BICOM Daily Briefing December 1 2003
Last updated: 2003-12-01
All the Israeli papers lead with todays signing of the Geneva initiative, with wide coverage also in the UK press with The Guardian featuring a piece by Sharon Sadeh on the initiative. The Times reports that the Israeli Tourist Board is to invest £2 million in a new campaign to promote
The meeting between
Quotes of the Day:
Mofaz briefs the cabinet on fence, Abu Ala-Sharon meeting:
Shaul Mofaz Minister of Defence (Israel Radio, 30/11): Its contribution to security has already been proven. The separation fence has reduced the flow of terrorism into
Shaul Mofaz (Jerusalem Post, 30/11): We are willing to talk with Abu Ala, but not about a two-way cease fire, but rather our demand for an end to terrorism We will not enter into an agreement other than one based on implementing the security steps stipulated in the road map.
Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Sacks (The Times, 1/12): The 21st century should have moved beyond an age in which Jews are afraid to walk the streets and places of worship are bombed while congregations are at prayer.
Behind the News:
Survey shows no fixed opinions on
The Geneva Accord, an unofficial peace plan, is to be signed today at a ceremony in
According to a Haaretz survey published on Sunday, 31 percent of Israelis support the
Around 25 percent of the respondents believe that if a final peace deal is achieved with the Palestinians, it will be similar to the understandings reached in
EU commissioned report on anti-Semitism suppressed because of findings:
A report commissioned by the European Union on anti-Semitism has been suppressed because of its disturbing findings. The report, commissioned in October 2002 and submitted in February 2003 found that anti-Semitic incidents in the monitoring period were committed predominantly by right-wing extremists or radical Islamists and young Muslims. The worry is that publishing the report would lead to a rise in Islamophobia in
For more information on this matter, please see BICOM (Weekend brief 29-30 November 2003).
Silwan Gang members sentenced to 36 life sentences for terror attacks in
Two Palestinians convicted of masterminding a series of suicide bombings in 2002 were sentenced yesterday in an Israeli military court to 36 consecutive life terms. Mohammed Hassan Arman and Walid Anjas were convicted for their roles in the bombings of
The pair were part of a group of Hamas militants based in Silwan, a village within
In handing down the sentences, the three-judge panel wrote, "the looks on their faces and the smiles of the accused when the prosecutor mentioned the victims cannot leave any doubt about their lack of conscience."
Anglican and Roman Catholic leaders in
Comment and Opinion:
Barbara Amiel (The Telegraph, 1/12): In the
What can one make of such a programme? The choice of interviewees are a New York Jew converted to Islam and teaching at the
Up-to-date anti-Semitism awards the British cartoon-of-the-year prize to an illustration from the Independent that could happily have graced the pages of Der Sturmer: a vicious caricature of the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, naked, eating a Palestinian infant. One cannot imagine a British newspaper running a similar caricature of Yasser Arafat or, indeed, his supporter, European Commission president Romano Prodi, even though their money funds some of today's most murderous terrorists.
Emanuele Ottolenghi (The Guardian, 29/11): Is there a link between the way
Jewish defenders of
There is no doubt that recent anti-semitism is linked to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And it is equally without doubt that Israeli policies sometimes deserve criticism. There is nothing wrong, or even remotely anti-semitic, in disapproving of Israeli policies. Nevertheless, this debate - with its insistence that there is a distinction between anti-semitism and anti-Zionism - misses the crucial point of contention.
The fact that accusations of anti-semitism are dismissed as paranoia, even when anti-semitic imagery is at work, is a subterfuge.
Were you outraged when Golda Meir claimed there were no Palestinians? You should be equally outraged at the insinuation that Jews are not a nation.
Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo (New York Times, 1/12): We know that our accord is not universally popular in the
Yet, in spite of this opposition, we are pleased that the accord seems to be having a positive impact on the negotiating environment. Copies of our document have been sent to every Israeli household and published in the major Palestinian newspapers. More significant, a recent survey conducted by the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and the International Crisis Group in Washington found that more than 50 percent of Palestinians and Israelis support the fundamental principles contained in the document.
It is important that this interest also be felt strongly in the international community. We are pleased that Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general, and Igor Ivanov, the Russian foreign minister, have voiced their support for the initiative. It is even more important, in our view, that the Bush administration and Congress support our efforts and re-engage in the peace process. Secretary of State Colin Powell's praise for the accord was gratifying, but more American voices are needed to ensure that progress continues.
In the end, however, the Geneva Accord is only a "virtual" agreement. The decision-makers in the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, in
Bambi Sheleg (Maariv, 1/12): The cartoon of Ariel Sharon biting into a Palestinian baby that won first place last week in the British political cartoon competition is another high-point in the process of de-legitimisation of
- Israeli academics fight 'racist' university test (The Guardian);
- Palestinian PM says security fence a bar to meeting Sharon (The Guardian);
- A flawed plan, but it could pave the way for peace (The Guardian);
- Israel's hard men fight for peace (The Observer, 30/11);
- What the war does to us (The Guardian, 29/11);
- Good, bad and ugly (The Guardian, 29/11);
- Anti-Zionism is anti-semitism (The Guardian, 29/11);
- £2 million campaign to sell Israel to tourists (The Times);
- Real hostilities mar 'virtual' Mideast pact (The Times);
- Church leaders to condemn attacks on Jews (The Times);
- Israel puts old hatreds aside to save Iraqi baby (The Sunday Times, 30/11);
- Blair signs up for new Middle East peace bid (The Sunday Times, 30/11);
- Arafat's support for Geneva peace blueprint sparks refugee protests (The Independent);
- 'Rattled' Sharon under pressure (The Telegraph);
- Mideast peace plan wins few friends on the streets (The Financial Times);
- Israeli army mounts arrest sweep in West Bank (Reuters);
- Sharon rejects Palestinian condition for talks (Reuters);
- Palestinian protesters confront Geneva delegates (Reuters 30/11);
- US envoy pushes Israel on peace (BBC Online);
- Arafat rejects Geneva Accord, but lets officials attend launch (Haaretz);
- IDF targets 6 outposts for evacuation (Haaretz);
- Lapid slams Mofaz over failure to dismantle outposts (Haaretz);
- Boy killed by brother, not IDF, report says (Haaretz);
- Burns: Road map the only route (Jerusalem Post);
- Sharon agrees to product-origin labels (Jerusalem Post);
- Gaza Strip attacks increasing, IDF reports (Jerusalem Post)
Israel Briefing supplied by BICOM