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 25, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Plot to Hit El Al Planes in Thailand Thwarted (Reuters)
    Members of the Southeast Asian militant network Jemaah Islamiah were planning to attack Israeli planes in Bangkok when they were captured last month, Thailand's prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra said Wednesday.
    A senior Thai security official said a Malaysian called Li-Li who was caught in August admitted he was planning the attacks.

Law and Order in the PA - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Associated Press photographer Nasser Shoukhi was attacked and wounded in the PA-controlled part of Hebron on Monday by three assailants, who also destroyed his car. A relative said the three men who beat him belonged to a rival clan in the city.
    On Tuesday, the family of the suspected attackers asked for a temporary truce in the presence of some 500 representatives of local clans and institutions.
    "We are living in a jungle where many people take the law into their own hands," said a Palestinian journalist in Hebron.
    In Gaza City, unidentified gunmen kidnapped a female worker of the PA Ministry of Health and shot her in the leg. "At the entrance to the clinic, three heavily armed men walked up to me, put a sack on my head, handcuffed me and pushed me into a car," she recounted.

Behind the Attack on Sharansky (Caravan for Democracy)
    The man who "pied" Sharansky last week at Rutgers, Abe Greenhouse, 25, is no prankster. Earlier this summer, he was arrested in Israel along with other ISM militants for interfering with Israeli security operations.
    A member of the International Solidarity Movement, he defiled the Western Wall recently with a note, "End the mother**** occupation!"

New Holiday Pledge Card: Visit Israel - Ron Kampeas (JTA)
    A pledge card slated to land on thousands of pews this Rosh Hashanah comes from a grass-roots campaign asking for pledges from Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and Reconstructionist congregants to visit Israel in 5764.
    This year, the number of tourists to Israel likely will reach 1.3 million - a 50% rise - thanks mostly to the rise in Jewish tourism, particularly from the U.S.
    The pledge card campaign is being run in coordination with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and all the major denominational streams.
    See also U.S. Synagogues Urging Tourism to Israel (AP/Newsday)

