Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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DAILY ALERT

July 22, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Iran, Syria, and Hizballah Threaten Israel's North
- Lenny Ben-David

    U.S. Senator Bob Graham, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told "Meet the Press" on July 7 that there are "more urgent" priorities facing the U.S. than dealing with Saddam Hussein. He singled out the terrorist training camps in Syria and Lebanon "where the next generation of terrorists are being prepared."
    For more than a year, Hizballah - with Syrian and Iranian blessings - has been launching limited but dangerous attacks against Israel's north, testing Israel's tolerance. President Bush warned in his speech on June 24 that "Syria must choose the right side in the war on terror by closing terrorist camps and expelling terrorist organizations."
    Since Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon two years ago, Hizballah has moved its frontline positions to within several hundred yards of Israel's border and its civilian communities. Syria has not permitted the dispatch of the Lebanese army to the southern regions controlled by Hizballah, as required by UN Security Council Resolution 425.
    Israeli intelligence sources warn that Hizballah has amassed 9,000 rockets and missiles, including new 70-kilometer missiles that put one million Israeli citizens within their range.
    Since January, Hizballah gunners have been firing anti-aircraft guns into the skies above northern Israel, raining shrapnel on Israeli communities.
    In March 2002, Palestinian gunmen under Hizballah command crossed into northern Israel and killed seven Israelis.
    During April's "Defensive Shield" operation, Hizballah fired 1,000 anti-tank missiles and 1,000 mortar shells at Israeli positions in northern Israel in solidarity with the Palestinians. U.S. intelligence officials reported in April that Iran's annual budget for Hizballah now exceeds $100 million.
    The Washington Post warned on June 30 that Hizballah is "increasingly teaming up with al Qaeda on logistics and training for terrorist operations [including] coordination on explosives and tactics training, money laundering, weapons smuggling, and acquiring forged documents."
    (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/ Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)


