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 30, 2003

To contact the Presidents Conference:
info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

U.S. Training Palestinian Security Forces in Jericho - Arnon Regular (Ha'aretz)
    Personnel of the West Bank and Gazan branches of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service are now participating in training sessions with American instructors at the service's Jericho base.
    Abbas and Dahlan want to unite the two branches under the current head of the Gazan branch, Rashid Abu Shabak - whom Israel has accused of direct involvement in terrorism.


Billion Dollar Peace Plan for Syria, Lebanon (Jerusalem Post)
    Congressmen Darrell Issa (R-Ca.) and Robert Wexler (D-Fl.) arrive in the region Saturday, bringing with them a U.S. promise of half a billion dollars each to Syria and Jordan if they sign peace agreements with Israel and make other changes, Israel Radio reported, quoting the Lebanese newspaper A-Safir.

    A-Safir said an initial $100 million would be disbursed if Lebanon agreed to settle its water dispute with Israel over allocation of water from the Hasbani River.
     A further $250 million would be handed over if Hizballah’s military wing is dismantled and the army deployed along the UN-delineated Blue Line.
    The remaining $150 million would be allocated to water and agricultural projects in the South. (Beirut Daily Star)


Who Gave Barghouti a Cellular Phone? - Roni Shaked (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
    A cellular phone was found Wednesday in the cell of West Bank Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti.
    There are frequent reports of forbidden telephones found in the possession of security prisoners in Israeli prisons.
    Six weeks ago there were riots at Ketziot prison after its commander installed a device that blocked cellular phone calls.


The Saudi Terrorist Connection - John Loftus (Moment)
    Several friends inside [U.S.] military intelligence have told me that Jonathan Pollard gave the Israelis a roster that listed the identities of all the Saudi and other Arab intelligence agents we knew about as of 1984. (This has been corroborated by Israeli sources, as well.)
    At that time, this list, known in intelligence circles as the "blue book," would have been relatively unimportant to the U.S. - but not to Israel. Since 9/11, however, Pollard's "blue book" is of profound interest to the U.S.
    These particular agents are now a major embarrassment to the Saudis and to the handful of American spy chiefs who had employed these Saudi intelligence agents on the sly. Some of the names on this list - such as Osama Bin Laden - turned out to be leaders of terrorist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood and what we now call al Qaeda.
    During the Reagan-Bush administrations, we asked the Saudis to recruit a proxy army of Islamic terrorists to throw the Soviets out of Afghanistan, whom we would supply with guns and pay indirectly, according to intelligence sources. The Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989, but the Saudis kept the terrorists on the payroll.
    From the Saudi perspective, it was safer to keep paying the terrorist groups to attack Israel, Bosnia, or Chechnya rather than letting them all back into Saudi Arabia.
    As one U.S. intelligence bureaucrat cynically confided to me, "Sure we knew that the Saudis were giving money to terrorist groups, but they were only killing Jews, they weren't killing Americans."
    Whenever the FBI or CIA came close to uncovering the Saudi terrorist connection, their investigations were mysteriously terminated. I can only conclude that some of our own Washington bureaucrats have been protecting the al Qaeda leadership and their oil-rich Saudi backers from investigation for more than a decade.
    John O'Neill, our nation's top al Qaeda expert, stated in a 2001 book that everything we wanted to know about terrorism could be found in Saudi Arabia. O'Neill warned repeatedly that if the Saudis were to continue funding al Qaeda, it would end up costing American lives, according to several intelligence sources.
    Outraged by the Saudi cover-up, O'Neill quit the FBI, became the new chief of security at the World Trade Center, and was himself killed by al Qaeda on 9/11.


Al-Jazeera Director General "Sacked" (AFP/London Times)
    The director general of Al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite television station, has been sacked, Qatari sources said, amid allegations that he worked with Saddam Hussein's intelligence services.
    Mohammed Jassem al-Ali had held the top job at the station since 1996.
    Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the American-backed Iraqi National Congress, has accused several Al-Jazeera journalists of working for Iraqi agencies, based on documents allegedly found in state archives in Baghdad.


China Linked to Iraq Bio-Weapons - Matthew Campbell (London Times)
    Components for Saddam Hussein's biological weapons program were slipped into Iraq under Chinese diplomatic cover, documents in Baghdad reveal.
    The documents refer to 137 kilograms of laboratory chemicals being sent to Iraq from China in the guise of medical supplies.
    The cargo was first flown to the Chinese embassy in Amman, Jordan, on May 31, 1995.


