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

November 28, 2003

To contact the Presidents Conference:
info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

EU Fraud Office Investigates Aid Diversion to Palestinian Bombers - Leonard Doyle and Stephen Castle (Independent-UK)
    European Union funds may have been channelled to Palestinian militant groups responsible for the deaths of scores of people in suicide bombings.
    The EU's anti-fraud unit and Belgian police are investigating claims that money earmarked for aid was paid to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades through Belgian and German affiliate organizations.
    On Wednesday, a spokesman for the European commissioner for external relations, Chris Patten, said: "The Commission is the first organization to be interested in making sure that its funds intended for non-governmental organizations are not diverted to entities on the EU's terrorist list."


Thai Muslims Planned to Bomb Israeli Embassy in Bangkok (AFP/ChannelNewsAsia-Singapore)
    The trial of four Thai Muslims accused of belonging to the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorist group and plotting a series of attacks on foreign embassies and tourist spots in Thailand began on Nov. 18.
    They are accused of planning a bombing campaign that included the embassies of Australia, Britain, Israel, Singapore, and the U.S.
    They are also accused of planned attacks on a backpacker haunt in Bangkok and the resorts of Phuket and Pattaya.


Al-Qaeda Terrorists to Gas U.S. Subways? (WorldNetDaily)
    Al-Qaeda terrorists have developed a crude device designed to spread deadly cyanide gas through the ventilation systems of crowded indoor facilities such as subways, according to a security directive issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
    "Al-Qaeda remains intent on using chemical or biological agents in attacks on the homeland," says the five-page memo.
    "Terrorists have designed a crude chemical dispersal device fabricated from commonly available materials, which is designed to asphyxiate its victims."
    "Al-Qaeda has shown a continued interest in targeting subways, rail systems, dams and water facilities" in America, the memo warns.
    Citing "recent information" from al-Qaeda sources, the directive also warns of possible car-bombings in America, and advises security officials to take code-red protective measures to guard government buildings and gas and other chemical plants.


France Has Arrested 120 Terror Suspects Since 9/11 - Jon Henley (Guardian-UK)
    The head of France's DST intelligence agency, Pierre de Bousquet de Florian, said Thursday that 120 suspects had been arrested in France since the September 11 attacks, and that half of them had been convicted of membership in a terrorist organization.
    According to l'Express, French Islamist militants, who later spent time in al-Qaeda military camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan, underwent their first group training exercises in the forest of Fontainebleau and also in the Alps near Annecy.
    During the training exercises in France, which took place from 1996 to 1999, groups of militants would march long distances, mount staged manhunts, and practice unarmed combat.


Turks in Ranks of al-Qaeda (AP/Washington Times)
    Lomali - or Ali the Lion, the name his Chechen comrades gave him - is one of hundreds of Turks who fought in Chechnya, Afghanistan, or Bosnia, some as members of al-Qaeda.
    Turkish police are focusing on these Islamic warriors as key suspects in a string of Istanbul suicide bombings that have left 57 dead.
    Police fear Turks who fought abroad were trained or influenced by radical groups like al-Qaeda and may have been behind the Istanbul bombings, which shocked police in their sophistication.


Chinese Fishermen Saved by Israeli Ship (Jerusalem Post)
    26 Chinese fishermen were pulled out of the storming Chinese sea Thursday by crew-members of the Israeli ship Zim Dalian on its way to She-Ko Harbor in China.
    According to crew-member reports, the fishing boat had been struck by an unidentified boat two hours before the Israelis arrived.


Foreign Doctors Go to Israel - Dina Kraft (JTA)
    A four-day International Solidarity Medical Conference, co-sponsored by Hadassah and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston, brought 100 doctors from the U.S., Britain, and Austria to hospitals across Israel.
    "We wanted to reach out to hospitals on the front lines of terror attacks during the last three years," said Harvard University's Ben Sachs.


Useful Reference:

Israeli Casualties Since the Outbreak of Palestinian Violence (IDF/IMRA)
    From 29 September 2000 through 24 November 2003, 898 Israelis were killed (632 civilians + 266 security forces), and 6,002 injured (4,257 civilians + 1,745 security forces), in 19,590 attacks, not including attacks with rocks or firebombs.


Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues


News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Powell: Road Map Paused
    Secretary of State Powell told European journalists Tuesday: "Before we can get the road map moving again and place demands on Israel for it to meet its obligations - and it's met some of its obligations, but there are many more things for Israel to do - we have to make sure that we are taking action against terrorists." "We should not say the road map is dead. It's there. We just had a pause. We had to stop when Abu Mazen resigned. And now I hope that Prime Minister Qurei and the Palestinian cabinet will take action against terrorists. And if they do that...they will find the United States, President Bush and the Quartet members and many other people standing by waiting to help them." (State Department)
        See also Powell: Arafat an Obstacle to the Road Map
    Secretary of State Powell told National Public Radio Wednesday: "We won't speak to Chairman Arafat on an official level for the simple reason that we don't believe he is a responsible partner for peace....Arafat is an obstacle on the way to the accomplishment of the road map objectives, and we've said so. The President made it clear in his June 24th speech last year that the Palestinian Authority needed to reform itself, needed to come up with new leaders, and we made it clear that we thought Yasser Arafat...is a failed leader." "We will continue to work with Palestinian prime ministers as long as those prime ministers commit themselves to reforming the Palestinian Authority, ending corruption, making sure that money that goes to the Authority is used well, and cracking down on terrorism." (State Department)
  • U.S. Senators Seek Saudi Sanctions
    The Saudi Arabia Accountability Act, that would impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia for its alleged ties to international terrorism, was introduced last week by a group led by Republican Senator Arlen Specter. The proposed legislation would require the president to certify annually that Riyadh, a long-time Washington ally, has met an extensive list of strict conditions related to fighting terror and cooperating with the U.S. in related investigations.
        "Evidence has come to light that there has been enormous financing of al-Qaeda, Hamas and other terrorist organizations by the Saudis," Specter said. "Anybody who contributes to an organization knowing that it is a terrorist organization is really an accessory before-the-fact to murder." The measure was co-sponsored by Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Graham (D-FL), and Evan Bayh (D-IN). (Asia Times-Hong Kong)
  • Raids in Britain Catch 2 Terrorism Suspects
    British authorities arrested two suspected terrorists in separate raids on Thursday and said one of them was believed to be connected to "the network of al-Qaeda groups." One of the detainees, a 24-year-old British man of Asian heritage who was seized in Gloucester, had links to Richard Reid, the British "shoe bomber." Three streets around the suspect's home in Gloucester were sealed off, and over 100 people were evacuated from the area because the police feared that the man might have hidden explosives in the neighborhood. The arrests followed warnings by the police that a terror attack might be planned for Britain and an increase in the authorities' assessment of the level of the threat of an attack from "significant" to "severe general," the second-highest level. (New York Times)
  • Netanyahu: Stopping Terror Must Come First
    Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Finance Minister, told a Canadian delegation Wednesday that Israel's security is his country's first priority. Only after it has been established, he said, can there be peace and greater economic prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians. Netanyahu told the Canadian delegation, which included former premiers Mike Harris of Ontario and Brian Tobin of Newfoundland, that Western nations such as Canada must realize they are as much at risk from terrorists as Israel is. "If they eradicate Israel, it would just move the danger one step closer to you," Netanyahu said. "They hate us because we are you. Hatred of Israel is hatred of a society where women are free and where there is democracy like you have in Europe and the U.S. We are all in this together."
        Tobin was especially enthusiastic about the two-hour helicopter ride he shared with Harris. He compared the size and shape of Israel with his old federal riding [district] in Newfoundland. "But here we could see five countries attached to Israel [Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon]. It makes one realize why security is such an issue for every Israeli government," he said. (National Post-Canada)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • PM: Road Map Best Bet for PA - Aluf Benn
