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  • 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: 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: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: U.S. policy on promoting democracy in Muslim-majority countries took two steps forward and one step back last week with Secretary of State Colin Powell's major address unveiling the new Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). On the positive side was the simple fact that democratization merited such cabinet-level focus, along with the details of MEPI itself – a promising set of small-scale, big-bang-for-the-buck, incubator-style projects targeted at critical groups (women, youths, educators) that deserve attention and support. On the negative side were a series of political messages within the speech – both explicit and implicit – suggesting that the active promotion of democratic change in Muslim countries, especially U.S. allies in the Arab world, may not be such a priority after all.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Robert Satloff
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In terms of public diplomacy (PD), the U.S. government's record since September 11 is poor. This failing grade is due to a combination of factors: faulty strategic direction from PD policymakers, who have put a premium on a well-intentioned but highly counterproductive effort "to be liked" at the expense of policy advocacy; flawed tactical decisions that have lent an aura of endorsement to some of the most virulent critics (and critiques) of U.S. interests and policy; a lack of speed and creativity in taking advantage of the post-September 11 window to develop and implement new PD projects and initiatives (some of which are actually resurrected old projects that were prematurely terminated); and over-reliance on the powers of broadcasting and a concomitant lack of attention and adequate funding to medium- and long-term aspects of the "hearts and minds" campaign. An assessment of the past year suggests that the heart of the problem lies in Washington, not in the field, where most PD professionals toil with woefully inadequate resources and poor policy direction. Even in the field, however, some are reluctant to press the case for U.S. policy, preferring instead to focus efforts on winning admiration for and sympathy with U.S. values.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Barham Salih
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Since it became an autonomous region in 1991, Kurdistan has taken advantage of its relative freedom from the tyranny of Baghdad. As a result, Kurdish culture has blossomed, media outlets have boomed, and the number of schools, physicians, and universities in the region has increased dramatically. In comparison to its pre-1991 status, Kurdistan is doing very well. Nevertheless, it has reached a dead end. The Kurdish people realize that in order to ensure further cultural revival, better education, and additional healthcare, a regime change in Baghdad is necessary. At the same time, the Iraqi people look with pride at what has been achieved in Kurdistan and wait for the day in which they can emulate it. They, too, have reached the conclusion that regime change is necessary and that they must accept differences within their society and government, as expressed through the ballot box. Iraqis feel that the day of liberation is near, and they hope that the international community will soon perceive their readiness for change and their willingness to pay the price for such change.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Kurdistan
  • Author: Ugur Ziyal
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The November 3, 2002, Turkish parliamentary elections are unlikely to produce any significant change in Turkish foreign policy, upon which there is a national consensus. The statements of all the political parties support Turkey's European orientation, and they also share a similar stance on Iraq. The new government may bring differences in style, but the same guiding principles for policymaking will remain in place.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Patrick Clawson
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush's speech to the UN General Assembly on September 12 is expected to lay out U.S. policy on Iraq. There are strong arguments against raising the issue of arms inspections at all during this speech, and even stronger arguments for proposing a specific deadline for resuming inspections.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia