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

June 26, 2003

To contact the Presidents Conference:
info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

CIA Finds Parts in Iraq for Enriching Uranium - Bill Gertz (Washington Times)
    The CIA has uncovered components of a gas centrifuge used to enrich weapons-grade uranium, and a stack of nuclear arms documents in the back yard of an Iraqi scientist, an indication Baghdad was hiding its arms program for future use, a U.S. intelligence official said Wednesday.
    "These documents and components were deliberately hidden at the direction of Iraq's senior leadership with the aim of preserving the regime's capacity to resume construction of a centrifuge that at some point could be used to enrich uranium for a nuclear device," the intelligence official said.
    Dr. Mahdi Shukur Obeidi "told us [the documents] represent a complete set of what would be needed to rebuild a uranium-enrichment program," the official said.
    The scientist also disclosed that the concealment of the components and documents were "part of a secret high-level plan to reconstitute the nuclear weapons program once sanctions ended," the official said.


British Report Sees Arab WMD Alliance (Middle East Newsline)
    The British Defense Ministry's Joint Doctrine and Concepts Centre has issued a "Strategic Trends" report that foresees the formation of a pan-Arab military alliance armed with weapons of mass destruction.
    The report envisions what it terms a coherent, assertive pan-Arab or pan-Islamic alliance over the next three decades, bolstered by missile and weapons of mass destruction programs from such countries as Iran, Libya, and Syria.
    "The range of intractable tensions, the key strategic importance of the region, and the likely proliferation of weapons of mass destruction will ensure that it remains near the top of the West's security agenda," the report said.


Syria Protests to U.S. Over Wounded Soldiers (Reuters/Washington Post)
    Syria Wednesday demanded that U.S. authorities return five Syrian border guards wounded when U.S. special forces attacked a convoy believed to be carrying aides of toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.


May Tourism Climbs 36% - Irit Rosenblum (Ha'aretz)
    Some 82,600 tourists entered Israel in May 2003 - a 36% increase compared to May 2002.


