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  • Author: Scott Carpenter
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The Obama administration marks the return of a so-called "realist" approach and an intentional downplaying of President Bush's vision of an America that would use its power actively to advance freedom around the world. Few will lament the demise of Bush's "Freedom Agenda," which came to be seen as dangerous naivete which risked the stability of the region and with it Israel's security. The height of folly was the Palestinian elections in January 2006 when, in contradiction to the Oslo Accords, Hamas was allowed to compete and ultimately win without laying down its weapons. Too late, the administration recognized it could no longer take the risk of bringing potentially hostile forces to power through democratic elections. Unfortunately, neither approach addresses the structural and demographic time bombs in the region. A youth "bulge" requires the creation of 100 million new jobs by 2010, according to the World Bank. Yet if economic reform is to be advanced and sustained, democratic development must also take place. The U.S. government can use Arab governments' insecurity regarding Iran as leverage to encourage real reform. This is particularly true for Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia - now engaged in the ideological fight of their lives with Iran and its reactionary allies. Only by establishing a new bargain with these regimes that stresses the need for them to respect internal civil and political rights, while forging a joint response to the reactionary threat, can the U.S. offer a true alternative to theocratic and minority rule. This is not to say that democratic and economic reform need be the priority for the West, but it must remain a priority, if otherwise intractable problems which pose a longer-term national security threat are to be addressed. Allowing autocrats to continue to get away with inaction will simply make the coming tidal wave of Iranian-style revolutions larger and more damaging, placing Israel's existence in even greater jeopardy than it is now.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Foreign Policy, Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Saudi Arabia's past involvement in international terrorism is indisputable. While the Bush administration decided to redact 28 sensitive pages of the Joint Intelligence Report of the U.S. Congress, nonetheless, Saudi involvement in terrorist financing can be documented through materials captured by Israel in Palestinian headquarters in 2002-3. In light of this evidence, Saudi denials about terrorist funding don't hold water. Israel retrieved a document of the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) which detailed the allocation of $280,000 to 14 Hamas charities. IIRO and other suspected global Saudi charities are not NGOs, since their boards of directors are headed by Saudi cabinet members. Prince Salman, a full brother of King Fahd, controls IIRO distributions "with an iron hand," according to former CIA operative Robert Baer. Mahmoud Abbas, in fact, complained, in a handwritten December 2000 letter to Salman, about Saudi funding of Hamas. Defense Minister Prince Sultan has been cited as a major IIRO contributor. It was hoped, after the May 12 triple bombing attack in Riyadh, that Saudi Arabia might halt its support for terrorism. Internally, the Saudi security forces moved against al-Qaeda cells all over the kingdom. But externally, the Saudis were still engaged in terrorist financing, underwriting 60-70 percent of the Hamas budget, in violation of their "roadmap" commitments to President Bush. Additionally, the Saudis back the civilian infrastructure of Hamas with extremist textbooks glorifying jihad and martyrdom that are used by schools and Islamic societies throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Ideological infiltration of Palestinian society by the Saudis in this way is reminiscent of their involvement in the madrassa system of Pakistan during the 1980s, that gave birth to the Taliban and other pro bin-Laden groups.
  • Topic: Security, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Lt. Col. Jonathan D.H.
