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 23, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Al-Qaeda Trained Over 100,000 Terrorists at Afghanistan Bases - Paul Lashmar (Independent-UK)
    According to the report of a high-level inquiry into the September 2001 attacks by U.S. Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees, which is due to be released this week, between 70,000 and 120,000 terrorists from more than 70 countries were trained by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan - three times higher than previous estimates, according to testimony by senior U.S. intelligence officials.
    The British security services estimate that some 600 people who trained in the Afghan camps now live in the UK, according to one Whitehall source.
    Nearly an entire section has been removed from the final report at the insistence of the intelligence agencies. It describes the actions of foreign governments, including Britain and Saudi Arabia, before the attacks.
    One remaining mystery in the wake of 9/11, says the inquiry team, is how 19 young men, mostly from Saudi Arabia, could conspire to attack the World Trade Center and the Pentagon without the knowledge of the Saudi government.

UK "Clearing Backlog" in Arms Licenses for Israel (IRNA-Iran)
    The process of approving arms export licenses for Israel was reported to have picked up following the resolution of Britain's "soft" embargo on military equipment.
    Jane's Defence Weekly quoted Israeli diplomatic sources saying that they foresaw "no further problems" following Ariel Sharon's visit to London earlier this month.

Most U.S. Jews Believe Arabs Want to Destroy Israel - Amiram Barkat (Ha'aretz)
    Some 82% of American Jews agree with the statement that "the goal of the Arabs is not the return of occupied territories, but rather the destruction of Israel," compared with 66% in 1999, an annual survey by the American Jewish Committee has found.

