Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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December 29, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Ghadafi Armed al-Qaeda with Bio-Chem Weapons - Joseph Farah (WorldNetDaily)
    Libyan dictator Moammar Ghadafi provided al-Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction before changing heart and agreeing to destroy his arms program.
    Libyan intelligence chief Musa Kussa told U.S. and UK spy agencies that tens of thousands of weapons had been produced at 10 secret sites in the country.

Israeli Ship Was Initial Target of Turk Bombers (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
    A militant Islamist group that plotted last month's suicide bomb attack against the British consulate in Istanbul had originally intended to hit an Israeli ship instead, the Milliyet newspaper reported Saturday.
    Harun Ilhan, a Turkish militant linked to bin Laden and now under arrest, said the group decided to strike the consulate only after an Israeli passenger ship failed to dock at Turkey's Mediterranean port of Alanya.

Britain Tightens Security on Flights Across Atlantic - Ed Johnson (AP/Washington Post)
    Responding to a heightened terrorism alert in the U.S., Britain said Sunday it had tightened security for transatlantic flights and suggested it might put armed sky marshals on some planes.

British Warn Anew of Saudi Bomb Peril (AP/New York Times)
    Britain warned Sunday of new terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia and said such attacks could be "in the final stages of preparation."

Iran Accepts Quake Aid from All Countries Except Israel (AFP/Khaleej Times-UAE)
    Iran will accept aid from all foreign countries except Israel following a devastating earthquake that killed some 25,000 people, interior ministry spokesman Jahanbakhsh Khanjani said Saturday.

Useful Reference:

Pearls Before Swine - Stephan Pastis (
    This syndicated comic strip tells a story about Israeli children - and their mothers - in Jerusalem.