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The second Camp David summit (July 2000) was the culmination of nearly ten years of political dialogue between Israel and the representatives of the Palestinian people, and of almost six years of interim agreements since the mutual recognition of Israel and the PLO. Yet Camp David II did not result in the conclusion of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement to end the protracted conflict between the Palestinian national movement and the Jewish national (Zionist) movement. The negotiations between Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Yasser Arafat (who also heads the PLO and the Fatah movement), under the auspices of U.S. President Bill Clinton, rather highlighted the wide differences between the two sides on the fundamental issues of the conflict.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia
  • Author: Mordechai Abir
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: The Persian Gulf is a region of outstanding anomalies and immense energy wealth. About two-thirds of the world's proven energy reserves are located in the Gulf States, foremost in Saudi Arabia (25 percent). As long as the rest of the world requires this energy, its dependence on this region will continue. Yet, the evolving U.S. war against terrorism, coupled with the growth of non-OPEC oil output led by the revived energy industry in Russia and other former Soviet republics, is beginning to erode the coercive power of the Gulf states.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Religion, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Middle East, Arab Countries, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: At the heart of the Palestinian diplomatic struggle against Israel is the repeated assertion that the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are resisting "occupation." Speaking recently on CNN's Larry King Weekend, Hanan Ashrawi hoped that the U.S. war on terrorism would lead to new diplomatic initiatives to address its root "causes." She then went on to specifically identify "the occupation which has gone on too long" as an example of one of terrorism's sources. In other words, according to Ashrawi, the violence of the intifada emanates from the "occupation."
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Palestine, Gaza, Arab Countries
  • Author: Jeff Helmreich
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: On May 15, 2001, the Associated Press circulated an article covering Arafat's Al-Naqba speech, marking the day Palestinians recall the "catastrophe" of the creation of the State of Israel. The article boasted direct quotations of the Palestinian leader's statements. They had been spoken in Cairo, broadcast on Palestinian radio stations, and blared out from loudspeakers into the streets of Nablus and Ramallah and all across Gaza. But something happened to the speech on the way to AP's wire report. By the time it reached the newspapers, entire sentences and clauses had been excluded; moderating words had been added; fiery attacks — like a slur about the United States — had been cleaned out; statements had been condensed, enhanced, or otherwise altered. In short, AP's purported "excerpts" of Arafat's remarks were at best edited, at worst fabricated. Moreover, they served to distort (and significantly soften) the message that passed through Arafat's lips.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, Gaza
  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Since its independence in 1948, and indeed even in prior times, Israel's rights to sovereignty in Jerusalem have been firmly grounded in history and international law. The aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War only reinforced the strength of Israel's claims. Seven years after the implementation of the 1993 Oslo Agreements, Prime Minister Ehud Barak became the first Israeli prime minister to consider re-dividing Jerusalem in response to an American proposal at the July 2000 Camp David Summit. The December 2000 Clinton Plan attempted to codify Barak's possible concessions on Jerusalem. Yet they proved to be insufficient for PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, leading to a breakdown in the peace process and an outburst of Palestinian violence with regional implications. At least the failed Clinton Plan did not bind future Israeli governments or U.S. administrations, leaving open the possibility of new diplomatic alternatives. Only by avoiding premature negotiation over an unbridgeable issue such as Jerusalem can the U.S., Israel, and the Palestinians stabilize the volatile situation that has emerged and restore hope that a political process can be resumed in the future.
  • Topic: Security, Government, International Law, Religion, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Jeffrey S. Helmreich
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: There are two clashing myths on the political power of American Jewry. One claims that the community is too small to affect national elections; Jews make up less than 3 percent of the U.S. population. A contrasting view holds that U.S. Jews play a disproportionately large role in national politics thanks to their campaign donations and media influence.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East
  • Author: Saul Singer
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Ask Israelis or Arabs to characterize the U.S.-Israel relationship and most, particularly on the Arab side, will argue that the picture is one of unwavering support for the Jewish state. Indeed, the outgoing Clinton administration has been widely perceived and labeled as the closest to Israel in the history of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Though the ties between the U.S. and Israel are indeed close, deep, and institutionalized, a closer examination reveals a constant tension between support for Israel and "evenhandedness" between Israel and the Arab world.
  • Topic: Security, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Steven M. Cohen
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Attitudes toward separation-accommodation are related to support for (or opposition to) the expression of religion in public life. Within each of the three samples, church-state separationists were more likely than accommodationists to oppose expanded religious influence in society and the involvement of churches and church leaders in political affairs. Table 5 contains several relevant questions in this domain.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States