BICOM Daily Briefing December 3 2003
Last updated: 2003-12-03
In light coverage of Israel in the UK press, The Guardian carries a feature on IDF pilots who refuse to carry out what they describe as illegal orders, as well as an article countering Saturdays piece by
Quotes of the Day:
Prime Minister Tony Blair on peace initiatives in the Middle East:
Tony Blair (2/12): The basic principles are still the same actually, it is about how do you create a viable Palestinian state and a secure state of Israel
the solution is to make sure that first of all we have a security plan that can give the Israelis sufficient confidence that everything is being done that is possible to be done to maintain security; and then for the Palestinian side that the reduction of the restrictions
But it is very difficult when people are moving in from the Palestinian territories to
Tony Blair (2/12): I am aware however of the concern within the Jewish community here and elsewhere in Europe at anti-Semitism, attacks on synagogues, the desecration of synagogues, and we have just got to make it absolutely clear there will be no toleration of that at all, those people who are responsible should be severely punished. We are proud in this country to have a strong Jewish community, as well as a strong Muslim community, and I am quite sure that certainly all the Muslim leaders I speak to, leading members of it here, condemn these attacks fiercely and believe that they represent absolutely nothing to do with the true spirit of Islam, and I am sure that is true. Of course I will take every opportunity to remind people of that.
Silvan Shalom, Israeli Foreign Minister (Jerusalem Post, 3/12): Positive statements about peace are always encouraging, but words alone are not enough.
Silvan Shalom (Reuters, 3/12): We are looking forward to seeing that the Syrians are taking an active role to move toward peace by putting an end to the terrorism and violence that is coming from its territory. If they will shut down the training camps of the extremists, if they will stop the shipments that are coming... through the
Yosef Lapid, Minister of Justice, (Galei Zahal radio, 3/12):
Behind the News:
Israelis negotiating in
An Israeli security delegation travelled this week to
In separate developments, Israeli and Palestinian ministers signed a deal in
IDF acts against terrorist infrastructure in Jenin area:
The commander of the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades in Jenin, Amjad Sa'adi was shot dead by soldiers while attempting to evade arrest in Jenin on Tuesday morning. According to Palestinian reports, two other Palestinians were wounded in the gunfight between troops and Sa'adi. Four other terrorists, two affiliated with the Islamic Jihad and two with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, were captured during the Jenin operation.
Elsewhere in the
Comment and Opinion:
Murhaf Jouejati (Haaretz, 3/12): From a Syrian perspective, the peace initiative that Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah submitted to the Arab League summit in Beirut in March 2002 is the best diplomatic attempt yet to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict peacefully.
The initiative, which essentially calls on Arab states to recognize Israel in exchange for Israel's return of Arab territories it occupied in 1967 and a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem, converges with Syria's own vision of peace. In light of this, Syria endorsed the plan both in terms of substance and procedure.
In terms of substance, Syria supports Crown Prince Abdullah's peace initiative because it is grounded in the land-for-peace equation - the sine qua non for a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. From a Syrian perspective, the land-for-peace equation, embodied in UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, provides the foundation on which a peaceful settlement stands. Any deviation from its basic tenets by either side is a nonstarter. Israel is to withdraw its armed forces from Arab territories it seized by force during the 1967 war in exchange for Arab recognition of Israel. The Israeli-concocted controversy over Israel's obligation to withdraw from "all" or "some" territories is solved by the key UN principle of the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force," a principle emphasized in the preamble of Resolution 242.
In terms of procedure, Syria fully subscribes to the initiative's holistic approach. Since 1972, Syria sought a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute based on the simple notion that the conflict is one between Arabs and Israel (as opposed to a Palestinian-Israeli conflict or a Syrian-Israeli conflict, etc.). In light of this, any peaceful settlement must include all Arab parties that have been a victim of Israel's territorial expansion.
Ofer Shelach (Yediot Ahronot, 3/12): Even someone, like me, who thought that the Geneva ceremony was a mistake on the part of those behind the initiative, cant help but admit that Yossi Beilin has done it again: he has brought the issue back to the center of the agenda, and made other politicians, from the Prime Minister to the opposition, change their plans. Beilin is well aware that, unlike him, most politicians base their agendas on the headlines of the newspapers. And these days the headlines are only about Geneva.
But real change in how the country is run never comes from a single act. Beilin, who lead the political move to leave Lebanon, knows the script well: in order that something happens, the political and media act has to connect to reality, and to be expressed in public support. What got the IDF out of Lebanon were the events on the ground, and first and foremost the helicopter tragedy and the failed Naval Commando operation in Nassariya. Beilins initiative, Four Mothers and the protests contributed to a change in public mood, and Ehud Barak spotted all of these before he gave his election promise of withdrawl, and then implemented it when he was elected.
The events are unfolding before our eyes. Despite what the Palestinians thought, the change in Israeli public opinion has not collapsed with the pressure of terrorism, but the opposite: the massacre of civilians has only strengthened Israeli opposition to political moves. It is actually the toning down of terror, deliberate or not, together with the feeling of a lack of expectation from Sharons frozen government, that have started things moving within Israel.
- We're air force pilots, not mafia. We don't take revenge (The Guardian);
- No, anti-Zionism is not anti-semitism (The Guardian);
- Hostile reports on Israel blamed for anti-Semitism rise (The Times);
- Israel criticises Powell for 'mistake' over peace plan (The Independent);
- Letter: Red Cross needs new symbol (Daily Telegraph);
- Israel attacks Powell for talks on Geneva Plan (The Financial Times);
- Israel raps U.S. on planned talks with Geneva authors (Reuters);
- Powell Says Has Right to See Geneva Accord Authors (Reuters);
- WJC Puts Shelved EU Anti-Semitism Study on Web (Reuters);
- Israel Gives Cautious Welcome to Syria Peace Moves (Reuters);
- US-Israel row over Mid-East plan (BBC Online);
- Mid-East sides sign energy deal (BBC Online);
- IDF officer hurt in Gaza; 30 wanted Palestinians arrested in West Bank (Haaretz);
- US to Israel (Haaretz);
- Shalom: We will seriously consider new talks if Syria renounces terror (Haaretz);
- Colin Powell says he has right to meet with authors of Geneva Accord (Haaretz);
- UN General Assembly to hold emergency session on W. Bank fence (Haaretz);
- Powell rejects Israeli complaints about his plan to meet Geneva team (Haaretz);
- British chief rabbi wins top religion award;
- Muslims boys lead the new anti-Semitism (Jerusalem Post);
- Abdullah meets Blair en route to US (Jerusalem Post);
- Jewish Congress: EU reports downplay anti-Semitic activity (Jerusalem Post);
- Israelis advised not to travel to Nairobi (Jerusalem Post)
Israel Briefing supplied by BICOM