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 24, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades: The Struggle Will Continue Until the Liberation of All of Palestine from the River to the Sea - Yoav Yitzhak (NewsFirstClass-Hebrew)
    The organization that is the terrorist wing of Fatah, headed by Yasser Arafat, distributed an official leaflet about its intentions to conduct a number of attacks during Ramadan, which begins next week.
    The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades threatens that the struggle will continue until the liberation of all of Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
    The Brigades threaten to continue the armed struggle soon with very serious suicide bombings.
    On the connection between the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Arafat, see also What Exactly Does Israel Have on Yasser Arafat? - Eli Kazhdan (ICA/JCPA)

Palestinians Cheer Militant Executions of "Collaborators" - Justin Huggler and Sa'id Ghazali (Independent-UK)
    At dawn in the Tulkarem refugee camp, two Palestinians were led out into a side alley where the executioners, their faces covered with hoods, shot them at point-blank range.
    Then their bullet-filled bodies were dragged into the main square, where they were propped up and displayed to the crowd for 15 minutes.
    The alleged crime of the two men was collaborating with Israeli intelligence.
    Eighty-six Palestinians have now been lynched or summarily executed by militants for collaborating with Israeli security forces since the start of the intifada three years ago.

Saudi-Funded School in Germany "Linked to Terrorist Attacks" - Kate Connolly (Telegraph-UK)
    Explosives and a testament like those written by suicide bombers have been found at the home of a man linked to a Saudi-funded school, German secret service sources said Thursday, intensifying pressure for the institution to be closed.
    The King Fahd Academy in Bonn was set up eight years ago with £10 million from the Saudi royal family. Now it is alleged to be a magnet for Islamic fundamentalists.
    A spokesman for the city of Bonn said: "According to information from intelligence sources, people have been observed at the school over the past few months who have contact with terrorists or are themselves suspected of involvement in terrorist attacks. By that I mean teachers and the parents of pupils."
    One parent, identified only as Sayed M., 39, an Egyptian, went on trial last month charged with plotting bomb attacks on Jewish sites in Germany.
    Several houses near the school, including those of some parents, have been raided in recent days, German intelligence said.
    Textbooks seized last week by police and examined by experts are said to have a "disturbing" content and to present a "very narrow interpretation" of Islam.

No Weapons Shortage in Hizballah - James Graff (Time)
    Asked if the war in Iraq and diplomatic pressure have slowed the flow of weapons from Syria and Iran, Hizballah deputy secretary-general Sheik Naim Qassem responded, "Hizballah has no weapons shortage problem. They are available on the black market and can be gotten from the West, even American ones."
    "We believe a big majority of Lebanese want us to liberate their land and to work for the liberation of Palestine. We will continue the fight as long as Israel remains in Palestine," he added.

Libel Tourism - Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball (Newsweek)
    A group of wealthy Saudi businessmen have launched an ambitious campaign to clear their names by filing defamation suits in the British courts, seeking to invoke Britain's plaintiff-friendly libel laws to silence critics in the U.S. and in the international community.
    The legal actions come at a time when American lawyers for the families of September 11 victims are aggressively pursuing a $1 trillion lawsuit in the U.S. that accuses dozens of Saudi royal princes and wealthy businessmen of providing funding that led to the terror attacks.

Major Medical Conferences Return to Israel - Judy Siegel-Itzkovich (Jerusalem Post)
    Over 100 senior doctors, researchers, and medical journal editors in the field of cardiology and vascular medicine are coming to Eilat to demonstrate against actual and proposed academic boycotts of Israeli scientists and to discuss heart diseases and drugs for reducing cholesterol, in a conference organized by the International Academic Friends of Israel.
    In addition, the Second International Solidarity Medical Conference, focusing on six medical specialties, is being sponsored by Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Hadassah Medical Organization, Hadassah Women's Zionist Organization of America, American Physicians Fellowship for Medicine in Israel, and a group of British Jewish physicians.

Tourism Up in September - Deena Shanker (Jerusalem Post)
    The number of tourists in September rose 24% over the same month a year ago, the Tourism Ministry said Thursday.

