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Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR)


A Journal of Politics and the Arts
Volume 21 Number 2 (121)  March 2008Adar II 5768

Table of Contents



Paradise Lost: The Decline and Fall of the Arab World

Mark Silverberg

Peace or Jihad? Abrogation in Islam

David Bukay

Fundamentalist Islam – Violence and Terrorism (2)

Raphael Israeli

Military and Security

Still Facing Existential Threats: Nuclear War and Genocide in the Middle East

Louis René Beres


US Rewarding Arab Terrorism

Rachel Ehrenfeld and
Alyssa Lappen

State Land

Land Theft in the Galilee: Irresponsibility Becoming Tradition or Tradition Becoming Irresponsible?

Ze’ev Wolfson

The Radical Left

Summaries of Four Lectures: Manfred Gerstenfeld ■ Noah Milgram ■ Shlomo Sharan ■
Arieh Stav

Christian Zionism

The Theological Background of Christian Zionism

Mikael Knighton

Organized Crime

Organized Crime Organizations as a Threat to the Sovereign State

Tal Tovy


Thanks to Opportunism

Book Reviews

“The World of a Soldier/Yeshiva Student” – Dina Levin on From Lebanon – Wherever They Are by Michael Schonfeld ■ Raphael Israeli on The History of Terrorism: From Antiquity to al-Qaeda, Gerard Chaliaud and Arnaud Blin (eds.)

Literature and Arts Supplement ■ Editor: Dror Eydar


Dror Eydar


Admiel Kosman


Eliaz Cohen ■ Ester Vitkon ■ Zvi Kedar ■ Hava Pinhas-Cohen ■ Rachel Heller ■
Rena Lee ■ Shmuel Klein ■ Shimon Marmelshtein ■ Miron Izakson ■ Dror Eydar


Sigal Edelman


Selected Summaries


Paradise Lost: The Decline and Fall of the Arab World

Mark Silverberg

For a millennium, the Arab world has been in a steady tailspin that has led to a culture of victimhood and death fueled by religious hatred, sectarian violence, massive poverty, repressive governments, vast illiteracy, medieval laws, centuries of isolation from Western enlightenment, and an overwhelming almost mystical desire to restore past glories from its lost Andalusian empire in Moorish Spain. An oft-quoted statistic from the UN’s Arab Human Development Reports is that the amount of literature translated into Spanish in a single year exceeds the entire corpus of what has been translated into Arabic in 1,000 years and according to another recent UN study, fully one-third of the Arab world (or 99.5 million Arabs) is illiterate.

These failings have been used by the Arab world to scapegoat Israel since its birth in 1948. But the truth lies much closer to home. It begins and ends with the need for an Islamic Reformation and Renaissance.  However, to reinterpret the Qur`an to accommodate 21st century globalization will be a profoundly difficult task, for much of Islamic history is rooted in tribalism and an historical evolution totally different from that of the Western experience. Islam supports authoritarianism by rulers and submission by followers. Islamic political culture permits no independent public sphere, and no separation between the spiritual and the temporal. Its emphasis on divine sovereignty rather than popular sovereignty (with the former being expressed through the shari`ah and interpreted by religious scholars) puts many of the most important issues of public policy outside the realm of public decision-making. Subject to all this, the religion of Islam must somehow find a way to live in the modern world. That is its challenge for the future. It cannot compel religious obedience through murder and expect to emerge from the Dark Ages.

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Peace or Jihad? Abrogation in Islam

David Bukay

The Qur`an is unique among sacred scriptures in accepting a doctrine of abrogation in which later pronouncements of Muhammad declare null and void his earlier ones. This is based on four verses in the Qu`ran, which justify abrogation.

Why it is so important? The Qur`an is not organized chronologically, but according to the length of the chapters; divided between Meccan and Medinan chapters. There is no agreement as to which were the first and the last chapters revealed, and even worse, many Meccan chapters include verses from the Medinan period.

Classical Muslim scholars argued that anyone who studied the Qur`an without having mastered the doctrine of abrogation is “deficient”. Understanding abrogation is crucially important to understand the correct application of Allah’s laws and is among the most important preconditions for interpretation of the Qur`an. It is also critical to understanding both Jihad (the holy war) and Da`wah (the propagation of Islam).

These scholars also examined the pattern in which Muhammad engaged in abrogation during the revelation, because Qur`anic laws were brief and insufficient for the needs of the Muslim community. He changed his rules according to the circumstances and the demands of the people. It was quite common that when a verse was revealed, Muhammad would change it according to the reaction of his surroundings. Sometimes the revelation used to descend on the Prophet during the night, and then he forgot it during the day. This ability to add or delete verses according to questions or contemporary issues demonstrates a perplexing side of the religion.

