Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 29, 2004

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In-Depth Issues:

Iraq's WMD: From Baghdad to Damascus - Uri Dan (Jerusalem Post)
    The head of Israeli military intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi Farkash, still believes that on the eve of the Iraq war, Saddam Hussein had "a residual capability of weapons of mass destruction" that was enough to kill thousands of people.
    According to intelligence information possessed by Israel, Saddam's arsenal still contained several bombs, shells, or warheads for Scud missiles - weapons of mass destruction, and Saddam had prepared Russian-made Tu-16 and Su-24 long-range aircraft in order to deliver these bombs.
    Mystery continues to surround the contents of Iraqi shipments to Syria in September, October, and November 2002 - shipments that were discussed in detail by Saddam and Syrian President Bashar Assad.
    "We continue to insist that our information about Saddam's residual capability of WMD was accurate," said a senior Israeli military intelligence officer.
    "If Saddam Hussein had remained in power, he would have exploited the first opportunity that arose in order to re-equip his arsenal of WMD, support acts of terror, and threaten the peace of the entire region," he added.
    The mystery of Syria's involvement in this episode will one day be solved.

A Who's Who of Palestinian Corruption - Bradley Burston (Ha'aretz)
    A cement company owned by Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei’s family is alleged to have sold large quantities of cement for use in construction of West Bank settlements as well as for wall segments of the separation fence.
    Chief of Palestinian Police in the Gaza Strip Ghazi Jabali is accused of stealing as much as $22 million in PA monies.
    Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath is suspected of having used his position to increase his sizable wealth and business interests across the Arab world.
    Muhammad Dahlan, the sharply tailored former national security chief, recently purchased the luxurious home of onetime Gaza City mayor and wealthy landowner Rashid Shawwa.