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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Bush: Hamas Must Be Dismantled
    Responding to a question about reports of a cease-fire by the Palestinians, President Bush said Wednesday, "I'll believe it when I see it, knowing the history of the terrorists in the Middle East. But the true test for Hamas and terrorist organizations is the complete dismantlement of their terrorist networks, their capacity to blow up the peace process....In order for there to be peace in the Middle East, we must see organizations such as Hamas dismantled, and then we'll have peace."
        "There are three parties involved directly in the territories there. There's the Israeli government. I believe the Israeli people want peace, and I believe their government when they say they want a peaceful state, living side by side with Israel. Secondly, there are the people of the Palestinian world who are tired of failed leadership, tired of terrorism destroying their hopes, tired of living in poverty, and they, too, want a peaceful state. And then there are the terrorists, like Hamas, who do not want a peaceful state, and they're willing to use terrorist means to destroy it. In order for there to be peace, Hamas must be dismantled." (White House)
        See also Bush Urges EU Leaders to End Hamas Support (London Times)
  • 850,000 Jews Fled Arab States; $1 Billion in Property Confiscated, Study Finds
    Newly discovered documents show Arab states orchestrated the persecution of their Jewish citizens after the creation of Israel, then kept more than US$1 billion in property belonging to the 850,000 who left, Canadian experts said Monday. The study argues that Jews who left Arab lands deserve equal redress and their plight should be recognized, as efforts to settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict unfold. The new study was produced by the group Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC), whose honorary chairmen are Irwin Cotler, a Liberal MP, and Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. (CanWest News)
        See also Report Charges Arabs with Jewish "Ethnic Cleansing"
    (Jerusalem Post)
  • House Backs Israel's Response to Terror
    The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a resolution 399-5, condemning attacks on Israel since the Aqaba Summit and saying Israel was justified in its forceful response to Palestinian attacks. The House on Wednesday also passed, by 412-0, a resolution expressing concern about the rise of anti-Semitism around the world. (AP/Newsday)
        See Text of House Resolution (Library of Congress/IMRA)
  • Iraqi Mob Killed Britons
    The attack that killed six British military police officers Tuesday was carried out by a mob of Iraqis armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers who laid an Alamo-like siege to a police station where the Britons were training local patrolmen. At least four soldiers were killed at close range when their ammunition ran out. (Washington Post)
        See also Last Stand at Majar al-Kabir (Telegraph-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinian Murders Israeli in Israeli-Arab Town - Tsahar Rotem and Amos Harel
    An Israeli telephone company employee was shot dead by a Palestinian from Jenin Thursday in the northern Israeli-Arab town of Baka al-Garbiyeh. (Ha'aretz)
  • Moving Toward a Cease-Fire - Arnon Regular, Aluf Benn, and Nathan Guttman
    Hamas and Islamic Jihad have agreed on a draft cease-fire for three months, in which they will cease attacks both in Israel and the territories. The PA wants to defer the cease-fire announcement until the arrival of U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice this weekend. The PA wanted to achieve the cease-fire before closing a deal with Israel in which the Palestinians will accept security responsibility for Gaza and Bethlehem. According to Israel Radio, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine says it does not accept the cease-fire.
        In Jerusalem, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz decided Wednesday that Israel will ignore any agreements on a cease-fire reached by the Palestinian organizations, and will instead insist that the PA disarm militias in any area in which it assumes security responsibility. "We are...interested...only in what the Palestinians undertook as part of their commitments under the road map - to dismantle the terror infrastructure," said a government source. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Tyrant in the Shadows - John S. Burnett
    The reports that Saddam Hussein may be alive and hiding inside Iraq - and inspiring his newly confident followers to attack and kill occupation soldiers - are robbing people of a basic human right: freedom from fear. Another powerful force is anarchy. Vengeance happens every day now. When police stations were looted, the clever thieves went for the files. So today, for $50, you can buy the records that allege who killed your brother or father or uncle so many years ago. Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard and fedayeen stripped off their uniforms, but they haven't disappeared. They are living among the locals. Some say they know neighbors who still have a photo of Mr. Hussein hidden away, just in case he returns. (New York Times)
  • Gaza-Bethlehem First: Is Anything Different This Time? - Herb Keinon
    Last August, then defense minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer negotiated a Bethlehem-Gaza first plan and the IDF did indeed redeploy, but Kassam rockets from the Gaza Strip continued to fall, Bethlehem turned into a city of refuge, and the terrorist attacks continued unabated. According to the optimists, a new PA government, the intense U.S. involvement, and a new regional reality after the Iraqi war are all elements that did not exist last year. Yet without taking control of the terrorist organizations, without disarming and dismantling them, the PA won't be able to take effective security control over the areas. And without doing this, it is just a matter of time until the attacks will continue and Israel will, once again, be forced to take security matters back into its own hands. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Children's Day in Palestine - Yossi Klein Halevi
    Oslo's greatest irony is that it entrusted the education of a generation of Palestinians to Arafat, thereby ensuring that the Palestinian people would be far less prepared for reconciliation than it was before the process began. Young Palestinians in the Oslo era were educated to see Israel as illegitimate, Jews as demonic, and genocidal terrorism as a choice career option. To call that "incitement" is to understate the crime. Just recently Arafat told a group of Palestinian youth who'd come to see him on "Children's Day" that martyrdom was their highest national and religious calling. Only in Palestine does the nation's leader celebrate Children's Day by telling children to kill themselves. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:  

    Holding Syria Accountable - Claude Salhani (UPI)

    • Syria's opponents last week attained majority backing in the U.S. Senate, with 51 votes, to pass the Syria Accountability Act. The bill - S.982 - calls on Syria to halt its support of terrorism, end its occupation of Lebanon, stop its development of weapons of mass destruction, cease its illegal importation of Iraqi oil, and holds Syria accountable for its role in the Middle East. Syria will face a tough time," cautioned a Jordanian government official who called the political stance adopted by President Bashar Assad, "unreasonable."
    • Syria considers Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizballah as liberation movements. But according to well-informed Palestinian sources, the vast majority of suicide bombings carried out by Hamas and IJ are conceived and ordered from offices outside the territories, mainly in Damascus and Beirut.
    • Last May, Assad assured Secretary of State Powell that offices run by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and others in the Syrian capital had indeed been shut down. Yet, according to the Jordanian official, the offices remain open.


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