Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

May 25, 2004

To contact the Presidents Conference:
info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issues:

Who is Killing Iraqi Weapons Scientists? - William Kristol (Weekly Standard)
    In closed testimony to members of Congress earlier this year, David Kay reported that Saddam Hussein's top scientists have been targeted for assassination.
    Terrorists and Baathists have killed nine prominent scientists since April 9, 2003.
    All those killed had worked in one way or another on Baathist weapons programs. All had been questioned by the Iraq Survey Group.
    There are other questions on the issue of Saddam Hussein's weapons capabilities that deserve answers:
    Where did the sarin nerve agent come from in the 155 millimeter shell found in Baghdad last week?
    How did Jordanian terrorists apparently obtain chemical weapons for the terrorist attack in Amman thwarted last month?


Gaza Smuggler: It's Harder Now to Get Through - Amira Hass (Ha'aretz)
    More than 30 tunnels for smuggling Egyptian contraband into Gaza have been built since September 2000, according to a Rafah merchant who ran smuggling tunnels.
    The IDF says that since September 2000, more than 90 tunnels have been located and shut down.
    But both the merchant and other Palestinian sources say that often, the IDF counts an existing tunnel twice or more, because a new shaft is dug to the actual tunnel once the IDF closes the original shaft.


Madonna Cancels Israel Visit After Terror Threats - Gordon Smart and Martel Maxwell (Sun-UK)
    The singer Madonna has cancelled a performance in Israel after Palestinian terrorists threatened to kill her and her kids.
    A series of threatening letters sent to the singer's offices in Los Angeles mentioned details about her two young children and her personal staff.
    "She thought she was being targeted because of her Jewish Kabbalah religion. But this group was threatening her because she represents many things they hate about the West," a source said.


Muslim Extremists Who Attacked Madrid Funded Plot by Selling Drugs - Sebastian Rotella (Los Angeles Times)
    The ideologues of the Madrid terrorist cell justified selling drugs as a weapon of jihad.
    The Moroccan dealer who financed the plot traded a load of hashish for the dynamite that slaughtered 191 people aboard commuter trains on March 11.
    The drug trafficker led the cell along with a Tunisian economics student, both of whom blew themselves up after a standoff with Spanish police last month.


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Daily Alert will not appear on Wednesday, May 26,
the Jewish Holiday of Shavuot