McVisas for Saudis - Joel Mowbray (Washington Times)
    The September 11 commission revealed that one of the biggest difficulties faced by al-Qaeda was getting hijackers into the U.S. - unless they were Saudis.
    All 19 hijackers entered the U.S. on legal visas, even though at least 15 of them didn't qualify under the law.
    Three non-Saudis identified by the commission tried and failed to receive visas, including the would-be fifth pilot, Ramzi bin al-Shieb, a Yemeni national.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Car Bomb Kills 70 in Iraq
    As many as 70 people were killed Wednesday in Baquba north of Baghdad when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed sedan near a crowd of men seeking jobs at the main police station. Fifty-six people were wounded in the blast. (New York Times)
  • Saudis Propose Islamic Force in Iraq
    Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah, in talks Wednesday with Secretary of State Colin Powell, proposed the creation of an Islamic force to help stabilize Iraq and potentially quicken the withdrawal of the U.S.-led military coalition. Pakistan, Malaysia, Algeria, Bangladesh, and Morocco were among strong possibilities for inclusion in such a force. Countries that border Iraq, such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan, would not be included. (Washington Post)
        See also Allawi Embraces Proposal for Muslim Troops in Iraq (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • Arabs Try to Brake Campaign for Sanctions on Sudan
    Egypt and the Arab League tried to put the brakes on a campaign for sanctions against Sudan Wednesday, while Washington wants the UN Security Council to set a deadline for sanctions this week. The international furor over Darfur, where some 30,000 people have been killed in the last 18 months, has produced a backlash in the Arab world, where many suspect that the U.S., Britain, and their allies have ulterior motives. The Arab League, which includes all Arab countries, said sanctions would not help resolve what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis. (Reuters)
  • Harvard Returns $2.5 Million Gift from UAE
    Harvard University is returning to its donor, the president of the United Arab Emirates, a controversial $2.5 million gift to endow a chair in Islamic religious studies. Students and Jewish organizations had criticized the Harvard Divinity School for accepting the donation because they objected to the UAE president's support for the Zayed International Center for Coordination and Follow-Up in Abu Dhabi. Speakers at the center had included an Arab scholar who has written that Jews use human blood to make pastries, and a French author who claims that Israel masterminded the 9/11 attacks. (New York Times)
  • France Bars Hizballah Television
    The French government said Wednesday it will bar Hizballah's al-Manar television network because of its anti-Semitic programming. (UPI/Washington Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinians Rocket Israeli Town Again - Nir Hasson and Amos Harel
    Two Kassam rockets fired by Palestinians in Gaza landed Thursday in the southern Israeli town of Sderot. One of the rockets landed in a residential neighborhood, causing light damage to several houses. The second landed near the town's public library. Nine residents were treated for shock. (Ha'aretz)
  • Egyptian Arms Smugglers Arrested Near Eilat - Ofer Barsadeh
    Southern District police announced Wednesday the arrest of two Egyptians involved in an arms smuggling plot. One of the Egyptians led police to an arms cache near Be'er Ora which contained 24 Kalashnikov assault rifles and 19 ammunition clips. Police sources said that arrests in the past two months have led to the confiscation of 144 assault rifles and RPG anti-tank rockets. (Jerusalem Post)
  • PA Textbooks: Israel is Palestine - Margot Dudkevitch
    According to a study by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories of 26 textbooks published by the PA's Education Ministry in 2003-2004, the Palestinian textbooks refer to the entire territory encompassed by Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza as "Palestine." The PA schoolbooks continue to deny Israel's right to exist and claim that the only solution to the current conflict is violence. Jews and Judaism are portrayed negatively, but martyrdom is depicted as a positive national trend. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Arafat, Again - Editorial
    Arafat's promise to yield some of his authority over the multiple Palestinian armed forces is likely to mean nothing in practice. Young militants in his Fatah organization are fed up with the gross corruption of the aging circle around him and its failure to achieve any gains in a four-year uprising against Israel that has cost thousands of Palestinian lives. Arafat's last reserves of international support are also weakening. Rather than relying on the intervention of another corrupt Arab regime, the Bush administration would be better off promoting the solution it says it has embraced for the Middle East: democracy. A new round of elections, which would be the first since 1996, would probably propel Arafat's opponents from the streets into the Palestinian legislature. (Washington Post)
  • The Undertaker - Barry Rubin
    Yasser Arafat, architect of the Palestinian national movement, is now concluding his career by being its undertaker. By throwing away the chance for peace in 2000 and launching a four-year war he cannot win, Arafat has led his people into a dead end.
        Palestinians have been repeatedly told by their leaders, activists, media, and clergy that only maximal demands are patriotic, and moderation is a form of treason. The primacy placed on violence has poisoned their movement. The fundamental problem is that the Palestinians will continue to demand too much while being unable or unwilling to implement any agreement. This situation cannot change during Arafat's lifetime, and will continue for some years after he leaves the scene. Understanding that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is going to be unresolvable for some time to come must be the starting point of U.S. policy and any assessment of the region. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Bent on Israel's Destruction - Alon Ben-Meir
    In the summer of 2000, Israel offered the Palestinians 97% of the West Bank and all of Gaza (under the Barak-Clinton plan at Camp David), an offer Arafat flatly rejected. He then green-lighted the unprecedented violence that subsequently shattered every vestige of civility between the two peoples.
        Instead of removing the causes for Israel's security barrier, Palestinians use it as an excuse for doing absolutely nothing to end the senseless violence, while even encouraging it. Ending the occupation is not the Palestinian Authority's real goal. Its end by whatever means, preferably violent ones, and then the obliteration of Israel "as a Jewish state" through demographic means, via repatriation of millions of refugees, is precisely what Arafat demanded at Camp David; and it remains the demand of most Palestinian leaders and their supporters throughout the Arab world. The writer is Middle East Project Director at the World Policy Institute, New York. (UPI/Washington Times)
  • Observations:

    Israel: The Defining Moral Issue of Our Time - Melanie Philips
    (, 21 July 04)

    • If the Jews have always been a society's pit canaries whose fate is an early warning of that society's wider collapse, Israel is surely the canary in the mine of the world. The way it is being treated bespeaks a mortal sickness. Israel is the victim of a continuing, half-century attempt to annihilate it. Yet its attempts to defend itself are denounced and vilified, its activities are misreported and distorted.
    • The UN has now pronounced that Israel should not defend itself against the war of exterminatory mass murder being perpetrated against its citizens. The obsessive malice with which it is vilified and libeled, and the tacit and even explicit encouragement of the war of mass murder against it, while atrocities in Africa are not only ignored but their perpetrators given a seat on the UN Human Rights Commission, for heaven's sake, shows that not just the UN but the world order it represents are bust, broken, and bankrupt.
    • Faced with this obscene parody of a world body that is supposed to promote and uphold peace and justice but actually ignores, promotes, and upholds genocide, mass murder, tyranny, terrorism, and endemic corruption, the democracies of the West not only ignore such evidence but profess to believe that the UN is a moral exemplar without whose imprimatur wars are illegitimate and whose every utterance or action possesses unchallengeable moral authority.
    • Israel is the defining moral issue of our time. Not because its situation is the worst in the world - the genocide in Sudan is clearly in a different league. But because the way the world is treating it exemplifies a global moral sickness in which truth, goodness, and the victims of an annihilatory madness are ignored, dehumanized, or attacked, while lies, wickedness, and their perpetrators are appeased, endorsed, and supported.

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