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 23, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Poll: Palestinians Support Armed Struggle Even After Statehood - Janine Zacharia (Jerusalem Post)
    59% of Palestinians believe that Hamas and Islamic Jihad should continue their armed struggle against Israel even if Israel leaves all of the West Bank and Gaza, including East Jerusalem, and a Palestinian state is created, a new survey shows.
    80% of Palestinians say that, under those circumstances, the Palestinians should not give up the "right of return."
    The poll released Wednesday by Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch and pollster Frank Luntz, also examined Israeli and Palestinian attitudes towards the U.S. and towards terrorism.
    96% of Israeli Jews say the people who piloted the planes on September 11 were terrorists, while only 37% of Palestinians share that view.
    42% of Palestinians and 61% of Israeli Arabs stated they support the people who are attacking Americans in Iraq. No Israeli Jews said they did.

Iran Involved in Tannenbaum Kidnap - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)
    Iranian intelligence provided Hizballah with the safe house in Abu Dhabi where Israeli Elhanan Tannenbaum, kidnapped in October 2000, was first held.
    After being locked in a large crate, Tannenbaum was flown to Iran and then to Lebanon, where he was handed over to Hizballah.

Hamas Holding Severed Leg of Israeli Soldier (AP/Ananova-UK)
    A family of Hamas militants is still holding the severed leg of an Israeli commando killed four months ago in an explosion during a raid on the family's house in the Gaza Strip.
    After the June 27 battle, Hamas released footage of a masked gunmen standing beside a badly mangled lower leg.

U.S. Doctors Try to Restore Sight of Haifa Bombing Victim - Larry Brook (Deep South Jewish Voice/JTA)
    Doctors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are working to restore the eyesight of 10-year-old Oran Almog, an Israeli blinded in the Oct. 4 terrorist bombing of a Haifa restaurant.
    On Oct. 21, a team of surgeons spent eight hours working on his right eye, reattaching his retina to restore partial vision.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Iran Still Has Nuclear Deadline, U.S. Says
    The Bush administration intends to press Iran to comply with an Oct. 31 deadline for opening the books on its past nuclear activities, senior officials said Wednesday, as U.S. skepticism grew toward this week's surprise agreement by Iran to stop enriching uranium. (Washington Post)
        See also Iran Nuclear Deal Risks Same Outcome as with North Korea - Gary Milhollin
    Under Tuesday's deal, Iran will shift into neutral, while keeping its nuclear potential intact. It won't - for the time being - operate its newly constructed centrifuges, which are needed to enrich uranium to weapon grade. But the deal won't stop Iran from building more centrifuges, thus adding to its future ability to enrich uranium. Nor does the agreement bar Iran from completing the factory that produces the uranium gas that goes into the centrifuges. Nor does it prevent the building of the heavy water reactor or, indeed, the resumption of enrichment in the future. Thus the agreement could insulate Iran from international censure without hampering its nuclear progress in any way. The only real solution is to convince Iran to dismantle all the plants that can make fuel for nuclear weapons. Otherwise, the current deal risks having the same outcome as the deal North Korea made in 1994 and later violated. (New York Times)
  • Sydney's Peace Prize Hijacked
    The selection of long-time PLO advocate and Arafat ally Hanan Ashrawi for the Sydney Peace Prize makes a mockery of the award. Ashrawi doesn't meet the key criteria nominated by those behind the prize - a commitment to the principles and philosophy of non-violence. She doesn't fulfill the other major element either - having made no significant contributions to global peace. She supported the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, has declared that Israeli civilians are legitimate targets for Palestinian terrorists, and doesn't think of Hamas as a terrorist group. (Sydney Daily Telegraph-Australia)
        See also Activist's Hardline Views Are Not Worthy of Peace Prize (Sydney Morning Herald); Lord Mayor Boycotts Awards (Sydney Morning Herald)
  • Leaked Rumsfeld Memo on War on Terror
    A private memo written by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that discusses the war on terror was leaked to the press on Wednesday, revealing some of Rumsfeld's concerns about whether the Defense Department has the capacity or will to fight the war. (USA Today)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Two Palestinians Murdered in Tulkarm for Aiding Israel
    Two Palestinians were murdered Thursday in the West Bank city of Tulkarm after they admitted to cooperating with Israel, Army Radio reported. Masked militants shot the two in front of a crowd of people. (Ha'aretz)
  • Three Palestinians Killed in "Work Accident"
    A car explosion in the Balata refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus killed three Palestinians including a Hamas activist Wednesday. Palestinian and Israeli officials said that the three were carrying explosives that detonated accidentally, in what is referred to as a "work accident." (Ha'aretz)
  • Two Israelis Shot and Wounded in Hebron - Margot Dudkevitch
    Two Israelis were wounded in a terrorist shooting at the entrance to the Hebron community of Tel Rumeida on Wednesday. The terrorist opened fire from a house overlooking the road leading to Tel Rumeida, and then raced into the street where he continued shooting until he was killed by soldiers and members of the Jewish community's response team. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • And If "Geneva" is Violated? - Ze'ev Schiff
    There are Palestinians who are sincerely ready to reach a painful compromise with Israel. Others - and not only Hamas - don't want that. The question is whether those who want compromise, as drafted in the Geneva understandings, are capable of enforcing those commitments on the Palestinian organizations and gangs. Judging from the Oslo accords and subsequent agreements, there is a great doubt about the Palestinian ability to fulfill a security agreement. One of the lessons of Oslo is that, in any agreement with the Palestinians, Israel needs "security margins" broader than those it had since 1993. (Ha'aretz)
  • Virtual Understandings - Meron Benvenisti
    In that pretentious document known as the "Geneva Understandings," "Article 6 - Jerusalem" includes inaccuracies and ignorance bordering on the ridiculous. Why does "withdrawal to June 4" grant the Palestinians Jaffa Gate, when it was in no-man's land until then? Were the residents of East Jerusalem asked if they favor being stripped of their Israeli residency and the accompanying rights? The opening of the document is a wonderful text encompassing all the ideals of Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation. But the initiator of the "understandings," Yossi Beilin, has been imprisoned for years in the concept of a "permanent agreement," insisting on proving that he has the power to draft a text that will formulate a model for an end to the conflict and deal with every aspect of the lethal confrontation. Therefore, he enlists the help of experts to provide him with "solutions." It's a pretension bordering on conceit. A permanent agreement and conciliation are ideals and the way to them is paved with a series of interim agreements, tested in the implementation, not in the brilliance of their language. (Ha'aretz)
  • With Friends Like the Saudis... - Mark Steyn
    How come two years after Sept. 11 groups with terrorist ties are still able to insert their recruiters into America's military bases, prisons, and pretty much anywhere else they get a yen to go? It's not difficult to figure out: Wahhabism is the most militant form of Islam, the one followed by all 19 of the 9/11 terrorists and by Osama bin Laden. The Saudis - whose state religion is Wahhabism - fund the spread of their faith in lavishly endowed schools and mosques all over the world and, as a result, traditionally moderate Muslim populations from the Balkans to South Asia have been dramatically radicalized. Less Wahhabism is in America's interest. More Wahhabism is in the terrorists' interest. So why can't the U.S. introduce a policy whereby, for the duration of the war on terror, no organization directly funded by the Saudis will be eligible for any formal or informal role with any federal institution? That would also include the pro-Saudi Middle East Institute. (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Observations:

    "Imagine an F-15 Flying 50 Meters Above Assad's Palace at 1 a.m."
    - Arieh O'Sullivan (Jerusalem Post)

    A senior military source told the Jerusalem Post Wednesday:

    • "Arafat thinks that by demographics and terrorism there will be one state and it won't be Jewish."
    • The IDF is ready to carry out the cabinet's decision to remove Arafat the moment the orders are given.
    • The near constant deployment of forces in the territories over the past three years was not fatiguing the troops. "The battalions are strong and have high standards and are working well. Every four months new soldiers are added to the fighting and commanders are rotated. The standing army can keep this up for years."
    • "Israel has significant deterrence over Syria today. We see it. We struck at a terrorist target in Syria and there is embarrassment there. If we had not been deterring the Syrians and Hizballah, then I think that the northern front would have been a lot hotter." "If they felt the Syrian army was strong [enough] to stand up to the IDF, [Syria] would have let the Hizballah to be more daring. They prefer the Palestinian front and are responsible for a lot of what is happening here. They prefer this because they thought we would not link the two fronts."
    • Acknowledging the August report that an IAF fighter buzzed Assad's palace, the senior officer described what transpired: "Imagine this F-15 flying 50 meters above Assad's palace at 1 a.m. in the morning, with all of its thrusters directed exactly over the palace, and no one even detected it until it was over the palace. This is embarrassing, not to mention unpleasant."

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