Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 7, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

The Plan: Shoot Down El Al Plane Over Amsterdam (AP/Ynet News)
    A Dutch terrorism suspect arrested in October allegedly hoped to shoot down an El Al airliner at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, the Dutch television program Nova reported Friday, citing police and secret service documents.
    Samir Azzouz, 19, was one of seven suspects arrested in four Dutch cities on Oct. 14 on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack.
    Azzouz, the son of Moroccan immigrants, was acquitted in April of accusations he had planned to attack a Dutch nuclear reactor.
    The national prosecutor's office said Azzouz's group was trying to buy weapons and explosives.
    The group had recruited two employees at a Federal Express office near the airport to help with reconnaissance.
    In the video transcription, Azzouz was quoted as calling the Netherlands' government "Crusaders who supported Bush," and he also threatened "the Dutch people."

Israel Campus Beat
- November 6, 2005

Point Counter-Point:
    Reflections on the 10th Anniversary of the Rabin Assassination

PA to Receive Ammunition from Egypt - Yossi Yehoshua (Ynet News)
    On Sunday, the first load of Kalashnikov ammunition for the PA was to cross the border from Egypt, Yediot Ahronot newspaper reported.
    Security officials said the U.S. has funded the purchase.

Israel Back in F-35 Fighter Project - Ran Dagoni (Globes)
    After meeting U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Israeli Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz announced on Friday that the crisis that had kept Israel out of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program had been resolved.
    The resumption of Israel's participation will be immediate and the U.S. will not wait for Israeli legislation on tightening supervision of defense exports.
     Israel wants to buy 100 F-35s, to be delivered during the 2010s.

Report: Syria, Iran Getting German Missile Technology (DPA/Ha'aretz)
    Berlin has warned German companies that missile-builders in Iran and Syria are obtaining sophisticated German equipment via criminal, Moscow-based firms, the news magazine Focus reported Saturday.
    The equipment was initially being legally exported to Moscow, where the middlemen, posing as legitimate Russian industrial companies and research institutions, were sending it to Iran and Syria.

