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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November 5, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Al-Qaeda Warns American Muslims to Leave Major U.S. Cities - Catherine Donaldson-Evans (FOX News)
    Al-Qaeda's Al Faroq web site is running a warning to Muslims to leave Washington D.C., New York City, and Los Angeles because of implied imminent terrorist attacks, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute.
    Titled "A Warning to Muslims in America," the directive was issued by the previously unknown "Islamic Bayan Movement" and first ran on the Global Islamic Media web site on Monday.

Kenya Terror Attacks Against Israeli Aircraft Planned from Somalia - William Wallis (Financial Times-UK)
    Last year's terrorist attacks on a hotel and an Israeli aircraft in Kenya were planned and prepared under cover of a lobster-fishing operation in Somalia, according to a UN panel report that paints a disturbing picture of arms proliferation in the collapsed African state.
    The surface-to-air missiles deployed in a simultaneous and unsuccessful attempt to shoot down an Israeli airliner were either "smuggled from Yemen directly by commercial arms dealers or transferred first to Eritrea and then to Somalia as part of an Eritrean government transfer to faction leader Hussein Aydiid."
    Four of the al-Qaeda team involved in the attack were thought to be still hiding in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

Rajoub to London for Medical Treatment - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Jibril Rajoub, Arafat's advisor on national security, who met on Sunday with Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter, left for Britain Monday for two weeks of medical treatment for cancer.
    He has been receiving treatment in London and Jordan for the past two years.

