Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with Access/Middle East
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
If your email program has difficulty viewing this page, see web version.


May 21, 2003

To contact the Presidents Conference:
[email protected]

In-Depth Issue:

U.S. Analysts Link Iraq Labs to Germ Arms - Judith Miller and William J. Broad (New York Times)
    A six-page white paper, entitled Iraqi Mobile Biological Warfare Production Plants, presented to the White House by intelligence analysts on Monday, contains a description of the three trailer units found so far in Iraq and dismisses at least three alternative explanations for their use.
    "There is no doubt in my mind," said William C. Patrick III, a senior official in the U.S. biological warfare program decades ago.
    "This is a very simple production facility for an easy-to-grow organism like anthrax."

Palestinians Protest, Blame Militants - Ibrahim Barzak (AP/Miami Herald)
    Two hours after Israeli troops left Beit Hanoun just north of Gaza City, about 600 angry residents of the town of 35,000 took to the streets in a spontaneous protest, blocking a main road with trash cans, rocks, and burning tires in a show of outrage against the militants who launch rockets at towns inside Israel.
    "They (the militants) claim they are heroes," said Mohammed Zaaneen, 30. "They brought us only destruction and made us homeless. They used our farms, our houses, and our children to hide."

    Similar protests have also been reported in the southern Gaza Strip, where residents of Khan Yunis and Rafah have been pressuring the PA to make an effort to stop the attacks.
    In some areas, residents have set up vigilante patrols to prevent Hamas activists from entering their neighborhoods. (Jerusalem Post)

Intra-Palestinian Fighting in Lebanon Could Spread - Alia Ibrahim (Beirut Daily Star)
    Both Fatah and the Islamist groups involved in the recent fighting in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh are well aware that neither is strong enough to annul the other, says Nizar Hamzeh, a political science professor at the American University of Beirut.
    "They know they have to find a way to coexist and share power."
    Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization has been in control of the camps until recently.
    "But things have changed dramatically over the last 10 years. The camps have witnessed the rise of Palestinian Islamist groups," Hamzeh said, which according to him are in control of different parts of the camp.

