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Israeli Palestinian Confrontation, May 25, 2011

Written by The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center

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News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict May 18-24, 2011

On the eve of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's arrival in the United States and during his visit, American President Barack Obama gave two speeches, one at the State Department and the other at a policy conference of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group. In the State Department speech he said that the borders of the State of Israel and the Palestinian state had to be based on the 1967 lines with "mutually agreed [territorial] swaps." At the AIPAC conference he clarified his position, saying that the final border would be based on the "new demographic realities" on the ground and the needs of both sides.

President_Obama_and_Prime_Minister_NetanyahuAmerican President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu meet on May 20 (Israeli Government Press Office, May 20, 2011).

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu was critical of the first speech, mentioning previous commitments regarding the 1967 borders made to Israel by the United States and in the 2004 letter from President Bush. After the second speech Netanyahu expressed his appreciation to the American president, saying he was determined to find a way to renew the peace talks. On May 24 he was scheduled to speak before a joint session of Congress about his position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

In their initial responses to President Obama's speech, spokesmen for the Palestinian Authority said that the Palestinian state had to be based on the 1967 borders and blamed Israel for freezing the negotiations. Hamas spokesmen, however, denounced Obama's speeches, saying they would not recognize Israel and that they adhered to the "resistance" [i.e., terrorism] and the so-called "right of return."

The Main Points of the Speeches and Remarks Made by American President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu about the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, and the Palestinian Reactions

 In speeches and remarks made on the eve of the Netanyahu's arrival in the United States and during his visit, both the president and Netanyahu clarified their positions regarding a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. On May 24 Netanyahu was scheduled to speak before a joint session of the United States Congress.

The President's First Speech

 American President Obama gave a speech to the State Department on May 19, the eve of Netanyahu's arrival in the United States. The following are the statements he made about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (White House website, May 19, 2011) (ITIC emphases throughout):

Benyamin Netanyahu's Response to Barack Obama's First Speech

 Benyamin Netanyahu responded to Barack Obama's first speech by noting America's 2004 commitments to Israel (i.e., President Bush's letter), according to which Israel would not be asked to withdraw to the 1967 lines. Those lines, Netanyahu said, are indefensible and leave large population concentrations of Israelis in Judea and Samaria, which would be beyond the borders of Israel. According to the same commitments, the Palestinian refugees would be settled outside the borders of the State of Israel (Israeli prime minister's website, May 19, 2011).

 In addition, Netanyahu made it clear that any agreement with the Palestinians had to include Palestinian recognition of the State of Israel and an end to all Palestinian demands on Israel. He also said that Israel's security demanded that IDF soldiers be deployed along the Jordan River (Israeli prime minister's website, May 19; Haaretz, May 19 and 20, 2011).

The President's Speech to AIPAC

 In his speech to AIPAC, President Obama reiterated and clarified the principles of his solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (White House website, May 22, 2011) (ITIC emphasis throughout):

Benyamin Netanyahu's Response to Barack Obama's AIPAC Speech

 Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his appreciation for US President Barack Obama's remarks at the AIPAC Policy Conference. He said, "I share the President's wish to promote peace and I appreciate his past and present efforts to achieve this goal. I am determined to work with President Obama in order to find ways to resume the peace negotiations. Peace is a vital necessity for us all" (ITIC emphasis) (Israeli Prime Minister's website, May 22, 2011).

Palestinian Responses to Obama's Two Speeches

 Palestinian Authority spokesmen stated that the Palestinian state had to be based on the 1967 borders, and blamed Israel for freezing the peace process. Hamas spokesmen, however, denounced Obama's speeches, emphasizing that they would not recognize Israel, and called for adherence to "resistance" [i.e., terrorism] and the so-called "right of return."

 Initial statements from senior Palestinian Authority figures were the following:

 Senior Hamas figures said the following:

Important Terrorism Events in Israel's South

 This past week no rocket or mortar shell hits were identified in Israeli territory. Since April 18 no rocket or mortar shell has fallen in Israeli territory.

Developments in the Gaza Strip

The Crossings

 This past week between 249 and 279 trucks carrying merchandise entered the Gaza Strip every day. (Website of the Israeli government coordinator for the territories, May 24, 2011).

The Political and Propaganda Campaign against Israel

The Palestinian Authority Chairman's Op-Ed Piece in the New York Times

 Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority, wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times while visiting the United States. In it he said that the Palestinians were "prepared for statehood" and would continue to seek recognition among the nations of the world. Some of his statements were the following (New York Times, May 17, 2011):

Call for More Protests following Nakba Day

 The Palestinians and elements within the Arab countries encouraged by the events of Nakba Day are currently representing them as a new tactic in the campaign to achieve their goals against Israel.There have been specific calls for protests to be held on or around June 6 to mark "Naksa Day" (the defeat of the Arabs in the Six Day War in 1967).

 FatahNabil Shaath, member of Fatah's executive committee, said that the Nakba Day marches were "only a hint of what is to come." The Associated Press reported from Ramallah that pro-Palestinian activists plan to use the social networks to organize mass marches to Israel's borders and challenge the IDF soldiers, causing them to open fire (AP, May 17, 2011).

Global Jihad

The Army of Islam Designated as a Terrorist Organization by the United States

 A spokesman for the American State Department announced that the Army of Islam had been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States. According to the announcement, the Army of Islam is a Palestinian organization affiliated with the global jihad whose operatives, among other things, fired rockets at Israel from Egyptian territory, carried out terrorist activities in Egypt, abducted two Fox News correspondents and the British journalist Alan Johnston. In addition, it said, the organization integrates global jihad Salafist ideology with the traditional model of the armed Palestinian campaign. The organization collaborates with Hamas and is currently attempting to develop closer contacts with Al-Qaeda (American State Department website, May 20, 2011).2

1 The statistics do not include the rockets and mortar shells which fell inside the Gaza Strip.

2 For further information about the Army of Islam, see the February 2, 2011 ITIC bulletin, Exporting terrorism and subversion from the Gaza Strip

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center opened in 2001. It is part of the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC) , an NGO dedicated to the memory of the fallen of the Israeli Intelligence Community and it is located near Gelilot , north of Tel Aviv. It is headed by (Col. Ret.) Dr. Reuven Erlich .

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