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 7, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

The Saudi Money Trail - Zvi Bar'el (Ha'aretz)
    Leaks from the classified section of the U.S. congressional inquiry apparently indicate a connection between Princess Haifa al-Faisal and the bin Laden men who carried out the 9/11 terror attacks.
    Princess Haifa is not merely the wife of Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador in Washington.
    She is also the daughter of the late King Faisal, assassinated in 1975, and is the sister of Turki al-Faisal, a former head of Saudi intelligence, and of Mohammad al-Faisal, one of Saudi Arabia's biggest financiers.

Obstacle to Terrorism (Near East Report)
    After 122 successful Palestinian suicide bombings originating in the West Bank, Israel is building a security fence along its porous border with the West Bank.
    Less than 10% of the security fence involves large, concrete barricades, built on the former "green line" near centers of Palestinian terrorism.
    The security fence can be removed in a future peace deal.
    See also The Seam Zone (Ministry of Defense)

Western Firm Upgrades Syrian Tanks (Middle East Newsline)
    Western intelligence sources said a $200 million contract was signed with Italian contractor Galileo Avionica for the upgrade of 122 T-72s, Syria's main battle tanks.

India is Israel's Second Largest Trading Partner in Asia (The Hindu-India)
    India is now Israel's second largest trading partner in Asia, overtaking Japan.
    Indo-Israel trade registered an increase of 24.5% between January and June 2003, reaching $748.4 million as compared to $600.9 million in the corresponding period last year, official sources said.

Useful Reference:

Tisha B'av (the 9th of Av)
    Thursday is the traditional Jewish day of mourning for the destruction of the First and Second Temples.
    See a 90-second movie: A Day at the Western Wall. (Aish HaTorah)
    See also The Jerusalem Archeological Park (Israel Antiquities Authority)

