Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

January 31, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

The FBI Says, Count the Mosques - Michael Isikoff (Newsweek)

    The FBI has directed chiefs of the bureau's 56 field offices to develop "demographic" profiles of their localities - including tallying the number of mosques.
    FBI officials said the move is justified given continuing concerns about undetected "sleeper cells" and troublesome evidence that some mosques may be serving as cover for terrorist activity.

Finsbury Park Mosque Center of the Storm - Michael Brunton and Hugh Porter (Time)

    The North London Central Mosque was founded in 1990 by mostly Bangladeshi worshipers.
    King Fahd of Saudi Arabia provided over 1 million euros to fund the construction, the total cost of which was estimated at 2.3 million euros.
    Toward the end of 1996, the anti-Western cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri became a preacher at the mosque, an appointment that upset many regular worshipers.
    Several prominent terrorist suspects are known to have visited or stayed at the mosque, including Djamel Beghal, who was linked to an al-Qaeda plot to bomb the U.S. embassy in Paris, shoe bomber Richard Reid, and suspected 20th hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui.


Human Rights for Hamas? - Melissa Radler (Jerusalem Post)

    Does Hamas have a seat on New York City's Human Rights Commission?
    Several rabbis charge that Omar Mohammedi, a commission member who also serves as general counsel to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), is a front man for the terrorist group.
    See also The Real Extremists - Editorial (New York Sun)


Arafat's Wife Linked to Stolen Car Operation (Maariv)

    According to reports reaching the IDF and Israel Police, the Albahar company owned by Suha Arafat is involved in forging license plates and ownership papers for cars stolen from Israelis.


Turkey Still Sees Syria as PKK Supporter (Middle East Newsline)

    A report by Turkey's intelligence community submitted to the Turkish National Security Council last week asserts that Syria has not ended support for the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), despite pledges from the regime of President Bashar Assad.


For the Record:

Israel Medical Association Responds to Human Rights Critic (Lancet)
    Derek Summerfield of the Institute of Psychiatry in London criticized the Israel Medical Association in the British medical journal Lancet for defending the use of torture.
    The IMA responded: "The IMA is well aware that torture is not conducive to good health and therefore we repudiate its use."
    "Unfortunately, Summerfield seems to forget that being blown up in a terrorist attack also has a deleterious effect on physical and mental health."


Key Links

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Britain Says Al Qaeda Aimed to Build Nuclear Bomb
    The British government has released documents it says proves Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network tried to develop a "dirty" nuclear weapon in the late 1990s. Intelligence agents infiltrated al Qaeda training camps in the late 1990s and reported back to London that bin Laden had acquired radioactive isotopes, the BBC said. Al Qaeda tried to develop the bomb at a nuclear laboratory in Herat, Afghanistan. The documents included al Qaeda training manuals which detail how to use dirty bombs to maximum effect. Dirty bombs use conventional explosives to scatter radioactive material. (Reuters)
  • Russia Softens Opposition to Military Action in Iraq
    President Putin offered a hint of a shift in the Kremlin's position on Tuesday when he said Russia might support new "solutions" to the Iraqi crisis should it be proven that Saddam Hussein was thwarting UN weapons inspectors. Although couched in assurances that the permanent members of the Security Council should approve any actions, Mr. Putin's warning was unmistakable. "I am not going to say right now what these solutions might be," he said, "but they will be tougher than today's." (New York Times)
  • Bush's Speech Declaration of War, Says Syria
    Syrian state media on Thursday called U.S. President Bush's speech this week a "declaration of war" against neighboring Iraq. Al-Baath newspaper said: "The speech was not a State of the Union address as much as it was a state of Iraq address...it ranked as a declaration of war." Al-Baath is the mouthpiece of the ruling Baath Socialist Arab Party, chaired by President Bashar al-Assad. "How can we imagine that the Zionism-leaning circles in America and elsewhere would accept a dialogue with the land of Babylon?" it asked in its editorial. (Reuters/Times of India)
  • U.S. Backs Further Delay in Mideast Peace Plan
    The Bush administration is prepared to further delay publication of a Middle East peace plan until after a new Israeli government is formed, probably six weeks from now, sources said Thursday. But with war against Iraq increasingly likely in March, many experts believe that the new timetable is unrealistic and that the administration would press to delay the plan until after the confrontation with Iraq were resolved. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • President Bush Obtains Another Smoking Gun Disclosing Iraqi-Based Non-Conventional Terror: "Abul Abbas Ordered Me to Spread Poison in the Sea of Galilee or in the National Water Carrier" - Semadar Peri
        In mid-February 2001, Muhammad Farouk Abu Rub, a Palestinian intelligence officer, traveled to Iraq with two young men whom he recruited for a military camp in Iraq. The three were taken from the lobby of the Kasser Andalos Hotel in Baghdad by Bassam Abu Shakra, deputy head of the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), for an hour and a half car ride to the "Al Quds" military camp, where Palestinians are trained along with Iraqi soldiers.
        The Baghdad-based PLF, headed by Abul Abbas, was responsible for hijacking the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985, and murdering American-Jewish passenger Leon Klinghoffer. Abul Abbas was recently in Cairo for Palestinian negotiations under the auspices of Egyptian intelligence, but when the U.S. sought his extradition from Egypt, he disappeared. (Yediot Ahronot)
  • IDF Launches Month-Long Operation in Hebron - Amos Harel
    The IDF Thursday launched a large-scale operation in Hebron with combined ground and armored forces in an effort to capture wanted militants. Military sources said only the long-term presence of significant forces in the city will lead to intelligence gathering that will eventually lead to the arrests of militant leaders. In the past 2 1/2 months, 22 Israelis have died in attacks by Palestinians in the Hebron area. (Ha'aretz)
  • EU to Debate PA Funds Misuse - Herb Keinon
    European Parliament member Francois Zimeray, a French MP affiliated with the European Labor Party, succeeded Thursday in getting 170 of his colleagues to agree to initiate a debate on establishing a commission of inquiry into the EU's funding of the Palestinian Authority. The signatures of a minimum of one-quarter of the members, 157 out of the 626-member parliament, are needed to put the inquiry on the agenda. Members appear to agree that the PA has stolen money meant for ordinary Palestinians, said Shira Ansky, an assistant to Zimeray. "About corruption there is a consensus," she said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Soldiers' Votes Strengthen Center-Right in Knesset
    Likud and the National Religious Party will each gain an additional seat in the entering Knesset, after the counting of ballots cast by soldiers. One Nation and the Hadash Party each lost a seat. (Ha'aretz)

    Voting for the 16th Knesset - Final Results

        According to final voting returns that now include the votes of soldiers, for elections to the 16th Knesset, the leading parties are Likud - 38 seats, Labor - 19, and Shinui - 15. The center-right and religious bloc won 69 seats, while the center, center-left, and Arab party bloc won 51 seats.

    PartyIdeologyLeaderSeats 1999Seats 2003
    (Change)
    Votes
    Center-Right and Religious Bloc:69
    Center-Right Parties47
    LikudWill talk peace with Palestinians only after a cessation of violenceAriel Sharon1938
    (+19)
    925,279
    National UnionNo Palestinian stateAvigdor Lieberman77
    173,973
    Yisrael b'AliyahPalestinian state only if democraticNatan Sharansky 62
    (-4)
    67,719
    Center-Right Religious Parties22
    ShasUltra-Orthodox and traditional SephardimEli Yishai1711
    (-6)
    258,879
    United Torah JudaismUltra-Orthodox AshkenazimYaakov Litzman55
    135,087
    National Religious PartyReligious Zionism, emphasizing army service and the Land of IsraelEffi Eitam56
    (+1)
    132,370
     
    Center, Center-Left, and Arab Party Bloc:51
    Center-Left Parties25
    LaborResume talks on Palestinian statehood before end to violence Amram Mitzna2619
    (-7)
    455,183
    MeretzWithdrawal to 1967 bordersYossi Sarid106
    (-4)
    164,122
    Center Parties18
    ShinuiSeparation of religion and stateYosef Lapid615
    (+9)
    386,535
    Am Ehad - One NationWorkers' rightsAmir Peretz23
    (+1)
    86,808
    Arab Parties8
    United Arab List-Ra'amDominated by Islamic movement, supports Palestinian stateAbdulmalek Dehamshe52
    (-3)
    65,551
    Hadash-Ta'alFormerly Communist party, supports Palestinian stateMohammad Barakeh43
    (-1)
    93,819
    BaladCultural autonomy for Arabs, supports Palestinian stateAzmi Bishara13
    (+2)
    71,299

  • 18 Women in New Knesset
        The new Knesset will include 18 women, one more than in the outgoing Knesset. The Likud will have 7 women MKs, followed by Labor (4), Shinui (3), NRP (1), Meretz (1), Yisrael b'Aliyah (1), and One Nation (1). 27 MKs are religious. 9 are immigrants from the former Soviet Union. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Decides: Winners and Losers (UPI)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Smoke, But No Gun - Ze'ev Schiff
    The leading view - this is also the view of Israeli intelligence - is that the Americans have incontrovertible proof of material violations by Iraq. In other words, the Americans have a "smoking gun." So far, we have seen the smoke but not the gun. In background briefings and in reports to their partners, the Americans are continuing to explain that the issue is a problem of timing. The smoking gun will be displayed when the time comes - on the eve of Bush's order to open fire. (Ha'aretz)
  • The Bush Administration in the Middle East: A Preview of 2003 - Dennis Ross, Robert Satloff, Fred Barnes, and E.J. Dionne
    The Arab-Israeli conflict is unlikely either to demand or receive as much attention by the administration in the post-Iraq war period as many believe; however, managing U.S.-European differences over the Arab-Israeli problem is likely to be a major preoccupation of the administration. The situation between Israelis and Palestinians is neither so ripe for progress nor so urgent in terms of its impact on the lives of American citizens that the administration will make resolving the conflict a high-level presidential priority. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Does Bush Believe the Palestinians will Throw Out Arafat? - David Frum
    You don't have to spend a whole lot of time with Palestinians to hear how disgusted they are with Arafat's leadership. True, a great many of them are disgusted because that leadership is not violent enough for them - but a great many others do use the language of democracy and human rights in a way that is very promising. President Bush's great statement in June 2002 in favor of Palestinian democracy was driven, it seems to me, first and foremost by his sense that the immediate creation of a non-democratic Palestinian state (which many Europeans were demanding at the time) would be an invitation to a vast new round of terrorism and political instability in the Middle East. (National Review)
  • After Iraq: Killing All the Terror Regimes - Jeff Jacoby
    This is about more than Iraq. We are in a war against terrorism - more accurately, against radical Islamist terrorists and their state sponsors. Terrorists need territory for camps and safe havens, access to money and financial networks, weapons training, communication technology, travel documents, and more. None of those can reliably be had without institutional support - government support. Al Qaeda, Hizballah, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas would not be nearly so deadly if it weren't for the regimes that sustain them. (Boston Globe)
  • Making a Case - David Remnick
    Saddam's abdication, or a military coup, would be a godsend; his sudden conversion to the wisdom of disarmament almost as good. It is a fine thing to dream. But, assuming such dreams are not realized, a return to a hollow pursuit of containment will be the most dangerous option of all. (New Yorker)
  • Why the Media Side with the Palestinians - Erick Stakelbeck
    The vast majority of today's Palestinians are descendants of people who immigrated to Israel in the 19th and 20th centuries to reap the benefits of the Jewish revitalization of the Holy Land, which had become a malaria-ridden wasteland under centuries of Ottoman rule. In his book, The Everlasting Hatred: The Roots of Jihad, Hal Lindsey writes: "The record shows that migrant Muslims came from other Arab lands to areas of Palestine that were reclaimed and developed by Jews in order to get jobs. These same poor Muslims who benefited from the Jewish jobs later charged the Jews had stolen their land, which had been in their families since time immemorial....The West has bought this lie without questioning its veracity." (Front Page Magazine)
  • America's Road to Teheran - Ilan Berman
    Even as it plans for military action against Baghdad, Washington is becoming aware of the growing possibility of a political implosion in Iran, where a groundswell of popular opposition is for the first time posing a serious challenge to the Islamic Revolution. The Islamic Republic is crumbling, buffeted by the kind of social decline visible in Eastern Europe in the last days of the Soviet Union. (Jerusalem Post)

