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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August 26, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

FBI Warns Britain of al Qaeda Plot to Fly Jetliner into Building - David Bamber (Washington Times/London Sunday Telegraph)
    The FBI has uncovered intelligence that al Qaeda terrorists are plotting to hijack a plane in Britain over the next two months and fly it into a major building.
    British Airways and other major airlines operating in and out of Britain have been put on alert after the warning was passed to the security services.
    The most likely targets are planes taking off from Heathrow and Gatwick airports in London.

CIA: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria Help Iraq Insurgency (Middle East Newsline)
    A CIA report on threats in Iraq has identified Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Syria as the leading supporters of the Sunni insurgency against the U.S. military, according to the London-based Al Hayat daily.
    The three countries have contributed insurgents and funding to a range of groups, including al Qaeda and Hizballah.
    The CIA report marked the first time that Saudi Arabia was specifically identified as a supporter of the Sunni insurgency.

An End to Incitement? (Palestinian Media Watch)
    Twice Sunday, PA TV broadcast a music video designed to create fear and hatred of Israelis among children.
    It opens with a young girl rushing home to her mother with flowers, but as she approaches, an Israeli rifle appears at the corner of the screen and her mother is murdered in front of her eyes.
    In the next scene, the girl places the flowers intended for her mother on her mother's grave, and sings songs of mourning over the grave.