All in all, there are four categories of abrogation: 43 chapters unaffected by abrogation (no abrogating and no abrogated); six chapters that augmented the concept of abrogation but were themselves not abrogated; 40 chapters with abrogated wording but without abrogating; and 25 chapters with both their wording and authority abrogated.

During the lifetime of Muhammad, the Islamic community passed through three different stages. In the beginning, from 610 until 622, Allah commanded restraint. As the Muslims relocated and established themselves in Medina (623-626), Allah permitted Muslims to fight in a defensive war. However, in the last six years of Muhammad’s life (626-632), Allah permitted Muslims to fight an aggressive war against polytheists and monotheists.

Statements that there is no compulsion in religion and that jihad is primarily about internal struggle and not about holy war may receive applause in university lecture halls, diplomatic board rooms and the media, but they misunderstand the importance of abrogation in Islamic theology. It is important to acknowledge that what university scholars believe, and what most Muslims believe are totally different things. Once Muhammad was given permission to kill in the name of Allah, the sword of Islam never stopped shedding blood, internally and externally.


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Fundamentalist Islam – Violence and Terrorism (2)

Raphael Israeli

Muslim fundamentalism is not a new phenomenon, for its roots have been part and parcel of Islamic renewal since its early days. Several movements of reform, which have attempted to pull Islam and modernity together, far from making that breakthrough, have generated reactionary movements, like the Muslim Brothers, who produced a backlash against the reformers, the Arab secular regimes and especially the West who inspired and supported them.

The helplessness of the West in comprehending and then countering this new Muslim activism, has had far-reaching repercussions not only against Europe itself, the heartland of Western culture, but especially against the Jews and Israel who are viewed as the extension of the West in the Middle East. Israeli “peace groups”, who deluded themselves that by further concessions they could placate the rage of the fundamentalists, have only produced more wars and driven Israel into a political and security impasse.


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Still Facing Existential Threats:
Nuclear War and Genocide in the Middle East

Louis René Beres

Professor Louis René Beres, Chair of Project Daniel (final report published as ACPR Policy Paper No. 155) begins with the essential understanding that Iranian nuclearization remains an existential threat to Israel. Notwithstanding the recent and plainly inaccurate US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) concerning Iran, this threat also remains authentically genocidal in the legal sense. It follows that Israel’s reliance upon its own nuclear strategy and nuclear deterrent will now necessarily expand. To express this reliance successfully, Professor Beres explains,

Israel shall soon have to make a long-postponed decision on preemption (anticipatory self-defense) against pertinent Iranian hard targets. If this decision should continue to be postponed, Israel will likely lose the chance to defend itself conventionally.

With these facts in mind, this article offers a timely and informed strategic dialectic for Israel. It recommends, inter alia, that Israel prepare for

1.  The improbable but still conceivable prospect of an irrational nuclear enemy in the region, and

2.  An enemy that could act rationally, but still decide to strike first with nuclear weapons.

In either case, we learn from Professor Beres that a stable nuclear balance of power/balance of terror in the region would be out of the question (nuclear proliferation in the Middle East could never create the same sort of stable equilibrium that was once obtained between the US and USSR) and that Israel must remain the region’s only nuclear power.

Finally, this nuanced article by Professor Beres explores sensitive issues of nuclear targeting for Israel (countervalue vs. counterforce); escalation dominance (which Israel might lose altogether should Iran be permitted to become nuclear); diverse circumstances that would likely produce a nuclear outcome; strategic conditions that could yield an Israeli nuclear preemption (highly unlikely); and the imperative avoidance of nuclear warfighting.

This article is offered here by Professor Beres in the sincere hope that it will quickly lead to ongoing and further refinements in Israeli strategic thought and doctrine.


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US Rewarding Arab Terrorism

Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen

The Bush Administration’s search for partners to promote “peace” and “democracy” within the Palestinian Authority (PA) resembles Lord Charles Bowen’s “blind man in a dark room looking for a black hat – which isn’t there”.

For the first time, the Bush Administration plans to give $150 million in cash directly to the Palestinian Authority (PA) Treasury, as part of a $496.5 million “aid” package, including $410 million for development programs. This added to the $86.5 million for CIA “security training”, which Congress authorized in April 2007.

The CIA has apparently assumed the Palestinian terrorist-training role previously held by the former Soviet Union. Since 1994, the CIA armed and trained thousands of Palestinian “security forces”, who subsequently joined every Palestinian terrorist organization.

