Monday, June 05, 2006

[imra] Daily digest - Volume: 2 Issue: 1409 (11 messages)

imra Mon Jun 5 00:29:52 2006 Volume 2 : Issue 1409

In this issue of the imra daily Digest:

Fatah deploys new [illegal] militia to
counter [illegal] Hamas militia
NEC Poll of Palestinians:
decline in support for Abu Mazen
and "Prisoners Agreement"
EXCERPTS: Egyptian ferry tragedy costing over
1,000 lives a "misdemeanour" 3 June 2006
Divine Strake Underground Bunker Bombing
Test Postponed Due Legal Proceedings
Gaza retreat planner Maj. Gen. Eiland slams
Sharon for lack of planning, slams Olmert plan
Palestinian support 'crashes' in Europe
Rethinking humanitarian aid to the PA
Excerpts: Al-Qaeda militant attack in Damascus.
Terrorism in Canada.Thousands of Pro Hizbollah
Shiite Muslims riot at TV spoof 4 June 2006
Congressman raps Saudis over anti-Israel boycott
Dichter: Reoccupy parts of Gaza


Subject: Fatah deploys new [illegal] militia to
counter [illegal] Hamas militia

Fatah deploys new militia

2,500-member security unit takes up positions in West Bank town of Jenin in
show of force against Hamas government;
Ali Waked YNET 3 June 2006,7340,L-3258207,00.html

The Fatah movement of moderate Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas deployed a
new militia in the streets of the West Bank town of Jenin on Saturday, in a
show of force against the Hamas government.

The new unit, which Fatah officials said numbers 2,500 members, is the
movement's answer to a new militia of 3,000 Hamas activists that the
government deployed last month defying Abbas' objection. The presence of a
new Fatah militia, on top of the official security branches that the
movement dominates, ratchets up tensions between Fatah and Hamas that have
already erupted in deadly violence and raised the specter of all-out civil

Hamas spokesmen weren't immediately available for comment. More than 2,000
members of the new unit gathered in Jenin on Saturday morning wearing black
T-shirts emblazoned with "Special Protection Unit" on the back, and a photo
of the iconic Palestinian leader, the late Yasser Arafat, on the front. Some
60 to 70 were armed with assault rifles, and several dozens carried pistols.

Aim: To back up official security branches

A Fatah leader in Jenin, Ata Abu Rmeileh, said the aim of the force was to
back the official Palestinian security branches.

"You are here to protect your people and the Palestinian Authority
institutions," Abu Rmeileh exhorted the force over a loudspeaker at the
local high school where it gathered. "We are loyal to our people, not like
those who have sold themselves to Arab and non-Arab capitals," he said, in a
thinly veiled reference to Hamas, which is supported by Syria and Iran. The
new fighters raised their arms in a salute and shouted "Fatah, Fatah."

The force then split into 23 groups that paraded throughout the streets of
Jenin. The deployment of the militia on Saturday was intended to drive home
the message that unless Hamas disbands its new force, then Fatah will create
parallel units across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Fatah officials said on
condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose policy
to the press.

Fatah officials said they have information that Hamas, whose power base is
in Gaza, has begun organizing a militia in the West Bank. Hamas has not
confirmed this.

Violence in PA

Meanwhile, on Saturday Nabil Amr, a media consultant to Abbas, reiterated
that the president would not travel to Gaza unless Hamas dissolved its
recently deployed militia.

Fatah's militia was deployed just hours after a senior member of Hamas'
military wing was shot in the chest in a drive-by shooting.

Also Saturday, Palestinian sources in Gaza reported that two infant sisters
were lightly to moderately wounded by shrapnel from IDF shells. According to
the report, the shells hit a home in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza. The IDF,
however, said they had not fired any shells in the direction of Beit Lahiya
Saturday, but did confirm targeting Beit Hanoun in a reprisal after two
Qassam rockets were fired at Israel earlier in the day.

AP contributed to the report

(06.03.06, 12:32)


Subject: NEC Poll of Palestinians:
decline in support for Abu Mazen
and "Prisoners Agreement"

The Palestinian National Dialogue and call for a Referendum
Survey #2 - 03 June 2006

HSBC Building, 3rd floor
Tel: 02-2961436
Fax: 02-2963114

On 02 June 2006, Near East Consulting (NEC) conducted a short survey.

The results are based on a sample of 767 successful telephone interviews.
The margin of error for this survey is +/- 3.5% and a 95% confidence level.

The NEC team would like to thank the Swiss Agency for Development and
Cooperation (SDC) for its contribution to this survey.

In the 19 May NEC survey, before Abu Mazen's call for a referendum on the
PrisonersAgreement in case the national dialogue fails, trust in Abu Mazen
(51%) and Ismael Hanieh (49%) was quite evenly divided. By the 27 May NEC
survey, popular trust in Abu Mazen was substantially boosted by his call for
a referendum to 62%. In the 2 June NEC survey, Abu Mazen (55%) has again
lost some of the popular trust to the benefit of Ismael Hanieh (45%).

