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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May 2, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

British Muslims Seen Moving into Mideast Terrorism - Alan Cowell (New York Times)
    After two suicide bombers in Israel were found to be British citizens, Britain faced suggestions that young British Muslims, previously associated with militant Islamic groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, had shifted their focus to terrorism in the Middle East.
    Several Britons are still being detained at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after they were caught fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan.
    Other Britons have been accused of terror attacks in Yemen.
    Richard Reid, the so-called shoe bomber, was jailed for life in the U.S. earlier this year for trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight.
    The tally of terrorist-linked activities also extends to groups within Britain, where four men were arrested after police found the poison ricin at a flat in north London.
    Britain, said the conservative Daily Mail, "has become a fertile breeding ground for fundamentalist terrorists and their supporters."

The Trail of Death that Led from Britain to Israel (Independent-UK)
    Two men in modern Britain - one was planning a career in business, the other was dedicating himself to work within the small Pakistani community where he had spent all but two years of life. Then they disappeared.
    They resurfaced, in Tel Aviv, amid the smoking ruins of a packed bar, leaving three people dead and more than 60 wounded, in the first attack carried out in the name of the Palestinian cause by two people wholly foreign to it.
    On Tuesday, they coolly explained to the Israeli soldiers at the military checkpoint into Israel that they were tourists travelling with the Alternative Tourism Group, a company specializing in tours to "gain deeper insight into the difficulties facing grassroots peace initiatives in the Middle East."
    It was a perverse choice of lie. As his way into Mike's Place was blocked by a security guard, Asif Mohammed Hanif, 21, the "war tourist" from west London, detonated a suitcase bomb packed with nails.

Outposts Get Reprieve After Settlers Buy Disputed Land - Nadav Shragai (Ha'aretz)
    Several Jewish settlement outposts earmarked for evacuation will not be dismantled after all because the settlers bought the land from the Palestinian owners.
    The Jewish councils in the West Bank managed to raise funds to purchase the land on which many of the outposts were located, as well as land near other outposts.
    In some cases, the sellers were flown overseas at the settlers' expense, some of them to South America, allegedly for fear of being harmed by Palestinian Authority agents.

American Woman Suing New Palestinian PM - Julie Stahl (
    Dina Horowitz and her husband Rabbi Eli Horowitz, both born in the United States, were murdered by Palestinian gunmen who burst into their home in Kiryat Arba on March 7, 2003.
    Dina's mother Bernice Wolf, 78, a dual American-Israeli citizen, is filing lawsuits in Israel and the U.S. against Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas because, she claims, he ordered the terrorist murder of her daughter and son-in-law.
    Wolf said just days before her daughter and son-in-law were murdered, Abbas said in newspaper interviews that it was permissible to murder Jews who lived in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
    This week, news reports indicated that Abbas had financed the PLO faction called Black September when the group murdered 11 Israeli athletes and their coaches at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.

Saudi Arabia Awakes to the Perils of Inbreeding - Sarah Kershaw (New York Times)
    Several serious genetic disorders are common in Saudi Arabia where in some regions more than half of the marriages are between close relatives.
    Saudi health authorities, having quietly debated what to do for decades, have started a nationwide educational campaign to inform related couples who intend to marry of the risk of genetic disease and are planning to require mandatory blood tests before marriage and premarital counseling.

