Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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May 25, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Prime Minister Sharon Addresses AIPAC
    - See below

Report: Hamas Moving Operations to West Bank Ahead of Disengagement (Jerusalem Post)
    Hamas was relocating its headquarters from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank in preparation for Israel's withdrawal, Army Radio quoted sources in the security establishment.
    Hamas apparently intended to continue orchestrating terror attacks from within the West Bank following disengagement, officials warned.

Report: A Deal to Tame Hamas? - Roi Nahmias (Ynet News)
    U.S. and EU representatives have offered Hamas a deal to remove the group's name from the list of terror organizations in exchange for dismantling its military wing and stopping all aggression against Israel, al-Bayan in the United Arab Emirates reported Tuesday.

Conspiracy Theory Keeps Polio Alive - Daniel Pipes (Jerusalem Post)
    A worldwide campaign begun in 1988 to eradicate polio was on the verge of success when, early in 2003, a conspiracy theory took hold of the Muslim population in northern Nigeria and returned polio to epidemic proportions.
    The president of Nigeria's Supreme Council for Shari'a Law, Ibrahim Datti Ahmed, 68, accused Americans of lacing the polio vaccine with an anti-fertility agent that sterilizes children (or, in an alternate theory, infects them with AIDS).
    The polio-vaccine conspiracy theory has had direct consequences: 16 countries where polio had been eradicated have in recent months reported outbreaks of the disease - 12 in Africa and four in Asia.

Students Target Obstacles to College Studies in Israel - Manya A. Brachear (Chicago Tribune)
    Since September, U.S. college students across the country have been circulating petitions and lobbying university administrators to remove the barriers that prevent them from studying in Israel.
    Seven universities - including the University of Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State University - recently have reinstated their programs with the caveat that students must sign a waiver clearing their schools of any liability in case of violent unrest.
    Supporters of such changes say the groundswell of students who want to study in Israel reflects the determination of American college students not to let the threat of terrorism dictate their daily lives or educational pursuits.

Useful Reference:

Anti-Israeli and Anti-Semitic Hate Propaganda in Cartoons Published in Official PA Newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies)

Anti-British Hate Propaganda on PA-Controlled TV - See Video (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies)


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

  • Syria Halts Cooperation with U.S.
    The Syrian government has halted all cooperation with the U.S. in sharing information about the war on terror, Syria's ambassador Imad Moustapha said Tuesday. (CNN)
        See also U.S.-Syria Relations Deteriorate Over Iraq - Barry Schweid
    State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Tuesday that in the past, Syria sometimes cooperated with the U.S. on the al-Qaeda terror network and "there were a few things they did with regard to the border" with Iraq. But now, he said, Syria no longer was cooperating in practical terms. (AP/Washington Post)
  • U.S. Gaza Envoy: Palestinians Must Fix Financial Problems
    The PA will have to address financial mismanagement problems if it wants to attract increased donor aid, outgoing World Bank chief James Wolfensohn said Tuesday. Wolfensohn, who starts next week as a special envoy for major powers in coordinating Israel's pullout from Gaza, said he hoped to come up with an economic and aid plan for Palestinians in a month or so. In his new role, Wolfensohn will focus on economic and social development in Palestinian territories. (Reuters)
  • Amnesty: Palestinian Armed Groups Must Not Use Children
    Amnesty International reiterates its calls to Palestinian armed groups to put an immediate end to the use of children in armed activities. "Palestinian armed groups must not use children under any circumstances to carry out armed attacks or to transport weapons or other material," Amnesty International said. On 22 May 2005, a 15-year-old Palestinian child carrying explosives was arrested by the Israeli army at the Hawara military checkpoint, at the entrance to the West Bank town of Nablus.
        Several Palestinian armed groups, including the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, an offshoot of the ruling Fatah party, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), have used children to transport explosives and munitions, thereby endangering their lives. In some cases these groups have sent children to carry out suicide attacks. Palestinian armed groups have repeatedly shown total disregard for the most fundamental human rights, notably the right to life, by deliberately targeting Israeli civilians and by using Palestinian children in armed attacks. (Amnesty International)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Second Teen Caught with Bombs This Week at Checkpoint - Margot Dudkevitch
    A 15-year-old Palestinian was arrested at the Hawara checkpoint outside Nablus on Tuesday after he was discovered carrying two pipe bombs inside a black bag. Security officials said they believed the boy had been asked to smuggle the bombs to someone on the Israeli side. Security officials noted that since the beginning of the year, 52 Palestinian minors were caught wearing explosive belts or attempting to smuggle weapons through checkpoints in the West Bank. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Report: Hamas Agrees to Delay Elections Until November
    Israel Radio on Wednesday quoted the London-based Al Quds al-Arabi newspaper as saying that Abbas has won agreement from Hamas leaders for a postponement of the PA legislative council elections, originally scheduled for mid-July. (Ha'aretz)
  • Syria Doesn't Need Military to Control Lebanon - David Rudge
    Lt.-Col. (res.) Moshe Marzouk, formerly head of the Lebanon desk in army intelligence, said Tuesday that there had been reliable reports from Lebanon that Syria's security and intelligence apparatus was still very much in place and that Syrian intelligence agents had simply rented places in other parts of Lebanon. Syrian "influence will not change even after the [Lebanese] parliamentary elections, especially in light of the inability of the opposition parties to forge a united list," said Marzouk.
        Damascus viewed the insurgency in Iraq as being in its interest and that of its ally, Iran. The Syrian regime also believed that as long as the U.S. was bogged down there it would not take any overtly aggressive action against Syria. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Race Against Time in the Mideast - Dennis Ross
    Unfortunately, at this point, Abbas has been able to deliver little of what was expected. While he has made some moves against corruption - treading carefully, given the opposition of the old guard of Fatah - he has not been able to produce much on employment or freedom of movement. Palestinians still give him the benefit of the doubt, but they are increasingly dissatisfied with the absence of real change. One sign of this is the increasing appeal of Hamas - perceived as clean and capable of delivering services.
        The international community acts as if a business-as-usual approach will suffice in providing the assistance that has been pledged. That could mean that by the time the money begins to appear, it will be Hamas, not the PA, making the calls on how it is spent. While the administration's assistance request has almost worked its way through Congress, there is little prospect that money from the U.S. will flow to labor-intensive projects before the elections.
        The Bush administration needs to call publicly, not privately, for the creation of a Gulf Cooperation Council fund of $1 billion for Palestinian development, to be available immediately to finance housing projects that are labor-intensive and for which there are existing Palestinian blueprints and contractors; provide the $240 million the PA would like to spend on social programs to compete with Hamas; and underwrite the cost of the pensions Abbas needs to pay to those he has retired from the security organizations. Oil revenue for the Persian Gulf oil states has increased by $58 billion in the past year. These countries should be more than capable of providing $1 billion for the Palestinians. (Washington Post)
  • A Democratic Institution - Bernard Lewis
    The Iraqis have made tremendous progress toward democracy, first by holding fair and contested elections, then by freely negotiating a series of compromise agreements to form a coalition government comprising diverse and even previously conflicting elements. In a country where freedom and compromise were equally unfamiliar, these are giant steps forward. But an important step still remains. The underlying assumption of the Iraqi parties seems to be that to be part of the political process one must somehow be part of the government. Failing that, one has no role in the political process, and one's only options are submission or resistance.
        This is a dangerous fallacy. There is another essential component of any democratic system, and that is an opposition. The task of a democratic opposition is to oppose the government, to strive to oust and replace it at the next election, and meanwhile to subject its policies to rigorous but fair scrutiny. The opposition must be real and free, with a genuine, equal chance of winning. Otherwise the democratic process is about as meaningful as a football match with only one team. The writer is emeritus professor at Princeton. (Wall Street Journal, 24May05)
  • Why Americans Support Israel
    Americans don't strongly support Israel because of some super-powerful Jewish lobby or a devious press corps. It stems from atrocities committed by the Nazis and many others in past world history. Today, that same vitriolic hate and proclivity for violence is espoused by many Muslims. That is especially distasteful to Americans, when it is shouted with venomous emotion by Muslim religious leaders. And again, even more so when it seems to be emotionally embraced by "ordinary people" on the streets of the Middle East. Yes, there are grievances on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, but terrorism by car bombers, suicide bombers, and other murderers continue to make matters much worse.
        With each act of terrorism, the resolve of Americans to support Israel is dramatically strengthened. If Muslims want to be respected in America, they must speak up for what, in the eyes of most civilized people, makes sense: individual freedoms, respect for individuals and tolerance of varying opinions, disdain for terrorism - especially, those who involve themselves or support it in the name of Islam. - Name withheld by request (Letter to the Editor, Khaleej Times-Dubai)
  • Observations:

