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  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Saudi Arabia's past involvement in international terrorism is indisputable. While the Bush administration decided to redact 28 sensitive pages of the Joint Intelligence Report of the U.S. Congress, nonetheless, Saudi involvement in terrorist financing can be documented through materials captured by Israel in Palestinian headquarters in 2002-3. In light of this evidence, Saudi denials about terrorist funding don't hold water. Israel retrieved a document of the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) which detailed the allocation of $280,000 to 14 Hamas charities. IIRO and other suspected global Saudi charities are not NGOs, since their boards of directors are headed by Saudi cabinet members. Prince Salman, a full brother of King Fahd, controls IIRO distributions "with an iron hand," according to former CIA operative Robert Baer. Mahmoud Abbas, in fact, complained, in a handwritten December 2000 letter to Salman, about Saudi funding of Hamas. Defense Minister Prince Sultan has been cited as a major IIRO contributor. It was hoped, after the May 12 triple bombing attack in Riyadh, that Saudi Arabia might halt its support for terrorism. Internally, the Saudi security forces moved against al-Qaeda cells all over the kingdom. But externally, the Saudis were still engaged in terrorist financing, underwriting 60-70 percent of the Hamas budget, in violation of their "roadmap" commitments to President Bush. Additionally, the Saudis back the civilian infrastructure of Hamas with extremist textbooks glorifying jihad and martyrdom that are used by schools and Islamic societies throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Ideological infiltration of Palestinian society by the Saudis in this way is reminiscent of their involvement in the madrassa system of Pakistan during the 1980s, that gave birth to the Taliban and other pro bin-Laden groups.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Joel S. Fishman
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Israel and the PLO have been confronting each other according to completely different paradigms of conflict. Since the late 1960s, the PLO has adopted a "people's war" paradigm that continued to guide its policies even after the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords. According to the "people's war" paradigm, borrowed from Marxist-Leninist traditions in China and Vietnam, conflict is waged on both the political and military levels, but for militarily weaker guerilla groups, political conflict is more important, especially the delegitimization of an adversary and the division of his society. Prior to 1993, Israel largely responded to the PLO militarily as a terrorist threat, but not politically. After 1993, with the PLO "renouncing" terrorism, Israel embraced the PLO leadership and ignored the signs that the PLO was still engaged in political warfare against it (incitement, reluctance to alter PLO Covenant, UN votes, textbooks). Israeli governments later complained about these symptoms of political warfare, without identifying the cause. Established Israeli traditions place undue emphasis on the narrowly-framed military approach to the detriment of the political, which leaves Israel particularly vulnerable to broad-based strategic deception. Israeli policy-makers must reexamine the assumptions upon which they have based political and military policy over the last decade.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, War
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Israel, Vietnam, Arab Countries, Oslo
  • Author: Gerald M. Steinberg
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The record of formal efforts to negotiate peace in protracted ethno-national conflicts (Balkans, N. Ireland, Sri Lanka, etc.) is not encouraging. Israel needs a serious insurance policy, in the form of unilateral separation, to minimize vulnerability to another and potentially more deadly terror campaign, should the "roadmap" fail. The construction of a separation barrier is supported by over 70 percent of the Israeli public, representing a broad consensus from across the political spectrum that favors a physical barrier blocking access to Israeli cities in order to prevent a resumption of the Palestinian terror campaign of the past three years. Political separation will also promote a two-state solution, allowing Israel to remain a culturally Jewish and democratic society while fostering Palestinian sovereignty. Key policy issues concern the pace of construction and the route to be taken for the remaining sections. While options range from a minimalist 300 km line to a 600 km alternative that would include most Israeli settlements, a pragmatic middle route including settlement blocs like Ariel and Gush Etzion may provide the optimum mix under present circumstances. If the Palestinian security framework proves its capabilities in preventing terror, and political negotiations on borders progress, the barrier can be relocated.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Arabia, Balkans, Ireland
  • Author: Anne Bayefsky
