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 20, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Anti-U.S. Insurgents Flow into Iraq from Iran, Syria (Middle East Newsline)
    Islamic combatants are entering Iraq from neighboring Iran and Syria for the insurgency war against U.S. troops.
    U.S. officials said the insurgents include hundreds of Saudis and Syrians.
    "The people we're scooping up, in many cases, are not Iraqis," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Wednesday. "There's some Syrians in the latest net that was cast. And I'm sure there are people - either they were in there or they're still coming in from neighboring countries. And it is something that's obviously unhelpful."
    Officials said Islamic insurgency groups in the Middle East have determined that the U.S. military presence in Iraq must be fought the way the Soviet Union was fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
    They said recruitment for a Sunni insurgency war against the U.S. has taken place in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.

    See also U.S. May Consider Force Against Syria - Shlomo Shamir (Ha'aretz)
    Senior Pentagon officials say it is possible the U.S. could use force against Syria after intelligence reports that recent attacks against U.S. soldiers in Iraq were carried out by militants based in Syria.
    The reports indicated that hundreds of militants trained in Syria had been deployed inside Iraq to attack U.S. troops.
    Pentagon officials are particularly concerned by intelligence suggesting that some militants were planning suicide bombings against U.S. forces in Iraq.

Saddam Probably Alive in Iraq, U.S. Experts Say - Douglas Jehl and David Johnston (New York Times)
    Intercepted communications between some of Saddam Hussein's supporters have included credible discussions indicating that the former Iraqi president is alive and must be protected, Defense Department officials said.
    Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that "probably the majority opinion is that he is alive."
    The uncertainty about Mr. Hussein has complicated American efforts to stabilize Iraq. Administration officials said conviction that he may be alive appears to be an important factor in the surge of armed opposition against American forces.
    American officials said that the most senior Iraqi officials now in custody were proving to be highly trained in resisting American interrogation techniques, and that they had provided little information of value about Mr. Hussein or Iraq's weapons programs.

Saudis Funding Jihad Against America - Yitzhak Ben-Horin (Maariv-Hebrew, June 13, 2003)
    Rita Katz, 39, the author of Terrorist Hunter, was born in Iraq.
    In 1969, her father was one of 9 Jews hanged in Baghdad's main square by the Baath party leadership.
    An expert on Muslim organizations in the U.S., she attended their meetings with a hidden camera, disguised as an Arab.
    As an outcome of her work as a consultant with a range of federal agencies including Customs, Immigration, the Treasury, and the FBI, in March 2002, law enforcement officials conducted widespread raids on suspected conduits of Saudi funding to terrorist groups.
    "It is important for people in the U.S. to understand what is happening under their very noses. Islamic fundamentalism doesn't exist only in Afghanistan but also in mosques in America."
    "A new generation is being raised in them who are preparing a Jihad against America. A new generation is growing up inside the U.S. that is learning to hate it, to hate Christians and Jews."
    "And Saudi Arabia is the largest educator and financial backer for this terror," Katz says.
    See also Anonymous Author of Terrorist Hunter Revealed (Business Wire)

U.S.: Israel Has Met Loan Guarantee Conditions - Ran Dagoni (Globes)
    Following a meeting in Washington of the U.S. Joint Economic Development Group (JDEG), it was announced Wednesday that Israel had successfully implemented the Ministry of Finance economic plan as promised and was therefore eligible for $9 billion in U.S. commercial loan guarantees.

Israel Bonds Raises $1.25 Billion in 2003 - Zeev Klein (Globes)
    State of Israel Bonds (Israel Bonds) has raised over $900 million with its Independence and Development bond series since the beginning of the year, out of a total of $1.25 billion raised in 2003.
    Bond purchasers included institutions such as the New York-based Guardian Life Insurance company, which bought $20 million worth of bonds, and Aon Risk Services of Chicago, which bought $5 million.
    Bond purchasers also included the states of New Jersey ($20 million), South Carolina ($10 million), and Pennsylvania ($4.5 million), as well as large economic concerns, such as communications giant IDT Corp., which bought $6 million.

