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 10, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Fatah Gunman Hid in Arafat's HQ for Over a Year - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    A senior member of Fatah's military wing, Ali Alian, who was arrested in May and is believed to be involved in a series of attacks in which Israelis were killed, reportedly told the Shin Bet he stayed in Yasser Arafat's Muqata compound for close to 18 months.
    In some cases he returned to the compound after carrying out attacks, defense sources said.
    They said some Palestinians on the IDF wanted list are still in the Muqata compound.

Iraqi, Possibly Tied to 9/11, is Captured (Reuters/New York Times)
    The U.S. military last week took into custody an Iraqi intelligence official, Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, who is reported to have met Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers, just months before the attacks, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

Suspected Hussein Agent Arrested in Chicago (AP/Los Angeles Times)
    A suburban Chicago man was arrested Wednesday on charges of serving as an unregistered agent of Saddam Hussein's government, including spying on opposition leaders for Iraqi intelligence, federal officials said.
    Khaled Abdel-Latif Dumeisi, 60, of Oak Lawn was arrested based on a dossier found in Baghdad in April and turned over to the FBI.
    According to federal officials, Dumeisi was trained by Saddam's intelligence agents to use a pen with a hidden camera and microphone to record an interview with a member of an Iraqi opposition group critical of Saddam.

Israel Ranks 22nd in Quality of Life - Amir Efrati (Jerusalem Post)
    According to this year's UN Human Development Report, announced Monday, Israel ranks 22nd out of 175 countries, identical to last year's spot.
    The "Palestinian Territories" made the 98th spot. Neighboring countries include Egypt (120), Syria (110), Lebanon (83), and Jordan (90).
    According to the report, Israel has the second-highest cellular phone usage (907 users out of 1,000), ranks second in education spending (7.3% of its GDP), and is seventh among developed nations in health spending (8.1% of GDP).

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Islamic Vigilantes, Pro-Democracy Youths Clash in Tehran
    Hundreds of Iranian hardline Islamic vigilantes, police, and pro-democracy youths fought sporadic street battles near Tehran University on Wednesday, the anniversary of violent 1999 student unrest. Police appeared to have a firmer grip on security than during last month's unrest, when at times they stood by and watched as vigilantes roared around on motorcycles attacking protesters at will. Police arrested some 4,000 people during 10 nights of sometimes violent protests across the country in June. (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • Al-Qaeda Seeks Canadian Operatives
    Abdulrahman Mansour Jabarah, 24, an al-Qaeda suspect killed on July 3 by Saudi authorities in a firefight near the Jordanian border, is the older brother of Mohammed "Sammy" Jabarah, who is currently in U.S custody and has, according to U.S. officials, admitted involvement in a series of al-Qaeda plots in Southeast Asia. What marks the Jabarah brothers as unique is their background as Canadians - their Iraqi father and Kuwaiti mother had emigrated to St. Catherines, Ontario in 1994. The FBI believes that al-Qaeda recruiters are aggressively enrolling youths like the Jabarahs, with U.S., Canadian, or Western European passports. FBI counter-terrorism chief Larry Mefford recently revealed that al-Qaeda was "refocusing its efforts" to sign on disaffected Americans, green-card holders, and Muslims who had spent time in the U.S. as students or visitors who had a good command of English and a working knowledge of American society and culture. (TIME)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinians Reduce Attacks, Rebuild Terror Infrastructure - Amos Harel
    According to a senior security source, senior officials in the Palestinian Authority, as well as residents of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, are making efforts to thwart terror attacks. The source said that a brawl took place several days ago between residents of the Khan Yunis refugee camp, in southern Gaza, and a terror cell that refused to comply with the residents� demand to halt terror attacks. A senior PA official came to the scene and ordered the residents to �break the bones� of the militants, Israel Radio reported.
        However, a report compiled by the Intelligence Department in the IDF General Staff states that the Palestinians are using the cease-fire to reorganize their terror infrastructure. According to the report, the cease-fire is being used to recruit suicide bombers and increase production of Qassam rockets in the Gaza Strip. (Ha'aretz)
  • Syria Obstructing Efforts for Peace, Katsav Charges
    Israel is seeking peace agreements with Lebanon and Syria, President Moshe Katsav said Tuesday after talks with Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer during a two-day visit to Turkey. "Unfortunately, Syria's president, by taking steps that are different to those of his father, is increasing the number of problems between us," Katsav said. Katsav was accompanied on his visit by some 90 businessmen; trade between the two countries stands at $1.3 billion. (AP/Ha'aretz)
  • Planeload of North American Immigrants Lands in Israel - Melissa Radler
    An El Al jet carrying 318 North American immigrants to Israel landed Wednesday, sponsored by the Nefesh B'Nefesh organization. Asked about security concerns, Binyamin Katzman, 28, who worked in Manhattan, said he feels safe here. "I saw the World Trade Center fall down and it gave me a new perspective," he said. Nefesh B'Nefesh is bringing an additional 300 olim on July 23, and another 300 in August and September. Of the more than 500 immigrants the organization brought here last year, just one has returned to the U.S., and 93% of those seeking jobs upon arrival are currently employed. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

    Viewing the Palestinian Leadership Crisis:

  • Arafat Trying to Undermine Dahlan's Security Powers - Arnon Regular
    Arafat's associates are demanding that various security powers currently held by Security Minister Mohammed Dahlan, Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas's protege, revert to the Palestinian National Security Council, which Arafat established after the Abbas government was formed and currently heads. The Council, which is staffed by security officials aligned with Arafat, was the body that formally gave instructions to the heads of the security forces - and to Dahlan - to prepare for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and Bethlehem and to assume security responsibility for those areas. (Ha'aretz)
  • Is Arafat Encouraging Renewed Attacks? - Amir Rapaport
    Recently, Arafat has been working behind the scenes with great energy to block efforts by Abbas and Dahlan to gain a real, long-term cease-fire. The criticism of Abbas in the Fatah Central Committee was just one step in Arafat's efforts to undermine Abbas. Another step was to broaden the powers of PA district governors, who report directly to Arafat. In addition, Arafat continues his efforts to influence Palestinian public opinion. This week he organized a ceremony in Khan Yunis to hand out money to 200 needy families, where it was emphasized repeatedly that the money was from the president [Arafat] and not the prime minister.
        Especially disturbing are reports reaching the security services that Arafat is telling Hamas and Islamic Jihad that a long-term cease-fire is incompatible with Palestinian interests and that there will be a need to renew attacks. In light of these reports, senior security officials believe that "as long as Arafat remains in the picture, it will be nearly impossible to advance the peace process." Thus, Israel has begun efforts to convince the U.S. and European states of the "need to remove him totally from the picture." (Maariv-Hebrew)
  • Abbas's Bluff in the Struggle for Power - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Mahmoud Abbas's decision to resign from Fatah's central committee and his threat to quit as PA prime minister are seen by many Palestinians as a bluff designed to put pressure on Arafat and Israel. Abbas has resigned or threatened to resign many times in the past. Earlier this year, he resorted to the same tactic during five weeks of wrangling with Arafat over the composition of the new cabinet. Abbas knows that Arafat can't afford to let him resign, because that would invite more pressure on him and portray him as someone who is hindering the process of reform and reconciliation. On the other hand, Abbas knows that the U.S. and Israel need him to ensure the success of the road map and the cease-fire. The crisis is a symptom of the power struggle between Abbas and Arafat, who has never come to terms with the fact he is being coerced into sharing power. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:  

    Deciding on the Release of Prisoners - Aluf Benn and Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)

    Minister without Portfolio Gideon Ezra on Wednesday answered questions in the Knesset on the prisoner release issue.

    • An example of a militant who is not considered as "having blood on his hands" was a man about to fire at an IDF convoy but whose weapon jammed.
    • According to Shin Bet definitions, prisoners with blood on their hands who should not be released are:
      • anyone who physically participated in a terror attack in which people were killed or injured;
      • anyone who sent a terrorist to carry out an attack in which people were killed;
      • anyone who sent a would-be suicide bomber on a mission who was caught on the way to carry out the attack;
      • would-be suicide bombers who were sent to carry out an attack (even if no explosive devices were found on them).
    • According to Ezra, the prisoners would be released when the government is convinced that the Palestinians will fight terror.

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