|Israel Resource Review
||6th May, 2003
The Issue at Hand at Israel's
No PLO Recognition of the State of
Last December, shortly before the wording of
the road map that has now been published was finalized, I spoke
with an American who was one of the architects of the
Israeli-Palestinian negotiations under President Clinton. I
asked him: "How is it that in the entire course of the
negotiations with the Palestinians, before Camp David, while it
was underway and in its wake, no demand was made that the
Palestinians recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist
in peace and security as a Jewish state? Why is it always,
including in the Oslo statement, that only the State of Israel's
right to exist is declared, without citing that it is the
national state of the Jewish people?"
"To tell you the truth?" he replied, "It was clear both to me and to
President Clinton that when we said the State of Israel the intention was
the Jewish state. But, at a certain and very late stage, the Israelis asked
us to underscore that point. We turned to the Palestinian leadership and
were met with adamant refusal. We dropped the subject, and I regret that.
The Bush administration is keenly aware of that point."
Indeed on November 19, 2001 at the University of Kentucky, Powell
outlined American policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and
said, among other things: The Palestinians have to remove any doubt, once
and for all, that they accept the legitimacy of the State of Israel of the
In my opinion, that is the core of the conflict between us and the Arab
world and the Palestinians. The slogan, "two states for two peoples" has
long since ceased to express the legitimacy of a Palestinian state
alongside a Jewish state. The state has been under attack for some time
now, mainly by Israeli Arabs, which strives to define the state as either a
"state of all its citizens" or a "bi-national state." Just not a Jewish
state. It is astonishing to see that not a single Israeli leader, to the
best of my recollection, has firmly demanded Palestinian recognition of the
legitimacy of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish state. It
was an American official who had to set that demand, and it is Condoleezza
Rice, President Bush's national security adviser, who has to reiterate and
underscore that Israel has a right to exist in security and peace as a
But the "vision" of the road map does not refer to a Jewish state. The
road map determines: immediately after its implementation the Palestinian
leadership will make a unequivocal statement that reiterates Israel's right
to peace and security. The Israeli leadership will issue an unequivocal
statement confirming its commitment to a vision of a sovereign, independent
Palestinian state that lives alongside Israel in peace and security. In my
opinion I must insist that the two statements include the legitimacy of the
existence of Israel as a Jewish state.
One can show flexibility and compromise in a variety of fields and, in
the more distant future, make "very painful concessions," just not on that
principle. After all, our entire demand that the Palestinians concede the
refugees' "right of return" into the State of Israel stems from that
principle (because a Jewish state means first of all a state with a solid
Jewish majority). So why not declare that principle vociferously and set it
as a condition against the Palestinians' profound demand for a Palestinian
state, which Abu Mazen would like to see clean of Jews.
This article ran in Maariv on May 5, 2003
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Saddam's "Successor" Made Secret
Visit to Israel
Intelligence Correspondent, Yediot Aharonot
On Tuesday afternoon, in a dramatic
interruption of the news, Al Jazeera broadcast a panicky item
from Baghdad on the arrest of Ahmed Chalabi, president of the
umbrella organization of Iraqi exiles. "Chalabi, the Pentagon
favorite," the report said, "was arrested by American troops on
charges of fraud and disturbing the civil administration."
The reaction in Israel was immediate. "We knew this moment would come,"
said senior intelligence officials, and didn't hide their sighs of relief.
But the happiness was premature, and very quickly it turned out that the
report of Chalabi's arrest was false. The Iraqi exile, who was flown to
Baghdad to lead the Iraqis after Saddam's removal, was still relevant.
Three hours after the Al Jazeera report, the rival Abu Dhabi network
broadcast an interview with Chalabi. "Documents from Iraqi intelligence
show that the Al Jazeera reporters are agents of the previous regime,"
Chalabi claimed. He said that Saddam Hussein was alive and that he and the
others with him were in possession of bomb belts. "Saddam will choose the
most appropriate timing to carry out a large scale terror attack with many
Israeli intelligence did not fall off their chairs on hearing this.
"This is Chalabi's way of drawing attention," sources said, "the Americans
will soon understand whom they are dealing with."
A Black Mercedes and Ties with Teheran
Ahmed Chalabi was born 56 years ago to an aristocratic Shiite family in
Baghdad. He is a charismatic, secular, amazingly skillful and impatient, a
computer, math and financial wizard. He left Iraq in 1956 when his family
fled in fear of the regime, completed his studies at the prestigious MIT in
the US and was among the founders of the Bank of Petra in Jordan, from
where he fled after he was indicted for embezzlement. He was sentenced to
22 years imprisonment in absentia. Chalabi argued in his defense that this
was an Iraqi conspiracy and over the years managed to forge connections to
powerful people in the US. He heads the National Iraqi Congress, the
umbrella organization of large opposition groups.
