BICOM Daily Briefing December 12 2003
Last updated: 2003-12-12
In coverage of
In periodicals published this week, The Spectator contains a feature by Corelli Barnett which is generally critical of the thinking behind the war on terror. The New Statesman has a report by Anton La Guardia on the involvement of Europeans in various attempts to solve conflicts throughout the world, among them the Israel-Arab dispute while Prospect runs an investigative enquiry by David B. Green on the Security Fence.
In the Israeli press Haaretz, Jerusalem Post, Maariv and Yediot Ahronot all lead with the criminal bombing yesterday in Tel Aviv. All four papers contain comment and speculation on the ongoing gangland feuds in
Quotes of the Day:
Deputy PM Olmert on his initiative:
Ehud Olmert (Jerusalem Post 12/12): What I have done is bring the debate back to its real dimensions: which part of the territories we will be able to retain without returning to [what Abba Eban once described as] the
Silvan Shalom (Israel Radio 12/12): I will present Powell with a plan for renewed talks with the Palestinians, according to the road map.
Fatah leader Hatem Abd el Kader on Palestinian aims:
Hatem Abd el Khader (Jerusalem Post 12/12):
Edward B. O'Donnell Jr. (Jerusalem Post 12/12): We must find practical ways to deal with and to understand why these incidents happen, and how we can educate in order to eliminate them, whether the anti-Semitism be the traditional kind, or of the new forms such as those linked to anti-Americanism and anti-globalism or those coming from Muslim minorities in Europe.
Behind the News:
Attack on Israelis at Josephs Tomb:
Eight Israelis were wounded this morning, one critically, when a Palestinian terrorist opened fire on a van carrying Israeli visitors to the site of Josephs Tomb, outside the
The site of the tomb was subjected to severe vandalism by Palestinian rioters at the onset of the current violence, in the autumn of 2000. Since then, due to security concerns, the IDF has declared it off-limits to Israelis. Members of the Bratslav Hassidim and other religious groups, however, have begun in recent months to enter the site without authorisation, in order to pray there. The IDF evacuated the wounded to an adjoining roadblock, and arrested other passengers in the vehicle for entering the area without permission.
Rivlin reveals outline of
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin has revealed what he claims to be the broad outlines of Prime Minister Ariel Sharons much awaited new diplomatic plan. Rivlin, a close ally of
In order to achieve the desired territorial contiguity, the plan envisages the evacuation of a number of isolated settlements, including Ganim and Kadim in northern
A meeting of the Likud Bureau has been called for Sunday to express opposition to this initiative. All Likud MKs have ben invited to the meeting. A draft resolution to be presented there rules out all unilateral withdrawals, calls for negotiations to begin only after the cessation of Palestinian terror and incitement and re-affirms the Likuds opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state. Half of the Likud faction are said to have already expressed support for the resolution.
In related news, an Israel Radio poll indicated that Ehud Olmerts plan for unilateral withdrawal has the support of 54% of those people who described themselves as Likud voters, and 81% of people describing themselves as Labor voters. Fifty-two percent supported the foundation of a national unity government. 31% supported the continued rule of the current governing coalition.
Israel Radio reports that Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom will present to Secretary of State Colin Powell plans for renewed negotiations with the Palestinians within the framework of the Road Map. This latest announcement comes in the wake of meetings between the Secretary of State and the authors of various unofficial peace plans agreed upon by private citizens from both sides in the conflict. On Thurday, Powell met with Palestinian Professor Sari Nusseibeh to discuss the petition he is promoting together with Israeli Admiral (Res) Ami Ayalon. This latest meeting follows the Secretary of States meeting with Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abd Rabbo, the promoters of the Geneva Accord, which they co-authored.
Comment and Opinion:
Yael Paz-Melamed, (Maariv,12/12):
The public, in its great majority, accepted with ease the plan for unilateral withdrawal, the right wing element in the Likud announced that it would show Olmert, and nothing happened. Silence. Lieberman convened his faction and announced that if such and such happened he would immediately quit the government. So he announced. We have heard that at least ten times. And that was it. The ground was prepared for landing. The location was carefully chosen: a discussion in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee. Respectable, on the one hand, not too public, but available for leakage.
And that, it would seem, is the whole story. And that is why, this time it is serious. Sharon, who builds his diplomatic plans in stages, while in motion, has understood that if he wishes to survive, he has to do something. Not just words. Deeds.
Jerusalem Post (12/12): Nothing is seemingly more immutable than the UN's incredible anti-Israel double standards. The General Assembly demonstrated its bias when it voted by a whopping 90-8 majority to refer the security fence to the International Court of Justice.
The dividing line seems to be that which separates democracies from dictatorships. Those who voted for turning the fence issue to the ICJ for deliberation were on the whole autocracies, which succumbed to the tyranny of tyrannies. It can be regarded as a poor man's consolation, especially when we consider the surreal viciousness of the debate which preceded the vote and which in essence constituted a compilation of anti-Israel invective. The Syrian ambassador went so far as to accuse
Gillerman reminded the assembled representatives of member nations that they had recently overwhelmingly adopted a resolution for the "protection of Palestinian children," but that
- Israeli army 'kills six' in Rafah raid (The Guardian);
- Three dead in Tel Aviv blast (The Guardian);
- Ferry cook admits killing gap-year student's boyfriend (Daily Telegraph);
- World on Fire by Amy Chua (The Independent);
- Sharon warned against land grab (The Independent);
- Six Days: how the 1967 war shaped the Middle East by Jeremy Bowen (The Independent);
- Israel warned over land seizures (The Independent);
- Terrorists still plotting 'murder on mass scale' (The Times);
- Ferry cook 'murdered tourist over cigarette' (The Times);
- Four Israelis Wounded in West Bank Shooting (Reuters);
- Car Blast Kills Man Near Italian Synagogue (Reuters);
- Israeli report predicts warlords after Arafat goes (Reuters);
- UPDATE 4-Tel Aviv gangland blast kills three people (Reuters);
- US-Mideast (Associated Press);
- Israel-Palestinians (Associated Press);
- Israel-Explosion (Associated Press);
- Vatican-Israel (Associated Press);
- WHY AL-QAEDA IS WINNING (The Spectator);
- Blessed are the Peacemakers (New Statesman);
- A Wall of Ambivalence (Prospect);
- New Borders of Debate (Jewish Chronicle);
- How effective is d-i-y peacemaking? (Jewish Chronicle);
- Peace Now launches boycott (Jewish Chronicle);
- Attempt on life of Hadera mob-murder suspect after Tel Aviv attack kills 3 (Haaretz);
- ElBaradei calls on Israel to give up nukes (Haaretz);
- Gunman injures seven at Joseph's tomb (Haaretz);
- French gov't report affirms rise in 'new anti-Semitism' (Haaretz);
- Palestinian woman nabbed smuggling explosive belt: motive was financial (Haaretz);
- 3 killed in Tel Aviv mob bombing (Jerusalem Post);
- Baghdad Jews fear Wahabi terrorism (Jerusalem Post);
- Comment: Connecting the dots (Jerusalem Post);
- Qurei warns Sharon against unilateral steps (Jerusalem Post)
Israel Briefing supplied by BICOM