Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with Access/Middle East
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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April 29, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Sharp Drop Reported in Islamic Terror Funding - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    There has been a drastic drop over the past few months in the amount of financial aid channeled from Islamic charitable organizations abroad to Islamic terror groups in the territories.
    Israeli officials believe this is due to restrictions imposed by the U.S. and other countries on charity groups in their respective countries.
    On the other hand, the PA's financial situation is improving, with about NIS 1 billion in its coffers.
    Some Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, are also sending humanitarian aid through the PA now instead of to Hamas.

Report: Anthrax in Suitcase Kills Egyptian Heading to Canada (Reuters/FOX News)
    Brazilian federal police officials are "90% certain" that an Egyptian ship crewman who died in Brazil on April 11 was exposed to anthrax contained in a suitcase he had opened.
    The crewman had traveled from Cairo to Brazil to join the Egyptian merchant ship Wabi Alaras before it sailed to Canada, and had been given the suitcase the week before to deliver to someone in Canada.

Berlin Bus Hijacking Linked to Israel (Reuters)
    A 27-year-old Lebanese man hijacked a Berlin bus on Sunday evening with a knife and held eight passengers and the driver hostage while demanding that Israel withdraw from the territories.
    The man surrendered to German police following a 45-minute stand-off.
    No one was injured in what was the third bus hijacking in Germany in just over two weeks.

