BICOM Daily Briefing January 22 2004
Last updated: 2004-01-22
All British newspapers give extensive coverage to the bribery indictment issued yesterday to an Israeli businessman, which may involve Prime Minister Ariel
Quoting Arab daily, Al-Hayat, Maariv reports on Saudi efforts to gather support for a new Arab peace initiative. Yediot Ahronot quotes an aide of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, according to whom
Quotes of the Day:
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom (21/01, Maariv): On one hand, Assad talks peace and on the other hand he uses his long arm - Hezbollah - in order to heat up our northern border.
Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz (21/01, Haaretz):
Baroness Symons, Foreign Office Minister responsible for the
Assaf Shariv, spokesman for
Roni Bar-On, Likud MK (21/01, Haaretz): "If the prosecution isn't accusing
Shimon Peres, Labour Chairman (21/01, Haaretz): I have been a friend of Arik's for more than 50 years, and I don't deny this. Although we are political opponents, we are not personal rivals.
Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the Arab League (21/01, Reuters) If they (Americans) want to produce democracy in the
Colin Powell (21/1, WPHT Radio Philadelphia): If [the Arab world is] just going to take their young people and put them in these madrassas, these schools that do nothing but indoctrinate them in the worst aspects of a religion, then they are shorting themselves, they are leaving themselves back as well as teaching hatred that will not help us bring peace to the region, and will not help their societies.
Behind the News:
IDF moves to decrease tension on the northern border
According to a high-ranking IDF General Staff quoted in Haaretz this morning, the Hezbollah attack on IDF troops earlier in the week was a localised event, and not coordinated with
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed concern on Wednesday about military activity in southern
According to a poll commissioned for Haaretz this morning, 64% of public believes that
NATO extends reach to MENA
According to reports in the Financial Times, NATO will invite six
Comment and Opinion:
Jonathan Jones (The Guardian, 22/01): To me, her smile is grotesque. She floats there, the Mona Lisa of mayhem, her photograph forming the sail of a little toy boat on a pool of blood. The pool is half-frozen, and the blood seeps into the pure white snow covering the courtyard garden. People gather in quiet, serious groups; TV cameras attend the Swedish minister of culture as she, too, looks quietly, seriously, at the gory pond.
Art vandalism is always a good story. Art vandalism by an ambassador against an artwork in the country with which he is employed to maintain diplomatic relations is something rarer - a new story. And this one just keeps growing. Ariel
Passion is always attractive; reports around the world, especially in the Israeli and American press, have found in Mazel a popular hero, the undiplomatic diplomat, the man who decided to do something more committed than have a quiet word behind the scenes over the smorgasbord. The Jerusalem Post added a nuanced art-critical element by arguing that
But none of these people has gone to
The offending installation - rapidly restored after Mazel's attack - is out of doors, in a courtyard garden. The garden is rather beautiful. A tree, winter flowers still in bloom and, at the centre of the enclosed retreat, a rectangle full of blood.
The icy air heightens the impact of what might otherwise seem a fragile work at best. Bach's Cantata 199, Mein Herze Schwimmt im Blut (My Heart Swims in Blood), fills the courtyard with its keening. The beauty of the music completes the bizarre nature of the scene - and I don't mean only the installation, but ourselves as participants, wearing appropriate expressions, wondering what is a suitable response to a pool of blood. Someone explains that the de-icer in the liquid hasn't worked properly, but the lumps of red ice add to the effect.
It's horrible, it's sick, but I can't for one moment accept that it is an apology for a suicide bomber. Everyone interprets art differently. That's what makes it art. If this were a propaganda work, the museum would have a case to answer - maybe. But it's not. It's in very poor taste, if you like, but is there a tasteful way to talk about terrorism? About people disintegrating into bits of flesh? Which is what, to me, that chunky pool suggests.
