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 19, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

The Ayatollahs' Bomb - Michael A. Ledeen (National Review)
    In recent weeks, senior clerics have come in unusually large numbers to congratulate Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
    Iran now has all the necessary components for an atomic bomb or two or three, and all that remains is to assemble them.
    That would track with the mullahs' clear international strategy, which is to stall for time.
    They think that if they can make it into early 2004, they'll be safe from us for at least eleven months, as Bush would not attack during an election year.
    In the meantime, they expect to be able to test a nuclear device.

U.S. Probe Focuses on Weapons in Syria - Bill Gertz (Washington Times)
    The U.S. government is investigating intelligence reports that Iraq sent weapons to Syria to hide them from UN inspectors and coalition troops in Iraq, a senior State Department official said Tuesday.
    John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control, also said Syria is developing medium-range missiles with help from North Korea and Iran that could be fired in nerve gas attacks hundreds of miles from Syria's borders.

U.S.: Iran Can Arm Missiles with Bio-Warheads - Nathan Guttman (Ha'aretz)
    Iran has the capability of arming ballistic missiles with biological warheads, Paula DeSutter, Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance, told Congress on Wednesday.
    This is the first time that an official claim of Iran's ability to launch biological warheads has been made.

Spanish Magistrate Indicts Bin Laden over 9/11 Attacks - Joshua Levitt (Financial Times-UK)
    Baltasar Garzon, the activist Spanish magistrate, Wednesday indicted 35 people, including Osama bin Laden, and al-Jazeera journalist Taysir Alouni, a Syrian with Spanish nationality, for their alleged involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
    The Madrid government has long been concerned that Spain is being used as a point of entry and as a temporary refuge for violent Islamist groups, helped by the many Moroccan and Algerian immigrants who work in southern Spain.
    See also Al-Jazeera: Too Close to Terrorists? - Michael Isikoff and Eric Pape (Newsweek)
    Internal Spanish police documents show that Alouni, 48, has been in "frequent and continuous" contact with Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, the suspected leader of al-Qaeda's Spanish cell, since early 2000.

DIA: Pakistan Backed al-Qaeda (AFP/Washington Times)
    Pakistan helped al-Qaeda launch its operations in Afghanistan in the 1990s and secretly ran a major training camp used by Osama bin Laden's terror network, according to documents produced by the Defense Intelligence Agency in the fall of 2001 and declassified in a censored version this week.
    The raw intelligence paints a complex picture of factional rivalry in which Pakistan had tried to use the Taliban and al-Qaeda to promote its influence in Afghanistan - only to eventually lose control over both of them.
    "Taliban acceptance and approval of fundamentalist non-Afghans as part of their fighting force were merely an extension of Pakistani policy during the Soviet-Afghan war," said one of the DIA dispatches.
    It said Pakistani agents "encouraged, facilitated and often escorted Arabs from the Middle East into Afghanistan."

    See also Pakistan Purges Army Extremists - Owais Tohid (Christian Science Monitor)
    A Pakistani military spokesman revealed last week that three or four officers are under investigation for "possible links with extremist organizations." Interior Ministry sources say there may have been as many as 10 arrests over the last several months.
    The officers hailed mostly from the Northwest Frontier Province, a stronghold of Pakistan's religious parties that are sympathetic to the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and have led a movement to force Pervez Musharraf to give up either his presidency or the post of army chief.
    "There are hard-liners in the Army who still believe in the ideology of hoisting the Islamic flag in Afghanistan with the help of extremists," says defense analyst Ayesha Siddiqa-Agha. "But they are few in number.... Musharraf is trying to get rid of them through a gradual process."
    A high-level military officer privately admits there have been three assassination attempts by suspected Islamic militants against Musharraf since Pakistan became a U.S. ally in the war against terrorism.

Israel Space Agency to Launch Telescope on Indian Satellite - Judy Siegel-Itzkovich (Jerusalem Post)
    The TAUVEX Israeli space telescope is due to be launched on an Indian scientific satellite at the end of 2005.
    The Israel Space Agency (ISA) has already spent $15 million on the telescope, which is to be used to map new galaxies.

Son of Israelis Appointed U.S. Cybersecurity Director - Ran Dagoni (Globes)
    An American of Israeli origin, Amit Yoran, has been appointed director of the Department of Homeland Security National Cyber Security Division, where he will be responsible for protecting federal computer systems from viruses, terrorists, and hackers.
    A West Point graduate, Yoran was born in the U.S. to Israeli emigrants who arrived in the 1960s.
    Yoran was formerly director of the CERT Coordination Center, responsible for monitoring threats to Pentagon computer and communications networks.

