BICOM Daily Briefing January 16 2004
Last updated: 2004-01-16
In the British media today, coverage continues of Wednesdays terror attack at the Erez checkpoint, with Richard Littlejohn in The Sun stressing that such acts are an obstacle to peace. The Guardian, meanwhile, reports on public criticism against Islamic Jihad made by the family of a teenage Palestinian suicide bomber, who died in a futile attempt to kill Israelis this week. There are also a number of reports on the investigation into the death of Thomas Hurndall, with The Guardian focusing on the involvement of the Metropolitan Police in the investigation and the Daily Telegraph reporting on Hurndalls experiences in the period preceding his death. The Guardian publishes an obituary of Yossi Ginossar, the former Shin Bet officer who was later involved in negotiations between
The Glasgow Herald publishes a long feature article looking into the lives of an Israeli and a Palestinian family. The New Statesman, meanwhile, includes reflections by William Dalrymple on what he considers to be growing prejudice against Muslims in the West. The Jewish Chronicle focuses on a counter-demonstration by Jewish youth in
All Israeli papers today lead with reports on the decision by the ICJ in
Quotes of the Day:
PM Blair tells Palestinian Authority to prepare a security plan if it wants talks
Prime Minister Tony Blair (15/01): I do honestly believe that it is impossible to get this process restarted unless there is a credible security plan that allows people to believe genuinely that every attempt is being made to stop the support of terrorism, the flow of terrorists into either the Palestinian Authority or into Israel, and to give a clear message that terrorism is the enemy of progress for the Palestinian people. (Prime Minister's press conference)
Prime Minister Tony Blair (15/01): In today's world, particularly post-11 September, terrorism is the obstacle to political progress, and it is the obstacle to political progress whether it is in Northern Ireland, or it is in the Middle East, or it is out in Kashmir, or it's in Chechnya, or it is any of the difficult trouble-spots of the world. And that is why, you ask what can be done, the only thing that can be done is get a sufficiently robust security plan under way that allows people to say not that all terrorism is going to stop, but that everything possible is being done to stop it and that states that have got an ambivalent attitude towards sponsoring terrorism are states that are way out of line with the rest of the international order.
Shaul Mofaz, Defence Minister (Yediot Ahronot, 16/01): We will continue to behave as a humanitarian and democratic country, despite the latest terror attack, while continuing to defend the citizens of
Abdel Aziz Rantisi, Hamas leader (Jerusalem Post, 16/01): We received a message from the
Behind the News:
Arab states to testify at
The International Court of Justice has ruled that it will permit representatives of member states of the Arab League to testify at the courts hearings on the Security Fence, scheduled to commence on February 23. This decision further increased the fears of Israeli officials that the hearing is likely to turn into a event of anti-Israel sentiment and propaganda.
Meanwhile, the Israeli High Court of Justice is to hear a petition brought by the human rights group The Centre for the Defence of the Individual, concerning those parts of the Fence that deviate from the Green Line. The High Court proceedings are likely to constitute a dress rehearsal for what will follow at the ICJ in
The Palestinian daily Al Ayyam reports that the family of Iyad al-Masri, who blew himself up on Sunday in the northern
According to The Guardian, Masris father wrote to the leadership of Islamic Jihad in
According to a report by Khaled Abu Toameh in todays Jerusalem Post, Hamas has rejected a US proposal in which targeted killing of its leaders would end, in return for Hamas ordering a cessation of suicide bombings. Prominent Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi has admitted for the first time that movement representatives are in contact with US officials. In the past, this had always been strenuously denied. Arab media reports suggest that Hamas has held talks with US officials in a number of countries, including
Rantisi also praised Reem al-Riyashi, who carried out the attack at the Erez checkpoint on Wednesday, in which four Israelis were killed. Al-Riyashi was the movements first female suicide bomber. Rantisi eulogised her in the following terms: I want to greet the soul of this martyr who sacrificed herself and left her children for the sake of
Comment and Opinion:
Richard Littlejohn (The Sun, 16/01): THOSE who think theres a simple solution to the Palestinian problem should heed the words of Reem al-Reyashi, who blew herself to smithereens, killing four Israelis this week. Al-Reyashi was a mother of two, with an 18-month-old daughter and a three-year-old son.