For many years mystery shrouded the reasons the Americans regarded
Chalabi so warmly. This was explained by his charisma, his ability to
impress and links to powerful people, but the real reason was never made
public, until today. Chalabi, so it transpires, was pushed into the
Americans' arms by Israeli intelligence.
Chalabi's Israeli link took place 13 years ago. KZ, a Defense Ministry
official, revealed details of his first meeting with Chalabi in London this
week. "Chalabi immediately projected Middle Eastern warmth. He is very
intelligent and surprised me with his great knowledge about us. He knew
each of the components of our political gallery, the ministers, the
influential MKs, IDF Intelligence and Mossad heads. He also knew about
Israel's open and covert relations in the Arab world. Our talk quickly got
down to the future relations between Iraq and Jerusalem, after Saddam's
fall. Even back then he insisted on drawing up a new political map of the
Middle East and announced that Iraq would hoist the banner of democracy."
Chalabi told the Defense Ministry official, KZ, that in Baghdad he had
attended the prestigious private school of "Madame Adel," a Jewish woman,
and was closely acquainted with the Jewish community. "He was familiar
with our customs. When he made his first visit to Israel, we took him on a
tour of the Babylon Heritage Center and for meetings with Iraqi Jews. When
he saw they retain their customs from Iraq, I saw it was hard for him to
contain his emotion."
Maj. Gen. (reserves) Danny Rothschild, who headed the IDF Intelligence
research branch, received Chalabi's telephone numbers in London in 1990 and
went to meet him in secret. Only very rarely was IDF Intelligence able to
make links to a senior Iraqi exile who displayed such great quantities of
good will. They discussed Israel's efforts to get information on the fate
of the IDF POWs and MIAs.
"Chalabi promised us that he could use his contacts in Teheran to check
out the Ron Arad matter," Rothschild recounts. "I remember that Chalabi's
son came to meet me at the airport and picked me up in his black, fancy
Mercedes. The license plate said RPG 7. How did he maintain secrecy when he
went around with such ostentatious signs? Gradually I realized that this
was an important component in the image Chalabi was trying to project."
Rothschild and Chalabi met in the sumptuous office of the Iraqi exile in
western London and spoke for long hours about the future of the region.
Rothschild remembers that he wrote a classified report. The information on
the Israeli MIAs and POWs, which Chalabi promised through his contacts in
Teheran, never materialized, neither in Rothschild's next two meetings with
This did not prevent Israeli security officials from recommending
Chalabi to the American administration and connecting him to senior
advisers in the White House, the Pentagon and the CIA. As a result of the
recommendations, James Woolsley, the former CIS director, gave him his
Open File on Petra
In 1992, Chalabi declared the establishment of the National Iraqi
Congress in London and tried to enlist the American administration into
preparing for an operation to topple Saddam. He gathered around him dozens
of young people who had fled Iraq and persuaded them to work voluntarily
for a "free Iraq." Israelis who visited the offices of the National
Congress were shown the horrors of Saddam's regime and the organization's
desire to take immediate revenge against Iraq.
At the same time, reports came in from Jordan, painting an entirely
different picture of Chalabi. In 1989, after the Bank of Petra, the third
largest in the kingdom, declared bankruptcy, Chalabi fled to Kurdistan in
the back of a truck. USD 20 million, all of the bank's deposits,
disappeared along with him. The Jordanians never forgave him. Last week,
in three interviews by King Abdullah, he made it very clear: "The Petra
file against Chalabi is still open." King Abdullah also had a sweeping
message to the American administration: "I suggest you examine very
carefully banks in Geneva, London and Beirut. Chalabi was not only
involved in such affairs in Jordan. In all of these places charges were
filed against him for financial wrongdoing."
Four weeks ago, when Chalabi showed up in Nassiriya in southern Iraq
after 45 years in exile and promised a "new Iraq," a strong message was
conveyed from Amman to the Bush administration. "If Chalabi, with your
help, fulfills his dream, and is given a central role in Iraq, this will
immediately cast a heavy shadow on Jordan-Iraq relations." The Jordanians
also reminded the Americans that Jordan is the country closest to Iraq and
any move taken on one side of the border will immediately effect, either
positively or negatively, the other.
The Jordanian royal family also watched with concern the involvement of
Israeli security officials in opening the gates of the Pentagon in
Washington for Chalabi. The Jordanians even warned the CIA against this
"crook with the charismatic smooth image." But the American espionage
agencies had their own considerations. "Iraq is closed, Chalabi gives us
important intelligence information from Baghdad," senior CIA officials said.
