To contact the Presidents Conference:
Reminder: Sharon Warned that Iraq Moved WMD to Syria - Joshua Brilliant (UPI/Washington Times)
Israel believes that Iraq transferred chemical and biological weapons to Syria to conceal them from UN weapons inspectors, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said on Dec. 24, 2002.
"We have such information. We believe - and have not yet finally verified - that chemical biological weapons (Saddam Hussein) wanted to hide, were indeed transferred to Syria," Sharon said.
Disclosure: French Missiles Sold to Iraq in 2002 Threatened Allied Aircraft - William C. Triplett II (Washington Times)
Exhibit 1 in the case for limiting UN control over the future of Iraq is the "Roland 2," France's best man-portable air defense weapon.
Capitol Hill has been told that soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division found a stack of these weapons at a military depot attached to Baghdad International Airport. Some of them had "2002" manufacturing dates.
According to the Pentagon, these weapons pose a significant threat to allied aircraft. A Roland destroyed a USAF A-10 aircraft on Tuesday.
Russia Spied on Blair for Saddam - David Harrison (Telegraph-UK)
Top secret documents found at Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad Saturday show that Russia provided Saddam Hussein's regime with wide-ranging assistance in the months leading up to the war, including intelligence on private conversations between Tony Blair and other Western leaders.
Moscow also provided Saddam with lists of assassins available for "hits" in the West and details of arms deals to neighboring countries.
The two countries also signed agreements to share intelligence, help each other to "obtain" visas for agents to go to other countries, and to exchange information on the activities of Osama bin Laden.
Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades: The Road Map Will Lead to a Palestinian Civil War
The Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, the military arm of the Fatah movement, published a formal announcement on April 7 stating that accepting the American "road map" would be an act of treason. (tzamtzam.com [in Hebrew])
July 4 Shooting at LAX Ruled Terrorism - Paul Chavez (AP/Newsday)
Federal officials have determined that an Egyptian immigrant who opened fire inside Los Angeles International Airport committed an act of terrorism related to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but he did it alone and was not tied to any terrorist organizations.
Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, 41, killed Yaakov Aminov, 46, and Victoria Hen, 25, at the ticket counter of El Al, Israel's national airline, and wounded several others in the July Fourth attack.
U.S. Troops Told No More Stars and Stripes in Iraq (Jordan Times)
"We love the Stars and Stripes, but we don't want to see it planted in Iraq," First Sergeant Mark Hart of the 4th Infantry Division tells his soldiers.
"You can have them on your vehicles, you can have them on your chests. But just don't plant them anywhere or put them on buildings or statues," Hart says.
|Israel Newsletter Launched on U.S. Campuses
- Melissa Radler (Jerusalem Post)
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and Israel on Campus Coalition announced the launch last week of Israel Campus Beat (ICB), an electronic newsletter for college students.
Already distributed to thousands of students every Sunday, the ICB, which is compiled by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, includes news and opinion pieces from the U.S., European and Middle East news sites, think tanks, and college newspapers; student-authored articles; and links to Israel-related web sites.
A subscription to ICB, which is free, is available by sending a blank email message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Contact Information
News Resources - North America and Europe:
Bush Demands "Cooperation" from Syrians
President Bush accused Syria Sunday of harboring senior Iraqi military and government officials and demanded "cooperation" in punishing some of them. But he stopped short of threatening to use military force against Syria.
Mr. Bush also asserted that "there are chemical weapons in Syria," referring to Syria's own weapons program. (New York Times)
Powell Warns Syria
On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said: "Syria has been a concern for a long period of time. We have designated Syria for years as a state that sponsors terrorism, and we have discussed this with the Syrians on many occasions. We are concerned that materials have flowed through Syria to the Iraqi regime over the years." Powell added: "Also, we think it would be very unwise...if suddenly Syria becomes a haven for all these people who should be brought to justice who are trying to get out of Baghdad." (BBC)
Shiite Clerics Move to Assume Control in Baghdad
In the Saddam City neighborhood of Baghdad, the clergy of Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority have moved to fill the void left by the ouster of Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party government. Mosques have filled up with confiscated loot, popular committees are being organized by clergy to restore civil services and order, and some prayer leaders have taken to patrolling their neighborhoods, forcing bakeries to feed people. Graffiti has cast away the name of Saddam City in favor of "Sadr City," in memory of a leading Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq Sadr, who was assassinated by Hussein's government in 1999. (Washington Post)
Kurd-Arab Tensions Rise in Kirkuk
In the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, Arab neighborhoods were appealing to the U.S. Army for protection, reporting that some Arabs had been confronted by former Kurdish residents seeking to reclaim their homes. Saddam Hussein pursued a policy of forcibly removing many Kurdish and Turkmen residents from their homes and replacing them with Arabs. The abrupt collapse of Hussein's Baath Party government has washed the city in the passionate politics of exile communities rushing back.
News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:
Washington Turns Its Sights on Damascus - Ze'ev Schiff
The leading concept in Syria today is that Iraq should be to the Americans what Lebanon was for Israel - namely, to cause terror attacks and suicide bombers and generate as many American casualties as possible.
