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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July 4, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Saudi Royal Family Gave $4 Billion to Palestinian "Mujahideen Fighters" and "Families of Martyrs" - Steven Stalinsky (MEMRI)
    For decades the royal family of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been the main financial supporter of Palestinian groups fighting Israel.
    According to a report based entirely on official Saudi government sources, the Popular Committee for Assisting Palestinian Mujahideen, the Support Committee for the Al-Quds Intifada, and the Al-Aqsa Fund have to date (1998-2003) given over US$4 billion and reportedly pledged up to $1 billion to finance the continuation of the intifada, which is commonly referred to by Saudi officials as "Jihad" and "resistance."
    Headed by Prince Salman Ibn Abd Al-Aziz, the Governor of Riyadh, the Popular Committee for Assisting the Palestinian Mujahideen was established in 1967.
    The Arab summit held in Cairo in October 2000 adopted the recommendation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to establish "The Fund of the Al-Quds Intifada," for the families of Palestinian martyrs, and "The Al-Aqsa Fund," to finance projects to help preserve the Arab and Islamic characteristics of Jerusalem, and to enable the Palestinians to liberate themselves.
    Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abd Al-Aziz said Saudi Arabia would pay one-quarter of the $1 billion capital for the two funds, while King Fahd Ibn Abd Al-Aziz would undertake the support of 1,000 Palestinian families of martyrs.
    Governors of all regions in Saudi Arabia initiated campaigns for every citizen to donate to the Al-Quds Intifada Fund.
    Prince Nayef bin Abd Al-Aziz, Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia, is chairman of "The Saudi Committee for the Al-Quds Intifada" and the "Al-Aqsa Fund." This is in addition to Prince Nayef's separate support committee, which has donated (US$5,333) to each martyr's family.
    All funds for the Palestinian Mujahideen Committee go directly to the PLO, while funds from the Al-Quds Committee and Al-Aqsa Fund go to the PA.

200 Palestinian Prisoners Enrolled at Israeli Universities - Itamar Marcus (Palestinian Media Watch)
    Ahmad Jabara, the terrorist who was released last month as a good will gesture after serving 27 years in prison for murdering 14 people in a Jerusalem bombing in 1975, told PA TV on June 23 that Palestinian prisoners are able to obtain a university education from Israeli universities.
    "As Palestinian prisoners, more than 200 of us have been accepted into the Hebrew University and the Ben-Gurion University, and our brother Hisham Abed Al-Razak [PA Minister for Prisoners] is paying the tuition fees. Even in the prisons we are studying."

Tevi Troy New White House Liaison to Jewish Community - Janine Zacharia (Jerusalem Post)
    Tevi Troy, a White House domestic policy adviser, was named this week the new liaison to the American Jewish community.
    Troy, an Orthodox Jew, was sworn in Monday as a deputy cabinet secretary and special assistant to the president. Previously, Troy was a deputy assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Court Bars Chicago Muslim Leader's Return to U.S. (Jordan Times)
    The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld a government decision to bar Jordanian citizen Sabri Samirah, 36, head of the United Muslim Americans Association in Chicago, from returning to the U.S. after a visit to Jordan, citing national security.
    Samirah had been a U.S. resident for the last 15 years.

Calif. Elementary School Weighs UAE Sheik's $15,000 Gift
    The president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, has given $15,000 to the Las Flores Elementary School in Bellflower, Calif., but officials in the Capistrano Unified School District are hesitant about accepting the donation.
    "There is always a concern about accepting money that may be somehow tainted," Superintendent James Fleming said Wednesday.
    Zayed has ties to the Zayed International Centre for Coordination and Follow-up, a think tank that sponsors speeches by some who are labeled anti-Semitic.
    He recently donated $2.5 million to establish a professorship in Islamic studies at the Harvard Divinity School.
    Harvard said school President Lawrence H. Summers will decide in the next two weeks, after a background investigation, whether to accept the gift.
    The outcome of that investigation will help the elementary school make its own decision, Fleming said. (AP/San Francisco Chronicle)

Indian High-Tech Execs Visit Israel - Hadas Manor (Globes)
    Representatives of India�s 15 largest high-tech companies will visit Israel this week as guests of the Israel Export Institute and the Indian Embassy in Israel.
    The Export Institute predicts that Israeli high-tech exports to India will grow 20% to $120 million this year.