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

Today is Tisha B'Av (the Ninth of Av)
when the Jewish people commemorates the destruction
of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Palestinians Continue to Train for War
    CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier visited a camp run by the armed offshoot of Arafat's Fatah party, where young would-be fighters are trained as gunmen and bomb makers. Her report, broadcast Wednesday, shows how some Palestinian groups are taking advantage of the ceasefire to train fighters for future battles. (CBS News)
  • Bush Rapped for Mulling Sanctions Over Fence
    As the Bush administration considered this week cutting financial assistance to Israel to protest the fence being built in the West Bank, Israeli officials and members of Congress blasted the idea. "We are not going to give up on our security," said Natan Sharansky, Israel�s minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs. On Monday, Secretary of State Colin Powell said, "We are concerned when the fence crosses over on to the land of others." But Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, visiting Israel this week with 28 other House Democrats, said such talk does not reflect reality. "It is not their territory," he said of the Palestinians. "It is disputed territory until there is an agreement. They have to negotiate secure borders." (New York Jewish Week)
  • Explosion Kills 9 at Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad
    A car bomb rocked the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad Thursday, killing at least 9 people. (AP/New York Times/Yediot Ahronot)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • PA Minimizing Prisoner Release - Arnon Regular, Amos Harel and Baruch Kra
    A senior IDF officer complained Wednesday that Arafat and Dahlan "did everything they could" to minimize the importance of Israel's release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. "The process repeats itself: What's already been given to the Palestinians is perceived as self-evident and they immediately move on to demand new gestures," said the source.
        The prisoners were videotaped as they signed a document vowing that they will not undertake illegal activities against Israel in the future. But Hamad al-Smairi, a freed member of Islamic Jihad, said he would feel no compulsion to abide by that promise. "I am a soldier of the Islamic Jihad and I will do whatever and be whatever the Islamic Jihad wishes," he said after arriving in the Gaza Strip. (Ha'aretz)
  • Would-be Suicide Bomber Caught in Nablus
    Israeli security forces announced Wednesday that they caught a would-be suicide bomber in Nablus in the West Bank last Friday. Amid Touriki, 17, a member of the Tanzim militia, was recruted by Naif Abu Sharah, the Tanzim leader in Nablus. According to the IDF, Sharah's name was handed over to the PA in the recent past in connection with terrorist activity, but the PA did not arrest him. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Even in Prison, Terrorists Plan Attacks - Margot Dudkevitch
    In the cell of Palestinian security prisoner Issa Mahmoud at Ayalon Prison, Prisons Service officials found vast amounts of written material with orders to activists to continue terrorist activities outside the prison walls, directions on how to carry out ambushes on specific Israeli sites, and instructions on how to manufacture bombs. In the Shikma Prison in Ashkelon, officials found two bombs connected to cellular phones. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Oil Mirage - Irwin M. Stelzer
    Faced with a congressional report apparently criticizing Saudi Arabia for continuing to fund the mosques and schools around the world in which the violently anti-Western, Wahhabi version of Islam is taught, the Saudis persuaded their co-cartelists at last week's OPEC meetings to continue pumping enough oil to keep prices within OPEC's $22-$28 targeted range. A cutback in Saudi production would have triggered a rise in already-high oil prices, and derailed the emerging economic recovery so crucial to the president's reelection chances. Skeptics argue that Saudi ambassador prince Bandar's skillful spreading of money around Washington buys his country protection and preference. More dispassionate observers point to the obvious fact that America is highly dependent for some 60% of its oil needs on a steady flow of reasonably priced oil imports. (Daily Standard)
  • Shaking Up the Neighbors - Thomas A. Friedman
    Shortly after the 25-member Governing Council was appointed in Iraq, the head of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, questioned the U.S.-appointed Council's legitimacy. "If this Council was elected," complained Moussa, "it would have gained much power and credibility." I love that quote, first of all, for its bold, gutsy, shameless, world-class hypocrisy. Moussa presides over an Arab League in which not one of the 22 member states has a leader elected in a free and fair election. What has been the Arab reaction to Iraq? Shock that comes from how easily the U.S.-British force smashed Saddam's regime. And denial that is manifest in the absence of virtually any public discussion among Arab elites as to why Baghdad fell so easily and why such a terrible regime was indulged by the Arab world for so long. (New York Times)
  • Egypt's Grip on Civil Liberties - William Fisher
    No one expects Egypt - or any other Middle Eastern country - to move from authoritarian state to democracy overnight. But the U.S. has had substantial aid programs there for more than 25 years. Is it not time for this country to impose the principle of "tough love" on Egypt and the kindred authoritarian regimes we support? Do we not have the right - indeed, the obligation - to demand that overseas beneficiaries of our largess begin to meet at least the most fundamental criteria of civil society - beginning with a lot more respect for individual civil liberties? (Washington Post)
  • Future Palestinian State will be Neither Demilitarized Nor Peaceful - Yosef Goell
    One issue that can't be put on hold is quashing Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian terrorist formations. To do so is to gut the very foundation block of the Bush road map, which is supposed to lead to the creation of a peace-loving Palestinian state alongside Israel. If Israel and the U.S. do not now insist on at least a convincing start on Palestinian implementation of that cornerstone which calls for dismantling the terrorist organizations, rounding up their arms, and preventing them from smuggling in more, there is no basis for continuing with the road map at all. A pre-state PA that refuses to carry out its solemn commitment to disarm at agreed-upon levels is a guarantee that any future Palestinian state will never be truly demilitarized or peaceful. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations: �

    Transforming the Middle East - Condoleezza Rice (Washington Post)

    • Soon after the conclusion of World War II, America committed itself to the long-term transformation of Europe. Today America and our friends and allies must commit ourselves to a long-term transformation in another part of the world: the Middle East.
    • A region of 22 countries with a combined population of 300 million, the Middle East has a combined GDP less than that of Spain, population 40 million. It is held back by what leading Arab intellectuals call a political and economic "freedom deficit."
    • In many quarters a sense of hopelessness provides a fertile ground for ideologies of hatred that persuade people to forsake university educations, careers and families and aspire instead to blow themselves up - taking as many innocent lives with them as possible.
    • These ingredients are a recipe for regional instability - and pose a continuing threat to America's security.
    • Our task is to work with those in the Middle East who seek progress toward greater democracy, tolerance, prosperity, and freedom.

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