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 17, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

U.S. & Israeli Sources: Half of Hamas's Budget Comes from Saudis - Don Van Natta, Jr. with Timothy L. O'Brien (New York Times)
    At least 50% of Hamas's current operating budget of about $10 million a year comes from people in Saudi Arabia, according to American law enforcement officials, American diplomats in the Middle East, and Israeli officials.
    After 9/11, the Saudi portion of Hamas financing grew larger as donations from the U.S., Europe, and other Persian Gulf countries dried up.
    Nearly all the donations are given in cash, making it extremely difficult to track the money.
    American Treasury Secretary John Snow is to arrive in Riyadh on Wednesday to address the financing of terrorism and to press Saudi authorities to crack down on Hamas by choking off its funds.
    In October 2002, senior Hamas leader Khalid Mishaal attended a charitable fund-raising conference in Riyadh held by the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), where he thanked Crown Prince Abdullah, the de facto Saudi ruler, for continuing "to send aid to the people through the civilian and popular channels, despite all the American pressures exerted on them."
    WAMY's American branch was incorporated in Virginia in 1992 by Abdullah bin Laden, a relative of Osama bin Laden, and members of the Saudi royal family have contributed large sums to the charity.
    According to the Israeli military, Hamas's spiritual leader, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, in a speech last month in Gaza, thanked WAMY and another Saudi charity for their continued financial support.
    Law enforcement officials in India and the Philippines have accused WAMY of financing terrorism in their countries.


New Terrorist Concern in U.S. - Lisa Myers (NBC News)
    Experts say foreign Islamic fighters have flocked to Ansar-al-Islam - a terrorist group based in northern Iraq - and now the group has expanded its reach - to America.
    “We do have an Ansar-al-Islam presence here in the United States,” said Pat D’Amuro, FBI assistant director and one of the agency’s top counterterrorism officials.
    Ansar followers are under investigation in at least a half-dozen American cities - including New York, San Diego, and Los Angeles.


Syria Obtains SA-18 Missiles (Middle East Newsline)
    Western intelligence sources said Syria has obtained hundreds of advanced shoulder-fired SA-18 anti-aircraft missiles and launchers from Belarus, in a deal estimated at more than $30 million.