My feeling about the face at the centre of all this, that of the bomber, is one of gross irony: that she is more famous than the people she killed. That photograph was circulated widely after the atrocity in
Amos Harel (Haaretz, 22/01): This was the year in which the IDF learned to recognize the limits of its power. Dreams of a decisive victory in the conflict with the Palestinians, or at least of leaving some lasting impression on its rival, have been replaced by a sober understanding that the conflict will continue for a long time, and that all that Israel can do is to focus on finding ways to conduct it with a minimum of damage and casualties.
Lieutenant General Moshe Ya'alon had a great plan. For a brief moment, last June and July, it even seemed to be working. The successes of the IDF and the Shin Bet security services in fighting terrorism, the attacks on senior members of Hamas, the strong military pressure on the Palestinian Authority, American (and even European) support for Israel's accusations against PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, the swift and crushing victory of the United States over the Iraqi army - all these were supposed to, according to Ya'alon, bring about a real internal change in the PA.
The Israelis and the Palestinians would adopt the Bush administration's "road map," the PA would achieve a temporary cease-fire with the terrorist organizations, and Arafat would leave the stage, or at least would retreat to the wings, in order to make way for a successor, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). The new prime minister of the PA, whose objections to terrorism and violence are well known, would restrain the suicide attacks and perhaps at a later stage, with the help of his determined adviser Mohammed Dahlan, would even confront the organizations head on, just as Arafat did in the spring of 1996.
Ya'alon hoped that the plan would work out, although he was aware of the difficulties and took into account the possibility of failure. The hopes did in fact collapse with a bang, within less than two months, with the murderous attack on Bus No. 2 in
- Bribes claim threatens to bring down Sharon (The Guardian);
- Sharon the survivor: why Greek island affair could sink him (The Guardian);
- Next stop Syria? (The Guardian);
- It's inciting murder (The Guardian);
- Obituary: Tom Hurndall (The Guardian);
- Bribery scandal threatens to engulf Sharon (The Times);
- British university with branch in Israeli petrol station 'issued 5,500 bogus degrees' (The Times);
- Sharon begins to feel the heat over Greek island bribery claims as prosecutors consider charges (The Independent);
- Sharon may face corruption charges over links to property developer (The Independent);
- Sharon accused of accepting £400,000 in bribes (The Daily Telegraph);
- Nato recruits Arab allies to stability effort (Financial Times);
- Corruption case could force Sharon out of office (Financial Times);
- Sharon faces indictment over 'bribes' (The Scotsman);
- Bribery case could topple premier (The Glasgow Herald);
- Sharon may face corruption charge (BBC Online);
- Sharon scandal: What are the Ariel Sharon corruption probes all about? (BBC Online);
- Israeli PM Faces Bribery Charges (Sky News);
- Israeli Prosecutors Consider Charging Sharon (Reuters);
- U.S., UN Tell Israel, Lebanon to End Border Attacks (Reuters);
- UK Minister Meets Arafat in Mideast Peace Push (Reuters);
- UN calls for calm on Israel-Lebanon border (Associated Press);
- Bribery case could force Sharon aside (Associated Press);
- Arbel believes sufficient evidence exists to indict PM on 'Greek' affair (Haaretz);
- Peres: Sharon must give the public his version of events in Appel affair (Haaretz);
- Analysis / It's not yet a constitutional crisis (Haaretz);
- The State of Israel v. David Ben Avraham Appel (Haaretz);
- IDF: Latest Hezbollah attack on army bulldozer not coordinated with Syria (Haaretz);
- Edna Arbel seeks to indict Sharon (Maariv);
- More troops up north as tension rises (Maariv);
- Saudis push peace plan forward (Maariv);
- PM may face charges after Appel indicted (Jerusalem Post);
- Sharon unfazed by possible indictment (Jerusalem Post);
- Analysis: Don't jump to conclusions (Jerusalem Post);
- Rafah woman shot dead in backyard (Jerusalem Post);
- Arafat orders investigation into PA financial corruption (Jerusalem Post);
- IDF: Real test to come on outpost demolitions (Jerusalem Post);
- Egyptian Security Chief will come to Ramallah (Jerusalem Post)