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 20, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Abd Rabbo Discloses: "Geneva Agreement" Places Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway Section Under Full Palestinian Sovereignty - Merav Levi (NewsFirstClass-Hebrew)
    Yasser Abd Rabbo, who led the Geneva talks on the Palestinian side, revealed in an interview to the Kuwaiti daily al-Rai al-Amm that the Latrun junction on the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway would be put under full Palestinian sovereignty.
    Abd Rabbo defined the Geneva Agreement as "an unfinished draft."
    He said the Palestinians did not concede the "Latrun salient," including the three villages of Yalo, Imwas, and Nuba, as well as part of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway and Canada Park.
    He added that all the maps published in the Israeli press are not accurate, adding, "we have the official signed maps and these villages are under full Palestinian sovereignty."

Fatah Delegation Invited by Washington Institute - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Hatem Abdel Kader, Ahmed Ghnaim, and Kadoura Fares - who participated in the negotiations on the "Geneva Initiative" - have been invited to Washington by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank headed by former U.S. Middle East envoy Dennis Ross.
    The three are expected to meet with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs David Satterfield, as well as with members of Congress and Jewish leaders.
    The Fatah team will call on the U.S. to end its boycott of Arafat. "We will stress that President Arafat is the elected leader of the Palestinian people and that Washington must talk to him directly," Abdel Kader said.
    The Fatah officials will also brief the Americans on the "Geneva Initiative."
    Fatah official Muhammad Hourani said on Sunday that the Fatah leaders are visiting Washington "on the instructions of Arafat."
    See also Kadoura Fares in al-Hayat: Purpose of "Geneva Understandings" to Arouse Political Debate in Israel, No Concession on Right of Return, No Recognition of Israel as Jewish State (NewsFirstClass-Hebrew/MSN-Israel-Hebrew)

PA Has Anti-Aircraft Missiles (Middle East Newsline)
    The PA is said to have succeeded in efforts to smuggle anti-aircraft missiles from Egypt.
    PA security official Akram Tubasi, arrested by Israel in September, asserted during interrogation that the PA used more than a dozen tunnels from the southern Gaza town of Rafah to Egypt for smuggling anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, insurgents, weapons, and ammunition.
    Israeli security sources said Tubasi's reference was to the Soviet-origin SA-7 man-portable, shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missile.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • IAF Targets Hamas Weapons Lab in Gaza
    "As part of Israel's preventive activity against Hamas and other terror organizations in the Gaza Strip, Israeli air force planes targeted a Hamas workshop used to produce Kassam rockets and other weapons in the Sajaiya neighborhood of Gaza City," an IDF spokesman said. "This weaponry served Hamas to carry out attacks against Israel, among them Kassam rocket and mortar shell attacks, and attacks with anti-tank missiles and explosive devices." The airstrikes came a day after Palestinians in northern Gaza fired eight Kassam rockets toward Sderot in southern Israel. (CNN)
        See also IAF Hits Arms Workshop, Car in Gaza City (Ha'aretz)
  • FBI Says Saudis Buy Off Witnesses
    The Saudi government has spent more than $1 million to pay for lawyers, and in some cases for bond, for hundreds of its citizens who have been detained, prosecuted, or questioned inside the U.S. during the crackdown on terrorism. The FBI openly calls the practice tantamount to buying off witnesses. John Pistole, assistant director of the FBI's counterterrorism division, recently told the Senate the FBI has raised concerns with the Saudi government that paying legal bills and bond for Saudis could influence what they say in their testimony. The U.S. does not provide its citizens with lawyers and bail money when they are detained in foreign countries. (AP/Newsday)
  • Terror Probe Points to Saudis and Virginia Charities
    A secretive group of tightly connected Muslim charities, think tanks, and businesses based in Northern Virginia were used to funnel millions of dollars to terrorists and launder millions more, according to court records unsealed Friday. An affidavit from Homeland Security agent David Kane said that the Safa Group, also known as the SAAR network, in Herndon had sent more than $26 million in untraceable money overseas and that leaders of the organization "have committed and conspired to...provide material support to foreign terrorist organizations." The unsealing of Kane's report marks the first time the government has alleged that the main purpose of the Virginia organizations, set up primarily with donations from a wealthy Saudi family, was to fund terrorism and hide millions of dollars. (Washington Post)
        See also U.S. Prosecutors Probing Saudi Billionaire Family
    Federal prosecutors are looking into the financial dealings of a Saudi billionaire family for possible tax fraud and ties to terrorism. The Wall Street Journal says the probe of the Al-Rajhi family began after it funneled large sums of cash into and out of the U.S. through offshore banks. U.S. Customs Service agent David Kane stated in a federal search warrant affidavit that a group of Virginia financiers working with the Al-Rajhi family "obstructed or attempted to obstruct" a federal tax audit of the transactions in 2000. Kane said the financiers, a group of prominent U.S. Islamic leaders, "maintained a financial and ideological relationship" with associates of the terrorist groups Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas. (UPI/Washington Times)
  • Islamic Militant Confesses to Plotting Anti-U.S. Attacks in Jordan
    A suspected Islamic militant confessed Sunday to being part of a conspiracy to attack Americans in Jordan, as well as the U.S. Embassy and Jordanian bases where the plotters believed U.S. troops were stationed. Three Saudi men charged in the plot remain at large. Military prosecutor Lt. Col. Mahmoud Obeidat accused the Jordanians of receiving funds from Saudi Arabia via two of the Saudi fugitives. (AP/San Francisco Chronicle)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Three Soldiers Killed in West Bank Ambush - Arnon Regular and Ran Reznick
    Three soldiers were killed and another seriously wounded Sunday in a shooting attack on an IDF patrol guarding the main highway north of Jerusalem, between Ofra and the Arab village of Ein Yabrud. The area has been the scene of repeated Palestinian gunfire attacks on Israeli vehicles. The soldiers were ambushed from the rear by three gunmen hiding behind a low concrete wall who fired at close range with M-16 and Kalashnikov assault rifles. The soldiers killed were Sgt. Elad Polak, 19, from Kiryat Motzkin, Sgt. Roi Ya'acov Solomon, 21, from Tel Aviv, and Sgt. Erez Idan, 20, from Rishon Letzion [Photos - (IDF)]. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an off-shoot of Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the attack. (Ha'aretz)
        After the initial attack, the terrorists came up to three of the soldiers lying on the ground, shot them again to ensure they were dead, stole their weapons, and escaped in a waiting car. The wounded soldier who survived escaped only because he was hidden by bushes. Head of Central Command Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky said if the patrol had not been in the area, the terrorists would have reached the highway and opened fire on innocent Israeli civilians. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
        See also Snipers' Alley Around Ramallah - Nadav Shragai
    Ein Yabrud is contiguous to Ramallah. Since October 2000, hundreds of shooting attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers have taken place in the immediate area around Ramallah, with 25 lethal attacks killing 28 soldiers, including the three killed Sunday, and 20 civilians. In many cases, the gunmen escaped into Ramallah, sometimes directly to Arafat's headquarters where they found shelter in the PA offices. (Ha'aretz)
  • Mofaz Briefs Cabinet - Gideon Alon
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the cabinet Sunday that Arafat is trying to undermine the new government headed by Ahmed Qurei. Unless Qurei gains the authority to make the appointments he seeks, his government will be disbanded on November 4. "Much to our regret, there is no Palestinian partner with whom we might move forward. As things stand, until the Palestinians produce an alternative leadership that is prepared to wage war on terror, we will have to do ourselves all that is needed to stifle terror attacks, and to bring an end to terror," he said. (Ha'aretz)
  • U.S. Envoy John Wolf Not Returning for Now - Aluf Benn
    The U.S. has informed Israel that special envoy John Wolf will not be returning to the region for now. Wolf is in charge of overseeing the implementation of the U.S.-backed road map for Middle East peace. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Islamic Anti-Semitism - Editorial
    It is hard to know what is more alarming - a toxic statement of hatred of Jews by the Malaysian prime minister at an Islamic summit meeting this week or the unanimous applause it engendered from the kings, presidents, and emirs in the audience. The words uttered by the prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, in a speech to the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference on Thursday were sadly familiar: Jews, he asserted, may be few in number, but they seek to run the world. Sympathy for the Muslims' plight must not be confused with the acceptance of racism.
        Most Muslims have indeed been shoddily treated - by their own leaders, who gather at feckless summit meetings instead of offering their people what they most need: human rights, education, and democracy. The European Union was asked to include a condemnation of Mr. Mahathir's speech in its statement ending its own summit. It chose not to, adding a worry that displays of anti-Semitism are being met with inexcusable nonchalance. (New York Times)
  • Palestinian Terrorism, American Blood - Jeff Jacoby
    News accounts of the bombed convoy in Gaza immediately described the attack as a first - "an unprecedented deadly attack on a U.S. target in the Palestinian territories," to quote the Associated Press. But Branchizio, Parson, and Linde were not the first Americans to be murdered by Palestinian terrorists. They were the 49th, 50th, and 51st in the past 10 years alone. The families of the many previous U.S. victims of Palestinian terror might reasonably wonder why there was no such presidential concern when their loved ones were massacred. (Dr. David Applebaum and his daughter Nava; Cleveland native Alan Beer; Marla Bennett of California, David Gritz of Massachusetts, Benjamin Blutstein of Pennsylvania, and Janis Coulter of New York at the Hebrew University cafeteria; Shoshana Greenbaum, a New Jersey tourist at Sbarro pizzeria; 14-year-old Kobi Mandell of Silver Spring, Md.; Brandeis University student Alisa Flatow.)
        Americans have been dying at the hands of Palestinian terrorists for decades, yet the U.S. government and media rarely if ever portray Yasser Arafat and his lieutenants as avowed enemies of the United States. The State Department does not demand the extradition of Palestinian killers of Americans, not even when the killers' identities and whereabouts are known. There is only one rational response to the murder of Branchizio, Parson, and Linde last week: the destruction of the Palestinian Authority, a network of killers posing as a government. (Boston Globe)
  • Observations:

    Understanding the War on Terrorism: The Role of Yasser Arafat and the Syrian Regime - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • As long as Yasser Arafat remains the sovereign of the Palestinian entity, there is not the slightest chance for real peace. Peace, for Arafat, means one big Palestine from the Mediterranean to the Iraqi desert - including Jordan, the West Bank, and Israeli Arabs.
    • The Oct. 4 bombing of a Haifa restaurant that killed 21 people was carried out by Islamic Jihad. Without Syria's support, it would be very difficult for this terror organization to function. The policy is decided in Damascus and the infrastructure in the territories carries out this policy.
    • Israel's retaliatory strike on the Ein Saheb base - an operational terrorist camp 15 kilometers from Damascus - hit no Syrian targets, only the training camp of known terrorist organizations.
    • Syria's main efforts now are designed to cause total failure of the United States in Iraq and to increase terror inside Israel. Syria used to be a base of terror against Jordan and against Turkey; now it serves as one against Iraq. Bashar Assad is continuing a Syrian tradition.
    • The Syrian government claims that its army is incapable of preventing the smuggling of terrorists and weapons through Syria to Iraq. When it comes to the Syrian-Turkish border, however, the Syrian army is very efficient. Why? Because Turkey threatened to destroy Syria if the cross-border terror didn't stop. Turkish methods of persuasion were successful.

      The writer is senior advisor to Israel's Minister of Defense.

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