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 15, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Undisclosed Iranian Nuclear Facility Near Isfahan Used to Convert Uranium and Test Centrifuges - Richard Beeston (London Times)
    Dowlat Nowrouzi, the London representative of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an Iranian opposition group, has disclosed details of what he claims is a nuclear facility ten miles east of the city of Isfahan.
    The site was registered as the Isfahan Fuel Research and Production Center, and was used to convert uranium and test centrifuges for uranium enrichment.

Former PA Minister Blames Qurei's Failure on Internal Power Struggle - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Former PA information minister Nabil Amr wrote Tuesday in the Palestinian daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda that Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei will fail not because of the U.S. and Israel, but because of the internal "struggle over power."
    Amr last year accused Arafat of missing an historic opportunity by rejecting Clinton's proposals at the 2000 Camp David summit.
    At the time, masked men belonging to Fatah's Aksa Martyrs Brigades attacked Amr's home in Ramallah with automatic rifles, accusing him of conspiring with other PA officials against Arafat.

Egyptian Filmmaker Faces Wrath of Colleagues Over Israel (Agence France Presse)
    Dozens of Egyptian filmmakers and critics met Sunday to demand that organizers of the Cairo International Film Festival withdraw the sole Egyptian film from the official competition because its director, Khaled Al-Hagar, made a previous film backing normalization of ties with Israel.
    The group was critical of the 1993 film, "A Barrier That Divides Us," which tells the story of an impossible love between an Egyptian man and young Jewish woman in London.

Saudis Seek F-15 Upgrade (Middle East Newsline)
    Saudi Arabia has expressed interest in upgrading much of its F-15 fleet.
    In 1981, Saudi Arabia procured 91 F-15C/D fighter-jets from the U.S. and Riyadh wants to improve their avionics and weapons payload.

Ex-SAS Flock to Iraq - and Earn £1,000 a Day as Bodyguards - Andrew Alderson (Telegraph-UK)
    Hundreds of ex-servicemen, former members of the SAS and other elite British regiments, are earning up to £1,000 a day providing armed protection for Western businessmen in Baghdad, Basra, and other Iraqi cities.
    Many of the security men have been involved in shoot-outs with supporters of Saddam Hussein's deposed regime, bandits, and kidnappers who are targeting foreign businessmen.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Palestinian Terrorists Attack U.S. Diplomatic Convoy in Gaza, Kill Four
    Four passengers riding in a three-vehicle U.S. diplomatic convey - clearly marked with "CD" diplomatic license plates and led by a Palestinian police car - were killed in Gaza Wednesday when Palestinian terrorists set off a roadside bomb. An AP reporter saw a gray wire with an on-off switch leading from the scene of the attack to a small concrete room at the side of the road. Mohammed Radwan, a Palestinian taxi driver, said, "I saw the American convoy passing. There was a Palestinian police car in front and then three big (U.S.) cars. When the third one passed, an explosion went off." U.S. diplomatic sources said the people in the targeted car apparently were security guards for the U.S. diplomats traveling in the other vehicles. (FOX News/Reuters/Washington Post)
  • U.S. Vetoes Israeli Fence Resolution
    The U.S. vetoed a UN Security Council resolution Tuesday that would have condemned Israel for building a barrier that cuts into the West Bank. The American veto came after the U.S. suggested an alternate draft that would have called on all parties to dismantle terrorist groups. Four members of the Council abstained: Bulgaria, Cameroon, Germany, and Britain. U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said the resolution "was unbalanced" and "did not further the goals of peace and security in the region." (AP/Washington Post)
  • U.S. Not Involved with Alternative Peace Plan
    Asked about a proposed alternative Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Tuesday, "It has no official status. It's really a private initiative and not something that we or any other officials are involved with. Our view is that we need to continue to pursue the president's vision of two states, that the roadmap is the best way to move forward on that, and that continues to be where we put our emphasis." (State Department)
  • Hundreds of Saudis Call for More Freedom
    Hundreds of Saudis staged an illegal protest in the capital Riyadh Tuesday, apparently in response to repeated calls by the London-based Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia. The protesters, mostly young people, demonstrated in front of Al-Mamlaka shopping mall and blocked traffic before police moved in, detaining nearly 300 protesters. Some protesters chanted "God is great," but no anti-regime chants were heard, witnesses said. (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • IDF Resumes Hunt for Arms-Smuggling Tunnels in Gaza - Arnon Regular
    IDF forces re-entered Rafah in Gaza Tuesday in a continuation of the operation to uncover arms-smuggling tunnels. Four Palestinians were injured in gun battles that erupted during the operation. An officer said there are still about 10 tunnels running from below homes in Rafah to the Egyptian side of the border. He said the IDF was forced to take action because the Egyptian army was doing nothing to prevent the smuggling of arms. (Ha'aretz)
  • Sharon: Libya Could be First Arab Country with Nukes
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reportedly told foreign ambassadors Monday that Muammar Qadaffi's Libya is trying to develop nuclear weapons with help from countries such as North Korea and Pakistan. "One would not be surprised if Libya would be the first Arab country to have nuclear weapons," an aide to the prime minister quoted Sharon as saying. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Orders 15 Palestinians Deported from West Bank to Gaza Strip - Margot Dudkevitch
    IDF Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky signed deportation orders to the Gaza Strip Tuesday for 15 administrative detainees being held in Israeli prisons in Judea and Samaria. The detainees have two days to appeal the decision. The Israeli government argues that such expulsions create an important deterrent against suicide bombings and other attacks on Israeli civilians. Daniel Reisner, the head of the military's legal department, said that the detainees were not being tried because Israel feared its intelligence sources could be revealed in such proceedings. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also "Assigned Residence," Not "Deportation" - Dan Izenberg
    Neither the army nor the court refers to a forced move as a deportation, but as an "assigned residence," in keeping with the terminology of Article 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which recognizes the right to hold members of the occupied population in administrative detention or force them to move to another part of the same territory. The High Court of Justice has already approved in principle the army's right to force Palestinians living in the West Bank to move to the Gaza Strip, but each individual case must be examined on its merits. On September 3, 2002, a nine-justice panel ruled that the West Bank and Gaza Strip are one entity and that forcing residents of one to move to the other is legal according to Article 78. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Now It Is Syria's Choice - Rep. Darrell Issa
    The Bush administration has noted that Syria provided us with valuable intelligence on al-Qaeda that ultimately saved American lives. But Bashar Assad has failed to fully shut down Palestinian terrorist offices that operate out of Damascus. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he failed to stop the flow of jihadis and military equipment across the border that killed American soldiers. The most troubling concern for America, however, is Syria's intention to support Hizballah, an Iranian-backed terrorist organization. There is evidence that Hizballah operatives have infiltrated Iraq to join attacks against American soldiers. Assad may be faced with isolation sooner than he thinks. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • On Bashing Bashar - William Safire
    Bashar al-Assad, the minority Alawite ruler, is shown by many telephone intercepts to be deeply influenced by Hizballah's Sheik Hassan Nasrallah in Syrian-occupied Lebanon. Bashar lied in Colin Powell's face last year about cutting off Saddam's illegal oil exports through Syria, and got away with it. Bashar finds it in Syria's strategic interest to aid and abet guerrilla war against the coalition and the nascent Iraqi government. With Saddam gone, Bashar sees Syria as the leader of Arab rejectionism. How to change regime behavior short of regime change? Turkey showed us one way, when it massed troops on its Syrian border and demanded that Damascus close down the Kurdish PKK terrorist headquarters in Damascus. Bashar yielded promptly, and the terrorist leader is in a Turkish jail. (New York Times)
  • Perle Rips New Plan for Peace - Paul Martin
    Pentagon adviser Richard Perle Tuesday denounced an unofficial peace plan negotiated between Israeli opposition leaders and moderate Palestinians, saying it would damage Israel's security, undermine its government, and "would be illegal in the United States." He added: "In a democracy we elect people to represent us and [opposition groups negotiating with external opponents of the state] seems to me fundamentally undemocratic."
        Speaking in Jerusalem, Perle said Israel's strike last week at a Palestinian camp inside Syria in response to a suicide bombing in Haifa that killed 20 persons was an appropriate application of a doctrine originated by President Bush that calls for striking not only at terrorists but at any country that harbors or protects them. "I am happy to see the message was delivered to Syria by the Israeli air force, and I hope it is the first of many such messages," Perle said.
        Perle said, "Negotiations before the Palestinians have democracy will fail," calling for a "change in fundamental values" among the Palestinians rather than "the concoction of formulas." He said an opposition agreement with Palestinian representatives continued a fundamental problem with Israeli-Palestinian negotiations so far - "arranging the surface issues without going below the surface." Discussions should first focus on getting the Palestinians to "address the practice of teaching Palestinian children to hate Israelis," he said. (Washington Times)
  • Observations:

    Tea with Ariel Sharon - Cal Thomas (Washington Times)

    From an interview in Jerusalem this week with Prime Minister Sharon:

    • As of Oct. 11, Israel had seen 884 of its people murdered and 5,956 injured. Israel has a population of 5 million. In Russia, the comparable number of dead would be 25,636; in the European Union, 67,184; and in the United States, 49,150. No other country would put up with such attacks on its own citizens as Israel has been repeatedly pressured to do.
    • About the recently resigned Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, Mr. Sharon said, "Arafat was undermining him from the first day. Instead of taking necessary steps against the terrorist organizations, [Abbas] decided to make a deal with them. We talked to him many times. I always warned him. I told him they are going to hurt [you], they are going to hurt us. But he still preferred to make deals with them, and that's what...sent the prime minister to his end."
    • Mr. Sharon said President Bush "understands the danger of terror, and that one cannot compromise with terror and has to fight terror." He added, "In the past, if we had had such a determined leader when the world was watching the Nazis and their preparations [for war], maybe the terrible tragedy we suffered in World War II might have been avoided."
    • Is he optimistic about the future? "Yes, I'm an optimist. This is not the hardest period [in our history]. We have had much harder situations."

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