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 19, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

MI5 Says Dirty Bomb Attack Inevitable - Nick Hopkins and Suzanne Goldenberg (Guardian-UK)
    Renegade scientists have provided al Qaeda with the technical knowledge to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, and it is "only a matter of time" before an attack is launched against a city in the West, the director general of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller, warned Tuesday at the Royal United Services Institute, the Whitehall defense think-tank.
    "We are faced with the realistic possibility of some form of unconventional attack" from Osama bin Laden, or one of the Islamist networks loosely affiliated to him, she said.
    "Political dialogue and a process of reconciliation are not on the horizon as groups like al Qaeda have aims that are absolute and non-negotiable," she added.

    See also Thai's Arrest Deepens Terror Fears (Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2003)
    The seizure last week in Thailand of a highly radioactive substance that could be used to make a terrorist bomb - along with indications that more of it is stashed in neighboring Laos - is raising concern about the proliferation and availability of such material.
    The U.S. suspects al Qaeda and other international terrorist organizations of pursuing radioactive materials for use in bombs that could be deployed against American targets.
    Thai and U.S. agents captured a man attempting to sell cesium-137. Unlike uranium, which can be used in nuclear weapons, cesium-137 isn't a controlled material deemed to require high security.

Leading Candidate for El Salvador's President Vows to Close Jerusalem Embassy - Brian Harris (JTA)
    In a television interview, Shafik Handal, leader of the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front legislative bloc and the front-runner for the party's presidential bid, said that "as someone of Palestinian descent," he would close El Salvador's Jerusalem embassy if he wins the March 2004 presidential elections.
    Costa Rica and El Salvador are the only countries with embassies in Jerusalem, Israel's capital. Most countries have their embassies in Tel Aviv and do not recognize Israel's rights in Jerusalem.