Useful Reference:

U.S. Concerned by Syria's WMD Capabilities (State Department)
    Testimony of John R. Bolton, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, before the House International Relations Committee, Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia, September 16, 2003

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Bush Says Palestinians Need a New Leader
    President Bush told Palestinians on Thursday that if they want peace, they must have a leader that fights terror. He said Yasser Arafat "has failed as a leader" and accused him of forcing the resignation of a prime minister who had worked for peace. "Hopefully, at some point in time, a...Palestinian leadership will emerge which will then commit itself 100 percent to fighting off terror," Bush said as he met at Camp David with Jordan's King Abdullah. Bush said he regretted that former Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas had been forced to resign. "His efforts were undermined and that's why we're still stalled," Bush said. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Bush Blames Arafat for Stalled Road Map
    Bush departed from his usual formula of stressing the obligations of both Israel and the Palestinians and said Palestinians were responsible for the collapse of progress. (Washington Post)
        See Text of President Bush's Remarks (White House)
  • Hamas Kidnaps Palestinian Policeman, Clashes Erupt
    Hamas supporters and Palestinian security forces traded gunfire in Gaza on Thursday after the arrest of 7 Hamas members suspected of kidnapping a policeman on Wednesday. Hamas activists said the policeman was kidnapped in retaliation for police arrests of a senior Hamas member days before. Hamas supporters attacked police stations with stones and burned tires in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood. Four people were wounded. (Reuters/MSNBC)
  • Rutgers Student Hits Israeli Minister Sharansky with Pie
    Rutgers University student Abe Greenhouse was arrested after throwing a pie in the face of Natan Sharansky Thursday night as he was about to address a crowd of about 500 people on "a Jewish perspective of the road to peace." Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident, serves as Israel's minister for Jerusalem and diaspora affairs. (WNBC)
        The student was a Jewish activist in a pro-Palestinian organization. Sharansky changed clothes, and began his speech saying, "I hope the pie was kosher." (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
        See also Sharansky Says Campus is "Real" Israeli-Palestinian Battlefield (Ha'aretz)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • U.S. Says It Won't Deal with "Arafat Cabinet" - Khaled Abu Toameh
    U.S. special envoy John Wolf has warned PA Prime Minister-designate Ahmed Qurei that the U.S. will not deal with a new cabinet controlled by Arafat and that is not committed to the implementation of the road map. PA officials said Washington also made it clear that its policy on Arafat remains unchanged and that he is not a partner to any peace talks. Hatem Abdel Kader, a senior Fatah official, said the new cabinet is being chosen in full coordination with Arafat. Fatah scored a major victory on Thursday when Arafat and Qurei agreed to the appointment of 16 of its members as ministers in the 24-member cabinet. One Fatah official boasted that this is the "first Fatah government," and that the new cabinet would be "under Arafat's full control...and this should be clear to all." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Ministers Mull Fence Options - Aluf Benn
    Defense Ministry director general Amos Yaron will brief the ministers on three options for the fence project Friday. In the first option, the fence would pass east of Karnei Shomron, Kedumim, and Ariel. Bush administration officials strongly oppose it. A second option is to defer construction of the fence around Ariel, leaving a "crack" in the fence between Alei Zahav and Elkana. Army deployments would be stepped up to prevent infiltrations in the area. A third option is to build the main part of the fence along the "green line." Sharon is fully aware of the political implications of the fence. He is worried that the project could establish the precedent that Israel would consider a withdrawal to the 1967 borders. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Returns to PA - Amos Harel
    Exactly a month after the cease-fire collapsed in the rubble of the terror attack on Jerusalem's No. 2 bus, IDF soldiers have resumed activities in the territories that predated the truce. On Thursday a Golani infantry unit entered Jenin to carry out a major anti-terror operation which could last for days. Soldiers found and detonated a booby-trapped car in the center of the city, thereby thwarting plans to carry out a terror attack.
        In recent days the army has resumed activities in Palestinian-controlled areas of the Gaza Strip, including Thursday's operation at Nuseirat refugee camp in which Jihad Abu Suheireh, a prime terror suspect, was killed. Abu-Suheireh, from Hamas' military wing, was considered a key player in the production of weapons in northern and central Gaza. As soldiers surrounded the terrorist's home, one IDF man, Amishav Pelai, squared off directly in front of Abu Suheireh, who was armed with a Kalashnikov rife. The two men opened fire at one another at point-blank range. Three bullets hit Pelai in his arms and legs, and another four were deflected by his protective vest. Abu-Suheireh, who was wounded in this gunfight, was then shot and killed by other IDF men.