Trust in Abu Mazen versus trust in Ismael Hanieh
19 May: Abu Mazen 51% Ismael Hanieh 49%
27 May: Abu Mazen 62% Ismael Hanieh 38%
2 June: Abu Mazen 55% Ismael Hanieh 45%

Support or opposition to the Prisoners Agreement
19 May: Support 80% Oppose 20%
27 May: Support 89% Oppose 11%
2 June: Support 76% Oppose 24%

Expectations about the on-going national dialogue
27 May: It will succeed 65% It will fail 35%
2 June: It will succeed 53% It will fail 47%

Support or opposition to Abu Mazen's call for a referendum
27 May: Support 81% Oppose 19%
2 June: Support 76% Oppose 24%

Would you vote in favour or against the Prisoners Agreement?
27 May: I would vote in favour 85% against 15%
2 June: I would vote in favour 77% against 23%

Support or opposition to a two-state solution on the basis of the 1967
27 May Support 71% Oppose 29%
2 June Support 64% Oppose 36%


Subject: EXCERPTS: Egyptian ferry tragedy costing over
1,000 lives a "misdemeanour" 3 June 2006

EXCERPTS: Egyptian ferry tragedy costing over 1,000 lives a "misdemeanour" 3
June 2006

+++AL-AHRAM WEEKLY 1-7 June '06 Justice lost at sea?"

HEADING:"The owner of the sunken ferry that claimed the lives of more than
1,000 people was only charged with a misdemeanour. Magda El-Ghitany wonders
if he will even make it to court"
"Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies described
misdemeanour charge as 'outrageous' " ...
... Mamdouh Ismail ..... A Shura Council member and the owner of the
Al-Salam 98 ferry that sunk in February, killing over 1,000 people, Ismail
...made his way to London a few days after the tragedy .... the
prosecutor-general had only decided to refer Ismail to a misdemeanour court,
which means he is likely to face manslaughter, rather than murder, charges
for his role in the ferry passengers' untimely deaths.
Al-Salam 98 went down while sailing from the Saudi port of Daba to the
Egyptian port of Safaga. Most of the 1,318 passengers on board, as well as
the captain and crew, perished. Two reports ... stressed Ismail's gross
negligence ... operating the ferry without the necessary maritime safety
precautions and equipment.... The reports also accused Ismail and his son
Amr, the company's deputy director, of overloading the ferry with too many
...told that the ferry was sinking, they did not report the dangerous
situation to the Safaga Port Authority. They also instructed the captain of
another one of their ferries -- the Saint Catherine, which was travelling
nearby -- not to stop and rescue the Al-Salam 98 victims. These
facts,...indicate that Ismail should be charged with a crime, rather than a
... a third report, prepared by the government, ...portrayed the disaster as
"an act of fate"....guided by this interpretation of events,
Prosecutor-General Maher Abdel-Wahed said that Ismail, his son and four
others will face charges of "negligence, and failure to rescue the victims"
in front of a misdemeanour court on 5 June.
The prosecutor-general's decision,...Ismail might eventually be acquitted on
all charges.
...the deputy director of Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic
Studies, described the misdemeanour charge as "outrageous" ...For-Ghatit,
the international law professor, Ismail's status as a British national -- if
true -- should not affect his legal position, or responsibility for the

Sue Lerner - Associate - IMRA


Subject: Divine Strake Underground Bunker Bombing
Test Postponed Due Legal Proceedings

Divine Strake

The Department of Defense's Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) is
planning to conduct an experiment, Divine Strake, at the National Nuclear
Security Administration's (NNSA) Nevada Test Site. The experiment,
originally scheduled for June 2, 2006, will not be conducted earlier than
June 23, 2006. The NNSA Nevada Site Office decided to postpone the
experiment due to the scheduling of legal proceedings.

The experiment will consist of the detonation of 700 tons of ammonium
nitrate-fuel oil (ANFO) above an existing tunnel constructed for other
research efforts. ANFO is commonly used in mining and commercial blasting
operations. The amount of explosive was selected to achieve differing levels
of ground shock-severe to light-along the length of the tunnel.

This experiment supports the Tunnel Target Defeat Advanced Concept
Technology Demonstration, which is intended to improve and validate computer
model planning tools used to defeat hardened and deeply buried targets.
Specifically, the Divine Strake experiment will validate and assess the
capability of computer codes to predict the ground-shock environment and how
the tunnel responds to that shock. This experiment is not being conducted to
support any specific, existing or planned conventional or nuclear weapon.
Nor does it represent a specific target.

