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

August 15, 2003

To contact the Presidents Conference:
info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

Hamas, Islamic Jihad Resume Planning Terror Attacks - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    Senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives have recently resumed planning terror attacks for immediate execution, in defiance of the cease-fire, Shin Bet security service sources said.
    One such operative was Mohammed Sidr, head of Islamic Jihad's military wing in Hebron, who was killed Thursday during an attempt to arrest him.
    Sidr, responsible for attacks that killed 21 people, planned to send a booby-trapped car into either Jerusalem or Hebron in the near future, and had already acquired the car.
    IDF sources said Arafat is encouraging Fatah cells in the northern West Bank to commit attacks as well, and he recently sent money to the Fatah cell in the Balata refugee camp that carried out Tuesday's homicide bombing in Rosh Ha'ayin.
    The PA's Preventive Security Service did raid an Islamic Jihad stronghold in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza Thursday, but this was in response to a bomb that went off Wednesday at the entrance to the service's headquarters in the camp, which the PA believes was set by Jihad members.
    See also Head of Islamic Jihad in Hebron Killed During IDF Arrest Effort (IDF)


PA TV Still Promises Paradise to Martyrs (Jerusalem Post)
    This week PA TV broadcast a music video that depicts Muslim martyrs - shot in the back by Israeli soldiers - joining beautiful maidens in heaven.
    The video has appeared hundreds of times on Palestinian television since October 2000.


Israeli Beer Found in Uday and Qusay's Villa - Sefi Hendler (Maariv-Hebrew)
    "A large quantity of Israeli beer bottles" were found in the villa in Mosul where Uday and Qusay Hussein spent their last weeks, according to the French weekly L'Express.
    It was also reported that Israeli exports to Iraq reached $50 million in July.


Schwarzenegger Significant Investor in Israeli Start-up (Globes)
    Arnold Schwarzenegger, the movie star who is running for governor of California, is a significant investor in the Israeli start-up CellGuide, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
    CellGuide was founded in November 2000 by Israel Military Industries graduates, and has patented technology through which cell phones can be located for emergency and commercial purposes.


File-Trading Network in West Bank Not Worried about Lawsuits - John Borland (MSNBC News)
    In the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, a new file-swapping service is daring record labels and movie studios to turn their piracy-hunting into an international incident.
    Dubbed Earthstation 5, the new file-swapping network is openly flouting international copyright norms.


Useful Reference:

Fatalities in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: 27 Sep 2000-12 Aug 2003 (International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism, Herzliya)
    Total: Palestinians 2365, Israelis 799
    Non-Combatants killed by Opposite Side - Female: Palestinians 81, Israelis 244
    Combatants killed by Opposite Side - Palestinians 1078, Israelis 167
    People killed by actions of own side - Palestinians 300, Israelis 20
    Non-Combatants Aged Over 45 - Palestinians 76, Israelis 202


Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues


News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Al Qaeda Figure Seized in Thailand
    U.S. officials announced Thursday that they had captured Hambali, the 39-year-old Indonesian they describe as al Qaeda's top strategist in Southeast Asia and a key figure in the bombings in Bali last year that killed 202 people. "Hambali was one of the world's most lethal terrorists who is suspected of planning major terrorist operations," said President Bush. With Hambali's arrest, analysts say, nearly all of the top-tier leaders in al Qaeda have been either captured or killed, with the exception of Osama bin Laden and his closest aide, Ayman Zawahiri, both of whom are still at large. (Washington Post)
  • Iraq's Anxious Sunnis Seek Security in the New Order - Neil MacFarquhar
    Sunnis in Iraq are realizing that the advantages they enjoyed for centuries by dominating Iraq to a degree far beyond their numbers are likely gone forever. "The Sunnis want to be the leaders of the Iraqi state as they have always been, not just participants in a government under a Shiite head of state," said Nabil Abdel Fattah, an expert on Muslim religious currents at the Ahram Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo. "In a democracy based on the rule of the majority, the Sunnis cannot guarantee what will happen next. The new democratic system will strengthen the Shiites and the Kurds for good." (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Two Arrested Terrorists Planned Homicide Attack in Israel - Efrat Weiss
    Two wanted Fatah terrorists arrested early Friday in Nablus were planning a homicide attack in Israel, according to the IDF. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • Israel: "We Want to Advance the Peace Process, Not Crush It" - Ze'ev Schiff
    PA Minister for Security Affairs Mohammed Dahlan and Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz met for four hours Thursday and are planning to meet again in the coming days. Following the meeting, an Israeli security source said, "our goal is to advance the peace process, not to crush it." (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Releases More Palestinian Prisoners - Jonathan Lis and Baruch Kra
    Israel released a further 73 Palestinian prisoners Friday as part of confidence-building measures with the Palestinians. Israel had previously released 339 Palestinian prisoners. Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein wrote in a special statement of opinion to the cabinet that the release of Palestinian prisoners is dangerous because of the "legal jungle" that prevails in the Palestinian Authority. Israel "is releasing prisoners to a place where there is no law and...it is difficult to prevent the released prisoners' return to terror," wrote Rubinstein. "This is an issue that the U.S., a law-abiding country fighting terror, certainly understands," he wrote. (Ha'aretz)
  • White House Disappointed with Abbas - Aluf Benn
    Jerusalem has received indications that the White House too is becoming increasingly disappointed with Abbas. The Americans had pinned many hopes on him, believing that his weight and authority would grow with the job, but they learned that his cabinet is not making the necessary changes and is not fighting against terrorism. Even Colin Powell and his people have stepped up their demands of the Palestinian government to start acting against terrorism. John Wolf, the American envoy in charge of implementing the road map, last Monday warned Dahlan that if no change occurs and the PA does not start acting against terrorism, there will be no Palestinian state and the U.S. will withdraw its support for it.
        Prime Minister Sharon met Assistant Secretary of State William Burns a few hours after the attacks in Rosh Ha'ayin and Ariel and warned that if the PA fails to act against the terror infrastructure, Israel will do so instead. So far, American pressure has achieved nothing but evasive responses from the Palestinians. Israeli sources assume that if the Americans despair of Abbas, they will threaten to cut the PA's funds off, thus leading to the collapse of its government and the rise of an alternative leadership. (Ha'aretz)
  • U.S. Hopes Economic Pressure Will Alter Syrian Behavior - Aluf Benn
    The U.S. has closed the oil pipeline from Iraq to Syria and also blocked the cross-border trade routes between the two countries. Washington estimates that trade with Iraq accounted for some 40% of Syria's gross domestic product, and believes it will be difficult for Damascus to survive the loss of these revenues for long.
        The administration is considering supporting the Syria Accountability Act in Congress, that would impose diplomatic and economic sanctions on Syria until it shuts down the offices and training camps of terrorist organizations in Syria and Lebanon, removes Hizballah forces from south Lebanon and allows the Lebanese army to deploy in their stead, withdraws its own forces from Lebanon, stops developing and producing surface-to-surface missiles and chemical and biological weapons, and embarks on a peace process with Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • All Talk and No Dialogue - Ze'ev Schiff
    Seven weeks have gone by since the agreement on the cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and it's clear that the truce does not in fact exist. The terror attacks in Israel are continuing. The new Palestinian government is incapable of implementing the hudna. (Ha'aretz)
        See also PA Seizes $3 Million Iran Sent Islamic Jihad - Ze'ev Schiff
    The Palestinian preventive security apparatus, under Mohammed Dahlan, recently seized $3 million sent from Iran for the Islamic Jihad organization in the territories. (Ha'aretz)
  • Terrorism Casts Pall on "Road Map" - Max Abrahms
