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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August 1, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Osama's Saudi Moles - Arnaud de Borchgrave (Washington Times)
    The Saudi royal family is not a monolith. There are 7,000 princes (all on generous stipends from birth) plus their wives (many still have three or four) and sisters and daughters, for a total of 24,000 members of the House of Saud.
    Male princes get $500,000 a year for expenses.
    The Saud family budget is about $3 billion a year even though the kingdom is now in hock to foreign banks to the tune of $225 billion.
    Bin Laden remains an immensely popular figure in Saudi Arabia. Many Wahhabi clerics revere him as some sort of miracle man.
    As recently as July 27, Prince Amr Mohammed al Faisal encouraged today's enemies of the U.S. to study the strategies employed by America's enemies during the Vietnam War.
    Writing in Arab News, this prince of the royal blood, who frequently escorts high-ranking foreign visitors, said the U.S. Army "is so weak that Americans should fear an invasion by the Mexican army."

Report: Syria Has 100 Nerve-Gas Missiles Aimed at Israel (Ha'aretz)
    Syria has at least 100 long-range ballistic nerve-gas missiles aimed at central Israel, Jane's Foreign Affairs reported this week.
    A senior Israeli defense source said the missiles are equipped with VX, the most lethal nerve gas.

Incitement Continues on Palestinian TV (Palestinian Media Watch)
    The Palestinian Authority rebroadcast Tuesday (July 29, 2003) a video filled with violence, stone throwing, and shootings.
    The broadcast includes 24 graphic scenes, including many close ups of dead and seriously wounded Palestinians.

No "Hudna" in Jenin - Matthew Gutman (Jerusalem Post)
    Both Israel and the PA are concerned that, should violence once again break out, it would be the terrorists of the northern West Bank city of Jenin who will light the first spark.
    "Neither I nor Zakariya [Zubeidi, chief of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades northern division] received orders from Arafat to make a cease-fire with the Israelis," said Atta Abu Rumeyli, the Fatah leader in the Jenin refugee camp and one of the city's strongmen.
    "Arafat," Abu Rumeyli continued, "does not believe the struggle should end. We have to continue to fight for our land."
    Fatah's Jenin organization was disbanded on Tuesday and many of its fighters were incorporated into the renegade Aksa Martyrs Brigades.

U.S. Finds More Iraqi Warplanes Buried in Desert (AP/San Francisco Chronicle)
    U.S. search teams hunting for Iraqi weapons have found several MiG-25s and Su-25 ground attack jets from Iraq's air force buried beneath the sands at al-Taqqadum air field west of Baghdad.
    Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the discovery pointed to how far Iraqi forces went to conceal their activities.
    Briefed on the discovery during his recent trip to Iraq, Goss said, "Our guys have found 30-something brand new aircraft buried in the sand."
    Australian troops, who on April 16 captured the Al Asad Airfield, 112 miles northwest of Baghdad, found scores of fighter aircraft, mostly Soviet-era MiGs but also three advanced MiG-25 Foxbats, buried or hidden under trees.

Turkey, Israel, U.S. to Conduct Naval Exercise (IDF)
    The navies of Turkey, Israel, and the U.S. will conduct their sixth combined search and rescue exercise in international waters south of the Turkish coast in August 2003.