Israel's Camels Glow in the Dark (AP/WCCO)
    Police are sticking phosphorescent safety strips on the camels of the Negev desert to make them more visible to drivers, after a growing number of nighttime crashes in which people and camels have died, an official said Wednesday.
    Camel-related traffic accidents have killed 10 people and seriously injured more than 50 in the past two years, said Yossi Golan, a police commander in the eastern Negev.
    He said the first 40 Negev camels were fitted with the strips Tuesday; as many as 1,000 more could follow in the coming months.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Iraqis Celebrate Rocket Attack on U.S. Troops
    Jubilant Iraqis danced on the twisted wreckage of a U.S. armored car in central Baghdad Thursday after a rocket-propelled grenade attack left three soldiers wounded. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of coalition forces in Iraq, said that the number of shooting incidents was running at 13 a day. After a Chevrolet vehicle approached a convoy of three American Humvee armored cars on Haifa Street in central Baghdad, a man inside fired a rocket-propelled grenade directly into one of the Humvees. The vehicle burst into flames as the car raced away and escaped. Once the shock of the attack had worn off, dozens of Iraqis swarmed on to the wrecked Humvee. Boys danced on the roof, while men tore strips of metal off the charred, smoking wreckage.
        Shortly afterwards, a rocket-propelled grenade was fired into one of two Humvees traveling together in Ramadi, 60 miles west of Baghdad, and six solders were injured. Ramadi is a Sunni-dominated town and the scene of numerous attacks on U.S. forces. It was a stronghold of support for Saddam and provided recruits for many of his elite units. (Telegraph-UK)
  • One U.S. Soldier Killed, 10 Injured in Attacks in Iraq
    Mortar rounds slammed into a U.S. base near Balad, 55 miles north of Baghdad, late Thursday, wounding at least 10 American troops, and another U.S. soldier was shot and killed while guarding the national museum in the capital, the U.S. military said Friday. Balad is within a hot zone known as the "Sunni triangle," an area north and west of Baghdad where Saddam Hussein enjoyed his greatest support. (AP/FOX News)
        See also Patterns of Sunni Resistance in Iraq - Jeffrey White and Michael Schmidmayr (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • U.S. Offers $25 Million Reward for Saddam
    The U.S. is offering a $25 million reward for information that either leads to the capture of Saddam Hussein or confirms that the former Iraqi leader is dead, U.S. officials announced Thursday. In addition, they offered a $15 million reward for similar information about Saddam's sons Uday and Qusay. (CNN)
  • Powell: A Cease-Fire Isn't Enough
    Secretary of State Powell said Wednesday, "We have made it clear to the Palestinian side that a cease-fire isn't enough. A cease-fire means that they retain their arms, they retain their capability. It may be a first step, but we are expecting the Palestinians to do more to remove the capability for terror that currently exists in these organizations. For a long time, we would say...Hamas may have this terrorist wing to it, but it also has a wing that does good humanitarian work, and therefore we shouldn't condemn the whole organization. But we do condemn the whole organization. You can't separate them out." (State Department)
  • U.S. Judge Awards $116M in Suit Against Hamas
    A federal judge has ruled the Palestinian militant group Hamas must pay more than $116 million for murdering Yaron Ungar, an American citizen, and his Israeli wife, Efrat, as they drove home from a wedding in June 1996. The lawsuit was filed in 2000 by David Strachman, a Providence attorney designated by an Israeli court to manage the couple's estate. Strachman also seeks to hold the PLO and the PA accountable for the crime, alleging they provided a safe haven and operational base for Hamas. A hearing has been scheduled for July 14, at which time the judge could issue a default judgment against the PLO. The case was filed under the Antiterrorism Act of 1991 that allows American victims of overseas terrorism to seek monetary damages in U.S. courts. (AP/Newsday)
  • U.S. Penalizes 5 Chinese Firms for Helping to Arm Iran
