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  • Author: Jeffrey S. Helmreich
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: As the smoke clears in New York and Kabul, one blind spot still blocks the Western lens in the war against terror. There remains no official definition of "terrorism." The need for such a definition was affirmed by representatives of over 150 countries at a UN conference held in October 2001 on "What is Terrorism?" They came armed with prior resolutions that ban terrorism in any context, no matter its grievance or goal. But the delegates argued that in order to isolate and criminalize the act itself, they would need to identify it. Otherwise, future thugs who massacre innocent civilians could argue that their case is somehow different, or somehow justified by context. They could claim: "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: New York, Middle East, Arabia, Kabul
  • Author: Manfred Gerstenfeld
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: In Israel, ongoing contingency planning in the military, political, economic, and information fields is particularly essential now, especially in light of the structural global changes that may occur after the September 11th terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Such evaluations are done elsewhere for other reasons, such as by stock market analysts, and for those who draw accurate operating conclusions the rewards are very significant. In politics, it is even more difficult to imagine and rank potential shifts. Those who continually train themselves intellectually, however, may do better than others, both in defining policies and in suggesting rapid reactions to the unforeseen.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Zeidan Atashi
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The Israeli Druze community is the only major non-Jewish group in the state whose sons are required to serve in the IDF. Over the past 50 years the community has forged a covenant of blood with the Jewish state, suffering hundreds of casualties while loyally defending the State of Israel.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: After the September 11 terrorist assault on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, many American analysts have been seeking to understand the source of the intense hatred against the United States that could have motivated an act of violence on such an unprecedented scale. In that context, a new canard is beginning to run through repeated news reports and features: that somehow America's support for Israel is behind the fury of militant Islamic movements, like that of Osama bin Laden, towards the United States. Indeed, a Newsweek poll conducted on October 4-5, 2001, found that 58 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. relationship with Israel is "a big reason terrorists attacked the United States."
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Sherry Israel
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Jews in America have been known to be, in Earl Raab's felicitous phrase, "politically hyperactive." Yet today, the most fundamental indicators of Jewish support — membership, participation, and contributions — are on the wane for most of the organizations which have been in the forefront of Jewish activity in the public square in recent decades.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Robert O. Freedman
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, its main successor state, Russia, emerged in a greatly weakened geopolitical position. Complicating Russia's problems was a politically weak and often physically sick President Boris Yeltsin. Concerned about its "soft underbelly" in Transcaucasia and Central Asia, regions that were threatened by radical Islam, Moscow focused its Middle East efforts on Turkey and Iran, both of which had a considerable amount of influence in the two regions. Moscow sold nuclear reactors and sophisticated military equipment to Iran, as the two countries developed a tactical alliance. Russia had a more mixed relationship with Turkey, alternating between confrontation and cooperation. Russia also sought to get the sanctions lifted against Iraq, a development that would strengthen the greatly troubled Russian economy as well as help Russia politically. In the case of Israel, Moscow developed very close cultural, economic, and military ties, although there were a number of ups and downs in diplomatic relations. Under Putin, there was a more centralized control over Russian foreign policy as the new Russian leader sought to have a more assertive foreign policy for his country, and became much more active than Yeltsin had been in promoting Russian interests in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Jeff Helmreich
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: On May 15, 2001, the Associated Press circulated an article covering Arafat's Al-Naqba speech, marking the day Palestinians recall the "catastrophe" of the creation of the State of Israel. The article boasted direct quotations of the Palestinian leader's statements. They had been spoken in Cairo, broadcast on Palestinian radio stations, and blared out from loudspeakers into the streets of Nablus and Ramallah and all across Gaza. But something happened to the speech on the way to AP's wire report. By the time it reached the newspapers, entire sentences and clauses had been excluded; moderating words had been added; fiery attacks — like a slur about the United States — had been cleaned out; statements had been condensed, enhanced, or otherwise altered. In short, AP's purported "excerpts" of Arafat's remarks were at best edited, at worst fabricated. Moreover, they served to distort (and significantly soften) the message that passed through Arafat's lips.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Saul Singer
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: In the midst of an already crumbling cease-fire, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell dropped what to Israeli ears was a bombshell. Standing next to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat after their June 2001 meeting in Ramallah, Powell said, "I think as we get into the confidence-building phase there will be a need for monitors and observers to...make an independent observation of what has happened." Within hours, Powell punctured his own trial balloon by ruling out any mechanism opposed by Israel. Less than one month later, the observer issue was once again thrust to the fore when the G-8 foreign ministers unanimously called for dispatching "third-party monitors" to the region, as long as they were acceptable to both sides. Why should the seemingly innocuous matter of observers top the Palestinian agenda and be such an anathema to Israel?
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Gerald M. Steinberg
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The wave of Palestinian violence and terrorism that began at the end of September 2000 led to a widespread tendency to focus exclusively on Israeli-Palestinian political and security relationships. This narrow concentration of attention is potentially misleading and obscures the fundamental security threats that Israel is facing at the beginning of the twenty-first century. These threats come primarily from the wider Middle Eastern environment, extending from Libya and Egypt (and to a lesser degree, North Africa) to Iraq and Iran. Indeed, the Palestinian strategy is based, to a large degree, on widening the circle of conflict through escalation and regionalizing the confrontation. As a result, the importance of strategic deterrence, in response to revived coalitions and new military capabilities that threaten Israeli security, should be a basic factor in Israeli planning.
  • Topic: Security, Environment, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Libya, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Raphael Israeli
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Since the Al-Aqsa Intifada erupted in the Middle East in late September 2000, an almost simultaneous wave of violent anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiment has accompanied it in the Western democracies, initiated and executed mainly by locally nationalized Arab or Muslim immigrants, long established or recent arrivals, legal or illegal. Due to the ubiquity in space, synchronicity in time, and similarity in style and content of these events, one wonders whether they were all triggered and managed centrally, or spread by emulation from one part of the globe to another.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia