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 9, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Arafat's Medical Condition - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    A joint team of Jordanian and Egyptian physicians arrived in Ramallah Wednesday to treat Arafat for a mysterious virus amid reports that his health was rapidly deteriorating.
    Dr. Yousef Qassous, a heart specialist who examined Arafat last week, said the report in the Guardian on Wednesday that Arafat suffered a mild heart attack was "untrue."

    See also Arafat Has Hepatitis - Ben Caspit (Maariv-Hebrew)
    Official Israeli sources said Thursday that Arafat has hepatitis type B.

20-Year Water Purchase Agreement with Turkey - Mustafa Ozge (Zaman-Turkey)
    Israel's Minister of Infrastructure Joseph Paritzky announced Friday in Istanbul that an understanding was reached between the two countries regarding the transfer of Manavgat river water to Israel - the "transfer of 15 million cubic meters of water for the next 20 years."
    A formal agreement is expected to be signed soon. Paritzky was attending the Sixth Eurasia Economy Summit, held at Istanbul's Chamber of Commerce.

India Commissions Israel-Built Ship (The Hindu-India)
    Indian Navy's coastal defense capabilities have been bolstered with the commissioning of the fastest ship in its fleet, a naval fast attack craft built by Israel Aircraft Industries.
    The craft can travel at a speed of 40 knots for 550 miles, and its night vision device can target an adversary from two kms away.

Money Laundering Watchdog Gives Israel All Clear - Hadas Magen (Globes)
    The OECD Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) will cease its money laundering monitoring of Israel, FATF's representative informed Israel's Ministry of Justice.
    The move follows a decision taken by FATF in Stockholm last week that Israel meets international standards for combating money laundering.

Israel Develops Alzheimer's Guide Dogs (Israel21c)
    Israeli social worker Daphna Golan-Shemesh and professional dog trainer Yariv Ben Yosef have trained Polly, a collie, as the first guide dog and companion for people suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease.
    Ben Yosef is confident that Alzheimer's dogs will some day be as common as guide dogs for the blind.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Panel Approves Sanctions on Syria with White House Support
    The House International Relations Committee Wednesday approved a proposal that allows the president to cut diplomatic contacts and block American investment if Syria supports groups involved in terror. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the administration would no longer resist the sanctions, as it had previously. House officials said they viewed the White House statements as a clear sign that President Bush would sign the measure. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Syria had been warned that without significant action against groups linked to terror, the nation would face sanctions. "Frankly, the Syrians have done so little with regard to terrorism that we don't have a lot to work with," he said. (New York Times)
  • Suicide Car Bomber Kills 8 at Baghdad Police Station
    A suicide car bomber crashed through the gates of a police station in a Shi'ite Muslim district of Baghdad Thursday, killing at least three policemen and five civilians and wounding scores. (Reuters/New York Times)
        See also Spanish Diplomat Shot Dead in Baghdad (Reuters/New York Times)
  • Iraqi Leaders Condemn Plan for Troops From Turkey
    Reacting to the prospect of up to 10,000 Turkish troops deploying in Iraq, Iraq's interim leaders Wednesday said they do not want soldiers from neighboring countries meddling in their affairs. Most Turks are Sunni Muslims and their troops would likely be stationed in the fractious Sunni areas west of Baghdad that have been the spots of greatest difficulty for American soldiers, though Turkish public opinion seems largely opposed to the deployment. On Thursday, all 24 members of the Iraqi Governing Council are expected to release a statement condemning the deployment. (New York Times)
        See also Iraq Council Seeks Compromise with U.S. on Turkey (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinians Shoot at IDF Ambulance, Wound Three - Arieh O'Sullivan
    Palestinian gunmen opened fire on an IDF ambulance near Nablus Wednesday night, wounding three soldiers, two seriously. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Foreign, Defense Ministers Brief Cabinet - Herb Keinon
    Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told the cabinet Wednesday that Arafat continues to call the shots for the PA and is continuing to distribute funds to terrorist organizations. Shalom said that new PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei will likely disperse some demonstrations and collect some illegal arms, but has not made a strategic decision to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure. According to Shalom, Qurei may try to temporarily halt terrorist attacks to show the world that Arafat is "capable of delivering the goods," thereby "throwing the ball back into Israel's court."
        Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, in his cabinet briefing, reported that it is likely the suicide bomber responsible for Saturday's attack in Haifa was smuggled into Israel in a car bearing Israeli license plates. He said there is a connection between the attack and the Islamic Jihad infrastructure based in Damascus. Mofaz ordered that both regular and reserve IDF units be reinforced in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip based on "operational needs." Regarding the IAF attack inside Syria, Mofaz said the target was an active terrorist training base and some people were in the camp at the time of the attack. He said the raid has brought to the world's attention the connection between terrorism inside Israel and the terrorist infrastructure that exists in Syria. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Cabinet Communique (Cabinet Secretariat/IMRA)
        See also Israel Explains Why Syrian Base Was Empty
    A suspected Islamic Jihad training camp in Syria, hit in an Israeli airstrike, was almost empty because its forces were out on maneuvers at the time of the attack, Israel's defense minister told a cabinet meeting Wednesday. (AP/ABC)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Arabs Lack a Credible Deterrent Capability - Patrick Seale
    Today's decimated and divided Arab world is bereft of all nationalist pride, lacking any solidarity or self-confidence, more subject to foreign domination than at any time since the Second World War, and at war with its own angry citizens. The Arabs, for all their numbers, their oil wealth, their inflated military budgets, and their large educated elite, have failed to win protection for themselves by acquiring a credible deterrent capability. North Korea has managed to compel the U.S. to negotiate with it rather than to hit it (perhaps because it has China behind it). Iran seems to have secured a measure of immunity from military attack.
        Hizballah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and, in its different way, al-Qaeda, have sought to establish a real form of deterrence. Hizballah has so far been the most successful. Israel knows that if it hits Lebanon, Hizballah will respond with rocket attacks against its towns and villages. (Gulf News-UAE)
  • Nothing to Talk About - David Ignatius
    Is there any way to stop the horrifying dance of death between Israel and its enemies? Are there terms under which Islamic militants might agree to halt their suicide bombings? In an interview at his heavily guarded offices in Beirut last week, Hizballah head Hasan Nasrallah said, "I can't imagine a situation, based on the nature of the Israeli project and the nature of the Israeli leaders, where the Palestinians would agree to lay down arms." Like most discussions of terrorism I've had in the Arab world, it was a formulaic exchange in which the question and answer seemed to come from different moral universes. (Washington Post)
  • The Intifada Lasted Two Months - Ben Caspit
    "What intifada?" the IDF asks. An intifada is a popular uprising and the current war is not that. For two months (from the end of September to November 2000), the Palestinians held large street demonstrations that included school children, until this was stopped after a delegation of Palestinian mothers confronted Arafat. The popular uprising ended in November 2000. Since then, the struggle has been with murderous terrorist groups, an infrastructure (the Tanzim) of what was once the Palestinian Authority, and countless lawless gangs operating in the streets and in the countryside. (Maariv-Hebrew, 5-Oct-03)
  • Palestinian Death Cult - Mark Steyn
    The Palestinian death cult negates all the assumptions of Western sentimental pacifism. I spent a short time on the West Bank earlier this spring and felt I was in a wholly diseased environment. On the West Bank, almost all the humdrum transactions of daily life take place in a culture that glorifies depravity: you walk down a street named after a suicide bomber to drop your child in a school that celebrates suicide-bombing and then pick up some groceries in a corner store whose walls are plastered with portraits of suicide bombers. You cannot have a real peace with such people.
        The problem is not the security fence but the psychological fence - a chasm that separates a sizable proportion of the Palestinian population from all Jews. For six decades, nothing the Palestinians have done has made sense if the objective is to secure a state of their own. But if the objective is to kill Jews, it all makes perfect sense. That's why, in West Bank towns, you see no evidence of nationalist fervor, only of Jew-killing fervor. The Palestinian Authority is part of America's war on terror in exactly the way Saddam was. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    International Law Does Not Permit Deliberate Targeting of Civilians
    - Ruth Wedgwood (Wall Street Journal)

    • Under the mandate of UN Security Council Resolution 1373, states are no longer at liberty to serve as a landlord or a supply house in aiding terrorist groups. They must shut down terrorist financing and training, and arrest or exclude the actors who seek to maim and kill civilians as a political technique. Yet Syria has elevated the Arab League convention on terrorism, adopted in Cairo in April 1998, above its obligations to the UN.
    • Syria and the Arab League are in a legal cul-de-sac. The international law of armed conflict does not permit the deliberate targeting of civilians by suicide bombings, no matter what the occasion or cause for struggle.
    • Damascus must understand that it is not safe or sane to allow guerrilla leaders to set up command posts or training camps on its territory. Sovereign borders will not serve as a one-way valve for guerrilla attacks abroad.
    • September 11 has changed the standards of state responsibility. All civilians, Israeli and Palestinian alike, deserve protection against suicide attacks. Terrorism is the deliberate use of force against protected persons. It is not defined by the political objectives of the actor.
    • The standards of international humanitarian law and the law of armed conflict, set by treaty and international custom, make no exception for passionate liberators who wish to target seaside cafes crowded with Arab and Jewish civilians. The identity of the suicide bomber points out the tragedy of this intellectual and moral confusion. The bomber was a young Palestinian woman, with a life ahead of her. She was also a lawyer.

    The writer is a professor of international law and diplomacy at Johns Hopkins and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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