    The Bush administration imposed economic sanctions Thursday on five Chinese firms and a North Korean company that it said had assisted Iran's weapons programs. "In China, in Pakistan, in Russia, you get government cooperation, and then you discover all the side deals that companies have made with rogue states," said one senior administration official. The practical effects of the penalties will be minimal since most of the companies cited by the State Department do no business with the U.S. government because of existing sanctions against them. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinians Keep Shooting in Gaza - Joel Leyden
    An IDF base on the Israel-Egyptian border came under attack Thursday night, with Palestinian terrorists firing grenades and anti-tank rockets. Automatic weapons fire was also used in four separate attacks throughout the night. The IDF did not return fire. (Jerusalem Post)
  • PA Arrests Five Terrorists in Gaza - Amos Harel and Aluf Benn
    A spokesman for the Palestinian Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) told Reuters that Palestinian police arrested two of its members in Khan Yunis on Wednesday and three leaders on Thursday in Gaza City, who were responsible for firing mortars at Jewish towns in the Gaza region. Dozens of PRC members marched in Gaza City at nightfall, some firing rifles in the air, demanding the release of the arrested men. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Bush Thanks Abbas for Arrest of Palestinian Terrorist (AP/Jerusalem Post)
  • "Sharon has been Remarkable," Rice Tells U.S. Jewish Leaders - Herb Keinon
    National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice praised Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for showing "courage," and criticized the Arab countries for primarily paying lip service to Palestinian refugees, at a meeting with Jewish leaders in Washington on Wednesday. "I think Ariel Sharon has been remarkable," Rice was quoted as saying. Regarding the dispute that emerged during a meeting with Israeli cabinet members over the security fence, Rice said the U.S. did not go public on the issue, but rather raised it in private conversations. She said the cease-fire, while "positive," is not enough, and there is a need to dismantle the terrorist organizations. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Jewish Leaders Thank Rice, But Are Still Skeptical (JTA)
  • Iran's Successful Missile Test Puts Israel Within Range - Amir Oren
    Iran last week successfully tested a Shihab-3 missile with a range that can now reach Israel from launching pads in western Iran. The launch was the most successful so far of the seven or eight tests of the missile over the last five years. The missile's range also includes Turkey, the Indian subcontinent, and American forces in the Gulf. Iran has plans for two longer-range missiles: a Shihab-4 with a 2,000-kilometer range, and a Shihab-5 with a 5,500-kilometer range. The new commander of Centcom, Gen. John Abizaid, testified last week to a Senate committee that "Iran casts a shadow on security and stability in the Gulf region. Iran's military is second only to the United States." (Ha'aretz)
        See also Beyond the Cease-Fire, the Iranian Threat to Israel - C. Hart
    Ephraim Sneh, Chairman of the Knesset Subcommittee on Defense Planning and Policy, told a group of journalists and diplomats at the Institute for Contemporary Affairs this week that terror emanating from Iran is a continued threat to Israel. For some time now, Israel has made it clear to the international community that Iran has financially supported and trained Islamic Jihad and Hamas operatives. Now Iran is also using factions of the Fatah, within the Tanzim and the Al Aqsa Brigades, to work against the cease-fire. (CBN News)
  • Palestinians Say Israel Prepared to Reopen Orient House - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Israel has hinted to the PA that it is considering reopening Orient House, Palestinian sources said Thursday. The PLO's unofficial headquarters in Jerusalem was closed in August 2001 after the Sbarro bombing in the city. Senior government officials have indicated that Israel would be prepared to allow Orient House to resume its activities if the Palestinians would dismantle the security department and the international affairs department that had operated in the compound. A senior Orient House official confirmed, "We are even prepared to give up the two departments if that would pave the way for reopening Orient House." (Jerusalem Post)