Arafat Aide Caught Driving Stolen Israeli Car - Margot Dudkevitch (Jerusalem Post)
    Yasser Arafat's bureau chief and financial adviser, Fuaz Mahmoud Hamade, was arrested by Israel Police near Beituniya on Saturday driving a stolen Israeli car.
    Hamade, 54, told police he did not know the car was stolen, saying he received the car that morning from the head of transport in Arafat's Ramallah compound.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. to Tell Syria to Recognize New Reality
    At a press conference Thursday in Madrid, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said he will press Syrian President Bashar Assad to recognize ''a new strategic dynamic'' in the Middle East and the ''new and different kind of neighbor'' being developed in Iraq. ''I will encourage them to review these changes and take a look at some of their past policies and see whether those policies seem to be relevant in light of the changed situation,'' Powell said. (Boston Globe)
        If Syria wants to be part of a comprehensive peace solution, Powell said on Wednesday, "it has to review the policies it's been following with respect to the support of terrorist activities and the control they have over forces in Lebanon that present a threat to northern Israel." (Reuters)
  • U.S. Civilian Shot at Saudi Arabia Base
    A gunman wounded a U.S. civilian working at the King Abdul Aziz naval base, near the Persian Gulf port of Jubail in eastern Saudi Arabia, on Thursday. A U.S. diplomat said, "A U.S. civilian employed by a contractor at Jubail...was shot by someone in a Saudi naval uniform." (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • Barak: Palestinians Must "Crush" Terrorists - Wolf Blitzer
    In an interview, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak said, "Israel cannot expect and should not be expected to move forward before it becomes clear that the Palestinians are serious and ready to go even against violent resistance from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Arafat's own brigade." "We should not hug them too tight since it might damage them. We should respect them. We should be ready to make our gestures, but we should insist that they should act, act, namely put an end, to crush those groups." (CNN)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • 13 Palestinians Killed in Gaza, Including 7 Armed Men Who Used Human Shields - Amos Harel and Arnon Regular
    Thirteen Palestinians were killed and 9 IDF soldiers wounded Thursday during an IDF raid on the Sajayia neighborhood of Gaza City. At least seven of the Palestinians killed were armed, including three wanted men from Hamas - the Abu Hin brothers. The Shin Bet security service says the Abu Hins were involved in a number of suicide attacks in Gaza, as well as the firing of Kassam rockets from Gaza into Israel. Soldiers arrested six other wanted men in the neighborhood - including two who had already received their explosive belts from the Abu Hin brothers.
        The soldiers called on the wanted men to give themselves up, or at least to allow women and children to leave the house, but they refused, witnesses said. According to army sources, the men shouted: "Everyone here will die as martyrs, including the children!" The wanted men then began firing at the soldiers.
        After a gun battle that lasted several hours - in which the Palestinians used anti-tank rockets and bombs - the soldiers broke into the house. According to Brigadier General Gad Shamni, the commander of the IDF forces in Gaza, this was deemed necessary, despite being more dangerous, in order to remove the women and children. "[The wanted men] were holed up inside the house, using the women and children as human shields," said another senior officer.
        In a gunfight at close range on the first floor, two of the three wanted men were killed and two soldiers, a woman, and baby girl were injured. The soldiers then forcibly removed the rest of the women and children from the house. Tanks then shelled the house, destroying it and killing the third wanted man. (Ha'aretz)
  • Arafat Sets Up National Security Body in Violation of Road Map - Arnon Regular
    With the swearing-in of the new Palestinian cabinet on Wednesday came a presidential order from Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat for the establishment of a national security council to oversee all the PA's security mechanisms, including the counter-security apparatus, the uniformed police, and the civil guard. The establishment of the council and the activities of the General Intelligence and Force 17 security mechanisms - forces that remain under Arafat and need not answer to Dahlan - go against clauses in the U.S. road map that concern a commitment on the part of Abu Mazen's government to unify all the PA security mechanisms into three divisions, all under the interior minister. In practice, the establishment of the council empties the new structure of the Palestinian security services of its content and derogates from the ability of Abu Mazen and Dahlan to implement security reforms. (Ha'aretz)
  • Arafat Eroding Powers of New Palestinian Government
    Yasser Arafat is succeeding in eroding the powers of the new Palestinian government under Abu Mazen and he will continue to undercut such trends in the Palestinian Authority in the future, a senior officer in the IDF General Staff said Friday. The officer said that Israel wants to see one authority with one leadership and with one armed force that will fight the terrorist bands. (Army Radio-Hebrew)
  • Israel to Bar Foreign Activists - Amos Harel and Aluf Benn
    Israel will from now on bar pro-Palestinian activists from entering the country and will try to expel at least some of the dozens of activists who are already here, according to a new plan drafted by the IDF and the foreign and defense ministries. Most of the activists, who come from Europe, Canada, and the U.S., belong to the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). IDF officers who encounter such activists in closed military areas will be ordered to arrest them, after which they will be deported. (Ha'aretz)
  • Successful Prevention versus High Motivation - Ze'ev Schiff
    Some 472 Palestinians who were involved in terror have been killed and another 3,351 have been arrested by the Shin Bet, including 1,331 in administrative detention. The Shin Bet prisoners are suspected of involvement in terrorist actions - in other words, most have "blood on their hands." The Shin Bet can therefore say 3,823 Palestinians who were involved in terror have been taken out of the picture.
        If so many of the suicide bombers had not been caught in time, the losses suffered by Israel would have been astronomical and could have had a strategic impact, which is precisely the objective of Hamas, Fatah Tanzim, and Islamic Jihad. Israel's achievements in preventing attacks are considered a professional success and have drawn the interest of foreign intelligence organizations. Yes, the number of attacks is declining and the attackers' ranks include more and more small fry, but the latter are also capable of inflicting major losses. (Ha'aretz)
  • Roadmap Lobbyists Get into High Gear - Nathan Guttman