Before her deadly mission, she posed for the video in combat fatigues, cradling a rifle and said: God gave me two children and I loved them so much. I always wanted to be the first woman to carry out a martyr attack, where parts of my body can fly all over. It was always my wish to turn my body into deadly shrapnel against the Zionists.
As the former Israeli premier Golda Meir once said, there will only be peace when the Arabs learn to love their children as much as they hate the Jews.
Alex Brummer (Jewish Chronicle, 16/01):
Sure Arabs in
London Jewish News (16/01): How bizarre it is that Kilroy-Smith is immediately suspended by the BBC while others brush off similar scandal with the greatest of ease. One of the corporations best-loved commentators also made a contribution to a national newspaper. A poem he wrote, published in the Observer, referred to the IDF as a Zionist SS and was followed with a declaration that Jewish settlers were nazis and should be shot dead. A minor kerfuffle ensued. Poet Tom Paulin continues to enjoy the comfort of the BBC sofas on a regular basis.
Other outrages which have disappeared without a trace make depressing reading. The New Statesman magazine felt free to publish a cover story with the grotesque image of a star of David piercing a British flag with the chilling title - A Kosher Conspiracy? And the Independent newspaper did not baulk at printing a cartoon of Israeli premier Ariel Sharon, on Holocaust memorial day, featuring him feeding off the bloody corpse of a child.
It seems the most monstrous references to old anti-semitic canards are acceptable if linked to
Haaretz (16/01): The terrorist, a young married mother of two children, came with a plan, and deliberately attacked a vulnerable spot, the crossing terminal. She negotiated with the Border Policemen and appealed to their compassion, enabling her to get through metal detectors at the gate, which repeatedly sounded warnings. She presented herself as an ailing invalid and burst into tears, imploring the security men to let her through. Then she set off her explosive belt in the middle of the group of people who had come to attend to her case. The Erez checkpoint chosen by the terror organizations for the attack is the sole crossing point for masses of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who want to enter
The terror strike at the Erez checkpoint will probably oblige the security forces to develop more stringent inspections that will further burden entry procedures to
- Met to oversee Hurndall inquiry (The Guardian);
- Yossi Ginossar (The Guardian);
- Bomber's family hits out at Islamic Jihad (The Guardian);
- We Want the Light (The Guardian);
- Tom Hurndall was a young man with a dream . . . he paid for it with his life (Daily Telegraph);
- Israel threatens retaliation (The Independent);
- Anti-Israeli feelings (The Times);
- Fatwah's coming home... (Sun Online);
- A benighted land divided by an unbridgeable gap (Glasgow Herald);
- Islamophobia (New Statesman);
- Israel reimposes Gaza blockade after border bombing (Reuters);
- Alleged Hizbollah Fund-Raiser Charged in Michigan (Reuters);
- Israel-Selling the Fence (AP);
- Israel-Vatican (AP);
- Israeli judges to rule on barrier (BBC Online);
- Israel closes Gaza after bombing (BBC Online);
- Blair tells the PA to prepare a security plan if it wants talks (Haaretz);
- ICJ to let Arab states participate in fence case (Haaretz);
- Report: Arafat kept Barghouti out of Hezbollah prisoner swap deal (Haaretz);
- 2003 CPI is first annual negative index in Israel's history; Dec. CPI drops 0.2% (Haaretz);
- Civil Service okays Hefetz as UK envoy (Haaretz);
- Inner cabinet to decide on fence defense strategy at The Hague (Haaretz);
- Int'l Court of Justice to hear Arab League fence arguments (Jerusalem Post);
- Israel prepares for fence case (Jerusalem Post);
- Hamas rejects US initiative (Jerusalem Post)
Israel Briefing by BICOM