Jordan-Israel Trade Increasing (UPI/Washington Times)
    The volume of trade between Jordan and Israel has picked up since the countries signed a peace treaty in 1994; trade estimated at $41 million in 1999 increased to $76 million in 2000 and $117 million in 2002.
    Israel organized vocational training for more than 550 Jordanians since 1998 through the Agency of International Cooperation affiliated with the foreign ministry.
    Israel also spent more than $1 million to help develop Jordan's agricultural and health infrastructure.

Former Israeli Basketball Star Killed in L.A. Traffic Accident (Ha'aretz)
    Kevin Magee, 44, one of the most talented overseas players to come to Israel and a former favorite with Israel's basketball powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv, was killed in a traffic accident on Thursday night in Los Angeles, Army Radio reported Friday.
    Arriving in 1983, he played seven seasons in Israel, winning seven league championships and played in three European Cup finals.

Useful Reference:

More from the Palestinian Media Watch/Luntz Survey (Luntz Research)
    Which nation or people is the single greatest threat to world peace?
Israeli Jews: Iran-52%, Palestinians-8%, Iraq-7%.
Israeli Arabs: U.S.-40%, Israel-26%, Palestinians-5%.
Palestinians: Israel-51%, U.S.-36%, Other-1%.
    In the war between the U.S. and Saddam Hussein, whom did you support?
Israeli Jews: U.S.-95%, Saddam-0%.
Israeli Arabs: U.S.-19%, Saddam-38%.
Palestinians: U.S.-10%, Saddam-74%.
    Hamas is a terrorist group.
Israeli Jews: Agree-98%, Disagree-1%.
Israeli Arabs: Agree-27%, Disagree-59%.
Palestinians: Agree-13%, Disagree-81%.
    Favor a future Palestinian state governed by Sha'ria (Muslim) law.
Israeli Jews: Favor-7%, Don't favor-82%.
Israeli Arabs: Favor-57%, Don't favor-37%.
Palestinians: Favor-69%, Don't favor-25%.