    The Palestinians would be better off reaching an agreement with Israel on the basis of the road map than waiting for the unilateral measures Israel is considering, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned Thursday. Sharon said: "Perhaps I will become convinced that there is no point in waiting for another Palestinian government and yet another Palestinian government, but that [Israel] should instead take unilateral steps. The Palestinians ought to have understood already that what they did not receive today, may be impossible to give them tomorrow. If they had not launched the wave of terror, perhaps there would have been no need for the fence - whereas today, we are pushing the fence, and we won't stop."
        Intelligence assessments presented to the government over the last few days state that the Palestinians perceive signs of weakness and imminent collapse in Israel. The Palestinians also believe the Bush administration is eager for an achievement in the Middle East before next year's presidential elections, and will therefore pressure Israel. Palestinian Prime Minister Qurei is thus postponing his meeting with Sharon to give these various pressures time to build. (Ha'aretz)
  • Sharon Weighs Combining Annexation of West Bank Settlement Blocs with Removal of Gaza Settlements - Nadav Ayal
    Prime Minister Sharon is weighing the option of unilaterally removing settlements in Gaza in parallel with a decision to annex settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria, say political officials. The sources say Sharon will consider such steps if negotiations with the Palestinians fail. In recent weeks Sharon has spoken of "unilateral steps" that Israel will be forced to take if the Palestinians display an unwillingness to advance in negotiations. One move under consideration is the annexation of the Etzion Bloc or Maaleh Adumim. Sources in the Prime Minister's Office said Thursday that Sharon had not yet finalized his plan. (Maariv-Hebrew)
        See also Sharon Warns Palestinians: Make Peace or Risk Losing Land (New York Times)
  • Omri Sharon to Rajoub: "You Have an Opportunity" - Arye Bandar
    "There's an opportunity here to advance because Israel has a strong coalition. Ariel Sharon is the only one who can deliver the goods," said MK Omri Sharon, son of the prime minister, to PA national security advisor Jibril Rajoub at a seminar in London. (Maariv-Hebrew)
  • Israeli President Says Missing Airman Arad Alive
    President Moshe Katzav said Thursday that he has good reason to believe missing IAF navigator Ron Arad, shot down over south Lebanon in 1986, is still alive. Katzav said that - in light of his knowledge of the case - this was more than simply "a gut feeling or a heartfelt wish." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Geneva Sellout - Charles Krauthammer
    On Monday, a peace agreement will be signed by Israelis and Palestinians - not by Israeli and Palestinian officials but by people with no power. The Israeli side is led by Yossi Beilin, a man whose political standing in his own country is so low that he failed to make it into Parliament. He was the principal ideologue and architect behind the "peace" foisted on Israel in 1993 that brought a decade of the worst terror in Israeli history. Secretary of State Powell has written to Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo expressing appreciation for their effort, and is now planning to meet with them. This is scandalous. Israel is a democracy, and this agreement was negotiated in defiance of the democratically (and overwhelmingly) elected government of Israel. If a private U.S. citizen negotiated a treaty on his own, he could go to jail under the Logan Act. If an Israeli does it, he gets a pat on the back from the secretary of state.
        This "peace" is entirely hallucinatory, written as if Oslo never happened. The Palestinian side repeats the same solemn pledges promised in Oslo, as if the Israelis have forgotten that in return for these pledges 10 years ago, Israel recognized the PLO, brought it out of Tunisian exile, established a Palestinian Authority, permitted it an army with 50,000 guns, and invited the world to donate billions to it. Arafat pocketed every Israeli concession, turned his territory into an armed camp, and then launched a vicious terror war that has lasted more than three years and killed more than 1,000 Israelis. It is Lucy and the football all over again. (Washington Post)
  • Campus Rally for Terror - Lee Kaplan
    The "Skill Share Discussion Workshop" was entitled "Deconstructing Zionist Responses on Your Campus." The topic? How to dismiss concern over suicide bombings while debating the Israel/Palestine issue. "Refuse to discuss it," said one student. "Don't get defensive," said one. "Blame it on Israel," said another. Still another advised protesters to ask, "Would it be better if it wasn't a suicide bomber? Is this tactic so beneath reproach?" This discussion of defending suicide bombers was held publicly on the campus of Ohio State University, which hosted the Third Annual National Student Conference on Palestine Solidarity on November 7-9. (FrontPageMagazine)
  • Telling the Truth, Facing the Whip - Mansour al-Nogaidan