Key Links

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Back Issues

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • UN Arms Inspectors Get First Look at Libyan Sites
    Libya on Sunday let UN nuclear officials inspect four sites related to its nuclear weapons program, all previously secret. (AP/New York Times)
  • Report: Saudi Police Foil Airliner Attack
    Saudi security forces have seized light planes packed with explosives near Riyadh's King Khalid airport, foiling a plot by suicide pilots to blow up a Western airliner on the runway, a British newspaper said on Sunday. Two pilots apparently intended to crash their light planes into a Western jet as it taxied slowly on the tarmac, the Mail on Sunday quoted Patrick Mercer, homeland security policy chief for Britain's opposition Conservative Party as saying. (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • Pakistan Scientists Sold Nuclear Secrets to Iran
    Rogue scientists from Pakistan's nuclear weapons program used German go-betweens to sell their secrets to Iran during the late 1980s, a high-level government source in Islamabad claimed last week. The disclosure follows reports that four scientists have been questioned over suspected links with Iran and lends credence to claims in Washington that Pakistan poses some of the biggest international security problems of the year ahead. Pakistan, the first Islamic nuclear power, has long been suspected of responsibility for the proliferation of nuclear know-how, not only to Iran but also to North Korea. (London Sunday Times)
        See also UN Finds European States Helped Iran Nuclear Program
    A month-long probe by the International Atomic Energy Agency tracing the origins of Iran's nuclear program have widened "well beyond" Pakistan, Russia, and China to include companies in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and other West European countries, said one diplomat. A diplomat said the agency was following up on three to four different samples of highly enriched uranium - beyond the two whose existence had been previously revealed. (AP/Ha'aretz)
  • We Follow Osama, Not Saddam, Say Iraqi Desert Guerillas
    In Rutba, in Iraq's western desert, Muhammad and his Sunni guerilla cell say they have no intention of ending their fight against American forces. "The resistance is Islamic, we are ordered by God," he said. Far from the secular Baath party "dead-enders" being rounded up every day by American forces, they idolize Osama bin Laden, and they are well-organized. Muhammad said he has seen his group expand from five people to 95, all former soldiers from Saddam's huge conscript army. "We don't know of any Baathists fighting. They are all at home," he said. (London Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • PM: Syria Talks Must Start from Scratch - Gideon Alon
    Prime Minister Sharon told the cabinet Sunday: "In the event of talks between Israel and Syria, they will start from scratch." "We have serious problems with Syria. They extend patronage to Palestinian terror, they allow terrorist training camps to exist, they send terrorists off to Israel. They must get rid of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, expel Hizballah from south Lebanon and enable the Lebanese army to deploy along the border, dismantle the missile system along the northern border, and give us information on our missing men and hostages," Sharon said. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Sharon Wary of Syrian Overtures - Herb Keinon
    Israel must consider that Syria's recent conciliatory overtures are being made to win favor in Washington, Prime Minister Sharon told the cabinet Sunday. Sharon said Syrian overtures must be seen within the context of the recent passage in the U.S. Congress of the Syrian Accountability Act. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Cabinet Discusses Fence Riot
    At Sunday's cabinet meeting, Defense Minister Mofaz commented on Friday's tragic event in which the IDF opened fire on demonstrators attempting to tear down and damage the security fence, injuring one Israeli. Mofaz noted that Israel has an obligation to prevent the destruction of the security fence which saves lives. Prime Minister Sharon said that while the security fence must not be damaged in any way, such demonstrations must not have such serious results, and the incident should have been resolved by dispersing the crowd. (Cabinet Communique/IMRA)
        See also Fence Foes Shot - Uri Dan
    Gil Naamati, an Israeli protester from Kibbutz Nirim, was shot twice in the leg. The army said he was wearing a mask and leading the riot. Naamati was later identified as the leader of "Anarchists Against the Wall." (New York Post)
  • Sharon Appoints Unilateral Disengagement Plan Committee - Herb Keinon
    Ten days after Prime Minister Sharon outlined his plan to unilaterally disengage from the Palestinians if the road map fails, he appointed former Head of IDF Planning Maj.-Gen. Giora Eiland on Sunday as head of the team to develop the plan. Eiland will also become head of the National Security Council in two weeks. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Sends Amos-2 Telecommunications Satellite into Space - Arieh O'Sullivan
    Israel's Amos-2 telecommunications satellite to provide cellular phone and on-line data links, and television transmissions was launched Saturday night atop a Russian Soyuz-FG rocket in Kazakhstan. Only seven other nations are capable of developing and producing communication satellites. The satellite will maintain a stationary position over western Africa, enabling it to focus on the Middle East, Central Europe, and the East Coast of the U.S. All of the transponder space on Amos-1, launched in 1996, had been sold; the Amos-2 has 50% more capacity and is expected to be in service until at least 2014. Work is underway on the Amos-3. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Amos-2 Operators Call Launch a Success (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Kills Three Palestinians Firing Mortars on Netzarim - Amos Harel
    The IDF killed 3 Palestinians Sunday next to Netzarim in Gaza who had fired mortars at the village during a wedding ceremony. There were an unusually high number of shooting incidents Sunday, with shots fired in the West Bank areas of Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm, as well as in Gush Katif and Rafah in Gaza. (AFP/Ha'aretz)
  • Israel to Remove Four Outposts - Amos Harel and Aluf Benn
    Prime Minister Sharon and Defense Minister Mofaz on Sunday signed an order to dismantle four West Bank outposts: Ginot Aryeh, near Ofra, Hazon David, near Kiryat Arba, and West Bat Ayin Maarav and Havat Shaked, near Yitzhar. Only Ginot Aryeh is inhabited, with about 10 families as well as a few singles. The outpost, however, is just 50 meters from an area with building permission and a deal to move the outpost may be worked out. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Syrian Schools Drenched in Anti-Semitism - Melissa Radler
    Virulent anti-Semitism, calls for jihad, and support for the elimination of Israel are entrenched in every level of Syria's school system, according to a study released by B'nai B'rith International of 68 Syrian school textbooks spanning grades 1-12. Conducted by the New York-based Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, the 30-page study titled "Jihad, Jews and Anti-Semitism in Syrian School Texts" found that Syrian children are taught to hate Jews and Israel with such ferocity that genuine reconciliation between the two peoples appears unlikely in the near future. (Jerusalem Post)
  • A Message to the Mullahs - Amir Taheri
    Egypt's President Mubarak's decision whether or not to pay a state visit to Iran depends on a symbolic move by the leadership in Tehran. Mubarak wants the Iranians to change the name of the Tehran street where the Egyptian Embassy is located, which currently bears the name of Khalid al-Islambouli, one of the terrorists involved in the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Facing the embassy's main entrance is a giant-size mural of al-Islambouli that Mubarak also wants removed. (New York Post)
  • Observations:

    Time Is On Israel's Side - Ephraim Inbar (Ha'aretz)

    • Many Israelis believe time is not on their side and are therefore looking to change the status quo, even unilaterally. Yet David Ben-Gurion understood that Israel was too weak to impose a peace settlement on the Arabs and that it would simply have to wait until the other side would recognize perforce the reality of a Jewish state.
    • It is obvious that peace cannot be achieved today, mainly because of the Palestinians' inability to establish a stable political entity that would be willing to suppress those who oppose Israel's existence.
    • It makes no difference how many Palestinian babies are born in the Gaza Strip, in Nablus or in Jenin, if Israel has no intention of annexing those areas. The Jewish majority in Israel is not affected by the number of Arabs who live outside the country.
    • As long as Palestinians continue to offer a fertile ground for terrorism against Israel, Jews will have to intervene militarily within the Palestinian population, including their urban centers.
    • Palestinians themselves should have a clear interest in drastically reducing their consistently high birthrate, if they want to escape protracted poverty. Time will thus weaken the Palestinian entity unless time is exploited intelligently for a change in the demographic trends.
    • Time is also on Israel's side because the majority of the civilized world has at long last understood that the Palestinian national movement is in need of a thorough reform and new leadership. The Palestinians' main method of operation - terrorism - does not enjoy international legitimacy.
    • Finally, the spirit of the time, which lauds the values of democracy and the free market, leans more to the Israeli side than the Palestinian. The Jews have exploited time better than the Arabs, and this seems set to continue.

    The writer is director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Research at Bar-Ilan University.

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