The NNSA Nevada Site Office has issued a revised environmental assessment.
The NNSA Nevada Site Office has determined that there is no residual
radiation from previous testing elsewhere on the range in the vicinity of
the detonation site.
The tunnel has never been used for nuclear testing. There is no danger to
the population of Las Vegas and the surrounding communities from this
experiment. DIVINE STRAKE does not use a nuclear device, and it does not
test a weapon. The NNSA Nevada Site Office and DTRA have determined that the
proposed action will not significantly impact the quality of the human
environment. As a result, NNSA Nevada Site Office and DTRA issued a Revised
Finding of No Significant Impact and authorized the proposed experiment to
be conducted within the limits of applicable permits and regulations.

The explosion from the experiment will create a dust cloud that may reach an
altitude of 10,000 feet, but it is not expected to be visible off the Nevada
Test Site. The ground motion from the experiment is expected to be
negligible away from the test site.

For additional information, please contact DTRA Public Affairs:
Phone: 1-800-701-5096


Subject: Gaza retreat planner Maj. Gen. Eiland slams
Sharon for lack of planning, slams Olmert plan

[IMRA: While civil servants employed in other democracies might feel
compelled to resign when they realize that they are involved in a
disaster-in-the making so that they may warn the public, there is no such
tradition in Israel.]

Eiland: 'The disengagement was a missed opportunity of historic proportions'
By Ari Shavit Haaretz 4 June 2006

In an interview to Haaretz, the outgoing head of the National Security
Council (NSC), Major General Giora Eiland describes the disengagement from
the Gaza Strip as a "missed opportunity of historic proportions." The man
whose last posting in the IDF was as head of operations, also warns that the
convergence plan will not bring stability to the Middle East. After two and
a half years at the NSC, Eiland also comments on the informal way strategic
decisions are made in Israel.

You planned the disengagement for former prime minister Ariel Sharon. Was
the disengagement a right move or a mistake?

Eiland: "The disengagement was a missed opportunity of historic proportions.
I would like to explain. The disengagement contributed nothing to the
solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

In the government establishment, in which you were a member, was there an
organized discussion on whether the disengagement was the right move?

"No. When I assumed my office, on 18 January, 2004, there was only an
amorphous term 'disengagement' from a speech in Herzliya. I asked Sharon how
much time I had to formulate a plan and he told me, four months. But very
quickly it became clear to me that [PM Sharon's adviser] Dov Weissglas had
already met with the Americans and committed us to a major unilateral step
both in Gaza and the West Bank.

"Immediately after, Sharon committed himself to the evacuation of 18
settlements in the Gaza Strip in an interview to [Haaretz's] Yoel Marcus,
and at that point the game was up. The planning process I had began blew

Was the question of what we could get in exchange for the Gaza Strip asked?

"That question was raised much later."

Was that not a strategic mistake?

"Condoleezza Rice told us, 'Let me explain to you what the meaning of a
unilateral step is. You make a unilateral step when it is good for you.
Therefore, you do not expect to receive anything in return for a step that
you are doing because it is good for you.'"

And this is the crux of the missed opportunity in your view?

"Yes. The disengagement was a missed opportunity of historical proportions
because at the end of 2003 both Israel and the world had reached the
conclusion that on the one hand it was important to end the conflict
quickly, and on the other hand, in the existing paradigm it is impossible to
solve it.

"Why is it impossible to solve? Because the maximum that Israel can give is
less than the minimum that the Palestinians must accept. I think that was a
rare opportunity to offer a new paradigm. But the disengagement simply said
the occupation was bad, that there is no chance for an agreement so long as
there is occupation, and therefore, let us narrow the occupation.

"The same is said by the convergence. There is logic in the thinking, but it
does not lead to long-term stability. The move along a unilateral path leads
us to the classic solution of two states for two peoples, and I think this
is an impossible solution."

Explain it to me.

"When we talk of a solution of two states for two peoples we make two
assumptions: that it is possible to solve the conflict in the area between
the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, and that the reference for a border
between the two states are the 1967 lines with minor changes. I reject these
two assumptions. I think that between the sea and the river there is not
enough area to contain two states, and I think that in order to maintain a
defensible border, Israel needs at least 12 percent of the West Bank. The
1967 lines, even the Clinton Plan, do not give Israel defensible borders."

And a Palestinian state in only 88 percent of the West Bank territory is a
viable state?

"That is the second mistake. I argue that even a Palestinian state with 100
percent of the Gaza Strip and 97 percent of the West Bank is not viable.
Such a country will be poor, radical, restive, where the demographic
pressures will be unbearable. In 2020 there will be 2.5 million people in
the Gaza Strip, in area of 365 square kilometers. This will inevitably lead
to pressure against the fences."

Do you have an alternative proposal?

"My proposal from 2004, which I put forth to Sharon, calls for a regional
solution. Adding 600 square kilometers to Gaza in northern Sinai, to allow
for the construction of an international port and airport, and a city in
which millions of Palestinians can live. Granting 600 square kilometers to
Israel in the West Bank in order to guarantee defensible borders. Compensate
Egypt with 150 square kilometers in the southern Negev, and compensation in
the form of international economic aid and a tunnel connecting Egypt with
Jordan, north of Eilat. The transfer of about 100 square kilometers on the
east bank of the river to the Palestinians, granting them 105 percent of the
territory they are asking today."