But not everyone in the top American echelons had the same reaction.
Loud voices were heard in the White House and in the State Department over
the years against building up Chalabi's status in the Pentagon. Here too,
with a certain delay, the Mossad and the IDF Intelligence marked him as a "
dangerous fraud." Former Mossad director Shabtai Shavit says: "I didn't
bother getting acquainted with Chalabi;" while more recent former Mossad
director Ephraim Halevy makes a face when Chalabi's name is mentioned.
"This man has no chance," Halevy says, "It's a waste of time."
A senior security establishment official ("don't write my name, why
should I get in trouble with Secretary Rumsfeld, who gets a report about
every word we say here about a Iraq") is willing to reveal, "Despite the
pressure put on us, I absolutely refused to meet Chalabi."
"Because I don't get involved with gangsters. People like him shouldn't
be our friends."
Question: And if Chalabi is eventually the next leader of Iraq?
"I have been following him for years. Even if his dream comes true and
he manages to get himself a role in Baghdad, he'll be murdered in a month.
He won't survive. We shouldn't rely on him."
Passport Not Stamped in Baghdad
The secret meetings in London led Chalabi to a string of discrete visits
in Tel Aviv. "He came mainly to acquire an impression from up close who
are the Israelis and what the State of Israel like," says KZ, who waited
for Chalabi at the exit of the El Al plane at Ben-Gurion Airport, who made
sure his passport was not stamped and who lodged him under a false name in
a five-star Tel Aviv hotel.
The family file collected by intelligence agencies on Chalabi and his
wife describe them as "exiles deluxe." The wife, Leila, is from a respected
family in Lebanon, her father was the Lebanese foreign minister. Chalabi's
daughter Tamara, a communications student, was also party to his father's
"Chalabi did not make concrete requests of us," said a senior security
establishment official. "Even after he was unable to get the
administration's consent in to train Iraqi exiles in American army camps,
he knew, with his honed senses, that Israeli fingerprints on him would be
mark against him in Iraq."
Another senior security establishment source says: "Chalabi's and other
Iraqi exiles' efforts to get close to us gave me the chills. I immediately
remembered our entanglement with the Phalanges in Lebanon. The more we
helped them, the greater their appetite grew, and in the end we were
In one of his visits to Israel, Chalabi was hosted in the office of the
defense minister at the time, Yitzhak Mordechai. Chalabi, it turned out,
had come to ask for Israeli aid in Congress in Washington, to persuade the
administration of President Clinton to fund activity of the exiles'
National Congress, to train hundreds of volunteers in army bases, prior to
a strike to topple the Saddam regime. At the end of these efforts, with
the help of his Israeli friends and the Jewish lobby in Washington, Chalabi
managed to get USD four million. In Washington he met with then minister
Natan Sharansky, former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and impressed
them with his plans for molding Iraq into a democratic country . . .
This appeared in Yediot Aharonot on May 2, 2003
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Statement from the Israeli Left
Concerning their Meeting with US State Department Official
Peace Now Spokesman
Resource News Agency has asked the US consul in Jerusalem if
Burns would be willing to receive a delegation from Israelis who
are concerned about peace and not members of the Israeli left.
We are awaiting a response.]
On Sunday, May 4, 2003, the Israeli - Palestinian Peace
Coalition was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to
meet with William Burns, Deputy US Secretary of State. The
meeting was attended by Israeli and Palestinian delegation:
Colette Avital, Yossi Sarid, Ran Cohen, Yossi Beilin, Janet
Aviad, Mossi Raz, Moni Mordechi
Yasser Abed Rabbo, Ghassan Al-Khatib, Nabil Kasis, Samih
Al-Abed, Nazmi Al-Jāubi, Saman Khoury, Fadel Taboun.
Mr. Burns opened the meeting emphasizing Bush's strong
commitment to the Road Map, to working with Quartet and clear
determination to get going. He also said that Bush realizes
the strategic opportunity is right now because of three
- Abu Mazen's new government, the reaction to this will not last forever
- The overthrow of Saddam and the Arab states reactions
- This period prior to the October US Primaries
The Coalition representatives informed Burns about the
activities of the Peace Coalition, the joint adverts in the
newspaper supporting the RM, the meeting on May 13, 2003, and
described the public mood as realizing there is political
chance, but only if it a process that is not bilateral, but
with intense American pressure and support.
