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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September 2, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

200 Foreign Terrorists Captured in Iraq - Paul Wolfowitz (Wall Street Journal)
    Among the hundreds of enemy that we have captured in the last months are more than 200 foreign terrorists who came to Iraq to kill Americans and Iraqis.
    The exit card found in the passport of one of these foreigners even stated that the purpose of his "visit" to Iraq was to "volunteer for jihad."

Rumors of Bin Laden's Lair - Sami Yousafzai and Ron Moreau (Newsweek)
    Two years after the September 11 attacks, the world's Most Wanted terrorist remains free.
    Senior Taliban officials in Pakistan and Afghanistan say bin Laden remains directly engaged as a strategist and financier for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and related groups.
    In April, shortly after the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, the Qaeda leader convened a terror summit at a mountain stronghold in Afghanistan with participants from the Taliban, several senior Qaeda operatives, and leaders from radical Islamic groups in Chechnya and Uzbekistan.
    Bin Laden appointed one of his most trusted lieutenants, Egyptian-born Saif al-Adel, to be al-Qaeda's chief of operations in Iraq.
    At the same meeting bin Laden said he was working on "serious projects." "His priority is to use biological weapons," says a ranking Taliban source, who claims that al-Qaeda already has such weapons.
    The question is only how to transport and launch them, he asserts.

Israel Hunts Hamas with Hi-Tech Helicopter Tactics - Dan Williams (Reuters/MSNBC)
    Hamas militants are invariably hit while in their vehicles, along with drivers and bodyguards.
    To ease tracking, collaborators sometimes dab the militant's vehicle with a dye invisible to the eye but easily picked up by the sensors of Israeli helicopters.
    Because U.S.-made Hellfire missiles killed so many bystanders, in June Israel switched to a classified Israeli-made missile with a camera in its nose which makes for real-time aiming.
    "The guy controlling the missile sees exactly where the missile is going and guides it right to the window of the target car if necessary," said Robert Hewson, editor of Jane's Air-Launched Weapons.
    "We can abort up to a couple seconds before impact. On occasion the terrorist's face shows up on camera for final confirmation," said an Israeli security source.

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Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Fears for the Future After Iraqi Cleric's Assassination
    When Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim was asked whether the [American] infidels should be expelled, he responded, "if we [Shiites] don't cooperate with the Americans, someone else will cooperate and we will have lost our opportunity." Hakim's death Friday eliminated one of the few leaders of any stature who counseled against fighting the Americans. (New York Times)
  • Roadmap Can't Find a Detour Past Arafat
    If Arafat is hoping to force the U.S. and Israel to deal with him again, he is miscalculating, says former U.S. diplomat Edward Abington (who now advises the Palestinians) and other Middle East experts. Instead, Arafat's behavior is strengthening Israeli desire to get rid of him, one way or the other, and encouraging the Bush administration to step back from the scene and give Israel a green light to pursue a stepped-up campaign against Palestinian militants. (USA Today)
  • Arafat, Abbas Clash Over Firing of Commissioner
    The men with guns were everywhere in the Palestinian civil service building in Gaza City Sunday. The gunmen were supporters of Arafat, members of his Fatah movement, and they had arrived to block a decision by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to dismiss the civil service commissioner, Mohammad Abu Sharia, for corruption. The confrontation over control of the 70,000-strong civil service captured the essence of the clash between Abbas and Arafat, between attempts at reform and old habits of political patronage and militia rule. (Chicago Tribune)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • IAF Kills Hamas Terrorist in Gaza - Margot Dudkevitch and Matthew Gutman
    Khader Al Hotsari, 40, a member of the Hamas military wing, was killed in Gaza City Monday and another Hamas member was critically wounded by IAF helicopters. According to Israeli security officials, both were in the midst of transferring weapons to other Hamas operatives to be used in attacks against Israel when they were hit - the sixth on Hamas targets in the last two weeks. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Weighs Arafat's Expulsion
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told Army Radio on Tuesday, "Arafat never wanted to reach an agreement with us....I believe that he needs to disappear from the stage of history. The State of Israel made a historic mistake by not expelling him some two years ago and we had more than a few opportunities to do this....I believe that we will need to address this matter in a relatively short space of time, very possibly even this year." "The timing must be chosen so that it won't hurt the current [Palestinian] leadership and allow them to continue the policies that they proposed, they committed to, and we haven't seen results from," Mofaz said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Judicial Commission of Inquiry Reports on Handling of Arab Riots in 2000
    The Or commission investigating the handling of the Israeli Arab riots of October 2000 published its findings Monday, which criticized the actions of senior security officials. Israel Police officials said they will immediately review the report and explore the lessons to be learned. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Look at Saudi Arabia's Religious Apartheid - Jonathan V. Last
    The Mecca Hilton, a five-star hotel, "is exclusively sited within the Holy City which, by Saudi national and religious law, is only accessible to visitors of the Muslim Religion." This law is something of a singularity among major religions, because it isn't merely the Grand Mosque that is off-limits to nonbelievers, the way, for instance, a Mormon Temple is. It's a city - a major city with hotels, supermarkets, schools, and a population of 1.2 million people. (The city of Medina, population 700,000, also forbids non-Muslims.) (Wall Street Journal/Weekly Standard)
  • Democracy for Arabs, Too - Joshua Muravchik
    The Muslim world has been little affected by the tide of democratization. Of 22 Arab states, none has an elected government. Among the other 25 predominantly Muslim countries, however, nine are electoral democracies (although only two are "free"). This suffices to disprove that Islam is incompatible with democracy. Might Arab culture be? The writer is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. (Washington Post)
  • Harvard Must Give Back Tainted Money - Jeff Jacoby
    Against the backdrop of Arab anti-Semitism - the most virulent Jew-hatred since the Hitler years - the closing of a single anti-Semitic institute in the Middle East barely registers as a blip on the screen. But it shows what can be achieved when one gutsy individual decides to push back against bigotry. The story begins in July 2000, when Harvard's Divinity School accepted $2.5 million from the ruler of the United Arab Emirates, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, to endow an academic chair, the Sheik Zayed Al Nahyan Professorship in Islamic Religious Studies. The sheik was also the funder and namesake of the Zayed Center for Coordination and Follow-up, a think tank established in 1999 in his capital, Abu Dhabi, one of the Arab world's leading arenas for anti-Jewish and anti-American poison.
        Rachel Fish, an Islamic Studies student at the divinity school, set about researching the issue and in March took her evidence to the divinity school's dean, William Graham. Asking that Zayed's money be returned, she argued that Harvard would never accept money from a Ku Klux Klan financier. The hate funded by the sheik is no less abhorrent. An online petition urging the university to decline Zayed's money drew thousands of signatures. On Friday, Harvard announced that it would need another year to decide what to do about Sheik Zayed's money. (Boston Globe)
  • Word Choice Matters in Mideast Reporting - Philip Gailey
    When a Palestinian suicide bomber recently boarded a bus in Jerusalem and blew 20 men, women, and children to bits, most of the wire service reports I saw, including one from the Associated Press, said the carnage was the work of Palestinian "militants." By that standard, I suppose Osama bin Laden is a militant, as was Mohammed Atta. If the word "terrorism" is to have any real meaning, then blowing up a bus crowded with women and children must be condemned for what it is - an act of terrorism. The writer is editorials editor of the Times. (St. Petersburg Times)
  • Observations:

    Defense Minister Mofaz: New "Rules of the Game" (Cabinet Secretariat/IMRA)

    • At the weekly Cabinet meeting on Monday, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said the Hamas attack in Jerusalem, in which 21 people were murdered, had opened a new and different chapter for Israel in its relationship with the Palestinians. In response, the security establishment has adopted the following principles:
      • An all-out war against Hamas and other terrorist elements, including continuous strikes at the organization's leaders.
      • Increasing the pressure on foci of terror in Judea and Samaria.
      • Freezing the diplomatic process with the PA and making it clear that Israel will neither return to it nor move it forward unless it sees that the PA is taking tangible steps to deal with the infrastructures of terror.
    • Defense Minister Mofaz said that since the terror attack in Jerusalem, Israel cannot return to the previous "rules of the game." He asserted that the international community, along with the U.S., understands that there can be no going back to the rules of the hudna, but that an aggressive policy must be adopted against Hamas for the sake of future regional stability.

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