Are the Palestinians willing to consider your proposal?

"All the Fatah people who saw the plan expressed interest. Abu Ala, Mohammed
Dahlan and others. The Palestinians are more practical than we tend to

Egypt? The Jordanians?

"I believe it is possible to make them a sufficiently attractive offer."

Do you see the convergence creating conditions of stable coexistence with
the Palestinians?

"The convergence will not bring stability. It will not solve the conflict.
But it will encourage Hamas to keep the calm. There is a convergence of
interests between the government of Israel and Hamas."

What kind of reality will there be after the withdrawal?

"A reality of two states without an agreement. The Palestinian state will be
a radical Hamas state, not satisfied and not viable. There will be
continuous instability."

Did you talk with Olmert about the convergence?


How is that?

"I read about it in the papers like every other citizen. I have no problem
with this. The prime minister is a very intelligent man, capable of making
decisions, and is handling the situation in an impressive manner. I am sure
he consulted with other people."

But in the government establishment there has not been a discussion on
whether the convergence is good for Israel.


Not related to Olmert or Sharon specifically, the decision-making process in
Israel appears to be sound to you?



Subject: Palestinian support 'crashes' in Europe

[IMRA: It remains unclear if Mr. Greenberg asked policy questions to see if
Israel's retreats have also been "rewarded" by a shift in favor of Israeli
"red line" such as right of return. Back in 2002 Greenberg made the rounds
in Israel with polls of Americans to promote Israeli withdrawals as a way to
improve Israel's standing.

Buried within the findings at the time was the startling and distubing
result that a large portion of Americand, including "national opinion
formers" favor the right of return of Palestinian refugees to within Israel.
At the time, Greenberg's recommendations did not address the need to
directly address this very dangerous attitude.

Greenberg is a partner in GCS - Israel Issue Management.

The consultancy's initials (GCS) stand for its five partners' surnames: The
"G" is for Stanley Greenberg (Clinton's own polling
specialist) and for Moshe Gaon; "C" is James Carville, Clinton's chief
campaign strategist, credited with making Bill the "comeback kid."; "S" is
for another Clinton spin doc, media consultant Robert Schrum, and, of
course, for Silberstein himself.

GCS's first major deal was a multimillion contract to represent the three
cellular telephone companies. The contract, granted to GCS without a tender,
was signed shortly after Ehud Barak was elected. At the time, the cellular
companies were facing heavy public pressure out of concern for the possible
radiation hazard presented by the many cellular telephone antennas placed
across the country.]

Palestinian support 'crashes' in Europe

New public opinion surveys conducted among "opinion elites" in Europe show
that support for the Palestinians has fallen precipitously, according to a
leading international pollster, Stan Greenberg, who has been briefing
Israeli leaders on his findings in the past few days. There has not
necessarily been "a rush to Israel" but there has been a "crash" in backing
for the Palestinians, he noted.

Greenberg, a key pollster for president Clinton who also worked with former
Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, conducted the surveys for the Israel
Project, a US-based non-profit organization devoted to educating the press
and the public about Israel.

Greenberg told The Jerusalem Post that the shifts in attitudes reflected in
the surveys were so dramatic that he "redid" some of the polls to ensure
there had been no error.

He singled out France as the country where attitudes had changed most
dramatically. Three years ago, 60 percent of French respondents said they
took a side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and of that 60%, four out
of five backed the Palestinians. Today, by contrast, 60% of French
respondents did not take a side in the conflict, and support for the
Palestinians had dropped by half among those who did express a preference.

Greenberg said the figures were still being finalized, and so did not go
into further details. But shifts such as these, he said, represented "an
incredible pace of change," with significant consequences.

Until recently, he said, "It was hard for Israel to communicate its
interests in its own name" in Europe. "It was hard for Israel to be heard.
Nowadays, it is heard on its own interests, such as Iran and Hamas." Much of
the "old sense of hostility," had dissipated, he said.

At the root of the change, said Greenberg, was a fundamental remaking in
Europe of the "framework" through which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is

Three years ago, he said, the conflict was perceived "in a post-colonial

There was a sense "that Europe could cancel out its own colonial history by
taking the 'right' side" - the Palestinian side. Yasser Arafat was viewed as
"an anti-colonial, liberation leader." The US was seen as a global imperial
power, added Greenberg, and the fact that it was backing Israel only added
to the "instinctive" sense of the Palestinians as victims.

France, with the largest Muslim population - moreover an entirely Arab
Muslim population - with the direct experience of Algeria and the most
anti-US positions, was most prey to this mindset.

