Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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September 7, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

PA Gets $50M in Aid, Then Incites Against U.S. - Margot Dudkevitch (Jerusalem Post)
    A report by Palestinian Media Watch revealed that after having signed a deal with the U.S. for $50 million to help with housing and infrastructure, PA officials called to launch attacks against U.S. soldiers and portrayed the U.S. as "an enemy."
    In recent days PA religious officials in radio and television sermons described the U.S. as "the most heretic" among countries and as an enemy who is trying to dismantle the Islamic world.
    One official called to intensify terror acts against U.S. soldiers, in the presence of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Jewish Agency Urges New Orleans College Students to Study in Israel - Amiram Barkat (Ha'aretz)
    The Jewish Agency has invited university students in New Orleans - Jews and non-Jews alike - to study in Israel.
    Tens of thousands of students are enrolled in universities in New Orleans, 2,000 of them Jewish.
    The Agency's initiative was welcomed by universities in Israel, and will be funded by the United Jewish Communities of North America and the Hillel Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.

$50 Billion Increase in Saudi Oil Income - Rasheed Abou-Alsamh (Washington Times)
    Record oil prices have sent Saudi revenues soaring. A midyear financial report by the Samba Financial Group in Saudi Arabia said oil revenue this year is expected to reach $157 billion, a 48% increase over 2004's oil revenue of $106 billion.