More Jewish Youth Coming to Israel Summer Programs (JAFI/IMRA)
    Some 3,000 youth will arrive this summer on Jewish Agency "Israel Experience" programs, a 100% increase over last year's number.
    Before the start of the violence, about 13,000 youth came every summer.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Hussein's 2 Sons Dead in Shootout, U.S. Says
    Saddam Hussein's sons Qusay and Uday were killed Tuesday in a "fierce gun battle" in Mosul, Iraq. U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, said that after receiving a tip from an Iraqi source, U.S. forces approached a house where the soldiers came under fire. Saddam's sons died when "they resisted detention and the efforts of the coalition forces to go in there and apprehend them," Sanchez said, adding that "multiple sources" had been used to confirm the identities. A senior defense official said Apache helicopters, A-10 Warthogs, and fighter aircraft were called in to lend support. (New York Times)
        See also Coalition Kills Saddam's Sons in "Fierce Gun Battle"
    (American Forces Press Service)
        See also U.S. Lowered Its Sights in Iraq Search
    U.S. military commanders two weeks ago switched the emphasis of their operations from the most-wanted Iraqi fugitives to capturing and gathering intelligence from lower-level members the Baath Party who had been attacking American forces. That shift produced a flood of new information about the routes and contacts that fugitive leaders were using. Threats to ship the recalcitrant captives to the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay were especially helpful in encouraging them to talk, officials said. (Washington Post)
  • Abbas Won't Crack Down on Palestinian Militants
    Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas said he will not crack down on Palestinian militant groups, despite being urged by the U.S. and Israel to do so. "Cracking down on Hamas, Jihad, and the Palestinian organizations is not an option at all," Abbas said in Cairo. Disarming militant groups responsible for attacks on Israelis is a condition of the U.S.-backed road map to Middle East peace. (AP/The Age-Australia)
  • Arafat Said to Fund Truce Foes - Charles Radin and Sa'id Ghazali
    Yasser Arafat and his followers are supplying financial and political support to armed groups that reject the current cease-fire and the leadership of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas, according to PA and local officials. The groups include units of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a military affiliate of Arafat's Fatah movement that is listed as a terrorist group by the State Department. With the support of Arafat, Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades members are in control of the streets of Jenin, the fourth-largest Palestinian city, and the Brigades and other Fatah splinter groups have initiated a wave of car-torchings, extortions, and abductions in Nablus, the third-largest city.
        The governor of Jenin, Haider Irsheid, 49, was abducted from his home last Saturday, publicly beaten, marched barefoot through the Jenin refugee camp, and thrown into a cave, where he was beaten again. Irsheid said Fatah had given $10,000 to Brigades members from the Jenin camp on July 12. (Boston Globe)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • IDF Arrests 2 Would-Be Homicide Bombers
    The IDF said Wednesday that police arrested two Palestinians overnight in the village of Rai, southwest of Jenin. Members of Islamic Jihad, they were planning to carry out a homicide bombing in Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Three Israelis Wounded by Hizballah Shrapnel in North - Uri Ash
    Hizballah anti-aircraft fire fell in the northern Israeli town of Shlomi Tuesday, wounding three people, one moderately. The shrapnel also hit a school. According to Shlomi local authority chairman Gabi Ne'eman, the anti-aircraft fire was the 33rd such incident. (Ha'aretz)
  • 100 More Prisoners to be Released as Gesture to PA - Yossi Verter and Amos Harel
    Government sources confirmed Tuesday that 100 more Palestinian prisoners than the originally designated 350 would be released as a gesture to the PA. (Ha'aretz)
  • FM Shalom to Tell U.S. Work on Security Fence Will Continue - Janine Zacharia
    Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom plans to tell Vice President Dick Cheney and other senior administration officials on Wednesday that Israel will continue construction of the security fence, diplomatic sources said Tuesday. He also plans to say that Hamas is taking advantage of a cease-fire to rebuild its organization, and that the PA must move to dismantle the terrorist groups and confiscate their weapons. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Moral Clarity and the Middle East - William J. Bennett
    How can we help broker a peace deal between Israel and her neighbors as well as Israel and the Palestinians? First, we need to follow the principle of the Hippocratic oath: do no harm - we should not put any pressure on Israel (a democracy) that it believes it cannot handle in negotiating with those who show very little respect for democracy. Prime Minister Abbas needs to cleanse all official maps, and all state-sponsored school books, of the lie that his state, proposed or otherwise, encompasses Israel in toto. The U.S. has a moral and legal obligation to maintain its Embassy and Ambassador in Jerusalem. That sentence comes from the 2000 Republican Party Platform. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths. That sentence comes from the 2000 Democratic Party Platform. (Jewish World Review)
  • Impact of the "Wahhabi Lobby" - J. Michael Waller
    While FBI agents are wrapping up terrorist-support networks coast to coast that include radicalized American Muslims bent on unleashing a murderous jihad against their own country, a senior FBI official appeared June 26 before a Senate Homeland Security panel and avoided testifying about what senators had called him to discuss: sponsorship of pro-terrorist ideology, extremist political action, and terrorist recruitment financed from Saudi Arabia, supposedly a U.S. ally.
        Senior administration officials say FBI Director Robert Mueller was under orders from an unnamed senior White House campaign strategist to appease Muslim and Arab-American groups that have been complaining noisily that federal counterterrorism efforts are impinging on their civil rights. Wahhabi-run indoctrination operations have been occurring under the FBI's very nose, pressuring traditional Muslim teachings out of the U.S. prison system and military chaplaincy, and radicalizing both convicts and servicemen. (Insight Magazine)
  • Observations:  

    Iran after the Iraq War - Ephraim Sneh, Chair, Knesset Subcommittee on Defense Planning and Policy (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • Iran presents the most dangerous existential threat today to Israel as a Jewish state and it is also a threat to the Israel-Arab peace process.
    • There is a very serious Iranian effort to develop a nuclear bomb, and the Russians have played a very significant role in this.
    • Iranian Revolutionary Guards, together with Hizballah, have deployed some 10,000 rockets in southern Lebanon that can reach all of northern Israel.

    Discovering the Shihab-3 - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)

    • The real Israeli answer to the Iranian Shihab-3 missile is not the Arrow anti-missile missile system. In deterring a country like Iran, where the leadership defines itself as an enemy of Israel, the determining factor is Israel's strategic arm.
    • Tehran is moving large sums of money to Iraq to influence elements there to harass the Americans and incite the Shi'ites.
    • There is evidence that the Iranians are continuing their military nuclear development, with serious suspicions that Pakistan is the source of the know-how for manufacturing uranium-enriching centrifuges. If Pakistani elements did it without the knowledge of Gen. Musharraf, it is a sign of Pakistan losing control over important nuclear technology.
    • Iran continues to encourage Palestinian terror in the territories through a Hizballah connection to Fatah gangs. It would be interesting to see the Iranian reaction if Israel were to aid Iranian opposition groups.

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