Key Links

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Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Cutting Off Saudi and Persian Gulf Funds to Hamas an Uphill Road, Treasury Official Says
    Officials told a House Financial Services subcommittee Wednesday that the U.S. has taken steps against Hamas, its officials, and charities believed to be sending money to the group, and has pushed other countries to sever Hamas from their financial systems. Those actions "have dramatic impact only when we can convince the rest of the world to act with us," said David Aufhauser, Treasury's general counsel. "It has been an uphill road with Hamas." "Some sources estimate that as much as half of Hamas's income is derived from money raised in the Persian Gulf, including the kingdom of Saudi Arabia," Aufhauser said. John Pistole, assistant director of the FBI's counterterrorism division, said that based on U.S. intelligence, Hamas's annual budget is estimated to be at least $50 million. (AP/San Francisco Chronicle)
  • UK Recalls MI6 Link to Hamas
    Britain has ordered MI6 agent Alistair Crooke to leave Jerusalem. Crooke, 54, provided Britain with its only direct contact with Hamas and other organizations officially shunned by the UK. But his associates say he is being forced out by the Foreign Office, which they claim is increasingly reluctant to challenge Israel's pledge to "obliterate terrorist groups." Crooke engineered several truces between the Israelis and Palestinians during the past three years. Crooke continued to argue that Hamas was ready to enter the political process, but he was criticized by Israeli and Palestinian officials including PA security minister Mohammed Dahlan, who complained that Crooke gave too much prominence to Hamas. (Guardian-UK)
  • Iraqi Council Denies Access to Two Arab Satellite Networks
    Iraq's Governing Council banned two popular Arab satellite television stations - al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya - from covering the council's news conferences and entering government ministries for two weeks because of what it called "irresponsible activities" that threaten the country's "democracy and stability" and encourage terrorism. (Washington Post)
  • Washington Demonstration Protests Saudi Terror Funding
    Jews and Christians gathered outside the Saudi Arabian embassy in the nation's capital Wednesday to protest that country's alleged support and funding of terrorism. "Saudi $ = terror," read one sign, "President Bush, Time to Get Tough with Saudis," read another. Chants of "Export Oil, Not Terror" filled the air. "The Saudi Arabian government is supplying terrorist organizations with the funding they need to carry out their murderous missions," Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said, speaking through a bullhorn outside the embassy. (CNSNews)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • IDF Soldier, 4 Terrorists, Killed in Fighting - Arieh O'Sullivan
    Israeli security forces killed at least four Islamic Jihad terrorists in two separate raids Thursday, in which one IDF soldier was killed and six were wounded. As Givati Brigade troops entered the house of Islamic Jihad terrorist Faris Shahin in the Boureij refugee camp in Gaza, a gunman ambushed the squad, killing St.-Sgt. Avihu Kaynan, 22, and wounding six other soldiers. In Hebron, the elite Border Police commando unit, Yamam, killed two Islamic Jihad leaders in a firefight. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Group Tied to Saudis Behind Murder of British Weapons Expert in Iraq - Joel Leyden
    The murder of Ian Rimell, a 53-year-old British bomb disposal expert in Iraq, on September 4, has been claimed by the Saudi-linked terrorist group Al-Jama'a Al-Salafiya Al-Mujahida. The claim was found on the group's Arabic-language website by Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi, during private research for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Israel News Agency/IMRA)
        See also Who is Taking Credit for Attacks on the U.S. Army in Western Iraq? Al-Jama'a al-Salafiya al-Mujahida (ICA/JCPA)
  • Pilots Refusing to Serve in Territories to be Dismissed - Amos Harel
    In response to a letter signed by 27 reserve pilots refusing to take part in operations in the territories, Air Force Commander Dan Halutz on Thursday issued an order to ground the nine pilots who still do active duty with the force. If the pilots do not retract their statement, they will be dismissed from active service. Former president and one-time air force commander Ezer Weizman said the group lacked "morality," that their letter was a "disgrace," and that they should "put their tail between their legs" and get out of the air force "as quickly as possible." He likened the call to refuse orders to a "cancer" which had to be cut out "immediately, before it spreads." (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Pilots' Controversy - Nahum Barnea
    The path to hell is paved with good intentions and, unfortunately, the 27 air force pilots who signed the letter decided to go all the way. Their rationale is lame, and their conclusion impossible. There isn't, nor can there be, an army by request. The pilots' letter teaches that something is happening in the Israeli Left. A few of the older signers were among the founders of "Peace Now." For them the call for soldiers' refusal to serve is new. Terrorism brings out the worst not just from the Sharon government, it also brings out the worst from the "Peace Now" pilots. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • Arafat's Bonus Round - Romesh Ratnesar
    In a meeting with Fatah leaders last Thursday, Arafat shouted down anyone who dared to question his choices for the new cabinet. Arafat's aides acknowledge that he did indeed subvert Abbas, who was once Arafat's first lieutenant. "He felt that Abu Mazen was going to take his crown," says a senior Arafat aide. "Arafat's morale is high," says a top Palestinian official, "not because of Israel's threat against him but because he got rid of Abu Mazen." Many top Palestinian officials believe Arafat's strategy is to eviscerate all credible alternatives to his leadership, leaving the U.S. no choice but to prod Israel to resume peace talks with him. U.S. and Israeli officials say they have no interest in giving Arafat another chance. (Time)
  • Road Map Rubble - Arnold Beichman
    No matter what Israel gives or pledges to give, there will be no peace now or in the foreseeable future because neither Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt or, most visibly, Osama bin Laden will permit Israel, a democratic, modern state, to exist. In other words, "peace negotiations" are not about giving up the settlements or some other fictitious issue. They are about Israel's existence. Gulf War III now under way in Iraq is an Arab war to prevent another democracy from being created in the Middle East - a Muslim democracy. (Washington Times)
  • Observations:

    Fighting Terrorism for Humanity - Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom (IMRA)

    Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told the International Conference on Fighting Terrorism for Humanity in New York on Monday:

    • This is a war that none of us seek. But if our way of life is to survive, this is a war we must fight with the full force of our conviction. The family of nations must rise as one to the challenge of terrorism.
    • First, terrorists must be denied access to the money which helps them fund their activities. I praise the recent decisions by the U.S., the EU, and others to prevent the flow of money to Hamas.
    • Second, terrorists must be denied the space from which they plan and carry out their wanton crimes. States which harbor terrorists and give them shelter are accomplices in the acts of terror themselves. They must be held to account for their crimes.
    • Third, terrorists must be denied the moral legitimacy which they use to justify their actions. Too often, empathy for the Palestinian people has been translated into empathy for suicide bombers and those who encourage them.
    • Fourth, it is not enough to challenge the infrastructure of terror. We must also build an infrastructure of peace. It is imperative that we show humanity where the terrorists show none.
    • In the ten years since Arafat committed himself to resolving all issues between Israel and the Palestinians through peaceful means, 1,126 Israelis have been murdered in more than 19,000 terrorist attacks, including 102 suicide bomb attacks. In relative numbers, this would be the same as 56,000 Americans dying from terrorism. This carnage must stop.

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