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The roadmap has significant roots in the UN, an organization long understood as biased against Israeli interests and Jewish well-being in general. Examples include the work of the UN "Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories," established in 1968, and the UN "Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People," created in 1975. There is a pressing need to clarify with the American administration what attributes of sovereignty will not be accorded a Palestinian state with provisional borders prior to final status negotiations. Israel must reassert that its consent is necessary for any decision affecting its essential interests. An American commitment to object to any unilateral declaration of independence should be immediately forthcoming and clearly understood by the parties. The UN and the European Union must be kept out of any monitoring and assessment function. Recognition of a fundamental breach, and the ability to apply the necessary consequences, require that precise and public monitoring by Israel start now.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The quest for defensible borders has been an axiom of Israeli governments since 1967 on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 242. Defensible borders for Israel has been explicitly backed by Washington since the Reagan administration. In Rabin's last Knesset address he made clear that Israel "will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines." He insisted on a map including a united Jerusalem, the settlement blocs, and the Jordan Valley. In 2003, Israeli planners will have to operate under the assumption that the dismantling of the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure will be incomplete, and should a Palestinian state nonetheless be established, its complete demilitarization will not be reliable. During the Oslo years, the Palestinian leadership was in material breach of the military clauses of the Interim Agreement, seeking to import illegal weaponry like SA-7 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles and manufacturing Qassam rockets. Many of the same security figures who breached Oslo now serve the government of Mahmud Abbas. Moreover, fundamentalist groups like Hamas that mentioned the Islamic term hudna, for cease-fire, understood that it means a truce that is maintained until the balance of power changes. This means they will seek rearmament; Israeli military intelligence was, in fact, reporting that Hamas had accelerated production of Qassam rockets in early July. In their pronouncements, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have even used a weaker term: ta'liq - a temporary cessation of hostilities. In the wake of the decline of the threat from Iraq, Israel will require defensible borders to meet the growing lethality of the Palestinian threat, backed by the assistance of Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. The Bush administration should provide Israel with assurances concerning defensible borders as it seeks Israel's acquiescence to the creation of a Palestinian state.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Justus Reid Weiner
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: In recent decades, municipalities and governments in all parts of the world have struggled with illegal building. However, compared with the incessant denunciation of rather infrequent demolitions by the Jerusalem Municipality, there has been nearly a complete lack of publicity when other governments demolish illegal structures. Those who complain that many Arabs cannot afford housing in Jerusalem ought to recognize economic reality; Jewish residents of Jerusalem who also cannot afford the high cost of housing find it necessary to move to the periphery of the city where housing is more affordable. In New York, nobody would excuse or tolerate people building illegally in Central Park, whatever their attachment to Manhattan or however large their family. Even the Palestinian Authority has demolished houses constructed illegally. Particularly refreshing was PA leader Sari Nusseibeh's statement that the "gangs that build illegally on land that does not belong to them should be thrown into jail," and that "Nobody in their right mind is in favor of illegal building."
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: New York, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Jerusalem
  • Author: Dan Diker
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The impending renewal of Arab-Israeli contacts after the Aqaba summit is an appropriate occasion to reassess one of the weak points of Israel's information effort. At the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference, then Deputy Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "broke the ice" with scores of Arab reporters when he provided articulate explanations of Israel's positions. Eytan Bentsur, Director General of Israel's Foreign Ministry at the time of Madrid, saw Israel's "paternalistic" approach to the Palestinians at Oslo as contributing to the ultimate collapse of the peace process. The launch of Arab satellite television in 1994 provided Israel with direct access to millions of Arab and Muslim viewers throughout the Middle East. Prime Minister Sharon's foreign media advisor, Raanan Gissin, is regularly interviewed on the leading Arab channels. Despite the high standards of news programming on Israel's new Arabic-language Middle East Satellite Channel, it is not widely viewed in the Arab world because it is recognized as an Israeli government operation. ArabYnet, an Arabic translation of the popular Ynet news website of the Israeli Hebrew daily Yediot Ahronot, has become one of the most popular Arabic language websites on the Internet, with nearly a million unique monthly users. It is a commercial site that presents an Israeli point of view but with no particular political agenda.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Irwin J. Mansdorf