Israel Performs Pioneer Sunlight Surgery - Ania Lichtarowicz (BBC News)
    The journal Nature reports how Jeffrey Gordon and colleagues from Ben-Gurion University in Israel transported sunlight into the operating theater from outside through a system of optical fibers to provide what could some day be a low-cost alternative to conventional laser surgery to remove tumors.
    Solar surgery also appears to be safer for the surgeons to use.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Senators Demand U.S. Treasury List of Saudi Terror Financiers
    A U.S. Senate committee is demanding a list of Saudi Arabian citizens that the Treasury Department has secretly identified as financiers of terrorist front groups. "There is a considerable concern here in the Congress about Saudi Arabia being shielded for foreign policy purposes,'' said Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). He and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) asked the Treasury to provide the Senate Government Affairs Committee with the names within 24 hours. The committee is looking into Saudi Arabian financial and ideological links to al-Qaeda and Hamas. (Bloomberg)
        See also Experts Say Saudi Money Flows to Terror Groups
    Radical Islamic groups receive a constant flow of money from wealthy families and charities in Saudi Arabia, experts on Thursday told a Senate panel investigating the money trail of terrorists. These influential families have provided the seed money and support to build a global network that terrorists have used, said R. Richard Newcomb, director of the office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department.
        Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, testified that three of the most prominent Islamic charities in Saudi Arabia are suspected of funding terrorists. "They are not NGOs (non-governmental organizations), they are GOs, government organizations," Gold said. "At the apex of each organization's board is a top Saudi official....All three organizations are suspected by various global intelligence organizations of terrorist funding," Gold said. "All three organizations have received large charitable contributions from the Saudi royal family and have been detailed in Saudi periodicals." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
        See also Treasury Official Says Action on Saudi Groups Blocked
    The Treasury Department's Richard Newcomb told a Senate panel that an interagency national security committee - including representatives from State, the Justice Department, and other agencies - has rejected his office's recommendations that certain Saudi charities and other entities be subject to sanctions for ties to terrorism. (Washington Post)
        See also Senators Push Saudi Arabia to Improve Antiterrorism Efforts
    Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) wrote the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar, asking that Prince Nayef, Saudi Arabia's interior minister, be replaced for failing to stem the flow of terrorist money from his country. (New York Times)
  • U.S. House Rejects Amendment Defining Saudi Arabia as Terror Supporter
    By a vote of 230-191, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected an amendment that sought to deny U.S. aid to Saudi Arabia on grounds that its ties to the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers and Palestinian suicide bombers show it to be a state sponsor of terrorism. (Washington Post)
  • U.S. to Pay $30 Million Bounty to Informant
    The tipster who told U.S. authorities where to find Saddam Hussein's sons will be paid a $30 million bounty, the State Department announced in an attempt to encourage someone to turn in the elusive Hussein himself. Secretary of State Powell approved the reward Thursday. (Washington Post)
  • Palestinians Who Marry Israelis Won't Get Citizenship
    The Israeli Knesset Thursday voted to block Palestinians who marry Israelis from becoming Israeli citizens or residents. "We are in a state of war," Gideon Saar of the Likud Party told the Knesset. "It's a tragic reality." Israeli officials said that 49 Israelis had been killed in 20 attacks that to some extent involved Palestinians who had entered Israel through family unification. (New York Times)
  • Israel Reestablishes Ties with Austria
    Israel announced the full restoration of diplomatic ties with Austria Tuesday and will return its ambassador to Vienna. Israel recalled its ambassador in February 2000 when the right-wing Freedom Party of Joerg Haider joined the coalition government. (UPI/Washington Times)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • IDF: Palestinians Step Up Arms Smuggling on Egyptian Border - Amos Harel
    The IDF Southern Command reports that the Palestinians are using the hudna to step up smuggling on the Israel-Egypt border near the Gaza Strip city of Rafah. Tunnels used in smuggling across the border have been rebuilt since the army destroyed them before the start of the temporary cease-fire three weeks ago. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF: Strategic Improvement May Not Last - Dror Marom