  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Israelis Sense They've Won - James Bennet
    Israeli officials are expressing growing confidence that after 33 months they have defeated the Palestinian intifada. The Israeli chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, told Israeli reporters on Wednesday that the developments this week might eventually be seen "as the end" of the conflict. According to a senior military official, "the Palestinians - at least the ones who make decisions - came to the conclusion that violence will not achieve their political goals." "I cannot say it is over," he cautioned, but he said that if the peace process succeeded, the Palestinian street might come to the same conclusion about violence "in a few weeks, and a few months." He said the American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as new pressure from European and Arab states, had also helped change the Palestinian view on violence.
        The military official said that Israel would not begin substantive political negotiations over questions like Jerusalem until the Palestinians had fully broken up militant groups, confiscating their weapons, destroying their training centers, arresting their dangerous members, and ending all "incitement" to violence. "They will have to get rid of all their terrorist capabilities," he said, acknowledging this could take years. The Bush administration does not appear to be pressing Israel to abide by the road map's schedule. A Western diplomat said the administration was more interested in commitments met than dates kept. (New York Times)
  • Hamas's Tactical Morality - Editorial
    Israel insists that the Palestinian Authority take responsibility for policing its own extremists. Terrorist promises are not enough. In Gaza, Mr. Abbas now has his chance to prove that he can deliver more than words. There is a profound moral asymmetry here. The retreat from Gaza is a "fact on the ground," proof positive that the Israelis meant what they said when they promised that the reoccupation would be temporary. Because this cease-fire is based solely on tactical considerations, there is no knowing how long it will last. Even if Israel were to comply with all the numerous Palestinian demands made by Mr. Abbas, it would still have no guarantee of security, even in the short term. Much depends on the attitude of neighboring regimes that sponsor the Palestinian terrorists, especially Iran and Syria. The Bush administration is now stepping up the pressure on these states to desist, but there is little chance that they will do so. At most, the region can expect a lull. Israel's withdrawal from Gaza is a bold gesture for the sake of peace. It deserves a bolder Arab response than we have seen so far. (Telegraph-UK)
  • The Anti-Americans - Fouad Ajami
    America is unloved in the alleyways of Nablus and Karachi, and in the cafes of Paris. The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press came forth last month with news of anti-Americanism in foreign lands. Only 1% of Palestinians think "favorably" of the U.S. The anti-Americanism of Egypt is the malignant strain that leaders wink at. Egyptians can't rail against Hosni Mubarak; so anti-Americanism is the permissible politics. Where the dream of modernism atrophies, as it has in Egypt, and a culture of abdication settles in, a people are easy prey to any doctrine that absolves them of responsibility for their own world. In Turkey, the secular, modernist dream has cracked. Anti-Americanism blows Turkey's way from the Arab lands, and from Brussels and Berlin. The fury of the Turkish protests against America's war plans in Iraq had a pathology all its own. Turks burned American flags, it seemed, in the hope that Europeans (real Europeans, that is) would take Turkey into the fold. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Mainstream Arabs Must Challenge Extremists' Bigotry - Uri Dromi
    Most Palestinians I know are disgusted by this litany of hate in the name of Allah coming from their midst. If this is the case, then instead of telling it to me privately, they should speak up, because right now, the loudest voices coming from the Palestinians are the hate speeches of the Gaza imams. The author is director of International Outreach at the Israel Democracy Institute in Jerusalem. (Miami Herald)
  • The Arab Islamist Movement in Crisis - Amir Taheri
    At the start of 2003, the Arab Islamist movement was in deep crisis. It was split in Egypt between those who urged accommodation with governments and those who preached endless war. In the Sudan, the Islamists were trying to recast themselves almost as Western-style democrats, though few people were convinced. In Algeria, despite persistent terrorist violence, the divided Islamist movement seemed to be petering out. In Libya, the Islamist guerrillas appeared to be reduced to an enclave in the Jabal al-Akhdar region, while in Syria, hopes for reform under President Bashar al-Assad led to a split within the Islamist movement.
        The pan-Islamist movement seems to have suffered a strategic setback with the failure of the Islamic revolution in Iran, the tragic experience of Islamism in the Sudan, and the dramatic end of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The emergence of al Qaeda as the most potent symbol of Islamism also weakened the movement by alienating key elements within the Arab urban middle classes. Al Qaeda's extremism frightened large segments of Arab traditional opinion, forcing them to rally behind the regimes in support of the status quo. (Weekly Standard)
  • Reconciliation, Not Just Reconstruction - Stuart E. Eizenstat
    Bringing the rule of law to Iraq is essential, as is the political and economic reconstruction of the country. Yet these tasks may fail unless the Bush administration also provides justice for Iraqi victims of Saddam Hussein's terror. Healing these wounds will not only lay the groundwork for a stable nation, but will also reinforce the U.S. commitment to helping the Iraqi people. Many of those who were victimized - the Kurds in the north, so-called marsh Arabs in the south, Shiite opponents of the Baath Party regime - represent the major political and religious factions in Iraq. If their grievances are not addressed, Iraqi society will bear permanent scars and endure continuing frustrations, leading to growing resentment and cycles of retribution. (New York Times)
  • I'm an Arab; Profile Me - Oubai Mohammad Shahbandar
    The ACLU and the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee would have federal officials exhaust all possible involvement of the IRA, Basque separatists, and disgruntled postal employees in plotting terror attacks against this country before getting around to investigating Arab terrorists. In effect, what they are really asking for is the complete dismantling of our efforts to aggressively pursue terrorists longing for the destruction of the American way of life. If I, an Arab immigrant, can come to terms with the fact that a limited use of racial profiling is necessary for the security of this country, then surely there is room in the national dialogue for those who stand up for our government�s right to effectively protect its citizens. (FrontPageMagazine)

