Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with the Fairness Project
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 25, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Commander of Moscow Operation Connected to Bin Laden - Dimitri Prokofiev

    The head of the operation in the Moscow theater is Movsar Barayev, known as the contact point between the Chechen rebels and their sources of funding in Saudi Arabia, and who was indirectly connected to the al Qaeda organization of Osama bin Laden.
    His uncle was the known terrorist Arbi Barayev, the founder of an extreme Wahhabi group in the northern Caucasus, who was known as one of the most brutal of the Chechen military commanders. (Yediot Ahronot)

    See also Behind the Moscow Theater Attack: The Chechen-al Qaeda Connection - Mark Riebling and R.P. Eddy (National Review)

Stop Imminent PA Executions

    Former Prisoner of Zion Ida Nudel and activist attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner have asked visiting U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns to intervene with the leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to save the lives of three Arabs who are facing firing squads.
    The prisoners - Walid Hamdiya, 39, Khaled al-Kidreh, 31, and Akram al-Zatma, 22 - have been sentenced to death by the Palestinian Security Court in Gaza for "collaborating" with Israel. (IMRA)

    See also PA Court Orders Firing Squad for "Collaborator" (AP/New York Times)

  • Defeating Wahabbism - Stephen Schwartz

        Hostility to Wahhabi extremism is prevalent throughout the Muslim world.
        In Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, as in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Chechnya, we see repetition of the pattern of Wahhabi-Saudi infiltration. The Wahhabi-Saudi agents who introduce their doctrines, financing, recruitment, and incitement to terror into these countries have the same aim in all of them: to utilize ordinary Muslims for the advancement of their fundamentalist and extremist agenda.
        Wahhabi-Saudi penetration of local Islamic communities may begin with the construction of Saudi-funded mosques, with Saudi-trained imams assigned to them.
        Newsweek states that "at least 250 out of some 1,200 [recognized mosques] nationwide" (in the U.S.) function under direct control of the North American Islamic Trust, a Wahhabi-Saudi body.
        Wahhabism is a nihilistic, violent, Islamofascist movement that seeks not only to impose conformity on the world's Muslims, and to completely wipe out Shi'a Islam, but also to attack the world's Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, and other worshippers.
        The extensions of the Wahhabi conspiracy - centered in such organizations as the Muslim World League and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, both headquartered in Saudi Arabia - are visible throughout the world, wherever Muslims are found, including on U.S. soil.
        Certain measures have become imperative:
        The U.S. should demand a full, transparent accounting of Saudi involvement in September 11th from the Saudi authorities.
        The Saudi government should entirely cut off its subsidies to the extremist Wahhabi ideological establishment.
        We should protect, support, and otherwise encourage Muslims opposed to Wahhabism to develop their own community institutions and to produce a new, articulate network of authoritative advocates who can bring the truth about traditional Islam to the Western public. (Front Page Magazine)

    Electric Fuel Receives $1M U.S. Grant for Electric Bus Trials - Badih Chayban

        Electric Fuel Corp. of Israel announced yesterday that the U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) granted new funding of $1 million for its phase III of its zinc-air electric transit bus program.
        The total project, expected to cost $2 million, is also being funded by Electric Fuel itself and General Electric Global Research. (Globes)

