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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January 15, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Saudi Nationals and Foundations Stand Out in Terrorist Financing - Matthew A. Levitt (Middle East Review of International Affairs [MERIA] Journal)

    A few wealthy individuals are able to sponsor much terror. For example, Mustafa Ahmad al-Hasnawi, a Saudi national and Bin Ladin moneyman, sent the September 11 hijackers operational funds and received at least $15,000 in unspent funds before leaving the UAE for Pakistan on September 11.
    U.S. officials say that Yasin al-Qadi, a prominent Jidda businessman and head of the Muwafaq Foundation, has supported a variety of terrorist groups from al Qaeda to Hamas. According to U.S. court documents, in 1992 al-Qadi provided $27,000 to U.S.-based Hamas leader Muhammad Salah and lent $820,000 to a Hamas front organization in Chicago, the Quranic Literacy Institute (QLI).
    Based on their connection to Hamas, the U.S. government has frozen the assets of both Salah and QLI. Similarly, U.S. officials maintain that the Muwafaq Foundation is a front organization through which wealthy Saudis send millions of dollars to al Qaeda.

White House Fears Baghdad Palace Coup - Toby Harnden (Telegraph-UK)

    After years of trying to provoke a coup against Saddam Hussein, Washington is now concerned that his overthrow on the eve of American-led military action could create more problems than it solves.
    Planners in the State Department have drawn up a list of the "filthy 40" Iraqi leaders who would be unacceptable as replacements for Saddam because of their war crimes records.
    The White House fears that it would face protests from Western allies and intense pressure to call off an invasion even if a coup left Saddam's Ba'athist regime in place and his weapons of mass destruction unaccounted for.

Useful Reference:

Tel Aviv District Court Decision Regarding Israel's Jurisdiction in the Barghouti Case (IMRA)