    A week ago I was supposed to appear at the Sahafa police station to receive 75 lashes on my back. I had been sentenced by a religious court because of articles I had written calling for freedom of speech and criticizing Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia's official religious doctrine. The most recent government crackdown on terrorism suspects in response to this month's car-bombing in Riyadh is missing the real target. The real problem is that Saudi Arabia is bogged down by deep-rooted Islamic extremism in most schools and mosques, which have become breeding grounds for terrorists. Yet the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Islamic Affairs have now established a committee to hunt down teachers who are suspected of being liberal-minded. This committee has the right to expel and punish any teacher who does not espouse hard-core Wahhabism. During Ramadan, imams around the country stepped up their hate speech against liberals, advocates of women's rights, secularists, Christians, and Jews - and many encouraged their congregations to do the same. (New York Times)
  • Pakistan Tries Again to Shutter Terror Groups
    When Pakistani police last week raided the Karachi office of the outlawed Jaish-e-Mohammad, a banned extremist group linked to American journalist Daniel Pearl's murder, the militants gave them the slip and quietly moved to a local mosque. "For us, every mosque and madrasa is an office. It is the home of Allah and his soldiers, and a shield against the conspiracies hatched by Bush and [Pakistani President] Pervez Musharraf," says activist Mohammad Ejaz. Thousands of Islamic militants like Ejaz have changed their cellphones and shifted to mosques and remote locations to evade another government crackdown on groups responsible for violence in Pakistan, Kashmir, and Afghanistan. (Christian Science Monitor)
        See also Pakistan and the "Global Muslim Resistance" - Arnaud de Borchgrave
    According to retired Gen. Aslam Beg, when the CIA sought the support of jihadis from all over the Muslim world to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, some 60,000 mujahedin passed through a system sponsored by the U.S., Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. They "form the core of the global Muslim resistance...fighting in Chechnya, Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, and Iraq," says Beg. Pakistan's madrasas, or religious schools, are still churning out 750,000 jihadi-prone male teenagers a year with the same hateful views of America, Israel, and India. The fossilized clerics in charge have stood their ground - with Wahhabi clergy money still reaching them from Saudi Arabia. President Musharraf estimates the number of extremists at "no more than 1% of the population." That's 1.5 million religious fanatics. (UPI)
  • The Israelization of Turkey - Tulin Daloglu
    The bomb blasts of Nov. 20 signaled the moment of Turkey's Israelization. That is why people felt this different fear and much higher levels of personal insecurity. People knew that radical Islamic terrorists did not show any mercy, not even on a Ramadan day. These terrorists did not make any distinctions between Muslims and non-Muslims. Isn't that the same fear they feel in Israel? (The Globalist)
        See also Israel-Turkey Ties Seen Staying Tight - Joshua Mitnick
    Diplomats from both countries say the attacks in Turkey will bolster rather than scuttle the ties between Israel and its predominantly Muslim ally. "A Turkish ambassador once told me, 'Israel is essential to us. We will always recognize Israel....If Israel will disappear, we will be the next victim in the Middle East,'" said Aryeh Shmuelevitz, a professor of Middle Eastern history at Tel Aviv University. (Jewish Week-New York)
  • Muslim Scholar: Don't Excuse Hate Speech - Lou Marano
    "For a long time, Muslim American organizations have been allowed to get away with all kinds of hate speech against the U.S., against Jews, against Christians - all forms of anti-Semitism - and somehow it's been accommodated within the whole program of multiculturalism," American Muslim scholar Ahmed al-Rahim told a forum at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington this week. The politics of these American Muslim organizations promulgates a Wahhabi political agenda, he said. Al-Rahim is a founding member of the American Islamic Congress, an organization formed after 9/11 in the belief that American Muslims should take the lead in rejecting Muslim extremism and promoting democracy in the Muslim world. Al-Rahim said many American Muslims are afraid to condemn violence and hate speech. "One of our board members (Tarek Masoud) published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Sept. 14 (2001), basically apologizing to America for what had happened." Masoud received no fewer than 20 death threats. (UPI)
  • Europe's Muslims Treated as Outsiders - Keith B. Richburg
    Muslims represent the fastest growing group in Europe, a boom fueled by high birth rates as much as immigration. But on average they remain far behind the traditional populations economically and socially. Some of Europe's Muslims have prospered and found a place in society, running for public office, intermarrying. But the more common existence is as a minority, separate and apart. (Washington Post)