Ghassan Khatib, expressed his doubts over the practical
measures of the agreement and that the Road Map will never
work if the steps taken are not done by both sides at the
same time. If the steps demanded by the Road Map are done
separately then each side will be waiting to see if the other
side complies and then nothing will be achieved.
Colette also expressed reservations about the US
Conservatives, Christians and AIPAC that are lobbying to
torpedo the Road Map and suggested the Americans should help
us to express our views to the American Public.
She posed the question if there really is determination on
the part of Bush?
Burns assured the forum that the Presidentās determination
will run the whole process, and he believes the common sense
of all peoples will override the Conservatives and Christians
viewpoints once they see the RM potential.
The Coalition reps also stated that recent surveys showed
that 65-70% of the Israeli public supports the RM, and Janet
also pointed out to Burns that all the outposts are one and
the same phenomena and not to accept that any are legal, or
for security reasons.
Burns concluded that there is a need for more pressure and
leadership from the USA as a precondition to its success. He
thanked the Coalition for its work and encouraged us to
continue, as new peace attempts reflects the peoples will and
will result in fundamental changes.
Join us on May 13, 2003 at 12:00 noon for meeting at World
Bank Offices, A-Ram
Yariv Oppenheimer, Peace Now Spokesman
from outside Israel: 972-54-200060
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The Double Entendre of Abu
Abu Mazen was careful in the wording of his
commitments during the PLC meeting of April 29, 2003.
The text of Abu Mazen's speech to the PLC at www.jmcc.org shows that
all he says is that he will confiscate "unauthorized " weapons, which
certainly sounds good. .
However, what most media outlets do not realize is that Abu Mazen's call
to collect "unauthorized" weapons would not include the arms issued by the
PA to the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad as per an agreement that the PA
reached with both organizations to supply them both with "authorized
weapons" almost eight years ago.
Indeed, on May 9,1995, The Voice of Palestine reported an official
statement from then- PA Justice minister Freich Abu Medein in which
he announced that the weapons in the hands of the Hamas and Islamic
Jihad would be heretofore defined as "authorized", so long as they were
registered with the Palestinian Authority. When Abu Meidan was asked
about the dangers of the Hamas or Islamic Jihad using these weapons
against Israel, his answer was that he had gotten "assurances that they
would keep their weapons at home". At the time, the New York Times
reported the phenomenon of the PA authorizing weapons for the Hamas and
All this occurred after the Voice of Israel Radio had been reporting
for more than a month that the PA was going to confiscate their weapons,
following the early April 1995 Islamic Jihad terror attack against an Egged
bus near Kfar Darom, in which 6 Israeli soldiers and one American
tourist, Aliza Flatow, were killed.
Abu Mazen was also careful in the way in which he worded his call for the
end of Israeli settlements, something which rings well with the west and
with some of those in Israel who advocate the idea of "territories for
peace". However, Abu Mazen made his call for the end of "illegal"
settlements by weaving his words in with a call for the "right of return"
so as to incorporate the PLO definition of "illegal" settlements, which
defines all settlements as illegal if they replaced Arab villages and
Arab neighborhoods that were lost in 1948.
Abu Mazen's definition of "illegal settlements" would include, therefore,
most of the Jewish communities in the Negev and the Galilee, and most of
Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa.
Abu Mazen was also careful about how he denounced "terror" -- his words
fell far short of a call to Arabs to stop murdering Israelis
As recently as March 3, 2003, Abu Mazen provided an interview to the
London-basd Asharq Al-Awsat www.asharqalawsat.com in which he stated that
"We didn't talk about a break in the armed struggle. We talked about a
break in the militarization of the Intifada . . . It is our right to resist.
The Intifada must continue and it is the right of the Palestinian People to
resist and use all possible means in order to defend its presence and
existence. I add and say that if the Israelis come to your land in order to
erect a settlement then it is your fight to defend what is yours".
When Abu Mazen was asked whether this included "using arms" his answer was
"All means and arms as long as they are coming to your home, as this is
the right to resist. The restriction applies only to 'Shahada-Seeking'
[suicide] operations and going out to attack in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem . . . "
And when Abu Mazen referred to Jerusalem as the capital of a
Palestinian State, he made specific reference to all of Holy Jerusalem,
and not only to the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.
We might call this the Abu Mazen Double Entendre - He provides the
buzz words for the world to think that he is a man of peace and
compromise, while he provides a message for his people who understand
every word that he says in a context of a war of national liberation.
On a day when the media around the world is reporting that Abu Mazen has
promised to disarm Arab terrorists, the time has come to report what he is
really communicating to his people . . . especially in the wake of Arab terror
attacks in Tel Aviv and near Alon Moreh.
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