Today, by contrast, the Europeans "are focused on fundamentalist Islam and
its impact on them," he said. The Europeans were now asking themselves "who
is the moderate in this conflict, and who is the extremist? And suddenly it
is the Palestinians who may be the extremists, or who are allied with
extremists who threaten Europe's own society."

An increasing proportion of Europeans are concluding that "maybe the
Palestinians are not the colonialist victims" after all.
Furthermore, the pollster said, the question of which side held "absolute,"
uncompromising positions had also shifted - to Israel's benefit. The
sea-change in attitudes, he said, had been accelerated by the fact that
former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who had been widely regarded as an
ideological "absolutist," had surprised Europe with his disengagement
initiative. And at about the same time, the Palestinians had chosen the
"absolutists" of Hamas as their leadership.

An opinion poll for the Israel Project among "opinion elites" in the US
released last month found that 80% believed that US should not fund the
Palestinian Authority until its Hamas-led government renounced violence,
recognized Israel and ended terrorism, 93% said Palestinian leaders must end
the culture of hate that encourages children to become suicide bombers and
78% had a favorable view of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's
"realignment" plan. Asked if they considered themselves supporters of Israel
or supporters of the Palestinians, 58% in that survey said they backed
Israel, while 10% said they supported the Palestinians. Another 33% said
they supported neither side, were undecided or didn't know.



(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 4.6.06:

1. Israel Security Agency Director Yuval Diskin and the IDF Intelligence
Corps Director of Research briefed ministers on the current state of affairs
in the Palestinian Authority.

2. The Cabinet decided to allocate NIS 40 million in 2006 to repair the
damages (to highways, the electricity grid and sewage/drainage
infrastructure) stemming from the floods that struck the Wadi Ara and
western Galilee districts as a result of the strong rains that fell in April
of this year. See for details.

3. Pursuant to article 18 of Basic Law: The President of the State ( ), the Cabinet approved President Moshe Katsav's
upcoming official visits to Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, at the
invitation of Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov and Czech President Vaclav
Klaus, respectively. The Cabinet also noted that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
will travel to Sharm e-Sheikh today in for a meeting with Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak.


Subject: Rethinking humanitarian aid to the PA

Rethinking humanitarian aid
Efraim Inbar, THE JERUSALEM POST June 4, 2006

While most of the international community has suspended financial support to
the aid-dependent Palestinian Authority, several states have sought ways to
circumvent the Hamas-controlled bureaucracy in order to deliver humanitarian
aid directly to the Palestinian people. Such attempts are functionally and
morally misguided.
Humanitarian aid is almost always political. It's governments and
organizations with clear political agendas who dispense most "humanitarian"
funds. A close look at foreign aid indicates that the self-interest of the
donor rather than altruism usually motivates such programs.
The French directed economic aid, primarily to former African colonies, for
years in order to further a Francophone community. Meanwhile, European aid
programs to the Palestinians are a way to exercise a diplomatic role in a
conflict in which most of the shots are called by the Americans.
FOREIGN AID is seen as buying influence. While establishing a clear
connection between economic dependence and political compliance is
problematic, such a link is on the minds of decision makers.

Secondly, decisions on financial aid are hardly based on a meticulous
comparative analysis of the respective needs of various hard-hit groups
around the globe. Aid programs are only minimally related to an objective
evaluation of the economic situation of potential recipients. Simply put, it
is not the poorest that get the most money.

For example, Palestinians receive substantially larger amounts of money per
capita than do far more destitute populations in Africa - the Sudan, for
instance. There are many countries whose populations suffer far more than do
the Palestinian Arabs on such key indices as life expectancy and average
caloric intake.

Thirdly, rendering financial aid strengthens the donor political
organizations and states dispensing it. This is precisely why several
European states toy with the idea of sending money directly to Mahmoud
Abbas, representing "the good guys," rather than to Hamas, perceived (for
the time being) as "the bad guys." The fact that Abbas chaired a corrupt and
inept government seems irrelevant.

FOURTHLY, there is the "CNN effect," which is responsible for eliciting a
significant portion of the humanitarian aid provided. Disasters that attract
the attention of the media for extended periods are inevitably viewed as
good tools for public diplomacy. Such disasters are capitalized upon to
announce generous offers of foreign aid (not always fully delivered) in
order to enhance national reputations.

The Palestinians, now partly under economic siege, have a clear interest in
playing up the idea that they face a humanitarian disaster. It's a way to
overcome political obstacles and speed up delayed financial contributions.

Of course, generous donations (usually from Western states) do not always
reach the intended recipients. Some leaders in the less-developed world are
ingenious at siphoning aid away from those who truly need it.

Many top-ranking Palestinians have enjoyed the fruits of the donors'
gullibility. Moreover, in war-torn societies it is the guys with the guns
who usually end up with the food supplies and other goodies provided by
well-intentioned foreigners. Food and medicines sent to the Palestinians
will invariably end up in the hands of the armed militias.