    Key Links

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    Back Issues

  • News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. May Ask Court to Dismiss Suit Linking Saudis to Al Qaeda
    The Bush administration is closely monitoring a private lawsuit accusing members of the Saudi royal family of ties to al Qaeda, and may move in federal court to dismiss or delay the suit which was brought by relatives of Sept. 11 victims, according to administration officials. Government lawyers are trying to determine whether the case threatens Saudi-American relations, which would give them reason to block the suit that seeks $1 trillion in damages and is being pursued by nearly 3,000 of the relatives. (New York Times)
  • U.S. Says No Talks Until Attacks End in Israel
    President Bush's Middle East envoy William Burns told Palestinian leaders Thursday that they had no hope of renewing negotiations for an independent state until they took decisive action to stop "terrorism and violence." Burns is in Israel on the last stop of a regional tour to promote the White House "road map" for negotiations designed to culminate in an independent Palestinian state within four years. (Guardian - UK)
        See also Draft Text: The "Road Map" to a Solution for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
    With the backing of the UN, EU, and Russia, the U.S. has presented a three-stage, performance-based "road map to a permanent two-state solution." (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Report: U.S. Still Vulnerable
    A panel sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations and chaired by former senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman has concluded that the task of protecting the nation is so complicated and expensive that the government's multibillion-dollar efforts will barely dent the problem. (Washington Post)
  • Al Qaeda's Capabilities May be Growing
    "For every two to four al Qaeda members killed in a week, they are recruiting five to six more," says Dr. Rohan Gunaratna, an expert on al Qaeda at St. Andrews University in Scotland. "As long as people believe they are waging a jihad for God, many people will support it and join it." (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Pentagon Seeks Iraq-al Qaeda Links
    A high-level Defense Department team is sifting through intelligence information, looking for links between Iraq and the al Qaeda terror network, Pentagon officials said Thursday. The team, created in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, is using powerful computers and other methods to analyze information about Iraq gathered by the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and other spy agencies. (AP/WTOP Radio)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • IDF Hunts Terrorist Bombers in Jenin
    IDF troops entered the West Bank city of Jenin Friday in a sweeping operation aimed at arresting wanted men and capturing munitions, in response to the homicide bus bombing Monday by an Islamic Jihad cell operating out of that city. "Recently we eased off Jenin and got the bombing in return," a senior Israeli commander said. "Given the new developments we have to go in massively despite the attendant discomforts to the locals." The operation is expected to last several days. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Talking Points: IDF Defensive Operations in Jenin
  • More of the Same in Arafat's Cabinet - Danny Rubinstein
    Although the final list has not been published officially, it is already clear there aren't many innovations in Yasser Arafat's planned new cabinet. The one truly significant change is the appointment of Fatah veteran Hanni al Hassan as interior minister instead of Razak Abdel Yahya. The Palestinian interior minister is responsible for the Palestinian Authority's security forces, and up until a few months ago, Arafat held the position. But he was forced to hand it over to Yahya after he was pressed for reforms in the security apparatus. Yahya's appointment did not please Fatah party leaders, who wanted a Fatah man in the post and not the independent Yahya. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Guards Palestinian Olive Harvest
    Recent violent incidents between Jewish and Palestinian villagers have occurred near Itamar in Samaria, where Palestinian gunmen have killed nine Israelis over the past two years [including a mother and her three sons inside their home, and three Israeli teenagers playing basketball]. Settlement movement leaders said, ''unfortunately in every group there are extremist people who take advantage of the situation. Those who are not keeping the law must be arrested and prosecuted.'' (Boston Globe)
        Appearing Tuesday before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Israeli army Chief of Staff Gen. Moshe Ya'alon said the army will henceforth provide protection for the Palestinian farmers against harassment. (Washington Times)
        An army captain explained: "There are places where they can harvest the crop and places where they cannot. Those are army orders - not demands of settlers - in order to prevent them from approaching a settlement and perpetrating a terrorist attack....We are letting them harvest in most places. That is also in the army's interest. They are even guarded." (Ha'aretz)
  • Iran Releases 3 Jews Convicted of Spying
    Iran has released three Jews convicted of spying for Israel and the U.S. 3 1/2 years ago. David Beit-Ya'akov and Farzad Kashi had been sentenced to six years in prison, and Shaharouk Faknahad, had been sentenced to five years. The three were among the 13 Jews of Shiraz arrested for spying. Four had been released previously, leaving five of the original group still jailed. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • In the Shadow of Iraq: Sharon's Washington Visit - Abraham Ben-Zvi
    The "road map" outlined by President Bush in his negotiations with Prime Minister Sharon was primarily intended to accomplish the tactical, short-term goal of making it easier for central Arab powers to cooperate with the U.S. against Iraq. The new American map, unlike the Mitchell Report, did not specifically call on Israel to stop all settlement activity as soon as an effective cease-fire was implemented. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies - Tel Aviv University)
  • Iraq First - Ehud Ya'ari
    So long as Abu Mazen and his like avoid engaging Arafat or Hamas in a real test of strength, and make do with grumbling, threats, and position papers, there won't be any serious change in the situation and all the attempts at de-escalation will be overtaken by the war in Iraq (or whatever last minute formula is found to replace it). Arafat thinks that another Gulf War will lead to an international conference a la Madrid. He is hoping to hold on until then. His rivals in the Fatah leadership, however, argue that that is a dangerous gamble, and that Sharon will exploit the coming period to hasten the implosion of the Palestinian Authority. (Jerusalem Report)
  • Under the Arab Street - Thomas L. Friedman
    Arab leaders have become adept at coping with the Arab street, which is why not a single one of them has ever been toppled by it. The Arab basement, though, is a new and much more dangerous phenomenon. These are small groups of super-empowered angry men who have slipped away from the street into underground cells, but with global reach and ambitions. Unlike the Arab street, no diplomacy can defuse the Arab basement. It doesn't want a smaller Israel, it wants no Israel; it doesn't want a reformed Saudi monarchy; it wants no Saudi monarchy. (New York Times)
  • These Iraqis Don't Want America to Overstay Its Welcome - Tish Durkin
    At least 17 relatively major Iraqi opposition parties have base or satellite operations in Damascus, as do many lesser parties. The overwhelming America-related sentiment of every Iraqi I interviewed was gratitude. But even now, even from the people who are the most eager for the United States to get in there, one hears clear notes of apprehension about how long America plans to stay. (National Journal)
  • America is Indeed Subverting the Middle East - David Frum
    Islamic extremism, anti-American incitement, and willing and unwilling support for terrorist organizations have fastened themselves deep into the societies and cultures of the Middle East. Osama bin Laden's terrorism is not the work only of a few sociopathic killers: it is the product of a wide and deep complicity throughout the Arab world.
        Many Europeans with an interest in the Arab world and its oil have urged America to learn to live with terror: to be realistic, to adjust, to accommodate - as they have had to do. And it is America's refusal to be realistic in this way that, more than anything else, has puzzled, vexed, and even enraged so many in Europe and in Britain. (Telegraph - UK)