    A letter was sent from Congress to the president warning Bush not to harm Israel during implementation of the road map. The letter, initiated by Congressmen Tom Lantos, Roy Blunt, Stenny Hoyer, and Henry Hyde, drew 313 signatures from other members of the House, an impressive number by all accounts. The congressmen say they support the road map and want American intervention in the peace process on the basis of a two-state solution, but warn the administration not to make too many demands on Israel before the Palestinians do their part. A similar letter signed by 88 of 100 senators was sent to Bush. On the other side of the political map, at least 100 rabbis have signed a Jewish Peace Coalition letter sent to Bush prodding him to implement the road map and to fill it with more details about the nature of the final settlement to give Palestinians the incentive to fulfill its demands. A group of major Jewish donors, headed by Edgar Bronfman, sent a letter to the leadership of both houses of Congress expressing unreserved support for the road map. (Ha'aretz)
        See Text of Congressional Letter (AIPAC)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Shiite "Menace" - Charles Krauthammer
    Now the critics are telling us that Iraq's Shiite majority will turn it into another intolerant Islamic republic like Iran. The Shiite demonstrators in Iraqi streets represent a highly organized minority, many of whom are affiliated with, infiltrated by, and financed by Tehran. They are analogous to the Soviet-oriented communists in immediate post-World War II Italy and France. They too had a foreign patron, with foreign sources of money, agents, influence, and a coherent ideology. They too made a bid for power. And failed. (Washington Post)
  • The Expulsion That Never Was - Martin Kramer
    Last December, over 1,000 academics signed a letter predicting and warning against Israel's possible "ethnic cleansing" of Palestinians in the "fog of war" in Iraq. At the time I said, "anyone signing this letter, effectively condemning Israel in advance for something it has no intention of doing, is either an ignoramus or a propagandist." Eight of the original fifteen signatories are professors of Middle Eastern studies, and among the "additional signatories" is the president-elect of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). These people have (once again) brought shame on their discipline. (Sandstorm)
  • A Little Bit of a Peace Plan - Ephraim Sneh
    The road map's success is crucial. It's vital that we find a way to make concrete progress immediately. And the best way to do that is through a quick interim accord - a pilot project for the peace process. A mini-road map - "Pilot Gaza" - would have three consecutive stages. First, the Palestinian government would be given full access and power to act in the Gaza Strip. Second, to improve living standards, all economic and infrastructure projects there - including the U.S.-financed desalination project and the Karni industrial complex - would be resumed and steps would be taken to allow more workers to enter Israel and to facilitate the export of goods from Gaza. Third, if the Palestinian government could show, within one year, that it had dismantled terrorist organizations in Gaza, stopped incitement, and imposed law and order there, then Israel would evacuate its settlements and withdraw its troops. (New York Times)
  • A Real Peace Process - Fred Barnes
    Arafat remains the Palestinian strongman, able to fire Abbas or thwart his initiatives. There will be no peace with Israel so long as Arafat retains power. It's time for the Europeans, especially British prime minister Tony Blair, and the Arab states (especially Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan) to do their part. They should stop supporting Arafat. Blair, in particular, should end his chummy phone relationship with Arafat. The Arab states, if they're sincere in wanting a peace accord, can help by sending no more money to Arafat and refusing to treat him as the man to see among Palestinians. If they walk away from Arafat, he will quickly fade. (Weekly Standard)
  • Introspection Among Arabs - Frida Ghitis
    The crushing defeat of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship has fueled an extraordinary display of introspection and vocal self-criticism in the Arab world. Few people in the Arab world are ready to openly praise the Americans, but many have started challenging the system that has made the region a land of political oppression, human-rights abuses, and religious extremism. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict indeed is paramount in the minds of Arabs. But now there are more conversations about how the Palestinian issue has been exploited and used to avoid tackling other injustices. The calls for democracy are becoming better organized, even as radical Islamists make gains within the new democratic institutions. (Miami Herald)
  • A Path to Arab Democracy - Marwan Muasher
    The moment has come for the Arab world to engage in a homegrown, evolutionary, and orderly process of democratization - one that will respect Arab culture while at the same time giving citizens the power to be part of the political process. Arab leaders must finally take a public stand against suicide bombings. The truth needs to be clearly stated: suicide bombings have only hurt the Palestinian cause. The writer is foreign minister of Jordan. (New York Times)
  • Stop the Occupation of Lebanon - Ziad K. Abdelnour
    Damascus implanted a satellite regime in Beirut which survives only because of the continuing presence of over 20,000 Syrian soldiers in Lebanon. Democratic civil society has survived under Syrian occupation and will reassert itself when the last Syrian soldier leaves. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Abu Mazen's Strength is His Lack of Strength - Bret Stephens
    Victory in Iraq has given President Bush the leverage to impose his will on recalcitrant Arab leaders. The challenge now for the administration is to use its leverage to accelerate the process of Palestinian reform demanded by the president in last year's June 24 speech. By itself, the rise of Mr. Abbas offers no clear indication that this is what will happen. Efforts to sideline Arafat by installing him in some symbolic role not only are doomed to failure, but also doom the Palestinian reform efforts on which Mr. Bush's road map hinges. Arafat must be made to depart, ideally by the Palestinians themselves, if necessary by some third party. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Winning the Peace in the Middle East: A Bipartisan Blueprint for Postwar U.S. Policy - Dennis Ross and Robert Satloff
    With regard to Arab-Israeli peacemaking, President Bush's answer to Arab leaders should be that they must first act to delegitimize the leaders, groups, and states that remain committed to using terror. Washington should work for the full "empowerment" of the Palestinian prime minister, press for more comprehensive reform, and assist with efforts to promote dialogue between Israel and the new Palestinian leadership to reach preliminary understandings on defusing conflict. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Observations:

    The U.S. and Israel: The Road Ahead - Abraham D. Sofaer (Commentary)

    • This road map, like many plans for Middle East peace, expects to bring an end to Palestinian violence against Israel without addressing the reasons why the Palestinians have deliberately and repeatedly chosen that path. Dennis Ross recently admitted that he and other U.S. negotiators failed to take seriously the PA's steadfast refusal to end violence. Instead, in the face of the continuing violence, the U.S. kept pressing Israel to make further concessions, thereby convincing Palestinians that they could go on cheating and killing and still procure the benefits for which they had been negotiating.
    • Palestinian violence is the product of an environment that fosters, shelters, encourages, and rewards acts aimed at nullifying Israel's very existence. And that environment is itself the creation not only of the Palestinians, or of the Arabs, but also of the international community - including the United States.
    • To change this situation requires changing not just the actions and attitudes of Palestinians but the policies and practices of others, again including the United States. No recognition of these facts, let alone any acknowledgment of the need to do something about them, has been made part of the road map - which is again why it shares the basic flaw of every Middle East peace plan that has preceded it.
    • In the late 1980s, when I was running the legal adviser's office in the State Department, my colleague Nicholas Rostow and I proposed to Secretary George Shultz that the U.S. move toward ending its financial support of UNRWA programs that perpetuated the exploitation of refugees as tools of the radical Palestinian cause. The camps were helping to prevent peace from being achieved. An alternative would include plans for building permanent homes for Palestinian refugees within Palestinian territories on the West Bank or in nearby states. As the scholar Scott B. Lasensky has recently suggested, incentive programs could also be put in place to encourage refugees to relocate and neighboring Arab states to accept them. Such resettlement could commence immediately; as long as it does not, we will be continuing to aid in solidifying the sentiments that lead to terrorism.
    • The U.S. has known for many years that, in addition to those associated with the PLO, at least three major terrorist groups operate in Israel: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Until recently, however, the State Department has joined in castigating Israel for capturing or killing leaders and members of these groups. It was wrong to do so. It is neither an "assassination" nor a "non-judicial execution" to target an individual who has killed and intends to continue to kill one's citizens if that individual cannot safely be apprehended. Such conduct is part of every state's legitimate right of self-defense. After 9/11, the U.S. recognized the need for an active defense against terror. We killed many terrorists in Afghanistan, and we continue to hunt down al Qaeda operatives and leaders. Are we to deny to Israel the flexibility in protecting itself and its citizens that we demand in protecting ourselves?
    • Our continued failure to demonstrate that we accept Jerusalem as Israel's legitimate capital by moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem has encouraged virtually all other states to behave similarly. This, too, feeds the openly expressed hope of radical Palestinians and their supporters that somehow, some day, Israel can be pushed back to its pre-1948 lines, if not into the sea.
    • Any plan seriously aimed at leading toward peace, and backed by the United States, should make it crystal clear at the outset that a right of return is antithetical to peace, and must be renounced, as such a right of return would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state. Furthermore, any reference to the rights of Palestinian refugees should be balanced by one to the legitimate claims of the hundreds of thousands of Jews expelled from Arab countries, which must be satisfied on the basis of the same principles. Justice requires no less.
    • In Israel's history, settlements have a central and necessary place. The road map disregards both this history and the plain legitimacy of building places to live in what Israelis regard as their historic (though not exclusive) homeland.
    • The notion of a Palestine in which Jews are not allowed to live is anathema. It implicitly affirms the hatred and violence that has made the Arab and Muslim Middle East virtually Judenrein, and it thoroughly undercuts any hope for peace. Palestinians should be required to agree explicitly that Jews may live in their midst.
    • Throughout Israel's history, and especially now, Palestinians have acted as though they have a perfect right to kill Jews with impunity.
    • By omission as much as by commission, the U.S. and other democracies have encouraged radical Palestinians and their supporters to cling to their dream of eliminating the Jewish state. They have pressured Israel to reach an accommodation with the most radical elements among its adversaries, while subsidizing and turning a blind eye to the culture of violence in which generations of those adversaries have been raised.

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