CIA Palestinian training success is best described by a member of the PA’s Chairman own security unit – Force 17, officer Abu Yusef: “The operations of the Palestinian resistance would [not] have been so successful and “would not have killed more than 1,000 Israelis since 2000, and defeated the Israelis in Gaza without [American military] trainings,” he boasted in August 2007.

Since the Oslo Accords, the PA received some $14 billion to $20 billion in international aid, according to a 2007 Funding for Peace Coalition (FPC) report to the British Parliament. Each Palestinian received $4,000 to $8,000 per year. In comparison, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), provided $1 billion in humanitarian aid for 2.5 million Darfur refugees from 2003 to 2006 – only $100 per person annually. Moreover, of the $7 billion pledged international aid, only $5 billion were spent to assist more than 5 million Tsunami victims in more than 15 countries on two continents.

The PA received “the highest per capita aid transfer in the history of foreign aid anywhere”, according to former World Bank country director for Gaza and the West Bank, Nigel Roberts. Not surprisingly, hundreds of thousands of Gazans spent more than $300 million in less than two week shopping spree, after Hamas blew up the border with Egypt. Yet, the Palestinian economy is in ruins, Why?

In March 2007, PA Prime Minister and former World Bank official Salam Fayyad, told London’s Daily Telegraph: “No one can give donors that assurance” that funds reach their designated destinations. “Where is all of the transparency in all of this? It’s gone.” Controlling Palestinian finances, Fayyad concluded, is “virtually impossible”.

Palestinian violence has escalated since the 1994 PA establishment and PA officials have produced an unbroken record of unfulfilled promises and outright deception. Yet President George W. Bush in his January 28 State of the Union Address, reassured the Palestinians that “America will do, and I will do, everything we can to help them achieve...a Palestinian state by the end of this year.”

Nevertheless, US-favored PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who in 1957 with Yasser Arafat co-founded the al Fatah terrorist group, assumed the role of his predecessor. Like Muslim Brotherhood, Marxist–trained Jihadist Arafat, neither does Abbas “recognize that confronting terror is essential to achieving a state where his people can live in dignity and at peace with Israel,” as President Bush declared.

Abbas remains committed to the organization’s raison d’etre – destroying Israel and expelling the Jewish people from the region. Despite public Fatah-Hamas leadership disagreements, branding one another “murderers and thieves”, Abbas arranged on Jan. 30 to give Hamas $3.1 billion of $7.7 billion that international donor community pledged last December in Paris.

Abbas’ support for Hamas is not new. In Feb. 2007, He announced, “We must unite the Hamas and Fatah blood in the struggle against Israel as we did at the beginning of the intifada.” He stated this en route to Mecca to meet with the Saudi King, and Hamas terror chiefs Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh. The Saudis pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in “humanitarian aid” – which, like previous pledges, they failed to deliver.

Rather than $660 million in annual aid the Saudis promised in 2002, the kingdom donated only $84 million since then, according to World Bank reports. Other Arab League members, who in 2002 promised $55 million monthly to foster PA economic development, gave even less.

Meanwhile, however, the Saudis and the Gulf states funneled hundreds of millions of petrodollars – some raised in government-sponsored telethons – to reward Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Hamas and Palestinian Jihad suicide bombers and fuel the anti-Israel Jihad. Indeed, “Saudi Arabia remains a source of recruits and finances for...Levant-based militants,” said National Intelligence Director J. Michael McConnell, before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on February 5, 2008.

McConnell should have included USAID on his terror-funding list. A Dec. 2007 USAID audit reported that the mission administering its funds gave money to groups and institutions affiliated with US designated terrorist organizations, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It warned: “Without additional controls, the mission could inadvertently provide support to entities or individuals associated with terrorism.”

USAID “failure” to prevent funds from reaching Palestinian terrorist is not surprising given US previous Administrations support for Arafat, and now for Abbas, who repeatedly claims: “We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation,” while reiterating his desire for “a political partnership with Hamas”.

It is time for President Bush to remove his blinders and stop donating US-taxpayer funds to this murderous partnership. It is also time for Congress to demand a proper monitoring program to oversee the legitimate use of US aid to the Palestinians.


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Land Theft in the Galilee
Irresponsibility Becoming Tradition or
Tradition Becoming Irresponsible?

Zev Wolfson

This article is not scientific research, but rather an analysis of a dozen scientific publications and official and semi-official reports regarding land use in the Galilee over the last decade. The results of this analysis have been “translated” into maps and satellite photos of the Galilee which visualize some basic facts that remained vague – intentionally or not – even in statistical reports.

There are masses of illegally constructed buildings – entire neighborhoods – spread over dozens of square kilometers of agricultural lands as well as on state- and public-owned lands which are not fit for settlements. Most of these neighborhoods/buildings lack basic physical and social infrastructure and endanger the ecological and social stability on a regional and country-wide scale.

The density of the Muslim population in these areas is less than in city-like settlements and the structure of the society helps perpetuate this space-consuming process.

The following contributing factors were also analyzed:

?   The demographic factor;

?   Modern building technology;

?   Juridical factor and

?   Activity of NGOs (e.g. Addala) as the strongest protectors of the illegal constructors in the Israeli courts.

A comparative analysis of recent Israeli-Arab settlement activities and the development of Arab settlements in Samaria (as well as in some regions of the Gaza Strip) shows similarity in the land-use based on hamula-owned principles, and accordingly, lead to similar spreading chaos as a result.

Special attention was paid to carrying capacity (an ecological factor), which plays a critical role in the destabilization of the situation in the region. Comparative analysis of policies in land use in Israel and other countries leads to a proposal to implement the “econet” concept. According to this concept, ecologically stable areas must remain as a net amongst metropolises and conglomerates of expansive Arabs settlements, otherwise ecological and social destabilization will bring it to collapse. Ecological management in the state of New York (where up to 80% of the total land, including private real estate, is under various ecological restrictions) is provided as a possible model for emulation.


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The Theological Background of Christian Zionism

Mikael Knighton
Christians Standing with Israel

Over the years, Christian support of the State of Israel has been looked upon with a suspicious and vigilant eye. In fact, history will clearly show that the essence of pure evil, operating under the guise of “Christianity”, has facilitated a complete and justifiable collapse in Judeo-Christian relations. Only recently has the relationship between the Jewish people and Christians become fruitful, and the “mending” process, albeit positive, continues to evolve. Even so, the question remains: “Why do Christians support the State of Israel?” Christian Zionism, a theological belief that identifies the restoration of the Jewish people to their biblical homeland as the literal fulfillment of biblical prophecies foretold thousands of years ago, may arguably exist as the most oft-misunderstood “form” of Christianity, today. Moreover, Christian Zionist dogma has been the recipient of much indignation from those who would inaccurately and misguidedly opine and define it as “unbiblical” and/or “extreme”. However, an objective and comprehensive examination of the theological background of Christian Zionism will reveal several, relevant misconceptions. Moreover, after reading this analysis, one may likely discern that Christian Zionism is not a “fundamentalist movement”, as it were, but a manifestation and implementation of a sound, theological doctrine predicated upon Scriptural truth. In so doing, one may likely and accurately generalize that the Christian support of the State of Israel should not be looked upon as a biblical doctrine “exclusive” to Christian Zionism, but to all of Christianity. 


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Organized Crime Organizations
as a Threat to the Sovereign State

Tal Tovy

This article deals with the threat stemming from organized crime organizations to both national and individual security and how the damage to personal security, for all intents and purposes, undermines the sovereignty of the nation state. Displays of weakness on the part of the state in providing protection for its citizens, can, ultimately, undermine the trust relationship between the citizen and the state. Through an analysis of the global, border-transcending nature of organized crime, the article will demonstrate how the sovereign state along with the traditional institutions of the international community could lose control of the instruments for implementation of violence within its borders.

An additional objective of the article will be to attempt to demonstrate that the organized crime organizations have long ago transcended “classic” criminal parameters and that they can be characterized as terrorist organizations, even though a precise, agreed-upon, definition of what constitutes a terrorist organization does not yet exist. In other words, if we analyze the variety of definitions attempting to establish what constitutes terrorism, while at the same time we analyze the actions of organized crime, it is possible to establish that the border has been completely obfuscated. Today, we can find terrorist organizations employing organized crime tactics in order to finance their activities and especially how to launder drug money. Conversely, organized crime organizations have learned how to more effectively secure the hierarchical structure of their organization and they adopted combat tactics learned from terrorist organizations with the objective of more effectively battling the police forces and other law enforcement authorities pursuing them.

At the article’s conclusion I will test that contention by discussing Russian organized crime organization.

By analyzing the Russian case, I will point out the great danger embodied in the actions of organized crime and that they can be categorized as terrorist organizations. Similarly, the article will attempt to point out the connection between the organized crime organization and terrorist organization and how that connection, for all intents and purposes, exacerbates the threat to world security in the post-Cold War era.


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