Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 7, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

PA Smuggles Donor Funding Abroad (Middle East Newsline)
    The EU fraud squad, known as Olaf, issued a report that said the PA sent hundreds of millions of dollars to bank accounts in Switzerland and Tunisia.
    Concluding a two-year investigation, Olaf said other donor funding was probably pocketed by PA officials.
    Olaf said the PA leadership transferred $238 million to Swiss bank accounts between 1997 and 2000 without informing its international donors.

Palestinians Caught Crossing Egypt-Israel Border (Jerusalem Post)
    Border Police apprehended nine Palestinian residents of Gaza Sunday who were trying to infiltrate into Israel through the Egyptian border near Kadesh Barnea, Army Radio reported.
    In the last month, about 30 Palestinians were caught in that region trying to enter Israel across the Egyptian-Israeli border.

Syrian "Terror" Suspects Seen as "Thieves" by U.S. (Reuters)
    Syrian security forces arrested two more people suspected of belonging to a "terror group," but a U.S. official said Wednesday the suspects appeared to be jewelry thieves rather than terrorists.
    A U.S. official said those arrested by Syria were Jordanian nationals who belong to a criminal gang, not a terror organization.
    "They're thieves, jewelry thieves (who steal) gold and stuff like that. Your good old regular criminals," said the official.

1 in 5 Has Lost Loved One to War or Terror - Judy Siegel-Itzkovich (Jerusalem Post)
    22% of Israeli Jews have lost a relative or friend in a terror attack or war, according to a survey conducted by University of Haifa researchers Prof. Gabriel Ben-Dor and Dr. Daphna Kanati-Nissim.
    Since September 2000, 12% have witnessed a terror attack or been at the sight of wounded or dead.

Useful Reference:

Al-Arabiya TV: 40,000 Iranian Suicide Bombers Recruited to Target Americans in Iraq and Israel (MEMRI)
    View video.


