or four months, even before the scheduled time for the completion of the evacuation of the Gaza Strip by Israeli settlers and forces. If Abu Mazen has to accept control of the Katif Bloc as the head of a crumbling and dispute-ridden PA, there is no great chance that the momentum necessary for the rehabilitation of the Strip will develop. This is why it would be better for Sharon to up the stakes, and to feed Abu Mazen a steady stream of gestures and concessions - within reason - before the disengagement. (Jerusalem Report)
  • Observations:

    Torchlighters - Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day 2005
    (Yad Vashem)

    During the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day official ceremony at Yad Vashem, six torches representing the six million murdered Jews were lit. The testimonies of two of the six torchlighters are presented here:

    • Malka Rosental: My mother turned herself over to the Germans in an effort to save my life. My father left me alone with a poor rural Polish family, the Kots. A Jewish child was found at a neighbor's home and the boy was murdered on the spot.
          The Kots dug a pit in the cowshed and placed a large barrel in it. There was straw, 2 blankets, and a doll belonging to their daughter. I lived for a year and a half in the barrel.
          The place was so peaceful, nothing happened to anyone there. They were only after me.
    • Mordechai Zeidel: After the Vilna ghetto was liquidated we arrived at Ponary. They chained our feet and took us straight to the pit. Our work consisted of taking the bodies out of the pits and burning them.
          We counted the victims in one pit. There were 25,000 of them. Some recognized their relatives, their wives, by their clothes.
          I can see the flames, my people being incinerated. I had no family left. I knew I had burned them all at Ponary. Ponary comes to visit me every night.

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