Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 10, 2004

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In-Depth Issues:

Libyan Plot to Kill Saudi Ruler Revealed - Patrick E. Tyler (New York Times)
    While Libyan leader Qaddafi was renouncing terrorism and negotiating the lifting of sanctions last year, his intelligence chiefs ordered a covert operation to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and destabilize the oil-rich kingdom, according to statements by two participants in the conspiracy.
    Abdurahman Alamoudi, an American Muslim leader now in jail in Alexandria, Va., and Col. Mohamed Ismael, a Libyan intelligence officer in Saudi custody, have given separate statements outlining the plot.
    If verified, the Libyan terrorist plot could undermine Qaddafi's public pledges that his government has abandoned terrorism, and could trigger a reinstatement of international sanctions on Libya.

    See also U.S. Investigates Suspected Plot to Kill Saudi Ruler - Glenn R. Simpson (Wall Street Journal, 10 June 04)
    In court filings, the Justice Department has a hand-written document in Arabic that the government seized from Alamoudi's office in Falls Church, Va., that contains extensive references to operations of Hamas and two of its leaders, Mousa Abu Marzook and Khalid Myshal (sic).
    The alleged plot against Crown Prince Abdullah could roil Saudi politics.
    The Justice Department is investigating whether Alamoudi was working with a London-based Saudi dissident group known as the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia, which the royal family accuses of links to Osama bin Laden.
    Prominent Saudis who have given financial support to Alamoudi, and the group he founded, the American Muslim Council, may find themselves at risk of suspicion of disloyalty.

