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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June 3, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

CIA Says Al Qaeda Ready to Use Nukes - Bill Gertz (Washington Times)
    Al Qaeda terrorists and related groups are set to use chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons in deadly strikes, according to a new CIA report.
    Most attacks "probably will be small-scale, incorporating relatively crude delivery means and easily produced or obtained chemicals, toxins or radiological substances," the report said.
    Islamist extremists "have a wide variety of potential agents and delivery means to choose from for chemical, biological and radiological or nuclear (CBRN) attacks," said the four-page report titled "Terrorist CBRN: Materials and Effects."

Egypt Backtracks on Israeli Gas Deal - Amiram Cohen (Ha'aretz)
    At a recent meeting in London, Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Sameh Fahmy told National Infrastructures Minister Joseph Paritzky that Egypt cannot meet its commitments to provide Israel with natural gas.
    Three years ago, Egypt had promised to supply an annual 7 billion cubic meters of gas.
    "We have no alternative but accepting the British Gas (BG) offer of natural gas from its reserves off the coast of Gaza," Paritzky said.

Anti-Semitism and Terrorism on the Internet - Abraham Cooper (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    In November 2002 after the attack on Israeli tourists in Kenya, Western intelligence deciphered that the Internet played a role in the concealed communications of the terrorists, with messages imbedded on a normal looking website.
    Other dimensions of the Internet in the service of terrorism include the dissemination of hate and propaganda, fundraising, and recruitment of suicide bombers.
    One can also download personal information of one's supporters or opponents or start cyberwars and disable others' websites.
    Rabbi Abraham Cooper is Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Bush in Mideast for Summit Meetings
    President Bush arrived in the Mideast Monday, landing at Sharm el Sheik at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, where he will meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, King Hamad of Bahrain, and King Abdullah of Jordan. Secretary of State Powell said, "We are here at Sharm el Sheik to take advantage of the new elements in the equation and this window of opportunity that has opened." (New York Times)
  • Israel Releases Senior Palestinian Ahead of Summit
    Israel released a jailed member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee in a good-will gesture on the eve of a Middle East summit on Tuesday led by President Bush. Taysir Khaled, a leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was released from prison on Monday and was welcomed by Yasser Arafat at his Ramallah headquarters. (Reuters)
  • Bush Sticks to Broad Strokes in Mideast Peace Push
    President Bush is convinced that Israel must accept a Palestinian state to ensure its survival, according to current and former aides who have heard him discuss the subject. But they say he has shown little interest in the details of the complex disputes in the region and remains skeptical of intervening deeply in the negotiating process. As these officials described it, Bush remains wary of the issue despite this week's peace initiative and is dismissive of the negotiating course set by his predecessors at the White House. A White House official said Bush's style has allowed him to place much of the burden on achieving results on the Israelis and Palestinians, where the official said it belongs. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • IDF Giving Abu Mazen a Chance - Margot Dudkevitch
    Speaking on Israel Radio, Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, said Israel must give Abu Mazen a chance. "We are at the beginning of the process and we must give it a chance...the Palestinian Authority must make a 100% effort," he said. However, Gilad noted that statements pledging to combat terrorism are not enough and that so far the Palestinians have refrained from taking any steps to combat terror. While Israel agrees to Abu Mazen's statements claiming he needs more time to prepare, the ultimate test will lie in the actions the Palestinians take to combat terror once they announce they are ready, Gilad said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Chief of Staff: Signs of PA Action Against Terror in Gaza - Ilan Marciano
    Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday that there are initial signs of Palestinian action against terror in Gaza. He expected a temporary cease-fire to take hold in the wake of the summit meetings in Sharm el Sheik and Aqaba since "Hamas doesn't want to be seen as the one who extinguished the light at the end of the tunnel." (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • John Wolf to be New U.S. Mideast Envoy - Janine Zacharia
