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 27, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Report: Iran Has 2 Undisclosed Nuclear Laboratories - Sheryl Gay Stolberg (New York Times)
    The National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella for Iranian opposition organizations, said Monday it had evidence of two previously undisclosed uranium enrichment facilities - two small laboratories that operate as satellite plants to a larger nuclear facility in Natanz, in central Iran.
    One site had already installed several centrifuges for processing uranium.

CIA Training PA Antiterror Force - Khaled Abu Toameh and Lamia Lahoud (Jerusalem Post)
    A team of CIA monitors and advisers on security have arrived in Cairo, and will soon move to the Gaza Strip, senior Palestinian Authority sources say.
    The CIA operatives are training a new PA antiterror force ahead of a possible confrontation with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, according to the sources.

Saddam's Sons: The Sum of Two Evils - Brian Bennett and Michael Weisskopf (TIME)
    According to both a family servant and another source familiar with communications from Uday Hussein, despite two U.S. attempts during the war to kill Saddam as well as Uday and his younger brother Qusay, all three survived.
    Even now, says this other source, Uday, from a hideout near Baghdad, has reached out to the U.S., hoping to strike a deal for his safe surrender.
    Uday, the second source says, is laying low with a number of aides, while Saddam and Qusay remained together, until recently at least, in a separate location near Baghdad.

Women May Be Terror Bombers, Muslim Scholar Rules - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian who serves as the dean of Islamic Studies at the University of Qatar, has issued a fatwa permitting women to carry out suicide attacks, in response to last week's bombing in Afula which was carried out by a 19-year-old female student.

Useful Reference:

Israel's 14 Road Map Reservations (Ha'aretz)