Useful Reference:

Israel's 14 Road Map Reservations (Ha'aretz)

Political Cartoons on the Israel-Palestinian Conflict (Slate/MSN)


Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues


News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • White House: Dismantle the Terrorist Infrastructure
    White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said Thursday: "Should the Palestinians declare a cease-fire, it must be accompanied by parallel steps to disarm and dismantle terrorists and terrorist infrastructure." (White House)
        See also Bush: I Have in My Capacity to Pressure Ariel Sharon
    President Bush, responding to a question by a reporter from Al-Hayat about whether he has the capacity to pressure Sharon during a U.S. election year, replied that he certainly had the ability to do that. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • Pentagon Eyes Massive Covert Attack on Iran
    The Pentagon is advocating a massive covert action program to overthrow Iran's ruling ayatollahs as the only way to stop the country's nuclear weapons ambitions, say senior State Department and Pentagon officials. The Pentagon's proposal includes using all available points of pressure on the Iranian regime, including backing armed Iranian dissidents and employing the services of the Mujahedeen e Khalq, a group currently branded as terrorist by the U.S. (ABC News)
        See also U.S. Mulls Iran Destabilization (Washington Post)
  • U.S. Troops Raid Palestinian Mission in Baghdad
    U.S. troops raided the Palestinian Authority's mission in Baghdad and arrested 8 people on Wednesday. Gen. David McKiernan, commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, said seven Palestinians and a Syrian were detained. Troops seized four AK-47 rifles, four hand grenades, and a .38 caliber pistol, he said. (AP/FOX News)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Sharon: We Will Never Concede Jerusalem - Jonathan Lis
    At an official ceremony marking the 36th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised Thursday not to redivide the city. "Jerusalem is defended by walls made of the love of the nation of Israel throughout all its generations. It is defended by the clear and unequivocal policy of its government. We will never concede Jerusalem. Never," said the prime minister. The day was marked by a traditional parade through the city's streets, which drew some 50,000 marchers from throughout the country. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel to Ease Restrictions After Sharon-Abbas Meeting - Arnon Regular and Aluf Benn
    Following the meeting Thursday between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas, the IDF will pull out of the hearts of West Bank cities and release 100 Palestinian prisoners. Israel Radio reported Friday that Sharon intends to give permanent permits for Palestinian officials to travel between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, increase the amount of tax money transferred to the PA by NIS 150 million a month, allow 25,000 Palestinian laborers to work in Israel, and ease restrictions on humanitarian organizations working in the territories.
        Sharon asked Abbas to immediately work to end the firing of Qassam rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel. "It cannot be that while we are conducting negotiations, Qassam rockets are falling on our children," Sharon said. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Statement After Sharon-Abbas Meeting (Prime Minister's Office)
  • IDF Switches to "Road Map" Mode - Amir Oren
    As one of several steps to strengthen the new Palestinian government, the IDF will open roadblocks to enable free movement of Palestinians from Jenin in the north to Dahariya in the south. (Ha'aretz)
  • Jordanian Ambassador: Abbas Must "Wage a War" on Hamas
    "It's very important to give the new prime minister the support that he requires in order to fight terrorism. He needs to wage a war within against Hamas and against Jihad al-Islami (Islamic Jihad)," said Jordanian ambassador to the U.S. Karim Kawar on Thursday. The Jordanian ambassador said a "power struggle" between the Authority and the militants was inevitable and Palestinians must recognize Abbas as sole leader. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Missing Mideast Momentum - Editorial
    In the wake of the U.S. victory in Iraq, the Bush administration's transformation agenda for the Middle East gained new credibility. The "momentum of freedom is growing," President Bush said in a speech in South Carolina this month outlining his vision of a free Mideast. The U.S. "will seize the moment." But now the momentum seems to be faltering, if not yet slipping away. Seven weeks after the fall of Baghdad, a State Department that largely opposed the war is beginning to set the agenda again - and the new Mideast is in danger of becoming the old Mideast. The last thing the region needs is a reversion to the pre-Bush status quo, with the U.S. pursuing the French agenda of supporting the region's dictators and assuming the road to stability goes through Palestine. The deja vu begins with the president's decision to invest his personal prestige in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. We hope he won't fall for the State Department-Saudi line that peace will occur once Israel makes enough concessions. (Wall Street Journal)