    John Stern Wolf, the assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation, has been tapped by the Bush administration to be Washington's next Middle East envoy, sources close to the administration said Monday. The Middle East point man will head an all-American "coordination group" of approximately a dozen people, which will be an around-the-clock bridge between Israel and the PA and "serve as a monitor, as a mediator, to help them move forward into the first phase of the road map," Secretary of State Colin Powell said Friday. "Don't think of it in terms of a major envoy, with constant negotiations," Powell said. "We're not into negotiations yet. We are in the early stages....There will be somebody in charge of it, but don't think of a George Mitchell or a special envoy who is going to be sitting around, Camp David style. That is quite a ways off." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Arab Obligation - Editorial
    Like the Palestinians, Arab leaders want the U.S. to extract concessions from Israel without offering reciprocal steps. Yet while U.S. pressure on Israel may be one part of the solution, no peace will be possible unless Arab leaders take aggressive action to stamp out terrorism, support new Palestinian leaders, and decisively change their relations with Israel, in public as well as in private. Mr. Sharon and Mr. Abbas appear ready to make a start; Arab leaders should do the same. (Washington Post)
  • Washington Carefully Orchestrates Aqaba Meeting - Aluf Benn
    The photo-ops from Aqaba will highlight two major differences between Bush's summit and similar events headed by Clinton: Arafat will be missing; his traditional supporters, the EU and the UN, whose officials were not invited to Aqaba, will also be nowhere to be seen. (Ha'aretz)
  • NGO Armies Search for Clients in Iraq - Mark Steyn
    After having spent the last couple of weeks on what the British would call a motoring tour of western and northern Iraq, let me offer a couple of predictions. First, there is no chance of Iraq winding up an Islamist theocracy. Second, there is no possibility of a Ba'athist renaissance. Third, the real danger is perpetual occupation by the humanitarian hordes, the NGO armies. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Muslim Hate Crime Myths - Michelle Malkin
    Last July, someone set ablaze a motel in Heber City, Utah, co-owned by Mazhar Tabesh, a naturalized American originally from Pakistan, causing nearly $100,000 in damage. "Immigrant Family Feels Post-9-11 Rage," blared a Los Angeles Times headline. Yet the chief suspect turned out to be Tabesh himself, who will stand trial in June on first-degree felony aggravated arson charges. On Sept. 21, 2001, someone destroyed equipment and spray-painted "We hate Arabs" inside a print shop in Anchorage, Alaska, owned by Nezar Maad, an Arab-American businessman and "tolerance advocate." Five months later a jury convicted him of federal fraud charges. In Nashville, Tenn., Iraqi-American Aqil Yassom Al-Timimi claimed someone set his Chevy truck on fire after the Sept. 11 attacks because he was of Arab descent. Nashville Scene reporter Matt Pulle raised the strong possibility of an insurance fraud scheme and sources said they suspected Al-Timimi was the perpetrator all along. (
  • Observations:  

    Skepticism on the Israeli Street - Joel Mowbray (National Review)

    • Most Israelis seem to be keenly aware that the struggle most Americans view as an Israeli-Palestinian issue is, in fact, much larger. Israelis with whom I spoke realize that they are wanted dead by a massive portion of the world - almost all of which surrounds their tiny country. President Bush's visit to the region this week has done little to infuse ordinary Israelis with a sense of optimism.
    • "What most Jews don't want to verbalize is that they know, deep down, this is never going to stop," notes an Israeli man who emigrated from the U.S. over 20 years ago and is now a high-ranking official in the Jerusalem police force.
    • At a meeting with several Sharon advisers Thursday, there were platitudes about how maybe peace might actually happen this time. But those Sharon aides who seemed more honest were resigned to yet another process that will produce little more than false hope.
    • Skepticism is the norm on the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Almost no one really believes peace is imminent. They've been teased too many times before with the promise of a truly normal life. Israelis are, if anything, less amenable to compromise because of having been willing to give up so much in the past.

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