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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December 1, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Hizballah Operates Against the U.S. in Iraq Under Mughniyeh's Command - Jackie Hogi (Maariv-Hebrew, 30 Nov 03)
    The head of operations of Hizballah, Imad Mughniyeh, is behind attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq, according to a report in the London-based Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.
    Mughniyah operated in Iraq with the help of Iran's "Revolutionary Guards."
    Reportedly, Mughniyeh came to Iraq with eight Hizballah operatives, some of whom are wanted by the U.S. government.
    He remained in Iraq for about three weeks and then went on to Turkey.
    The newspaper hints that he was behind the attack in Nasiriyah that killed 19 Italian soldiers.

    See also Background: Imad Mughniyeh, Head of Special Overseas Operations for Hizballah (Maariv-Hebrew, 30 Nov 03; JCPA Issue Brief #11, #15)
  * Born in 1962 in southern Lebanon, he joined Fatah and served in Force-17, Arafat's personal guard.
  * Joined Hizballah in 1982.
  * Responsible for planning the kidnapping of Western hostages in Lebanon and the attacks on the U.S. Embassy and Marine headquarters in Beirut.
  * Lost two brothers in car bomb attacks in 1985 and 1994.
  * Planned two bomb attacks in Argentina against the Israeli Embassy and the Jewish Community Center.
  * Likely involvement in the intercepted Karine-A weapons ship bound from Iran to the PA.

Official: Al-Qaeda Plans Something Big - Kevin Johnson (USA Today)
    A top counter-terrorism official who has access to all intelligence on al-Qaeda says its operatives dropped plans this year for several small attacks in the U.S. to focus on plotting a ''more spectacular'' assault on U.S. soil.
    The official said interviews with al-Qaeda detainees, intercepts of communications from suspected operatives, and other sources have yielded evidence that bin Laden's network still has a command structure and a determination to launch an attack.
    The official said the U.S. government is conducting more than 1,000 terror-related investigations.
    Nearly all involve people suspected of raising funds or recruiting for al-Qaeda or Middle Eastern terror groups.

Useful Reference:

Saving Lives: Israel's Security Fence - a special report (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    Death is irreversible. Inconveniences caused by the fence are reversible.
    The right to live free from terrorism must take precedence.