British Commandos Survive Ambush, Desert Trek, and Syrian Jail - Michael Evans (London Times)
    Two British special forces commandos escaped capture by Iraqi forces by trekking up to 100 miles through enemy territory and desert to the Syrian border.
    One of the most stirring escape stories yet to emerge from the Iraq war ended with the two men being taken into custody by the Syrians, and the British prime minister sending a personal envoy to Damascus to win their release.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Leading Iraqi Scientist Says He Lied to UN Inspectors
    Iraq "produced huge quantities" of liquid anthrax and botulinum toxin, says Nissar Hindawi, a leading figure in Iraq's biological warfare program in the 1980s, and the explanations he and other scientists gave UN inspectors about the extent of Iraq's efforts to produce poisons and germ weapons "were all lies." Though he left the program in 1989, Hindawi said he kept up on its progress through his students, some of whom stayed in the program until the war began last month. (New York Times)
  • Wolfowitz: "Shaming Effect" on Arab World
    In a wide-ranging interview, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said Monday that the ouster of Saddam Hussein has had a "shaming effect" on the Arab and Muslim world where other tyrannical rulers exist. Wolfowitz also said he is confident prohibited weapons will be found in Iraq, said that Syria allowed "killers" to cross its borders, and predicted the Iraqis themselves will impose penalties on countries that blocked U.S. action against Saddam, such as France. (Washington Times)
  • Iraqi Holy City Challenges Iran for Shiite Loyalty
    The revival of Iraq's historically holy city of Najaf may pose a serious threat to the rule of the hard-line ayatollahs in Iran. Najaf is expected to become the center of Shiite faith once again - as it was for more than 1,300 years - when influential clerics return from Qum, Iran, and begin teaching at its seminaries. Some high-ranking Iranian clerics who believe in freer religious studies have also said they would go to Najaf when stability returns. Analysts say Iran's status as the leader of Shiism will be undermined once Najaf develops its own brand of the faith, which is expected to be more moderate than the one Iran favors. (New York Times)
  • Arab Volunteers Feel Betrayed by Hussein's Iraq
    Paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by American soldiers in the battle for Baghdad, Fahd, an 18-year-old Syrian student, reserves any bitterness solely for the Iraqi Republican Guards, "traitors," he says, who yielded the Iraqi capital without a fight. All across the Arab world, young men who rallied to defend Iraq are returning home, many of them disillusioned and embittered by the swift collapse of Iraqi resistance and the sometimes hostile reception they received from ordinary Iraqis. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Holocaust Remembrance Day
    Read the stories of the six Holocaust survivors who lit the memorial flame: Hela Schuepper-Rufeisen; Ephraim Agmon; Denise Siekirski; Edith Drori; Reuven Dafni; David ("Yorek") Plonski (Jerusalem Post)
  • Rep. Lantos Lists Steps for Syria - Herb Keinon
    U.S. Representative Tom Lantos (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, briefed Israeli leaders Monday on talks he held over the weekend with Syrian President Bashar Assad. Lantos said he told Assad the U.S. expects Syria to: close all the terrorist offices currently operating in Damascus; terminate all military assistance to Hizballah including arms coming from Iran; evacuate Syrian forces from Lebanon; let the Lebanese army deploy along the border with Israel; and release remaining Israeli POWs. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Terror Leaders in Jail Still Incite Attacks - Amos Harel
    Strikes by Israeli security forces on Palestinian terror networks during the past year have led to a situation in which many more prominent terrorists are locked in Israeli facilities than are at large. Yet according to a recent report by the Shin Bet, its prisons have become terror headquarters, with incarcerated leaders seeking to orchestrate kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and civilians in order to negotiate their own release. In addition, a rise has been detected in the number of attempts to smuggle firearms into the prisons and prepare bombs, to be used against the guards. Inmates manage to maintain communications with their people outside through mobile phones, letters, and oral messages conveyed by visiting attorneys and family members. Palestinian inmates possess hidden cellular phones on which they can be reached, although the IDF has recently installed devices designed to disrupt such calls. (Ha'aretz)
  • Bleak Future Awaits Palestinians in Post-Saddam Iraq
    The honeymoon for the 52,000-strong Palestinian community in Iraq is about to end. For decades, the government of Saddam Hussein paid their monthly rent and provided free education and medical treatment, in addition to millions of dollars paid to families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Iraqi landlords have now begun evicting families from their homes after the Iraqi government stopped paying their monthly rent. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Barak: No Peace If Arafat Retains Power
    Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak says, "Israel should not be expected to make concessions before it is evident that Arafat is being fully and irreversibly deprived of executive authority. There will be no peace as long as he retains any real power." Barak says, "The readiness to launch a coherent strike against Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and putting an eventual end to terror attacks against Israelis, should become the legitimacy test for the new Palestinian government." Newly appointed Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Internal Security Minister Mohammad Dahlan "should be judged by their readiness to act forcefully - even if faced with violent resistance - to put an end to acts of terror." (Wall Street Journal Europe/Radio Free Europe)
  • Wrong Turn in Mideast "Road Map" - Yossi Klein Halevi
    Declaring a cease-fire without disarming the terrorist groups, including those aligned with Yasser Arafat, would only allow terrorists to recover their losses inflicted by Israel's effective military response in recent months. Before Israel can be asked for a reciprocal gesture, there must be tangible, measurable evidence of disarmament. The artificial 2005 deadline ignores the need to carefully measure each stage of Palestinian compliance. The fact is, it will take years, not months, to test the transformation of Palestinian society, which has been subjected to an official, relentless hate campaign in mosques, schools, and media. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Until Israel is Recognized, Road Map Leads Nowhere - Barbara Amiel
    The road map is a document of bureaucratic, primitive utopianism. Given the history of the past few hundred years, one feels it could work only if every Arab state from Libya to Saudi Arabia had the equivalent of a cultural sex change. Israelis are to undertake irreversible actions in return for a series of reversible goodwill slogans from the Palestinians. Rather like selling and handing over your car for a cheque that will bounce. Until the Arab world is prepared to tolerate a Jewish state in the Middle East, no plan will work. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Observations:

    Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (Prime Minister's Office)

    • This year, Remembrance Day marks the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The Jewish people arose from the abyss of the Holocaust severely wounded, but still breathing and wiser.
    • Never again will Jews be unprotected and homeless.
    • Never again will we place our security in the hands of strangers, nor rely on the kindness of others.
    • We will not be led astray by illusions, nor underestimate those who wish us harm.
    • We shall be strong, determined, and steadfast in defending ourselves, and will cut off any hand raised against Jews anywhere.
    • We seek peace with all our hearts, but we have learned this lesson: it is not in weakness, nor with faint heart, that we will achieve security and peace, rather with boldness, courage, and a willingness to guard that which is most precious and vital to our future.

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