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 21, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar Denounces Former Israeli Ambassador Dore Gold Over Terrorism Funding Charges - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar bin Sultan denounced testimony last week by former Israeli UN Ambassador Dore Gold that Saudi Arabia funds terror activity against Israel, calling it "lies and unsubstantiated accusations."
    Gold told the House International Relations Subcommittee on the Middle East that more than 50% of Hamas funding comes from Saudi Arabia, which continues to directly fund the Hamas military wing, provides funding for civilian terrorist-front organizations, and writes checks to families of suicide bombers.
    Gold, who received his Ph.D. in Saudi Arabia studies from Columbia University, responded to the charges:
    "I suggest that Prince Bandar read Saudi documents in Arabic left around Palestinian headquarters which show a direct connection between Saudi Arabia and the terrorist campaign of Hamas and Islamic Jihad against the people of Israel."
    In response to Prince Bandar's charge that Gold "has opposed virtually every major peace initiative over the past two decades," the former ambassador replied, "I attended the Aqaba peace summit at the invitation of Prime Minister Sharon, but I don't remember seeing Prince Bandar there."

    See also Saudi Royal Family Gave $4 Billion to Palestinian Groups Fighting Israel (MEMRI)

Oil for India Flows Through Israel (Sify - India)
    Russian oil destined to India for the first time flowed across Israeli territory, from Ashkelon to Eilat on the Red Sea, in a cost-saving arrangement that would prevent the journey around Africa, Israel Radio reported Friday.
    The new route allows supertankers, which are too large to pass through the Suez Canal, to avoid the long and costly journey.

Useful Reference:

The Seam Zone (Ministry of Defense)
    Terrorism is a crime against humanity. The State of Israel has not only the right but the obligation to do everything in its power to lessen the impact of terrorism on its citizens.
    The Seam Zone is a way to reduce terrorist attacks - whether in the form of explosives-rigged vehicles or homicide bombers.
    The Seam Zone is also known as the Security Fence because for most of its way it is a fence. A wall was built only in a few particularly dangerous areas.
    The fact that over 800 men, women, and children have been killed in horrific terror attacks clearly justifies the attempt to place a physical barrier in the path of terrorists.