    Appeasing the Terrorists Will Only Strengthen Them - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (Prime Minister's Office)

    Prime Minister Sharon told the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington on Tuesday:

    • I came here from Jerusalem, the eternal, united, and undivided capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish people forever and ever.
    • The strength of U.S.-Israel relations is visible in the unprecedented bipartisan support Israel receives in the United States Congress and the public. We see eye to eye on strategic issues such as: the global war on terrorism, the need to reach a peaceful solution with the Palestinians according to the Roadmap, the threats to the stability of the Middle East from Syria, Lebanon, and Hizballah, and the dangers of a nuclear Iran.
    • The Roadmap is the only political plan for a peaceful solution with the Palestinians. The sequence of the Roadmap states that progress will be in stages in order to examine developments. It emphasizes that true peace will only be realized after full security is achieved and terrorism is eliminated.
    • We believe disengagement will increase Israel's security and reduce friction between the Palestinians and us. It will help advance our national strategic interests, promote our economy and prosperity, and advance the development of the Negev and the Galilee.
    • It is thanks to the disengagement that we can make certain that there will be no entry of Palestinian refugees into Israel. In addition, the major Israeli population centers in Judea and Samaria will remain an integral part of the State of Israel and will have territorial contiguity with Israel in any final status agreement.
    • In implementing the disengagement plan there is the potential of paving the way to the Roadmap. I call upon the leaders of the Palestinian Authority to meet the challenge and coordinate the disengagement with us. The successful coordination of the Disengagement Plan will allow us to embark on a new era of trust and build our relations with the Palestinian Authority.
    • In this pre-Roadmap phase - and we are still in the pre-Roadmap phase - we see great opportunities in the election of Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. We hope he will be able to lead his people and create a democratic law-abiding society that will build its institutions, undergo a broad reform process, fight terrorism, and dismantle the infrastructure and the terrorist organizations.
    • We will do our utmost to cooperate with the new Palestinian leadership and will take the needed measures to help Chairman Abbas. We are willing to help Chairman Abbas as much as we can, as long as we do not risk our security. That is the red line.
    • Until now, terrorist activities have not yet ceased. The smuggling of weapons and arms production continues, and there is no real prevention of terrorist actions. Progress towards the Roadmap can be achieved only after the terrorist organizations are dismantled. Appeasing the terrorists and engaging them into the Palestinian political system will only strengthen them.

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