    All of this talk about prisoner releases and dismantling the fence has overshadowed the crux of the road map: the need to dismantle the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure itself. Whereas the Oslo framework presumed that an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty would ensure both groups' security, the two subsequent intifadas painfully demonstrated the opposite - security must precede peace. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also Onus on Abbas - Editorial
    As Secretary of State Colin Powell warned just a few weeks back, Abbas "cannot be the prime minister of a Palestinian state based on democratic principles" - as demanded by Washington - if terrorism is allowed to flourish. (New York Post)
  • Saudi Arabia in Crisis - Stephen Schwartz
    Saudi power in the peninsula is also based on a deception. The House of Saud has always maintained a close alliance with the Western, Christian powers to assure its political dominance at home, while the Wahhabi clerics preach jihad against the world. But now the arrangement is collapsing, for reasons both external and internal. According to dissident Saudis I meet with every week, average Saudi citizens do not hate the West. They are also not obsessed with Israel and the Palestinians. They are ordinary people, many now in possession of the Internet and satellite dishes, who want to live in a normal country that would resemble Malaysia more than any other Islamic society. To the extent they are frustrated with the Western role in Saudi Arabia, their protests spring from disillusion with U.S. and British support for the Saudi monarchy. (Wall Street Journal/FrontpageMagazine)
  • Finish the Fence - R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
    The Israelis need to get on with finishing their fence. Its electronic systems on both sides will save lives, even the lives of the would-be suicide murderers. The U.S. uses fences to keep illegal aliens out and on overpasses to prevent morons from dropping bricks on cars. The Israelis' need for a fence is demonstrably greater. (Washington Times)
  • No More '"Let's Pretend" - Editorial
    Let's stop pretending. We all know that Israel will never, in the current context, release enough prisoners, dismantle the fence or enough outposts to satisfy the Palestinians and this assumes that it was legitimate for the Palestinians to make demands extraneous to the road map in the first place. The "help Abbas" mantra has, if anything, exacerbated the problem by tolerating unending excuses for inaction, even as the infrastructure of terrorism is rebuilt and terrorist attacks increase. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Truth About Daniel Pipes - Charles Krauthammer
    The president has nominated Islamic scholar Daniel Pipes to the board of directors of the U.S. Institute of Peace. This has resulted in a nasty eruption of McCarthyism. Pipes's nomination has been greeted by charges of Islamophobia, bigotry, and extremism. Who is Daniel Pipes? During the decades when America slept, Pipes was among the very first to understand the dangers of Islamic radicalism. In his many writings he identified it, explained its roots - including, most notably, Wahhabism as practiced and promoted by Saudi Arabia - and warned of its plans to infiltrate and make war on the U.S. itself. Sept. 11, 2001, demonstrated his prescience. Like most prophets, he is now being punished for being right. (Washington Post)
  • Interpreting Egypt's Anti-Semitic Cartoons - Kate Clark
    "About the Holocaust, this big figure they mention, nine million, six million, it's not true," says Mohammed, the correspondent of an international news agency in Cairo. "In reality it was only half a million Jews killed - no more." His views appear to be quite typical among journalists in Egypt. Mohammed Khalil, who teaches Mass Communications at Cairo University, says depicting Israelis as Nazis is legitimate political commentary. Mohammed Salmawy, who edits the state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram Hebdo, defends the use of old European myths like the blood libel. (BBC News)
  • Feminism and Islamic Fascism - Cinnamon Stillwell
    Feminist writer Phyllis Chesler, a former professor of women's studies and a co-founder of the Women's Health Network, found herself completely alienated from former comrades after 9/11 because of what she describes as their idealization of Islamic Fascism, as well as their burgeoning anti-Semitism. She raises her concerns in her new book, The New Anti-Semitism: The Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It. (ChronWatch)
        See also The Last Acceptable Prejudice - Suzanne Fields (Jewish World Review)


  • Observations:

    Combating Terrorist Financing: Where the War on Terror Intersects
    the "Road Map"
    - Matthew Levitt
    (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • Combating terrorist financing is one of the most critical fronts in both the war on terror and the implementation of the roadmap to peace. In both cases, cutting off the flow of funds to terrorists hinges on focusing on logistical and financial support networks.
    • Too often security, intelligence, and law enforcement services and certainly politicians and diplomats make distinctions between terrorist "operatives" and terrorist "supporters." Yet financial and logistical support networks are central to the conduct of international terrorism. Those who fund or facilitate acts of terror are equally as guilty of committing acts of terror as those who pull the triggers, detonate the bombs, or crash the airplanes.
    • The main effort in combating terror financing must be to shut down the key nodes through which terrorists raise, launder, and transfer funds.
    • Since there is significant overlap between terrorist groups in the area of financing, failure to deal with the financing of groups like Hamas undermines efforts to stem the flow of funds to al-Qaeda.

      Matthew Levitt is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.


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