London Economist: Israel Will Emerge from Recession in 2004 - Zeev Klein (Globes)
    The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said that Israel would emerge from recession as early as 2004 when growth in Israel's GDP will reach 2.9% after three grueling years of recession.
    In 2003, only 0.8% positive growth is expected, after a 1% decline in GDP growth in both 2001 and 2002.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Israeli Troops Face Protests as They Dismantle Settlement
    Hundreds of Israeli security force members wrestled Thursday with Jewish settlers trying to prevent the dismantling of the first populated settlement targeted under a Mideast peace plan, on a day when a Palestinian suicide bomber killed an Israeli shop owner in a farming community, 25 miles to the north. At the outpost of Mitzpeh Yitzhar, less than a mile from the Jewish village of Yitzhar, the young, bearded settlers set up large rock barricades, lit hillside brush fires, and threw themselves in front of army vehicles to prevent soldiers and police from taking down the tents and a cinder-block hut. The settlers tossed buckets of purple and orange paint on the windshields of army vehicles. After blocking earth movers with their bodies and forcing them to stop, the settlers sat inside the jaws and remained for hours. Every time the unarmed soldiers and police moved toward the outpost, clusters of settlers jumped in their path. One protester, Yossi, encountered his brother, Moshe, a soldier, Israel Radio reported, without giving their last name. "We greeted each other and embraced, and continued with our business," Yossi said. "We know many soldiers in the area, and they know us. We cry, and they cry with us, and we are all equally pained." (New York Times)
  • Trucker Pleads Guilty in Plot By Al Qaeda
    An Ohio truck driver who met with Osama bin Laden and top al Qaeda operative Khalid Sheik Mohammed plotted to bring down New York's Brooklyn Bridge and launch a simultaneous unspecified attack in Washington as recently as a few months ago, according to court papers unsealed Thursday. Iyman Faris, a Kashmiri-born naturalized American citizen who is in federal custody, pleaded guilty May 1 to providing material support to a terrorist organization. (Washington Post)
        See also U.S. v. Faris: Criminal Information; Statement of Facts; Plea Agreement (FindLaw)
  • Osama Bides His Time - Sanjay Anand
    Bin Laden is not dead and the organization he leads is not on the verge of disintegration. He is alive and living in northwest Pakistan, probably near the Afghan border, in an area which neither the Pakistani government nor the Americans control. He is protected by the fundamentalist state within a state which controls Pakistan’s northwest province. General Musharraf’s regime is unable, or unwilling, to do anything to stop him. With a new Taliban regime being created around him, Osama bin Laden sits in the shade planning mass murder on an ever larger scale. (Spectator-UK)
  • Screw Tightens on Iran over Nuclear Ambitions
    The UN nuclear watchdog has formally demanded that Iran prove that it is not developing atomic weapons, but decided not to refer the issue to the UN Security Council, which could have led to sanctions being imposed. The board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) insisted that Iran stop enriching uranium, a key step in making atomic bombs. However, it shied away from declaring that Iran was in violation of treaty obligations not to build nuclear weapons. The IAEA said that it expected Iran "to grant the agency all access deemed necessary by the agency; to defuse suspicions that Tehran was operating a clandestine nuclear weapons program." (London Times)
  • U.S. Woman to Leave Saudi Arabia Without Children
    An American woman married to a Saudi man decided to leave the U.S. consulate in Jeddah on Thursday to return to the U.S., at the cost of handing her two children over to her husband's family, a State Department official said. Sarah Saga, 24, took refuge in the consulate with her children four days ago because she felt in danger from her husband and her Saudi father. "Our understanding is that they will be turned over to an aunt whom Sarah trusts," said Edward Vazquez, a spokesman for the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs. Vazquez said the consulate had not tried to influence Saga's decision and remained willing to offer refuge to other U.S. women who feel they are in danger. (Reuters)
  • U.S. Singer's Family Sues Arafat Over Shooting
    The family of an American singer who was shot dead in an attack on a banquet hall in Israel last year filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Thursday against Yasser Arafat and the PLO. The suit, brought under U.S. anti-terrorism laws, was filed in Manhattan federal court and seeks $500 million in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages. The plaintiffs include the wife and children of Aharon Ellis, who had been performing at a Bat Mitzvah celebration in Hadera, Israel, on January 17, 2002, when a member of the PLO fired into the banquet hall with a machine gun in an attack authorized and planned by the defendants. Six people including Ellis, 31, were killed in the attack and more than 30 were wounded. (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinian Terrorists Murder Jewish Motorist, Wound Three
    A shooting attack on an Israeli vehicle near the West Bank town of Ofra on Friday killed the driver and wounded three others, two seriously. The attack occurred just minutes after Prime Minister Sharon and Secretary of State Powell ended their joint press conference in Jerusalem. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Ready to Transfer Northern Gaza Security Control
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz reportedly informed U.S. envoy John Wolf Thursday that Israel was ready to transfer northern Gaza security control to the Palestinian Authority. Mofaz said that in recent days the Palestinians were evading the transfer of security control, despite Israel's readiness to immediately implement the transfer. Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad met with PA Security Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan in Jerusalem on Thursday night to discuss the transfer. Security sources said the main obstacle to the deal is Dahlan's reluctance to commit to halt terror attacks in northern Gaza before a ceasefire agreement is reached with Hamas and other terror organizations. (Ha'aretz)
  • Ceasefire Talks Stall on Eve of Powell Visit - Arnon Regular, Yossi Verter and Shlomo Shamir
    Political sources in Jerusalem Thursday said that during Secretary of State Powell's visit in Israel Friday, he would update Sharon on the international diplomatic campaign the U.S. is waging against Hamas and on steps Powell has taken personally to further this campaign, including conversations with the leaders of Egypt, Syria, and Britain. Sharon is expected to tell Powell that since the Aqaba summit, the Palestinian leadership has taken no concrete steps against terrorism, despite the fact that Israel has released prisoners and evacuated outposts. (Ha'aretz)
  • Shin Bet: PA Can Take on Hamas If It Wants To
