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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October 7, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Two Iraqi WMD Scientists Shot for Helping U.S. - Tabassum Zakaria (Reuters)
    Two Iraqi scientists were shot in Baghdad after they talked to the U.S.-led team hunting weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and others believe they will be in danger if they collaborate in the search, Washington's chief weapons inspector David Kay said on Friday.
    One scientist was "assassinated literally hours after meeting" with a member of the WMD-hunting team, killed by a single shot to the back of his head outside his apartment, Kay said.
    Another scientist, who was "really golden for us," was shot six times but survived, Kay said. "The scientist who took six bullets was...key to starting our understanding of the biological weapons program and pointing us in the direction of others," he said.
    Kay said he was surprised by an extensive lab network found embedded in the Iraqi Intelligence Service, which was not declared to UN inspectors, and the extent to which Iraq had moved ahead in its missile program.
    See also Iraqis Offer Tips on Scud Missiles, Anthrax - David Ho (AP/Boston Globe)

FBI Sting Operation Funneled Money to Hamas (AP/Haaretz)
    In a counter-terrorism operation in 1998 and 1999 run out of the FBI's Phoenix office in cooperation with Israeli intelligence, the FBI secretly funneled money to suspected Hamas figures to see if it would be used for terrorist attacks, FBI officials said.
    Arizona businessman Harry Ellen, a Muslim convert, testified he permitted the FBI to bug his home, car and office, allowed his Muslim foundation's activities in the Gaza Strip to be monitored by agents, and gained personal access to Arafat during more than four years of cooperation with the FBI.
    Ellen's FBI handler was Kenneth Williams, an agent who later became famous for writing a pre-September 11 memo to FBI headquarters warning there were Arab pilots training at U.S. flight schools.