        A senior IDF officer said Abu Suheireh's decision to put up a fight characterizes the behavior of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. "They are not the kind who surrender," said the officer, unlike the members of Fatah-affiliated Tanzim militias, who turn themselves in without a fight "on the assumption that they'll be released in a prisoner swap after a year or two." (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Suicide Bombings Must Not be Routinized - Martin Peretz
    Thomas Friedman in his September 11 column observed, "Suicide bombing is becoming so routine here that it risks becoming embedded in contemporary culture." The massacres are not becoming routine for Israelis. For Israelis every bomb feels almost like the first bomb. Israelis are being murdered, but they are not being deadened. And, if suicide-bombing risks becoming embedded in contemporary culture, it is the culture of one people, not two. What is routine among the Arabs of Palestine is the joy that more Jewish blood has been shed, that their revenge has once again been visited on a liberal society that is not entirely indifferent to moral thinking about its deadly enemies. There is no cultural prestige to killing Palestinians among the Israelis. But the cultural prestige of killing Jews suffuses the culture of the Palestinians. (The New Republic)
  • Iraqis are On the Road to Democratic Self-Government - Colin Powell
    Iraq is being transformed. Streets are lined with shops selling newspapers and books with opinions of every stripe. All the major cities and over 85% of the towns have councils. The Iraqi Governing Council has appointed ministers and is taking responsibility for national policy. We will stay in Iraq as long as it takes to turn full responsibility for governing Iraq over to a capable and democratically elected Iraqi administration. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Terrorists Betray Our Values - King Abdullah II of Jordan
    When extremists commit atrocities, they are also doing violence to Islamic teachings. In 2003 there are more than 1 billion Muslims worldwide, and the vast majority are people of peace. Since September 2001, this moderate, silent majority of Muslims has begun to speak up about the true Islam. The only people who win when Americans feel divided from their Arab and Muslim friends are the extremists and haters. Now, more than ever, we need to stand together, as allies, partners, and friends. (Los Angeles Times)
  • How to Defeat Suicide Terrorism - Adam Wolfson
    In a rigorously researched article for the American Political Science Review, Robert Pape, who teaches political science at the University of Chicago, examined 188 suicide-terrorist attacks in the world from 1980 to 2001. He found that suicide attacks are nearly always deployed as part of a larger political-military campaign by nationalists groups. While the psychology of an individual suicide terrorist might indeed be incomprehensible, this is not the case of those who recruit, train, and outfit him. A suicide terrorist's handlers are not so eager to die, and there is little reason to believe that deterrence - if forcefully and consistently applied - will not prove effective against them. The main reason suicide terrorism is growing is that terrorists have learned that it works. We need to demystify suicide terrorism. The terrorists have their ends. Deny these - make sure that suicide terrorism does not pay - and it will surely lose much of its luster. (National Review)
  • Arafat's Piggybanks - Editorial
    The Bush administration seems more determined than ever to go after terrorist organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but unfortunately has yet to demonstrate the same degree of energy in working to mobilize the international community to cut off funding for the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a shadowy terrorist group affiliated with Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization. Over the past three years, the Al Aqsa group has carried out several dozen suicide bombings against Israel. Captured financial records show that Arafat authorized payments to its members to subsidize the violence. The State Department lists it as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. It's long past time for Washington to challenge its allies to arrive at a plan for defunding Arafat's terror network. (Washington Times)
  • Waiting on America - Graham Usher