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Since 1993, attempts have been made to portray Palestinian-Arab perpetrators of suicide bombings as desperate individuals understandably coping with a difficult situation, in effect, transforming the attackers into victims, and thus diminishing the impact of one's revulsion at such attacks. The use of the “bomber as victim” model has led others to similarly view, and incorrectly justify, the motivations behind Palestinian-Arab suicide bombers. Yet, in fact, individual psychopathology or personal feelings do not appear to play any significant role. Unlike other groups that have used suicide as a political or military tool, only in the case of Palestinian-Arab terror has there been an attempt to personalize the perpetrator as a victim of uncontrollable psychological and motivational forces that forced such extreme behavior. It is actually group dynamics that reinforces behavior within a Palestinian-Arab culture where suicide bombers are viewed as heroes whose faces are prominently displayed on public posters and where families of bombers are showered with both respect and financial reward.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Dan Diker
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: International news organizations covering the Arab-Israeli conflict frequently refer to international agreements and resolutions in ways that are prejudiced against Israel's legal rights and claims. Frequent references to Israel's legal obligation to withdraw to the pre-1967 borders are inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 242 and the Oslo Accords. Neither the Oslo Declaration of Principles of September 1993 nor the Oslo II Interim Agreement of 1995 require either Palestinians or Israelis to refrain from the construction of settlements, neighborhoods, houses, roads, or any other similar building projects. References in the news media to “occupied Arab East Jerusalem” reflect an underlying assumption that eastern Jerusalem has always been an Arab city like Damascus or Baghdad, ignoring the fact that Jerusalem has had an overwhelmingly Jewish majority as far back as the mid-nineteenth century. Despite UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's announcement on 25 July 2000 that Israel had fully implemented UN Resolution 425 when it unilaterally withdrew from southern Lebanon, news organizations have continued to refer to the Shaaba Farms, located on Israel's side of the border with Lebanon, as “disputed.”
  • Topic: Security, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Jerusalem, Lebanon, Oslo
  • Author: Steven Windmueller
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Martin Buber wrote: "Each Jew represents the mirror image of the collective soul of the Jewish people." In recent times, we have described ourselves as a proud people, assured of our place in the modern world. But the events of September 11 left us numbed and confused as to its meaning and message. The tragic events of that day fused with the events that occurred a year earlier in Israel with the onset of the second intifada, and may have fundamentally transformed the Jewish experience in our times.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Scott B. Lasensky
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The collapse of the Oslo process and ever worsening Israeli-Palestinian violence demonstrate that certain long-held "truths" about the conflict need to be turned on their heads - none more so than the accepted wisdom that the Palestinian refugee problem, long a source of regional instability and a breeding ground for suicide terrorists, can only be addressed as part of a final settlement. Rather than follow a comprehensive agreement, ameliorating the Palestinian refugee problem increasingly looks like a necessary precondition for a permanent Israeli-Palestinian settlement. It might even be required for a meaningful resumption of negotiations.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Czech Republic
  • Author: David Raab
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The Christian community in the areas administered by the Palestinian Authority (PA) is a small but symbolically important one. About 35,000 Christians live in the West Bank and 3,000 in Gaza, representing about 1.3 percent of Palestinians. In addition, 12,500 Christians reside in eastern Jerusalem. This population is rapidly dwindling, however, and not solely as a result of the difficult military and economic situation of the past two years. Rather, there are numerous indications that the Christian population is beleaguered due to its Christianity. Taken in context of the condition of Christians in other Middle Eastern countries, this picture is especially credible and troubling.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Gerald M. Steinberg
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: In the wake of the failed Camp David summit of July 2000 and the terrible violence that began at the end of September, there have been many efforts to halt the carnage and revive the negotiations. These efforts included summit meetings in Paris and Sharm el Sheik, the Mitchell Commission, and security plans presented by CIA director George Tenet and General Anthony Zinni. None of these had any visible impact, and the Palestinian attacks and Israeli responses have only intensified.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Paris, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Dan Diker
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The Israel State Comptroller's report released on October 7, 2002, leveled unprecedented criticism on Israel's public relations efforts. The State Comptroller revealed that "since its establishment in 1948, Israel's intelligence organs have not succeeded to respond to the broad-based propaganda and incitement by the Arab world." The report also emphasized that "the lack of a central authority to direct and coordinate all government information bodies to execute a public relations policy is the main factor accounting for Israel's longstanding failures in this field."
