Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 22, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

U.S. Intelligence Estimates See Enlarged Iraq Insurgency Funded Through Saudi Arabia and Syria - Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker (New York Times)
    In recent interviews, military and other government officials in Iraq and Washington said the core of the Iraqi insurgency now consisted of as many as 50 militant cells that draw on "unlimited money'' from an underground financial network run by former Baath Party leaders and Saddam Hussein's relatives.
    Their financing is supplemented in great part by wealthy Saudi donors and Islamic charities that funnel large sums of cash through Syria, according to these officials, who have access to detailed intelligence reports.

    See also Insurgents Said to be Infiltrating Iraqi Security Forces - John J. Lumpkin (AP/Miami Herald)
    A U.S. official said guerrillas have made their way into Iraq's security forces, often bankrolled by Saudi sympathizers.

Bin Laden's Exact Location Is Known, Says 9-11 Panelist - Jim Mohr (Los Angeles Daily News)
    The Pentagon knows exactly where Osama bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan, it just can't get to him, John Lehman, a member of the 9-11 commission, said Thursday.
    "We'll get (bin Laden) eventually, just not now," he said. Asked how bin Laden was surviving, Lehman said he was getting money from outside countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and high-ranking ministers inside Saudi Arabia.

Detainees Returning to Conflicts from Guantanamo - John Mintz (Washington Post)
    At least 10 detainees released from Guantanamo Bay prison have been recaptured or killed fighting U.S. or coalition forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to Pentagon officials.
    The cases demonstrate the difficulty Washington faces in deciding when alleged al-Qaeda and Taliban detainees should be freed.
    "Reports that former detainees have rejoined al-Qaeda and the Taliban are evidence that these individuals are fanatical and particularly deceptive," said Pentagon spokesman Navy Lt. Cmdr. Flex Plexico.

U.S. Delays Export Zone Trade Deal by Israel and Egypt - Edward Alden (Financial Times-UK)
    Israel and Egypt have agreed to expand their commercial ties by establishing special trade zones for duty-free exports to the U.S. of products made in Egypt with some Israeli content. But Washington is holding up the deal, citing fears it could hurt U.S. and other foreign clothing producers.
    Jordan, which has a similar arrangement, saw exports to the U.S. grow from $16m in 1998 to nearly $700m last year, creating nearly 30,000 jobs.

Germans Grab Syrian Linked to Al-Qaeda (AP/Washington Post)
    German authorities last week arrested a Syrian German businessman who is wanted by Spain on charges he helped fund the al-Qaeda network for years and who appeared in a wedding video at a mosque with some of the Sept. 11 hijackers.
    Spanish authorities allege that Mamoun Darkazanli, 46, was "one of the key figures of the al-Qaeda terror network" and "the permanent contact person and assistant of Osama bin Laden in Germany."
    His Hamburg-based trading company has been labeled a front for terrorism by the U.S. government.

Rebels With Conflicting Causes - Paul Quinn-Judge (TIME)
    Unlike other Chechens fighting purely for their republic's independence, the Wahhabis want to create an Islamic state across the Caucasus and are almost fundamentalist in their outlook.
    They are deeply critical of the easygoing approach of more secular Chechen Muslims - and they are feared for their ruthlessness.

Louisiana Buys $5M of Israel Bonds (Globes)
    The Louisiana Department of the Treasury has purchased $5 million in State of Israel bonds "to diversify investments and develop economic ties between the State of Louisiana and the State of Israel," according to a Treasury statement from Baton Rouge. This is the first time that Louisiana has bought Israel Bonds.
    "This is a win-win situation for Louisiana and Israel," said Louisiana State Treasurer John Kennedy. "Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. It is America's only true friend in the Middle East, and it is one of our staunchest allies."

