Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with Access/Middle East
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

May 8, 2003

To contact the Presidents Conference:
info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

Palestinians to "Solve" Problem of Illegal Weapons by Recruiting Terrorists into Security Forces (Tzamtzam News-Hebrew)
    Rashid Abu Shabak, head of the Palestinian preventive security service in Gaza and Muhammad Dahlan's former deputy, told the Islam Online chat forum on May 4 that the Palestinian security services would absorb terror organization activists into their ranks as a way to "solve" the problem of the illegal possession of weapons by nongovernmental forces.


Documents on Israel Found in Baghdad - Judith Miller (New York Times)
    U.S. soldiers have found a trove of Iraqi intelligence documents and maps relating to Israel.
    The finds included a map of Israel highlighted with the locations of Iraqi Scud missile strikes during the Persian Gulf war of 1991, a perfect mock-up of the Knesset and other official Israeli buildings, and a satellite picture of Israel's nuclear complex at Dimona.
    Also found was a "top secret" intelligence memo dated May 20, 2001, from the Iraqi intelligence station chief in an African country describing an offer by a "holy warrior" to sell uranium and other nuclear material.
    The documents were found during a search prompted by a former secret police official's claim that he had hidden an ancient copy of the Talmud, dating from the seventh century, in the basement of his headquarters.
    Instead, the search team found the operations center of the Israel-Palestine department of the secret police.


Saddam's Last Tape? - Ed O'Loughlin (Sydney Morning Herald)
    An audiotape handed to a reporter in Baghdad purports to contain the voice of Saddam Hussein recorded on May 5.
    A dozen Iraqis who heard the tape believe that the voice and rhetoric were very similar, or identical, to those of Saddam.
    Full Transcript


Saudis Report Arms Seizure, Foiling Terror Attacks (AP/Washington Post)
    On Tuesday, Saudi security forces in Riyadh seized hand grenades, five suitcases of explosives weighing more than 830 pounds, and AK-47 assault rifles, authorities said.
    Computers, communications equipment, travel documents, U.S. and Saudi currency, and items used for disguise were also seized.
    According to an Interior Ministry official, 19 men were being sought, including 17 Saudis, a Yemeni, and an Iraqi holding both Kuwaiti and Canadian citizenship.


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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S.: Iran Violating Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
    The U.S. is pressing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to declare that Iran has violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which it has signed, officials said Wednesday. Such a finding could lead to punitive action by the UN, officials said. Of greatest concern is the recent disclosure that Iran has built a uranium enrichment plant at Natanz in central Iran, with large underground structures believed by intelligence experts to contain centrifuges used in producing highly enriched uranium, a fuel for nuclear weapons. In February, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the IAEA, found a hundred-plus centrifuges in Natanz, with more waiting to be assembled. American experts are convinced that Natanz is so obviously a weapons facility that the IAEA can be persuaded to act on it. (New York Times)
        See also Iran Defends Nuclear Program (Reuters)
  • Rice Warns Syria on Iraqi WMD
    The U.S. would be forced to act if it discovered that Damascus allowed Iraq to hide weapons of mass destruction in Syria during the war, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday. Rice said she was sure Iraqi weapons of mass destruction would turn up eventually, but said it was possible some had been removed from Iraq. (AP)
  • Hizballah, Hamas Feel Increased FBI Focus
    Wielding new powers granted by a six-month-old federal court decision, the FBI has greatly intensified decade-old investigations of alleged U.S. supporters of the Islamic Resistance Movement and Hizballah terrorist groups, according to government officials. The stepped-up investigations in at least two dozen U.S. cities were triggered by a November 2002 court ruling authorizing federal agents who pursue criminal prosecution of terrorism suspects to use decades worth of classified wiretaps and intelligence reports from foreign security agencies that previously had been off-limits. "It's a trove of information that's created enormous possibilities, a whole new world for us," said a senior U.S. counterterrorism official who works on criminal cases. "Before, we were playing with one hand tied behind our backs." The 50-count indictment in February of Florida college professor Sami Al-Arian on charges of conspiracy to commit murder via suicide attacks in Israel was the first based on information made available as a result of the new ruling. (Washington Post)
  • Hussein Loyalists Rise Again, Enraging Iraqis
    Senior Baath Party officials are working openly in many Iraqi cities and many party members are insinuating themselves into leading positions under the American administration. Hundreds of Iraqi doctors, nurses, and health workers demonstrated Wednesday against a decision by the American authorities in Baghdad to appoint Ali al-Janabi, a senior Baath Party member, to be minister of health. Last week, U.S. officials decided to reinstate Saddam Hussein's personal physician, Muhammad al-Rawi, as president of Baghdad University. A committee of faculty members demanded new elections for deans, department heads, and administrators as a means to throw out Dr. Rawi and the other senior Baathists at the university. They also demanded that the university groundskeepers tear down a statue of Mr. Hussein. When American officials would not meet with them, they went to the headquarters of Ahmad Chalabi, an opposition leader who returned from exile to help form an interim government, whose security staff organized a raid on the university. The Hussein statue was leveled by an armored vehicle and its head cut off and returned like a trophy to the lawn of Mr. Chalabi's headquarters. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Powell to Visit Jerusalem and Ramallah - Aluf Benn
    Prime Minister Sharon is planning to tell Secretary of State Powell that the U.S. must pressure the Palestinian Authority to take real steps against terror, just as it is pressuring Syria to cease supporting terrorism, government sources said Wednesday before Powell's arrival for a shuttle mission between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Powell, whose visit is scheduled to start Saturday night, will meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as a signal of U.S. support for the new Palestinian government. Sharon is slated to go to Washington at the end of the month for talks with President Bush, and Sharon's chief of staff, Dov Weisglass, is to visit Washington ahead of the premier's trip.
        Israel has told Washington it is ready to take steps to ease economic and humanitarian conditions, and to withdraw from areas where the Palestinians take responsibility for security and take active steps against terror. But Israel is demanding the Palestinians first prove their intentions to fight terror. Jerusalem fears that the U.S. will accept the Palestinian formula for a hudna, a temporary cease-fire, and then demand that Israel respond with a withdrawal and gestures to the Palestinians without the Palestinian government taking any real steps to eliminate the terror infrastructure in the territories.
        Powell is bringing Richard Erdman, a State Department official assigned to coordinate monitors to oversee implementation of the road map. Israel has given the U.S. a document regarding those monitors: They must all be Americans; they must have a clear mission agreed upon in advance; and they must focus on the Palestinian side and their fight against terror. (Ha'aretz)
  • Dahlan Appointment Creates Friction between Arafat and Abbas - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Abbas announced at a Fatah central committee meeting chaired by Arafat Tuesday that he is transferring the Interior Ministry's responsibilities for security to Muhammad Dahlan. "This is not what we agreed," one official quoted Arafat as shouting at Abbas. According to a source, there is no guarantee the move will succeed, because security forces' commanders remain loyal to Arafat, and some have said in private that they refuse to serve under Dahlan. A Fatah source predicted that many Fatah members and security services officers loyal to Arafat would try to create obstacles for Dahlan and make it difficult for him to implement his decisions. Dahlan reportedly requested $30 million from the U.S. and the EU to help him implement his plan to reorganize the security forces and combat terrorism. PA officials said they expect Hamas to agree to a cease-fire ending terrorist attacks for a year or two. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Mortar Shells Disrupt Independence Day Celebrations
    IDF troops ordered the residents of Neve Dekalim in the Gaza Strip to stop their Independence Day celebrations and enter shelters Tuesday night after Palestinians fired at least three mortar shells at the community, one of them landing near the celebrants. There were no injuries, although one building was damaged, Israel Radio reported. Palestinians fired a total of seven mortar shells in the Gaza Strip Tuesday night. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Al Qaeda and Syria - Richard Wolffe
    While Syrian intelligence allowed the U.S. to foil a planned al Qaeda attack on the U.S. Navy's Administrative Support Unit in Bahrain last year, "We clearly don't have the full support of the Syrian government on the al Qaeda problem," Cofer Black, the State Department's coordinator for counter-terrorism, told reporters last week. "They have allowed al Qaeda personnel to come in and virtually settle in Syria with their knowledge and their support." If Syria fails to mend its ways on terrorism, it is hard to see how the Bush administration can hold onto its hope of reforming the Muslim world. (Newsweek)
  • Mideast Peace, One Day at a Time - Dennis Ross
    Everyone involved must recognize what is possible and what is not. These shared concerns of the leaders on both sides only involve stopping the current intifada. We must focus on changes in the near-term reality, not a lasting peace that would require concessions neither side can make now. Without clear understandings between the Israelis and the Palestinians now, the road map is likely to go the way of the Mitchell Report and the Tenet plan before it. (New York Times)
  • Observations:

    Moderate Muslims and the Road Map - Tashbih Sayyed (Jerusalem Post)

    • The world has to recognize that any state that is psychologically, culturally, and, above all, religiously anti-Semitic will always be a breeding ground for terrorism.
    • The Palestinians, under the influence of dictators, despots, and terrorists, spend their time and energies denying the Jews their Koran-endorsed birthright.
    • Elections in a state that is anti-Semitic will always result in bringing to power leaders who sponsor terror. Unless the effects of decades of anti-Semitic indoctrination are removed, elections will only enhance the venomous ethos of Jew-hatred.
    • An overwhelming majority of Palestinians do not accept Israel. Their map of Palestine includes Israel within its 1948-1967 borders. Abu Mazen does not represent the popular will. Hamas, Hizballah, and the Aksa Martyrs Brigades do. That's why any election without changing the ethos of the masses will amount to a death warrant for the Jewish state.

    The writer is editor-in-chief of Pakistan Today, a California-based weekly newspaper, and president of the Council for Democracy and Tolerance.


    "The Spirit of Israel" Concert

    When: May 19, 2003 - 8:15 p.m.

    Where: MCI Center, Washington, D.C.

    Who: Performers include Tony Bennett, Tova Feldshuh, Norah Jones, Noa, Jerry Seinfeld, Ben Stein and others.

    Tickets: Tickets are available NOW. Prices range from $1,000 to $36 for students with valid ID.
    Tickets available online through Ticketmaster
    Or through Ticketmaster by phone: (202) 432-SEAT (7328)
    Group package discounts are also available through Ticketmaster by phone: (202) 661-5061
    Group ticket prices: $36 for students and $50 for adults. Busses are being organized.

    Why: Now is the time to show your solidarity with the people of Israel, her continuing advancement for all walks of life, her friendship and support of America, its values, and the enhancement of democratic ideals. These are difficult times for Israel and the entire world. Now is the time to lift the spirits of the Israeli people as they strive to excel for the next 55 years and beyond. Now is the time to showcase to the world the truly amazing advancements in science, technology, agriculture, arts and the humanities, which have occurred in Israel's free democratic society.
        Help us lift the spirits of the Israeli People to continue to excel for the next 55 years...and forever.
        For more information, please contact the Israel Forever Foundation at 202-462-8994 or israel55@israelforeverfoundation.org


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