Washington seems to have solid information about different Iraqi leaders who have escaped to Syria; all these fugitives have been defined by the U.S. as criminals of war and it won't be long before the U.S. demands their extradition.
Syria: If We Are Attacked, Israel Will Also Suffer (Maariv)
Israel Lowers Alert
Israel on Sunday lowered its state of alert regarding a feared attack from Iraq, telling citizens they no longer need to carry gas masks and keep a sealed room in their homes, the Defense Ministry said.
Saddam Still a Hero for Many Palestinians - Khaled Abu Toameh
The biggest anti-American and anti-British demonstration took place on Friday in Nablus, spearheaded by representatives of the Palestinian Authority and other Palestinian political factions. Thousands cheered as masked men burned Israeli, American, and British flags. The protesters were joined by a large group of young would-be suicide bombers wearing white and carrying green Hamas flags. Some Palestinians have denounced the Iraqi president as a "traitor" for failing to make good his promise of turning Baghdad into a graveyard for the invaders.
PM's Rep Meets with Rice on Road Map - Yossi Verter and Gideon Alon
Dov Weisglass, head of the Prime Minister's Office, will meet with U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on Monday regarding changes in the Mideast road map, Israel Radio reported. (Ha'aretz)
Arafat Rejects Abu Mazen's Cabinet List - Arnon Regular
Yasser Arafat rejected on Sunday a reformist cabinet proposed by incoming Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), and is demanding changes to the appointments. (Ha'aretz)
Arafat threw the list of ministers on the floor. The main dispute has to do with the decision of Abu Mazen to appoint Mohammed Dahlan as head of the Palestinian security services against Arafat's wishes. In the proposed Palestinian government, 7 ministers were opponents of Arafat. (Maariv)
Jordan Oil Supply Assured by Saudi Arabia
Jordan said Sunday it received 700,000 barrels of oil from Saudi Arabia, the first acknowledged supply since the flow from neighboring Iraq ceased at the onset of the war.
The energy minister, Mohammad al-Batayneh, said the oil was delivered by tanker to Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba. Energy officials said the shipment was enough to cover Jordan's needs for about one week. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis
(Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The Kingdom of Incitement - Dore Gold
Post-war diplomacy must achieve two changes in Saudi behavior if the war on terrorism is to be won. First, pressure must be placed on Riyadh. Saudi Arabia cannot author a new Middle East peace plan while subsidizing suicide attacks. Despite its protests that it no longer is in contact with "suspected groups," the Saudis openly hosted one of the heads of Hamas as late as October 2002 and reassured him of continuing aid.
Second, the incitement of an entire generation of Saudis that delegitimizes other religious groups must come to an end. After Sept. 11, religious tolerance is not only a fitting subject for interfaith dialogues - it now must be a part of the new agenda for global security.
(Wall Street Journal)
Saudi Arabia's Links to Terrorism - Laurent Murawiec
When the Clinton administration cornered Osama bin Laden in the Sudan in 1998, the Saudis refused to allow his extradition back home, where he could be neutralized. Instead, the Saudi intelligence chief - Prince Turki - reportedly offered bin Laden $200 million to go to Afghanistan, on the condition that he not target the Saudi royal family. Bin Laden honored his promise - there has not been a single attack by Al-Qaeda against the Al-Saud family. Inside the kingdom, Al-Qaeda has only operated against the Americans and the British.
Bin Laden is an extension of Saudi foreign policy. As long as the benefits of sponsoring terror are enormous and the costs of sponsoring terror are negligible, they will not take decisive action. The U.S. must therefore make the costs of funding Wahhabi extremism terribly high, while making the benefits slim pickings.
(Middle East Forum)
The Key to Mideast Peace is a Stable Gulf - Michael Scott Doran
Maintaining American predominance in the Persian Gulf - not settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - is a prerequisite for stability in the Mideast. Washington must be wary of the claim that Palestine is pivotal. Many of those who support the Palestine-first doctrine do so in good faith, out of concern for the suffering of Palestinians. This should not blind us, however, to two facts: the doctrine is inaccurate; and it is the centerpiece of an anti-American ideology. "Solve Palestine" was a staple of those who, for reasons of naked self-interest, sought to prevent Washington from taking action against Saddam Hussein. Now that action has been taken, those states who wish to diminish the influence of the U.S. will undoubtedly use Palestine to cudgel Washington.
(New York Times)
The Next to Go: Arafat - David Makovsky
Arafat has outmaneuvered many aides and potential rivals over several decades, and it will be disastrous if he is allowed to do so again. The Europeans and Arabs should now say publicly what they all say privately: they have lost confidence in Arafat's leadership. Since he has already lost American and Israeli support, such a rejection could secure a real succession. The alternative, a slow erosion of his authority, would take years and squander a chance for change.
(New York Times)
Interview with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon - Ari Shavit (Ha'aretz)
On the Post-Saddam Climate:
On U.S.-Israel Relations:
- The removal of Iraq as a threat is definitely a relief. However, Iran is making every effort to produce weapons of mass destruction and is engaged in making ballistic missiles. Libya is making a very great effort to acquire nuclear weapons. What is developing in these countries is dangerous and serious. In Saudi Arabia, too, there is a regime that grants sanctioned aid to terrorist organizations here.
