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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

August 27, 2004

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info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

Report: Syria Acquired Centrifuges from Pakistan (Jerusalem Post)
    The U.S. believes Syria acquired centrifuges for the enrichment of uranium through the network of Pakistani nuclear chief A.K. Khan, Middle East Newsline reported Thursday.
    According to the report, the U.S. intelligence community has assessed that Syria received smuggled Pakistani P1 nuclear centrifuges in 2001 through Firas Tlas, the son of Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlas.


Palestinian Islamic Jihad Markets Terrorism on Internet Sites Supported from U.S. (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies)
    Palestinian Islamic Jihad spreads its terrorist propaganda via three main and three subsidiary Internet sites.
    The Internet service provider (ISP) for palestineway.com is VONOC, located in Englewood, Colorado.
    The ISP for sarayaalquds.com - the site of the Jerusalem Battalions, Islamic Jihad's operational-terrorist wing - is Level3, located in Broomfield, Colorado.
    The ISP for the subsidiary site jimail.com/abrar is Alabanza, based in Baltimore.
    The ISP for rabdullah.com, dedicated to Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdallah Shalah, is Level3 of Broomfield, Colorado.


Palestinians Call for Kidnapping Soldiers - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Frustrated by the failure of a hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners to attract worldwide attention, the armed wings of Fatah and Islamic Jihad on Thursday called for kidnapping IDF soldiers and settlers.


Leave Kashmir: Israel Tells Its Citizens (Press Trust of India)
    Fearing attacks by terrorists on its nationals, Israel's foreign ministry called on all Israelis currently in Kashmir to leave as soon as possible and to avoid visiting the region.
    Officials expressed concern that terror organizations active in Kashmir have noticed the presence of Israelis and could be planning an attack.
    The directive comes days after a media report that Israelis constitute the largest group of foreign tourists in the region.


Israel Makes "Skunk Bomb" for Palestinian Protests (Reuters)
    Israel's army has developed a pungent new weapon for driving back stone-throwing Palestinians without causing casualties - a stink bomb containing a synthetic version of the odor skunks release to deter predators, Israeli security officials said Wednesday.
    The new device, which is not yet operational, was invented as part of efforts to replace rubber bullets.
    It releases a cloud so pungent that according to initial tests it permeates clothes for five years.
    Palestinians said such a weapon could be particularly unpleasant for devout Muslims since they cannot pray with clothes that smell.
    Another weapon which is close to being operational is a fiberglass tank shell that disintegrates in the air, causing an enormous explosion but no casualties.


Nahariya Hospital Restores Kazakh Conductor's Sight (Itim/Ha'aretz)
    The chief conductor of Kazakhstan Symphony Orchestra, Yuri Dorokhovsky, has had his eyesight restored by an operation at the Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya.
    Dorokhovsky, who suffers from keratoconus, had not been able to see his musicians in the past five years.


