Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
If your email program has difficulty viewing this page, see web version.

DAILY ALERT

March 12, 2004

To contact the Presidents Conference:
info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

Ex-Congressional Aide Charged With Spying for Iraq - Larry Neumeister (AP)
    Susan Lindauer, 41, a former journalist and one-time press secretary for four members of Congress, was arrested Thursday on charges she served as a paid agent for the Iraqi intelligence service before and after the U.S. invasion.
    According to an indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Lindauer made multiple visits from October 1999 through March 2002 to the Iraqi Mission to the UN in Manhattan where she met with several members of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.
    The government said she accepted payments from the Iraqis for her services and expenses amounting to a total of $10,000, including $5,000 she received during a trip to Baghdad in February and March 2002, violating a law prohibiting transactions with a government that sponsors international terrorism.
    The indictment said she met on two occasions in Baltimore in June and July with an undercover FBI agent who posed as a Libyan intelligence representative who was seeking to support resistance groups in postwar Iraq.
    The indictment said she discussed the need for plans and foreign resources to support these groups.


Egyptian Officials to Travel to Israel to Mark Peace Anniversary (AFP/Space Daily)
    The chairman of the Egyptian parliament's foreign affairs committee, Mustafa al-Fekki, and former ambassador to Israel Mohammed Bassiouni will travel to Jerusalem on March 23 to mark the 25th anniversary of peace between the two countries, the government daily Al-Ahram reported Thursday.


Palestinian Workers Prevented Attack at Erez - Arnon Regular (Ha'aretz)
    A few days after the suicide attack at the Erez crossing on January 14, Palestinian workers waiting to enter Israel noticed two Palestinian youths carrying weapons under their clothing trying to get into the area.
    The workers confronted them, overpowered them, beat them, and then handed them over to policemen from the PA's National Security force, in charge of the Palestinian side of the crossing.
    The incident is evidence of much anger among the Palestinian workers toward terror groups that have repeatedly tried in recent months to carry out attacks at the crossing.


Qatar Bombers "Were Russian Special Forces" - Michael Binyon and Jeremy Page (London Times)
    Two Russians held in Qatar in connection with the bombing that killed exiled Chechen ex-president Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev last month have confessed that they are members of Russia's special security forces.
    Under interrogation, the men also told the Qataris that the bomb they used was sent from Moscow by diplomatic pouch into Saudi Arabia.
    Qatar has promised to put the two men on trial, but has come under enormous pressure from Russia to release them instead.
    The Kremlin is understood to have threatened to send special forces to free the men from prison and take them back to Russia.
    Pressure on Qatar has also been increased by the arrest of two Qatari citizens in Russia.


Arab Fighters Say Iraqis Sold Them Out to U.S. - Lin Noueihed (Reuters)
    Ahmed Abdel Razzaq went to Iraq to fight the Americans and die a martyr. He ended up in a U.S. prison camp after the Iraqis he went to defend captured and sold him for $100.
    Motivated by religious zeal or Arab nationalism, busloads of Arab volunteers crossed Syria to go to Iraq before and during the war.
    The U.S. said in November it had over 300 suspected non-Iraqi fighters in its custody in Iraq.


Japan's Role in Israel and the PA - Melanie Takefman (Media Line)
    "The Japanese...do much more than is known on the surface," said Ben-Ami Shillony, a professor of East Asian studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
    Yet Israel and the PA have lost priority since 2000, according to Akifumi Ikeda, professor of international relations at Toyo Eiwa University in Yokohama.
    "You can't really make a partnership with people who are threatened with explosions or terrorist attacks on a daily basis...you just don't have a stable setting."
    Japan donated approximately $80 million per year to the Palestinians throughout the mid-1990s, but this dropped to $16.3 million in 2001.
    The entire Middle East represents approximately 7% of Japan's total foreign assistance.


Exodus from Egypt Approaches Its End - David Blair (Telegraph-UK)
    It is only a matter of time before Egypt's last Jew dies or shuffles toward the airport to fly out of the country.
    In 1948, about 75,000 Jews lived in Egypt. Today, fewer than 200 remain.


Send the Daily Alert to a Friend
    If you are viewing the email version of the Daily Alert - and want to share it with friends - please click "Forward" in your email program and enter their address.


Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues


News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Terror Blasts Kill at Least 198 in Madrid
    Ten nearly simultaneous explosions tore through four packed commuter trains in Madrid Thursday, killing at least 198 people and wounding nearly 1,500 in the worst terrorist attack in modern Spanish history. (Washington Post)
        See also Spain Struggles to Cope as the Equation of Terror Changes in an Instant (New York Times)
  • Bombing Clues Point to Islamist Terrorists
    The attacks bore several hallmarks of bin Laden's network or its allies, including the synchronized nature of the explosions and the clear targeting of civilians, U.S. counterterrorism officials said. Spanish officials, who initially placed blame for the bombings on the Basque separatist group ETA, said later that police discovered a van with detonators and an audiotape of verses from the Koran, parked near a station where three of the targeted commuter trains had originated.
        A shadowy group affiliated with al-Qaeda, the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, sent e-mails to two London-based Arabic newspapers claiming responsibility for the bombings and warning that an attack against the U.S. is "90%" ready. The letter called the attacks "a way to settle old accounts with Spain, crusader and ally of America in its war against Islam." The letter also warned that "the expected 'Winds of Black Death' strike against America is now in its final stage." On Oct. 18, bin Laden included Spain in a warning of coming actions in response to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. "We reserve the right to retaliate at the appropriate time and place against all countries involved," bin Laden said, "especially the UK, Spain, Australia, Poland, Japan, and Italy."
        Dynamite discovered in connection with the attacks has not been used by the Basque terrorist group for many years, a U.S. official said. The train bombings do not bear key similarities to past attacks by ETA, which usually provides a warning, kills comparably few people, and primarily targets Spanish government officials and facilities. (Washington Post)
        For a contrasting view, see Spain Eyes ETA for Madrid Massacre
    Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio told Europe 1 radio, "Everything appears to indicate that this terrible carnage is the work of ETA." Palacio pointed to "the arrest of two ETA suspects on Christmas Eve with back-packs filled with the same type of explosives in another station...and the interception of a small van with 500kg of explosives 10 days ago with a map of the part of Madrid where the attack took place." (The Age-Australia)
        See also The Bomber Will Always Get Through
    The arrest last month of two Basques heading to the capital with a truckload of explosives, the discovery of a plot to blow up a train at a Madrid station in December, the fact of the imminent elections and the threats by the organization itself that a massacre was planned - all put ETA squarely in the frame. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Sanctions Against Syria Nearly Ready
    The Bush administration is in the final stages of deciding on new punitive measures to take against Syria, but is trying to limit any damage to intelligence cooperation from Damascus or to U.S. business deals on oil and communications, officials said Thursday. The main new sanctions will be economic, such as banning U.S. exports to Syria except for humanitarian goods such as food and medicine. Washington may also block financial transactions by Damascus.
        The White House has notified Congress that it will make a decision no later than next week. "You'll see the implementation very shortly, and I think it will be a very firm implementation of the Syrian Accountability Act and the intent behind it," Assistant Secretary of State William Burns said in congressional testimony Wednesday. "If Syria chooses to...ignore the positions that we and others have taken, then there's not much prospect for our relationship," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Thursday. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Sends Condolences, Forensic Team to Spain - Aluf Benn
    Prime Minister Sharon expressed his "deep outrage over the horrific terrorist attack" in Spain. Foreign Minister Shalom wrote to Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio, conveying "the solidarity of the people of Israel with Spain at this very difficult time." The Spanish ambassador to Israel, Eudalao Mirapeix Martinez, asked the Israel Health Ministry to send a team of forensic experts to Madrid, to help authorities identify the bodies of people killed in the attacks. A three-member team from the National Institute for Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir - all native Spanish-speakers - is to leave for Spain on Friday. (Ha'aretz)
  • Disengagement Plan Could be Limited to Gaza Only - Aluf Benn and Nathan Guttman
    Prime Minister Sharon is considering restricting his disengagement plan to Gaza only, without a concomitant withdrawal from the West Bank, in light of the growing opposition to the plan among Likud ministers. However, both the U.S. and Egypt have said they will not support the plan unless it includes a significant withdrawal from the West Bank. Sharon met Thursday in Jerusalem with three American envoys who came to hear additional details of the disengagement plan. (Ha'aretz)
  • Border Police Catch 3 Smugglers with 12 Rifles on Israel-Egypt Border
    IDF troops and border policemen apprehended three infiltrators in the midst of crossing the Egyptian border near Mount Horsha in the southern Negev and seized 12 Kalashnikov assault rifles. Four other suspected smugglers managed to infiltrate into Israel. A recent intelligence report revealed that the majority of smuggling operations are carried out by Bedouin from Sinai. For 300 Egyptian pounds (approximately $70), they smuggle the weapons from Sinai to the area of Pithat Asbaha, stashing the weapons in hiding places around Mount Harif or under cliffs at the Ramon Crater. Several hours or days later, they are picked up by Israeli members of the ring, usually Bedouin from the Negev, who deliver them to terror groups in the territories. (Maarivenglish.com)