Archaeologists Uncover "Oldest Church" in Holy Land - Robert Berger (VOA News)
    Israeli archaeologists have uncovered the ruins of a third- or fourth-century church in northern Israel, which they believe could be the oldest ever found in the Holy Land.
    The church contains a well-preserved mosaic, with references to Jesus Christ and images of fish - an ancient Christian symbol.
    "This find is once in a lifetime," said chief archaeologist Yotam Tefer.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel: Military Option for Iran "Is Not on the Agenda" - Michael Hirsh
    Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said in an interview with Newsweek on Thursday: "I was born in Tehran, and I came to Israel when I was 9 years old, in 1957....I can tell you that what Ahmadinejad said about erasing the State of Israel from the map, [combined with Iran's] surface-to-surface missiles and the fact that they have a high desire for achieving nuclear power, is a real threat against the State of Israel but also against all the Western countries. Under the nuclear umbrella in the future [Iran] will be a threat to all the world." "I believe for the time being the diplomatic channel is the main one....A military option is not on the agenda."
        "The Iranians are supporting and harboring terror....Remember the Karin A, the ship we captured in January 2002. That occurred after Arafat met with representatives of Iran, and they produced a special line of armaments for the Palestinians. The goal was to send 50 tons of arms to the hands of the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians promised the Iranians in return they would give them security for Iranian terror groups coming to Israel."  (Newsweek)
        See also Annan Drops Iran Trip, Citing Ahmadinejad's Talk on Israel - Warren Hoge
    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Friday dropped plans to visit Tehran next week, citing Iranian President Ahmadinejad's call last week that Israel "must be wiped off the map." (New York Times)
  • Former Israeli Chief of Staff: Abbas "Uses Weakness as an Excuse"
    Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is not exercising leadership and a settlement with Israel based on two states living side by side in peace is impossible in the immediate future, retired Israeli military chief of staff Moshe Yaalon said Friday. "He appears as weak. He is not so weak," Yaalon said. "He uses weakness as an excuse." Criticizing Abbas for not dismantling violent groups in Palestinian-held areas, Yaalon said, "We thought, and I was one of them, that Mahmoud Abbas will lead the Palestinian Authority in another direction than Yasser Arafat." But "he prefers to keep them in power as a tool" and has allowed Hamas to keep its weapons.
        "I haven't seen leadership on the Palestinian side that is ready for a two-state solution," Yaalon added. He said Israel does not want to control millions of Palestinians, "but we don't want to be in a situation without defensible borders." Yaalon spoke at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where he will be a resident for a year. (AP/Pravda-Russia)
  • Ten French Police Shot as Riots Worsen - Craig S. Smith
    Rioters fired shotguns at the police in a working-class suburb of Paris on Sunday, wounding 10 officers as the country's fast-spreading urban unrest escalated dangerously. More than 3,300 vehicles have been destroyed, along with dozens of public buildings and private businesses, since the violence began. Rampaging youths have attacked the police and property in Toulouse, Marseille, Cannes, Nice, Lille, Strasbourg, and E'vreux. Though a majority of the youths committing the acts are Muslim, and of African or North African origin, the mayhem has yet to take on any ideological or religious overtones. France's most influential Islamic group issued a religious edict, or fatwa, condemning the violence. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Hadera Bombing Death Toll Rises to Six - Eli Ashkenazi
    Jenia Polise, 66, has died of wounds from a Palestinian suicide bombing in Hadera two and a half weeks ago. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Wounded When Kassam Rocket Hits House
    A Palestinian in Gaza was moderately wounded when a Kassam rocket launched by Palestinians in Gaza hit his house, Israel Radio reported Sunday. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also IDF: 4 Out of 5 Palestinian Rockets Land in Gaza - Hanan Greenberg
    Over 80% of the rockets fired at Israel by Palestinians in Gaza fall on the Palestinian side, an IDF source said Sunday. Last month 40 rockets were launched in Israel's direction, only seven of which exploded in Israeli territory. (Ynet News)
        See also Gaza Rocket Attacks Miss the Mark - Margot Dudkevitch
    Operations conducted by IDF artillery units, which shell rocket-launching sites, as well as air force sorties, have pushed terrorists back towards the sea, distancing them from Israel's border, security officials said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Discovers Bomb Near Gaza Fence
    IDF forces discovered a 30-kilogram bomb near the security fence with the northern Gaza Strip Sunday. Since Israel withdrew from Gaza, 15 explosive devices have been discovered. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Al-Aqsa Brigades Supports Iranian Call for Israel's Destruction - Roee Nahmias
    The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Fatah's military wing, published a leaflet Sunday stressing its "identification with and overall support of the position and declaration of the Iranian president, who called with all honesty to wipe Israel off the map of the world," the Palestinian news agency Maan reported. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Why Paris is Burning - Amir Taheri
    In some areas, it is possible for an immigrant or his descendants to spend a whole life without ever encountering the need to speak French, let alone familiarize himself with any aspect of the famous French culture. A reporter who spent last weekend in Clichy and its neighboring towns of Bondy, Aulnay-sous-Bois, and Bobigny heard a single overarching message: The French authorities should keep out. "All we demand is to be left alone," said Mouloud Dahmani, one of the local "emirs" engaged in negotiations to persuade the French to withdraw the police and allow a committee of sheiks, mostly from the Muslim Brotherhood, to negotiate an end to the hostilities.
        President Chirac and Premier de Villepin are especially sore because they had believed that their opposition to the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003 would give France a heroic image in the Muslim community. (New York Post)
        See also Eurabia on the Rampage - Melanie Phillips
    In line with routine contemporary moral inversion, in which the perpetrators of violence are excused and their victims blamed instead, the French authorities are being blamed for fanning the flames of discontent by discriminating against the country's Muslims. Is every country to be held responsible for the jihad being waged against it? (
        See also Who Will Raise the Siege of Paris? - Mark Steyn
    For a half-decade, French Arabs have carried on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent these attacks from spreading to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have failed. In the no-go suburbs, even before the current riots, 9,000 police cars were stoned by "French youths" since the beginning of the year; some three dozen cars are set alight even on a quiet night. (Washington Times)
  • Fearing an Iraq in a Post-Assad Syria - Michael Slackman
    Assad has been presented with a lose-lose proposition. He can try to hand over relatives to UN investigators. But if he cuts a deal with the West, Assad risks being viewed as a puppet. If he refuses, Syria could be hit with economic sanctions. Either way his grip on power could be weakened. "Either Bashar will have to make his coup, or someone will make it against him," said a Syrian political analyst with close ties to the leadership.
        Steven A. Cook, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the State Department realizes "if we think that we have problems in Iraq we will have more problems, more violence, if Assad comes crashing down." "What I do see is a possibility that someone or some group within the ruling clique will see this situation as untenable and decide that whoever is responsible needs to go," he said. (New York Times)
        See also In Syria, a Sagging Opposition - Thanassis Cambanis
    Authoritarian Syria has so thoroughly quashed organized opposition that even the most committed dissidents are so convinced of their own weakness that they don't want the regime to fall, fearing that only chaos would follow. Despite his visceral anger at the government he calls a fascist dictatorship, Haitham al-Maleh, 74, a human rights lawyer, doesn't want to see it collapse because he doesn't think there's anything to replace it. (Boston Globe)
  • Observations:

    The ICJ Opinion on the Separation Barrier: Designating the Entire West Bank as "Palestinian Territory" - Robbie Sabel (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • The UN General Assembly is a political body. It is not a global legislature that creates international law through its resolutions. Thus its designation of the whole of the West Bank as "Palestinian" must be seen as a political act and not as a legal determination.
    • The UN did not attempt to resolve the dilemma of how the West Bank could be defined as occupied "Palestinian" territory when its status as occupied territory presumably derived from Israel's seizure of the area from Jordan, and a Palestinian state had never previously existed there, or anywhere. Since 1967 this territory has been essentially disputed land with the claimants being Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinians.
    • In March 1994, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright stated, "We simply do not support the description of the territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 war as occupied Palestinian territory."
    • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) Opinion says absolutely nothing about the fact that the League of Nations Mandate referred to "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" and that this injunction was understood at the time by the League of Nations and by the British Mandatory Power as applying to the whole of Palestine west of the River Jordan, that is, including the present-day West Bank.
    • Israel may take comfort from the fact that, by implication, the ICJ Opinion invalidates objections by Arab states to the legitimacy of Israeli sovereignty on the Israeli side of the "green line."

      The writer is a former legal adviser to the Israeli Foreign Ministry and lectures in international law at Hebrew University.

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