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Latest News on Disengagement
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Multiple Terror Attacks Rock London
    A series of terrorist blasts have ripped through central London leaving scores of casualties. Eye-witnesses reported seeing bodies piled in the wreckage of damaged Tube trains. A double decker bus packed with people forced off the underground when the network was shut down was ripped apart by a massive blast. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said there had been at least six explosions. (Scotsman-UK)
        See also Witnesses Tell of Subway Horror (CNN); London Blast: Survivors' Tales - Peter Bale (Times-UK)
        See also Scotland Yard "Warned of Attacks"
    British police told the Israeli Embassy in London minutes before Thursday's explosions they had received warnings of possible terror attacks in the city, a senior Israeli official said. (Scotsman-UK)
  • Syria Seen Stepping Up Aid to Iraq-Bound Insurgents - Rowan Scarborough
    Syrians are increasing assistance to foreign fighters preparing to enter Iraq and kill civilians and U.S. troops, despite months of pressure on Damascus from Washington to crack down on the jihadists. A U.S. official said recent intelligence shows that Syria is the home to Web sites that exhort militants to come to the country for preparation to fight and die in Iraq. Syrians also are providing barracks-like housing as the recruits from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Morocco, and other Muslim countries prepare for jihad, or holy war. The fighters also receive weapons, training, and money in Syria.
        U.S. officials say it is impossible for hundreds of jihadists to move in and out of Syria on a weekly basis without the government's approval. Last week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, "It's up to Syria's neighbors, including Iraq, to interact with Syria in a way that helps them understand the damage they're doing to the region." (Washington Times)
  • World Bank: Conditions Not Right for Massive Investment in PA - Amy Teibel
    The World Bank's West Bank and Gaza regional director Nigel Roberts said Tuesday that the international community would look closely at Israeli and Palestinian performance before pumping money into Gaza. "Donors in my view would be ill-advised to inject large additional sums of money today unless the policy conditions are put in place that will enable Palestinian economic recovery,'' Roberts said. "[Otherwise] it's simply a waste of money.''  (AP/Guardian)
        See also Palestinians Need More Cash - Robert E. Hunter
    The Palestinians need at least $5 billion as soon as possible from the U.S. and other nations, mostly for use in the Gaza territory that Israel plans to evacuate. Without such a major infusion of cash, Israel's withdrawal risks becoming yet another failed attempt at peace, or even the prelude to more violence. (International Herald Tribune)
  • Egyptian Judges Accuse Government of Forgery - Maggie Michael
    A judicial report released Saturday alleged the Egyptian government forged turnout figures and forced state employees to fabricate results in a May referendum. The government said 54% of 32 million registered voters cast their ballots in the referendum, in which 83% of voters approved a constitutional amendment for Egypt's multiparty presidential elections. But the report said no voters came to the polling stations overseen by judicial officials and that other stations did not exceed 3%. The report said the government's claim that 90-100% of registered voters turned out in some areas was "illogical."  (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Egypt Puts Off Reformer's Trial - Hassan M. Fattah
    An Egyptian court on Wednesday postponed the forgery trial of leading opposition figure Ayman Nour until Sept. 25, clearing the way for him to run in the presidential election in early September. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • PA "Playing with Fire" by Ignoring Hamas - Arnon Regular
    In an interview with a local Gaza news agency, senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar threatened both open confrontation with the PA and continued attacks on Israel from Gaza after disengagement. Zahar warned: "The Palestinian Authority and Fatah need to know that what they are doing now is playing with fire. They will bear responsibility for ignoring Hamas and the [other] factions and for their insistence on managing the withdrawal alone. We will not serve as a fig leaf on this matter, nor will we allow it [the PA] to steal the achievements of the street and Hamas - the sacrifice of its [Hamas'] sons and its leadership to liberate the land of Gaza - just so that this land will be distributed to some individual or another."
        Zahar hinted that Hamas would be willing to use force against the PA to prevent it from running Gaza after Israel's withdrawal: "Just as we did not accept the occupation of the land, we will not allow it to be allocated to anyone who did not play a part in liberating it," referring to the PA. "We will not give our weapons to anyone, and we will not enter the PA's jails," he added. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Kills Palestinian Gunman after Gaza Ambush
    One Palestinian gunman was killed and a second was wounded Wednesday after a three-man Islamic Jihad terrorist cell opened fire on soldiers in an ambush near Morag in the southern Gaza Strip. Military sources said more than 320 terror-related incidents have taken place in the Gaza Strip over the past month, including a number of shooting incidents at IDF posts on Wednesday. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Teen Caught with Two Bombs - Efrat Weiss
    An IDF unit arrested a 17-year-old Palestinian Wednesday at a checkpoint southwest of Jenin who was smuggling two improvised explosives and a knife. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Journey into the Gunrunning World of Gaza - Yasser Abu Moailek
    The Hasanein family business is gunrunning. M. Hasanein, 27, lives with his seven brothers and father in the Montar district, the highest location in the Gaza Strip overlooking all of Gaza City and the eastern borders with Israel. The Palestinian police cannot enter Montar, said M.: "They know their limits. We are far more armed than they ever can be." At the Hasanein family home, weapons of all kinds and types lay around the place - AK47 assault rifles from Russia and China, M16 rifles from the U.S., and Heckler submachine guns from Germany.
        "With the coming of the PA, we talked to them and agreed to open a small factory to produce weapons," said J., the Hasaneins' patriarch. "We produced variations of the Uzi [Israeli submachine gun], and we repaired some AK47s that went haywire. We also produced rounds for small handguns," he said. J. explained that, after a while, some PA officials tried to muscle in on their lucrative business, but they retaliated by cutting off the supply of weapons to Palestinian security agencies.
        "Israeli tanks destroyed our [weapons] factory in 2001 during a night incursion. We could do nothing to stop them, for we know they were coming for this factory," M. told us. "Since then, we preferred smuggling to manufacturing."  (Scoop-New Zealand)
  • False Assumptions about Demographic Nationalism - Salim Tamari
    High fertility, despite appearances, has little to do with nationalism or ideological struggles. Only in the literary imagination of zealots do people procreate for the nation. High fertility is rather rooted in the perception of children as an economic and social asset, especially in agrarian societies. Demographic nationalism is often added later. Conversely, the two main factors leading to dramatic falls in fertility have been women's education and female employment outside the household. The high fertility of Palestinian families is more of a threat to Palestinians than to Israelis, since it contributes to large undereducated households, keeps women in conditions of virtual servitude, and contributes to poverty and ignorance. (
  • Observations:

    Responding to Bias - Fight or Flight? - Andrea Levin (Jerusalem Post)

    • Look at how much Israel gives to mankind: medical advances, agricultural invention, high-tech brilliance. Look at the value added to world culture and comfort by resourceful Israelis. But denigration and defamation are likely to nullify any positive images of Jewish generosity, creativity, and good works if misinformation is left unchallenged.
    • When Chris Hedges wrote in Harper's in the fall of 2001 that Israeli soldiers in Gaza "entice [Palestinian] children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport," would those who read or heard Hedges' false charges be persuaded to like the Jewish state on the basis of learning that it leads in nanotechnology?
    • When basic facts such as the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 242 are misreported to claim that Israel is required to cede the entire West Bank and Gaza, what are news consumers to think but that Israel is obstructing peace? When the terms of the so-called "road map" are continually misrepresented to cast Israel as a violator and the Palestinians as the aggrieved, what is the cumulative effect on readers?
    • When Hamas and Islamic Jihad are depicted as seeking an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza rather than working to extinguish Israel, Israeli measures in self-defense appear excessive.
    • There are lessons to be learned from the world of public relations, but they come from such instructive examples as the "war room" of former president Bill Clinton's election campaign. There, media coverage was monitored intensively, and every news account deemed incorrect, distorted, or incomplete was swiftly challenged.
    • No less an effort is necessary in defending the facts about Israel. Just as all that is required for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing, so too, distortions and lies about Israel triumph when they go unchallenged.

      The writer is executive director of CAMERA, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

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