    Weekend Features:

  • Arabic Grows at Ivy League - Max Gross
    Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, many more students at Ivy League colleges have begun studying Arabic, and many of these students are Jewish. The number of students enrolling in Arabic at Dartmouth College has more than doubled since the 9/11 attacks. (Forward)
  • Chief Shares Lessons on Terror from Israel - Maxine Bernstein
    Portland Police Chief Mark Kroeker told community members Thursday that one of the most important lessons he learned from an Israeli police conference on terrorism was to ensure the public is informed about potential threats. The chief said he was intrigued by the camera-monitoring system Israeli police have placed in malls and on the streets of Jerusalem to try to stave off attacks. He took notes from the Israeli police on detonation devices and crisis management strategies. (Portland Oregonian)
  • Palm Beach Family Returns Home to Israel - Lauren Gold
    In 1995, Audrey and Jeffry Kashuk made an easy decision. Their options were these: Choice one: Stay in their comfortable Palm Beach home, live the prosperous life of a surgeon's family, and raise their daughters in peace. Choice two: Move to a tiny apartment in Jerusalem, give up many of their belongings, learn a new language, and live with a constant awareness that they or their daughters could be killed at any moment. Jerusalem won, hands down. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
  • Talking Points:

    Israel's Anti-Missile System Can Defend Against Chemical Attack
    - Julie Stahl (CNS News)

    • Israel's Arrow anti-missile missile system is able to destroy incoming missiles high enough to avoid fallout from chemical weapons warheads, said Uzi Rubin, who oversaw the development of Israel's Arrow-Homa Anti-Missile Defense Program. Rubin spoke to a briefing for diplomats and journalists at the Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on Monday.
    • Rubin said the Arrow system, like the American Patriot system, does not distinguish between incoming missiles that have conventional or chemical warheads. In order to take both possibilities into account, "You build your defensive system with a very strong warhead of its own...to put a lot of smack into the incoming missile and [destroy] it completely, and second, we try to do it as high as possible," he said.
    • "I can disclose that we did a test to find out whether the chemical agents will reach the ground or not after our interception, and we came to the total conclusion, absolute conclusion, proof that nothing comes down on the ground," Rubin said.
    • In addition, the warhead is destroyed at such an altitude that it is above the jet stream, "so everything that falls down will go in the jet stream and go back to the sender," he added.
    • According to Rubin, the consensus among most experts is that Iraq has a "very limited" capability to fire missiles of any kind at Israel and, even if they have the capability, most analysts believe Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein will not use it. "If the Iraqis were to fire the first ballistic missile towards anywhere, [it] justifies the whole war against them," Rubin said. "That [would] justify all the efforts of the Bush administration to take Saddam out."
    • But, he conceded, Iraq is "very adept at hiding their secrets," and Israel could always be surprised.
    • There are plenty of other missile threats in the region. Egypt, Syria and Iran all have missiles that can already strike Israel and, along with Libya, are all involved in acquiring longer-range capabilities. "First, it's projecting power toward Israel; and second, it is projecting power toward Europe," Rubin said.


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