    Head of the Shin Bet security service Avi Dichter said in talks with CIA Director George Tenet and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice in Washington that the PA is capable of taking on the militant Hamas organization if it has the desire to do so, Israel Radio reported Friday. Dichter pointed out that the PA security services in the Gaza Strip remain intact. During the discussions, an understanding was reached between Israel and the U.S. of the need to completely disarm Hamas and not to be satisfied by a ceasefire brokered from within the Palestinian camp. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Road to Peace - Ruth Wisse
    The White House still cannot bring itself to admit the true nature of the aggression against Israel. It still tends to treat the crisis as "a conflict of two people over one land" that can be resolved by the creation of a Palestinian state. According to this view, since Jews and Arabs both lay claim to the same territory of Israel-Palestine, some division of the territory between them will bring about a peaceful resolution. This is the assumption behind the "road map." Unfortunately, the Arab war against Israel is no more a territorial conflict than was al Qaeda's strike against America, and it can no more be resolved by the "road map" than anti-Americanism could be appeased by ceding part of the U.S. to an Islamist enclave. It is futile to pretend that the Arab obsession with Israel is compatible with Palestinian independence. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Real Quagmire - Ralph Peters
    Recently it was suggested that American troops should be inserted to separate the Israelis and Palestinians. President Bush's attempts to broker a Mideast peace have been admirable, but they also have been wisely measured. No serious player within the administration has suggested offering our troops as hostages for terrorists to attack at their leisure. Let's be straight: There is no peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and there will be nothing beyond brief truces until the Arab terrorist organizations are destroyed. If the Israelis and Palestinians can't achieve meaningful results between themselves, we can't force peace upon them - unless we would be content with a phony peace, punctuated by acts of terror, that would require an endless U.S. commitment. The best way to promote peace isn't to create a shooting gallery featuring G.I. Joe. It's to hunt down and kill every single terrorist. (New York Post)
  • Terrorism As A Strategic Threat to Israel - Lt. Col. Yoram Yoffe (IDF)
    The ideology of Hizballah and the Palestinian terrorist groups clearly calls for the elimination of Israel through armed resistance. In fact, this goal is their primary raison d'etre. As long as these organizations refuse to accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state and insist that violence is the way to achieve their goals, they will inflame Palestinian public opinion, thereby impeding stability in the Middle East and jeopardizing U.S. interests. Peace initiatives are doomed to fail unless coordinated efforts are made to dismantle the apparatus of terrorism in addition to apprehending individual terrorists and preventing new attacks. These efforts must be made simultaneously by Israel, the Palestinians, the Arab states, and the international community. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • If U.S. Tactics Are OK, Why Not for Israel? - Edwin Black
    In Afghanistan, American bombers, Predator drones, and gunships incessantly bombed suspected Taliban and al Qaeda wherever they were discovered - in a cave, in a hut, on a mountaintop - all on the other side of the world. Israel is fighting a similar war for survival but right down the street. Yet there seems to be a triple standard at play. America can assassinate and decapitate, send in gunships and missiles, surround and lock down whole towns, and round up and detain suspects by the hundreds in its war on terror - creating one standard. Hamas, in the minds of some, is engaged in mere "rogue resistance" and its bus bombs and murder squads should be overlooked as incidental to polite roadmap discourse - thus creating a second standard. At the same time, Israel is expected to exhibit restraint and not fight back as vigorously and pre-emptively as America does - creating a third standard. Such restraint is as absurd as it is self-destructive. (Newsday)
  • Sen. Kyl: "The U.S. Mustn't Pressure Israel" - Yitzhak Ben Horin
    Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government Information, wrote in April to Americans: "Think of the impossible for a moment: almost every day, a terrorist ties explosives to his body and blows himself up in a shopping mall in Denver or Cleveland, kills many people, women and children. All of the casualties are innocent citizens who went out to do some shopping, for a meal, or to play with the kids. There is no doubt the American public would demand aggressive efforts to capture the terrorists and bring them to justice. We mustn't justify murderous operations because of the argument over territory, nor must we demonstrate restraint toward terrorists. The American public would demand speedy action and our government would have the right to fulfill it. Therefore, there should be no question that Israel has the same right and duty to operate and defend its citizens."
        In an interview with Maariv, he said: "The U.S. mustn't pressure Israel into something that Israel feels is not in its interest. It is necessary to give Israel a wide berth - freedom of action. We must say no to the timeline and the pressuring of Israel to carry out concessions ahead of time." (Maariv)
  • There is No Solution - Saul Singer
    As David Ben-Gurion put it in 1919, "Everybody sees the problem in the relations between the Jews and the [Palestinian] Arabs. But not everybody sees that there's no solution to it. There is no solution!...I don't know any Arabs who would agree to Palestine being ours even if we learn Arabic....On the other hand, I don't see why "Mustafa" should learn Hebrew....There's a national question here. We want the country to be ours. The Arabs want the country to be theirs." The deal Sharon is offering the Palestinians is a partial state in exchange for a partial peace. You don't want to renounce the "right of return" and accept Israel as a Jewish state? Fine, says Sharon, but for that all you get is a truncated state whose borders are controlled by Israel. Sharon's real objective is to get to the middle phase of the road map and park there until the Arab world is ready for peace, which may or may not ever happen. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Global Epidemic of Illegal Building and Demolitions: Implications for Jerusalem - Justus Reid Weiner
    Those who complain that many Arabs cannot afford housing in Jerusalem ought to recognize economic reality; Jewish residents of Jerusalem who also cannot afford the high cost of housing find it necessary to move to the periphery of the city where housing is more affordable. In New York, nobody would excuse or tolerate people building illegally in Central Park, whatever their attachment to Manhattan or however large their family. Even the PA has demolished houses constructed illegally. PA leader Sari Nusseibeh says, "Gangs that build illegally on land that does not belong to them should be thrown into jail," and "Nobody in their right mind is in favor of illegal building." (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    Weekend Features:

  • In Boston, Show of Solidarity for Israel
    Thousands of Jews from Greater Boston and beyond gathered at the South Boston waterfront Sunday to mark the 55th anniversary of the State of Israel. The ''Boston Celebrates Israel'' event drew more than 10,000 people to the World Trade Center for a day of Israeli music, film, food, crafts, and shopping. Nancy Kaufman, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, said, ''We yearn in our souls for an era where we can send our teens there again, and when our relatives there can put their teenagers on a bus and not be afraid.'' (Boston Globe)
  • U.S. Physicians to Train with Israeli Doctors - Joel Leyden
    A group of American physicians will travel to Israel this week to provide coordination for critical medical services in the event of a national emergency in Israel. The 13 participating doctors, representing the Dallas, Des Moines, and Indianapolis Jewish communities, are volunteers for the Medical Emergency Response Group (ERG), a collaborative project of the United Jewish Communities (UJC), the Jewish Agency (JAFI), and Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya, Israel. "Our main objective is to conduct a dry-run at the Western Galilee Hospital to prepare for the possible need to return to Israel due to an emergency, such as war," said Dr. Sandy Bidner, an East Texas orthopedic surgeon and chair of the medical branch of Partnership 2000 for the U.S. central region. (Jerusalem Post)
  • At Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital, Jews Save Arabs and Arabs Save Jews - Matt Rees
    Ten Arab doctors work at Hadassah's two facilities in Jerusalem, and about 10% of the staff are Arab. (TIME)
  • Observations:  

