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 16, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Inside the War on Hamas - Romesh Ratnesar (TIME)
    The number of alerts of possible terrorism attacks inside Israel climbed last week to 40 a day, up from an average of 15 a day in August.
    Israeli commanders in the West Bank say they have taken steps to seize the offensive.
    A senior Israeli intelligence official says security forces have widened the focus of their raids from "ticking time bombs" - the suicide bombers - to the entire "ticking infrastructure," including the strategists, bombmakers, and paymasters.

Fatah Gang Attacks Arab TV Station - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Five armed men who said they were members of Fatah's Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades attacked the offices of the Saudi-owned, Dubai-based, Al-Arabiya satellite station in Ramallah Saturday night, threatening workers and smashing equipment and furniture.
    Lina Abu Khalil, one of the workers, said she saw five masked men, three carrying M-16 assault rifles, one a sword, and another a club. "They started destroying everything in the office."
    Sources in Ramallah said the 24-hour Arabic channel has received numerous threats over the past few weeks from Palestinians who complained that the station's reporting was biased in favor of Israel and the U.S.

Reservist Mom Foils Stabbing - Margot Dudkevitch (Jerusalem Post)
    Volunteer reservist Dolly Rozolio, a mother from Kfar Saba in her 30s serving at an IDF roadblock south of Ramallah, thwarted an attempt by a woman to stab a soldier on Sunday.
    Rozolio spotted the woman taking a kitchen knife out of her bag as she approached the roadblock and yelled a warning to the other soldiers, said Lt.-Col. Ronen Schviki.

Jordan Orders Freeze on Hamas Accounts (DPA/Ha'aretz)
    The Jordanian government has bowed to U.S. pressure and instructed commercial banks in the country "to refrain from dealing" with six Hamas leaders and five Palestinian societies suspected of extending aid to the fundamentalist organization, bankers in Amman said Monday.
    However, bank executives said they believed the blacklisted Hamas leaders "do not have any deposits at the Jordanian banks at present."