  • No Phony "Cease-Fires" With Terrorism - Charles Krauthammer
    President Bush, headed to Middle East summits in Egypt and Jordan, is in danger of heading straight back to Oslo, that eight-year exercise in delusion and self-deception that led to the bloodiest fighting between Israelis and Palestinians in 50 years. If what Abbas means by peace is that the terrorists just lay low for a while, and if that is what President Bush accepts as "peace," he not only will have betrayed Israel, he will have doomed American policy, because he will have ratified a prescription for continued and much more bloody violence. (Washington Post)
  • Democracy and the Road Map - Tovah Lazaroff
    Natan Sharansky was one of the seven ministers who this week voted against the road map. "There is a danger in proclaiming a state before democratic reforms are in place," he says. Instead of being the reward for reform, the state is the "down payment" for "serious negotiations" and not the result of a long process of serious reform. Sharansky fears that too much is being built on the Palestinian leadership and not enough on a democratic society. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Sharon and a Palestinian State - Yoel Marcus
    Sharon is the last person anyone expected to get up at a Likud meeting swarming with reporters and TV cameras, and say that the time has come to divide the country and establish a Palestinian state. Sharon has spoken many times about establishing a Palestinian state (in practice, he says, it already exists). The bottom line is to get what you can get, without running the risk of an imposed solution or rupturing ties with America, says a Sharon associate. (Ha'aretz)
  • A Road Trap for America, Too - Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
    If a new, sovereign safe-haven for terrorism called "Palestine" emerges, the road map will prove to be at cross-purposes with practically everything the Bush administration has been trying to do since September 11, 2001, to destroy terrorist organizations and the rogue-state regimes that sponsor them. Such a Palestinian state would be the most tangible refutation to date of the Bush administration's claim to have terrorists on the run around the world and would send the clear message: Terrorism pays. (National Post - Canada)
  • Iran's Moment of Truth? - Michael Ledeen (National Review)
    Even the dreamers in the Department of State and the intelligence community can no longer shrug off the active involvement of the Iranian mullahs in the most recent terrorist attacks, their frantic and apparently increasingly successful race to develop an atomic bomb, and their commitment of thousands of men and millions of dollars to sabotage our efforts to bring an orderly and free society to Iraq. It is impossible to win in Iraq or to block the spread of weapons of mass destruction throughout the terror network without bringing down the mullahs. Iran is not only a participant on the other side; it is the heart of the jihadist structure. If we are really serious about winning the war against terrorism, we must defeat Iran. (National Review)
  • How to Deal with Israel - Adnan Abu Odeh
    Whether we like it or not, Israel has become a major player on the Arab political scene, an active player which we should not allow to grow unhindered in our midst. In light of the present global and regional realities, the way to halt Israel in its tracks is to absorb it, not confront it - and absorption can only succeed within the context of an Arab peace strategy, not a bilateral one. The writer is a former Jordanian ambassador, information minister, and chief of the royal court. (Beirut Daily Star)
  • Pan-Arabism in Steep Decline - Amir Taheri
    "What binds a majority of Iraqis together is their Islamic faith while Arabism divides them," says Abdel-Aziz Hakim of the High Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. As Iraq's political parties and groups wrangle over a new constitution, a consensus seems to be taking shape that the future Iraqi state should not be described as "Arab." The idea of dropping Iraq's Arabism is backed by most Shi'ite parties that want the nation's Islamic identity to be emphasized. Some also want Iraq to withdraw from the Arab League and to contemplate broader alliances in the region and beyond.
        Libya is already distancing itself from the so-called Arab world. The Libyan Popular Assembly has just voted to drop the word "Arab" from the country's official name. From next September, Libya will describe itself as "The African Republic of Libya." "Associating with Arabs has brought us nothing but shame and heartache," says Seyf al-Islam Kaddafi, the colonel's son and possible successor. Many Arabs see the ease with which Saddam Hussein's regime collapsed in Baghdad as a strategic defeat for pan-Arabism as an ideology. (Jerusalem Post)
  • There is No All-Powerful Jewish Lobby - David Aaronovitch
    Let me spell it out for you. There is no all-powerful Jewish lobby. There is no secret convocation. Most journalists with Jewish names do not write the things they do because of loyalty to their race or religion. Nor can you simply change the word "Jewish" to "Zionist" and somehow be exempt from the charge of low-level racism. There are no Elders and there are no Protocols. (Guardian-UK)