Taiwan Set to Invest $13m in Israeli Fund to Spur Tech Ventures (Taipai Times)
    The Taiwan government is close to investing US$13 million (NT$450 million) in a venture capital fund run by GIZA Venture Capital of Israel as part of its broader efforts to boost Taiwan's high-technology sector.
    The investment marked the government's first-ever strategic collaboration with a private Israeli investment firm and will jointly raise the US$100-million GIZA IV fund, said Thomas Yeh, vice chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iraq Rebels Hand in Arms, Leave Najaf Shrine
    Shi'ite rebels began handing in weapons and leaving a holy shrine on Friday in Iraq's Najaf, tossing AK-47 assault rifles and mortar launchers into wooden carts near the sacred Imam Ali mosque after mosque loudspeaker announcements gave the order from renegade cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to disarm and leave the shrine. "We will support whatever Ayatollah Sistani and Sayyed Moqtada have agreed. But we will still slit the throats of the Americans," said one militiaman. (Reuters)
        See also Top Cleric Brokers Deal to End Battle in Najaf
    In an agreement brokered by top Shi'ite religious figure Ayatollah Ali Sistani, rebellious cleric Moqtada al-Sadr agreed Thursday to withdraw his militia from Najaf. In exchange, U.S. military forces will pull out of Najaf, and Sadr, who had been wanted by the former U.S. occupation authority on murder charges, will be allowed to participate in Iraqi politics. However, Sadr has reneged on peace deals in the past. (Washington Post)
        See also Iraqi Holy City Left Broken by Urban Warfare
    U.S. troops' pinpoint fire and munitions restrictions have ensured that Najaf's Imam Ali shrine remains all but unscathed, but the core of the city around it has been mauled by combat. (Washington Post)
  • Italian Hostage Killed after Italy Refuses to Withdraw Troops from Iraq
    Al Jazeera reported Friday that it had received a videotape from the "Islamic Army in Iraq" showing the killing of Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni, 56, who disappeared last week. The group issued a statement shortly after Baldoni's disappearance saying it could not guarantee his safety unless Italy withdrew its 3,000-member military contingent from Iraq within 48 hours. The Italian government rejected the demand, saying it would keep its "civil and military" presence in Iraq. (New York Times)
  • Traces of Explosives Found in Wreckage of Russian Plane
    Traces of explosives have been found in the wreckage of one of two airliners that crashed nearly simultaneously earlier this week, the Federal Security Service said Friday. Agency spokesman Sergei Ignatchenko said that "preliminary analysis indicates it was hexogen." (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Russia Says Terror Likely in Crashes
    Presidential envoy Vladimir Yakovlev said Thursday that terrorism was the most likely cause of two jetliners crashing minutes apart on Tuesday. (AP/Boston Globe)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Defense Official: Arrow Can Intercept Shihab-3 - Amnon Barzilai
    The Arrow anti-ballistic missile is capable of intercepting an Iranian Shihab-3 missile, despite its failure to do so in a test Thursday off the California coast, Aryeh Herzog, the Defense Ministry official in charge of the Arrow project, said Friday. The test missile warhead separated from its engine, and the Arrow was able to distinguish between the missile engine and warhead. The intercept failed because of an unidentified malfunction, possibly in the guidance system. (Ha'aretz)
        According to officials quoted on Israel Radio, the missile acquired its target but failed to detonate it due to the failure of a relatively simple sub-system. (Jerusalem Post)
  • "Little Israel" Will Not Save World from Iran - Arieh O'Sullivan
    The West should not expect "little Israel" to take pre-emptive action to save the world from Iranian nuclear weapons, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee head Yuval Steinitz said. It is the free world, led by the U.S., that must stand behind its pledge not to let Iran get the bomb, he said.
        Steinitz said that while Israel is within range of Iran's Shihab-3 missile, Iran only has about two dozen, and they can only be armed with 700-kilogram conventional warheads. "The missiles are very inaccurate, and are completely ineffective against a military target or the nuclear reactor in Dimona," he said. According to military intelligence, the Iranians are currently developing the Shihab-4 and 5, with ranges of 3,000 km. and 6,000 km., putting Europe under Iranian missile threat. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Rocket Landed in Living Room But Didn't Explode - Hanan Greenberg
    A Kassam rocket fired by Palestinians Thursday landed in the living room of a private home in Gush Katif in Gaza, but failed to explode. No one was injured but the house was heavily damaged. The father and a number of children were in the house at the time. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • Bus Bombed on Jerusalem-Hebron Road, No Injuries - Amos Harel and Nir Hasson
    On Thursday, an explosive device was detonated near a bus traveling on the Jerusalem-Hebron road near Al-Arub. No injuries were reported, although the bus was damaged. (Ha'aretz)
  • Death Throes of the Intifada - Matthew Gutman
    Palestinian psychologist Dr. Eyad Sarraj observed this week that Palestinian national identity is fast losing ground to tribal or gang identity in Gaza. Faith in traditional Palestinian father figures, like Yasser Arafat, has evaporated. IDF intelligence sources say that most Palestinian terrorist groups have been whittled down to unskilled, third-string terrorists. According to IDF sources, Israel has eliminated some 600 leading Hamas members. The intifada is now in its death throes and most of the Palestinian leadership acknowledges its failure. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Indicting Hamas: By Disrupting Its Operations, Does the West Become a Target? - Matthew Levitt
    Last week, federal authorities in Chicago indicted three senior Hamas members - two of whom were arrested in the U.S., while the third remains at large in Syria - on charges of racketeering and (in the case of one defendant) providing material support to terrorists. The Chicago indictment lays bare the myth that Hamas activity in the U.S. has been limited to financing terrorism through charity. The indictment outlines in disturbing detail a fifteen-year conspiracy involving Hamas supporters in Louisiana, Illinois, and Virginia raising funds as well as playing proactive roles in all facets of Hamas decision-making and preparation for actual terrorist attacks, highlighting the operational role of U.S.-based members of the Hamas Political Bureau in recruiting and training new operatives, funding operational cells, and traveling to the Middle East to oversee their progress.
        The indictment also charges the defendants with racketeering, characterizing Hamas as a "criminal enterprise." In so doing, the government will be able to hold defendants accountable for illegal activities such as murder and kidnapping that predate the formal labeling of Hamas as a Specially Designated Terrorist entity (1995) and a Foreign Terrorist Organization (1997). (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • What "Friends?" - Editorial
    The Non-Aligned Movement foreign ministers meeting in Durban, South Africa, last week adopted by acclamation one of the nastiest-ever anti-Israeli resolutions to have come out of that anyway automatically pro-Arab forum, including a recommendation that all members "decline entry to Israeli settlers." Even if the ill will emanating from Durban is nothing but bluster, it's still no reason to downplay hostile moves by nations which profit from Israeli aid, know-how, business, and tourist dollars. It's high time that Israel tells countries like India, Thailand, or Kenya that they cannot continue to expect Israel to resume business as usual. We must not voluntarily acquiesce to the role of a pariah, an international punching bag, and this at a time when we remain under attack in an illegal and unprovoked terror-war that itself should be censured by law-abiding nations. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Engage American Jews, All Else Has Failed the Arab World - Youssef M. Ibrahim
    Has the time not come for Arabs and Muslims to recognize the need for a dialogue with the American Jewish community in its capacity as an important policy-making force in the U.S., and one that influences all things Middle Eastern? Instead of insulting American Jews - as Arab editorialists and intellectuals have been doing for 50 years - why not show respect for their evident weight and engage them in a constructive dialogue?
        Some Arab leaders continue to hang on to the myth that assistance can be sought from the largely irrelevant Arab-American community. This is not helped by the behavior of seedy characters, such as the so-called head of the Islamic community in the U.S., Abdel Rahman al-Amoudi, who recently confessed to collecting millions of dollars from Libyan leader Moammar al-Gadhafi to mount a conspiracy to kill Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. He is going to jail after soiling the name of all Arab-Americans.
        Many Arabs and Muslims will say that talking to American Jews is tantamount to capitulating and admitting defeat in the 50-year-long war over Palestine. The fact is that this "war" has already been lost. Just look at the lamentable conditions in Palestinian society. American Jews are a diverse, powerful, and focused community. Many among them are fair and moderate and will not insist on crushing the other side, knowing they have already won. American Jews have made it repeatedly clear they agree on one thing: the need to assure the safety of Israel. There is nothing wrong with that, as Arabs and Muslims, similarly, claim that their main interest is the well-being of the Palestinians, and now that of their Iraqi brethren.
        By showing respect and engaging American Jews, Anwar Sadat secured the return of the entire Sinai Peninsula and a grant program for Egypt that has paid a total of $50 billion in financial and military grants since 1979. (Beirut Daily Star)
  • An Ill Wind in Europe - Emmanuel Sivan
    Ideas such as those held by Mohammed Atta and his supporters have been disseminated for at least a decade in pamphlets and audiotapes sold without interference in Islamic book stores and next to mosques in Europe. An ill wind is blowing among the Muslim circles in Europe. (Ha'aretz)