  • Palestinians "Commanded by the Koran" Stab Beersheba Taxi Driver - Yaakov Katz
    Ya'acov Meni, 60, a Beersheba taxi driver, was stabbed by two Palestinian passengers on Thursday and is in serious condition. A passerby, who witnessed the attack, held the perpetrators at gunpoint until police arrived. "The suspects said they came to carry out an attack in Beersheba to repent for their sins by way of attacking Jews," police spokesman Itai Dotan said. One told a reporter from Channel 2 TV that the reason he carried out the attack was because "we are commanded to do so by the Koran." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Al-Qaeda's Spanish Vendetta - Zvi Bar'el
    Al-Qaeda has three scores to settle with Spain: Spain was the European country that enabled Bush and Blair to present the war on Iraq as a coalition effort and not a U.S.-UK duet; Spain has 1,300 soldiers stationed in Iraq at present; and Spain is in the process of putting a large group of suspected al-Qaeda activists on trial. Al-Qaeda cells in Spain were built up around activists who had been sent to the country back in the 1990s. At least two al-Qaeda meetings in the run-up to September 11 were held in Spain. The fear is that extreme Islamic activists are active among the Muslim community that has come to Spain from Algeria. While there were no specific intelligence warnings regarding Spain, if Thursday's attack was carried out by al-Qaeda, it seems that Spain was chosen because it is a relatively "soft target," and it is relatively easy to enter the country. (Ha'aretz)
  • The U.S. "Greater Middle East" Initiative: Going Native? - Israel Altman
    Washington's "Greater Middle East" (GME) initiative for reform in the Arab world, due to be formally introduced in June, has already generated negative reactions. The introduction of liberal democracy is just not possible in societies where political Islam is the dominant ideology. The beneficiaries of "liberalization without secularization" are likely to be parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, forces far removed from the vision of GME.
        Nevertheless, the U.S. administration may well consider the initiative's impact thus far as a moderate success, as the GME is prodding Arab governments to develop plans for reform. The Arab governments' claim - that as long as the Palestinian problem has not been solved GME cannot be adopted - is a ruse. Why should improvement of the status of women in Arab societies, for example, be held hostage to the Palestinian problem? The writer is the director of studies at the Institute for Policy and Strategy, Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya. (Access/Middle East)
        See also U.S. Muffles Sweeping Call to Democracy in Mideast - Steven R. Weisman
    The Bush administration, yielding to protests from European and Arab leaders, has set aside its plan to issue a sweeping call for economic, political, and cultural reform in the Middle East at a June conference, American and Arab officials said Thursday. The conference will instead proclaim its endorsement of reforms underway in the Middle East. (New York Times)
  • Abu Abbas' Final Escape - Editorial
    Palestinian arch-terrorist Mohammed (Abu) Abbas, who died this week in U.S. custody, masterminded the 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking, which ended in a deal allowing Abbas and his gang safe passage to Tunisia, where Arafat then had his headquarters, aboard an Egyptian plane. The Reagan administration - in a daring operation planned by Col. Oliver North - sent U.S. fighters to intercept the aircraft and divert it to a NATO air base in Sicily. Then Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi, a Socialist, allowed the entire gang to "escape" to Yugoslavia.
        Abbas lived a life of relative luxury in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, funneling $25,000 "rewards" from Saddam to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Captured Palestinian terrorists told Israeli officials they'd trained in Iraq under Abbas' direct supervision. If only the West had confronted Abbas' terrorism 20 years ago and brought him - and those who share his malignant instincts - to justice, perhaps the War on Terror in which we are engaged today might have been won before it even began. (New York Post)
  • Capturing Bin Laden Isn't Enough - Daniel Pipes
    Bin Laden's capture or death will not devastate al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda is more "an ideology, an agenda and a way of seeing the world," writes Jason Burke, author of Al-Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror, than an operating terrorist force. With al-Qaeda being just one of many jihadist organizations around the world, its decline would do little to abate the wave of militant Islamic violence in such places as Algeria, Egypt, the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. Bin Laden's capture or execution would have a mainly psychological impact by demoralizing his followers. Ending terrorism requires more than targeting terrorists, their leaders, or their organizations. It requires recognizing and defeating the body of ideas known as militant Islam or Islamism. (Jerualem Post)
  • So Long, Yasser Arafat - Victor Davis Hanson
    If one believes that Arafat is not merely an ex-terrorist but a contemporary criminal as well - given the proximity of killers in his midst - then past American support for his Tunisian mafia was crazy. In an era when Arafat had recently felt like the White House was his second home, and the fatally flawed Oslo agreements were still spoken of in near religious language, President Bush had the courage to sever the pathological relationship. The Americans have made it clear that Arafat's brutality makes peace with Israel impossible, while his innate corruption precludes any chance that there will ever be prosperity and consensual government for the Palestinian people. So it is now the Palestinians' call - fair and periodic elections, free speech, and civic audit - not ours. And that, too, is as it should be. (National Review)