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Sharon Defends Peace Plan Against Critics
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Monday staunchly defended his support for the latest Middle East peace effort. "Holding 3.5 million Palestinians is a bad thing for Israel, for the Palestinians, and for the Israeli economy. We have to end this subject without risking our security," he told Likud Knesset members. "I don't know whether we'll succeed, but I'm telling you in the clearest way that I'll make every effort to reach a diplomatic arrangement because I believe that it's important for Israel," Mr. Sharon said. When one Likud lawmaker asked about a settlement freeze, Mr. Sharon replied, "There is no restriction here, and you can build for your children and grandchildren, and I hope for your great-grandchildren as well." (New York Times)
  • Saddam Faithful Refuse to Surrender
    The specter of Saddam Hussein resurfaced in Iraq Monday, with U.S. forces suffering deadly attacks, pro-Saddam graffiti staining the capital, and hooded Arab guerrillas vowing to avenge their fallen leader. Four U.S. soldiers died and six were injured in an ambush, a land-mine incident, and accidents. With the upsurge in anticoalition acts, residents of the Iraqi capital expressed fear that Saddam Hussein and his followers remain a threat. Al Arabiya satellite television Monday showed a group of predominantly Palestinian fighters in Iraq vowing to remove the U.S. presence from Iraq "in the name of Allah and the Islamic world." (Washington Times)
  • State Department Ratchets Up Pressure on Syria
    Damascus will face a sharp escalation of American pressure if it fails to act quickly to halt its support of terrorist groups, the State Department's top Syria expert warned last week. The Bush administration is "closely following" Syria's behavior, said Stephen Seche, director of the Syria, Lebanon and Jordan desk in the State Department's Near Eastern affairs bureau, because of America's "belief that the moment has come for Damascus to make a fundamental shift in the way it approaches regional affairs." "Inaction by Damascus, or even worse, a continued evidence of behavior which is negative and destabilizing, will result in a continuation of negative dialogue, dimensions of pressure that will continue to be applied on the government of Syria," Seche said. At the same forum, former assistant secretary of state Martin Indyk said that previous administrations had erred in not acting long ago to demand that Syria shut down the terrorist offices operating in its capital. (Forward)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Qassam Rocket Hits Sderot Market
    Palestinians fired a Qassam rocket Tuesday that landed near the open-air market in the Israeli town of Sderot. Another rocket landed near a kibbutz in the area. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • Sharon Seeks Steps Against Terror Before Summit - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is not enthusiastic about a high-profile summit in early June with President Bush and Mahmoud Abbas before Abbas takes steps to fight terror, senior diplomatic officials said on Monday. "Why hold a high-profile summit before anything substantial has happened on the ground?" one official said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • FM Shalom: Israel Seeks Peace with Syria
    Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told a meeting of EU and Mediterranean nations in Crete on Monday that Israel was ready to sign a peace accord with Syria if Damascus abandons its support for terrorism. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Abbas Seeks to Oust PA's UN Observer - Shlomo Shamir
    Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath are trying to force the removal of the PLO observer at the UN, Nasser al-Kidwa, a nephew of Yasser Arafat. Abbas plans to take part in the UN General Assembly, according to reliable sources in New York. In an embarrassing diplomatic incident last week, al-Kidwa called Terje Larsen, the secretary general's envoy to the Middle East, "an Israeli spy" after he had delivered a report to the security council in which Israel came across in a positive light. (Ha'aretz)
  • Poll: Palestinians Expect Opposition to Undermine Abu Mazen
    A Palestinian public opinion poll conducted in May by Birzeit University included the following responses: Do you support or oppose the continuation of negotiations with Israel? Support 63%, Oppose 33%. Do you think that opposition groups will give the new (Abu Mazen) government a chance to implement its plan? Yes 38%, No 47% (in Gaza, Yes 32%, No 56%). (Birzeit University)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Road Taken - Editorial
    Both America and Israel face significant risks with the diplomacy that has picked up steam following the successful prosecution of the war in Iraq. The big risk America faces goes to its credibility. Mr. Bush has vowed that he will not treat with a Palestinian state that is not democratic and with a Palestinian leader who is tainted with terrorism. Yet resumption of a peace process will confront America with a constant temptation to look the other way at such provocations as Hamas' recent reply. The terrorist group said it would agree to cease attacks against Israeli civilians within the 1967 borders while maintaining freedom of operation against Jewish settlers and soldiers - and this only on the condition that Israel cease targeting Palestinian terrorists. Mr. Bush and his team will face a constant temptation to seek progress on the peace front at the expense of "small details" like this one. Mr. Bush has stepped out onto a terribly slippery slope. (New York Sun)
  • The Calculus of Terror - Bruce Hoffman
    Israelis have an enormous resiliency. They've been fighting terrorism in one form or another since the State of Israel was created more than half a century ago. But the terrorists look at the incremental changes in Israeli society and public attitudes in response to the attacks, and they smell the scent of blood. They believe that they've found a way to harm the Israelis and that through mercilessly exploiting it they're going to win. Almost for the first time in the history of terrorism, terrorists have gotten people to sympathize much more with the perpetrators of the violence than with the victims. (Atlantic Monthly)
  • Abbas is Second Fiddle to Arafat - David Horovitz
    Abbas does not set the Palestinian agenda. That privilege remains the domain of Yasser Arafat. While Arafat tops every Palestinian leadership popularity survey, Abbas barely figures. It is in Israel's prime interest that the Sharon government assure the international community, its own people, and the Palestinian public that it is anxious to get back to the serious negotiation the road map envisages. Israel needs to stress that it longs for the day when it can safely withdraw its troops from their forward positions around and inside West Bank cities, confident that an efficient PA security force is engaged in a concerted effort to prevent new waves of bombers and gunmen from filling the vacuum. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Observations:  

    Mofaz: Iran Developing Missiles to Reach America - Felix Frisch (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)

    • Iran is developing surface-to-surface, long-range Shihab-4 and Shihab-5 missiles capable of striking the United States, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz revealed during a briefing for journalists in Turkey. "Regarding the Shihab 4 and 5...we are aware of Iranian intentions. They are planning to develop these missiles....Within a few years they could achieve long range missile capability. For a while now these missiles have been appearing on computer screens and drafting tables."
    • The defense minister also said that Iran now has an initial capability to launch the 1,300 km-range Shihab-3 missile that could strike Israel, and has been testing this missile for a number of years. While the development of the Shihab-3 had run into problems after an unsuccessful test, Iran has since made a number of successful test firings.
    • Mofaz discussed Iranian capabilities with Turkish officials, and said, "Iran's nuclearization disturbs many countries, including Turkey and the U.S."

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