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News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Israel Demurs on Deporting Bomb Suspects' Relatives
    Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein told the Israeli Supreme Court that there were no immediate plans to deport any relatives of two terrorists charged with masterminding two bombing attacks last week that took 12 lives. Rubinstein ruled that only relatives found, case by case, to be directly involved in supporting suicide bombers could be deported. (New York Times)
  • Bomb Attack on Commuter Train, 1 Hurt
    Palestinian terrorists detonated a bomb under an Israeli passenger train during morning rush hour on Sunday near the town of Rehovot, wounding the driver. (Sky News)
  • Iran Blew Up Jewish Center in Argentina, Defector Says
    The Iranian government organized and carried out the bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires eight years ago that killed 85 people, and then paid Argentina's president at the time, Carlos Menem, $10 million to cover it up, a high-level defector from Iran's intelligence agency has said in sealed testimony. A 100-page transcript of a secret deposition was provided to the New York Times by Argentine officials frustrated that the case remains unsolved. (New York Times)
  • Lives Forever Scarred After Suicide Bombings
    An estimated 2,500 Israelis - 40 last week alone - have been wounded in suicide bombings in the past 22 months. 40% of the injured will have significant permanent disability and will require years of costly and complicated physical and mental rehabilitation. Emma Skuleshevsky, wounded in the Dolphinarium disco attack in Tel Aviv a year ago, walks around today with a nail in her head and two more in her abdomen. (Los Angeles Times)
  • In Gaza, Blame Turns toward Arafat
    In Gaza, few are sure how the unemployed laborers' protest will play out. However, there's a growing concern that the protest will provoke people to abandon their support for the intifada in hopes of restoring economic stability and getting enough to eat. (Salon.com)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:
  • Nusseibeh's Office Reopens in Jerusalem
    Two weeks after shutting down the East Jerusalem offices of Al Quds University president Sari Nusseibeh, Public Security Minister Uzi Landau ordered them reopened Monday. Landau lifted the closure after Nusseibeh signed a written pledge declaring that he would refrain from using the university offices as a representative agency of the Palestinian Authority and agreed not to receive funds from the Authority. (Ha'aretz)
  • Report: Israel Threatens to Strike Inside Syria for Hizballah Attacks
    Israel has warned that it will strike military targets inside Syria the next time Hizballah attacks Israel, the Sunday Times (UK) reported. Former head of military intelligence Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Malka was quoted as warning that "sooner rather than later we'll be engaged in a conflict with Syria, unless Syria changes its attitude." (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Future of the Multinational Force in Sinai
    A meeting between Egyptian, Israeli, and American officials this week in Washington will discuss the fate of the hundreds of U.S. soldiers sunbathing on the Sinai's sand dunes. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld wants to reduce their number. (Ha'aretz)
  • Poll: 80% of Palestinians Would Back Iraq If U.S. Attacks
    Almost 80 percent of Palestinians believe they should support Iraq if the United States launches renewed military action against the country, according to a poll by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • From Oslo to Ground Zero - Ruth Wisse
    The legitimation of Arafat was a boost to the coalition of all anti-democratic forces ranged against the West. Those forces may have used Israel as the excuse for anti-Western aggression, but Israel was only the most vulnerable target of hostility aimed at democracy entire. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The East Jerusalem Model - Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert
    Prior to October 2000, the residents of east Jerusalem were living in fear as the Palestinian security services had managed to operate freely in their neighborhoods. I received daily reports of revenge attacks, extortions, illegal arrests, and kidnappings being carried out against Jerusalem's Arab residents by the Palestinian police. In recent months, however, we have managed to reassert total Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem. Almost overnight, the Arab neighborhoods no longer had to fear the violence and kidnappings by the Palestinian gangs. (Washington Times)
  • The Coming War with Saddam - Stephen F. Hayes
    War with Iraq is just short of inevitable. After meeting with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz last week, Turkish prime minister Bulen Ecevit told a Turkish television network, "The American administration is not hiding that it is determined on a military intervention against Iraq." This spring, New Yorker reporter Jeffrey Goldberg, visiting Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq to document Saddam's gassing of villages there in the late-1980s, found stunning, first-hand accounts of active coordination between Saddam's top intelligence service, the Mukhabarat, and al Qaeda. (Weekly Standard)
  • Hitting the Settlements Again - Jackson Diehl
    Jackson Diehl asserts that Israel has established 44 new "settlement sites." (Washington Post)
        The Israeli government, according to its government guidelines, is not establishing any new settlements, while Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer has removed illegal outposts at the edge of settlements.
  • Limited-Term Agreement Vs. Unilateral Disengagement - Shlomo Brom
    There are strong, inherent advantages to a partial agreement over unilateral disengagement. Therefore, the reluctance to engage in new attempts to reach an agreement with the Palestinians must be overcome, notwithstanding any fundamental doubt as to the feasibility of reaching such an agreement. (Jaffee Center - Tel Aviv University)
  • Talking Points:

    The IDF Returns to Jenin - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)

    • The IDF presence in the Palestinian cities of the West Bank does not take too much effort, at least for now. In Jenin, for example, the tanks and armored personnel carriers on patrol have often been replaced by one or two jeeps.
    • The current operation has greatly reduced the amount of friction between the army and the civilian population. There is no permanent army presence inside the city and not a single house has been taken over. The troops go in and out of the city according to need, mostly for specific arrests.
    • There is minimal resistance to the actions. Occasionally, a local Fatah cell lays some mines on the roads taken by jeeps.
    • The tent camp put up in Jenin by the UN after Operation Defensive Shield is mostly empty. According to the army, it fills up only when the foreign press shows up, about once a month.
    • A summary of the current Jenin operation shows some 70 arrests in a month, including 10 people - two of them young women - who sought to blow themselves up inside Israel.
    • It's doubtful that the trauma of the shock suffered by the Palestinians in the territories as a result of Defensive Shield and the current operation is properly appreciated in Israel. "They felt they were about to break us, but it didn't happen," said a senior officer. "For them, the dream has been broken. It's almost like 1967 or even 1948. Nearly everything they built since Oslo is gone."


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