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel Braces for UN Anti-Fence Move
    Israel is bracing for the UN to try and halt the construction of the West Bank security fence. Israel is preparing for a Palestinian attempt to convene a special session of the UN General Assembly on the fence issue, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yonatan Peled said Saturday. Convening a special session would be a "cynical use" of the world body and give a "prize to terrorism," he said. (UPI/Washington Times)
  • Syria Hands Over Istanbul Bombing Suspects to Turkey
    Syria handed over 22 suspects Sunday to Turkish authorities in connection with four suicide bombings in Istanbul, the semiofficial Anatolia news agency reported. The suspects, all Turks, reportedly fled the country in mid-November and included Azat Ekinci and Hilmi Tuglaoglu - both named as central figures in the attacks. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Synagogue Bombing Suspect Confesses to al-Qaeda Ties
    A Turkish man who allegedly ordered the suicide truck bombing attack against an Istanbul synagogue has confessed to having ties with the al-Qaeda terrorist network, Turkish newspapers reported Sunday. The man, whom police said was captured last week while trying to slip into Iran, was identified by Turkish newspapers as Yusuf Polat. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Forces Kill Dozens After Iraq Ambushes
    U.S. forces killed 46 Iraqis in fierce fighting Sunday after more than 100 insurgents ambushed two U.S. military convoys in the central Iraqi city of Samarra, military officials said. Many of the dead and wounded Iraqis were wearing uniforms of Saddam's Fedayeen, a militia loyal to the former president. (Washington Post)
  • For the Iraqis, a Missile Deal that Went Sour
    Two years before the American invasion of Iraq, Mr. Hussein's sons, generals, and front companies were engaged in lengthy negotiations with North Korea, according to computer files discovered by international inspectors and the accounts of Bush administration officials. Those negotiations - mostly conducted in neighboring Syria, apparently with the knowledge of the Syrian government - were not merely to buy a few North Korean missiles. Instead, the goal was to obtain a full production line to manufacture, under an Iraqi flag, the North Korean missile system, which would be capable of hitting American allies and bases around the region. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Mofaz: Quiet is Illusory, Arafat Still Pulling Strings
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the cabinet Sunday that efforts by Palestinians to carry out terror attacks are continuing despite the impression that the territories are quiet. Since October 4, the IDF has captured 15 suicide bombers and their dispatchers. Mofaz said that according to intelligence information, "there are currently 44 terror warnings." According to Mofaz, "Arafat is back on center stage and is pulling the strings on security issues." (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Mofaz: Cease-Fire Not Enough - Herb Keinon
    "We are willing to talk with Abu Ala, but not about a two-way cease-fire, but rather our demand for an end to terrorism," Defense Minister Mofaz told the cabinet Sunday. "We will not enter into an agreement other than one based on implementing the security steps stipulated in the road map." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Mofaz to Present U.S. with Plan to Remove 10 Outposts - Gideon Alon and Aluf Benn
    On Monday Defense Minister Mofaz is to present visiting assistant U.S. secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs William Burns with the goodwill gestures Israel is planning to make toward the Palestinians, as well as a plan to dismantle 10 illegal settlement outposts in the upcoming days. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Kills Three Armed Palestinians in Ramallah - Amos Harel
    IDF troops launched a broad operation in Ramallah Monday aimed at a major Hamas organizational structure in Arafat's headquarters city. Three armed Palestinians were reported killed. An explosive belt and several weapons were found near the bodies of two of the men in the Amri camp, and another armed Palestinian was killed in the neighborhood of Umm Shrayat. (Ha'aretz)
  • Arafat Rejects Geneva, But Lets Officials Attend Launch - Arnon Regular, Yossi Verter, and Mazal Mualem
    The Palestinian negotiators of the Geneva Accord, who had been threatened by militants, initially said that they would only attend if they received a written letter from Arafat stating that he and the Fatah Central Committee support the initiative. They agreed to make do with a verbal statement that they were attending the ceremony with his permission, in their capacity as private citizens. But Arafat stressed that neither he nor the PLO have officially accepted the draft peace accord. "Fatah's stance is clear and public: We are opposed to this document," West Bank Fatah leader Hussein A-Sheikh told Israel Radio. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Gunmen Shoot at Geneva Architect's Home - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Unidentified gunmen opened fire after midnight Friday at the home of Yasser Abed Rabbo, one of the architects of the Geneva Accord, in al-Bireh next to Ramallah. No one was hurt. Fatah's armed wing, the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, distributed a leaflet strongly condemning the accord, describing its Palestinian authors as "collaborators and traitors serving the Americans and Zionists." Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said the Palestinians involved in the Madrid, London, and Geneva talks do not represent the official line of the PA. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel Warns International Community Against Supporting Geneva Initiative (AFP/SpaceDaily)
  • Palestinians Hit Home in Gush Katif with Anti-Tank Missile - Amos Harel and Arnon Regular
    On Saturday night, four members of the same family were treated for shock after an anti-tank missile struck their house in the settlement of Neveh Dekalim in the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the Gaza Strip. The house sustained heavy damage. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Saudi Columnist: "We Have Bred Monsters ... We Are the Problem and Not America"
    Dr. Muhammad Talal al-Rasheed, columnist for the English-language daily Saudi Gazette, wrote on Nov. 30: A few days back Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz al-Rasheed of Hail was murdered in Algeria while on a camping trip. He was 40 years old and his son, Nawaf, 13 years old, was with him. Talal was a well-known poet in Saudi Arabia. Those who killed him are those who want the word silenced. We have bred monsters. We alone are responsible for it. We are the problem and not America or the penguins of the North Pole or those who live in caves in Afghanistan. We are it, and those who cannot see this are the ones to blame. Nothing, but nothing, is worth the life of an innocent....May the Americans add Talal to their list of loved ones lost to the same indiscriminate madness that took 3,000 on a certain day in September. (MEMRI)
  • Good, Bad and Ugly - Julie Burchill
    If there is one issue that has made me feel less loyal to the Guardian over the past year, it has been what I, as a non-Jew, perceive to be a quite striking bias against the state of Israel. Which, for all its faults, is the only country in that barren region that you or I, or any feminist, atheist, homosexual or trade unionist, could bear to live under. I don't swallow the modern liberal line that anti-Zionism is entirely different from anti-Semitism; the first good, the other bad. Judeophobia is a shape-shifting virus. Jews historically have been blamed for everything we might disapprove of. (Guardian-UK)
  • The Priorities of Muslim-Americans - Joseph Farah
    The Council on American-Islamic Relations is not a group fighting for equal rights for Muslim-Americans. Its real mission is changing the very character of America - remaking it in the image of the Islamo-fascists who fund them from Saudi Arabia. Its chairman, Omar M. Ahmad, told a rally of California Muslims in 1998: "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Quran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth." It's time for American Muslims to distance themselves from extremist organizations like CAIR and to get their priorities straight because America is at war. (WorldNetDaily)
  • Observations:

    Hatred of Jews Threatens Rule of Law, Former CIA Head Warns
    - Joseph Brean (National Post-Canada)

    Former CIA director James Woolsey, speaking at York University last week, said:

    • In their growing resentment of Jews, Europe's media and cultural elite have breathed the first breath of totalitarianism.
    • Jews are history's great champions of the rule of law, and intolerance of Jews is a first step toward dictatorial rule - a hallmark of the world's most oppressive societies.
    • Modern Europe resents Jews for holding strong to the ideal that timeless rules trump temporary rulers.
    • Jews have always promoted the primacy of the law over the leader. That notion is the biggest threat to totalitarians.
    • Once you begin to dabble with the idea that you want to bully people, that you want to order them around, that you want them to do what you say, you very frequently start to drift into anti-Semitism.
    • Once anti-Semitism raises its head, the rest of us who don't want to live with a foot on the back of our necks are likely to be the next targets.

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