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Bush Drops Opposition to Building of Barrier - Ori Nir
    The Bush administration has abandoned its opposition to Israel's construction of a security fence in the West Bank, according to pro-Israel activists in Washington, Palestinian diplomats, and sources close to the Bush administration. The White House thinks Israel is justified in erecting the fence and that the PA brought the fence on itself by not cracking down on terrorism, administration officials recently told pro-Israel activists. Furthermore, administration officials indicated that the Bush White House accepts the principle that security considerations in some instances necessitate allowing the fence to veer into the West Bank, the activists said. The administration seems open to the creation of an enclave southwest of Ariel to accommodate what Israel says is its need for tactical depth to avert potential surface-to-air missile terrorist attacks against airplanes at Ben-Gurion International Airport. (Forward)
        See also U.S. Softens Criticism of Security Fence - Aluf Benn
    The U.S. administration has softened its criticism of the barrier in the past few weeks. The debate over the route it takes is currently being carried out between U.S. Ambassador Dan Kurtzer and the director-general of the Defense Ministry, Amos Yaron. It focuses on controlling the amount of damage caused to Palestinians living near the fence. (Ha'aretz)
        See also The Fence - There Is No Better Solution - Defense Ministry Director-General Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yaron
    Q: Why not build the fence on the "green line"?
    A: If the fence route was based on the "green line," it would not address the principle of providing for the defense of the greatest number of Israelis. The fence does not determine a political border - rather it is intended to provide an answer to a security problem. If we build a fence around Ariel alone, terrorist units will enter the surrounding area and snipers will shoot at residents on the road from Ariel to Kedumim, for example. In the Ariel salient, there is not one single Palestinian. (Maariv-Hebrew; 24Oct03)
  • Israeli Jet Diverted from Toronto for Security Reasons
    An El Al flight bound for Toronto from Tel Aviv carrying 180 passengers was diverted first to Montreal and then to Hamilton, Ontario, on Thursday because of an unspecified security threat, police and the airline said. (AP/Washington Post)
        Canadian Transport Minister David Collenette said, "We had information there was a specific threat against this El Al flight and therefore we ordered the pilot to immediately land at Mirabel (airport in Montreal). The threat was at Pearson airport and that is why the flight was asked to land at Mirabel." (Reuters)
  • Saudis "Balking" on Funds for Iraq
    A push by the Bush administration to win big commitments of funds from the Arab world to rebuild Iraq is being stymied by the reluctance of Saudi Arabia and other wealthy Persian Gulf states to lead the way with contributions, U.S. government sources said Thursday. (Washington Post)
  • U.S. Indicts Muslim Activist
    A prominent U.S. Muslim activist, Abdurahman M. al-Amoudi, was charged Thursday in an 18-count indictment with devising an illegal scheme to obtain money from Libya and with attempting to conceal his financial dealings from the government. The charges, brought by a grand jury in Alexandria, Va., carry a maximum sentence of 105 years in prison. Al-Amoudi, 51, is a founder of the American Muslim Council and related American Muslim Foundation. A federal affidavit contends that al-Amoudi also was involved in numerous groups with financial links to Hamas and al-Qaeda. The government found an unsigned document in Arabic during a search of al-Amoudi's office in Virginia that makes numerous references to Hamas and discusses "execution of operations against the Israelis to delay the peace process." (AP)
        See also U.S. Indicts Prominent Muslim
    One of the nation's most prominent Muslim activists was indicted on money laundering and fraud charges hours after authorities unsealed an affidavit alleging that for years he helped fund al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. (Washington Post)
  • Envoy Says Israel Will Not Harm Arafat Physically
    Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Daniel Ayalon told editors of the Boston Globe Wednesday that the Israeli government will stand by Prime Minister Sharon's pledge to President Bush not to harm Arafat physically, even while it works to isolate him politically. Ayalon asserted there is growing international recognition that Arafat is the central obstacle to progress toward peace between Israelis and Palestinians. ''The next critical point is the removal of Arafat,'' Ayalon said. ''The mere fact that everything now seems to be at a standstill is because there is no partner'' with whom Israel can negotiate. (Boston Globe)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Palestinians Kill Three Israeli Soldiers at Netzarim in Gaza - Arnon Regular and Nadav Shragai
    Three Israeli soldiers - two of them women - were killed and two others were wounded in an infiltration of an army base by at least one Palestinian at Netzarim before dawn Friday during heavy fog. The infiltrator or infiltrators crossed the exterior fence, threw grenades, and opened fire on soldiers sleeping in pre-fab buildings. The dead soldiers are Staff Sgt. Alon Avrahami, 20, from Or Yehuda; Sgt. Adi Osman, 19, from Kfar Sava; and Sgt. Sarit Shneor, 19, from Shoham.
        In a separate shooting attack after nightfall Thursday, three Israelis - two women and a young boy - were wounded when two gunmen opened fire at a car on a road near the Kissufim crossing point between Gaza and Israel. Also in Gaza, Palestinians fired two mortars at Neve Dekalim. In the West Bank, a Palestinian man was killed in an explosion that occurred while he was in the process of preparing a bomb, and a second was wounded in a separate "work accident" Thursday in Ein Yabrud, next to Ramallah. (Ha'aretz/Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • IAF Report Quickly Dispels Rumors on Gaza Strike - Ze'ev Schiff
