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 10, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Report: Israeli Airman Ron Arad Seen Alive Near Tehran - Roni Shaked (Ha'aretz/Yediot Ahronot)
    Missing Air Force navigator Ron Arad is alive and held by Iranian intelligence in a small, secret jail near Tehran, Yediot Ahronot reported Friday, quoting three Iranian exiles - a diplomat and two former intelligence officials. Arad has been missing since his plane was downed over Lebanon in 1986.
    According to one of the sources, Arad was transferred from Lebanon via Syria to Iran in mid-1994. Before the trip he underwent an operation to paralyze his legs in order to prevent him from escaping.
    The source said Arad had attempted to escape while he was in Lebanon, and was then shot and wounded by his guards.
    The source said he worked in the prison Arad was taken to, near Tehran, and that he had access to Arad's files. He said he saw Arad several times and even exchanged words with him.

Is al-Qaeda Making Anthrax? - Mark Phillips (CBS News)
    Al-Qaeda may be hard at work trying to produce weaponized anthrax and other biological weapons, according to information U.S. interrogators have extracted from top al Qaeda operative "Hambali," arrested in Thailand last August and accused of masterminding last year's terrorist bombing in Bali that killed more than 200 people and last summer's Jakarta hotel blast that left another 12 people dead.
    Hambali said he had been "working on an al-Qaeda anthrax program in Kandahar," Afghanistan, with Yazid Sufaat, who had received a degree in chemistry and laboratory science from California State University in Sacramento.
    In October 2001, during the U.S. bombing campaign in Afghanistan, Hambali and Sufaat fled to neighboring Pakistan, where they discussed "continuing the anthrax program in Indonesia."
    While intelligence agents say the terrorists haven't managed to obtain the sort of anthrax strain that can be easily spread, they remain concerned that somewhere in the region they're still trying.

U.S. Congress Approves $145M for Arrow Anti-Missile Missile Development - Yitzhak Ben-Horin (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
    The U.S. Congress has approved $144.8 million for the development of Israel's Arrow missile project and the production of missiles for Israel's defense in 2004.
    Congress added $80 million to the administration's recommended $64.8 million. Last year's U.S. support was $70 million.
    Congress also approved $57 million for the continuation of a project utilizing lasers to defend Israel's northern border from katyusha rockets, a joint project first agreed upon by President Clinton and Prime Minister Peres in 1996.
    The administration had requested $40 million and Congress added $17 million.
    Two weeks ago, the Indian prime minister asked the U.S. to sell it Patriot missiles, reinforced by Arrow missiles.

Israel Inks Deal with Russia, India for Early-Warning Aircraft - Amnon Barzilai (Ha'aretz)
    An agreement on cooperation in the production of Phalcon early-warning aircraft for the Indian Air Force will be signed Friday in New Delhi between India, Russia, and Israel.
    The value of the deal is estimated at $1 billion and involves the incorporation of Israeli radar technology into Russian-made transport aircraft.

In Israel, Arab Victims of Palestinian Violence Grow to Fear Their Brethren (AP/MSNBC)
    Ever since a suicide bomber exploded near him in May, putting him in a coma for three weeks, Haitham Hamoud, an Arab citizen of Israel, has found himself crossing the street at the sight of Palestinian strangers from the West Bank or Gaza heading his way.
    On Saturday, four Israeli Arabs were among 20 people killed when a suicide bomber in Haifa attacked a beachfront restaurant co-owned by Arabs and Jews.
    In an earlier incident, after Yousef, an Arab from east Jerusalem and not an Israeli citizen, was seriously wounded in a Palestinian attack, his brother told an Israeli TV station that the attack was terrorism.
    Many of their Palestinian neighbors took exception and shunned the family; others made threats.
    ''Some people suggested I was a collaborator,'' said Yousef.
    To be accused of collaborating with Israeli authorities can be tantamount to a death sentence.

FBI: Jews Need Not Apply for Arabic Linguist Jobs - Paul Sperry (WorldNetDaily)
    Despite a shortage of Arabic translators, the FBI turned down applications for linguist jobs from nearly 100 Arabic-speaking Jews in New York following the World Trade Center attacks.
    Some of the more than 90 applicants had helped translate Arabic for Israeli radio and TV news stations and the Israeli army before coming to America, said Doug Balin, director of the Sephardic Bikur Holim, a Jewish social-services agency in Brooklyn, N.Y.
    The FBI has been hard-pressed to clear a large backlog of untranslated documents and recorded dialogue in Arabic, information that could produce clues to terrorist plots in the U.S.

Shedding Light on a Symbol of Iraqi Terror - Peter Finn (Washington Post)
    Prisoners were brought to Iraq's most feared Abu Ghraib prison in an ice-cream truck, a soft cone painted on its side.
    Some of those in the ice-cream van, facing 20 years in this prison rather than death, wondered if they were the unlucky ones.
    Thousands more who eluded the hangman were forced to survive in overcrowded, putrescent, disease-infested cells where the threat of violence, including beatings, torture, and summary execution, was ever-present.

New York State Invests in Israel - Zeev Klein (Globes)
    On the eve of the Jewish New Year, New York State comptroller Alan Hevesi conveyed official greetings to the State of Israel, accompanied by a $20 million check given to State of Israel Bonds president and CEO Joshua Matza last week.
    The Israel Bonds were purchased as an investment by the New York State Common Retirement Fund.