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iraq-Syria Weapons Pipeline Probed - Bill Gertz
    The Pentagon is investigating reports that Iraqi weapons are being sent covertly to Syria and that they are fueling anti-U.S. insurgents training there. The shipments include weapons and explosives sent at night in covered trucks and unmarked vans that were detected during the past several months going to several training camps inside Syria, which has become a key backer of anticoalition forces in Iraq.
        The arms and explosives come back into Iraq with the Syrian-based insurgents and terrorists. Camps were set up by former officials in the Saddam Hussein regime to train foreign fighters who are continuing to flow into Iraq to conduct attacks on U.S. and allied forces. The regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad has facilitated the foreign fighters' movement, providing travel papers and weapons in some cases. (Washington Times)
  • Doubts Cast over Arab Leaders' Resolution to Reform
    Arab leaders, struggling to produce a united response to U.S. demands for democratization in the Middle East, Sunday promised to carry out political and social reforms at the end of a poorly attended summit in Tunis. Describing the meeting as "a summit to save face," Rime Allaf, an associate fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, said: "It's a futile PR exercise - just to show the people they are not following an American agenda." The U.S. agenda is also in trouble. Proposals for Middle East reform to be presented at the G8 summit next month are a heavily watered-down version of the "forward strategy of freedom" boldly announced by President Bush last November. (Guardian-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Major Jerusalem Bombing Foiled - Jonathan Lis
    The security services foiled a massive bombing intended for Jerusalem's Mea She'arim neighborhood last week after a 15-kilogram bomb was smuggled into the city in a vegetable wagon. The bomb was apparently supposed to be used by a suicide bomber, but there was also a cell phone attached so that it could be detonated by remote control. Police arrested East Jerusalem resident Hussam Nablusi, 48, who confessed that he was supposed to deliver the bomb to the bomber who was to arrive from Nablus. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Pulls Forces Out of Rafah - Arieh O'Sullivan
    The IDF pulled the bulk of its troops out of Rafah after a week-long assault against Palestinian weapons smugglers. "The operation has not ended, but because of the civilian population in the area of operation and other considerations, its time frame was restricted," Gaza commander Brig.-Gen. Shmuel Zakai said Monday. Zakai said his troops demolished 56 structures and killed 41 gunmen and 12 civilians. They also uncovered three tunnels used to smuggle arms from Egypt. The IDF did not suffer any casualties. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Jews Suggest Special Advisor for UN Chief Annan - Shlomo Shamir
    American Jewish leaders asked UN Secretary General Kofi Annan last week to appoint a special advisor on Jewish affairs to be his liaison with American Jewish organizations. According to a UN source, the Jewish leaders said they made the unusual request because Annan is surrounded by aides and advisors - many of them from Muslim countries - who are hostile to Jews, and they have therefore found themselves unable to access him. His Pakistani bureau chief is particularly noted in Jewish circles for avowed hostility toward Jews. At the meeting, the Jewish leaders also said that several of Annan's recent public statements have been one-sided and hostile to Israel. Annan responded that he is in a difficult situation. (Ha'aretz)
  • Lantos Faults Egypt for Rafah Operation - Etgar Lefkovits
    Visiting U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos (D-Cal.) said Monday: "It is self-evident that if Egypt, with its huge military capabilities, would do its job to prevent the smuggling of weapons and if the Palestinian Authority had done its job to maintain security, then there would have been no need for such an incursion [into Gaza]." "It is self-evident that Egypt has all the capability to prevent the smuggling of weapons into Gaza if it so desires to do so, just as Assad could stop terrorists from entering into Iraq if he so willed," Lantos said.
        "Arafat is a poison in the region...a plague and a pest who has contributed to the tragedy and suffering of Palestinians and Israelis for a long time," Lantos said. "His destructive, irresponsible, and monstrous behavior has brought death and destruction to his people and suicide bombings to Israel. The sooner he fades into oblivion the better off the region will be." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Egypt and Gaza - Martin Peretz
    Egypt's peace treaty with Israel has been very lucrative for the Mubarak regime, thanks to America's multibillion annual subvention, but it has not disposed Cairo to police its sovereign territory against the fatal, now-routine contraband. This vast armaments pipeline into Gaza is Hosni Mubarak's payoff to his restless street. Without Israel's military presence, he'd be without an excuse to intervene against this contraband at all.
        There's a precedent for this. In 1970, in violation of an agreement with Israel brokered by Henry Kissinger, Egypt moved SAM-3 missiles up to the Suez Canal, where they provided Mubarak's predecessor, Anwar Sadat, with the cover to launch the Yom Kippur War three years later. No responsible government in Jerusalem can permit the entry into Gaza of artillery and missiles (and tanks, for that matter) that could target Tel Aviv. (The New Republic)
  • Time for Straight Talk about Radical Islam - Andrew McCarthy
    Terrorism is not an enemy. It is a method. You cannot, and you do not, make war on a method. War is made on an identifiable enemy. In the here and now, that enemy is militant Islam - a very particular practice and interpretation of a very particular set of religious, political, and social principles. A rich and worthy tradition of religious tolerance is an enormous part of what makes America great. It led our government, within hours of the 9-11 attacks, to announce to the world that Islam was not and is not our enemy. But we have taken the ostrich routine way too far. (Dallas News)
  • Moment of Truth - Meyrav Wurmser
    We have spent a decade trying to solicit Arab good will. We sent troops to Somalia to end starvation. While we denied solace and assistance to endangered Christian communities in Sudan and Lebanon, we interceded in Bosnia to put an end to genocide and used our power to block the Serbs from further harming the Kosovars. We distanced ourselves from our "special relationship" with democratic Israel to be a neutral arbitrator with the Palestinians. We turned a blind eye to money flowing from the Arab world to various radicals in Europe and Muslim extremists around the world. We sent our wealth to rebuild Muslim societies, not only in the war-torn Balkans, but also in places like Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories. Yet, we still find that the Arab world holds us in contempt and hatred. The writer is senior fellow and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the Hudson Institute. (National Review)
  • Observations:

    Interview with Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz
    - Lally Weymouth (Newsweek)

    • Q: In Rafah, why are you destroying so many houses?
      Mofaz: We are not destroying houses without a reason. The houses that we have destroyed had tunnels dug [under them, leading to Egypt]. The tunnels - we have exposed 90 [in recent years] and there are more - are the main way that Palestinian terror groups get ammunition and anti-tank weapons. We must stop it.
    • Q: The international community is protesting your actions.
      Mofaz: The world should understand that we don't have any other choice. We destroy houses that are used by terrorists....One picture out of context can change public opinion. They do not show what they have done to the bodies of our soldiers. They played soccer with the head of one of our soldiers.
    • Q: Do you favor an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza?
      Mofaz: We must continue with disengagement. If we had a partner on the other side, we could do it by agreement. If not, we should do it unilaterally. We cannot wait. Disengagement is crucial for the State of Israel.
    • Q: Should Arafat be expelled?
      Mofaz: When I was chief of staff, I said he should be exiled and someone else would take his place. Arafat is not a partner. He sends money to the Fatah Tanzim to back terror against us and gives orders for terror against us.
    • Q: How do you see the situation in Iraq?
      Mofaz: I believe the U.S. has no other choice than to fight against al-Qaeda and opposition groups.


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