    Weekend Features:

  • Jerusalem Arabs: The Forgotten Constituency - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The Palestinian Authority has once again urged the Arab residents of Jerusalem to boycott next week's municipal elections for fear their participation would be interpreted as Palestinian recognition of the annexation of the eastern part of the city in 1968. Masked Palestinian activists appeared in a number of Arab villages and neighborhoods to hand out leaflets warning the residents against participating, signed by Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement. There are at least 120,000 eligible Arab voters in the city, but less than 10% have cast their votes in previous municipal elections. "By boycotting the elections, the Arabs have shot themselves in the foot because they have deprived themselves of the opportunity to participate in the running of day-to-day affairs of the city," says Shalom Goldstein, Arab affairs adviser to the mayor of Jerusalem.
        Yet scores of Arab businessmen, merchants, and village heads have shown an unprecedented interest in the upcoming election, many of them openly and in total defiance of the PA. Some residents attribute this to the weakening of the PA's influence in the city with the closure of Orient House and the crackdown on Palestinian activists and security agents in the Arab neighborhoods. "We're not afraid of Arafat and his men....The PLO and Arafat are now very weak in Jerusalem. They have suffered many blows, especially since Sharon came to power. I believe that this time thousands of Arabs will vote," said Zuheir Hamdan, a village head in the Sur Baher neighborhood who was seriously wounded by Fatah gunmen outside his home a year ago. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Poverty Doesn't Create Terrorists - Alan B. Krueger
    Most terrorists are not motivated by the prospect of financial gain or the hopelessness of poverty. New research by Claude Berrebi, a graduate student at Princeton, has found that only 13% of Palestinian suicide bombers are from impoverished families, and 57% have some education beyond high school, compared with just 15% of the population of comparable age. This evidence corroborates findings for other Middle Eastern and Latin American terrorist groups. There should be little doubt that terrorists are drawn from society's elites, not the dispossessed. (New York Times)
        See also The Story of a Suicide Bomber - Greg Myre
    As Israel's security forces have filled the prisons, the level of violence against Israel has decreased, but the Israeli crackdown has produced unintended consequences. With all of the suspects packed together, the camps and jails have become a natural recruiting ground for the militant groups. (New York Times)
  • Salam Fayyad: The Radical Bean Counter - James Bennet
    Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian minister of finance, is an economist trained in Texas who has never fired a gun or served time in prison. Under the current system, $20 million in cash is doled out monthly to the security chiefs, to be handed out to their 53,000 men from the dozen independent security agencies in the West Bank and Gaza. In theory, Fayyad now reports to Abbas; in practice, he checks in with both him and Arafat. Arafat remains pre-eminent. Most Palestinian politicians and diplomats in Jerusalem expect Abbas, the prime minister, to be a transitional figure between the era of Arafat and a new Palestinian leadership. (New York Times)
  • A Lost Generation - Eric Silver and Sa'id Ghazali
    Salma al Debi, 22, works with youths, aged 14 to 18, at the Cultural Centre for Youth Development in Nablus. "We have a lost generation. May God help them. They believe in violence. A culture of death has spread among them. Those who are willing to die as martyrs are in the thousands. About 65% of the group of 400 young people I work with believe in martyrdom. 'Your people want you to stay alive,' I tell them. Only living people can serve their homeland, not dead." (Independent-UK)
  • In the Home of Hizballah - David Lewis
    I was invited to a huge Hizballah rally in the southern Beirut suburbs where the group's leadership is based, in celebration of the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. A Hizballah band featuring five men in matching suits sang what seems to be the organization's No. 1 hit: "Death to Israel." The crowd sang along. Grandfathers and little kids alike knew the lyrics. Hizballah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah took the stage to wild cheering and delivered a fiery anti-Israeli and anti-American speech. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • Ending Hizballah - Now - Eric Leskly
    Hizballah, a terrorist group of global reach, before September 11, 2001, was responsible for killing more Americans than any other terrorist organization. CIA Director George Tenet told Congress that Hizballah, "an organization with capability and worldwide presence, is [al Qaeda's] equal, if not a far more capable organization." Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage stated that "Hizballah may be the 'A-team' of terrorists," while "al Qaeda is actually the 'B-team.'" Throughout 2002 there were reports that al Qaeda operatives who had fled Afghanistan had taken refuge in southern Lebanon, Hizballah's stronghold. In September 2002, Armitage said of Hizballah: "They have a blood debt to us and...we're not going to forget it. They're on the list, their time will come." (National Review)
  • Sudan: The Unsung Evils are Rewarded - Editorial
    The government of Sudan was recently rewarded at the UN's annual Human Rights Convention in Geneva with a human-rights "upgrade." Moreover, the U.S. State Department shortly after issued a report that seriously understated Khartoum's human-rights abuses and its intransigence in peace negotiations. In Sudan, more than 2 million have been killed in the war, overwhelmingly non-Arab civilians in the south. Sudan has by far the world's greatest population of internally displaced persons, estimated at more than 4 million. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
        See also "Thousands of Slaves in Sudan" (BBC)
  • Observations:  

    Israel Details the Requirements of the Palestinians to Dismantle the Infrastructure of Terrorism
    (Foreign Ministry)

    According to the Quartet roadmap, at the outset of Phase I, the Palestinians are expected to "immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence according to the steps outlined below:

    • Declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism.
    • Undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.
    • Begin sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure."
    Israel has since detailed its concrete requirements from the Palestinians on how to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure:
    1. Arrests and trials for terrorists and those who send them
    2. Dissolution of terrorist organizations
    3. Confiscation of illegal weapons
    4. Taking steps to prevent the organization of new terror attacks
    5. A complete halt to incitement in the Palestinian media and education system


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