Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with Access/Middle East
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
If your email program has difficulty viewing this page, see web version.


August 5, 2003

To contact the Presidents Conference:
[email protected]

In-Depth Issue:

Palestinian Rockets from West Bank Could Reach Tel Aviv - Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)
    A senior military intelligence officer told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday that Palestinians in the West Bank - mainly Hamas in the Nablus area - were producing Qassam rockets, with the assistance of an external agent.
    Committee chairman MK Yuval Steinetz warned that within months Qassams could threaten Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and the coastal plain.
    The officer also said the Tanzim was behind 90% of last month's terror attacks, and there was information on seven operations in the Nablus region to carry out suicide attacks inside Israel.

    See also Mounting Concern Over Hizballah Threats - Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)
    Hizballah is planning to carry out a terrorist attack in Israel in retaliation for the death of a Hizballah leader in a car explosion in Beirut on Saturday, according to an intelligence report Israel has received.
    A senior military intelligence officer told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday that the IDF is also taking seriously Hizballah threats to kidnap IDF soldiers and use them as bargaining chips.

Hamas Planned Attack on Sharon's Motorcade - Efrat Weiss and Felix Frisch (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
    The Shin Bet has announced the arrest of Omar Sharif, who assisted the homicide bomber who blew up a bus in Jerusalem on June 11, killing 17 people.
    Sharif, 19, from the northern Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina, said he had been recruited by Hamas leaders in Hebron, who asked him to gather information about the prime minister's office and about the movements of Prime Minister Sharon.
    Security sources say Hamas had planned to attack the prime minister's motorcade.

New Iraqi Army Recruits Begin Training (AP/Washington Post)
    The U.S. military brought 400 volunteers for the new Iraqi army to the northern city of Kirkuk on Monday, about half the number due to begin training under U.S. instructors this month.
    More than 12,000 Iraqi soldiers are scheduled to be ready for service by year's end and 40,000 by the end of 2004.

