Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 30, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Abbas Urged to Cancel Fatah Election Results - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    On Monday, Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip called off primary elections after rival Fatah gangs fought street battles and stormed polling stations, firing into the air and stealing ballot boxes.
    "What happened in the Gaza Strip is a real disaster for Fatah," said Haitham Salah, a Fatah operative. "It shows that we are living in a jungle full of gangs and militias."
    Many of the candidates who lost the vote have since complained of irregularities and cheating.
    Sources said followers of PA Civil Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan were among the gunmen who raided several polling stations to protest that the names of thousands of Fatah members had been omitted from voting lists.

Hamas Wins Student Elections at Nablus University - Arnon Regular (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
    Hamas won 40 seats in student council elections on Tuesday at Al-Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus. Fatah won 34 seats.

Terror's Stealth Weapon: Women - Mia Bloom (Los Angeles Times)
    Sajida Rishawi shocked the world when she appeared on Jordanian television and admitted her role in the plot to blow up a wedding at a hotel in Amman on Nov. 9.
    Women evade most terrorist profiles because they are perceived as wives and mothers, not bombers.
    But terrorist organizations are increasingly employing women to carry out the most deadly attacks.
    Based on my study of suicide bombings since 1985, 34% have been carried out by women.
    Female operatives not only better penetrate a crowd of civilians than their male counterparts, they also get more publicity.

Armed Men Steal Lion Cub from Gaza Zoo - Conal Urquhart (Guardian-UK)
    Three weeks ago, armed men kidnapped Sabrina, a three-month-old lion cub, from the Gaza City Zoo.
    The four men also tried to abduct Sakher, Sabrina's brother, who, despite being little bigger than a labrador, managed to scare them off.
    Sabrina "needs 3kg of fresh red meat per day and a lot of exercise. If she doesn't get these things, she will become very dangerous," said zoo director Saud Sawar.

Useful Reference:

50,000 Palestinians Immigrated to Israel Since 2000 (Itim/Ha'aretz, 30Nov05)
    Some 50,000 Palestinians immigrated to Israel from the territories since 2000.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Four Western Peace Activists Kidnapped in Baghdad - Doug Struck and Timothy Dwyer
    Four Western peace activists were kidnapped in Iraq on Saturday by the Swords of Righteousness Brigade, and on Tuesday the Arab television network al-Jazeera broadcast a videotape of the men, members of Christian Peacemaker Teams, an antiwar organization based in Chicago.
        In a separate kidnapping, a German woman, Susanne Osthoff, 43, and her driver were shown sitting blindfolded in another video delivered to a German television network in Baghdad. Osthoff has worked in Iraq since the 1990s, speaks Arabic, and had been helping distribute medical supplies to Iraqis. The kidnappers threatened to kill her and her driver unless Germany ends all cooperation with the U.S.-backed Iraqi government. (Washington Post)
  • Optimism Fades for Rapid Gaza Economic Recovery - Harvey Morris
    Almost three months after Israel left the Gaza Strip, optimism has begun to fade among some Palestinian officials and businessmen who hoped the withdrawal would bring rapid benefits to their shattered economy. Some say that even the rare successes, such as the speedy revival of agricultural production in greenhouses abandoned by departing Jewish settlers, represent a negligible contribution to restoring Gaza's economic fortunes. "Not a single investor has come to us since the Israeli disengagement," said Amr Hamad, Gaza head of the Palestinian Federation of Industries. "Frankly, they may be scared off by Gaza's negative image - the kidnappings and shootings."
        Some experts argue that a much-publicized project to continue export production at the former settler greenhouses may, in fact, have a negative effect on Gaza's welfare. Mohammed el-Bakri of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees said the production of crops such as strawberries and carnations meant Gaza was exporting its most precious commodity - water. (Financial Times-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Envoy Slams UN Celebrations - Itzhak Benhorin
    Israeli schools teach their students that on November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly voted to end British rule in Israel, and approved the foundation of two states - one Jewish and the other Arab. The Jews in Israel rejoiced over the decision, while the Arabs wholeheartedly rejected it. Several years ago the Assembly decided to transform this date into a day of identification with the Palestinian people. In spite of improved relations in recent years, the UN remains a body hostile to Israel. About 20 committees in the international organization are dedicated to the Palestinian issue, and operate against Israel.
        The UN "celebrated" Nov. 29 with a conference to mark "an international day of sympathy with the Palestinian people," with the participation of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The General Assembly held a special session to discuss "The Question of Palestine - a report by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People."
        "The Palestinians have turned Nov. 29 into a hostage for their whims," said Israel's ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman. "I will not participate in this charade. Each year this ritual repeats itself. The Arab and Muslim representatives fill the assembly hall with defaming speeches." (Ynet News)
  • PA Police Fire on IDF Undercover Unit in Bethlehem - Jonathan Lis
    Palestinian policemen opened fire at undercover Israel Defense Forces soldiers during an operation in Bethlehem Tuesday. When the soldiers, disguised as Arabs, came to arrest a wanted man not far from City Hall, the policemen took them for members of an armed Palestinian gang. They opened fire almost immediately after the soldiers got out of their car. In response, the soldiers fired warning shots into the air until an IDF backup force that was waiting nearby rushed to the scene.
        Sources praised the soldiers' behavior, saying their decision to fire in the air rather than back at the policemen had prevented a far more serious clash. They also said that Israel completely accepts the policemen's explanation that they thought they were shooting at an armed Palestinian gang. "It's hard to believe the Palestinian policemen would have acted similarly had they known this was an IDF force," said one. (Ha'aretz)
  • Another Senior Hamas Operative Crosses into Gaza - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Fadel Zahar, who was deported from Gaza in 1991, has crossed back into Gaza. His brother, Mahmoud Zahar, is the top Hamas leader in Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • America Can't Abandon 27 Million Iraqis to 10,000 Terrorists - Sen. Joe Lieberman
    If the terrorists win, they will be emboldened to strike us directly again and to further undermine the growing stability and progress in the Middle East, which has long been a major American national and economic security priority. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also What to Do about Iraq - Barry Rubin
    Pulling out of Iraq in a reasonable time is not something for the U.S. to fear. In Iraq, the government will enjoy overwhelmingly popular support and be able to mobilize large numbers of armed men. In addition to the Kurdish militias, there are also a lot of guns among the Shi'ite. These communities are highly motivated to fight the insurgents. Indeed, if anything, the presence of U.S. forces has held them back. After an American withdrawal, the pro-regime forces are going to flatten the insurgents and they will not be gentle about it. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Reformers Work to Rid "Diet of Hate" from Muslim Textbooks - Brian Murphy
    Page after page, self-appointed hate hunters underline passages in Pakistani schoolbooks, flagging hard-edged Muslim views toward other faiths such Hindus and Christians. They note sections that speak of martyrdom and the duty to battle perceived religious enemies. ''Children are sometimes being force-fed a diet of hate, anger, and intolerance,'' said Ahmad Salim, leader of a campaign to push Pakistan's education system to remove what activists consider extreme language and images from the curriculum. Educators and activists argue that battles against Islamic extremism are only superficial without deep revisions of schoolbooks.
        It's clear some textbooks pay homage to violence. In a Palestinian seventh-grade Arabic language book, a protest poem called "The Martyr" includes the lines: ''And the flow of blood gladdens my soul....And who asks for a noble death, here it is.'' The Palestinians' 11th grade Islamic Culture book has dozens of appeals for Islamic solidarity to confront ''enemies'' such as Israel, its allies, and Western culture. ''The Islamic nation needs to spread the spirit of jihad and the love of self-sacrifice [martyrdom] among its sons,'' reads one passage. (AP/Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Presbyterians & Hizballah: Apologists & Terrorists - Editorial
    Will buttering up Middle Eastern fanatics for the destruction of Israel become an annual prelude to welcoming the Prince of Peace? Lebanese media on Oct. 21 reported that a delegation of the Presbyterian Church USA met with terrorist commander Nabil Qawuq at Hizballah's invitation. A delegation spokesman said U.S. Jewish organizations are pressuring the church to back away from divesting its investments in corporations doing business with Israel. Troubles with Jews allow a basis for solidarity with Hizballah, eh? These are the ideas of people who cloak their despicable apologies for terror with "Christian understanding." (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
  • Observations:

    Israel, Front Line of the Global Jihad - Robert Spencer (FrontPageMagazine)

    • Israel stands virtually alone in the world not only because of lingering anti-Semitism, but because Palestinian Arabs and their allies have succeeded in convincing opinion-makers that their land was taken illegitimately by Israel, and that they are oppressed there.
    • The facts are otherwise: The state was established legitimately and with the approval of the United Nations, and even the "occupied territories" were obtained according to what have been universally recognized throughout history as the rules of war.
    • Or should the United States give up the "occupied territories" of California, Texas, and other Western states? Should Russia withdraw from its "occupied territories" in Konigsberg, eastern Finland, and eastern Poland? Should Muslims across North Africa, the Middle East, Iran, India and Southeast Asia withdraw from those "occupied territories" back to Arabia?
    • I can't help but notice that there was no call to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza between 1948 and 1967, when those territories were under Jordanian and Egyptian control respectively.

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