    Weekend Features:

  • Norway: The Courage of a Small Jewish Community; Holocaust Restitution and Anti-Semitism - Bjarte Bruland and Irene Levin
    Norway's small Jewish community made a courageous - but little-known - public stand by disagreeing with a government-appointed commission of inquiry into post-war restitution. The community's representatives presented a comprehensive alternative report which was subsequently adopted by the Norwegian government and parliament. Manfred Gerstenfeld interviews Bjarte Bruland, a non-Jewish historian who played a key role in the restitution process, and Prof. Irene Levin of Oslo University College. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The Jihad Soccer Club - Joshua Hammer
    Today, it's hard to find a trace of the Jihad soccer squad, once considered the best in Hebron. Beginning last fall, six active players and one former member of the squad, including the player-coach, carried out a wave of suicide attacks against Israelis. Last month Israel finally hit the cell hard. An elite Israeli unit killed Abdullah Kawasmeh, the 43-year-old leader of Hamas's military wing in Hebron. According to Israeli intelligence, it was this quiet, veteran militant who recruited and dispatched the Jihad soccer players on their missions. The Jihad team came to life in 1998, with 15 boys and young men from the neighborhood joining a soccer squad. They played against a dozen other mosque teams in Hebron, acquired blue-and-white soccer jerseys, and stenciled each with the logo "Al-Jihad: Prepare For Them." When carrying out operations, the young men dressed in the black garb of yeshiva students. (Newsweek)
  • Overseas Students Start Returning to Israeli Universities - David Halperin
    A significant rise has recently been recorded in the number of foreign student applications to Israeli universities. The master's degree program in Middle Eastern history at Tel Aviv University, taught in English, has already accepted more than three times as many students as last year, while the master's programs for overseas students at Hebrew University have seen applications begin to return to pre-intifada numbers. (Ha'aretz)
  • Observations:  

    Keep Building the Security Fence - Zalman Shoval (Jerusalem Post)

    • In two meetings with Prime Minister Sharon, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice expressed the administration's concern that the security fence being constructed by Israel is "creating facts on the ground that would prejudge a final settlement" between Israel and the Palestinians. Rice reportedly indicated that the U.S. would like to see construction stopped as "a confidence-building measure."
    • The need for the security fence had been hotly debated in Israel for a long time, including by security experts, though public opinion has always been strongly in favor. While on the one hand there were those who reminded us that even the Great Wall of China didn't prevent the Mongol invasion, others elevated the fence as a panacea of a magnitude that would solve the terror threat.
    • While the Right sternly opposed it, ironically, it was the Left, including some of Abu Mazen's former Oslo partners, who embraced the idea of the fence as their political platform.
    • Since the wave of suicide bombings, the fence has shed most of its partisan aspects and it is now generally seen as a vital component in Israel's ability to fend off terrorism.
    • One hopes that this artificial political issue will not obfuscate the really important issues of the road map, the most important and urgent of which is putting an absolute end to Palestinian terror and violence.
    • Nor should there be any reason why the fence should create disagreements between Israel and the U.S. - both being committed to President Bush's vision of peace.

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