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Treasury Dept. to Refuse Senate a List of Saudi Suspects
    The Treasury Department Monday said it would decline to provide the Senate with a list of Saudi individuals and organizations the federal government has investigated for possibly financing al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Last Thursday, senior Treasury official Richard Newcomb told the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in a hearing on Saudi sponsorship of terrorism that the list was not classified and that his agency would turn it over to the Senate within 24 hours. (New York Times)
  • U.S. Questions Saudi Friend of Hijackers
    FBI agents in Saudi Arabia have interviewed Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi citizen identified by congressional investigators as a likely intelligence operative for Riyadh, who befriended two of the 9/11 hijackers in California more than a year before the attacks, government officials said Monday. Al-Bayoumi was living as a student in San Diego in early 2000 when he met Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, two of the 15 Saudis who came to the U.S. to train for the hijackings. (New York Times)
  • Israelis Worry about Kidnappings
    A month into the cease-fire declared by Palestinian terrorist groups, the fear of suicide bombers has been replaced by fear of kidnappers. Concern has intensified following the abduction last month of taxi driver Eliahu Gurel - who was rescued from Ramallah by IDF commandos - and the murder of soldier Oleg Sheichat, who was abducted in the Galilee. This week, authorities were searching for two missing teenagers: Dana Bennet, 18, a waitress from Tiberias, who disappeared on Thursday, and Eliezer Zussia, a 19-year-old American yeshiva student studying in Jerusalem, who disappeared Sunday. (JTA)
        See also Police Expand Searches for Missing Two (Ha'aretz)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinians Continue Shooting Attacks in Gaza, West Bank - Roni Singer and Amos Harel
    Palestinian gunmen fired four anti-tank rockets at IDF troops Monday in the Rafah area of the southern Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, Palestinian gunmen opened fire Monday on IDF troops south of Ramallah and near Silat al-Khartiyah northwest of Jenin. Inside the "green line," a woman was moderately wounded Monday after a concrete block was thrown at her vehicle and hit her face while she was driving southeast of Petah Tikva. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Completes Hand-Over of Taxes Levied for PA - Moti Bassok
    Over the last four months, Israel has handed some NIS 2 billion to the Palestinians, thereby repaying all outstanding money owed to the PA. After deducting PA debts to Israeli companies, the Palestinian treasury received some NIS 1.15 billion from Israel. Israeli courts have ruled that the PA owed the Israel Electric Corp., the Mekorot water company, state-run hospitals, and government departments close to NIS 850 million. Israel will from now on transfer customs and tax money it collects on behalf of the PA on a monthly basis. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Without Sin - Martin Peretz
    Abbas's current demands are both unrealistic and counterintuitive. Despite his pledge as part of the road map to quash Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other recalcitrant terrorist groups, Abbas has refused even to begin disarming them. This is a danger not only to Israel but to his own government. A few terrorist incidents - or one big one - and the road map will be over. Israel still has no reason to trust either the intentions of Palestinian fanatics or the will and ability of Palestinian moderates to stop them. Which is why it is building the elaborate and psychologically depressing fence to protect its own population from random murder. When there is sustained and sustainable quiet, the fence can be taken down.
        In the real world, prisoners are not released until their polity is at peace with those they have designated as enemies. The U.S. has already pressed Israel to release more prisoners than most Israelis consider prudent to let go. The rationale for such Israeli concessions is confidence-building, the cliche that demonstrates goodwill in a tight spot but hardly ever works. Besides, it is the Israelis who require confidence; after years of being targeted by terror, it is their trust that has to be built. Confidence-building is the lingua franca of peace-pretenders, such as those who wanted to keep Saddam in power. (New Republic)
  • When Is a Fence Not a Fence? - Dennis Ross
    The Israeli public knows there is a fence around Gaza, and in the 32 months of the intifada there has not been a single suicide bombing attack that came from Gaza into Israel. For most Israelis, if a fence around Gaza worked, why not also have one in the West Bank? Truth be told, those responsible for the fence are Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. If violence were not a threat, the fence would not be necessary. We will not do Mr. Abbas or the process a favor if we insist on stopping the fence without Palestinian performance. And, here, a ceasefire alone is not sufficient to stop the fence. The Palestinians must taking the difficult psychological and practical step of confronting groups like Hamas that want to preserve their capability to use violence whenever it suits them. Leave that capability intact, and the fence becomes inevitable. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Partnering with the Saudis - William F. Buckley, Jr.
    It was Saudi money that financed the terrorists of 9/11, and we continue to learn that Saudi money is circulating through U.S. foundations and charities, financing mischievous activity. The Saudis had, in the attack on Riyadh in May, a taste of terrorism on their own soil. There are reports that Saudi officials are cracking down on security risks. But Saudi Arabia is a mess. They're good at chopping the heads off people clearly guilty of high treason, but not so good at diligent measures to abort the gestation of such people. For all its wealth, Saudi Arabia is an incompetent, backward, bureaucratic, strategically illiterate rich lump. Tiny Qatar, operating in the bosom of Saudi Arabia, continues to sponsor al-Jazeera, the Goebbels of the Middle East. On Thursday, it broadcast one more message by Saddam Hussein urging more activity by al-Qaeda, more killing. What do the Saudis need to stanch that nosebleed? (National Review)
  • Observations: �

    Who is Taking Credit for Attacks on the U.S. Army in Western Iraq?
    Al-Jam'iya al-Salafiya al-Mujahida
    - Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi
    (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • The new Iraqi Sunni resistance organization Al-Jam'iya al-Salafiya al-Mujahida offers a radical Islamic platform that contains many points in common with al-Qaeda.
    • It views Americans not just as modern crusaders waging a religious war in the name of Christianity against Islam, but as an infidel people who believe in a new infidel religion - democracy - that is striving to achieve world hegemony.
    • On this basis, the September 11 attacks are seen as "blessed" and worthy actions in which the "enemies of Allah" were defeated, actions which brought hope and vitality to those forces seeking the awakening of Islam throughout the world.
    • Support from Saudi Arabia could be of key importance to the group, both as a source of inspiration and ideological authority and for raising funds to support Al-Jam'iya's activities.

    To subscribe to the Daily Alert, click here to send a blank email message.
    To unsubscribe, click here to send a blank email message.