Key Links

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Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Construction Spotted at Syrian Camp Hit by Israel
    The Syrian target that Israeli warplanes struck last weekend had been the site of recent construction, possibly to prepare it for use by the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, senior American officials briefed on intelligence reports said Thursday. Improvements to the camp could only have been carried out with the knowledge and acquiescence of the Syrian government. The site, 15 miles northwest of Damascus, has been used for training in the last six months by two smaller, less active, Palestinian militant groups, but the new construction, detected by American spy satellites, together with human intelligence reports indicating that Islamic Jihad might be preparing to use the site, were particularly worrisome. Reports indicated that the Syrian site might also be used in the future for attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq. (New York Times)
  • Hamas Leaders Keep Low Profile
    Since Israeli forces began targeting senior Hamas operatives seven weeks ago in retaliation for a spate of deadly suicide bombings, many of the group's top leaders, who are based in the Gaza Strip, have gone deep underground, hampering the organization's ability to operate and mount major terrorist attacks, experts and sources close to the group say. "Leaders from Hamas feel that all the time they are in danger," said Ghazi Hamad, editor of a pro-Hamas newspaper in Gaza. "They're continuing operations, but not in such a comprehensive way as before." Israeli actions have "brought them to the understanding that Israel knows every minute where they are," said Israeli terrorism expert Shalom Harari. "That has led to much deeper hiding than before, which paralyzes their ability to coordinate." (Los Angeles Times)
  • Israel Demands Withdrawal of UN Food Report
    Israel on Thursday demanded the withdrawal of a UN report on the food situation in the Palestinian territories, claiming the author is politically biased. Yaakov Levy, Israel's ambassador in Geneva, wrote to the chairwoman of the UN Human Rights Commission demanding that Jean Ziegler's report be "deemed unfit for presentation." Ziegler is a member of the board of directors of the Tel-Aviv based Alternative Information Center, "a politically biased non-governmental organization," said Levy. Ziegler, a Swiss sociology professor, is the UN's independent expert on the right to food. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Thousands Attend Pro-Israel Rally in New Jersey, Including Governor, Senators
    New Jersey's governor and senators joined thousands Thursday night at a pro-Israel rally at Rutgers University. "Israel should make no concession until terrorism is eliminated," Gov. James McGreevey told Israel supporters. "Never has Israel, or would Israel, target innocents." The rally was organized by Jewish groups in response to recent anti-Semitic vandalism at Rutgers and a scheduled pro-Palestinian conference this weekend in New Brunswick. (AP/San Francisco Chronicle)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • IDF Moves to Close Gaza Smuggling Tunnels - Amos Harel
    IDF forces advanced into Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday in an operation meant to expose and seal tunnels used to smuggle arms from Egypt. At least three Palestinian gunmen were reported killed. Security sources said Palestinians were attempting to acquire missiles that could knock out tanks [Sagger missiles] and aircraft [Stinger missiles], weapons they have not used thus far. The Stingers could shoot down the attack helicopters Israel often uses in operations in Gaza, the sources said. Stinger missiles could also threaten Israeli warplanes or civilian aircraft flying close to Gaza. Israeli military sources said Israel had intelligence warnings that Palestinians were planning to use tunnels under the border to smuggle in weapons that could have a strategic impact on the conflict, but the Egyptians were not taking steps to stop them. The operation was larger in scope than previous ones because of the threat of the new range of weapons set to be smuggled, Israeli military sources said. (Ha'aretz)
        See also IDF Operation in Rafah for Uncovering Weapons Smuggling Tunnels
    The city of Rafah is the main venue for smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip and is a hotbed for terrorist activity. It should be emphasized that the weapons smuggling tunnels are mainly dig from the houses of local Palestinian residents. Since the beginning of the year over 30 weaponry smuggling tunnels were uncovered; since September 2000, over 70 tunnels were uncovered. (IDF Spokesman);
        Background: Rafah Weapon Smuggling Tunnels (IDF)
  • Suicide Bomber Strikes DCO in Tulkarm - Amos Harel
    Two soldiers and a Palestinian were wounded Thursday by a suicide bomber who blew himself up at the public reception offices of the District Coordination Offices at the entrance to Tulkarm, the office where Palestinians apply for permits to cross checkpoints on humanitarian grounds. One soldier sustained moderate to serious wounds. Brig.-Gen. Ilan Paz, head of the Civil Administration in the West Bank, said that bullet-proof glass in the reception area saved the lives of the soldiers behind the glass. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, aligned with Fatah, claimed responsibility. (Ha'aretz)
  • Qurei Does Not Want to be PM - Arnon Regular and Aluf Benn
    Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) informed Arafat Thursday that he wished to be relieved of the responsibility of forming a new Palestinian government. The announcement came following a meeting of the Palestinian Legislative Council, which dispersed once it became clear that Qurei had failed to garner sufficient support in the parliament for approval of his government. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Feud Erupts Anew Between Arafat and His Premier (New York Times)
  • Jerusalem Arabs Aiding Terrorists - Etgar Lefkovits
    The majority of Palestinian suicide bombings in the capital over the last three years were carried out with the assistance of Jerusalem Arabs, security officials said this week. An increasing number of the city's 230,000 Arabs are being enlisted by terrorist organizations in the West Bank as accomplices. Exploiting the freedom of movement afforded them by their Israeli ID cards, Jerusalem Arabs are ideal for scouting targets, getting bombers into Jerusalem, and driving them to the site of the attack. At least 70 Jerusalem Arabs have been indicted for such crimes over the last three years, with the Shin Bet attributing the direct aid of Jerusalem Arabs to at least 12 major suicide bombings. This Wednesday, police announced that three Jerusalem Arabs with suspected Hamas ties were arrested for assisting the bomber who blew up a No. 2 bus in August, killing 23 people. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Haifa Bombing Death Toll Rises to 20
    Lydia Zilberstein, 58, of Haifa, died Friday as a result of injuries sustained at the Maxim Restaurant suicide bombing attack on Oct. 4, bringing the death toll in that attack to 20. Her husband Gidon was wounded moderately in the attack. (Jerusalem Post/Yediot Ahronot)
  • "Dangerous Developments" in the Security Council - Melissa Radler
    As Israel lobbies against a UN Security Council draft resolution that condemns its Sunday missile strike in Syria, new "dangerous developments" are taking place inside the council, Ambassador Dan Gillerman said Wednesday. A Palestinian-backed, Syrian-sponsored draft resolution demanding that Israel halt construction of its security fence, and tear down sections that are already built, will be introduced into the council Friday at the request of the Arab League. An additional resolution urging the parties to implement the road map is in the works, Gillerman said during a conference call with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte has indicated he will veto the draft resolution condemning Israel's strike against an Islamic Jihad training camp near Damascus.
        Israel's deputy permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Arye Mekel, noted, "The Security Council never met to discuss the death of any of the 850 Israelis who were killed by terror, and did not even consider a meeting after the death of the 19 innocent Israelis on Saturday....On the other hand, they met urgently on the eve of Yom Kippur, to discuss the attack on Syria in which not even one person was wounded." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Israel's National Security Agenda in the Coming Year - Efraim Halevy
    Israel has proven that it is capable - from the standpoint of its military, intelligence, and technological abilities, as well as its decisiveness - of intensifying the battle against the Palestinians and escalating it to a level where the price becomes intolerable for the Palestinians and their leadership, including the leadership of the terror organizations. Israel also has a clear understanding of the limitations of power.
        The Israeli-Arab conflict takes place on a fault line between civilizations. Samuel Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations deals, among other issues, with wars between civilizations, and contends that a large portion of such clashes occur on the fault line between civilizations - in Europe, the Middle East, and other places. According to Huntington, the conflicts themselves stem from the geographical proximity of different religions and cultures, from different cultural institutions, and from the collective historical memories of the opposing societies. Over the course of centuries, these may change through a process of slow evolution. But if the conflict does not dissipate and there is no decisive outcome, then the conflict continues and evokes recurrent periods of violence. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • Pondering Life after Arafat - Matthew Gutman
    Palestinian and Israeli officials observe that, with Arafat apparently on the way out, Israel will have to deal with a more chaotic PA in the short run. When Arafat dies "the PLO will die with him," says PLO expert Dr. Shmuel Bar of the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center of Herzliya. "Then we can take our pick of Balkanization, Lebanonization, or Afghanistanization." Arafat deliberately built the Palestinian political infrastructure to be weak. With no leaders in Fatah to pass the scepter to, "we will witness increasing chaos, and a disintegration of the authority known as the PA." Local leaders, whose power will be measured solely by the number of AK-47s in their grasp, will rule individual Palestinian cities, breeding a new type of tribalism.
        Yet members of the Fatah's Young Guard - who will shed few tears at Arafat's eventual death - painted the rosiest view of a post-Arafat PA. The Young Guard believes it can harness the popularity of West Bank and Gaza-born Fatah members, those unstained by corruption, to win broad support. Members of the Old Guard, Arafat confidants and cronies who enjoy little or no grassroots support, fear the loss of the unifying power of the Arafat symbol, and, of course, the perks. Without Arafat anchoring the more veteran Fatah members shipped to the territories from Tunis, their power and influence will bottom out. (Jerusalem Post)
  • WMD in a Haystack - Charles Krauthammer
    Swedish arms inspector Rolf Ekeus headed the UN inspection team that from 1991 to 1997 uncovered not just tons of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq but a massive secret nuclear weapons program as well. Ekeus theorizes that Hussein decided years ago that it was unwise to store mustard gas and other unstable and corrosive poisons in barrels, and also difficult to conceal them. Therefore, rather than store large stocks of weapons of mass destruction, he would adapt the program to retain an infrastructure (laboratories, equipment, trained scientists, detailed plans) that could "break out" and ramp up production when needed. The interim report of chief U.S. weapons inspector David Kay seems to support the Ekeus hypothesis.
        The question of whether Hussein actually retained finished product is still open. Hussein's practice was to store his chemical weapons unmarked amid his conventional munitions, and Hussein left behind 130 known ammunition caches, many of which are more than twice the size of Manhattan. Imagine looking through "600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets, aviation bombs, and other ordnance" looking for barrels of unmarked chemical weapons. But the question of whether he was still in the WMD business is no longer open. "We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities," Kay testified, "and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002." (Washington Post)
  • Israel's Right to React - Editorial
    What would France do if terrorists supported by Spain were blowing up cafes in Paris every week or so? In theory, most countries recognize Israel's right to respond to terrorism. In practice, almost any response that Israel makes is condemned as inflammatory, disproportionate, or illegal. Any country that supports terrorism as shamelessly as Syria has surrendered its right to inviolable borders. (Toronto Globe and Mail)
  • Why America Needs Turkey in Iraq - Asla Aydintasbas
    Critics fear that the presence of Turkish forces in Iraq would aggravate a historically tense relationship with neighboring Kurdish regions. In addition, Iraq's new Governing Council has already said that no additional foreign troops are wanted in Iraq. So how much would Turkish peacekeepers contribute to the stability of Iraq? Quite a lot, actually. Because they are Sunni Muslims from the same neighborhood, Turks are attuned to the cultural concerns and needs of the conservative (and by now irate) population in central Iraq. Sunnis are as critical to Iraq's stability as the Pashtun were to Afghanistan. Whatever structure emerges in Iraq cannot be hostile to this ancient elite. During meetings over the summer, Sunni clerics and tribal leaders told Turkish officials that, if it's a question between American forces and Turks, they'll take the Turks. Sending Turkish soldiers would also be the only real way to repair the Turkish-American alliance, much damaged since the Turkish Parliament's decision in March to stay out of the war. For its part, Ankara should reach out to Iraq's Kurds and assure them that its aim is not to crush Kurdish rights but to help Iraq as a whole. The writer is an adjunct fellow at the Western Policy Center in Washington. (New York Times)
        For a contrasting view, see Stationing Turks in Iraq Could Endanger Region - Rajan Menon and Henri J. Barkey (Los Angeles Times)
  • Recognize Your Friends - Editorial
    It took India more than 40 years to realize the sagacity of nurturing relations with Israel and the results have overtaken our expectations within a decade. Had India cultivated full-scale relations with Israel earlier, India would have benefited in numerous fields. India found that Arabs did not help India in times of need. Every year, the Arab countries passed resolutions in the Organization of Islamic Conference against India and in favor of Pakistan on Kashmir. In our 40 years of friendship, no "Arab friend" ever showed any interest in India's pre-Islamic heritage, culture, and spiritual knowledge.
        The reality of Islamic fundamentalism targets both India and Israel, as also the U.S. and the West. Radical Islam wishes to wipe out Israel from the face of the globe and de-Indianize India. Israel had come to India's aid not only during the battle in Kargil [in Kashmir in 1999] but much before. Sources close to Israelis revealed a list of Indo-Israeli contacts since 1962 when China attacked India, in 1965 when India humbled Pakistan, and later. There is now a regular exchange of intelligence on the terrorist organizations, which now form a global network with a lot of Saudi money and support. With Islamic terrorist groups establishing many cells in India and aid for them flowing from West Asian sources and Pakistan, Israeli intelligence is the best bet for India to keep ahead of the terrorists. (Hindustan Times-India)
  • Freeing Mideast is Worth the Cost - Jeff Jacoby
    For a long time we played see-no-evil, subsidized corrupt governments, turned the other cheek to terrorism. And Sept. 11 was the result. No more. The U.S. is on the offensive now, pushing back against the theocracy and tyranny that have kept most of the Middle East locked in the dark ages for so long. And central to that offensive is transforming Iraq from a place of unspeakable cruelty and repression into a tolerant, pro-Western anchor in the heart of the Arab world. (Boston Globe)
  • Saddam We Love You! - Michael Fumento
    There is simply nobody in all Fallujah who does not want all the Americans roasted slowly on a spit, according to the Financial Times Deutschland. "Mothers explain to their children that the Americans are monsters," we're told. The reporter picked Fallujah precisely because it was a Saddam power base, one of the few cities where he spent the money he stole from the rest of the nation. "Here," we're told, "almost everyone awaits Saddam's return." There's no mention of polls showing the great majority of Iraqis are glad Saddam has fled or hidden. Faced with such Goebbels-like propaganda, it's easy to see why Germans and other Europeans, similarly brainwashed, want nothing to do with our efforts to keep the Iraqi people free. (National Review)

    Weekend Features:

  • Conversation With Khomeini - Christopher Hitchens
    Shiite cleric Hossein Khomeini, 45, is the ayatollah's grandson. Until recently a resident of Qum, the holy city of the Iranian Shiites, he moved to Baghdad and is now hoping to establish himself in Karbala, one of the two holy Shiite cities in southern Iraq. He refers to the work of the coalition forces in Iraq as a "liberation." He would prefer to live in Tehran but cannot consider doing so until there has been "liberation" in Iran also. "We have had 25 years of a failed Islamic revolution in Iran, and the people do not want an Islamic regime anymore," he says. The best outcome, he thought, would be a very swift and immediate American invasion of Iran. (Slate)
  • Countervailing Trends in American Jewry: An Interview with Norman Podhoretz - Manfred Gerstenfeld
    American Jewry remains stubbornly liberal despite realignments and evidence that neither the friends nor the enemies of yesterday have the same attitudes today. Like most non-Jewish liberals, the majority of American Jews were against the war in Iraq. Nevertheless it has been assumed all over the world that support for the war was disproportionately high among Jews. The main target of anti-Semitism is now the State of Israel. Anyone who truly cares about the Holocaust and wants to avert another one has to be absolutely firm about the safety and security of Israel. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The Peacemaker - Romesh Ratnesar
    Colonel Nisso Shacham, 45, is commander of the Israeli Police in Jerusalem's Old City. Shacham's job is to keep emotions in check. Since the reopening of the Temple Mount two months ago, Shacham says, police have arrested 20 Jewish visitors for attempting to pray there. (Time)
  • Spending on Iraq Sets Off Gold Rush - Jonathan Weisman and Anitha Reddy
    Of the $4 billion a month already being spent in Iraq, as much as a third is going to the private contractors who have flooded into the country, said Deborah D. Avant, a political scientist at George Washington University and an expert in the new breed of private military companies. Perhaps 20,000 Americans are deployed in Iraq and Kuwait as contractors, a group larger than any of the military forces fielded there by Britain or other U.S. allies. (Washington Post)
  • Pioneering Israelis Settle Negev - Rachel Pomerance
    The Israel government is planning to construct 30 new settlements over the next several years in sparsely populated areas of the Negev and Galilee as part of Israel's mission to offset growing Arab populations in those regions. Most Jews who have left Israel's main population centers for the desert cite the Zionist spirit of pioneering as the reason for their move. (JTA)
  • Observations:

    Hamas: Looking Toward the Post-Arafat Era (News First Class-Hebrew)

    Speaking to a closed forum, a senior leader of Iz a-Din al-Kassam, the military wing of Hamas, revealed the policy of the movement after the Arafat era comes to an end:

    • Hamas has tens of activists who have undergone training to carry out suicide attacks and who are ready to carry out their missions at any time.
    • Hamas is planning a mega-attack, targeting tall buildings including apartment buildings. These require car and truck bombs. In parallel, efforts continue at targeting Israeli leaders.
    • Decisions of the "political" wing guide the activities of the military wing.
    • The government of Abu Ala is worse than that of Abu Mazan. Abu Ala was one of the architects of Oslo and his only achievements were in the service of the enemy.
    • The Israeli decision to remove Arafat was made in order to pressure the PA to act against the Islamic opposition. We don't depend on Arafat, who will die soon anyway. Arafat should have retired years ago.
    • Arafat's exile would have a number of positive aspects:
      1. Escalation - all groups would see this as an event requiring a painful response to the Zionists.
      2. Arafat would better assist in highlighting the Palestinian problem if he is outside the territories.
      3. An opportunity would open for a new leadership to arise, one closer to the generation that directed the first and second intifadas.
      4. The possibility exists that many of today's supporters of the PLO and Arafat would join the Islamic movement after it becomes clear that the PA and the PLO have reached their end, following Arafat's removal.

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