- We face the possibility that a different period will begin here. The move carried out in Iraq generated a shock through the Middle East and it brings with it a prospect of great changes. There is an opportunity here to forge a different relationship between us and the Arab states, and between us and the Palestinians. I think opportunities have currently been created that did not exist before. The Arab world in general and the Palestinians in particular have been shaken. There is therefore a chance to reach an agreement faster than people think.
- Do you think there is a prospect of reaching a settlement in the foreseeable future?
That depends first and foremost on the Arabs. It obligates a different type of leadership, a battle against terrorism, and a series of reforms. It obligates the absolute cessation of the incitement and the dismantling of all terrorist organizations. But if there will be a leadership that understands these things and will carry them out seriously, the possibility of reaching a settlement exists.
- Do you consider Abu Mazen a leader with whom you will be able to reach a settlement?
Abu Mazen understands that it is impossible to vanquish Israel by means of terrorism.
- There are some matters regarding which we will be ready to take far-reaching steps. We will be ready to carry out very painful steps. But there is one thing that I told President Bush a number of times - I made no concessions in the past, and I will make no concessions now, or ever make concessions in the future, with regard to anything that is related to the security of Israel. I explained to President Bush and made it clear to him that this is the historic responsibility that I bear for the future and the fate of the Jewish people. You should know this - on this subject there will be no concessions. We will be the ones who in the end decide what is dangerous for Israel and what is not dangerous for Israel.
- We are not under pressure. There is dialogue. Sometimes we see things the same way, sometimes we view them differently. But our relationship is very close. Our relationship with the White House has never been so good. I would like to emphasize that we are not in a conflict with the U.S. I do not live with a feeling that we are under any threat.
On the Road Map:
- What about Netzarim? [An isolated settlement in the Gaza Strip]
I don't want to get into a discussion of any specific place now. This is a delicate subject and there is no need to talk a lot about it. But if it turns out that we have someone to talk to, that they understand that peace is neither terrorism nor subversion against Israel, then I would definitely say that we will have to take steps that are painful for every Jew and painful for me personally.
- Isn't that phrase "painful concessions" a hollow expression?
Definitely not. It comes from the depth of my soul. Look, we are talking about the cradle of the Jewish people. Our whole history is bound up with these places. Bethlehem, Shiloh, Beit El. And I know that we will have to part with some of these places. There will be a parting from places that are connected to the whole course of our history. As a Jew, this agonizes me. But I have decided to make every effort to reach a settlement. I feel that the rational necessity to reach a settlement is overcoming my feelings.
- Would you be willing, perhaps as a gesture to the Americans, to freeze construction in the settlements or to evacuate illegal outposts as part of the first stage?
That is a sensitive issue. In the final stage of negotiations it will be brought up for discussion. We don't have to deal with it just now.
- You established the settlements and you believed in the settlements and nurtured them. Are you now prepared to consider the evacuation of isolated settlements?
If we reach a situation of true peace, real peace, peace for generations, we will have to make painful concessions. Not in exchange for promises, but rather in exchange for peace.
- Have you really accepted the idea of two states for two peoples? Do you really plan to divide western Israel?
I believe that this is what will happen. One has to view things realistically. Eventually there will be a Palestinian state. I view things first and foremost from our perspective. I do not think that we have to rule over another people and run their lives. I do not think that we have the strength for that. It is a very heavy burden on the public and it raises ethical problems and heavy economic problems. Our stay in Jenin and in Nablus is temporary. Our presence in those cities was created in order to protect Israeli citizens from terrorist activities. It is not a situation that can persist.
- We supported the principles that were presented in President Bush's speech of June 24, 2002. As long as the sketch matches the speech, it is acceptable to us. Regarding the latest draft [of the road map] that was sent to us, we have 14 or 15 reservations that I have passed on to the White House.
- What are the main reservations?
The main issue is security. How terror will be handled. There is no difference of opinion in this matter but there is a difference in the wording. The second matter is that of the implementation of the stages. Our understanding with the U.S. is that there will be no transition from one stage to the next without the completion of the previous stage. The determining factor is not the timetable but the execution. That is why the issue of the stages is of paramount importance to us. Our third reservation concerns the right of return. This definitely poses a problem.
- Israel is not a pawn on a chessboard that anyone can move. We live here. It will be impossible to budge Israel on the major matters that are principles of her existence.
- Is your willingness to recognize a Palestinian state conditional on the Palestinians backing down from their demand for the right of return?
If there is ever to be an end to the conflict, the Palestinians must recognize the Jewish people's right to a homeland and the existence of an independent Jewish state in the homeland of the Jewish people. I feel that this is a condition for what is called an end to the conflict. This is not a simple thing. Even in the agreements we signed with Egypt and Jordan this was impossible. They are important agreements, very important, but they did not bring about an end to the conflict. The end of the conflict will come only with the arrival of the recognition of the Jewish people's right to its homeland.
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