U.S. Pilots Being Trained to Shoot Down Hijacked Jets - Eric Schmitt (Scotsman-UK)
    The U.S. military practices how to shoot down hijacked commercial airliners as often as three to four times a week, said Air Force Gen. Ralph Eberhart, who heads the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
    A year ago, Vice President Dick Cheney revealed that on 9/11, President Bush had ordered the shooting down of any more passenger aircraft that imperiled Washington.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Israel Attacks Terrorist Camp in Syria
    Israel launched a surprise airstrike deep in Syrian territory on Sunday, the first Israeli attack inside Syria in 30 years, bombing what it called a Palestinian terrorist training camp to retaliate for a suicide bombing in northern Israel. Israel said the Ain Saheb camp, about 10 miles northwest of Damascus, had served as a training ground for several Palestinian factions, including Islamic Jihad and Hamas. A senior Israeli security official said Islamic Jihad leaders in Syria played a detailed role in orchestrating Saturday's bombing, and that their involvement contributed to Israel's decision to strike at the target in Syria. The Israeli military released video footage of the camp broadcast on Iranian television several months ago, showing a man in a military uniform giving a tour of a base with underground rooms and tunnels heavily stocked with weaponry. (New York Times)
  • Bush: Israel Must Defend Itself
    President Bush Monday defended Israel's decision to drop bombs on an alleged terrorist training camp in Syria, telling reporters he had said to Prime Minister Sharon that "Israel's got a right to defend herself; that Israel must not feel constrained in terms of defending the homeland." Bush's comments, especially his use of the word "homeland" and its connotations to the U.S. war on terrorism, made it clear the Bush administration is firmly on Israel's side. "The speech I gave June 24, 2002, should explain to the world and to the American people the policy of this government," Bush said. "For us, the basic document is the June 24th speech," a senior administration official said. "The road map is simply an effort to implement it. We were telling people from the very beginning that the road map is not a bible." (Washington Post)
        See also Bush Tells Israel It Has the Right to Defend Itself: President Says Sharon "Must Not Feel Constrained" in Battling Terror Attacks (New York Times)
  • Qurei Says He Won't Confront Militants
    Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said Monday, a day after taking office, that he hopes to impose order in the Palestinian areas and end what he has called the "chaos of weapons," but said he has not yet worked out a security plan. However, he is adamant there will be no clampdown on militants. "We will not confront, we will not go for a civil war," he said. (AP/USA Today)
  • Congressional Support for Strike on Syrian Base
    Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., compared Israel's military action to U.S. strikes against al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan. "Unfortunately, the Syrians have continued to refuse American demands that they break up terrorist bases and headquarters in their country," he said. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said Israel had a right to go after its attackers where they are being trained. (AP/Napa News)
        See also US Accuses Syria of Not Fully Cooperating in War on Terrorism (VOA)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • 19 Dead, 60 Wounded in Haifa Restaurant Bombing - David Ratner, Amos Harel, Yossi Verter, and Arnon Regular
    At least 19 people were killed and more than 60 wounded when a woman suicide bomber blew herself up in a popular Haifa restaurant Saturday. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Haifa Bombing Devastates Families
    Liran Zer-Aviv was to have celebrated his fourth birthday with classmates at nursery school on Sunday. Liran, 4, his baby sister Noya, 1, his parents B'tzalel, 30, and Keren, 29, and grandmother Bruriya, 54, all residents of Kibbutz Yagur, were killed in Saturday's blast in a Haifa restaurant. Zeev Almog, 71, former commander of the Acre naval training base, his wife Ruti, 70, his son Moshe, 43, and his grandson Tomer, 9, all died at the family lunch. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Former Fort Worth Student, 11, Killed in Haifa Bombing
    Asaf Shtaier, 11, who until two years ago attended Fort Worth Hebrew Day School, died in the attack Saturday. The boy's mother, Galit Shtaier, was hospitalized with severe injuries. Galit Shtaier's parents, Zeev and Ruti Almog, were killed in the bombing. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
  • IDF Soldier Killed by Gunfire Near Metula - Amos Harel and Uri Ash
    Staff Sergeant David Solomonov, 21, of the Golani brigade was killed Monday by gunmen who opened fire on IDF troops on the Israeli side of the Israel-Lebanon border near Metula. Solomonov, who immigrated to Israel with his family from Pennsylvania at the age of 13, was to be released from the army in a week. Five mortars were fired from Lebanon late Monday night into Israel, landing near Kibbutz Menara. (Ha'aretz/Jerusalem Post)
  • Arafat Reported Seriously Ill - Khaled Abu Toameh
    A senior PA official said Arafat's health has rapidly deteriorated over the past two weeks. On Sunday, when a pale and fragile-looking Arafat met in his office with new PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, Palestinians said they have never before seen Arafat in such a condition. "You can see that he's very ill," said someone who attended the meeting. "He can hardly speak. Something bad is happening to him." At first, his aides suspected that he had been poisoned. A journalist in Ramallah quoted a senior PA official as saying that "Arafat's days are numbered." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Islamic Jihad in West Bank Still Receives Instructions from Syria - Amos Harel
    The camp targeted in Syria does not belong to Islamic Jihad, but to Ahmed Jibril's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. However, Islamic Jihad activists often train there. Denials from Damascus notwithstanding, Israel (and Western intelligence services) knows full well that the camp is the training ground for terrorists from Palestinian and international organizations. Money and instructions to Islamic Jihad still flow from Syria to the West Bank. The organization's head, Dr. Ramadan Shalah, operates from Damascus. This kind of activity cannot proceed without a nod from the Syrians. (Ha'aretz)
  • The Price of Indulgence - Editorial
    Syria has a long history of complicity with terrorism, whether Hizballah in southern Lebanon, or Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, all of which have representatives in Damascus. The Sharon government is, therefore, perfectly justified in striking a neighbor that sponsors groups wishing to drive the Israelis into the sea. That this is the first such attack in more than 20 years suggests that the Assad regime has been treated with remarkable indulgence. Israel and its closest ally, the U.S., should now put a concerted squeeze on Syrian meddling, both to the east in Iraq and to the west in Israel and the territories. Allied policy should also aim at freeing Lebanon from what amounts to a Syrian protectorate. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Assad's Predicament - Gal Luft
    Bashar Assad's insistence on harboring some of the world's most deadly terrorist groups is getting him in trouble. Hizballah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad all have an agenda larger than fighting Israel. Many of their operatives have crossed the Syrian-Iraqi border in order to take part in the jihad against the U.S. Intelligence sources have reported that Hizballah might already be planning a big attack inside Iraq. (National Review)
  • U.S. Policy Change Taking Shape Over Syria - Warren P. Strobel
    Following Israel's attack on an a terrorist training camp in Syria, a harsher policy toward Damascus is taking shape on Capitol Hill and in the Bush administration. Hawks at the Pentagon haven't given up on the idea of "regime change" in Damascus and recently asked the CIA to come up with a list of Syrian notables who might one day succeed Bashar Assad. Syria "is living on borrowed time," a State Department official said recently. The House International Relations Committee is scheduled on Wednesday to approve the Syria Accountability Act, which would encourage Bush to impose new economic and diplomatic sanctions on Assad's government. (Knight Ridder/Contra Costa Times)
  • Observations:

    Palestinians Oppose the Fence Because It Stops Their Exercise of a Creeping Right of Return - Amos Harel (Haaretz - 5-Oct-03)

    • Maj.-Gen. Giora Eiland, head of the IDF Planning Branch, claims that the main reason the Palestinians oppose the fence comes from the fact that it separates Israeli Arabs from the Palestinians in the territories and makes the de-facto exercise of the right of return difficult.
    • The Palestinian worldview has been based on a concept of a creeping right of return. Inside the pre-1967 "green line" there are 130,000 Palestinians from the territories who entered Israel permissibly and became Israeli citizens through family unification arrangements. According to estimates, there are a similar number of Palestinians from the territories who are in Israel illegally.
    • The real threat to Israel is not just terrorism but rather the combination of terrorism and demography.

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