THE PAVLOVIAN response of sending money to societies unable to put their
houses in order must therefore be questioned.
Maimonides, the great Jewish scholar of the 11th century, established a
clear hierarchy of philanthropic acts. In his view, the most valuable
philanthropic deed involves aid directed at enabling the recipient to become
economically independent. His insight is validated by the history of
humanitarian aid in the past century, which shows that outside economic aid
is only as good as the ability of a recipient's economy and government to
use it prudently and productively.

Thus it is not at all clear that sending more money to the dysfunctional
Palestinian economy will do any good. After all, millions of euros
transferred to the PA since the 1993 Oslo Accords have been squandered and

Indeed, the Palestinian arena provides a telling example of an utterly
dysfunctional welfare institution, UNRWA, whose stated goal is to set the
Palestinian refugees "on the road to self-reliance and sustainable human

The expectation that UNRWA will help the refugees rebuild their lives and
stop living on charity remains unfulfilled.

Surprisingly, according to the organization's own figures, the number of
refugees has grown, from hundreds of thousands in 1948 to over 4 million in
2004. These numbers indicate a colossal failure on part of UNRWA to turn the
refugees into self-reliant individuals.

We know that welfare can be addictive. In the case of UNRWA, its activities
have created a multi-generational dependence. UNRWA has, in fact, become the
main tool for not solving the refugee issue.

UNRWA has subordinated the welfare of the people it is supposed to be
helping to the political needs of Israel's enemies by ensuring that the
refugees stay addicted to foreign welfare.

In the final analysis, humanitarian aid should be dispensed judiciously,
while making sure that it does not preserve poverty and dependence.

Addiction can be treated in several ways. "Cold turkey" is one approach, and
the Palestinians should be induced to try it.

The writer is professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University and
director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.


Subject: Excerpts: Al-Qaeda militant attack in Damascus.
Terrorism in Canada.Thousands of Pro Hizbollah
Shiite Muslims riot at TV spoof 4 June 2006

Excerpts: Al-Qaeda militant attack in Damascus.Terrorism in Canada.Thousands
of Pro Hizbollah Shiite Muslims riot at TV spoof 4 June 2006

+++ARAB NEWS (Saudi) 3 June'06:
"5 Killed, 4 Injured in Damascus Clashes"Associated Press -
security forces suspected an 'Extremist terrorist unit'

DAMASCUS, 3 June 2006 - Clashes between Syrian security forces and militants
yesterday in an area of Damascus filled with government buildings left five
dead and four wounded, officials said.
...Four militants were arrested and all those involved were Syrian ......
... the incident occurred after security forces suspected an "extremist
terrorist unit" was in the area and engaged it. ...It was not immediately
known whether the attackers belong to the militant group Jund Al-Sham that
has clashed with Syrian security forces on several occasions. Jund Al-Sham
was formed in Afghanistan by Syrian, Palestinian and Jordanian militants
with links to ... the head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. . . .
Syria has been under pressure to root out suspected militants the United
States claims use Syrian territory to plan attacks in Israel and Iraq.
In December, Syrian anti-terrorist forces clashed with Islamic militants in
Idlib, 330 kilometers north of Damascus, killing five of them. Three others,
wearing explosives' belts, blew themselves up.
Also in December, Syria announced it had uncovered a bomb-making factory in
the northern city of Aleppo, discovering plans for attacks on public
buildings and security headquarters in Syria.

+++ARAB NEWS (Saudi) 4 June '06: ":Canadian Govt Foils Terror Plot, Arrests
17 Suspects",Beth Duff-Brown, Associated Press -
"Canadian youths ... upset about the treatment of Muslims worldwide,
were among those arrested"
"at least 50 terror groups now have some presence (in Canada)"

TORONTO, 4 June 2006 - Seventeen Canadian residents were in custody
yesterday on terrorism-related charges, including plots to use explosives in
attacks on Canadian soil, authorities said....12 male adults and five youth
and foiled plans for terrorist attacks against targets in southern Ontario.

"This group took steps to acquire three tons of ammonium nitrate and other
components necessary to create explosive devices," said assistant Royal
Canadian Mounted Police commissioner Mike McDonell said....that is three
times the amount used to blow up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma
City.... the suspects were either Canadian citizens or residents of Canada
and had trained together.
...The Toronto Star reported yesterday that Canadian youths in their teens
and 20s, upset at the treatment of Muslims worldwide, were among those
arrested.. . .The Canadian anti-terrorism law was passed swiftly following
the Sept. 11 assaults, particularly after Osama bin-Laden's named Canada one
of five so-called Christian nations that should be targeted for acts of
terror. . . ..
Though many view Canada as an unassuming neutral nation that has skirted
terrorist attacks, it has suffered its share of aggression, including the
1985 Air India bombing, in which 329 people were killed, most of them
Canadian citizens.
Intelligence officials believe at least 50 terror groups now have some
presence in the North American nation and have long complained that the
country's immigration laws and border security are too weak to weed out
potential terrorists.