Rajasthan to Host Israeli Women's Jeep Race (NewKerala-India)
    Rajasthan will host a nine-day racing competition for 45 Israeli women, involving off-the-road jeep races, navigational ventures, and testing of self-sustenance skills.
    The annual tournament, which aims to promote women's sports in Israel, has been held in Turkey, Ethiopia, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, and Thailand.
    "The race is always conducted in deserts, and Rajasthan, with its good scenery and cultural heritage, is an ideal spot," said Michal Gur Aryeh, spokeswoman for the competition.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israeli Missile Kills Hamas Weapons Maker
    An Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Thursday night killed Adnan al-Ghoul, the No. 2 man in Hamas' armed wing and a leading weapons maker, who was responsible for some of the group's most powerful bombs and its homemade rockets. (New York Times)
        See also Targeted Terrorist Responsible for Manufacturing Hamas Weaponry
    Al-Ghoul produced the explosive devices that were use in the terrorist attack on January 1995 in Beit Lid, and the explosive device that was used in the terrorist attack on March 1996 in Dizengoff Street, Tel Aviv. He joined the Palestinian preventive security service and enjoyed full immunity from the Palestinian security apparatus, operating in coordination with senior Palestinian security officials. (IDF)
        See also Palestinian Authority Support of Hamas Terrorism (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies)
        See also Killing of Top Hamas Man Will Weaken Terror - Amos Harel and Arnon Regular
    Defense officials told Army Radio on Friday that the killing of Al-Ghoul and his deputy, Imad Abbas, will seriously damage the terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Al-Ghoul had been involved in Palestinian terror groups for more than 20 years, and for years received wages from Palestinian security services. (Ha'aretz)
        See also The Founding Father of Hamas' Kassam Rocket Program (Jerusalem Post)
  • Iran Moving Methodically Toward Nuclear Capability
    Iran has made steady progress toward producing nuclear fuel and could make significant quantities of enriched uranium in less than a year, according to new estimates by diplomats, scientists, and intelligence officials. Despite persistent suspicions, however, a report due next month by the UN nuclear watchdog agency is not expected to provide proof that Tehran has a weapons program, diplomats said. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also Iran's Nuclear Threat - Editorial (New York Times)
  • Israeli President Visits Austria
    Israeli President Moshe Katsav laid a wreath at the former Nazi concentration camp Mauthausen during the first-ever visit by an Israeli head of state to Austria. Katsav's trip ends four years of frosty relations with Austria since Israel withdrew its ambassador after the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) of Austrian nationalist Joerg Haider, who has been attacked for making anti-Semitic comments, joined the ruling coalition. (AFP/Yahoo)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Soldier Killed in Gaza Blast - Amos Harel and Arnon Regular
    First Sergeant Major Moshe Almaliach, 34, a career NCO in the engineering corps, was killed in an explosion near the shaft of a tunnel discovered on the Philadelphia route, which runs along the Gaza-Egyptian border. Palestinians frequently plant bombs in the area. (Ha'aretz)
  • Mortars Slam into Gush Katif - Amos Harel and Arnon Regular
    More than 20 mortar shells have been fired at Gush Katif in Gaza, mostly at Neveh Dekalim, since Thursday night. Six of the mortar shells hit residential buildings, causing much damage but no injuries. Two Hamas terrorists involved in firing mortars were killed Friday morning by IDF tank fire in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. (Ha'aretz)
  • Egypt Proposes Deploying 750 Troops in Sinai - Aluf Benn
    Egypt has proposed the deployment of two border guard battalions along its border with Israel in Sinai to prevent smuggling. The force's 750 soldiers are equipped with sidearms and armored vehicles but not anti-tank rockets or mortars. If Israel agrees, the force will be deployed beginning on January 1, 2005. The details will be discussed at a meeting in Israel on November 11. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Foreign Ministry Cancels Meeting with U.S. Presbyterians - Herb Keinon
    The Foreign Ministry Thursday canceled a scheduled meeting with a delegation from the American Presbyterian Church because the group met Hizballah officials in Beirut and even praised the organization. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Planned to Attack Troops with Acid - Margot Dudkevitch
    Alert military police officers at the Kalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem thwarted an attack by a Palestinian who confessed he planned to attack a soldier and throw acid at him. The Palestinian was found to be carrying a knife and a jar containing acid. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Multifaceted Unilateralism - David Makovsky
    Israeli Prime Minister Sharon is bringing the issue of Gaza disengagement for the first of several Knesset votes next week. The Gaza withdrawal creates opportunities. The pullout will mark the first time since 1967 that Israel will be evacuating settlers from land that Palestinians say will be part of their future state. If the disengagement is successful, it is bound to facilitate further withdrawals from the West Bank. The origins of the pullout represent the failure of an Israeli-Palestinian partnership, not its triumph. Any prospects for partnership crashed amid the suicide bombings and violence which began four years ago. The writer is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Newsday)
  • Gaza as a Laboratory