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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. Vetoes Anti-Israel UN Measure
    The U.S. Tuesday vetoed a Security Council resolution, backed by Islamic and nonaligned nations, demanding that Israel back off its threat to deport Arafat. Eleven Council members voted in favor of the measure, while Britain, Germany, and Bulgaria abstained. U.S. UN Ambassador John Negroponte said the resolution failed to include "a robust condemnation of acts of terrorism; an explicit condemnation of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Aksa Martyrs Brigades as organizations responsible for acts of terrorism; and a call for the dismantlement of infrastructure, which supports these terror operations." Israeli UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman said after the vote, "This was a resolution which in a very macabre way criticized the victims of terror rather than the perpetrators of terror." (New York Times)
  • Arafat Gains Authority to Appoint Cabinet
    Sixteen of the 24 ministers in Palestinian premier-designate Ahmed Qurei's new cabinet will be appointed by Fatah councils controlled by Arafat, officials said Monday, though Israel has said it will have nothing to do with an Arafat-dominated government. (AP/Washington Post)
  • U.S. Congress Mulls Syria Sanctions
    The U.S. Congress has begun examining proposed legislation that accuses Damascus of supporting terrorism and developing weapons of mass destruction, and condemns its military presence in Lebanon. Known as the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act, the legislation would require Damascus to change its behavior or face American sanctions. (BBC News)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • U.S. Pressure Blocks Israeli Cabinet Approval of Security Fence - Ben Caspit
    A meeting of the Israeli Cabinet to approve the route of an additional section of the security fence has been cancelled due to American pressure. American emissary John Wolf warned Defense Ministry Director General Amos Yaron Tuesday that if Israel approves the section of the fence from Elkana southward, the U.S. will reduce U.S. loan guarantees to Israel by an amount equivalent to Israel's spending for the fence. Wolf made the announcement despite U.S. knowledge that Prime Minister Sharon had changed the route so that it would not include the city of Ariel. American sources confirmed that the U.S. opposes continued work on the fence and has many objections to its planned route. It appears that the Americans are willing to accept the fence only if it is built on the "green line." (Maariv-Hebrew)
        See also Sharon Delays Decision on Security Fence - Aluf Benn and Nathan Guttman
    The threatened reduction in guarantees is likely to come out of future installments, since the first installment, $1.6 billion, was used to back a bond issue Tuesday in New York. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, a proponent of the fence encompassing the Ariel settlement bloc, agreed to a compromise, a three-kilometer "hole" that would be filled with troops to prevent terrorist infiltration while the fence continues to Jerusalem. Coalition whip Likud MK Gideon Sa'ar said Tuesday that if the fence goes up on the "green line" as the Americans insist, it would be "the biggest prize of all to Yasser Arafat." (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel: No More Phony PA Cease-Fires - Herb Keinon
    Israeli officials dismissed PA proposals for a comprehensive cease-fire Thursday as just another attempt to win a temporary reprieve in order to regroup and reorganize. "What is needed is not a cease-fire, but real Palestinian reform and action against the terrorist infrastructure," a senior official in the Prime Minister's Office said Tuesday. Thursday's security cabinet resolution calling for the removal of Arafat also stated that the government "rejects any idea of a cease-fire as a way of dealing with terrorism; terrorism will stop only after the terrorist organizations have been dismantled and liquidated." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • What to Do About Arafat - Ze'ev Schiff
    No Palestinian prime minister has a chance to operate independently, especially on security matters, as long as Arafat is nearby. If there is any chance at all for this to happen, it will happen when Arafat is far away. In any case, there is a consensus among the security forces that removing or killing Arafat will broaden the bloody clashes, which could spread to Israeli Arabs. (Ha'aretz)
  • The Cost of Expulsion - Dennis Ross
    It is easy to see the logic of expelling Yasser Arafat. In the year 2000, he had the opportunity to end Israeli occupation, and he said no. Instead of ending the conflict he allowed the intifada to erupt, destroying the peace camp in Israel and bringing extraordinary suffering to his own people. Not only is he unwilling to make peace, but he is determined to block any other Palestinian from doing so. Expulsion is not cost-free. It will probably produce the collapse of the Palestinian Authority and trigger violence and greater chaos for at least a period of time. The cost might be worth it over time if there was a pathway to work on reform on the inside and peace on the outside. Palestinians must see what can be gained. They must see what Arafat continues to cost them. If Israel is not ready to pay the price of expulsion in terms of credible new initiatives, then the message is clear: Don't do it. (Wall Street Journal-16Sep03)
  • Should Israel Target Arafat? - Alan Dershowitz
    There can be absolutely no doubt of the legality of Israel's policy of targeting Hamas leaders. Hamas has declared war against Israel. All of its leaders are combatants, whether they wear military uniforms, suits, or religious garb. There is no realistic distinction between the political and military wings of Hamas, any more than there is a distinction between the political and military wings of al-Qaeda. The official policy of Hamas, like that of al-Qaeda, is the mass murder of civilians. The decision to employ that policy was made by its so-called "political" leaders. The U.S. properly targeted bin Laden and his associates, as well as Saddam Hussein and his sons. Under international law, combatants are appropriate military targets until they surrender. They may be killed in their sleep, while preparing military actions, or while participating in any other activity. They need not be arrested, or even given a chance to surrender. Only if they come out with their hands up, or waving a white flag, or affirmatively manifesting surrender by some other means, may they avoid the ultimate sanction of a war they started, namely death. Any democracy facing threats to its civilian population comparable to those faced by Israel would respond in much the same way Israel is now responding to the terrorism being conducted by Hamas and other terrorist groups. (Toronto Globe & Mail)
  • Israel Should Never Again Negotiate Peace with Terrorists - Yossi Klein Halevi
    None of us who at first supported the Oslo process imagined that it would end in the worst wave of terrorism in Israel's history. The more territory Israel ceded, the more terrorism it received in return. After three years of terrorist war, few Israelis believe anymore in the possibility of a comprehensive solution. At best, Israelis envision a series of interim solutions that will gradually ease the intensity of the conflict, rather than resolve it. The Israeli consensus is that this conflict isn't about Palestinian occupation but Israel's existence. However problematic, the West Bank settlements aren't the main problem. The reason there is no peace isn't because Jews live in Hebron but because they live in Tel Aviv. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Observations:

    The End of "Arafat" - Editorial (Wall Street Journal)

    • "Arafat" should enter history not merely as the name of one autocratic man, but as the name we assign to an entire Western phenomenon of false thinking. "Arafat," we now see, has come to represent the act of self-delusion on a massive, international scale. "Arafat" is about refusing to believe that an adversary is simply irredeemable. Most importantly at this particular moment, "Arafat" is about allowing barbarism, or its techniques, to challenge the political tenets of civilized life.
    • For years the Western nations that emerged from World War II and the Cold War have been playing with fire by pretending that their world and the alternative world of "Arafat" could somehow coexist.
    • Arafat's legacy includes: the contemporary crime of hijacking and blowing up civilian-filled airliners; the attempted destabilization of Jordan and Israel and the successful destruction of Lebanon as a formerly sovereign nation; and decades of violated international agreements, culminating in the collapse of Oslo.
    • The U.S. should say it is no longer going to be associated with Arafat and what he stands for. Where Arafat spends the rest of his life is not important. What matters is for the world to recognize that it is time to get rid of "Arafat."


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