BICOM Daily Briefing December 8 2003
Last updated: 2003-12-08
News coverage of the
In the weekend press, Saturdays Times magazine contains an article on the Security Fence, while The Sunday Times features a piece on female Palestinian suicide bombers, which includes interviews with the potential human bombs. The Independent on Sunday reports on a 21 year-old Israeli Arab who won the Israeli version of 'Big Brother'. Saturdays Financial Times features an article on the Geneva Accord, the unofficial peace plan, claiming it is a threat to democracy in the
Quotes of the Day:
Dore Gold, adviser to Prime Minister Sharon, (Haaretz, 07/12):
Jonathan Peled, Foreign Ministry spokesman (Haaretz, 07/12): We will only accept a comprehensive ceasefire. We can't distinguish between blood and blood. The Palestinians have to resolve this among themselves We are not conditioning anything on the ceasefire, we have already removed some roadblocks and we are willing to go ahead with other humanitarian measures.
Cabinet Discussion of proposed unilateral measures:
Tzipi Livni, Immigrant Absorption Minister, Likud (The Independent, 07/12): Giving up part of the territories and some of the settlements is necessary It is preferable to do this within the framework of an agreement, but if not, as a unilateral measure.
Avigdor Lieberman, Transportation Minister, National Union (Haaretz, 08/12): Even if we follow Olmert and return to the 1967 borders, give up East Jerusalem and the Western Wall, willthe terror attacks stop? Will the Palestiniansstop signing up volunteers? Will they stop manufacturing Qassam rockets?
Behind the News:
Palestinian organisations fail to reach ceasefire agreement:
Egyptian-brokered talks between Palestinian terror organisations, intended to produce agreement on a truce, broke down yesterday. Spokesmen for Hamas and Islamic Jihad reported that the issue of whether a truce would be limited to
The breakdown of the talks is a personal setback for Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia. In Ramallah yesterday, he acknowledged his disappointment. Qureia said that the task at hand now was to talk directly with the Israelis, adding that that he remains determined to place all issues on the table, rather than agree to what he referred to as a unilateral or free hudna (temporary truce).
Preparations for Sharon-Qureia summit continue:
Meetings took place yesterday between Israeli and Palestinian officials in preparation for the planned summit meeting between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Qureia. Dov Weisglass, Director of the Prime Ministers Bureau, represented
Given the uncertainty following the breakdown of the internal Palestinian talks, no date has yet been set for the summit. Both sides confirmed that the meeting was held in a friendly atmosphere, and that they would be meeting again in the near future.
IDF Chief of Staff briefs government on Syria and Hezbollah:
Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon told the government on Sunday that Syria and Hezbollah had recently restrained their activities along Israel's northern border, in order not to stir things up. According to Haaretz, Yaalon said that whereas in the past, Hezbollah had fired at Israeli aircraft over northern parts of the country, the organisation had now taken to firing anti-aircraft shots at Israel's air force far beyond Israel's borders. The Chief of Staff put the quiet along the northern border down to talks currently being held on a possible prisoner swap with Hezbollah. Yaalon said Israel continues to identify Syrian involvement with Palestinian terror, saying that there was a clear link between the Islamic Jihad infrastructure in Jenin and the Damascus regime. In addition, there continued to be large funds flowing from revolutionary forces and the Hezbollah to Fatah in the territories for terror activities, he said. The funds were often simply transferred from European banks to banks in the territories.
Comment and Opinion:
Julie Burchill, (The Guardian, 06/12): In 1967, Martin Luther King Jr published his Letter To An Anti-Zionist Friend: "Anti-Zionism is inherently anti-semitic, and ever will be. What is anti-Zionism? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of
Then there is Tom Paulin, he of the Ulster Protestant heritage, who has always seemed so unsuited to the dignity and stoicism of this ill-used, long-suffering tribe. Never mind: by shrieking away about the "Zionist SS" who gun down "a little Palestinian boy/In trainers, jeans and a white T-shirt", Paulin can be teleported to the moral, or at least fashionable, high ground and find himself the hot hunk of the humanitarian hop. Still, you've got to wonder if his refusal to see anything wrong with the murder of American Jews who settle in
So emboldened by the filthy free-for-all, the danse macabre of resurgent Judeophobia - attacks on Jews in this country have risen by 75% this year; and since 2000, there has been a 400% increase in attacks on synagogues - are the ignorant armies of darkness that even Germans are opening their yaps on a subject that you'd have thought they'd have the sense, if not the decency, to keep away from. Just a few weeks ago, a German MP was forced to resign after claiming that the Jews were responsible for Soviet army "atrocities" against the defeated Nazi state.