+++JORDAN TIMES 4 June, 2006:
"Riots burn Lebanon's reputation as most tolerant Arab nation" by Bassem
Mroue, Associated Press
"burned Lebanon's reputation as te most politically tolerant nation in the
Arab world"
"demanded an apology from the private channel which broadcast the show"
"lengths ...Hizbollah goes to justify keeping its weapons"
BEIRUT - Every week, Lebanese tune into the TV programme "A Nation's Smiles"
for a dose of satire on their leaders. But when an actor in clerical robes
and fake beard spoofed the leader of Hizbollah this week, mocking the
group's fight against Israel, it took only minutes for thousands of Shiite
viewers to turn into rioters.
For the next five hours, Shiite Muslims thronged the streets of south Beirut
and other towns in Lebanon, waving yellow Hizbollah flags, blocking
traffic - including cars trying to get to Beirut airport - and burning
They also burned Lebanon's reputation as the most politically tolerant
nation in the Arab world.
...The target of Thursday night's spoof, Hizbollah leader Sheikh Hassan
Nasrallah,,,,appealed on the party's TV channel for his supporters "to end
the gatherings and go home." The producer of the TV satire, Charbel Khalil,
He said he deeply respected Nasrallah and the show was "was not meant to
offend him." For some, this was not enough. Abdul-Hadi Mahfouz, the chairman
of the National Media Council, Lebanon's press watchdog, convened an
emergency meeting Friday and demanded an apology from the private channel
that broadcast the show, Lebanese Broadcasting Corp.. If LBC did not
apologise, he added, it could face legal action.
Satellite service providers in south Beirut, where Hizbollah enjoys strong
support, announced Friday they would boycott LBC until the channel
The chief of LBC, Pierre Daher, issued a statement arguing that the
programme dealt with Nasrallah as a political leader "not as a religious
personality or a leader of the resistance" - the accepted term for Hizbollah
Daher added that freedom of opinion was enshrined in Lebanon's
constitution.. . ..
The fuss reflected the political tension in Lebanon between the pro- and
anti-Syrian camps. Hizbollah, backed by Syria and Iran, has been accused by
the anti-Syrian majority in parliament of serving Syria's interests. The
pro-Syrians accuse the majority of working for the United States.
A possible element in the unrest is that LBC is a Christian-owned channel
that is close to the Lebanese forces . . .In the scene that provoked the
riot, a woman - played by a man in drag - asks Nasrallah whether Hizbollah
would lay down its arms after Israel's withdraws from Shebaa Farms - a
disputed piece of land on south Lebanon's border where Hizbollah fighters
frequently fight Israeli troops.
Nasrallah replies that Hizbollah's weapons will still be needed for
"liberating the house of Abu Hassan in Detroit from his Jewish neighbour."
Abu Hassan is a common Shiite name, and many Shiites of Lebanese origin live
in Detroit. So the remark was a dig at the lengths to which Hizbollah goes
to justify keeping its weapons - despite a UN Security Council resolution
calling for Hizbollah to be disarmed.
Police hardly intervened during the unrest. But 10 rioters were detained,
and soldiers deployed along the border between Christian and Muslim
neighbourhoods of south Beirut to prevent sectarian friction.. .

Sue Lerner - Associate - IMRA


Subject: Congressman raps Saudis over anti-Israel boycott

Congressman raps Saudis over anti-Israel boycott
By Michael Freund The Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2006

In the wake of a report in Tuesday's Jerusalem Post regarding Saudi Arabia's
ongoing enforcement of an anti-Israel trade embargo, a prominent Republican
Congressman sharply criticized the desert kingdom and said he plans to raise
the issue with senior Bush administration officials.

"It is unacceptable," New Jersey Rep. Mike Ferguson, a member of the House
of Representatives" influential Subcommittee on Commerce and Trade, told the
Post. "My colleagues and I raised a number of concerns last year about Saudi
Arabia joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), including their
participation in the Arab boycott of Israel.

"Now that the Saudis have joined the WTO," Ferguson said, "what we are
finding is that they are not following the rules."
As the Post first reported on May 30, Saudi officials continue to bar entry
to Israeli-made goods despite repeated promises to Washington that they
would drop their decades-old boycott of the Jewish state. The Bush
Administration had conditioned Riyadh's entry into the WTO on such a move.

The WTO, which granted membership to the Saudis in December, prohibits
signatories from engaging in discriminatory trade practices, such as
embargoes or boycotts.

Nonetheless, in recent months the Saudis have hosted a major international
conference aimed at strengthening the trade embargo against the Jewish
state, and they sent an official delegation to Damascus to take part in a
meeting of the Arab League's boycott office.

"Saudi Arabia has a responsibility to follow the provisions of the WTO,"
Ferguson said. "There is not one set of rules for the Saudis, and one for
everyone else."