    Brig. Gen. Mike Herzog, military secretary to Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz, Wednesday expressed pessimism about the chances for a lasting improvement in Israel's strategic position in the Middle East. He said that while in 2003 there were profound changes in the region which benefited Israel, "The situation could be reversed. There are forces opposing U.S. policy in the region." Herzog noted that the U.S was acting counter to the fundamental processes taking place in the region, and was arousing counter forces. Herzog predicted that the Iranian regime would fall soon, and described it as "a regime in decline. The Iranian government is no longer legitimate in the eyes of its citizens." Herzog also said that the confrontation with the Palestinians was far from being resolved. "We have reached a new stage in the conflict with the Palestinians - a quasi-ceasefire. Both sides are weary. The Palestinians have not halted terrorism because of moral qualms. They simply realized that terrorism does them more harm than good." (Globes)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Abbas's Mission - Robert Malley and Hussein Agha
    Mahmoud Abbas looks around him and sees Palestinian land thoroughly reoccupied by Israel, the Palestinian Authority destroyed, widespread economic distress and political mayhem. Practically anyone can acquire a gun and claim to make policy by showing it off. This is not resistance, but rather anarchy. All of this, too, is happening without the world's lifting a finger, with the Israeli peace camp silent, with the Arabs indifferent. In the court of international official opinion, the Palestinians have lost the moral high ground so patiently acquired over the years. The last two-and-a-half years, Abbas is convinced, have been disastrous for the Palestinians.
        Israel has its weaknesses, Abbas believes, but they are not of a military sort. Rather, they lie in the country's internal contradictions and in the contradictions inherent in its relations with the U.S. Negotiations and diplomacy will exacerbate and expose both, driving a wedge within Israel and between Jerusalem and Washington. Not so long ago, at his ranch, Sharon spoke openly to Abu Mazen about his vision of the future. Neither people, Sharon said, are ready for a final deal. Too much divides us, but we modestly ought to do what we can. Whatever remains, we must leave to other generations to sort out. (Beirut Daily Star)
  • The Palestinians Are Not Following the Road Map - Israel Asper
    Phase II of the road map, the beginnings of the Palestinian state, is said to only begin when the Palestinian leadership has acted decisively against terror, instituted democracy, held free elections, and reformed civil institutions and security structures. The road map is premised on a "regime change" in the governance of the Palestinians. That simply has not happened. Arafat, the master terrorist, and the thief of billions of dollars meant for the benefit of his own subjugated people, still runs the show. Moreover, he is funding an affiliated terrorist organization, the al-Aqsa Brigades, which is prohibited in the road map. Arafat still controls 60% of the security forces in the regime, and has demanded and been allowed full control of negotiations with the Israelis. Abbas constantly confirms that Arafat is the boss. Arafat continues to make speeches in Arabic to Palestinian audiences extolling the heroism of homicide bombers. This is regime change? This is a renunciation of terrorism? This is an end to incitement?
        There have been 10 ceasefires during Oslo, which the Palestinians unilaterally broke, and six which suffered the same fate since the current violence began. In the first month following the tabling of the road map, there were 323 terrorist attacks against Israeli targets, an average of 12 per day. Israel is now entitled to call a halt to its obligations under the road map, based on Palestinian non-compliance. (National Post-Canada)
  • Mideast Peace Progress - Editorial
    Though he remains confined to Ramallah, Arafat continues to be a far too powerful figure. The size of the Palestinian security force he still commands dwarfs that at the disposal of Abbas. And then there's the matter of the mischief Arafat can make with the billions of dollars in his personal bank accounts. The official budget of Abbas pales by comparison. The important thing for U.S. policy is that there be no double standard on the issue of terror. The two sides have reached this moment of opportunity precisely because they believe Mr. Bush when he says terror won't be tolerated. If the Palestinians become convinced they cannot bomb their way to statehood, sooner or later a leader will arise who will make their independence a reality. (Wall Street Journal)
  • At War for Freedom - James Woolsey
    America and the Western world are at war with "fascist" Middle East governments and totalitarian Islamists. The freedoms we stand for are loathed and our vulnerable systems under attack. (Observer-UK)
  • A Road Map of Her Own - Dyan Zaslowsky
    In May I visited Israel for the first time in 31 years, with my daughter Hilary. Hilary had just completed a college semester in Paris where she sampled nihilism served up with espresso, and was moved to generalize about the difference between the French national mood she had experienced and the Israeli one. In France nothing matters because we will all die anyway, she said. In Israel everything matters for the same reason. (New York Times)
  • Denial of the Holocaust and Immoral Equivalence - Interview with Deborah Lipstadt - Manfred Gerstenfeld
    "When one speaks about Israeli soldiers as Nazis, that is a denial of what Israeli soldiers are and what the Nazis were. This is a misuse of history for political purposes. Much current criticism of Israel is based on anti-Semitism and denial. Some of the exaggerated talk about Israeli power, Israeli strength, and Israeli ability is very similar to what one has seen for decades in the writings of the Holocaust deniers and, before that, in those of the Nazis and other anti-Semites." (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    Weekend Features:

  • Superman Christopher Reeve Tours Israel
    Actor Christopher Reeve, the Superman star, who has been paralyzed from the neck down since an equestrian accident in 1995, is on a five-day visit to Israel, visiting research facilities and hospitals to study advances in treatment for spinal cord injuries. He told an Israeli audience Tuesday he thinks there is a good chance he will walk again. Reeve is also meeting Israelis injured in Palestinian terrorist attacks, including Elad Wassa, a 25-year-old Ethiopian immigrant paralyzed from the waist down in a suicide bombing in May 2002. (AP/Toronto Star)
  • Iraqi Jewish Community Down to Last Survivors - Andrea Stone
    The world's oldest Jewish community outside Israel teeters close to oblivion. The estimated 28 Jews left are remnants of a civilization that goes back to the prophet Abraham, who lived in Ur in southern Iraq. In Bataween, the once-prosperous Jewish neighborhood that is now a crime-ridden industrial area, impoverished Jews withdraw behind splintered wood doors attached to crumbling brick houses. In 2000, a Palestinian broke into the Jewish community center and killed two Jews and a Muslim caretaker. Their blood still stains the wood-paneled walls. U.S. officials salvaged thousands of Jewish books and records from the flooded basement of the bombed-out Information Ministry. Those artifacts, seized by Iraqi secret police in the 1980s, are in a refrigerated truck at the main presidential palace. Officials plan to send them to the U.S. for conservation. (USA Today)
  • My Pilgrimage to Hebron - Yossi Klein Halevi
    Hebron is my most cherished place of pilgrimage. More than the Western Wall, with its crowds and flags and marble plaza, the Machpela, or Tomb of the Patriarchs, conveys ancientness and intimacy. No nation possesses a comparable pantheon, where its millennia-old founders are buried. And no sane nation would walk away from here and sever its tangible connection to its origins. A people that surrenders its deepest roots risks returning to exile. Without the presence of the settlers, and the massive military support required to defend them, it's doubtful whether a Jew would feel even relatively safe enough to come here at all. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Terror Victims Tour United States - Rachel Pomerance
    More than 20 young Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism and bereaved family members of victims were brought to the U.S. by One Family, a group that seeks to highlight the human cost of terrorism. On Monday they joined former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani and family members of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. (JTA)
  • Young Americans in Israel - Anya Kamenetz
    Shauna Harris of Danville, N.H., 15, is having the time of her life this summer at an IDF medical supply unit near Tel Aviv. For the past three summers Harris, along with her mother, has come to Israel to volunteer with Sar-El, a two-decade-old program that brings civilians from around the world to Israel to work on army bases. The number of American Jews visiting Israel has begun spiking upward this year after plummeting over the last two summers. Birthright Israel has about 3,000 American participants this summer, roughly twice its total last summer. (Forward)
  • Observations:  

    Sharon: "Greatest Mistake" to Ignore Palestinian Violations of Agreements - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)

    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told a graduating ceremony at the National Security College Thursday:

    • "Past experience teaches us that once a diplomatic agreement has been reached, the greatest mistake is to ignore seemingly minor violations in its implementation." As examples, he cited Europe's willingness to overlook Nazi Germany's violations of agreements prior to World War II, as well as Israel's own experiences.
    • "For the past three years, we have paid a heavy price for Israel's restraint over the daily violations of the Oslo accords."
    • "We paid for the fact that terrorist organizations were not disarmed, that illegal weapons were not collected, that the intolerable incitement against Israel in the educational system and the media never stopped."
    • Sharon said that implementation of the first phase of the road map, including a "total cessation of violence," is beginning, but warned that Israel "will insist on the fulfillment of every obligation included in the road map. We will do this because only insisting that agreements be honored will bring the longed-for peace."
    • He said the subsequent phases could not start until all the elements of previous stages are implemented, rejecting a Palestinian demand for a time line for carrying out the plan.

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