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. Raises Terror Alert Level to Orange
    The government raised its terrorist threat level to orange or "high risk" Tuesday after concluding that cells of the al Qaeda network around the world have been activated and could strike in the U.S. "The U.S. intelligence community believes that al Qaeda has entered an operational period worldwide, and this may include attacks in the U.S.," Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said. (Washington Post)
        Homeland Security officials said a pair of recently intercepted e-mail messages pointed to the possibility of a ''devastating attack'' this week. The Internet traffic warned American Muslims to leave major cities, particularly Boston and New York. (Boston Globe)
        See also U.S. Closes Embassy in Riyadh After Threats (CNN)
  • Bush Urges Abbas to Crack Down on Terror
    President Bush spoke for the first time Tuesday with new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and urged him to take steps to crack down on Palestinian terror groups, the White House said. Bush made clear it was imperative that all parties take steps to improve the climate for peace, including a Palestinian effort to curb violence launched from its territories. Bush also spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who said he is determined to move forward with the peace process, but that the only way to do so is for terror to be beaten, according to the prime minister's office in Jerusalem. (CNN)
  • Bush Weighs Mideast Trip as Peace Plan Ebbs
    An official described the internal mood within the administration as one of "anxiety and desperation" after the latest cycle of five suicide attacks against Israelis since Saturday, Israeli crackdowns, and the failure last week of Secretary of State Powell to bridge any of the differences between the sides. A trip by Mr. Bush to the Middle East was uncertain, administration officials said, and his aides were said to disagree over whether he should become more personally involved at all in the Israeli-Palestinian morass. Some administration officials said there continued to be talk about selecting a special envoy, but "How many special envoys have gone out there and had their reputations ruined?" asked an administration official. "Where are we going to find somebody willing to do it when the chances are so poor?"
        To the dismay of many in the administration, the road map plan, which was supposed to facilitate peace, has become an impediment to it, in the process isolating Israel as opposing something favored by Europe, the UN, Russia, the American president, and the Arab world. Administration officials now say they face a choice of abandoning the road map altogether and starting over, or somehow trying to persuade Israel to endorse it, perhaps by agreeing to some changes. One official said a way out of the dilemma would be to recall that there was always going to be a period of "public commentary" after the plan was published. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • IDF: Not the Time to Exile Arafat
    Director of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday that there is no doubt Arafat is responsible for the recent wave of terror, but he said exiling Arafat would only unite the moderate and radical Palestinian factions, and that discussing such a move could lead to an increase in terror attacks. Ze'evi recommended Israel not get involved at the moment with the issue of exiling Arafat, which would only serve to turn the world spotlight on the Palestinian leader. (Ha'aretz)
  • Barak: Road Map Won't Work If Arafat Has Power
    Former prime minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday that the road map can only be implemented successfully if Arafat is removed from a position where he can influence the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians. "We must make certain that Arafat be stripped of any executive authority," Barak said on Israel Television. "If he has any bit of control or authority, there will be no agreement between Israel and the Palestinians." Barak described the European vision of the plan as "very dangerous to Israel," and said, "We must insist that what is implemented be as close as possible to the Bush vision." (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian FM: PA Will Not Disarm Terrorist Groups - Khaled Abu Toameh
    "The Palestinian government will not initiate any conversation with the militant factions until Israel declares its unconditioned approval of the 'roadmap,'" Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Sha'ath told reporters in Cairo Tuesday. Meanwhile, a senior Palestinian cabinet minister said Tuesday that the new Palestinian cabinet still doesn't have a plan to disarm militias. "Talk about a security plan to fight Hamas and Islamic Jihad is untrue," the minister said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Road Map Monitors' Arrival Delayed by Continued Terror - Herb Keinon and Janine Zacharia
    According to a senior official, Israel told Washington that this is not the right time to send a road map monitoring team. The team, to be headed by U.S. envoy Richard Erdman, was expected to arrive in Israel following Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit last week. "We don't need monitors when there is nothing to monitor," the official said. As a result, the team's arrival has been delayed. Prime Minister Sharon has made it clear that he does not think there is any need for the team to arrive until Abu Mazen begins taking action against the terrorist infrastructure, officials said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Remember Khobar Towers - former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh
    Iran's terrorist leaders are well versed in "martyrdom operations" against Americans. On June 25, 1996, Iran attacked America at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, exploding a huge truck bomb that devastated Khobar Towers, murdered 19 U.S. airmen, and wounded 400. While the attack was staged by Saudi Hizballah members, the entire operation was planned, funded, and coordinated by Iran's security services, the IRGC and MOIS, acting on orders from the highest levels of the regime in Tehran. The FBI recommended a criminal indictment that would identify Iran as the sponsor of the Khobar bombing. The Clinton administration refused to support a prosecution. In February 2001, working with exactly the same evidence, the case was presented to a grand jury. On June 21, 2001, only four days before some of the terrorist charges would have become barred by the five-year statute of limitations, the grand jury indicted 13 Hizballah terrorists for the Khobar attack and identified Iran as the sponsor. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Right of Return - of Property - Itamar Levin
    Israel must stand up and state categorically: We too have claims for compensation in exchange for conceding the right of return - those of the Jews from Arab countries. Private Jewish property in four Arab countries - Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon - amounts to $10 billion. The World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC) estimates the total value of private and communal Jewish property at $30 billion. (Globes)
  • Want to Know What Egypt Really Thinks of the U.S.? - Jim Geraghty
    A quick perusal of the English-language press on the streets of Cairo suggests that anti-American sentiment is far from hidden. In fact, the headlines, editorials, and columns often demonize the U.S. and its allies in fervent tones. And all of this anti-American rhetoric is in the papers because the Egyptian government wants its public to get a steady diet of criticism against America and its policies. (National Review)
  • Observations:

    Bigotry and Criticism of Israel - James Carroll (Boston Globe)

    • Everyone who loves Israel, while also affirming Palestinian hopes, is disheartened. It is possible to condemn the broad Palestinian surrender to the nihilist fringe that sponsors such brutality without falling into an endemic anti-Palestinian bigotry. That the proper Palestinian demand for justice is so soaked in blood severely undercuts its claim on the world's conscience, and it is no manifestation of racial hatred to say so.
    • But criticism of Israel is increasingly animated by anti-Semitism. This shows up most obviously in some Arab countries, but also in Europe and America where political criticism of the Sharon government morphs into transcendent scorn.
    • A feature of anti-Semitic thinking at play here might be called the celebration of ''the ideal Jew.'' Jews as they exist are measured against Jews as they should exist, and are always found wanting. Israelis are thus commonly measured against standards of justice that Palestinians would not match, and neither, for that matter, would the administration of George W. Bush.

    To subscribe to the Daily Alert, click here to send a blank email message.
    To unsubscribe, click here to send a blank email message.