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

September 3, 2003

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info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

Saudi Arabia Refuses to Shift its F-15-S Aircraft from Tabuq Airbase Near Israel (Israel Army Radio-Hebrew)
    Saudi Arabia is refusing to redeploy its advanced F-15-S fighter-bombers from Tabuq airbase near Israel.
    The aircraft were placed at Tabuq on an emergency basis during the recent Iraq War in order to keep them far away from the theater of operations.
    The continued deployment of the F-15-S at Tabuq is a violation of U.S. assurances given to Israel when the American-made aircraft were originally sold to Saudi Arabia in 1991.


White House Might Not Deduct Security Fence Costs - Matthew E. Berger (JTA)
    As Congress returned this week from its summer recess, many lawmakers who traveled to the Middle East over the summer believe increased U.S. pressure on the PA is key to stemming violence.
    Lawmakers have signed letters urging the White House to reconsider its statements critical of the security fence Israel is building to keep terrorists from infiltrating from the West Bank.
    The White House appears to have backed away from its threat to deduct security fence costs from the $9 billion in loan guarantees the U.S. recently agreed to give Israel.


PA Education Ministry Bans "Martyr" Worship - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    The PA Education Ministry has banned schools from hanging on their walls posters of "martyrs" killed in the violence over the past three years, threatening to punish anyone who defies the order.
    The ministry also issued instructions banning schoolchildren from participating in demonstrations or painting graffiti on walls.
    Political activities inside school premises have also been prohibited.


Israelis Develop West Nile Vaccine - Judy Siegel-Itzkovich (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli microbiologists have developed the first passive vaccine, effective for six weeks, against the mosquito-borne West Nile virus, which has killed thousands and infected many more around the world.
    The vaccine, reported on in the July issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, is about to undergo clinical trials at a number of American hospitals.


Useful Reference:

Guidelines for IDF Officers in the Territories: Respect Palestinian Civilians and Use Common Sense - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    The IDF Judge Advocate General's office has formulated 11 rules for operations in the territories, based on both Israeli and international law - a sort of "guidebook" for IDF behavior in the territories.


