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 21, 2003

To contact the Presidents Conference:
[email protected]

In-Depth Issue:

Israeli Casualties Since the Proclamation of the Hudna (Israel Defense Forces)
    Since June 29, 2003, when the Palestinians declared a hudna (temporary truce), Israel has suffered 25 civilians killed and 168 wounded, as well as 2 security forces killed and 9 wounded.

Documents Reveal How Saddam Paid Off Journalists, Politicians, and Demonstrators - Amir Taheri (New York Post)
    Two prominent Lebanese pan-Arabists have fled to France to avoid paying the mobs they hired for pro-Saddam demonstrations in Beirut last winter, and other pro-Saddam Ba'athists are facing unpaid bills for anti-war demonstrations they organized in Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt.
    At the time, those efforts were seen in the West as a sign that the "Arab street" was about to explode against the U.S.-led coalition.
    According to documents seized from the Iraqi Cultural Office in London, Saddam financed hundreds of journalists and supposedly independent politicians in virtually all Arab countries, as well as dozens of Arab publications, including weeklies and dailies based in Beirut, Paris, and London.
    Iraqi groups studying the documents estimate that Saddam spent more than $1 billion over 20 years to buy prominent Arabs, and finance Arab parties and politicians devoted to his personality cult.
    Documents also reveal that at least three French political parties received financial contributions from Saddam between 1975 and 1990.

Iraqi Leader Says No Ties with Israel (Gulf Daily News-Bahrain)
    Israel will never set foot inside Iraq, Iraqi Governing Council chairman Dr. Ibrahim Al Jaffari said in Bahrain Tuesday.
    "We have no ties with Israel and we won't seek to have any bilateral relations with them in the future," he pledged.

Israel to Buy Natural Gas from Egypt - David Hayoun (Globes)
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided Monday in favor of buying natural gas from Egypt, and not from the gas fields of British Gas and the Palestinian Authority discovered off the Gaza coast.
    Sharon reportedly said that he opposed the Palestinian option at this stage, fearing that money obtained by the PA would be used to finance terrorism.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Bombing in Israel Called the "Children's Attack"
    Six children were killed on Tuesday and about 40 children were wounded when a Palestinian blew himself apart aboard a Jerusalem city bus crowded with devout families returning from Judaism's holiest site, the Western Wall. (New York Times)
  • U.S. Urges Palestinians to Break Up Terrorist Groups
    The Bush administration called on the PA Wednesday to act immediately to dismantle terrorist organizations that claimed responsibility for the Jerusalem bombing. "There's funding, there's support, there's munitions, there's organization, and all that needs to be taken apart," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said. "We have reached the moment of truth a lot earlier than most people wanted to face it," said Dennis Ross, a former U.S. peace envoy. A senior State Department official said the ball was now effectively in the court of the Palestinians, and the U.S. and Israeli governments were waiting to see what kind of action Abbas will take. U.S. officials made clear that they were looking for specific actions that will prevent terrorist attacks. (Washington Post)
  • Bombing Shakes Faith in "Road Map"
    Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said the Bush administration needs to be more forceful in its call for the Palestinian Authority to dismantle terrorist groups immediately. "The administration has to get its message out," Hoenlein said. "There have to be serious consequences." He suggested withholding aid or reconsidering U.S. support for a Palestinian state. Hoenlein and others are concerned that PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas shows either no ability or no interest in dismantling groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Sources said that, privately, the White House shares those concerns.
        In a press release, the Conference of Presidents said that Abbas should either "declare war against Palestinian terrorist groups" or "declare the road map and the prospect for peace to be dead." It called on the Quartet to "move decisively" to pressure the Palestinians and raise pressure on Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Syria to cut their links to terrorist groups. In an obvious sign of the administration's frustration, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Israel had a right to defend itself against terrorist attacks, a marked contrast to the frequent call for Israeli restraint. (JTA)

    Who Struck at the UN in Baghdad? Two Views:

  • Hussein Loyalists Suspected in Attack
    U.S. officials suspect that loyalists of former president Saddam Hussein's government and not Islamic militants from abroad detonated more than 1,000 pounds of Soviet-made explosives outside the UN compound in Baghdad on Tuesday. (Washington Post)
  • Iraqi Leader Blames Radical Muslims for UN Attack
    Jalal Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and a leading member of Iraq's Governing Council, on Thursday ruled out supporters of Saddam Hussein as responsible for Tuesday's suicide truck bombing, saying it was more likely the work of extremist Muslims from Saudi Arabia, members of al Qaeda, and other militant groups that were gathering in Iraq, coming across the country's southern and western borders. (Reuters/MSNBC)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Israel Plans Response to Jerusalem Terror Attack - Aluf Benn, Amos Harel, and Nathan Guttman
    Israel's security cabinet met Wednesday to approve Israel's response to Tuesday's Jerusalem terror attack. The IDF began anti-terrorist operations in Nablus and Jenin. The IDF is also preparing to renew its "targeted killings" of terrorist leaders in the militant Islamic organizations. According to political sources in Jerusalem, the U.S. is demanding that the PA take action against the terror organizations operating in areas under its control, and told the Palestinians that if they don't act against the terror infrastructure, Israel will. The sources added that the U.S. has not asked Israel to restrain its response to the suicide bombing.
        President Bush told Prime Minister Sharon Wednesday that there could be no compromising on the issue of terrorism, and that the killers of women and children must be hunted down. "There is a need to wipe out those organizations that deal in the murder of the innocent and are destroying the peace process," Bush said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Five Americans Murdered in Jerusalem Blast - Melissa Radler
    Americans murdered in Tuesday's Jerusalem bombing included Goldie Taubenfeld, 43, from New Square, New York. Her five-month-old baby, Shmuel, was also killed. Her 15-year-old daughter, Batsheva, was wounded. Other American victims included three-year-old Tehilla Nathanson of Monsey, New York, and Mordechai Reinitz, 47, and his nine-year-old son, Yitzhak, residents of Netanya. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also New York Town Mourns a Generous Friend (New York Times)
  • Temple Mount Reopened to Non-Muslims - Jonathan Lis and Arnon Regular
    Israel and Muslim religious officials have reached an informal agreement allowing non-Muslims to visit the Temple Mount from 9 to 11 a.m., an arrangement in effect since the 1920s and only suspended three years ago. Police sources say the relative ease with which the site was opened was linked to the arrests of leaders from the Islamic Movement in Israel, which has essentially paralyzed their activities on the mount. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Secrecy is Key on the Temple Mount - Nadav Shragai
    Behind the scenes, the Waqf has long been seeking a way to solve the issue, sorely missing the revenues that came from the tourist tickets sold to gain entry to the site, while facing pressure from both the PA and Jordan, as well as Old City businessmen who want to see the tourists return. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Arafat Sought to Block Temple Mount Agreement - Amit Cohen
    When Muslim Waqf leaders sought to convince Arafat two weeks ago to allow access to the Temple Mount by non-Muslim tourists, Arafat spit on them and kicked them out of his office, screaming: "I, and not Sharon, will decide." (Maariv-Hebrew)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Death in Jerusalem - Editorial
    Palestinian leaders have been promoting the illusion that Islamic radical groups will ultimately transform themselves into peaceful political parties. That fantasy was shattered on Tuesday along with 20 innocent lives when a Hamas terrorist blew up a Jerusalem bus. If anything positive is to come from this latest atrocity, it will be a conclusive realization by Mr. Abbas that organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad have no genuine interest in cease-fire agreements or two-state solutions and must be forcibly put out of the terrorism business. Only then will the American-sponsored road map for peace have a chance of delivering Palestinian statehood. (New York Times)
  • Bombing May Be the Beginning of Abbas's End - Arieh O'Sullivan
    About a week ago, Islamic Jihad militants in the Gaza Strip parked a bicycle bomb near the headquarters of PA Security Minister Mohammed Dahlan in Jebaliya, where it exploded prematurely causing little damage. Dahlan quickly dispatched masked officers from his Preventative Security Service who stormed the house of the Islamic Jihad men, killing two on the spot and carting off three others to prison. This shows that Dahlan knows how to act and lends credence to those in the defense establishment who believe that Dahlan could if he wanted to, but doesn't want to. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Terror By Whatever Name is the Same - Cal Thomas
    Former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft writes in the Aug. 20 Washington Post that the Israelis and Palestinians must take steps "in parallel, rather than sequentially, in order to increase the prospects for building and sustaining momentum." Otherwise, he says, there will be "renewed violence." Whatever is he talking about? Violence as an instrument of policy by the Palestinian side has not stopped. It has ebbed and flowed as a strategy for extracting the maximum possible concessions from the Israeli and American sides before the coming all-out war to eliminate Israel. Any "cessations" are pauses that the terrorists use to rearm. A strong case can be made that all of the pressure on Israel for "goodwill gestures" and "confidence-building measures" has contributed to terrorism, not diminished it. American policy is to get the terrorists before they get us. That policy ought to be the parallel track for Israel. (Modesto Bee)
  • Observations:

    Unholy Terror - Editorial (Daily Telegraph-UK)

    • The near-simultaneous suicide bombings in Baghdad and Jerusalem ought to give the lie to the fashionable idea that Palestinian terrorism is somehow in a category apart - still dreadful, but somehow worthy of greater "understanding'' because of the plight of the Arab population of the Holy Land.
    • Both acts were perpetrated by Islamist terror groups that are part of the same global network. The methods used in each of these atrocities were the same.
    • The funding for the groups that launched them often comes from the same Saudi or Iranian sources. The malefactors often train together in the same "schools of revolution'' across the region. And their inspiration comes from the same well-spring, namely the dominant Saudi creed of Wahhabism.
    • In some cases, the inspiration for the Islamists of Palestine and the jihadis now pouring into Iraq from Saudi Arabia even comes from the very same clerics. For them, the struggle against America, the West and Israel - and their corrupt allies in the Arab world - is one and the same.
    • Perhaps some Islamists will be manhandled in through the front door of the bleak Palestinian jails, only to be released quietly through the back once the current crisis is over. But Abu Mazen has already made clear that there will be no large-scale dismantling of Islamist infrastructures.
    • He continues to get away with this because the Israelis, for all their hardline rhetoric and tactical security clampdowns, refuse to make the Palestinian Authority pay a strategic political price. Thus, Arafat still sits in Ramallah, pulling the strings.

    Join the Conference of Presidents
    Thursday, August 21, 11:30 a.m.
    At the Isaiah Wall, 1st Ave. & 43rd St.,
    opposite the UN in New York City

    To mourn the victims of the Jerusalem bombing and memorialize those killed at UN headquarters in Baghdad; to call on Syria, a major state sponsor of terrorism, to step down from the chairmanship of the UN Security Council; to mobilize international support for the war on terrorism and for action against those states that aid and abet them; and to demand that Prime Minister Abbas and the Palestinian Authority act decisively and immediately against the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure.

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