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 22, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Palestinian Security Services Stockpile Weapons "for War for Arafat's Job" - Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)
    "There are preparations in the Palestinian Authority for the war for Chairman Arafat's job as a result of Yasser Arafat's ailment, and part of those preparations include the stockpiling of weapons by the various security services ahead of an armed clash between them," Chief of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday.
    Military intelligence believes Arafat is "seriously ill."
    Ze'evi predicted Ahmed Qurei's term would come to an end on November 4, and that PA Finance Minister Salam Fayad would quit with Qurei.
    Ze'evi said that, from the Palestinian perspective, the "Geneva understandings" were signed by "very marginal" figures from Palestinian politics, and it has not reverberated through Palestinian society.

Military Intelligence: Tehran is Trying to Gain Time - Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)
    In the wake of reports of Iranian readiness to sign the additional protocol in the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, Chief of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi said Tuesday, "the Iranians' tactic is to try to drag their feet and skip the demands the UN is making of them."
    He said that by mid-2004, Iran will be past the "point of no return" for acquiring enriched uranium for making bombs by 2006.

U.S. Discounts Reports of Arafat's Ailments - Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)
    Washington believes the health problems experienced recently by Arafat are "routine," according to reports that have reached Israeli officials.
    See also Arafat to Have Surgery in Ramallah HQ - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Arafat is expected to undergo surgery in his office to remove gallstones, PA officials said Tuesday.

New Brand of Terrorist in Afghan Capital Threatens Shaky Security (CJAD-Canada)
    A "new species" of terrorist has infiltrated the Afghan capital, posing a growing threat to the country's already-shaky security situation, the head of an international peacekeeping force said Tuesday.
    Intelligence reports suggest they are primarily Arabs from Saudi Arabia and Yemen, or come from the Russian republic of Chechnya, said German Lt.-Gen. Goetz Gliemeroth, commander of the International Security Assistance Force.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Pakistan-Saudi Arabia Trade Nuke Tech for Oil - Arnaud de Borchgrave
    Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have concluded a secret agreement on nuclear cooperation, an unimpeachable Pakistani source said Monday. "It will be vehemently denied by both countries, but future events will confirm that Pakistan has agreed to provide KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) with the wherewithal for a nuclear deterrent." The CIA believes Pakistan already exported nuclear know-how to North Korea in exchange for missile technology. Last year, a Pakistani C-130 was spotted by satellite loading North Korean missiles at Pyongyang airport. Pakistan said this was a straight purchase for cash and denied a nuclear quid pro quo. (UPI)
        See also IDF: Saudis Seeking Nukes from Pakistan
    Saudi Arabia is seeking nuclear warheads from Pakistan for its land-based missiles, Chief of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Qaeda Leader KSM Executed Pearl
    American officials said Tuesday that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, once al-Qaeda's top operational commander, personally executed Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter who was abducted in Pakistan early last year. (New York Times)
  • UN Condemns Israeli Barrier
    The UN General Assembly voted 144 to 4, with 12 abstentions, to approve a nonbinding resolution Tuesday demanding that Israel tear down the barrier it is building in the West Bank to deter terrorist attacks. The U.S. voted against it. (New York Times)
        See also Israel to Build Wall Despite UN Demands
    On Wednesday, Israel vice-premier Ehud Olmert said, "The fence will continue to be built. We have to worry about Israel's security and it is clear that we will not act according to the instructions of a hostile, automatic majority...which has always acted against Israel.'' U.S. deputy ambassador James Cunningham said the U.S. couldn't support the resolution because it makes a legal judgment and doesn't name Palestinian terrorist groups carrying out suicide bombings in Israel. (AP/New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • IDF Video Contradicts Claims Bystanders Killed in Gaza Raids - Arnon Regular and Gideon Alon
    The IDF released a videotape of the missile strike in the Nuseirat refugee camp filmed by a drone aircraft, showing there were no crowds in the street when a second missile struck an escaping car, and refuting Palestinian claims that an IAF missile was launched into a crowd of civilians. The car was carrying terrorists, including a suicide bomber, who had failed to get across the fence at Nahal Oz. (Ha'aretz)
  • Air Strikes in Gaza - Ze'ev Schiff
    There were two separate operations on Monday. The first was based on solid intelligence about a warehouse containing explosives and Kassam rockets. The first bomb was only a partial hit. The Palestinians immediately transported the remaining explosives to another warehouse, in two cars. The air force tracked the cars, found the warehouse, and hit one of the two cars. On Tuesday a jet returned and demolished the first warehouse.
        In the second operation, information arrived Monday night that the Palestinians meant to get one or two suicide bombers over the fence, with a crane. The first group of terrorists was hit by an IDF ambush. The second car escaped and was chased by an IDF helicopter. A missile fired at the car stopped it in the middle of a main road. The defense minister and chief of staff authorized the launch of another missile, which caused the car to explode.
        Shin Bet sources do not confirm the same number of casualties reported by the Palestinians. The IAF and Shin Bet say they have confirmed the death of seven Palestinians, all of whom are Hamas activists. This is not the last operation of the Air Force in the Gaza Strip; briefings for new operations are already underway. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinians Continue Rocket Fire - Margot Dudkevitch
    Four Kassam rockets were fired by Palestinians on Tuesday at areas in the western Negev. Palestinians also fired four mortar shells at Israeli communities and IDF positions in Gush Katif. The IDF Spokesman said in the past week alone Palestinians have fired a total of 14 Kassam rockets and 18 mortar shells at Israeli communities in the Gaza Strip and in Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Holding Remains of IDF Soldier
    Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin has confirmed that his organization is holding remains of an Israeli soldier killed during an IDF operation in the Gaza Strip in July, Israel Radio reported Wednesday. Military sources confirmed that Hamas held remains of the soldier's body. The soldier was killed in an explosion when naval commandos raided the house of the al-Houl family in Gaza on July 27, searching for Adnan al-Houl, believed to have founded the Hamas arms-production wing. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Al-Amoudi and Those Bags of Libyan Cash - J. Michael Waller
    Abdurahman al-Amoudi, who ran, directed, founded, or funded at least 15 Muslim political-action and charitable groups that have taken over the public voice of Islamic Americans, is in an Alexandria, Va., jail on federal charges relating to aiding and abetting terrorism, illegally funding U.S. pressure groups with laundered money from Libya and Saudi Arabia, and financing terrorists in Syria and inside the U.S. The evidence suggests that al-Amoudi is the hub of a hard-core, terrorist-support infrastructure. On Aug. 16, British authorities at London's Heathrow Airport discovered al-Amoudi with $340,000 in sequentially numbered $100 bills as he attempted to fly to Syria. Al-Amoudi admitted he had received the money from the Libyan government. According to Special Agent Brett Gentrup of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit of the Department of Homeland Security, "al-Amoudi told officers that he intended eventually to deposit the money in banks located in Saudi Arabia, from where he would feed it back in smaller sums into accounts in the U.S."
        "He [al-Amoudi] funded terrorists, he laundered money for terrorists, he openly advocated for terrorists," said a federal counterterrorism official. "He built political front organizations for terrorists. He gave generous amounts of money to politicians of both parties. He worked in the Clinton White House and the Bush White House. He acted as an agent of influence for terrorists in the U.S. to undermine the nation's security and counterterrorism laws. Al-Amoudi is a big catch, and he has led us on a trail that will certainly lead to more arrests." (Insight Magazine)
  • Listening to Mahathir - Paul Krugman
    Malaysia is the kind of success story we wish we saw more of: an impressive record of economic growth, rising education levels and general modernization in a nation with a Muslim majority. It's worth reading the rest of last week's speech, beyond the offensive 28 words. Most of it is criticism directed at other Muslims, clerics in particular. Mr. Mahathir castigates "interpreters of Islam who taught that acquisition of knowledge by Muslims meant only the study of Islamic theology." Thanks to these interpreters, "the study of science, medicine, etc. was discouraged. Intellectually the Muslims began to regress." A lot of the speech sounds as if it had been written by Bernard Lewis, author of What Went Wrong, the best-selling book about the Islamic decline. (New York Times)
  • Observations:

    Worries About Saudi Planes Cloud U.S.-Israel Strategic Talks - Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)

    • IDF officers are worried about the deployment of Saudi F-15 planes relatively close to the Gulf of Eilat, believing it poses grave dangers to Israel. A flight between the Saudi base, Tabuk, and Israel's border is less than 200 kilometers, making it difficult for the IDF to intercept one of these F-15s in the event of a surprise, kamikaze-style, suicide attack.
    • Saudi Arabia purchased its first F-15s from the U.S. in 1978. When Israel objected to the sale, the Pentagon promised the planes would not be stationed at Tabuk, near Eilat, and would instead be held deep within Saudi Arabia. Then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Harold Brown vowed that, should Saudi Arabia violate its commitment, the U.S. would withhold spare parts, and would not help the Saudis maintain the planes.
    • In early 2003, on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the U.S. asked Israel to agree to a temporary redeployment of the Saudi planes in Tabuk, until the end of the war. When the fighting ended, the Saudis refused to move the F-15s back to bases within Saudi Arabia.
    • IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon stated that al-Qaeda in the past tried to recruit a Saudi air force pilot for a kamikaze-type attack on a high building in Israel.

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