Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 14, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Hizballah: "Israel Must Cede More Land" (Ynet News)
    Seven Arab villages currently in northern Israel belong to Lebanon and should be ceded, Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Thursday.
    The villages were annexed to what is today Israel prior to the state's establishment through agreements between France and Britain.

Israel Campus Beat
- June 12, 2005

Point Counter-Point:
    The 1949 Lines or the 1967 Lines

Fatah Admits Murdered Bethlehem "Collaborators" Were Innocent - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Fatah gunmen admitted over the weekend that nine Palestinians who were murdered in Bethlehem on suspicion of collaboration with Israel were actually innocent.
    The suspected "collaborators" were executed by members of Fatah's armed wing, Aksa Martyrs Brigades, shortly before the IDF raided Bethlehem in 2002 as part of Operation Defensive Shield.
    Some of the suspects were handed over to the gunmen by PA security forces.
    The detainees were made to stand against walls, where they were shot before cheering crowds.
  Some of the Fatah gunmen who executed the "collaborators" were later given sanctuary in European countries after hiding in the Church of the Nativity.

Gunmen, PA Forces Exchange Fire in Gaza Shootout (AP/Jerusalem Post)
    At least 40 Palestinian gunmen attacked a PA security headquarters before dawn Saturday in Gaza city, witnesses and security officials said.
    Shooting continued intermittently for three hours.
    Palestinian gunmen have increasingly tried to demonstrate power in Palestinian streets, often clashing with Palestinian police.

Israeli Cows Yield More Milk (Ha'aretz)
    The average Israeli milk-producing cow yields about 10,000 liters of milk a year, surpassing Holland, Spain, Australia, the U.S., and New Zealand, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics reported.

Seed of Extinct Date Palm Sprouts after 2,000 Years - Matthew Kalman (San Francisco Chronicle)
    It has five leaves, stands 14 inches high and is nicknamed Methuselah.
    Planted on Jan. 25, the seedling growing in botanist Elaine Solowey's nursery at Kibbutz Ketura in Israel is 2,000 years old - the oldest seed ever known to produce a viable young tree.
    The seed, whose age has been confirmed by carbon dating, was discovered during archaeological excavations at King Herod's palace on Mount Masada, near the Dead Sea.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Former Lebanese General Wins in Latest Election Round - Nadim Ladki
    Former general Michel Aoun scored a stunning win on Monday in Lebanon's parliamentary elections to emerge as the main Christian political force in the country, only weeks after returning from exile. Aoun-backed candidates won 15 of 16 seats in Sunday's third round of the polls in the Maronite Christian heartland northeast of Beirut. Aoun had been forced into exile by the Syrians in 1990. (Reuters/Yahoo)
  • Bush: Syria Must Not Interfere in Lebanon
    President Bush said Friday that he was disturbed by reports that Syria might still have intelligence agents operating in Lebanon. A UN investigation team will be sent into Lebanon to check into the allegations, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said Friday. (CNN)
  • Jordan's King Abdullah Removes Intelligence Chief - David Ignatius
    On May 5, Jordan's King Abdullah removed the head of Jordan's General Intelligence Directorate, Gen. Saad Kheir. Though Kheir was widely regarded as the second most powerful man in Jordan, the Jordanian monarch believed the intelligence chief had become an obstacle to political and economic reforms, and moved Kheir to the palace as national security adviser. Jordan has been an oasis of tranquility, and many Jordanians worry that the reform effort will bring instability. But Abdullah is convinced that the coming storm over reform is preferable to the hurricane that would result from inactivity. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • PA Won't Disarm Gunmen - Khaled Abu Toameh and Herb Keinon
    PA Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa declared on Saturday that the PA had no intention of disarming Palestinian militias as demanded by the road map. Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert responded Sunday that the PA's refusal to disarm the terrorist organizations was the equivalent of hiding a bomb in the negotiating process.
        Meanwhile, two Islamic Jihad-affiliated terrorists jailed in connection with the Feb. 25 Tel Aviv Stage nightclub bombing who were released by the PA over the weekend are now "fair game," an official in the Prime Minister's Office said on Saturday. An Israeli official said that this "revolving door" policy for prisoners was a symptom of the PA's lack of control. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Communities Near Gaza Warned of Security Threats - Nadav Shragai
    A brochure for teachers prepared by the army's Home Front Command and the Education Ministry says 45 communities in the sector surrounding the Gaza Strip will likely be exposed to direct fire by light weapons, mortar shells, and Kassam rockets, as well as terrorist infiltrations, after the disengagement is implemented. Communities located up to one kilometer from the pullout line are vulnerable to "fire on residents close to the fence area, to terrorist infiltrations, which could occur through a tunnel dug beneath the fences, and to Kassam and mortar fire," the brochure says. Protective walls are slated to be erected in certain communities. (Ha'aretz)
  • UN Elects Israeli as One of 21 General Assembly Vice Presidents - Herb Keinon
    The UN on Monday appointed Israel's ambassador Dan Gillerman as one of 21 new vice presidents of the General Assembly for the first time since 1952 when Abba Eban was given this ceremonial post. Israel's candidacy was put forth by the Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG). (Jerusalem Post)
  • Jewish Groups Launch Campaign for Rights of Jewish Refugees from Arab States - Amiram Barkat
    Jewish activists and representatives of Jewish organizations from nine countries convening in Paris announced Wednesday an International Advocacy Campaign on the rights of former Jewish refugees from Arab countries. It will record and publicize "the mass violations of human rights suffered by Jews under Arab rule and document the loss of extensive communal and individual assets."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Slipping Election Timetable Will Favor the Islamists of Hamas
    Nobody said reforming the Palestinian Authority (PA) would be easy. Months of wrangling about the election due on July 17th to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) had failed to produce a deal on how many seats to elect from national party lists and how many from local constituencies. Fatah, the PA's ruling party, with a strong brand (the late Yasser Arafat) but weak candidates (crusty timeservers loyal to him), would do better if it ran on national lists. Its rivals stand more of a chance in constituencies, where personal reputations and achievements count. Mahmoud Abbas could not reach a compromise within his own Fatah nor in the existing PLC, so he has put off the election indefinitely, though it is expected to be held only a few months late.
        More worrying for Abbas was Fatah's decision, a day after he postponed the election, to postpone its own party congress, set for August, when a younger, reformist generation was expected to vote old-guard members out of the party's ruling councils. The old-timers' main hope was to win seats in the PLC election first. (Economist)
  • The Madrassa Myth - Peter Bergen and Swati Pandey
    Like the view that poverty drives terrorism - a notion that countless studies have debunked - the idea that madrassas are incubating the next generation of terrorists offers the soothing illusion that desperate, ignorant automatons are attacking us rather than college graduates, as is often the case. Examining the educational backgrounds of 75 terrorists behind some of the most significant recent terrorist attacks against Westerners, we found that a majority were college-educated, often in technical subjects like engineering. The 1993 World Trade Center attack involved 12 men, all of whom had a college education. The 9/11 pilots, as well as the secondary planners, all attended Western universities. Only 9 of the 75 had attended madrassas, and all played a role in one attack - the Bali bombing - while 5 college-educated "masterminds" helped shape the Bali plot. (New York Times)
  • Observations:

    When Lawlessness Gets the Upper Hand - Amira Hass (Ha'aretz)

    • Soon after A. brought his nephews to the play center in Ramallah on Friday, an argument erupted between a mother and the owner. She called in a relative, a member of one of the Palestinian security organizations, who came and fired shots into the air from his pistol, in the closed space full of children. When armed police showed up, instead of stopping the shooting, they too opened fire.
    • About a kilometer to the north, passersby found themselves in the midst of exchanges of gunfire between armed men wearing civilian clothes. "Jews?" 5-year-old T. asked his mother. "No, they're ours, safeguarding our security," she replied.
    • In Jenin, armed men spirited a defendant, their friend, out of the courtroom during a trial. Others abducted an attorney from Nablus in broad daylight, as he was sitting in a restaurant in Ramallah.
    • All of the armed men are connected in one way or another to Fatah, the ruling political movement. They compete with one another as to who has the biggest weapon, break into PA offices, stop the work there and demand salaries and jobs, or warn that criminal proceedings must not be initiated against them for acts of killing and wounding or taking protection money.
    • Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa has declared that there will be no discussion of disarming the organizations. In so doing, he is kowtowing to those who are nurturing the myth of the armed struggle, which has been sanctified as an end rather than perceived as a means. The fact is that the Palestinians did not embark on a successful guerrilla struggle in the territories.
    • Al-Kidwa is sweeping a number of facts under the carpet: Among other things, it is the difficulty of disarming those who are connected to Fatah and its senior people that is making it hard for the PA to act to confiscate weapons from the opposition organizations. The Palestinian public and the opposition organizations will not condone energetic action by the Palestinian police only against the armed men of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, without there also being action taken against the armed men of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. Presumably, Al-Kidwa knows that confiscating arms from Fatah members is a necessary first condition for restoring public security.

        See also PA-Sponsored Gunmen Abet Anarchy - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The PA security forces include many thugs and gangsters responsible for the ongoing state of anarchy and lawlessness, PA Interior Minister Gen. Nasser Youssef told Palestinian legislators Thursday. Youssef also revealed that some of the PA's security forces had direct relations with foreign intelligence services. (Jerusalem Post)

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