    The U.S. veto of a UN Security Council resolution demanding that Israel not exile or eliminate Arafat confirms Palestinian fears that the American opposition is anything but permanent. If Arafat is "removed," what would follow? One idea currently going around (including within Arafat's Fatah movement) is to dissolve the PA, and with it all prospects of a political process. Another scenario is that the PA continues in some shape or other while Palestinian forces fight over the mantle left by Arafat. This augurs less a civil war between Fatah and Hamas (since the Islamists have never been interested in leadership of the PA) than a bloody power struggle within Fatah, with the most likely fault-line between its young fighters and old guard. "We'd have militias everywhere, like Lebanon," says an Arafat aide. Few Palestinians believe Hamas actively seeks the demise of the PA. But even fewer doubt collapse would wound Fatah more and that Hamas would be the ultimate beneficiary. Hamas has always viewed the PA as a threat as much as a representative.
        Last week the PA finally agreed to "unify" the various Palestinian police forces under one command. But that command is not going to be an "empowered prime minister," as called for in the roadmap. It is going to be the PLO's National Security Council, headed by Arafat. In the meantime, all are aware that the only thing that separates Israel's decision to remove Arafat "in principle" from the actual execution of that removal is the American veto. (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
  • The Great Refugee Scam - Shmuel Katz
    The story of the Arabs who left the coastal areas of Palestine in the spring of 1948 encapsulates one of the great international frauds of the 20th century. The Arab "refugees" were not driven out by anyone. The vast majority left at the order or exhortation of their leaders. The monstrous charge that it was the Jews who had driven out the Arabs of Palestine was a strategic decision made by the leaders of the Arab League months after the Arabs' flight.
        At the time the alleged expulsion was in progress, nobody noticed it. Foreign newspapermen did in fact write about the flight of the Arabs, but even those most hostile to the Jews saw nothing to suggest that the flight was not voluntary. Even more pertinent: No Arab spokesman made such a charge at the time. The central, horribly cruel fact is that the Arab states denied the refugees residence rights; and the idea was born that they should be left in camps and used as a weapon for Israel's destruction. The responsibility for the displaced Arabs lies wholly on the shoulders of the Arab states. (Jerusalem Post)
  • 25 Years after Peace Accords, Israel, Egypt Hit Low
    Twenty-five years after Egypt and Israel signed the historic Camp David peace accords, their strained marriage seems colder than ever. "Egypt no longer has an ambassador in Tel Aviv, political ties are bad, economic exchanges are frozen, and the Egyptian people are increasingly hostile toward Israel," said Egyptian researcher Emad Gad, a specialist in Israeli-Egyptian relations at the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. "Most of today's students were born after the return of Egyptian territory (in 1982), and that has not stopped them from listing Israel as the number one enemy," he said. Israel's ambassador to Egypt, Gideon Ben-Ami, said Israel's exports to Egypt have dropped from $47 million in 2001 to $22 million in 2002. Egyptian exports to Israel, especially oil, are stable at around $20.3 million annually. (AFP/SpaceDaily)
  • Syria: Where Time Stood Still in 1963 - Zvi Bar'el
    Leading Syrian intellectual Anton al-Maqdasi wrote an open letter in July to the head of domestic intelligence in Syria, Bahjat Suleiman: "It is astounding that the majority of Arab states act as if history was frozen in time when their revolutions began, that it simply stopped when they assumed power. In Egypt, that was the day the Free Officers expelled the royal regime and transformed Abdul Nasser into the paragon of Arab rule. In Syria, history was frozen in time in March 1963, in the coup that brought the Ba'ath into power." (Ha'aretz)
  • The Resuscitation of Anti-Semitism: An American Perspective - Interview with Abraham Foxman - Manfred Gerstenfeld
    The events of 9/11 and the Palestinian uprising and its ramifications in Europe have resuscitated anti-Semitism. In 1964, 30% of the American people were infected with serious anti-Semitic attitudes. By 1992 this had decreased to 20% and it further declined to 12% by 1998. In early 2002, the figure had increased to 17%. This means that 30 to 40 million Americans consider Jews to be too powerful and disloyal. 35-40% of African-Americans hold anti-Semitic views. Among foreign-born Hispanics, 44% are infected with anti-Semitism, though the figure for American-born Hispanics is 20%. Muslims are another above average anti-Semitic minority, even though their numbers are not yet significant. Political anti-Semitism in Europe is twice as high as in the U.S. About 500 Jews were killed in the World Trade Center, 15-17% of all the victims. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • David vs. Goliath - Michael Coren
    Israel is still David to the Arab world's Goliath. There are 23 Arab and Iranian police states and theocracies, and one democratic Israel. For every Israeli, there are 60 Arabs and Iranians. Israel has no oil reserves, the Arabs and Iranians have 2/3 of the world's oil. The Arabs and Iranians have 750 times the land of Israel, they have 14.6 times the GDP of Israel, they spend five times as much on arms. This does not include the rest of the Islamic world, which in large part supports the Arab nations and spews hatred towards Israel. (Toronto Sun)