Ex-Leader of Chicago Mosque Admits Distributing 1.7M Pills - Rudolph Bush (Chicago Tribune)
    Tariq Isa, 57, who is Palestinian and the former treasurer of the Mosque of the Martyr Izzedine Al-Qassam in Chicago, pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to distributing more than 1.7 million tablets of pseudoephedrine, the raw material of the illegal stimulant methamphetamine.
    Isa was arrested at O'Hare International Airport in August 2004 after returning from a trip to the Mideast.
    Isa is the third leader of his mosque, also known as the Chicago Islamic Center, to be criminally charged.
    Fellow Palestinians Ghassan Zayed Ballut and Hatem Fariz are on trial in Florida on a 2003 indictment that alleged they financed terrorists in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and were themselves members of the Islamic Jihad terrorist group.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Gaza Gunmen Kill Former Security Chief Moussa Arafat - Nidal al-Mughrabi
    Gunmen dragged ex-security chief Moussa Arafat from his Gaza home and shot him dead in the street on Wednesday. Gunmen with rifles and anti-tank grenades battled the guards at Arafat's house for more than 30 minutes before storming in and pulling him outside, witnesses said. Arafat, 65, a cousin of Yasser Arafat, was a local strongman who was fired as head of military intelligence in April. (Reuters)
  • PA: Israel Trying to Entrap Us By Leaving Synagogues in Gaza
    The Israeli High Court on Monday asked the government to ask the PA to "assume responsibility" for several synagogues left in the Gaza Strip's evacuated Jewish settlements. The religious establishment argued that the destruction of the synagogues, the last remaining standing buildings in the vacated Jewish settlements, would undermine the safety of synagogues around the world.
        However, PA foreign ministry official Abdullah Abdullah said any synagogue remaining in Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal would be used as a "pretext" to retain a foothold. "We feel the Israelis are trying to entrap us by leaving these places intact and then tell the world 'look, the Palestinians are destroying Jewish holy places," he told (IRNA-Iran)
        See also below Commentary: Palestinians Protecting Jewish Sacred Sites? - Nadav Shragai (Ha'aretz)
  • Some Shunning Palestinian Hard Stance - Thanassis Cambanis
    The cult of ''martyrdom" is everywhere in Gaza. Paintings, murals, and posters memorialize young men, usually depicted with headbands and guns, who have died fighting Israel. Banners, fliers, and stickers remind people of the party message: armed struggle until Israel is totally defeated. Yet a minority of Gaza Palestinians reject the all-encompassing culture of intifada, jihad, and martyrdom.
        Jamal Abu Nasser, 52, the owner of a taxi fleet, describes Hamas and Fatah supporters as ''corrupt, delusional militants." ''We cannot defeat Israel. Jerusalem will never be a Palestinian capital. This is empty talk," Abu Nasser said. ''Let's be frank. If Israel didn't want to leave Gaza, no one could have forced them out," said grocer Mohammed Ahmed Moussa, 62. ''Those who claim the rockets and attacks made them leave are kidding themselves."  (Boston Globe)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel to Transfer Parts of Northern West Bank to Palestinian Authority - Aluf Benn and Amos Harel
    Israel is to transfer responsibility for most of the area it evacuated in the northern West Bank to the PA, according to an IDF source. The IDF would enter the area only if intelligence information indicated a terror attack was being planned there. According to government and defense sources, because Israel does not want to maintain a presence in the evacuated area, it has told the Palestinians that it intends to give them most of the responsibility for the region. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinians Infiltrate Gush Katif - Margot Dudkevitch and Khaled Abu Toameh
    Nimr al-Sa'douni, 24, was killed and three others were wounded by IDF gunfire when scores of Palestinians from Khan Yunis, some carrying Hamas flags, broke through the security fence near Neve Dekalim and swarmed IDF forces on Tuesday. Israeli security officials said that, despite their requests to PA security forces to halt the demonstrators, several policemen at the site failed to intervene. Security officials believed the demonstration was not spontaneous, noting the presence of photographers.
        Later Tuesday, Palestinians fired two Kassam rockets into Israel from Beit Hanun in northern Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Wounded in Gaza Grenade Attack - Margot Dudkevitch
    An Israeli civilian was lightly wounded after Palestinian terrorists threw three grenades at an IDF post on the Philadelphi route Monday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Uncovers Hamas Funding Channel - Amos Harel
    The Shin Bet security service announced Tuesday that it arrested money changer Usama Bashiti at the Rafah border crossing in Gaza. Bashiti, a member of Hamas, transferred funds to the head of the Hamas military wing in Gaza, Mohammed Sanouar, who has been involved in the planning of numerous terror attacks against Israelis in which many people died. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Palestinians Protecting Jewish Sacred Sites? - Nadav Shragai
    Dr. Shmuel Berkowitz, in his book, The Wars Over the Holy Places, documents a long series of Palestinian acts of vandalism against places Jews consider holy. The most outstanding case was the events at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, when some 5,000 demonstrators and hundreds of Palestinian police attacked the building, finally setting it on fire. Shots have been fired at Rachel's Tomb outside of Bethlehem. Worshippers at the Western Wall have more than once been the target of stones thrown from the Temple Mount. When the largest Jewish cemetery in the world, on the Mount of Olives, was under Jordanian control, tens of thousands of memorial stones were smashed, and the pieces were used to build homes, roads, and latrines. (Ha'aretz)
  • How to Talk about Gaza - Max Singer
    The Palestinians' assertion that Gush Katif is legally their land is simply untrue. Gaza has never been "Palestinian land." From 1948 to 1967 it was Egyptian-occupied territory. Before that, from 1922 to 1948, it was part of the League of Nations mandate to create a Jewish national home under the trusteeship of Great Britain. And for four centuries before the Mandate it was part of the Ottoman Empire. Palestinians are not dispossessed owners because they have never been owners. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Iraq and the Arabs - Editorial
    One of the world's unremarked scandals is how little help Iraq's new government is getting from its fellow Arabs. On Monday Iraq President Jalal Talabani scored Arab leaders for their minimal-to-nonexistent diplomatic presence in Baghdad, and their failure to offer condolences or help in the wake of last week's stampede that left nearly 1,000 dead. It's a fairly open secret that most Arab autocracies - even supposedly "moderate" ones like Egypt - are alarmed at the precedent of a successful Iraqi democracy. Perhaps the White House should authorize U.S. Ambassador John Bolton to inform Arab nations - whose heads of state will visit the UN next week - that their relations with the U.S., and especially future economic and military assistance, depend on their help in Iraq. (Wall Street Journal, 7Sep05)
  • Observations:

    A Cease-Fire After a Palestinian Victory? - Ehud Ya'ari (Jerusalem Report)

    • A new thesis is spreading through the Arab world, according to which Israel is approaching old age and is battling a long, drawn-out terminal illness. The implication is that there is no necessity for the Palestinians and their partners to storm Israel. All they have to do is carry out a stubborn and grinding campaign of attrition.
    • The heads of the terror organizations are now saying: There is nothing wrong with a pause in fighting or periods of cease-fire, so long as the dimensions of the struggle and the friction are preserved.
    • No spin master and no amount of words will ever be able to convince our neighbors that the disengagement was not an act of retreat, a sign of weakness, an invitation for more vigorous attack. The conclusion drawn by the other side is that maybe in the short term it will be difficult for them to resume the terror assault, but that is the prescription for the longer run.
    • If Israel is getting weaker and its epitaph is already written on the wall, then the Arabs' advantage of patience comes into play. All they have to do, they may believe, is to wait; to act as a constant annoyance, to create a kind of siege. And so, paradoxically, the belief the Palestinians are trying to instill about their great "victory" in Gaza and the "routing" of the Israelis could yet serve as a justification for a time-out.

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