    Weekend Features:

  • Israel's Bus Drivers on the Front Lines
    For the past two years, Israel's bus drivers have been thrust onto the front lines as their vehicles become the ideal target for suicide bombers determined to wreak havoc and instill fear across Israeli society. (NBC News)
  • Italian Author Slams Islam's Hate for West
    The Islamic world is engaged in a cultural war with the West and the worst is still to come, Italian author Oriana Fallaci told a receptive audience at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington Tuesday. (Washington Times)
  • Harvard Discusses Divestment from Israel
    Five professors who helped launch a national movement to pressure colleges to divest from Israel defended their cause in the face of emotional protests from an audience of 400 students and others - many of them pro-Israel - at Harvard Law School. The student group that organized the forum, Justice for Palestine, chose not to invite an antidivestment speaker, and permitted critics of divestment to ask questions only after the speeches concluded. Some audience members belittled the professors as ivory-tower academics who were simplifying the conflict in the Middle East by placing blame on Israel. Suzanne Gershowitz, a Harvard junior who helped organize a pro-Israel rally with students from MIT, Boston University, Brandeis, and other schools, criticized the forum as an ''attempted teach-in'' with the five professors controlling the discussion and slanting it in favor of divestment. (Boston Globe)
  • Masada, Acco Inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List
    UNESCO and the Permanent Delegation of Israel to the Organization in Paris are celebrating the inscription of two Israeli sites of "outstanding universal value" - the fortress of Masada and the Old City of Acco - on the World Heritage List. A reception was held at the organization's Paris headquarters on Oct. 24, in partnership with the Consistoire de Paris. (UNESCO)
  • U.S. Reform Rabbis to Visit Ariel, Meet Terror Victims
    41 Reform rabbis are arriving in Israel on Sunday for a week-long solidarity mission to Jerusalem, Haifa, and Ariel. "This is a non-ideological mission to express our solidarity with the people of Israel during this most difficult time," said the executive director of ARZA-World Union, North America, Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, who is heading the mission. For the upcoming mission, Hirsch said he substituted meetings with politicians and Palestinian groups with visits to victims of terrorism and a briefing in Ariel on Israel's security situation. Hirsch said that the rabbis have a humanitarian purpose for visiting West Bank communities: "We want to go there because we want to identify with the suffering of our people wherever they may live, and [show] our refusal to go along with the distinction our enemies make between a baby in Ariel and a baby in Tel Aviv."
        The mission is arriving just days after 120 Reform rabbis signed a statement condemning Palestinian terrorism unconditionally, and rejecting the idea that a solution to the conflict can be imposed - an effort initiated by Rabbi Michael Boyden of Hod Hasharon in Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • 200 Cleveland Jews Begin Mission to Israel
    209 Cleveland-area Jews arrived on a weeklong mission to Israel, including seven rabbis representing the three principal streams of Judaism - Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox. Also arriving in Israel this week are missions from cities in California, Tennessee, and Alabama. Murray Kudroff, 59, said "Drop everything and just go. Just being here means saying, 'They're trying to scare us off, but it won't work.' We have to be here and to take the time and effort to show what's important." (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • Talking Points:

    IDF Defensive Operations in Jenin - (Israel Defense Forces)

    • As part of the war against terrorism, IDF infantry, armored, and engineering forces entered the city of Jenin Friday morning. Israel has specific information regarding imminent terrorist attacks that were planned from Jenin against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers.
    • The remaining terrorist infrastructure in Jenin represents an immediate threat to the security and safety of the people of Israel. This threat was visibly expressed with the homicide attack at Karkur junction on Oct. 21, 2002, which killed 14 Israelis and wounded close to 50.
    • The recent attacks that have originated in Jenin are characterized by the use of immense quantities of explosive materials like the 100-kg. detonation used in the Karkur car bombing.
    • The main element in the Jenin area initiating these attacks is the Islamic Jihad organization. At the head of its operational wing is Iyad Sawalha, who was also responsible for the following attempted attacks:
      • A car bomb with sufficient destructive capacity to bring down an Israeli skyscraper.
      • An attempted mega-attack by means of infiltrating a car bomb carrying 400 kg. of explosives on Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 5, 2002, that was prevented by Israeli civilian volunteers.
    • The Islamic Jihad has used the Jenin refugee camp as a staging ground for its operations. It has also enjoyed close cooperation with other terrorist organizations in Jenin including the Izz ad-Din al-Qassem Brigades of Hamas and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades of Fatah.
    • It is important to stress that Israel's Operation Defensive Shield of April 2002 targeted the operational infrastructure of Fatah-Tanzim in the West Bank and, given its time constraints, did not uproot the infrastructure of Hamas and Islamic Jihad entirely.
    • The IDF operation in Jenin is targeting the infrastructure for these terrorist attacks and is making a supreme effort to minimize any harm to the daily life of the Palestinian civilian population.
    (Based on announcements of the IDF Spokesperson/Prime Minister's Office)

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