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 13, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

IDF Moves Against West Bank Rocket Factories - Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
    Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday that the IDF had moved Friday against a Hamas lab that produced Kassam rockets in the Nablus area, and last week arrested 18 Palestinians in Jericho who were also building Kassam rockets.
    Tuesday's bombing attacks only prove that the army still needs to operate within "Palestinian Authority areas which have not yet been turned over to its security forces, to thwart and prevent terrorist attacks," Ya'alon said.

No PA Control in Northern West Bank - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    The three major Palestinian cities in the northern West Bank - Nablus, Jenin, and Tulkarm - are now exclusively controlled by armed Fatah gangsters who see themselves as local sheriffs.
    Hundreds of renegade Fatah gunmen roam the streets, deeply suspicious of their leaders, particularly Abbas and Dahlan.
    These men have also made it clear that they would never surrender their weapons to the PA, even if their beloved president [Arafat] orders them to do so.

Islamic Militants See Iraq as Ultimate Battlefield - Neil MacFarquhar (New York Times)
    In much the same way as the Russian invasion of Afghanistan stirred an earlier generation of young Muslims determined to fight the infidel, the American presence in Iraq is prompting a rising tide of Muslim militants to slip into the country to fight the foreign occupier, Iraqi officials and others say.

British Police Given "Shoot to Kill" Orders in New Terror Alert - David Bamber (Telegraph-UK)
    British police were placed on high alert last week and have been ordered to "shoot to kill" suicide bombers, following intelligence warnings that an al-Qaeda terrorist attack in Britain may be imminent.
    Intelligence passed to Britain by the FBI in late July warned that London, along with several other foreign cities, was facing an increasing threat of a suicide bomb attack.
    Information from British intelligence indicates there are more al-Qaeda agents in Britain than previously thought.

