Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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May 10, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Iran Confirms Processing Tons of Uranium Ore (AP/New York Times)
    Iran confirmed Monday that it had converted 37 tons of uranium into gas, its first acknowledgment of advances made in the production process for enriched uranium.
    The announcement means Tehran is in a position to start enriching uranium quickly.
    Enriched uranium is useful in the generation of electricity, which is permitted under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it also can be turned into nuclear weapons.

Time Frays Resolve to Reach Palestine - Paul Koring (Globe and Mail-Canada)
    The passionate attachment of the Palestinian diaspora to the right of return is changing with time, with the passing of the first generation of refugees and the emergence of a new pragmatism among younger generations, who aren't necessarily willing to remain living exhibits in the court of international public opinion as Arab governments press their case.
    Palestinians in Syria remain an unloved underclass, constantly reminded they don't belong.
    "I'd rather have a visa to go and live anywhere in Europe than go to Palestine," says Khalid Abu Hashish, 27. "Most of the people my age who live here feel like that."

Turkish Army Takes Offensive As Kurdish Rebels Return From Iraq - Karl Vick (Washington Post)
    The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed group of Turkish Kurds that the State Department calls a terrorist group, maintains a large base in Iraq's Qandil range, about 200 miles north of Baghdad.
    Analysts estimate that 6,000 PKK guerrillas remain in Iraq, while their numbers inside Turkey have swelled to 2,000.

Newest Israeli-Made Jet Takes to the Skies - Arieh O'Sullivan (Jerusalem Post)
    The newest Israeli-made jet - the G-150, produced by Israel Aircraft Industries for Gulfstream, a U.S. company specializing in business jets - took to the skies last week on its maiden test flight.
    At $12.5 million each, 50 of the jets have already been sold. First commercial deliveries are expected in 2006.

Useful Reference:

Remembrance Day Begins Tonight - Arieh O'Sullivan (Jerusalem Post)
    Remembrance Day for the 20,368 servicemen and women who have fallen in Israel's defense begins Tuesday evening, May 10.
    Israeli Independence Day begins Wednesday evening, May 11.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • 100 Rebels Killed in U.S. Offensive in Western Iraq - Richard Oppel Jr.
    A Marine task force swept through a wide area of western Iraq near the Syrian border, killing 100 insurgents and raiding desert outposts and city safe houses belonging to insurgents who have used the area to import money, weapons, and foreigners to fight U.S. and Iraqi forces, American military officials said Monday. "The enemy honestly felt that they had a sense of security up there," Col. Bob Chase said. "It had been a safe haven, and a lot of folks up there were former Baathists. Now it is no longer a safe haven." Insurgents have had a network of illegal "rat lines" of men and materials moving from Syria into Iraq that had to be interdicted, he said.
        The U.S. is paying for the rebuilding of 190 Iraqi border forts, including 58 already completed, according to American officials. A senior American commander said effective control of infiltration by foreign fighters was still "some months away." Border control was crucial because foreign fighters make up a large percentage of suicide bombers. (New York Times)
  • Sharon: Israel to Retain Large Settlements
    Speaking at the International Bible Quiz in Jerusalem on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon reiterated that Israel would hold on to major West Bank settlement blocs, where most of the 240,000 Jewish settlers live. "Settlement blocs will be part of the State of Israel and contiguous with Israel," Sharon said. Although the settlement enterprise is being rolled back in Gaza, it has allowed Israel to fulfill "a very significant part of its dream." "Not the entire dream, but a very important part of this dream, which is significant both historically and in terms of security - this part of our dream is in our hands and will remain in our hands," he said. (AP/Scotsman-UK)
  • A Sour Note for Egyptian Elections - Fran Coombs and Willis Witter
    The Muslim Brotherhood has taken an increasingly public profile in the last week, with demonstrations it claims have resulted in the arrest of more than 2,000 people, most of whom remain in jail. The demonstrations have drawn much larger crowds than those of the fledgling Kifaya (Enough) group, which is largely peopled by disaffected intellectuals and former 1960s radicals, or of the Tomorrow party led by Ayman Nour. Nour has received favorable coverage in the Western media but is not taken seriously by most Egyptians. (Washington Times)
  • Berlin Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe - Nicolai Ouroussoff
    Berlin's new Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, designed by Peter Eisenman, a vast grid of 2,711 concrete pillars, shows how abstraction can be the most powerful tool for conveying the complexities of human emotion. Covering five and a half acres in the center of Berlin, the memorial, which opens May 10, will be an unavoidable fixture of the city's life. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel to Leave Gaza Even If Hamas Wins PA Vote - Herb Keinon
    The disengagement plan will be implemented regardless of Hamas's showing in the upcoming Palestinian Legislative Council elections, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Monday, noting that the actual evacuation of settlers would take place around August 15. This is three weeks later than initially planned, to avoid the three-week religious mourning period prior to Tisha B'av, which commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples.
        Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom called on the Palestinian Authority to prevent Hamas from running for election unless it cancels its military wing. "There is no place, nor can there ever be, in a democratic society for a political party which bears arms," Shalom said. On Sunday Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres said of Hamas, "Not only are they against peace, but they also have rifles....You can't negotiate with a group that is still armed." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Gunmen Join Police Force to Keep Weapons
    Hosni Abu Ghreib, 30, a member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, figures he has a good deal. Having spent four years on the run from Israeli forces, the militant says he's hung up his mask in exchange for a Palestinian police uniform and a steady paycheck - and he still has his gun. About 200 gunmen have joined the Palestinian security forces in the towns of Tulkarm and Jericho since they were handed over to Palestinian control in March, said Palestinian legislator Abdel Fattah Hemayel. (AP/Khaleej Times-UAE)
  • Palestinian Gunmen Clash with PA Police in Jenin
    Dozens of Palestinian gunmen and police exchanged fire in the West Bank town of Jenin on Monday in a second day of clashes. The tensions began after the leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Mohammed Abu Arraj, refused to disarm before entering the local courthouse Sunday. Later, Al Aqsa gunmen seized a police cruiser, disarmed three officers inside, and pumped the vehicle full of bullets. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
  • Islamic Jihad Kill "Collaborator" Teen
    Islamic Jihad members on Saturday killed a Palestinian youth suspected of collaborating with Israel, the group said. The body of Rami al-Malakh, 18, was found near the West Bank town of Tulkarm, shot to death. Dozens of Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel have been killed by fellow Palestinians. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Nuclear Iran and the Historical Imperative of "Never Again" - Uzi Arad
    If the effort fails to prevent Iran from becoming nuclear, we must make sure that Israel's enemies clearly know that the historical imperative "never again" will guide it, and that its strength is and will be such that never again will it be possible to harm it without it extracting a full measure of retribution. The ability to convince our enemies of this is not only the true historical imperative, it is also that which assures, indeed, "never again." The writer is head of the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy of the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya. (Ha'aretz)
  • Al-Jazeera Puts Focus on Reform - Robin Wright
    An unlikely ally has emerged for the Bush administration's new Middle East democracy campaign - al-Jazeera, the Arab world's most-watched satellite channel. Arab and U.S. analysts say the network helps give voice to the reformers. After the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri in February, it aired 10 straight hours of footage from Lebanon as street protesters demanded the ouster of the country's government and Syria's troops.
        Al-Jazeera last month launched a 24-hour Arab equivalent of C-SPAN, and a 24-hour English-language channel is due to be launched later this year. Since it was launched in 1996, al-Jazeera's popularity has given rise to more than 100 satellite channels in the region. Al-Jazeera still runs graphic pictures of Palestinians killed in confrontations with Israeli troops, but it also interviews senior Israeli officials. (Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    U.S. Could Still Find WMDs in Iraq - Q&A with former Mossad Chief Efraim Halevy (Ha'aretz)