    It is, of course, more likely than not that some Palestinian gunmen and suicide bombers, especially those of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, will try to strike Israel even after a pull-out. But Gaza is isolated, and already fenced, so their power to do so will be limited unless they can smuggle in rockets able to reach Israeli cities. And Egypt, which is offering to help stop this smuggling, has a strong self-interest in preventing the Strip from becoming a haven for terrorism.
        Once the Israelis have left the Strip, the world should, and almost certainly will, lean on Israel to open Gaza's airport and seaport, and allow the passage of Gazan goods and workers. It is true that Israel's willingness to cooperate will depend on the ability of the Palestinians to establish law and order in its army's wake. But why should that prove beyond their means, or against their interest? Palestinian leaders have every reason to show the world that Mr. Sharon is wrong when he keeps on saying that Israel has no responsible partner on the other side. At best, Gaza freed from military occupation could be a laboratory, showcase, and worked example of the land-for-peace model that can be copied on the West Bank. (Economist-UK/BICOM)
  • The Day After Disengagement - David Kimche
    In the battle for the day after disengagement, the dynamics caused by withdrawal and the removal of settlements will be such that the international community will demand more. The disengagement plan will kindle hopes that Israel and the Palestinians will renew negotiations and will restart the moribund peace process. There can be no doubt that the world, and foremost our ally the U.S., will make a similar demand. Both the Americans and the Europeans will view disengagement as a welcome aperitif for the real meal to follow - the implementation of a revised road map with further withdrawals, this time from West Bank territory. The writer is a former Foreign Ministry director-general. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Time for an Internal Intifada - Nabil Amr
    As a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council I call upon my colleagues to stop fooling people by procrastinating in parliamentary sessions and instead adopt open sessions. I call on them to hold a special session during which they should discuss, freely and courageously, all matters related to the internal status quo and public funds. The writer recently survived an attempt on his life after criticizing Arafat. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Did the Palestinian Intifada Fall Victim to its Own Mistakes? - Mohammad Daraghmeh
    The anniversary of the intifada passed this September without celebrations in most Palestinian population centers, an indication that the masses have lost their fervor for it. Hani Al Masri, writing in the Palestinian newspaper Al Ayyam, said the intifada "is closer to defeat than to victory." (Arabic Media Internet Network-Jerusalem)
  • Israel Cultivates Nobel Laureates, Arabs Cultivate Suicide Bombers - Farid Ghadry
    Ever since the inception of the State of Israel, Arabs have had this romantic notion that through wars and revenge we can return to our past glory. Which past they are referring to? Was it when we were governed by the Ottoman Empire or by England and France? Or was it more like 1,300 years ago when spears ruled the battleground? Ever since 1967, Arabs from all countries - but especially Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt - have lived this fantasy that we can throw the Israelis to the sea. With the 1973 near-win against Israel, Arabs concluded that one more loss is not reason enough to stop and think. The Oslo Accords produced a willing Israel and exposed fraudulent Palestinians. The writer is president of the U.S.-based Reform Party of Syria. (israelinsider)
  • Why Al-Qaeda Will Dominate the European Union - Pavel Kohout
    In a few decades, radical Islam will ultimately dominate the EU, and perhaps most of the world. It has already become a dominant force in the UN. Al-Qaeda leaders have an intellectual advantage over Western European politicians, who want to believe that there is no clash of civilizations; that terrorism is just a product of misery and lack of education; that the solution lies in a multicultural, tolerant society; and that the stubbornness of the Americans and Israelis is to blame for all the problems.
        This particular clash of two civilizations - the West and radical Islam - cannot be resolved the "European" way: through negotiations, efforts to reach consensus, and tolerance. The only consensus acceptable for radical Islam is its dominance in Europe. The writer is an associate of the Center for Economics and Politics in Prague. (TechCentralStation)
  • With Friends Like These... Facing up to Saudi Arabia - John F. Cullinan
    Saudi Arabia's designation by the U.S. State Department as a "country of particular concern" in its annual religious-freedom report is not the result of any particular Saudi action or American epiphany, but rather the product of the cumulative weight of stubborn facts. These include the fact that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis; growing revelations of massive private and public Saudi funding of extremist groups and institutions worldwide (e.g., Pakistani madrassas); and continuing evidence of Saudi interference in American religious life, leading to the expulsion of some 70 Saudi nationals for abuse of diplomatic status since 9/11. (National Review)
  • Israel and Europe: An Expanding Abyss
    Discussions between Israelis and Europeans have become increasingly tense. The Israelis see themselves as David confronting a mighty Arab Goliath, whereas many Europeans view Israel as a Goliath against a Palestinian David. Partly because of Europe's distorted view of Israel, Israelis need to develop a grand strategy toward Europe. These are some of the conclusions from a symposium organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and JCPA. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    Weekend Features:

  • Children Groomed in Hatred - Ed O'Loughlin
    A Friday afternoon in Gaza City and 24 masked recruits of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a Palestinian militant group, is staging a passing out parade for its newest recruits. Out on the soccer field a masked fighter crawls to the halfway line, pushing a homemade bomb. When the masks come off, several of these would-be "fighters" are seen as barely 12 years old. "I want to be a fighter against the Jews," said Ahmed, 12. "The Israelis have no right to be on our territory. This territory is our own - all of Palestine, not just Gaza and the West Bank." Like all the young trainees, Ahmed wears a black T-shirt bearing the name of the PRC. It also shows a Kalashnikov rifle over a silhouette of Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque and the slogan, "Kill them where you find them."
        Nothing, apart from the suicide bombing of innocent civilians, has done more to tarnish the Palestinian cause in the eyes of the world than the use of teenagers as fighters/terrorists. Many Palestinians also complain of the crude bias and propaganda of the Arafat-controlled Palestinian Authority TV channels. Few still watch them. Instead, the most popular sources for news are now Arab satellite channels like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, Western sources like the BBC, and even Israeli Army Radio. (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
  • BBC Photo Journal: Israeli Who Survived Bomb Attack
    "I heard a massive explosion. I remember trying to get up three times but couldn't. I remember looking at my shoulder and seeing a big block of concrete in it." BBC News looks at the life of a survivor of a suicide bomb attack in Israel. Elad Wafa, 27, was born in Ethiopia. On May 19, 2002, a Palestinian suicide bomber set off his explosives near Elad in Netanya, Israel. Elad suffered severe injuries and is now paralyzed from the lower back downwards. (BBC News)
  • Palestinian Cause Takes Center Stage - Victor Kattan
    Thousands of delegates at the European Social Forum in London last weekend spent three days discussing Palestine, Iraq, the Basque country, privatization, animal rights, and globalization. In the Great Hall of the Alexandra Palace, Cubans sold Che Guevara books, badges and mugs, Communists distributed Marxist literature, and Palestinians sold olive oil. An elaborate network of translators, volunteers from all over Europe, sat in little boxes translating the cries against imperialism, capitalism, colonialism, and occupation into English, French, Spanish, German, Turkish, Kurdish, and Arabic. Palestine was so popular at the forum that people had to sit on the floor, or stand at the back during the plenary. Primal Scream, a British rock band, performed in Brixton Academy on Saturday in solidarity with the Palestinian people. (Beirut Daily Star)
  • Yamit, as Israel Left It - Matthew Gutman
    Save for a few scavengers, the bleached skeleton of the flattened Sinai settlement of Yamit remains as Israel left it 22 years ago. Now it is a hamlet of rubble, its only standing edifice, its synagogue, the one building Israel would not destroy when it left. The Egyptian government has not disturbed the remains, for in the sparsely populated Sinai Peninsula, land is cheap. In 1978, Israel had 13 settlements south of the Gaza Strip as a buffer with Egypt. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    A Mild Sign of Hope in the Media? - Tom Gross (Jerusalem Post)

    • Is the international "media intifada" against Israel, like the intifada on the ground, beginning to run out of steam? To judge by the reporting of Israel's recent Gaza operation, this just might be the case. Overall, the reporting on the operation was not nearly as fierce, nor as bad, as it has been on several past occasions.
    • The media are presently preoccupied with the U.S. elections, and for the time being, Iraq has become the main focus of Mideast reporting.
    • The ferocious nature of terror attacks like those in Beslan and Madrid might finally have persuaded some European journalists to consider the possibility that Israel is justified in the steps it has taken to defend itself.
    • The recent beheadings perpetrated by hostage-takers in Iraq have, for the time being at least, given their fellow "militants" in Gaza a bad name.
    • However, experience suggests that this mild improvement in media comment and coverage is likely to prove only temporary.

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