    Weekend Features:

  • Book Review: Intifada's Toll Goes Beyond Deaths - Vivienne Walt
    In A Season in Bethlehem, Joshua Hammer, Newsweek's Jerusalem bureau chief, has dived headlong into Bethlehem and dissected the pathology of one small Palestinian town. In Still Life With Bombers: Israel in the Age of Terrorism, Jerusalem Report editor David Horovitz describes the stomach-wrenching nightmare he and other Israelis have lived through since the intifada erupted more than three years ago. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Book Review: The Curse of Jihad - Mackubin Thomas Owens
    Americans who wish to understand the reality of Israel's war against terrorism and its connection to America's own struggle should read Confronting Jihad: Israel's Struggle and the World After 9/11, a collection of columns and unsigned editorials by Saul Singer, editor of the Jerusalem Post's editorial page. "Israel and America are both on the receiving end of what is essentially the same jihad: an expansionist war by militant Islamists who cannot tolerate any form of non-Islamic power." Israel's 9/11 began at Rosh Hashana in 2000, a full year before America's. Since then, Israel has been under a constant and pervasive threat of terrorism unlike any other the world has ever known. (National Review)
  • Book Review: Setting the Record Straight - Daniel Gordis
    Three years ago, there was hardly one English book defending Israel to be found. Since then, however, the international onslaught against not only Israel's policies, but her very right to exist, has been thunderous. Thus, in just the past year, a number of books defending Israel have appeared, among them Yaacov Lozowick's Right to Exist, Arthur Hertzberg's The Fate of Zionism, and my own Home to Stay. Alan Dershowitz now joins the fray with The Case for Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Philharmonic Pleases with Broad-Stroke Approach - Richard Dyer
    The presence of security men standing in the front corners of Symphony Hall, surveying the audience throughout Monday night's concert, reminds us that states of emergency have never been far enough away during the life of the Israel Philharmonic. (Boston Globe)
  • Seattle Jewish Film Festival Rich in Geography and Personality - Sean Axmaker
    The ninth annual Seattle Jewish Film Festival opens Saturday with the documentary "The First Israeli in Space" - a portrait of Ilan Ramon, the Air Force pilot who died, along with six other astronauts, in the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia accident. Dramas, comedies, and documentaries from Israel, the U.S., France, Russia, Switzerland, and Australia explore what it means to be Jewish. The best of them also explore what it means to be human. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
        See also Feature Films Surprise Hits at Jewish Fest - Lisa Kennedy
    A nation under duress provides fertile ground for a documentary-laden cinema. One of the surprises of the Eighth Denver Jewish Film Festival is its impressive slate of feature films from Israel. (Denver Post)
  • Observations:

    Bernard Lewis: Palestinians Offered a State Many Times - Fiamma Nirenstein (Jerusalem Post)

    In an interview this month during a visit to Israel, Middle East expert and Princeton scholar Bernard Lewis said:

    • I don't think that there's a need anymore for other wars. If the opposition isn't blocked, Iran is poised for a democratic revolution. As for the other countries involved in funding terrorism, I can imagine the collapse of corrupt minority regimes in crisis, ones which persecute and impoverish their citizens.
    • Islam, which has been weak for two centuries, has always sought backing to help it fight the enemy - Western democracy. First it supported the Axis against the Allies, then the communists against the U.S. Today it is seeking the protection of Europe against the U.S., which it sees as its principal enemy.
    • Everyone knows what's happening in The Hague is not a legal question, but rather a political one. Even if the fence were built on the "green line," it wouldn't make any difference.
    • The Palestinians have been offered borders in which to establish their state many times: In 1936 by the Peel Commission, by the UN itself in 1947, then in many Israeli offers, the most recent one at Camp David in 2000. History teaches us that Palestinian policy is informed by an implicit refusal to accept the State of Israel.


    To subscribe to the Daily Alert, send a blank email message to:
        daily-subscribe@dailyalert.org
    To unsubscribe, send a blank email message to:
        daily-unsubscribe@dailyalert.org