  • Topic: Security, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Lt. Col. Jonathan D.H.
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The second Camp David summit (July 2000) was the culmination of nearly ten years of political dialogue between Israel and the representatives of the Palestinian people, and of almost six years of interim agreements since the mutual recognition of Israel and the PLO. Yet Camp David II did not result in the conclusion of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement to end the protracted conflict between the Palestinian national movement and the Jewish national (Zionist) movement. The negotiations between Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Yasser Arafat (who also heads the PLO and the Fatah movement), under the auspices of U.S. President Bill Clinton, rather highlighted the wide differences between the two sides on the fundamental issues of the conflict.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Ruth Lapidoth
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Until September 2000, hopes were high that soon an agreement on the final status of the West Bank and Gaza would pave the way for peaceful coexistence between Israel and the Palestinians. These hopes have unfortunately been shattered, as Palestinians violently attacked Israelis in both the administered territories and in Israel proper, provoking violent reactions by Israel. One could wonder what purpose there is in analyzing legal issues related to a peaceful settlement when violence is the order of the day. If we nevertheless examine some of the legal issues, it is because we have not yet lost hope that sooner or later the guns will be silenced and the parties will return to the negotiating table. The underlying conflict is mainly of a political nature. However, for several reasons it should also be analyzed from a legal perspective. First, some of the questions involved are overwhelmingly of a legal nature. Second, the parties base their claims on legal arguments. And, third, if and when a compromise is reached, it will be drafted in legal terms and be included in a legal text. This is also true of the question of Palestinian refugees.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: David Raab
  • Publication Date: 08-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The unity and control of Jerusalem have been among the most contentious and complex issues in Israel-Arab relations. Until recently, Israel's stance that Jerusalem would remain under its sole sovereignty as its eternal, undivided, and sole capital was not open to compromise. That position enjoyed near-unanimity among Israelis, the international Jewish community, and Congress.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Israel, Arab Countries
  • Author: Mark Ami-El
  • Publication Date: 08-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The Temple Mount in Jerusalem represents the greatest point of sanctity for the Jewish people. King Solomon established the Temple, or Beit Ha-Mikdash, on Mt. Moriah. The Temple had a section known as the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant, containing the Ten Commandments and the Torah, was housed. While it stood, Jews were required to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year. After the First Temple was destroyed in 586 BCE by the Babylonians, Jewish exiles returned to Jerusalem in 538 BCE and completed the construction of the Second Temple in 515 BCE. Even after the Temple's destruction by Roman armies in 70 CE, the site of the Temple remained the direction of Jewish prayer. The purification of the Temple in Jerusalem is the central theme in the holiday of Hanukkah. Thus, according to Jewish tradition, the sanctity of the Temple Mount area remains intact despite the Temple's destruction. Indeed, Rabbi A.I. Kook, the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of the pre-state Yishuv, confirmed that the eternal sanctity of the Temple Mount continues to exist.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Jerusalem, Arab Countries
  • Author: Amnon Lord
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The story of the death of the child Muhammad Al-Dura — who, according to reports from world and local media, was shot and killed by IDF soldiers at Netzarim junction — became the symbol of the intifada: the Palestinian martyr whose blood must be avenged by the Muslim and enlightened world. His death turned into a blood libel accompanying the terror and violence, and it became the altar upon which the good name of the people and the State of Israel was sacrificed during the last two years. The world was flooded with pictures of the dead child. As a result of, among other things, world incitement originating with the mantra: "Israel murders Palestinian children," the UN conference in Durban turned into a frightening anti-Semitic crusade.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Mordechai Abir
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The Persian Gulf is a region of outstanding anomalies and immense energy wealth. About two-thirds of the world's proven energy reserves are located in the Gulf States, foremost in Saudi Arabia (25 percent). As long as the rest of the world requires this energy, its dependence on this region will continue. Yet, the evolving U.S. war against terrorism, coupled with the growth of non-OPEC oil output led by the revived energy industry in Russia and other former Soviet republics, is beginning to erode the coercive power of the Gulf states.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia