Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 16, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

UN Finances PA Banner Campaign - James Bennet (New York Times)
    On Sunday in Gaza City, Hamas strung blazing green banners: "Resistance wins," read one, "so let's go on."
    Around the corner was a banner from the PA: "Gaza today, the West Bank and Jerusalem Tomorrow."
    A tag line said the banner was paid for by the UN Development Program.

Terror Suspect in Turkey Collaborated with 9/11 Attackers - Yossi Melman (Ha'aretz)
    Lawia Sakra, the central suspect in last week's terror attempt in Turkey and one of the five most senior members of al-Qaeda, met Mohammad Atta and supplied passports and money to terrorists in the U.S, the Turkish daily Zaman reported on Monday.

Sinai Blast Hurts Two Canadian Peacekeepers (New York Times)
    Two Canadian peacekeepers suffered minor injuries on Monday when a roadside bomb exploded near them less than a mile from the Sinai military base where international troops are stationed to monitor the peace accord between Egypt and Israel.

Palestinian Gunmen Kidnap France TV Journalist (Reuters)
    Palestinian gunmen on Monday abducted Mohamed Ouathi, an Algerian Muslim journalist working for France 3 Television in Gaza, his TV crew said.
    "We tried to intervene, to resist, but they threatened us very aggressively and dragged off Mohamed," crew member Gwenaelle Lenoir told France 3.

Italy Arrests 141 in Terror Sweep - Rachel Sanderson (Reuters)
    Italy has arrested 141 people in a security sweep following the bombings in London and Egypt last month and remains at high risk from an attack by Islamic militants, the Interior Ministry said on Monday.
    Italy has begun expulsion procedures against 701 people. Nearly 33,000 people have been questioned by Italy's security and police forces.

PA Police Absent as "Death Squad" Beats Palestinian - Amira Hass (Ha'aretz)
    No Palestinian policemen appeared Monday when a gang of men dressed in black and armed with Kalashnikov rifles began beating up a Beit Lahia resident and threatening to shoot anyone who tried to protect him.
    The black-clad men are the bodyguards of Nabil Thamus, commander of the "death squads," which were originally established by Mohammed Dahlan back when he commanded the PA's Preventive Security Service in Gaza.

Israeli Armor in Iraq (Strategy Page)
    The speed and effectiveness with which American military trucks were armored in Iraq had a lot to do with Israel's war with Palestinian and Lebanese terrorists.
    For over a decade, Israeli troops have had to drive trucks through areas containing Islamic terrorists.
    From this experience, Israeli firms developed kits for armoring trucks that included 10mm steel plates, cut and shaped to fit a particular type of truck, plus bulletproof glass for the windshield and windows, and brackets and other hardware needed to attach the armor.
    When thousands of American military trucks had to get armored in 2003, Israeli firms had kits already designed.


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Latest News on Disengagement
(Conference of Presidents)
Related Publications:
Israel Campus Beat
Israel HighWay
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Arab World Delights as Evictions Edge Nearer - Stephen Farrell and Massad Abu Toameh
    The cardboard effigy of a Jewish settlement and watchtower went up in flames in Gaza on Monday, as the delighted crowd looked on. By way of television screens, internet websites and bulletin boards, the Arab world reacted with ill-disguised glee as Israeli soldiers confronted Jewish settlers. Al-Jazeera carried non-stop coverage of Israeli settlers weeping and waiting for the inevitable. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas said: "The Israeli withdrawal is an important and historic step that shouldn't only happen in Gaza but also the West Bank and the rest of the land reaching to the 1949 borders." (Times-UK)
        See also Palestinians in Gaza Hold Victory Marches - Arnon Regular and Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Calls for End to Hostility at United Nations - Bill Rigby
    The Gaza pullout should mark an end to UN hostility against Israel, Israeli UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman said on Monday. The comments echoed previous calls by Israel and the U.S. to halt the litany of anti-Israel resolutions passed by the UN General Assembly each year and dismantle the extensive bureaucracy built up around the Palestinian cause. "We hope we will see a more positive and a less combative General Assembly, recognizing that something dramatic, historic has happened," said Gillerman. (Reuters)
        See also below Observations: Sharon's Address to the Nation on Gaza Withdrawal
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Defense Minister Mofaz: Israel's Interests After Disengagement - A Jewish Majority with Defensible Borders
    Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Monday: "The State of Israel is hereby carrying out a unilateral step, however coordinated it may be. Israel must defend its security interests, which primarily are to have a Jewish state with a Jewish majority, defensible borders, and strategic depth, and to make every possible effort to strive for peace."
        "We will pursue the road map after the disengagement. We are committed to implementing the road map, whose first stage deals with disbanding the terrorist infrastructures. I believe we must insist on this issue. This isn't something that the Palestinians will do in one day or one hour. We must be very cautious and insist on demilitarization and disbanding the terrorist infrastructures, and then move on." (Voice of Israel/BBC Monitoring)
        See also Israel Vows to Keep Six West Bank Settlement Blocs
    Israel served notice of its intention to retain control of six of the largest West Bank settlements in any Middle East peace deal. "The settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Jordan valley will remain under Israeli control," Defense Minister Mofaz told army radio on Monday. He singled out the communities of Maale Adumim and Gush Etzion which are both close to Jerusalem, three areas in the northern West Bank, and Efrat near Bethlehem. (AFP/Yahoo)
  • Hamas: Pullout Beginning of Israel's End - Roi Nahmias
    The implementation of the disengagement plan marks "the beginning of the end for Israel," Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal told the London-based al-Hayat newspaper Tuesday. "It is unthinkable that our people will renounce the resistance, which made the enemy retreat," he added. In special programs featured by Arab television networks on the occasion of the disengagement, terror leaders repeatedly said that the armed struggle against Israel would continue until the West Bank and Jerusalem are liberated. Earlier, Palestinian National Security Advisor Jibril Rajoub said the PA received clarifications from the U.S. stressing the Gaza pullout would not be the last Israeli withdrawal. (Ynet News)
        See also Syria: Pullout an Israeli Defeat - Ali Waked
    The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip constitutes an Israeli defeat, according to comments on Syria's official radio station Sunday. (Ynet News)
  • Disengagement:

  • Abbas Should Concentrate on Making a Success of Gaza - Editorial
    The Palestinian Authority is deeply compromised, both by political and financial corruption and by evident links with terrorism; it also seeks a strategic outcome (Israel's return to its 1949 boundaries) which is unacceptable in the eyes of the world. The PA must not imagine that the final status for the region will include a greatly shrunken Israel. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, should concentrate on making a success of Gaza rather than grandstanding about the West Bank and Jerusalem. Success in Gaza will require the active suppression of Hamas. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Abbas and the Rejectionists - Editorial
    Mahmoud Abbas must decide whether he is prepared to confront the terrorists or emulate Arafat's approach of facilitating terror. Now its time for Mr. Abbas to go beyond rhetoric and deal severely with the terrorists who operate out of PA territory. There is no substitute for doing what Mr. Abbas (or, for that matter, some future Palestinian leader) will eventually need to do. That means killing or capturing the terrorists from Palestinian Islamic Jihad as well as Hamas operatives who fire Kassam rockets at Israeli villages. It means taking action to prevent mosques and charitable institutions from raising money to finance a new generation of suicide bombers. It means ending the weapons smuggling from Egypt into Gaza. It also means dealing with the gangsters in his own Fatah movement and Palestinian security forces that are supposed to be under his command. (Washington Times)
  • Gaza Law and Order - Dan Ephron
    With so much attention trained lately on Israeli settlers set to be evacuated from the Gaza Strip, it's easy to forget what they're leaving behind after 38 years: an overcrowded land with almost no natural resources, a weak and corrupt central government, a proliferation of militias, and a badly fragmented security force. (Newsweek)
  • Shalom: Hello, Goodbye and Hopefully, Peace - Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
    As Israel makes these painful sacrifices for peace, more than 4,000 children will have to move to new homes and schools. Businesses, farms, and places of worship will be abandoned. And 48 graves - several of them from people killed by terrorists - will be dug up and moved. All of the land, businesses, and farms will be turned over to the Palestinians. Israelis hope that Palestinians will use these assets to produce jobs and hope - and not become a staging area for more suicide bombers and rocket attacks. Soon, more than 9,200 Israelis will hear a knock and the greeting "Shalom." To them it is goodbye to the homes, friends, and communities they have lived in for decades. Hopefully, the knock will be on a door opening towards peace. (Dunn (NC) Daily Record)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Gaza: Tomorrow's Iraq - Richard Cohen
    It is the solemn obligation of a columnist to connect the dots. So let's call one dot Iraq and another the Gaza Strip, and note that while they are far different in history and circumstance, they are both places where Western democracies, the U.S. and Israel, are being defeated by a common enemy, terrorism. What is happening in Gaza today will happen in Iraq tomorrow. In both cases politicians will assert that it is not terrorism that has forced their hands. But the fact remains that Iraq is coming apart - the Kurds into their own state (with their own flag), the Sunnis into their own armed camps, and the dominant Shiites forming an Islamic republic that will in due course become our declared enemy. Similarly, Israeli politicians assert that it is not terrorism that has chased Israel from Gaza but the realization that a minority of Jews (about 8,500) cannot manage a majority of Arabs (more than 1 million), and this is surely the case. Israel in Gaza, like America in Iraq, underestimated its enemy. (Washington Post)
        See also The World Watches as Iraq Becomes a Litmus Test of Democratic Success - Amir Taheri
    Iraq has become the litmus test of the success of the democratic experience. Success in Iraq could inflict a strategic defeat on all despotic ideologies in the region. There is no guarantee that it will succeed. But it is vital for everyone concerned that it does. (Times-UK)
  • Sharon's Deal with the Americans - Zev Chafets
    Last Friday, on the eve of the Gaza withdrawal, in an interview with the daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot, Ariel Sharon gave a strikingly succinct explanation of his diplomacy. "I've reached a deal with the Americans," he said. "I prefer a deal with the Americans to a deal with the Arabs." As a master politician, Mr. Bush realized that there were political limits on what Mr. Sharon could do. Neither Mr. Sharon nor any conceivable Israeli prime minister would ever evict the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who now live in eastern Jerusalem and the major settlement blocs of the West Bank. Asking for that would be an automatic deal-breaker. Same for the Palestinian demand that millions of Arab refugees and their descendants be "returned" to Israel. And Israel would never relinquish its option to respond militarily to armed aggression.
        Mr. Bush acknowledged these Israeli truths in an official letter he sent to Mr. Sharon in April of 2004. In exchange for that recognition, however, the president asked for - and got - Mr. Sharon's agreement to do what he could do. Evacuating Gaza was one of those things. (New York Times)
  • What Will the U.S Do After the Disengagement Plan Is Implemented? - Shmuel Rosner
    In regard to U.S. policy after the disengagement, as an Israeli diplomat says, "the establishment of a Palestinian state has become an American interest." Second, the Europeans are pressing Washington to heighten its involvement. Third, the Israeli evacuation from Gaza can be brandished as a precedent: Washington has taken note of Israel's readiness, at times, to withdraw without a quid pro quo (from Lebanon and now from Gaza), which it was never called upon to do in the past. Statements, both public and background, by top U.S. officials attest to an erosion of the tough stance regarding the dismantlement of the terrorist organizations in the territories, and a more powerful desire than in the past to show achievements. (Ha'aretz)
  • Observations:

    Address to the Israeli Public on the Eve of the Gaza Withdrawal
    - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (Prime Minister's Office)

    • Citizens of Israel, the day has arrived. We are beginning the most difficult and painful step of all - evacuating our communities from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria.
    • Gaza cannot be held onto forever. Over one million Palestinians live there, and they double their numbers with every generation. They live in incredibly cramped refugee camps, in poverty and squalor, in hotbeds of ever-increasing hatred, with no hope whatsoever on the horizon.
    • It is out of strength and not weakness that we are taking this step. We tried to reach agreements with the Palestinians which would move the two peoples towards the path of peace. These were crushed against a wall of hatred and fanaticism.
    • The unilateral Disengagement Plan is the Israeli answer to this reality. We are reducing the day-to-day friction and its victims on both sides.
    • Now the Palestinians bear the burden of proof. They must fight terror organizations, dismantle its infrastructure, and show sincere intentions of peace in order to sit with us at the negotiating table.
    • The world awaits the Palestinian response - a hand offered in peace or continued terrorist fire. To a hand offered in peace, we will respond with an olive branch. But if they chose fire, we will respond with fire, more severe than ever.
    • Residents of the Gaza Strip, today marks the end of a glorious chapter in the story of Israel, and a central chapter in the story of your lives as pioneers, as realizers of a dream, and as those who bore the security and settlement burden for all of us. Your pain and your tears are an inseparable part of the history of this country.

        See also Netanyahu: Disengagement Will Lead to a Terror Base in Gaza
    Following the broadcast of Sharon's speech, Israeli television Channels 1 and 2 gave equal time to former Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who said that disengagement would lead to a terror base in Gaza. He said that Israel must now make it clear to the Arabs and the world that disengagement represented a departure from Israel's policy, and that "we will not return to this path, we will not give something for nothing." (Israelinsider)
        See also A Momentous Day for Peace - Shimon Peres
    Disengagement will not be the last phase of the political process with the Palestinians, and it opens the door to future steps towards peace. (Times-UK)

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