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 9, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

FBI Operating Against al-Qaeda Affiliates in 40 States - Faye Bowers (Christian Science Monitor)
    U.S. officials say two-thirds of al-Qaeda's leadership have been captured or killed as a result of one of the most concerted worldwide dragnets in U.S. history.
    Yet, al-Qaeda is as dangerous, or more so, than it was before 9/11. "Al-Qaeda had a much deeper bench than we'd imagined," says Bruce Hoffman, an expert on terror at the RAND Corp. in Washington.
    Some 100,000 fighters trained at al-Qaeda camps during the 1980s and 1990s. Most returned to their homes in more than 15 Arab countries; many now belong to local terrorist groups, or insurgencies, inspired and funded by bin Laden.
    The FBI's chief counterterrorism official, Larry Mefford, told a Congressional committee the FBI knows of support cells in the U.S. and has "ongoing operations directed against suspected al-Qaeda members and their affiliates in about 40 states."

The Start of Israeli Help to India - Girja Shankar Kaura (Chandigarh Tribune-India)
    After Pakistani forces infiltrated the Kargil sector of Kashmir in 1999, Israel's help in providing the Indian Army with much-needed ammunition for its Howitzer guns and other ammunition proved to be the main reason in the smashing of the Pakistani bunkers established at strategic heights.
    This eventually allowed the Indian troops to advance up the heights to push back the infiltrators.

PA NGOs Refuse to Sign U.S. Anti-Terror Document - Itamar Marcus (Palestinian Media Watch)
    Palestinian non-governmental organizations are refusing to sign a required declaration that they will not use USAID grant money for terrorist purposes, saying they do not want to be �captive to the funding conditions� set by the U.S.
    The U.S. has conditioned new funding agreements with PA NGOs upon their signing a document declaring the funding will not be passed on to terrorists.

Arab League Grants Seat to Iraqi Council Representative (AP/Washington Post)
    The Arab League Tuesday unanimously granted the Iraqi seat on the 22-member pan-Arab body to the fledgling U.S.-appointed Governing Council.

Useful Reference:

Al-Qaeda's 39 Principles of Holy War - Joel Leyden (Israel News Agency/IMRA)
    The 39 Principles of Jihad by Mohammad Bin Ahmad Al-Salem was located on al-Qaeda's Al-Farouq website by Israeli researcher Col. Jonathan D. Halevi.
    1. Preparing and urging the mind for Jihad
    2. Sincere desire to attain martyrdom
    3. Taking part in the holy war against the infidels
    4. Financing Jihad