Key Links

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Arafat: "The Road Map Is Dead"
    Recent Israeli military action against Palestinian militants has killed the U.S.-backed Mideast "road map" to peace, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said Tuesday in an off-camera interview with CNN. Arafat said there was no prospect of Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas resuming a declared cease-fire with Israel. "The road map is dead, but only because of Israeli military aggression in recent weeks," he said. Arafat downplayed a reported split between himself and Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, saying the reports have been exaggerated by Israel in order to create problems within the Palestinian leadership. In Ramallah, a newspaper published by the PA carried a petition signed by 250 academics, politicians, and community leaders calling on Arafat and Abbas to settle their differences. (CNN)
  • Pollard Seeks to Appeal Life Sentence
    Attorneys for Jonathan Jay Pollard, the U.S. Navy intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel 16 years ago, argued in federal court Tuesday that he has been punished too harshly because of mistakes by previous lawyers and the government's reliance on dubious claims about the damage he caused. "The Jonathan Pollard case is a stain on the American legal process," his attorney Eliot Lauer said. "The government agreed they would not seek a life sentence, and that's exactly what they did...and Jonathan Pollard has repeatedly been denied justice." (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinians Fire Anti-Tank Missiles at Israelis in Gaza - Amos Harel and Arnon Regular
    Palestinians fired five anti-tank missiles at a Gush Katif settlement in the Gaza Strip late Tuesday night, Army Radio reported. On Wednesday morning Israel will allow 10,000 Palestinian laborers and merchants from the Gaza Strip to enter Israel, Israel Radio reported. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF: Battered Hamas Seeks to Renew Truce - Amos Harel
    Over the last few days, Hamas leaders have sent messages to both the PA and Egypt in an effort to revive the cease-fire. The answers they have received sound almost like Israel's demands: First they must agree to disarm, and then it will be time to talk about a cease-fire. Hamas members at every level are feeling real fear for their lives, a fear that Israel is encouraging. (Ha'aretz)
  • Planned PA Power-Sharing Compromise Undercuts Abbas and Dahlan - Khaled Abu Toameh
    PA sources said Tuesday that a draft agreement between Arafat and Abbas calls for appointing a new interior minister in charge of the security forces - a post formally held by Abbas - who is expected to be an Arafat loyalist. Under the terms of the deal, Security Minister Muhammad Dahlan would retain his job, although his powers will be significantly undercut. A PA official said the deal gives Arafat a bigger say in negotiations with Israel by making him head of the Palestinian Higher Negotiating Committee. "All key decisions regarding the negotiations must be referred to Arafat for approval," he said. The deal is seen in PA circles as yet another blow to both Abbas and Dahlan. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Sources: Morocco Set to Reopen Its Israeli Mission Soon - Aluf Benn
    Israel and Morocco will soon renew their diplomatic activities in Rabat and Tel Aviv, sources accompanying Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom in Morocco said Tuesday, following Shalom's meeting with King Mohammed VI in Tetouan. The Moroccan monarch has already instructed Foreign Minister Mohamed Benaissa to renew the issuing of travel visas to Israelis wishing to visit the country, the sources said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Seeks Moratorium on Critical UN Resolutions - Shlomo Shamir
    Israel has launched a campaign for a UN moratorium on all resolutions that denounce Israel or demand that it change its policies without parallel denunciations or demands regarding Palestinian terrorism. Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman presented the idea Tuesday at a special meeting with the UN ambassadors of 25 European states. Israel argues that a moratorium on one-sided anti-Israel resolutions is required by the road map peace plan, of which the EU and the UN are cosponsors. The road map calls for an end to anti-Israel incitement.
        The initiative refers specifically to 21 resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that are discussed by various UN committees every year and then forwarded to the General Assembly, where they enjoy an automatic majority. Until now, Israel has largely ignored these resolutions. However, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom decided that Israel should try to detach the European states from the UN's anti-Israel majority. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • To Deport or Not to Deport - Ze'ev Schiff
    Will Arafat's deportation truly bring about an end to the conflict, or might the situation become even more complicated? The answer to the question of if and when Arafat should be expelled depends above all on the amount of damage such a move could cause Israel. Right now, it seems that less serious damage would result if Arafat were to remain in Ramallah and not in Gaza, with his budgets being cut more and more as time goes by. (Ha'aretz)
  • Resistance in Iraq is Mostly Home Grown - Tracy Wilkinson
    Most of the resistance in Iraq is home grown. The guerrillas are militants from the deposed regime, as well as ordinary Iraqis opposed to occupation. Added to this mix of Iraqis are the Islamic fundamentalists, especially Sunnis. Foreign fighters from Syria, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia have infiltrated in moderate numbers, working alongside some of the Iraqi groups. An alliance with Islamic extremists allows guerrillas to cast their fight in religious terms, which also helps to distance them from the discredited Hussein regime. The puritanical Wahhabi brand of Islam, for example, is especially anti-Western. Adherents believe that any non-Muslim who trespasses on Islamic land is an invader who must be repelled. Its members have also clashed with the Shiites for generations. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Saudi Extremists Said to be Fighting in Iraq - Faiza Saleh Ambah
    Despite official denials, there have been signs for months that Saudi Muslim extremists have traveled to Iraq to take on U.S.-led forces. Internet memorials to those who died fighting the Americans have popped up and Saudis are quietly swapping tales said to be from the front lines. Many of the men going to Iraq had previously fought in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Bosnia and were experts on guerrilla warfare, said Abdullah Bjad al-Otaibi, who writes about the extremists for Saudi newspapers. "Nothing inflames their emotions like the presence of U.S. troops in a Muslim country," al-Otaibi said. He said he doesn't believe there are more than 200 Saudis fighting in Iraq, but devotion to their cause could make them a potent force. (AP/Salon.com)
  • Why the Shiites are the Key - Reuel Marc Gerecht
    The car bombing Friday in the Shiite holy city of An Najaf, which killed scores of Iraqis, including the prominent cleric Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim - and which took place less than a week after a bomb went off at the home of Hakim's uncle, Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Said al-Hakim - has convulsed the Shiite community, who make up at least 60% of Iraq's population. Both ayatollahs had been talking to U.S. officials and favored democracy. Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim controlled the only effective Shiite paramilitary force, but had chosen not to direct it against the occupation. This had angered Shiite extremists, notably the young cleric Moktada al-Sadr, leader of a violent faction known as the Sadriyyin. The Sadriyyin are hard-core revolutionaries, spiritual disciples of the "Khomeini of Iraq," Muhammad Bakr al-Sadr, who was killed by Saddam Hussein in 1980.
        Washington should not tolerate the small stream of holy warriors coming over the Syrian and Iranian borders. Shiite leaders view U.S. efforts against these foreigners as a test of America's resolve and capacities. The only way to stop the flow will be to apply pressure on Syria and Iran to end it. Saddam was never able to seal the Iranian-Iraqi border, and thousands of additional U.S. troops won't either. The principal focus for now must be helping the Shiites and their senior clergy, America's strongest allies in the country. They are the key to creating the democracy America has promised. The writer, a former CIA officer, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. (International Herald Tribune)
        See also Shi'i Opposition in Iraq: An Emerging Challenge - Jeffrey White (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Observations:

    Hizballah's West Bank Foothold - Matthew Levitt
    (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

    • By early 2002, Israeli intelligence sources had documented Iran's use of the social-welfare hook to recruit Palestinians into Hizballah. Two Palestinians arrested upon their return from Iran, Shadi Jaber and Jihad Ibrahim Albasha, related that the Iranian Committee for Aiding Wounded Victims of the Intifada had been working to find potential terrorist recruits among injured Palestinians. The committee apparently offered free travel, medical treatment, and terrorist training for those who returned to the territories to establish terrorist cells. Among those involved in the recruitment drive, according to Albasha, were Nosratollah Tajik, the Iranian ambassador to Jordan; Hisham Abdel al-Razek, the PA minister of detainees; and Abu Mahadi Najafi, a senior Hizballah operative.
    • Lebanon-based operatives from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hizballah have built on this effort, recruiting a network of rogue Fatah Tanzim cells to serve as Hizballah's West Bank cadres, calling themselves the "Return Brigades."
    • The Return Brigades maintain close operational cooperation between their various Tanzim cells. For example, brigade leaders smuggled one operative abroad for sniper training, then sent the new sniper around the West Bank to train other Tanzim cells.
    • Hizballah no longer needs to recruit, train, and infiltrate terrorists into Israel through Europe (as it has done at least four times since 1996) because it now controls an extremely capable terrorist network within the West Bank.


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