    Weekend Features:

  • Liberal, Feminist, and Pro-Israel - Interview with Phyllis Chesler
    What's new about anti-Semitism is its extraordinary global reach. Jew hatred is being mass-produced. The most illiterate of peoples have "seen" the Israelis commit a "massacre" in Jenin, something Israelis did not do, as even the United Nations finally admitted. Jew-hatred has reached a surreal level in the Islamic world. The Arab Islamic Middle East is almost entirely judenrein (free of Jews), except for Israel, which remains under almost permanent siege.
        What's new is that this hatred has, incredibly, been embraced and romanticized by all manner of so-called progressives and activists and, to a great extent, by the presumably objective media. What's new is that Jew-hatred (disguised as anti-Zionism) has itself become "politically correct" among these so-called intellectuals. They have one standard for Israel: an impossibly high one. Meanwhile, they set a much lower standard for every other country, even for nations in which tyranny, torture, honor killings, genocide, and every other human rights abuse go unchallenged. Israel has increasingly come to represent the Jews of the world, and is treated as they have been treated for thousands of years. She is demonized, isolated, and attacked while the world either actively rejoices, or simply does nothing to stop it. (National Review)
  • Austria, the Jews, and Anti-Semitism: Ambivalence and Ambiguity - Interview with Karl Pfeifer
    Austria has made a major effort to suppress the memories of its institutional and popular behavior during the war. Unlike Germany, there is until today no feeling of shame for what the Austrians did to the Jews. Anti-Semitism remains part and parcel of Austrian culture with its strongest hold in politics and the media. It can be found both on the right and the left. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Anti-Semitism and Europe
    Is anti-Semitism really increasing? Is hostility towards Israeli policy in the Middle East becoming anti-Jewish? BBC News asked 12 experts on Jewish affairs from Europe and Israel to reflect on the charge, including Robert Wistrich, David Aaronovitch, Barry Kosmin, Jean-Yves Camus, and Diana Pinto. (BBC)
  • When Menachem Begin Met Margaret Thatcher - Yehuda Avner
    British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher invited Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to 10 Downing Street for lunch shortly after her election victory in 1979. During lunch, Lord Peter Carrington, the foreign secretary, said: "Your settlement policy is a barrier to peace. It is inconsistent with British interests." Thatcher then affirmed, "The foreign secretary is speaking on behalf of Her Majesty's Government in this matter." Begin responded to Carrington: The settlements were not an obstacle to peace. No Palestinian Arab sovereignty had ever existed in the biblical provinces of Judea and Samaria. The Arabs had refused to make peace before there was a single settlement anywhere. The settlements were built on state-owned, not Arab-owned, land. Their construction was an assertion of basic Jewish historic rights. The settlement enterprise was critical to Israel's national security.
        Begin then turned to Thatcher. "Madam Prime Minister, I shall tell you why the settlements are vital: because I speak of Eretz Yisrael, a land redeemed, not occupied; because without these settlements Israel could be at the mercy of a Palestinian state astride the commanding heights of Judea and Samaria. We would be living on borrowed time. And, whenever we Jews are attacked, we are always alone." "The story of the Jewish people is very much a tale of survival against bouts of irrationality and hysteria," said Begin. "It occurs in every generation." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    If the Palestinians Stop Terrorism, We Won't Need a Fence
    - Ambassador Daniel Ayalon (Rocky Mountain News)

    • Those who oppose the fence say it's really a land grab, that we are prejudging any political outcome and making life harsher for the Palestinians. But we say no, it's not any of these. Categorically, this is a buffer zone. It's certainly not a political border because it can be removed at any time. If the Palestinians stop terrorism, we won't need a fence. People are getting killed and the fence is a defensive response.
    • Stopping terrorism means dismantling their infrastructure, collecting illegal weapons, and closing the explosives labs. We can't allow them to regroup; the leaders must be arrested. Do this and we won't need a fence.
    • Everyone asks about Israeli concessions. Nobody is asking the Palestinians to make concessions. For them to stop the terrorism is an absolute must. But on top of that, when we come to a political agreement, what are they willing to give up? In terms of Jerusalem, in terms of what they call "right of return," in terms of territory - what are they willing to give up? Are they willing to meet us someplace halfway?
    • As for the road map, it was the first time an American president talked about a two-state solution, and we endorsed it. But terrorism didn't stop for one day. The main problem is that the Palestinian leadership, mainly Arafat and those surrounding him, see terror as a legitimate tool to advance their cause, which is to destroy Israel. They don't believe in a two-state solution; they believe in one Palestinian state and they do not accept Israel's right to exist.
    • The Palestinian leadership keep claiming they can't rein in the terrorists, that we destroyed their police forces. This is nonsense; they still have 30,000 well-equipped security forces that are getting paid every month. They have the manpower and arms to round up Jihad or Hamas, if not in one night, then two or three. And if they did it, it would not create a civil war. Hamas would back down.
    • President Bush keeps saying: There will never be a Palestinian state as long as the terror continues. So everybody knows what to do now. It's just a matter of leadership.


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