    A Limited Palestinian State - Benjamin Netanyahu (Washington Post)

    • In our quest for peace with the Palestinians, three imperatives unite Israelis: Terror must end, our borders must be secure, and the Palestinians must abandon the goal of destroying Israel. That is why we insist that the terror organizations be dismantled, that we not return to the indefensible 1967 lines, and that the Palestinians give up their claim to a "right of return" - a euphemism for destroying the Jewish state by flooding it with millions of Palestinians.
    • Israel does not want to rule the Palestinians. The only reason our forces are deployed in Palestinian cities and towns is to prevent the savage terror attacks being launched from these places against us.
    • Ceding full sovereignty over Judea, Samaria, and Gaza is doubly wrong. First, most of Judea and Samaria is barren and empty. The combined Palestinian and Jewish populations live on less than one-third of this territory. But the empty swaths of disputed land, comprising the heart of the Jewish ancestral homeland, are vital for Israel's security.
    • Second, full Palestinian sovereignty over these areas would so weaken Israel that it would tempt the Palestinians to roll back the peace and use the strategically placed territory as a base for even more lethal terror attacks on the shrunken Jewish state. Every time Israel was forced to cross the border to root out terror, it would be accused by the UN of invading a foreign country and threatened with sanctions.
    • A third option would give the Palestinians all the powers needed to govern themselves but none of the powers that could threaten Israel. For example, the Palestinians would have internal security and police forces but not an army. They would be able to establish diplomatic relations with other countries but not to forge military pacts. They could import goods and merchandise but not weapons and armaments. Control over Palestinian daily life would be in the hands of the Palestinians alone, but security control over borders, ports, and airspace would remain in Israel's hands.
    • Prime Minister Ariel Sharon expressed these ideas last year, and most Israelis support him. Indeed, those Israelis who support a Palestinian state are in effect calling for limited Palestinian sovereignty with Israel retaining control of vital security powers.
    • Do those in the free world calling for a Palestinian state really want unlimited sovereignty for the Palestinians? Do they really want to have a Palestinian state with its own army, free to dispatch suicide bombers all over the world? By insisting on these safeguards, we will not be thwarting peace but enabling the emergence of a genuine peace that is stable, secure, and ultimately successful.

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