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Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • White House: Abbas Must Face Terrorism
    The Bush administration, responding to Palestinian bomb attacks on Israelis, called on Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday to confront and dismantle terror structures on the West Bank and in Gaza. White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said, "Dismantling terror networks is a very high priority, the highest priority." State Department deputy spokesman Philip Reeker said the Palestinian Authority "must act now to dismantle terrorist capabilities, to dismantle the capacity of these terrorist organizations." "There can be no excuse for the violence and terrorist attacks that the Israeli people have been forced to endure," Reeker said. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Israeli Town Shaken By Market Bombing (Washington Post)
  • Powell: Move Forward on Roadmap
    Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday: "We've already seen reports on television that say, well, the roadmap is now finished, or the ceasefire is over, or this is all off track. No, it is not. We cannot let it go off track. We will continue to move forward on the roadmap." (State Department)
  • Israel Warned Bush: Nuclear Iran Closer than Expected - Jim Hoagland
    Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned President Bush that Iran is much closer to producing nuclear weapons than U.S. intelligence believes. U.S. intelligence estimates put Iran's covert nuclear weapons drive about four years short of being able to turn plutonium into a workable nuclear warhead. Sharon's projected timeline is one to two years. (Washington Post)
  • Syria Still Backing Islamic Militants
    Syria continues to support militant Islamic groups designated as terrorist organizations by the State Department, according to analysts, prominent opponents of the government, and Western diplomats. Despite intense U.S. pressure, Syria has not shut offices of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Hizballah guerrillas in Lebanon, who launched a mortar attack against Israel on Sunday, continue to receive weapons from Syria. Damascus also refuses to eliminate chemical and possibly biological weapons that the U.S. suspects Syria possesses. (Los Angeles Times)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Israel: Either Abu Mazen Acts Against Terrorism or We Will - Joel Leyden
    Tuesday's two homicide bombings in Rosh Ha'ayin and Ariel killed Yehezkel Yekutiel, 43, and Erez Herskovitz, 18, and injured 12 others. Raanan Gissin, spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said "no cease-fire can substitute for fulfilling the commitments made by the PA for implementing the road map....We have had 10-15 terror warnings a day. Our security forces, not theirs, have prevented over 200 terror attacks from taking place during the cease-fire. It is time for Abu Mazen (Abbas) to decide who is in control of the PA - those who seek the total destruction of Israel or those who sincerely desire peace, security, and prosperity." Gissin said the government is making goodwill gestures every day. "The situation cannot and will not remain like this for much longer - either Mazen acts against terrorism or we will," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Plans New Fence Route; Ariel Out, Eastern Jerusalem In, Government Undecided - Amir Rappaport
    In response to U.S. opposition to the original route, the security services have prepared a new plan for the separation fence that would run closer to the "green line." The Sharon government has not yet decided whether the fence will be built along its original route or along this new optional line proposed by the army. The original plan would have included the city of Ariel as well as 70,000 Jews and 7,000 Palestinians living east of the "green line." (Maariv-Hebrew)
        See also IDF: Fence Could Have Prevented Bombings
    Military officials said that if construction of the security fence had been completed east of Rosh Ha'ayin, the terrorist attack there wouldn't have occurred, Maariv reported. "If once attacks targeted Netanya, Hadera and Afula, these areas are now closed off and the terrorists come to Rosh Ha'ayin," a military source said. "If there was a fence all the way to Jerusalem, the situation would be different," he added. (Israelinsider)
  • Sharon-Abbas Trust Becoming a Problem - Aluf Benn
    According to assessments in Jerusalem, all sides - Israel, the PA, and Hamas - have an interest in maintaining the shaky cease-fire. But erosion of the fragile trust that had started to develop between Sharon and Abbas is becoming a serious problem. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Violating the Hudna - Ze'ev Schiff
    The Palestinians have developed a method for maintaining a fake cease-fire. They continue to kill Israelis, Prime Minster Abbas condemns the events but blames Israel, the terror infrastructure continues as it has in the past, while Israel is blamed for acting against explosives labs providing explosives belts. Six Israelis have been murdered since the false cease-fire began. (Ha'aretz)
  • How to Win Friends and Influence Arabs - Robert Satloff
    The State Department recently announced the formation of a new committee to repair its woeful "public diplomacy" toward Arabs and Muslims, headed by former diplomat Edward Djerejian, head of State's Near East bureau under then-secretary James Baker. Instead of investing money and effort to help millions of secular, liberal Muslims who fear the spread of Wahhabi radicalism, we spend our time searching under every rock for elusive "moderate Islamists." The U.S. government also spends tax dollars to subsidize study visits to the U.S. by radical Islamist journalists, to send outspoken critics of U.S. policy on speaking tours abroad, and to teach anti-American Islamist parliamentarians how to criticize pro-Western governments more effectively. Robert Satloff is director of policy and strategic planning at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Weekly Standard)
  • Too Early to Trust - Rachel Ehrenfeld
    America should assist the PA in improving the economy and standard of living of its people only after the PA qualifies for such assistance by rooting out corruption, upholding human rights, and ending incitement and terrorism. (New York Sun)
  • Observations:

    Amidror: Palestinians Improving Weapons Capabilities - Caroline B. Glick (Jerusalem Post)

        According to Maj.-Gen. (res.) Ya'acov Amidror, is former head of the IDF's National Defense College, and former head of the IDF's research and assessment division:

    • "By accepting the hudna, the government has enabled...the Palestinians to acquire and develop new and more sophisticated weapons systems. Before the hudna and the IDF's curtailment of counter-terrorist operations, we would destroy the weapons smuggling tunnels and the weapons workshops. Today, we are not doing this, and of course the PA under Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas is doing nothing against these activities."
    • "Second, they are rebuilding their terrorist cadres. Because of the limitations we have placed on our operations...we have no ability to thwart their mobilization. The recruitment and training of new cadres is taking place intensively everywhere that the IDF is not deployed."
    • "Third, both Islamic Jihad and Hamas are using the respite from IDF operations to revamp and strengthen their political leadership and influence over the PA areas and Palestinian society."
    • "In accepting the hudna, Israel has not only taken away its ability to act against the terrorist infrastructure, it has transferred the initiative of when the fighting will restart to the Palestinian terror organizations. And all the new weaponry they will be able to field will be a direct consequence of the hudna."
    • "Consider the fact that in the Palestinian uprising in 1987-1993, the most deadly weapon Israel deployed against the Palestinians was a jeep. We never used tanks or aircraft to fight them. Our resort to those weapons in the current war is simply an indication of how much deadlier their abilities have become over the last decade."
    • "Since the PA's establishment, they have worked steadily to build a deterrent against Israel to force Israel to erase any red lines it has in negotiations. In this they are following the exact strategy used by Hizballah to such great effect in Lebanon. They believe that through terror they will be able to get Israel to leave without an agreement."

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