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • American Soldiers Arrive in Israel for Joint Maneuvers
    Hundreds of American soldiers have arrived in Israel for joint maneuvers with that country's anti-missile defenses, aimed at providing protection against any Iraqi strikes if the U.S. attacks Iraq, officials said Tuesday. The U.S. soldiers, who brought Patriot anti-missile batteries with them, will remain in Israel until the end of any war on Iraq, military officials said. (AP/Fox News)
        See also U.S. Beefs Up Iraq War Liaison Team
    The U.S. Army's chief liaison officer with the IDF, Major General Charles Simpson, has arrived in Israel, part of a general decision to "raise the profile" of military cooperation between the two countries in advance of a possible war with Iraq. Israel's air defense command will hold a joint exercise with the two American Patriot batteries stationed in the Negev, with assistance from the U.S. Sixth Fleet's radar units. In addition, two ships from the Sixth Fleet are participating in an anti-submarine warfare exercise with the Israel Navy. (Ha'aretz)
  • Arafat in Move to Regain Support
    Yasser Arafat, the embattled Palestinian leader, has agreed in principle to give up some of his autocratic powers to a new prime minister in an attempt to win back international support. Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, said senior Palestinian delegates speaking "with Mr. Arafat's authority" promised to present a revised draft for a democratic constitution, including the creation of a prime minister "having specified powers," later this month. But the move was hedged with conditions, and it was unclear whether it would satisfy Israeli and American demands for a change of leadership. The Israeli government has said real reform is impossible for as long as Mr. Arafat remains the Palestinian leader. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also The Outcomes of the London Conference on Palestinian Reform - British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
    There was clear recognition that without credible Palestinian performance on security, the reform agenda will founder. (Foreign Office-UK)
  • UK Policeman Killed During Terror Raid
    Stephen Oake, 40, a special branch officer, was stabbed to death and four others were injured during a counter terrorism operation in Manchester linked to the discovery of the deadly poison ricin in London last week. Three suspects, believed to be of North African origin, were arrested. (BBC)
  • Meet Israel's First Astronaut, Ilan Ramon
    Israeli Air Force Col. Ilan Ramon, 48, the son of a Holocaust survivor of Auschwitz, will operate an experiment that tracks dust particles from sandstorms blowing through Earth's atmosphere, including those that swirl about the Mediterranean region. Ramon, who flew in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, has logged more than 3,000 hours in various jet aircraft and another 1,000 hours in F-16 jets alone. Jewish astronauts have flown in space before - most notably Judy Resnik, who was lost in the 1986 Challenger disaster. (
  • U.S. Hits Anti-Ship Missile Launcher in Iraq
    After an Iraqi anti-ship missile launcher near Basra had been locking on to U.S. warship radars at the northern end of the Gulf, American aircraft attacked the launcher site with precision-guided bombs. A spokesman for U.S. Central Command said the missile-launcher, believed to be a Chinese-made Silkworm, posed a threat to shipping. (London Times)
  • Blair: Saddam Hussein will be "Disarmed by Force"
    "My fear is that we wake up one day and we find either that one of these dictatorial states has used weapons of mass destruction - and Iraq has done so in the past - and we get sucked into a conflict, with all the devastation that would cause; or alternatively these weapons, which are being traded right round the world at the moment, fall into the hands of these terrorist groups, these fanatics who will stop at absolutely nothing to cause death and destruction on a mass scale," British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Monday. (Prime Minister's Office-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • IDF Seals Off Gaza Strip Town to Prevent Rocket Launches into Israel - Amos Harel and Zvi Harel
    The IDF Tuesday blocked all the entrances to the Gazan town of Beit Hanun in an effort to prevent launches of Kassam rockets at Israeli towns inside the Green Line. An analysis of the three rockets that fell in Sderot this week indicated that Hamas had launched them from the orchards around Beit Hanun. In Tulkarm on the West Bank, an arrested Tanzim member led soldiers to an arms cache that contained an explosive belt, four bombs, and two booby-trapped computer screens. (Ha'aretz)
  • Wounded Hamas Commander Returns to Action - Amit Cohen
    Mohammed Def, leader of the military wing of Hamas and responsible for its 1996 homicide bombing campaign, who lost an eye three months ago in an attack by IDF helicopters, has returned to full action. He suffered no mental impairment, as had been reported earlier, and is currently rebuilding the operational infrastructure of Hamas in the West Bank. Def is also involved in the production of Kassam rockets. Those who set policy in Hamas have placed emphasis on the development of Kassam rockets to strike targets in Israel. (Maariv)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Iraqi People Yearn to Taste Freedom Again - Zainab Al-Suwaij
    As an American who was born and raised in Iraq, I know that freedom is possible. For one week in March 1991, I saw what it was like to live outside of Saddam's control. As Saddam withdrew from Kuwait, the first President Bush encouraged Iraqis to rise up. We did and, within a few days, liberated most of Iraq's 18 provinces. The secret police state collapsed, and Iraqis celebrated in the streets. But American help never came, Saddam regrouped, and his state of terror came crashing back down on us. If the Iraqi people are to have any hope of again experiencing that exhilarating feeling of freedom, the U.S. needs to make certain that Saddam can no longer terrorize his own people. (Zainab Al-Suwaij is the executive director of the American Islamic Congress.) (USA Today)
  • The Development of Arab Anti-Semitism - Meir Litvak
    While for long periods the Jews fared better in the Islamic world than in Christian countries, Jews were never treated equally under Moslem rule. In the second half of the 19th century, under the accelerated European penetration of the Moslem world, many Jews were protected by the Europeans and Moslem hatred began to develop against the Jews who had benefited more from the Western penetration.
        European anti-Semitism was brought to the Middle East by Christian intellectuals who taught in Church and European schools. In 1894, before the creation of the Zionist movement, the publication in Arabic of The Talmud Jew by the German anti-Semite Eugen Duhring - which popularized the concept of the 'Jewish threat' - can be considered the beginning of modern Arab anti-Semitism. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • On Track on Iraq - Michael Kelly
    George W. Bush and Tony Blair may have to agree to give Blix a little - a very little - more time to further demonstrate the futility of an inspection process already demonstrated over a dozen years of failure. But I don't think this will be of any more consequence than were all the now-forgotten fits and starts that preceded the first war against Hussein. (Washington Post)
  • Talking Points:

    No to the Quartet's Road Map - Ovadia Soffer (Jerusalem Post)

    • At a recent meeting in New York, the Quartet rejected all of Israel's reservations to the proposed "road map," which is supposed to serve as the basis for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
    • In exchange for its agreement to postpone the official publication of the map until after the Israeli elections, the Quartet made the text more severe than U.S. President Bush's original proposals. The new wording includes the clause that refers to "ending the occupation from 1967."
    • Israel gained a first and decisive victory on November 22, 1967, when the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 242, in whose English version of the clause about withdrawal the word "the" was dropped before the word "territories," thereby ensuring that Israel was not required to withdraw from all of the territories.
    • Considering the widespread expectation that right after dealing with the war in Iraq, the U.S. and the EU will start pressuring Israel to resume negotiations with the Palestinians, the wording of the current road map is a serious digression from Resolution 242. It serves as further proof of the fear that the West is planning to pay the Arabs in Israeli currency.
    • The British prime minister, considered a friend of Israel, has taken several steps recently that reinforce those fears. His initiative in convening a conference in London to discuss so-called reforms in the Palestinian Authority, before the Israeli elections and without inviting Israeli representatives, appears to be intended to appease the Arabs and balance Britain's support for U.S. measures in Iraq.
    • Instead of the emerging trend of appeasement and forcing concessions out of Israel on matters most Israelis consider existential, such as the need for safe and agreed borders, the West should support Israel's desire to achieve neighborly relations based on peace and freedom for all.
    Ovadia Soffer is a former Israeli ambassador to France and author of The UN as Peacemaker.

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