Antiquities Team Declares Ossuary a Forgery - Nadav Shragai (Ha'aretz)
    Both an inscription purporting to link an ancient ossuary to Jesus' brother, James, and another purporting to date from the days of the biblical King Jehoash are forgeries, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday.
    The conclusion was reached unanimously by members of two panels - comprising experts from several Israeli research institutions - that have been studying the inscriptions for some two months.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Bush: U.S. Will Not Tolerate a Nuclear Iran
    President Bush said Wednesday, "The international community must come together to make it very clear to Iran that we will not tolerate construction of a nuclear weapon. Iran would be dangerous if they have a nuclear weapon." Bush has met extensively with aides about the Iranian program in recent weeks. (New York Times)
        See also Iran's Nuclear Violations Greater than Reported - Yossi Melman
    An International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran's nuclear program reveals that Tehran's violations of its commitments are far greater than hitherto published. In addition, uranium acquired from China in 1991 has disappeared without Tehran providing reasonable explanations, and some of the missing uranium had undergone processing. (Ha'aretz)
        See Text of IAEA Report on Iran's Nuclear Program (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Tops List in EU's "Wider Europe" Initiative
    Israel has been singled out as a leading candidate for the EU's "wider Europe" initiative. The plan is geared to establishing closer ties to the EU's neighbors, from Russia to Morocco. Gunter Verheugen, EU commissioner for enlargement, said in Jerusalem this week that Israel should have no difficulty in fulfilling the political and economic requirements to join the European Economic Area, a status that would put it on a par with such countries as Iceland and Norway. (Financial Times-UK)
  • Israel to Feed U.S. Soldiers in Iraq
    In a deal worth millions of dollars, Israel will supply fresh produce and food to American forces serving in Iraq. The American military command agreed to the Israeli agriculture minister's proposal that the food be transferred via Jordanian suppliers, Israel Radio reported. (JTA/New York Jewish Week)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinian Homicide Bomber Attacks Grocery Store in Northern Moshav, Kills Owner - David Ratner and Uri Ash
    A suicide bomber blew up Thursday morning in a grocery on Moshav Sde Trumot, near Beit Shean in the north, killing Avner Mordechai, 60, the owner of the grocery. Police said the bomber was dropped off at the entrance to the rural village, some 300 meters from the store. (Ha'aretz)
  • Dahlan Won't Fight Terror - Felix Frisch
    Following a second meeting between Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad and Palestinian Security Minister Muhammad Dahlan, senior IDF officials say, "Dahlan has no intention of fighting Hamas, and he said so." In addition, the transfer to the Palestinians of security authority in the northern Gaza Strip will not be occurring as quickly as had been expected. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
        See also Dahlan - Next PA Prime Minister?
    Senior PA officials close to Prime Minister Abu Mazen believe that Muhammad Dahlan intends to become the next PA prime minister after Abu Mazen fails. A senior PA source also said that Dahlan has decided to have 1,000 security personnel in Gaza transferred to his direct command, and that members of this force will enjoy higher salaries. (Itim/Maariv-Hebrew)
        See also U.S. Gives Dahlan $300 Million
    A security source reports that the U.S. has transfered $300 million to Muhammad Dahlan for the purpose of rebuilding the Palestinian security infrastructure prior to an Israeli withdrawal from areas in Gaza and the West Bank. The source confirmed that the funds were not transferred to the PA but directly to Dahlan's Security Ministry. "The U.S. has given Dahlan three months to implement security reforms," the source said. (Itim/Maariv-Hebrew)
  • Islamists Decline in Jordanian Elections - Alia Shukri Hamzeh and Dina Al Wakeel
    Voting results for the Jordanian Parliament announced on Wednesday revealed that tribal and independent figures won around two-thirds of the 110 seats. The Islamic Action Front (IAF) garnered 17 seats, winning 10.7% of the total vote, an outcome below IAF's expectations. IAF candidates who ran in Amman's six districts won by large margins. Pan-Arabist and Baathist candidates failed to win election, while the leftist Democratic Party clinched two seats. Columnist Jamil Nimri noted that the IAF's representation in Parliament was much lower than in 1993 when the Islamists garnered 20% of the seats. In 1989 the front, along with allies, had won nearly half the seats in the legislature. (Jordan Times)
        See also Jordanian Islamists Seek to Win Palestinian Vote - Suleiman al-Khalidi
    Islamist candidate Mohammad Aqel, who contested Jordan's parliamentary elections on Tuesday, believes the suicide bombers who blow up Israelis are national heroes. At a campaign rally in the sprawling Baqaa camp, home to over 140,000 Palestinians, crowds chanted "On to Jihad...O lovers of martyrdom," as masked men paraded with dummy explosives strapped to their belts, emulating Hamas militants. Such scenes alarm the Jordanian government, which views the first elections in King Abdullah's five-year reign as a test of the monarch's pro-Western democratic credentials. Jordan's electoral system favors staunchly tribal constituencies over the largely Palestinian cities, which are Islamic strongholds and highly politicized. (Reuters)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • There Can be No Right of Return - Martin Wolf
    The world has known many huge waves of refugees. The normal response has been to absorb them as soon as it is clear they cannot reasonably be expected to return. Arab states could have absorbed the refugees without difficulty, as Israel absorbed the roughly similar number of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. Israel's land area is, after all, less than 0.2% of that of the members of the Arab League. Arab states have preserved these hapless people as refugees not out of concern for their welfare, of which one sees little, but as a weapon against Israel.
        The pre-1967 borders were themselves armistice lines reached at the end of the 1948 war. If the land conquered after the 1967 war is "occupied," so must be much of pre-1967 Israel. (Financial Times-UK)
  • An International Force is Not the Answer - Amy Friedkin
    An American or international force sent to serve as either a buffer between the Israelis and Palestinians or to actually fight terrorist groups will not only fail, it will also cost American and other lives. The history of the Arab-Israeli conflict is riddled with peacekeeping forces that either ran at the first sign of trouble, as in Sinai before the Six-Day War in 1967, or took heavy casualties before ceding ground to the terrorist groups themselves, as in Hizballah-controlled southern Lebanon. (USA Today)
  • Defeat Terrorism First - Tashbih Sayyed
    Last month in Sharm al-Sheikh, President Bush told Arab leaders, "We must not allow...a few terrorists to destroy the dreams and hopes of the many." If only it were that simple. The sad truth, however, is that those "murderers and attackers" are today heroes of Palestinian society. Opinion polls in the past three years consistently show that over 60% of Palestinians support bombings and violence inside Israel. All day long, PA television broadcasts videos that show "martyrs" being greeted by beautiful "virgins" in the fountains of heaven, their reward for killing Jews. To create a Palestinian state before this mindset is changed can only ensure that the new state will be yet another terrorist sponsor. (National Review)
  • Observations:  

    Road Map Rescue Mission - Jack Kelly (Washington Times)

    • Either the Bush plan or the Clinton plan would work if both Israelis and Palestinians were willing to live with each other. Neither has because the Palestinians aren't. Recent opinion polls indicate a large majority of Palestinians wants to destroy Israel. The intifada will continue until many more Palestinians than at present see greater benefits from liberty, democracy, and peace, and many more Palestinians than at present see greater harm from continued conflict. In other words, the intifada will continue until things get much better in Iraq, and much worse (for terrorists) in the West Bank and Gaza.
    • Our soldiers in Iraq are not attempting to negotiate with the Ba'athists. They are hunting them down. There will be no peace in the Middle East until the Israelis do to Hamas and Islamic Jihad what we have been doing in Afghanistan and Iraq.
    • The notion has developed that killing Jews should be, at worst, a misdemeanor. But it is hypocritical for us to launch a worldwide war on terror when our women and children are killed, and to demand that Israelis show "restraint" when theirs are slaughtered.
    • The deliberate targeting of noncombatants is evil. No cause in the world can justify it. Only when this truth is recognized by the Palestinians - and by our diplomats - can there be peace in the Middle East.

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