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • UN Sets Vote on Plea to Shield Arafat; U.S. Veto Looms
    Despite a U.S. veto threat, the Security Council was poised to vote on Tuesday on a resolution put forward by Arab nations demanding that Israel not harm or deport Arafat. Washington is "not prepared to support the resolution in its present form" because it does not explicitly condemn terrorism by Palestinian militant groups and is "very lopsided" against Israel, said U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte. (Reuters/New York Times)
        See also Remarks by Israel's UN Ambassador to the Security Council below.
  • Syria Not Stopping Militants from Crossing into Iraq
    The Bush administration says that despite pledges, Syria has not stopped militants from crossing into Iraq to kill American soldiers. In testimony prepared for a House hearing on Tuesday, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton says the administration is also concerned about what it sees as Syria's continuing support for terrorist groups like Hamas, and he reiterated accusations that Syria has an ambitious program to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said last week that of more than 200 foreign fighters captured in Iraq, the largest groups were those from Syria and Lebanon. One intelligence official said 60-70% of those detained were believed to be Syrian, based on identity cards or interrogations.
        Bolton's testimony also alleges that Syria has "a stockpile of the nerve agent sarin that can be delivered by aircraft or ballistic missiles, and has engaged in the research and development of more toxic and persistent nerve agents such as VX." Syria "is continuing to develop an offensive biological weapons capability," and Russia and Syria "have approved a draft program on cooperation on civil nuclear power," expertise that could be applied to a weapons program. (New York Times)
        See also Powell Says Syria Not Doing Enough on Terrorism
    Secretary of State Colin Powell accused Syria Monday of not doing enough to end what he said was its support of "terrorist activity," including cross-border infiltration by saboteurs into Iraq. Powell said the U.S. Congress would debate a Syria Accountability Act Tuesday due to its deep concern over Syria's lack of cooperation. The bill cites Syria's support for terrorism, its continued military presence in Lebanon, and development of weapons of mass destruction. (Reuters)
  • Iran Ordered to Pay $400M to Jerusalem Bomb Victims
    U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina has ruled that the Iranian government must pay more than $400 million in damages to eight Americans injured in a 1997 suicide bombing at a crowded pedestrian mall in Jerusalem, carried out by members of Hamas. Urbina said evidence shows Hamas receives training, money, and operational support from Iran. In the decision, Urbina awarded $123 million in compensatory damages and $300 million in punitive damages. Victims of foreign terrorism who win judgments against Iran are allowed to collect a portion of their compensatory damages from the U.S. government. Frozen Iranian assets in the U.S. serve as collateral for the payments. (AP/Newsday)
  • U.S. to Withhold Money for Israel
    The Bush administration has decided to withhold some money from $9 billion in loan guarantees for Israel because of continued settlement construction, but backed away from a confrontation over Israel's building of a barrier fence, administration officials said Monday. Under the legislation establishing the loan guarantees, the administration can reduce them dollar for dollar for an amount equal to Israel's spending on settlement activities. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • U.S. May Be Open to Arafat Exile - Janine Zacharia
    The Bush administration has indicated to Israel that it may be open to the idea of exile at some stage for Arafat if it is not done through force, despite public comments by senior U.S. officials that Washington adamantly opposes the idea, diplomatic sources said. "There is wide agreement (between Israel and) the administration that he has to leave the scene. But the question is a) how and b) the timing," a senior diplomatic source said Monday. The source said that American officials, and even a few European countries, are "open to the idea," though they are concerned that an immediate deportation could trigger a Middle East flare up at a moment when Iraq is still unstable. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Mofaz Delays U.S. Trip Due to Security Situation - Arieh O'Sullivan
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has delayed a trip to the U.S., planned for this Tuesday, after Prime Minister Sharon asked him to remain in the country due to the security situation. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Oslo Accord's Terrible Toll - Jeff Jacoby
    The White House ceremony on Sept. 13, 1993, did not inaugurate an era of peace. It inaugurated instead the worst decade of terrorism in Israel's history. 1,126 men, women, children, and babies would lose their lives to Palestinian terror in the 10 years following Arafat's renunciation of violence. Arafat and the PLO leadership had not abandoned terrorism. Empowering them with land and money and authority had inflamed, not quenched, their thirst to "liberate" Israel from the Jews. The fundamental premise of Oslo - that the Palestinians were ready to live in peace with Israel - was always a lie, merely a tactic in the "liberation" of Palestine. Israelis crave peace, and they thought they craved it at any price. But peace at any price leads to war. (Boston Globe)
  • Road Map for Arafat's Removal - Editorial
    It is always open season on terrorists, as the leaders of Hamas are discovering. Yet one master killer, the King of Terror himself, Yasser Arafat, has enjoyed complete immunity as he weaves his conspiracies against peace. Arafat's diabolical influence over Palestinian and Israeli society must be ended. Israel was entirely right to decide that he will be removed. If anything, the move was overdue. What the Israelis have done is set out a meritorious course to ultimately terminate Arafat's ability to meddle and to foment trouble. Aside from his years as leader of the PLO - pioneering new methods of hijacking, bombing, and murder - Arafat has, for the last decade, used his West Bank base to frustrate all moves toward a peaceful settlement. (New York Daily News)
  • Should Arafat be Deported? - Barry Rubin
    Arafat's goal is still total victory, and he and his colleagues have continued to persuade most Palestinians, including poisoning the next generation's mind, that this should be their objective. While Arafat cannot push the Jews out, he will kill a lot more people trying. Certainly, Israel has the right to expel Arafat. He was allowed to return on the basis of his supposed acceptance of the peace process, willingness to reach a real treaty ending the conflict, and readiness to stop the terrorism and incitement. Having violated every conceivable aspect of all his agreements, he has no standing to remain. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    Arafat is an Obstacle to Peace - Israeli UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman
    (Jerusalem Post)

    • Ten years ago Israel was willing to believe that Yasser Arafat had abandoned the path of terrorism and embarked on the road to true reconciliation and mutual recognition. More than any other state, we invested a great deal in Arafat's word, and were willing to forgive his failures. Unfortunately, as we have all known for some time, Arafat lied.
    • Arafat's continuing rejection of Israel's right to exist, his denial of the ancient ties of the Jewish people to its homeland, and his support of terrorists and their tactics has brought untold suffering to the region, and denied the promise of peace and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians, alike.
    • Since September 2000, 869 Israeli citizens have been killed, and nearly 6,000 wounded in suicide bombings and terrorist attacks that deliberately targeted the innocent. There is hardly a single Israeli citizen today who has not been affected, directly or indirectly, by Palestinian terrorism. The equivalent number of casualties in a country with a population of that of the UK would be 84,609 citizens.
    • The decision of the Israeli cabinet last Thursday merely states the obvious - that Arafat is an obstacle to peace. In other instances, members of the international community have recognized that certain leaders are so destructive to the rights of their own people, and to the security and stability of their region, that their legitimacy must be questioned. Arafat is no exception.
    • Was the Security Council galvanized into action after the horrific suicide bombing which killed 23 and injured 135 on a crowded bus in downtown Jerusalem filled with Orthodox Jewish families and children returning from prayers at the Western Wall? Was it galvanized to act this past Tuesday when two suicide bombings, at a cafe in Jerusalem and a bus stop in central Israel, killed a total of fifteen and injured more than seventy Israelis, just hours apart? It would be a grave error if the Council were to come to the aid not of the victims of terrorism, but of their sponsor and perpetrator.
    • What country, faced with terrorism of this unprecedented magnitude and duration, would not hold the person who has both orchestrated the terror and refused to suppress it, directly and criminally responsible?

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