The congressman said that he plans to meet soon with US Trade
Representative-nominee Susan Schwab in order to raise his concerns about
Saudi Arabia's policy regarding Israel and its WTO commitments.

Contacted by the Post, Stephen J. Norton, a spokesman for the US Trade
Representative, said that Washington has received assurances from the Saudis
that they are not enforcing a boycott of the Jewish state.

"Saudi officials have affirmed on several occasions, at meetings in
Washington and in Riyadh, and in written correspondence, that they
understand their WTO commitments and that they will abide by them," he said.

"As recently as April," Norton added, the US Trade Representative had
"received a letter from the Saudi Commerce Minister restating that

Asked what measures would be taken if Saudi Arabia were found to be
violating its pledge, he declined to comment.

US State Department spokesman Tom Casey told the Post via e-mail that the
Bush Administration has "raised this issue directly with senior Saudi
officials on several occasions. In all instances, we have received
assurances that Saudi Arabia understands and remains committed to their WTO
obligations, including the obligation to treat all WTO members according to
WTO rules."

Ferguson, however, was less sanguine. "Their actions don't seem to be
matching their rhetoric," he said. "And this sends a very bad message to the
world that the WTO doesn't take its own rules seriously."

"The US," he declared, "has an important role to play to encourage and
cajole the Saudis to follow the rules."


Subject: Dichter: Reoccupy parts of Gaza

Dichter: Reoccupy parts of Gaza

During cabinet meeting, internal security minister demands Qassam fire from
northern Gaza Strip be stopped at any cost; defense minister in response:
Occupying parts of Gaza is irrelevant
Attila Somfalvi YNET 4 June 2006,7340,L-3258534,00.html

During Sunday's cabinet meeting, Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter
urged Israel to step-up operations in Gaza and reoccupy territories there to
prevent ongoing Qassam attacks on the western Negev.

"We must act (in Gaza) as in the north," Dichter said.

Defense Minister Amir Peretz said in response: "Occupying parts of Gaza is
irrelevant. The security establish has been working successfully for a long
time in the face of the threats while examining new methods and tools of
employing force."

Dichter demanded the prime minister stop Qassm fire from northern Gaza at
any cost, "as the IDF paralyzed Hizbullah this week."

He added: "If need be, we can turn Beit Hanoun into a ghost town. We need to
return the balance of deterrence. It can't be that in one week, we can stop
Hizbullah fire but not Qassam fire."

Regarding the Palestinian prisoners' document, Dichter said: "These are not
just prisoners but murderers. There is nothing in their letter that upholds
the prime minister's demands. They ask for refugees rights as legitimate
right; they ask to continue terrorism with the 1967 lines, and they do not
recognize Israel. It mentions a Palestinian nation of the 67 borders with
its capital in Jerusalem."

PM: Prisoners' document irrelevant

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that the Palestinian's list of principles
known as the "Prisoners' document " is nothing new from Israel's

"Its contents are completely unacceptable and it isn't a basis for anything.
I wouldn't bother to respond to it because it is an internal Palestinian
issue," Olmert said during the meeting.

The document was drafted by jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, and was
signed by leading figures from other Palestinian factions in prison with
him, and called for the acceptance of a Palestinian state alongside Israel
on the '67 borders. Thus far, the Islamic Jihad agreed to endorse it but it
was rejected by the Hamas government.

According to the prime minister, "not everything needs Israel's commentary.
Not every fragment of every process demands the response of ministers. I don't
intend to personally offend this or that minister, but before everything
else we are ministers - there are commentators in the media. The
Palestinians should be allowed to mind their business themselves. We will
not conduct negotiations with them except for on the basis of the road map
and the quartet, and I will tell Mubarak that."

Regarding Israel's sensitive relationship with the Palestinian Authority,
Olmert said, "We aren't boycotting Abbas. We would be happy if he had the
ability to enforce his will on the PA. Everyone knows and recognizes this,
including our neighbors and including Abbas himself. The struggle against
terrorism is always combining maximal activity and balances."

Olmert added: "We have severe means in our arsenal, but sometimes, with
international consideration, they are not effective. It is not good to hurt
civilians, and therefore - anti-terror activity combines a few
considerations. We must weigh what is effective and when."

Olmert praises Peretz

After last week, when in the midst of discussions about defense budget cuts
the relationship between Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz was on the
rocks , on Sunday Olmert treated Peretz with equanimity.

"All of the operations carried out recently in Gaza brought very good
results. For that, the defense establishment - and the defense minister -
deserve all our respect," he said.

Regarding Lebanon and the escalation along the northern border last week,
Olmert said: "We are walking on a balanced and responsible line. Shell-fire?
Do you think it is easy? It is not. We always fear a shell will veer off its
course and hit innocents."

"Don't forget that all those terrorists and terror organizations are there
because someone brought them there. We will always keep our eyes open on all
fronts. We have the right to protect ourselves. If sharper measures become
necessary, we will use them," Olmert assured.

(06.04.06, 13:13)


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