Key Links

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Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Mideast Negotiations Lurch to a Stalemate
    The Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers emerged from a tense two-hour meeting in Jerusalem Sunday at loggerheads. Rebuffing Palestinian demands for immediate troop withdrawals and the release of prisoners, Ariel Sharon of Israel said Mahmud Abbas, his Palestinian counterpart, must first dismantle militant groups. (New York Times)
        See also Sharon, Abbas Meet for Fourth Time (Prime Minister's Media Adviser) below.
  • New Congressional Report: Saudi Ties to the 9/11 Attack
    According to a congressional report set for release this week, Omar al-Bayoumi, a key associate of two of the hijackers, may have been a Saudi-government agent. In January 2000, al-Bayoumi had a meeting at the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles - and then went directly to a restaurant where he met future hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, whom he took back with him to San Diego. (Al-Bayoumi later arranged for the men to get an apartment next to his and fronted them their first two months rent.) The report is sure to reignite questions about whether some Saudi officials were secretly monitoring the hijackers - or even facilitating their conduct. (Newsweek)
  • Iran Inaugurates Missile Capable of Reaching Israel
    Iran equipped its elite revolutionary guards Sunday with a locally made ballistic missile - the Shahab-3 - capable of reaching Israel and U.S. forces stationed in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkey. The missile was inaugurated during a military parade before Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is in charge of the country's armed forces. U.S. intelligence officials have said Iran can probably fire several Shahab-3s in an emergency, but that it has not yet developed a completely reliable missile. (AP/MSNBC)
  • Enriched Uranium Traces Found in Iran
    UN nuclear inspectors have detected traces of enriched uranium at an Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz, south of Tehran, where the Iranian government is constructing a massive uranium processing plant - a finding that intensified concerns that Iran is secretly pursuing technologies that could produce nuclear weapons. But Western diplomatic officials familiar with the discovery urged caution, noting that the enriched uranium apparently was found only in a single sample and that other explanations were possible. Weapons experts agreed that the discovery will only increase pressure on Iran to make its nuclear program fully transparent. "Iran's clandestine nuclear program represents a serious challenge to regional stability, to the entire international community, and to the global nonproliferation regime," an administration official said. (Washington Post)
  • U.S. to Create Iraqi Militia
    U.S. military commanders plan to train and arm thousands of Iraqis to conduct military missions alongside U.S. and British troops, Gen. John Abizaid, the new head of Central Command, said Sunday. Initial U.S. plans call for raising about 10 battalions of about 350 Iraqis each in the coming weeks. There are now 3,800 Iraqis in detention, of whom about 1,200 are believed to be hard-core Baathists or die-hard elements of the old Iraqi military, a Central Command official said. (Washington Post)
        See also U.S. Creating Iraqi Militia to Relieve GIs (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinian Stabs Israeli in Jerusalem Terror Attack - Etgar Lefkovits
    Simyon Itkin, 64, was stabbed in the chest and back Sunday night in Jerusalem's central Yemin Moshe neighborhood near its landmark windmill, by an assailant thought to be an Arab. The attack comes less than a week after an Israeli was stabbed to death by a knife-wielding Palestinian assailant in Jaffa. In recent weeks, Israeli security officials have voiced concern over the renewal and increase of such "low-level attacks." (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Patrol Ambushed in West Bank, 1 Terrorist Dead - Joel Leyden
    An IDF patrol jeep was the target of a roadside bombing and sniper attack near the Jewish community of Kadim in the West Bank, a military source said. "The roadside bomb went off before the jeep was within striking distance, killing the terrorist who had planted the bomb," the source said. "After the bomb was detonated, Palestinian snipers took aim at the jeep," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Mofaz: Israel Nabs 3 Would-Be Bombers
    Over the past week, IDF forces and the Shin Bet security service seized three Hamas suicide bombers from Hebron who planned to carry out attacks within Israel, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the cabinet on Sunday. Deputy Defense Minister Ze'ev Boim said Monday that while the hudna "exists in fact and has manifested itself in a drop in violent terrorist activity...there is no question that under the patronage of this hudna, the extremist groups are building their infrastructure anew." (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Attacks on Israelis Continue - Joel Leyden
    On Saturday night, "Palestinian terrorists opened fire at a civilian car carrying two passengers near the Taibe checkpost" east of Netanya, a military source said. While there were no injuries, "the car was heavily damaged with bullet holes." In nearby Tulkarm the same evening, Palestinians detonated a powerful roadside charge targeting an IDF jeep. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Militants Beat, Detain Jenin Governor - Amos Harel and Arnon Regular
    Palestinian militants beat and briefly held Haider Irsheid, the acting Palestinian governor of the Jenin district, Saturday, accusing him of being an Israeli collaborator. He was released five hours later following the intervention of Arafat. Eyewitnesses said gunmen pulled 50-year-old Irsheid from his van and beat him with their hands and gun butts before bundling him into another vehicle and driving off toward the Jenin refugee camp. A Palestinian security source said the militants were angered when Palestinian security forces in Jenin were sent to arrest an Al-Aqsa gunman in the camp. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Glimmer of Hope as Israel Readmits Gaza Laborers
    Life is finally improving for thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since Israel allowed them to return to work in Israel two weeks ago, says Kasem Al Khur, 40, of Gaza City. Under a new security deal, 10,000 men are allowed to cross into Israel after their former bosses apply for a permit on their behalf. "Over the past three years, I sat home jobless, blew my savings, and started borrowing from relatives and neighbors," said Khur. "I really hope quiet lasts and we all can go back to work in Israel....We need Israel and Israel needs us because we are hard workers and what we spend goes back to the Israeli economy," he said. (AFP/Jordan Times)
  • UN Farce as Libya Judges Israeli Rights - Ian Mather
    The UN's Human Rights Commission in Geneva, chaired by a Libyan "judge," Najat al-Hajjajia, from the country that was behind the Lockerbie bombing, will hear Israeli officials defend their country's record on human rights this week. The commission barred the non-governmental body, Reporters Without Borders, from attending its meetings as a punishment for criticizing Libya's record on human rights. Reporters Without Borders said of al-Hajjajia: "Censorship, arbitrary detention, jailings, disappearances, torture; at last the UN has appointed someone who knows what she's talking about."
        A 129-page Israeli report to the commission states that its actions in the West Bank and Gaza are "part and parcel of the context of armed conflict as distinct from a relationship of human rights." As a result of the Israeli-Palestinian agreement of 1995, "the overwhelming majority of powers and responsibilities in all civil spheres, including economic, social and cultural, as well as a variety of security issues," have been transferred to the Palestinian Authority. "Israel cannot be internationally responsible for ensuring the rights under the [Human Rights] Covenant in these areas," Israel's report says. (Scotland on Sunday-UK)
  • Abbas Sums Up Vision for a Palestinian State - James Bennet
    In an interview, Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas argues that it is in the Palestinians' interest to halt violence, respect Israelis as neighbors, and pursue a state only in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (New York Times)
  • Observations:  

    Sharon, Abbas Meet for Fourth Time (Prime Minister's Media Adviser/IMRA)

    • Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met Sunday at his Jerusalem residence with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmud Abbas and Palestinian Ministers Mohammed Dahlan, Hisham Abdalraziq, and Nabil Amr. The meeting lasted for approximately two hours and was conducted in a pleasant atmosphere.
    • Prime Minister Sharon said that Israel is unable to ignore the fact that recently there has been an decrease in terror and incitement, but there has been a strengthening of the terror organizations with which the PA has reached agreements. The prime minister stressed that the terror organizations present a daily threat to the cease-fire agreement.
    • The prime minister asked his Palestinian counterpart to take immediate and definite action to dismantle the terror organizations and added that, once this has been carried out, Israel's ability to answer the needs of the Palestinians will be significantly increased.
    • Prime Minister Sharon and Prime Minister Abbas discussed the issue of releasing prisoners. Prime Minister Sharon said he plans to convene the committee for releasing prisoners this Wednesday, and the list of prisoners to be released will be formulated soon. The prime minister added that following his return from the U.S., the committee will be reconvened and will reevaluate the criteria by which prisoners are released.
    • It was also agreed that the defense minister would meet with Minister Dahlan in order to discuss the possibility of transferring additional cities to Palestinian control in accordance with Prime Minister Sharon's assurance that there will be no IDF presence in areas where the PA assumes responsibility.
    • Prime Minister Sharon and Prime Minister Abbas agreed they would meet again upon their return from the U.S.

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