    • Notwithstanding the fact that weapons of mass destruction have not yet been found in Iraq, I would not rule out the possibility that they might be found in the future. Several months ago a full squadron of aircraft was discovered buried in the sand. I do not believe that Saddam Hussein risked the fall of his regime and his own capture just out of false pride. He doggedly and continuously refused to cooperate with the UN missions which tried time and time again to set up a credible weapons monitoring system in Iraq.
    • If Israel supports the policy of democratization in the Arab world, then it must accept the results of freely held elections in the Palestinian territories.
    • After the war of Independence in 1948, Jordan ruled the West Bank and Egypt ruled the Gaza Strip. For 19 years, the areas to which the PA lays claim were in the hands of Arab brethren and it was they who decided for reasons of their own not to grant the Palestinians independence in the territories they controlled. Israel ultimately granted the Palestinians territory, which neither Jordan nor Egypt had granted them in the past.
    • Do the Palestinians have both the capacity and the will to create an independent state and are they capable of assuring that the state will act within the norms of accepted international conduct? No state is entitled to launch terrorist activities against another state under international law and under the norms of international law, and it is up to the Palestinians to prove that they have the will and the capacity to act as a responsible state.
    • There will not be a viable reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians until there is a mutual recognition of each side related to the basic rights and basic narratives of the other side. Thus, just as Israel is called upon to accept the right of the Palestinians to exist as a national entity, so is it incumbent upon the Palestinians to subscribe to the legitimacy of Zionism. Without such a mutual acceptance and recognition, any agreement between the Palestinians and Israel will be of a temporary nature.
    • I believe there should not be a second disengagement; it is my view that we should revert to negotiations with our Arab partners and any future ceding of territory should be the result of agreements wherein the Palestinians and the Arab countries take their own painful decisions and table their own concessions in return for Israel's steps.

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