Key Links

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Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • IAEA Cites Iran on Uranium Work
    Experts who have read a confidential 10-page report by the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it provides damning evidence that Iran has quickly and secretly attempted to build a crash nuclear weapons program, and then tried to mislead UN investigators with contradictory and implausible explanations. (Washington Post)
        See also An Iranian Victory, an American Defeat - Ze'ev Schiff
    IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei is to present a report on Iran's nuclear program to the agency's board Tuesday. The report is a victory for Iran, since it allows Iran to gain more time during which it can continue with its nuclear weapons program, and bring it closer to the point of no return. (Ha'aretz)
  • The Bond Between India and Israel Grows - Amy Waldman
    On Monday Ariel Sharon became the first sitting Israeli prime minister to visit India, which established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992. The relationship has been strengthened by an ideological affinity for Israel by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Hindu nationalist party that leads the Indian government, and especially by the perception of a shared threat in Islamic terrorism. The two countries share intelligence and Indian special forces are being trained in Israel. Nonmilitary trade reached $1.27 billion in 2002, up from $202 million in 1992. India has also been spending an estimated $1.5-2 billion annually on Israeli military technology and equipment. India floundered in the post-cold-war years as the Soviet Union, long its major military supplier, fragmented. In 1999, Israel became a critical source, not least because it had specialized in upgrading Russian equipment.
        For decades, fear of alienating its Muslim population helped prevent India from normalizing relations with Israel, historians say. About three million Indians work in Arab states in the Persian Gulf, and those states supply India with about one-fourth of its oil. But Gerald Steinberg, a professor of political science at Israel's Bar-Ilan University, argues that "the fact that this [relationship with Israel] is public, and they are interested in making it public and visible, is a recognition that opposition to ties with Israel is no longer significant." (New York Times)
        See also Why India and Israel Joined Forces - Joshua Brilliant (UPI)
  • Judge: Iran Sponsored U.S. Beirut Embassy Bombing
    A federal judge ruled Monday that the government of Iran sponsored the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut and awarded $123 million to 29 American victims and family members of some of those killed in the attack. The explosion on April 18, 1983, killed 63 people, 17 of them Americans, and was followed - and overshadowed - by the Oct. 23, 1983, terrorist bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 servicemen. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Qurei Accepts Role of PM - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Ahmed Qurei accepted the role of Palestinian prime minister on Monday night, following his formal appointment by Arafat during a meeting of the Fatah central council. Qurei said there are no differences of opinions between himself and Arafat. Minister of Security Muhammad Dahlan, who sided with Abbas in his conflict with Arafat, is expected to lose his job. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel and U.S. to Examine Qurei's Commitment to Peace - Janine Zacharia and Herb Keinon
    Senior Israeli officials, en route to India with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said Monday that the replacement of Mahmoud Abbas with Qurei is little more than "musical chairs" with Arafat in charge of turning on and off the music.
        A senior official in the prime minister's office said at this point Sharon does not feel it is the right time to deport Arafat. The feeling in the defense establishment is that Arafat would still cause more damage for Israel abroad than he is able to do from Ramallah. The official said Israel is fully coordinated on this matter with the U.S., and will not act without consulting Washington. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Maj.-Gen. Gilad: Arafat Must Go - Caroline Glick
    "There is no way to establish coexistence between Israel and the Palestinians as long as Yasser Arafat remains the Palestinian leader," Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad explained Monday to a Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center conference on "Post-Modern Terrorism." Gilad currently heads the military-political directorate in the Defense Ministry. Explaining that Arafat prevented outgoing PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas from taking concerted action to unify the PA's security forces and fight terrorism, Gilad argued that Ahmed Qurei will be equally unable to lead the Palestinians in building a non-terrorist and uncorrupt governing apparatus. Gilad explained that Arafat also prevents PA Finance Minister Salaam Fayad from ending the flow of funds to terrorist groups.
        IDF Intelligence research chief Brig.-Gen. Yossi Kupperwasser explained that radical Islamic terrorism flourishes in an environment of "non-accountability" like that Arafat has built in the PA. In the PA under Arafat, "no one is responsible for anything that happens....Hamas blows up a bus full of people and no one is responsible," he said. Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are "deeply involved" in Palestinian terrorist networks operating against Israel. Given that with "a $50 million investment in Palestinian terrorism a year you can cause $5 billion in damage to the Israeli economy, you can say that terrorism pays," Kupperwasser said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel, U.S. Differ Over Security Fence Route Around Jerusalem - Ze'ev Schiff
    The first stage, that closed the West Bank between Salam and Elkana, east of Petah Tikva, is already bearing fruit. Thefts are down 40% in the area and in two separate infiltrations by Nablus suicide bombers, the bombers made their way south of the fence to get into Israel. Defense Ministry Director General Amos Yaron recently presented a map of the proposed fence to U.S. Ambassador Dan Kurtzer and road map monitor John Wolf. This time the clash is over the fence's northeast route from Jerusalem toward Ramallah. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Mideast Peace Without a Map - Editorial
    The "road map" may have been doomed from the beginning by the problem of Mr. Arafat. It is obvious that he will never renounce violence against Israel or agree to a final peace settlement with a Jewish state. And pro-peace Palestinian leaders such as Mr. Abbas are not yet strong enough to sideline him. Mr. Abbas did little to encourage Israeli confidence. Though he forthrightly denounced terrorism, he shrank from the job of dismantling the terrorist cells of Hamas and other extremist groups. Instead, he lapsed into the familiar Palestinian strategy of demanding that Washington pressure Israel. (Washington Post)
  • Arafat Wins, Palestinians Lose - Editorial
    Mahmoud Abbas was smart enough to jump before he got pushed. Abbas, Qurei, the names, at this point, don't seem to matter very much. If Palestinian leaders cling to the notion that they can send out a conciliatory face as prime minister while providing safe harbor for terrorists such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, then Qurei will fail, too. The Palestinians' experiment with the creation of a prime minister hardly gives confidence in their abilities to manage the affairs of a state. It appears Qurei will be placed in the same position as Abbas - all title and no power. It was a good weekend for Yasser Arafat, and a disaster for the Palestinian people. (Chicago Tribune)
  • The Wailing Wall? - Thomas L. Friedman
    If you want to understand why Israel is building a wall and fence around the West Bank to defend against suicide bombers, just hop on any bus in Jerusalem. You can't wait to get off. Israelis admit it. Suicide bombing of buses and cafes has made them crazy, and the wall-fence they are building is a concrete expression of all those primordial fears. "No one in Israel actually wanted the wall - the government didn't want it, the army didn't want it, the right didn't want it. It was imposed on the establishment by popular sentiment," says Ha'aretz writer Ari Shavit. (New York Times)
  • Observations:

    Ten Years After Oslo - Three Views (JTA)

    Dennis Ross

    • First, peacemaking requires accountability. If there are going to be plans, understandings of what is required must be clear and the consequences of nonperformance must be spelled out from the beginning.
    • Second, both sides must prepare their publics for compromise. Throughout Oslo, preparation of publics was conspicuously absent, especially on the Palestinian side. Palestinians must know that there will be no Palestinian state born of violence; that terror will delegitimize their cause; that they will have to compromise on Jerusalem, borders, and refugees. Israel will be a Jewish state and Palestinians must be prepared to recognize it as such.
    • Third, Arab leaders must assume their responsibilities. Without the Arabs, the Palestinians will be unable either to confront their own rejectionists or to make concessions for peace.

    Dore Gold

    • After 10 years it�s clear that the failure to reach an Israeli-Palestinian agreement cannot be attributed to a lack of political will on the Israeli side. Rather, it has to do with the more fundamental question of whether the leadership of the PLO really was prepared for reconciliation and peace with Israel. The overwhelming evidence is that the PLO leadership viewed the Oslo process as a tactical necessity to realize its ultimate strategic goal of "Palestine from the river to the sea� - including Israel.
    • The problem is deeper than Arafat. On two occasions in 2001, Faisal Husseini confessed that the Oslo agreements were nothing more than a "Trojan Horse" for realizing the eventual eradication of Israel. West Bank Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti told the New Yorker that even if Israel withdrew from 100% of the West Bank and Gaza, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would not end.
    • Why did the Israeli and U.S. governments invest so much in the Oslo process if it was so clear that the PLO had no intention of making peace? Didn�t they consult with their intelligence establishments? Henry Kissinger warned in his book, Diplomacy: �What political leaders decide, intelligence services tend to seek to justify.� Governments must allow their intelligence communities the freedom to express themselves and promote intellectual pluralism if disasters in the Middle East are to be avoided.
    Yossi Beilin
    • The Oslo process was intended to save the Zionist enterprise before Israel would control an area where the majority of residents would be Palestinian. The "road map" peace plan is nothing more than artificial respiration to keep the Oslo process alive through 2005.
    • On the Palestinian side, the extremist religious organizations understood that Israeli-Palestinian peace would be the end of the road for them, and they acted to undermine the process through violence.
    • Israel did not give sufficient importance to incitement in the Palestinian media, thinking it was a trend that would pass when the final-status agreement was signed. This incitement played a significant role in the Palestinians� return to violence in 2000.
    • Both sides blame the other for the process� failure, though the Palestinians� choice of violence means they have the greater share of blame.

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