    Weekend Features:

  • Remembrance of Terror Past - David Raab
    After 34 years, I was standing once again at the house in Amman where, as a 17-year-old, I was held hostage by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. After three weeks of captivity, the 32 of us were released. I returned to Amman to better understand the events of Black September, during which at least 2,000 people died and which led to the PLO's expulsion from Jordan. (New York Times)
  • Arab-Jewish Circus Gives Trust Top Billing - Joel Greenberg
    Aaron Tobiass and Murad Salman were juggling together the other day, tossing what looked like bowling pins at each other in a flashy show of young talent. Tobiass, 16, who is Jewish, and Salman, 17, who is Arab, were rehearsing for the Jerusalem Circus, a group whose 24 members train and perform together for mixed audiences. The emphasis is on teamwork and trust, rare commodities after nearly four years of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. "Here there are no Arabs or Jews, just circus performers," says the circus arts teacher, Slava Oleinik, a Jewish immigrant from Ukraine. "If you're on top and someone below you falls, you have to give him a hand, no matter who he is, otherwise there won't be a circus act. Here we see only human beings. It's a different world." (Chicago Tribune)
  • Dating Games in the Arab World - Ksenia Svetlova
    Thousands of Arab men and women have joined the rest of the world in their search for love and marriage - with a little help from the newspaper and the Internet. Hundreds of dating websites for Arabs and Muslims are flourishing, while glossy women's magazines and national newspapers allocate more and more space for personal ads. There is even an Arabic-language dating TV channel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    Syrian Foreign Policy Under Bashar al-Assad - Eyal Zisser
    (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • Hafez al-Assad was a master in using terrorist organizations to promote Syrian interests and achieve political gains that he couldn't otherwise accomplish. By using terror and local agents, Syria gained control over Lebanon and forced both Israel and America to leave. Yet there has been no Syrian involvement in operations inside Western countries since 1986.
    • Since the beginning of the 1990s, many radical Islamic forces have settled in Syria after the Islamic groups and the Syrian regime came to recognize their mutual interests vis-a-vis the United States and Israel. For the Syrians this meant ignoring the radical dimension of the Islamists, and for the Islamists this meant ignoring the secular dimension of the Syrian regime.
    • Bashar al-Assad enjoys the support of the Syrian population and there is no real opposition. He clearly benefits domestically from his position on Iraq that allows the smuggling of weapons and the infiltration of terrorists through Syria.
    • Syria's goals in Iraq are, first, to get the Americans out. The presence of the Americans in Iraq is a threat to Syria regardless of what happens in Iraq. Second, Syria seeks to maintain Iraq as a state, mindful of the riots last March in the Kurdish area in northern Syria. Third, Syria is interested in having some influence over Iraq in the future.
    • A peace agreement between Syria and Israel is unlikely anytime soon, first of all, because the Syrians are not ready to sign an agreement which is separate from an agreement with the Palestinians.

          See also Muslim Brotherhood Activists' Possible Return to Syria
      There has been frequent mention in the Syrian media of the possible return to Syria of members of the Muslim Brotherhood - an organization that has been banned in Syria for two decades, with membership being punishable by death. (MEMRI)


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