Mounties' Dragnet Nets 19 Terror Suspects in Toronto (CTV-Canada)
    The Royal Canadian Mounted Police confirmed Friday that 19 people in the Toronto area were arrested last week for possible links to terrorist groups.
    Among those arrested was one man enrolled in a flight school where training involves flying over the Pickering nuclear power plant.
    Two others were found loitering outside the Pickering facility before dawn.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Saudis Join Probe of Funding
    Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have agreed to set up a joint task force that will station U.S. law enforcement officials in the kingdom to target individuals suspected of funneling millions of dollars to al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. The group will focus on mining information from bank accounts, computer records, and other financial data to track and shut down the money flow. For the first time U.S. officials will have access to Saudi documents and investigations. (Washington Post)
  • Arafat Hits Back in Fight for Power
    Yasser Arafat countered American and Israeli efforts to sideline him by appointing his own man to carry out a shake-up of the Palestinian security services. He installed Jibril Rajoub as his National Security Adviser, in flagrant defiance of demands from Israel and the U.S. that he surrender his powers to enable Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Mohammed Dahlan to clamp down on militant groups. Rajoub has a strong power base in the West Bank, where Dahlan, a native of Gaza, is politically weak. Arafat also promoted Rajoub to the rank of general, making him senior to Dahlan, who holds only the rank of colonel. (London Times)
  • Bush Aide Prods Israel
    The Bush administration vowed on Monday to see through a U.S.-backed peace plan despite Israeli-Palestinian violence and called on Israel to meet its responsibilities to help bring about a "peaceful change." (Reuters)
        See also Remarks of National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice
    "Israeli leaders increasingly understand that it is in Israel's interest for Palestinians to govern themselves, in a state that is viable, peaceful, democratic, and committed to fighting terror. Israel has to fulfill its responsibilities to help that peaceful state emerge. A new Palestinian leadership is emerging that understands - and says, in Arabic and English - that terror is not a means to Palestinian statehood, but rather the greatest obstacle to statehood. Amidst this progress came last week's familiar images of bloodshed and violence by those who would use terror to destroy the hopes for peace. But the terrorists will not succeed - and terrorist networks must be dismantled." (White House)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • IDF Arrests Two Terrorists in Nablus Hospital - Amos Harel and Arnon Regular
    Israeli undercover troops snatched two wounded Palestinian Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade members from their hospital beds in Nablus early Tuesday and transferred them to a hospital inside Israel. One was Othman Yunis, 27, responsible for several attacks in which at least 10 people were killed, most recently the Rosh Ha'ayin suicide bombing on August 12, which came in the middle of the cease-fire. (Ha'aretz)
  • German Mediator Meets Captured Israeli Held by Hizballah
    Ernst Uhrlau, coordinator of the German secret services, who orchestrated Monday's handover of two Hizballah men killed in clashes with the IDF, has confirmed that he met with Elhanan Tannenbaum, captured by Hizballah three years ago. Uhrlau is the first intermediary to see Tannenbaum, and said he is in reasonable health. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinians in Gaza Fire Missiles at Israelis - Joel Leyden
    Palestinian terrorists fired anti-tank missiles at Israeli positions in Gaza Monday, a military source reported. Two missiles targeted Jewish towns in Gush Katif, while another missile just missed an IDF post on the Israel-Egyptian border. Also on Monday, three Kassam missiles were fired from Gaza at the Israeli Negev town of Eshkol. In addition, mortars were fired into the Gaza Jewish community of Neve Dekalim. (Jerusalem Post)
  • France to Israel: No Evidence Hamas, Islamic Jihad are ''Terror Groups''
    France expressed objections to placing Hamas and Islamic Jihad on the European Union's list of "terror organizations." Israel's Yediot Ahronot reported that diplomatic advisor to French President Jacques Chirac, Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, told the Israeli ambassador in France, Nissim Zvilli, during a weekend meeting, that there is no evidence that these two organizations are "terror groups." (Albawaba-Jordan)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Face the Terrorists - Editorial
    The fundamental reason Israelis and Palestinians now face another descent into open warfare is the same one that wrecked the Oslo peace process three years ago - the practice of terrorism by Palestinian extremists and the failure of moderate Palestinian leaders to confront it. No peace process is possible while suicide bombers are slaughtering Israeli civilians in the heart of Jerusalem; the current thaw began only because of Mr. Abbas's emergence as a leader committed to ending such crimes. Unless Mr. Abbas can now deliver on that promise, there can be little hope of avoiding the plunge off the cliff. Hamas's return to suicide bombs was inevitable: The idea that a group that aims at the extinction of Israel and exults in the slaughter of small children could be quietly converted into a peaceful political movement, as Mr. Abbas suggested, was a dangerous illusion. The real imperative for action remains, as it has for three years, with the Palestinians. If they will not act against the evil in their midst, the outside world can do little to help them. (Washington Post)
  • Beirut, Baghdad - Fouad Ajami
    For our enemies, it is mightily important that we fail in Baghdad, and be forced to leave. Who would wish us well - strangers trumpeting new possibilities in lands made weary by cruelty and cynicism? As we had sacked the Tikriti-Sunni order, what assurance was there that the minority Alawite regime in Syria would survive? America must put Iran and Syria on notice that a terrible price will be paid by those who would aid and abet terror in Iraq. They must be told that a different America - driven by a sense of righteous violation after Sept. 11, 2001 - has turned up in their midst. (Wall Street Journal/FrontPageMagazine)
  • Fighting Terror - Ze'ev Schiff
    This time, Dahlan arrested several arms dealers, sent forces into the northern Gaza Strip to prevent the firing of Kassam rockets, and plugged up the openings of tunnels in Rafah used to smuggle weapons (though some of the tunnels had not been used for quite a while). The effort was not directed at the real terror infrastructure - such as seizing workshops used to produce rockets or arresting suspects. According to the Shin Bet, all of the measures taken by Palestinians in recent days were intended for public relations purposes and had only a marginal impact on the security situation. There is still no real war on the terror infrastructure.
        There is an unequivocal decision by Israel's defense establishment not to return to the same type of cease-fire as before. This time there will be no discussion of a cease-fire if it does not include from the outset direct Palestinian action against the terror infrastructure.
        The bus bombing in Jerusalem was carried out by the Hamas branch in Hebron, which maintains contacts with leaders of the organization abroad, including those in Jordan. While it seems that the Hamas leadership in Gaza did not have advance knowledge of the operation, they immediately adopted the action and praised it, thus making themselves direct partners in the attack. (Ha'aretz)
  • Observations:

    The Inevitable Disintegration of the Hudna - Eli Kazhdan and David Keyes
    (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • Roadmap requirements have been categorically ignored both by the Palestinian Authority and the Quartet. This was due partly to the fact that the hudna, a temporary truce offered by the terrorist organizations, never fulfilled the terms of the roadmap's cease-fire.
      • While the demand for "effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure" is explicitly clear, PA Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas repeatedly insisted that he would not dismantle the terrorist organizations but would persuade them through a dialogue.
      • Despite a call for "confiscation of illegal weapons," a vast network of some 50,000 illegal arms, 24 bomb manufacturing plants, and 20 weapons smuggling enterprises is being systematically ignored by the PA. Thus, rather than reducing the weaponry of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in accordance with the roadmap, their military capabilities grew.
      • The roadmap calls on Arab states to "cut off public and private funding and all other forms of support for groups supporting and engaging in violence and terror." Yet Saudi Arabia funds approximately 60% of Hamas's budget and the Saudi share of Hamas funding is growing.
    • The U.S. and its European allies compromised their own roadmap by working with the Palestinian hudna. Now with the breakdown in security they should be supporting the steps Israel must undertake to protect its citizens. Israel has every moral right to complete the construction of a separation fence along a route of its choosing in order to optimize the protection of its citizens.

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