    Weekend Features:

  • IDF Training Software to Go to U.S. Forces in Iraq - Arieh O'Sullivan
    The U.S. military has asked the Israeli army to translate its special educational software program that teaches soldiers how to behave in occupied territories, so U.S. forces can apply it in Iraq, senior Israeli officers said Wednesday. The software teaches the IDF's code of conduct, which deals with such issues as how to behave at roadblocks, during arrests and searches, and with rioters. "This is an interactive software program based on movie clips and animation aimed at teaching junior commanders the codes of conduct regarding the civilian population," said Lt.-Col. Amos Giora, Commandant of the IDF School of Military Law. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Peace through Industrial Parks
    On September 17th, Stef Wertheimer, a 77-year-old Israeli entrepreneur, arrived in Washington, D.C., seeking money and support to build industrial parks in the Arab world. In Israel, Wertheimer has built four industrial parks with 162 companies, mostly start-ups, using Arab and Jewish workers. Collectively, they produce $600m annually in products, largely for export. He is part-owner of two more parks under construction - near Istanbul, Turkey, and Aqaba, Jordan.
        It is hard to find any Arab country with an economic model capable of sustaining long-term growth. Those countries that are rich have oil and little else, and oil will not last forever. True, Dubai is turning itself into a tourism and banking hub, and one or two other Gulf states have other niche ambitions, but they are too small to transform the region. The only nation in the Middle East that has a sophisticated, dynamic economy is Israel. Despite decades of war and terrorism, and lacking natural resources, it has managed to develop world-class companies and a strong middle class. Yet its economic model has not been imitated elsewhere in the Middle East. (Economist-UK)
  • Women Called Mideast's Untapped Resource - Elizabeth Olson
    The World Bank said Tuesday that women remain a "huge, untapped" economic resource in the Middle East and North Africa. While in some countries women comprise as much as 63% of university students, they are only 32% of the labor force, according to the report, "Gender and Development in the Middle East and North Africa: Women in the Public Sphere." (New York Times)
  • Two Weeks at Camp David
    There was no love lost between Egypt's Anwar Sadat and Israel's Menachem Begin. But at the very brink of failure, they found a way to reach agreement. (Smithsonian)
  • Observations:

    Unfair and Unbalanced - Joshua Muravchik (Weekly Standard)

    • Tyrannies have often managed to compromise Western journalists - by threats, bribes, and trickery. The New York Times covered up the story of Soviet famines in the 1930s. The Times of London hailed Hitler's "night of long knives" as an effort to "impose a high standard on Nazi officials." Mao, Fidel, Ho, Ayatollah Khomeini, and the Nicaraguan Sandinistas all succeeded at whitewashing their portrayal in the Western media. To this list, we can add the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
    • I recently completed a study of coverage of the Palestinian intifada that found scores of stories displaying imbalance or outright inaccuracy tilted against Israel. Some of this reflected bias - not anti-Semitism, but the perception of the conflict as "an epic struggle of the weak against the strong." More often, however, the cause lay in the asymmetry of the news environments of a democracy and a tyranny.
    • Much investigative information embarrassing to Israel originates in the Israeli press, which is vibrant and often adversarial. There is, however, no comparable illumination of the warts on the other side. As Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh put it: "The PA exerts complete control over the media inside the territories."
    • The Palestinian Authority routinely uses violence and the threat of violence against journalists. Immediately after 9/11, the PA's cabinet secretary called news agencies, warning, as USA Today reported, that "the safety of their staff could not be guaranteed unless they withdrew the embarrassing footage of Palestinian police firing joyfully in the air."
    • Israeli spokesmen, like other Westerners, spin but rarely lie outright, knowing that a steep price would be exacted if they got caught. Palestinian spokesmen, in contrast, lie shamelessly. Arafat claimed to have ordered a "very serious investigation" of the Ramallah lynching. Palestinian spokesmen heatedly denied knowledge of the arms ship Karine-A. They all claimed a "massacre" had occurred in Jenin. All of these claims, and many more, were sheer nonsense.
    • The goal of balance cannot be achieved by a mechanical report of "he said, she said" when the two sides are so disparate in their fidelity to truth, the openness of their societies, and their willingness to resort to intimidation. Are there no techniques or canons of journalism that will avoid giving a tyranny the upper hand in the press when it takes on a democracy?

    The writer is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

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