To contemplate the thought processes of such individuals makes any decent person want to wash their hands until the slime of hypocritical hatred is swept away. But when whole sections of society peddle such lies, it's scarier still. And when carriers of the disease are shielded by those who govern us, you start to believe the lunatics have taken over the asylum: the EU's racism watchdog recently suppressed a report on the rise of anti-semitism because it concluded that Muslims were behind many incidents. What sort of world do we live in, when racism is "allowed" to be reported only if it comes from the white and the right? What about a stubborn, shimmering little thing called truth?
Jerusalem Post (08/12): The salient fact highlighted by the meeting of 13 Palestinian factions, including the Palestinian Authority, gathered in
The temptation to buy a few months of quiet that is really a pause to rearm must be rejected. The question is, why would this cease-fire be different? The key lies in Yasser Arafat, since he is the one who really pulls the strings, deciding to do what he refused to do during the decade since
The Palestinians should be made to understand, both by Israel and the US, that there will be no movement to the second phase of the road map and no "unilateral" Israeli concessions absent concrete results on the ground - whether it is called ending chaos or cracking down on terrorism. It should go without saying that
Only a fundamental change in PA leadership should begin to convince Israelis to shed physical barriers to terrorism in exchange for political or diplomatic ones. Fences can be built and brought down, as can representative governments. Neither can guarantee peace and security. But both are much less ephemeral than a cease-fire. The fence was built by Palestinian terrorism; only the credibly permanent end of that terrorism can bring it down. The audacity of the Palestinian opposition to the fence is mind boggling. Of course the fence causes dislocation and inconvenience for innocent Palestinians, but how can
- Palestinians fail to agree on a ceasefire (The Guardian);
- Jihad has worked - the world is now split in two (The Guardian);
- In brief (The Guardian);
- Rhodes by any other name (The Guardian 7/12);
- The hate that shames us (The Guardian, 6/12);
- Powell meets authors of new peace blueprint (The Guardian 6/12);
- Anti-semitism in the air (The Guardian 6/12);
- Palestinian militants reject ceasefire deal (The Times);
- Cover story: The Avengers (The Sunday Times, 7/12);
- Revealed: the Iraqi colonel who told MI6 that Saddam could launch WMD within 45 minutes (Daily Telegraph 7/12);
- Unsmiley person (Daily Telegraph);
- Palestinians agree to a conditional ceasefire in Israel (Independent);
- Palestinian wins Israeli version of 'Big Brother' (Independent on Sunday);
- Iraqi colonel: I am WMD claim source (Independent on Sunday);
- Israel accused over dud Saddam reports (Independent, 6/12);
- Palestinian militants reluctant to agree to ceasefire (Financial Times 7/12);
- WORLD NEWS: Main Palestinian militant groups discuss ceasefire (Financial Times 6/12);
- Egypt presses Palestinian militants to agree on ceasefire (Scotsman on Sunday);
- Palestinian full truce talks fail (BBC Online 7/12);
- Meet the 'Terror Tourists' (BBC Online 7/12);
- US sticks to 'roadmap' peace plan (BBC Online, 6/12);
- Palestinians Work on New Truce as Cairo Talks Fail (Reuters 7/12);
- Palestinians Fail To Agree On Israel Truce (Sky News Online);
- Palestinians seek fresh truce talks after Egyptian-brokered efforts fail (Haaretz);
- Analysis / Hamas is laying a hudna trap (Haaretz);
- Sharon promises to hold debate on Olmert's unilateral withdrawal plan (Haaretz);
- Shalom to present 'positive agenda' at conference of states contributing to PA (Haaretz);
- Officials discuss Sharon-Qureia parley (Haaretz);
- Ya'alon: Hezbollah keeping quiet on northern border (Haaretz);
- Hamas says Jews must leave as truce talks fail (Jerusalem Post);
- Aksa Brigades calls strike to protest Geneva Accord (Jerusalem Post);
- Rajoub: Arafat never endorsed Geneva (Jerusalem Post)
Israel Briefing by BICOM