Hizballah's New Reality - Claude Salhani (UPI/Washington Times)
    "There is a Hizballah fingerprint on 80% of Hamas attacks," Matthew Levitt, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told a conference in Washington on Tuesday.
    According to IDF Col. Zohar Palti, a visiting military fellow at the Washington Institute, master terrorist Imad Mughniyah is still very "active" within Hizballah, and he is planning future attacks.
    Mughniyah is believed to be responsible for the 1983 attacks in Beirut on the U.S. Embassy, which killed 63 people, and the the Marines barracks, which killed 241 Marines and sailors.
    Palti claims that Israel has obtained recent telephone intercepts of Mughniyah.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Terrorists Planned Chemical Attack in U.S., Attack on Paris Subway
    Italian prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli said in Milan Wednesday that he had provided U.S. authorities with transcripts of phone calls between terror suspects, including one transcript that reportedly refers to a woman ready to carry out a chemical attack in the U.S.
        Also, Belgian authorities arrested 15 people on Monday and Tuesday - most of them Palestinian, Jordanian, Moroccan, and Egyptian. The AGI news agency reported Wednesday that the suspects might have been planning an attack on the Paris subway system. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Insurgents Target Iraqi Infrastructure
    A power plant south of Baghdad capable of supplying 20% of the entire electrical output of Iraq was shut down last weekend by coordinated attacks on fuel and transmission lines, raising new fears that insurgents were targeting infrastructure as part of an overall plan to destabilize the interim Iraqi government. "As we have been saying for some time, international terrorists and Saddam loyalists continue to try to derail the emergence of a modern democratic Iraq," said Dallas Lawrence, a spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority. (New York Times)
        See also Iraqi Blast at Pipeline Cuts Power
    Saboteurs blew up a key oil pipeline in northern Iraq Wednesday, forcing a 10% cut on the national power grid. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Investigations Continue into EU-Financed Palestinian Terror
    Franz-Hermann Bruner, the General Director of OLAF, the EU's anti-fraud office, said Monday he would be happy if his office could end its investigations of alleged misuse by the Palestinian Authority of EU funds to fund terrorist activities. "But I am not optimistic, because again and again we are in the situation where we receive new documents, and on the basis of these documents new questions and obligations arise."
        Bayerische Rundfunk (Bavarian TV) reported that 246 million euro of EU money, granted to the Palestinian Authority by the European Commission, ended up in fully uncontrollable bank accounts. Bayerische Rundfunk said, on the basis of a letter by Arafat that it had obtained, that the Palestinian leader personally ordered terrorist attacks, using the accounts where the EU money ended up. (EUObserver-Belgium)
  • Barak: Mideast Roadmap Doomed from Start
    The international "roadmap" to Middle East peace is dead and had little chance from the start, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday in Berlin. Barak said Israel's vision of coexistence next to a Palestinian state had always differed from that of Arafat, who wants to "transform Israel into a state with a Jewish minority." Barak added that as long as Arafat holds a position of power, "no peace is possible" in the Middle East. He also noted that the notorious dictators "Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, Stalin were also elected leaders." (AFP/Yahoo)
  • Suspect Items from Iraq Shipped Abroad, UN Says
    Equipment and material that could have been used to produce banned weapons and long-range missiles have been emptied from Iraqi sites since the war started and shipped abroad, Demetrius Perricos, the head of the UN inspectors office, told the Security Council on Wednesday. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Won't Ask U.S. for Disengagement Aid - Ran Dagoni
    Israel does not plan to ask the U.S. for economic aid at this stage to cover the cost of its disengagement from Gaza, Washington diplomatic sources said Wednesday. "At a time when the U.S. federal budget deficit is soaring, a request from Israel for a supplement to its annual aid from the U.S. will not meet a favorable reception," the sources said. (Globes)
  • Ramallah Businessmen Call for Law and Order - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Ramallah businessmen and shopkeepers who initiated a meeting with Palestinian officials Wednesday complained that the PA is not doing enough to enforce law and order. The meeting was organized following a rampage in which armed gangsters shot and killed two young men in Ramallah, destroyed shops, and forced merchants to shutter their businesses. Sakher Habash, a top Fatah official and aide to Arafat, noted that because of the absence of a proper police force, many businessmen and banks are being forced to pay extortion money to armed groups in return for protection. Saleh Rafat, secretary-general of the Palestinian Democratic Union Party, said members of the PA security forces and Fatah activists are mainly responsible for the anarchy and lawlessness. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Second Temple Pool Found - Etgar Lefkovits
    The Pool of Siloam was uncovered last week by chance at the southern end of the City of David while the Jerusalem municipality was carrying out infrastructure work for a new sewage pipe, the Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday. The pool served as a main water reservoir for Jerusalem residents 2,000 years ago. Archeologists first uncovered one step, and then several more leading down to the pool, whose water came from the nearby Gihon spring. "This is our history and it is important that we know and remember that Jews lived here, and that this is our inheritance," said Education Minister Limor Livnat. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Egypt Proving Slow to Reform Despite Promises - Paul Schemm
    Following the U.S. invasion of Iraq, President Hosni Mubarak promised to begin a dialogue with opposition parties and overhaul legislation restricting civil society. But nine months after that pledge, ''the sense of optimism that was felt in the country has just vanished and reversed," said Muhammad Sayyed Said, deputy director of the Cairo-based Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. When Mubarak visited the U.S. in mid-April, he told President Bush that reform was at the core of his country's policies, but afterward he began emphasizing the need for gradual rather than swift change, or chaos could ensue. (Boston Globe)
  • Saudi Arabia Has Not Stopped the Deceit - Guy Bechor
    A wave of terrorist attacks in the Saudi kingdom, with arrests and pursuits in their wake, gives the impression that the struggle there against Islamic terrorism and its export to the entire world has finally begun. But a deeper check shows that the Saudis are fooling the world and that the danger of this extremist state is growing. There is also evidence that Saudi Arabia is still engaged in direct and indirect funding for Palestinian organizations, including Hamas. (Yediot Ahronot/GPO; 3 June 04)
  • Wahhabis Tear Down Muslim Holy Places in Saudi Arabia - Stephen Schwartz
    Wahhabi doctrine holds that raising gravestones or maintaining graveyards constitutes idolatry. So does preserving buildings - including religious structures such as mosques. Thus, the Saudis followed their conquest of Mecca and Medina in the mid-1920s with an orgy of destruction. They looted the Prophet's Shrine in Medina and demolished the cemetery in Mecca that included the graves of Muhammad's mother and grandfather. They completely destroyed mausoleums, mosques, and other honored sites, including Muhammad's own house. And now the Saudi authorities are at it again. The city planning authorities in Medina, known for their Wahhabi extremism, have ordered the leveling of five of seven mosques built in the city by Muhammad's daughter and four of his companions. (Weekly Standard)
  • Observations:

    Closing Gaza Industrial Zone Dooms Economic Ties - Joshua Mitnick
    (New York Jewish Week)

    • Sobbing Palestinians desperate to save the Israeli-run Erez Industrial Zone in the Gaza Strip filled the office of its director Tuesday just hours after its ordered closing on the heels of Sunday's cabinet vote to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.
    • The closing dooms the whole idea of cementing Israeli-Palestinian relations through economic cooperation.
    • The zone was started in the 1970s by Moshe Dayan. Last year some 400 enterprises in the zone enjoyed $150-200 million in sales. Its closure is also a fatal blow to Palestinian entrepreneurs who own half of the businesses at the zone.
    • It is believed that Israel will now seek to foster industrial zones in Palestinian areas with the support of the international community in the hope of ending Palestinian dependence on Israel and developing Palestinian self-reliance.

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