Israel Bars Foreign Planes Without Bulletproof Cockpit Doors (AP)
    Israel is barring foreign airliners that don't have bulletproof cockpit doors from landing at its international airport.
    The Transport Ministry says airliners found not to have them will get a warning first and then be barred from landing.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Mortar Attack on U.S. Compound in Baghdad
    Three mortars hit the compound of the headquarters of the American civilian authorities in central Baghdad Tuesday, wounding four. The compound includes the offices of L. Paul Bremer III, the chief civilian administrator, and his staff. (New York Times)
  • German General Fired for Backing Slur on Jews
    The commander of a German special forces army unit was dismissed Tuesday after he praised a conservative member of parliament for a speech that has been widely criticized as anti-Semitic. Gen. Reinhard Gunzel was relieved of his command by Defense Minister Peter Struck, who called him a "lone, confused general." (New York Times)
  • Europe Apologizes to Israel for Poll
    The president of the European Commission, Roman Prodi - commenting on a new opinion poll that shows that Israel is the country most regarded as a threat to world peace by ordinary Europeans - said the results "point to the continued existence of a bias that must be condemned out of hand," and "to the extent that this may indicate a deeper, more general prejudice against the Jewish world, our repugnance is even more radical." (The Age-Australia)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • David Bar-Illan, Former Jerusalem Post Editor and Prime Minister Advisor, Dies
    Former Jerusalem Post executive editor David Bar-Illan passed away Tuesday in Jerusalem from complications of a heart attack he suffered three years ago. He was 73. Bar-Illan was editorials editor from 1990 to 1992 and editor-in-chief until 1996, when he became director of communications and policy planning under former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. An accomplished concert pianist, Bar-Illan was a pioneer in exposing and combating media bias toward Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also 2nd David Bar-Illan Media Conference in Ariel
    More than 250 media professionals, academics, and former and current government officials attended the Second Annual David Bar-Illan Conference on the Media & the Middle East, held on Nov. 2 at the College of Judea and Samaria in Ariel. (IMRA)
  • U.S., Israel "Agree to Disagree" on Airport Fence - Akiva Eldar
    The American experts who examined the planned route of the separation fence near Beit Aryeh were not convinced by Israel's claim that this route is necessary to protect flights landing at Ben-Gurion Airport from an assault by a shoulder-launched missile. According to reports received from Washington, the experts' findings are likely to result in an administration decision to deduct at least part of the costs of building this portion of the fence from U.S. loan guarantees to Israel. The Prime Minister's Office and the White House recently "agreed to disagree" over this portion of the fence - meaning that Israel can continue to build it along this route, but the U.S. will be able to tell the Arabs that it imposed sanctions on Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • PA Power Struggle Delays Announcement of Qurei's Cabinet
    On Tuesday Arafat summoned PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and asked him to remain at the head of a caretaker cabinet until the two resolve their dispute over the appointment of an interior minister responsible for the PA police and security forces. Arafat reiterated his fierce opposition to the appointment of Qurei's choice, Gen. Nasser Youssef, as interior minister. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Shalom: Israel Prepared to Foster Talks with New PA
    Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Wednesday that Israel had already formulated plans to help Qurei's new government, if it was serious about fighting terror. Shalom said that "talks (with Palestinians) are underway, there have been a series of discussions every day for a number of days last week...all with the goal of creating the proper infrastructure for the moment that a real government is formed." (Ha'aretz)
  • U.S. to Provide $2.22b. in Military Aid in 2005 - Janine Zacharia
    The Bush administration has informed Israel that it will request $2.22 billion in foreign military assistance for it as part of its fiscal year 2005 budget, a slight increase over the $2.16 billion awarded in 2004. This follows a plan sketched out in the 1990s to increase military aid and phase out all economic assistance by 2008. U.S. economic assistance in 2005 will drop to $360 million, down $120m. from 2004. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • "Those Jews" - If Only Israel and Its Supporters Would Disappear - Victor Davis Hanson
    Recently, Joseph Lieberman was hissed by an Arab-American audience when he briefly explained Israel's defensive wall in terms not unlike those used by other candidates. What earned him the special public rebuke not accorded to others was apparently nothing other than being Jewish - the problem was not what he said, but who he was. Slurring "Israel" or "the Jews" involves none of the risks of incurring progressive odium that similarly clumsy attacks against blacks, women, Palestinians, or homosexuals might draw, requires no real thinking, and seems to find an increasingly receptive audience. (National Review)
  • Reforms in the Arab World Are Purely Cosmetic - Muhammad Muslih
    A series of "political reforms" have been recently introduced in some of the 22 states of the Arab world, conferred by ruling elites as a makruma, or gift, upon oppressed societies that have been afflicted with a general state of depression at least since the 1967 war with Israel, or even much earlier. All these measures are nothing but outward manifestations of reform granted by leaders who either feel that they are firmly enough established in power not to be threatened by them or who want to make a nod of good will to Washington's public statements about the need for democracy in the Arab world. Yet the instruments that ensure total submission to authority are still in place, and the minimum necessities of liberal democracy are absent.
        One obstacle to real reform in the Arab world is asabiyya - tribal or elite or group solidarity. In Egypt, Syria, and Algeria there are asabiyya of military and/or military-supported politicians with ties to dominant business groups, sometimes reinforced by kinship or intermarriage. In Jordan, Morocco, and the Gulf states there is the asabiyya of a ruling family held together by ties of blood. Another prohibitive force is represented by a relatively new aggregate of business elites, local agents for foreign industrialists, who have linked up with the ruling political elites because they want a stable order. Washington's security policy is by itself a guarantor of the survival of the old repressive Arab order, whose keepers will continue to use security and the excuse of conflict with Israel to delay real political and economic reform at home. Washington provides political and security cover to its Arab allies, regardless of their human rights record or progress in the direction of political openness. The writer is professor of political science and Middle Eastern studies at Long Island University in New York. (Gulf News-Dubai)
  • Observations:

    Kissinger: Sharon Could Make "Astonishing" Concessions (Ha'aretz)

    Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told Israel Radio on Wednesday:

    • "There are ways to get out of the deadlock, and I am actually quite optimistic."
    • "Some positions will have to be changed, especially on the Arab side, about the survival of Israel, but I think that we are at a phase where progress will be made."
    • "Arafat knows what he has to do. He doesn't need to be talked to. He's known for 10 years what he should do in order to have peace, and he hasn't wanted it."
    • "The way to a breakthrough is that the moderate Arabs convince the Palestinians, or assist the Palestinians, in defeating the terrorists."
    • "Whatever the tactical stiffness of Israel is, on the big issues it has made astonishing concessions every time there was an opportunity for peace. They did it under Rabin, they did it under Barak, and they would do it under Sharon, or anyone else."

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