    An internal Israel Air Force report on Monday's missile strikes in Gaza was distributed Tuesday in response to claims that helicopters had deliberately fired missiles into a crowd of Palestinian civilians gathered near one of the targets:
        All the targets were targets belonging to terrorist organizations engaged in producing arms or organizing attacks. In the planning and execution, maximum efforts were made not to hurt uninvolved persons. Despite this, when fighting against terrorists who deliberately live among a civilian population, uninvolved persons are sometimes hurt.
        With respect to media reports of a missile that went astray and massive injury to uninvolved persons: All the munitions struck their targets exactly. In every attack, at the time the munitions were fired, neither the operational nor the video films showed any uninvolved persons. There was no firing of munitions into a crowd.
        Summary: Planned terror attacks were prevented and many armaments were assaulted. Maximum precautions were taken, in both planning and execution, to avoid harming uninvolved persons. (Ha'aretz)
  • FBI Dissatisfied by PA Cooperation in Gaza Bomb Probe - Aluf Benn
    The FBI team probing a roadside bombing that killed three American security guards in Gaza last week is unhappy with the level of cooperation it has received from the Palestinian security services, American sources said Thursday. The team has returned to the U.S. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Gets 16 Life Sentences for Driving Sbarro Bomber
    A military tribunal sentenced Jordanian-born Ahlam Tamimi, 23, a female Hamas activist, to 16 consecutive life sentences for driving the Palestinian suicide bomber who blew up the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem on August 9, 2001, killing 15 people and injuring over a hundred others. The judges said Tamimi initiated and planned several parts of the attack. "This is a woman who was fully aware of what she was doing and acted with the goal of spilling Israeli blood." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Fatah Gangs Vow to Kill Palestinians Selling Land to Jews - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Fatah's Aqsa Martyrs Brigades distributed leaflets in Jerusalem on Wednesday threatening to execute Palestinians who sell their property to Jews or act as intermediaries in such deals. "The Aqsa Martyrs Brigades has decided to execute the traitors in public," the leaflets stated. They accused a group of Palestinians of trying to sell land to Jewish families near the Shimon Hatzadik Tomb in Sheikh Jarrah. Six Jewish families have moved into Sheikh Jarrah in recent years. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Syria Sees Islamic Resurgence - Neil MacFarquhar
    Two decades after Syria ruthlessly uprooted militant Islam, killing an estimated 10,000 people, this most secular of Arab states is experiencing a dramatic religious resurgence. Syrian experts and others say Islam is proving appealing through much of the Arab world, including Syria, as a means to protest corrupt, incompetent, and oppressive governments. The widespread sense that the faith is being singled out for attack by Washington has invigorated that appeal. In Syria, some experts also note that the hasty collapse of the Baath government next door in Iraq stunned Syria's rulers, particularly the fact that most Iraqis reacted to the American onslaught as if they were bored spectators. Syria is now seeking to forge nationalist sentiment by any means possible, experts believe, including fostering the very brand of religious fundamentalism that it once pruned so mercilessly.
        Hafez al-Assad did two things that helped foster the current resurgence. He built hundreds of mosques, trying to counter the sense among Syria's Sunni Muslims that his minority Alawite sect was religiously suspect. He also founded myriad schools to study the Koran, which Syrians say in recent years dropped the gentle Sufi Islam once prevalent here, replacing it with the more intolerant Wahhabi Islam of Saudi Arabia. (New York Times)
  • Tour of U.S. Schools Reveals Why Zionism Is Flunking on Campus - Natan Sharansky
    When I got to Rutgers University in New Jersey last month, my arrival was greeted by a noisy demonstration of Palestinian and Jewish students holding signs reading "Racist Israel" and "War Criminals." Opposed to them were hundreds of no less rowdy Jewish students, full of motivation to defend Israel and give the protesters back as good as they got. At these moments I felt that there was some point to my trip, perhaps because the violent hostility had stirred the students and motivated them to want to fight and win - which I was delighted to see.
        At Harvard University, one Jewish student admitted to me that she was afraid - afraid to express support for Israel, afraid to take part in pro-Israel organizations, afraid to be identified. The mood on campus had turned so anti-Israel that she was afraid that her open identification could cost her, damaging her grades and her academic future. Having grown up in the communist Soviet Union, I am very familiar with this fear to express one's opinions, with the need to hold the "correct opinions" in order to get ahead, with the reality that expressing support for Israel is a blot on one's resume. My conversations with other students at various universities made it clear that her feelings are widespread, that the situation on campuses in the U.S. and Canada is more serious than we think. And this is truly frightening.
        On campuses I tried to show the true picture - who is the only democracy in the Middle East and who are the dictatorships, where are human rights honored and where are they trampled. I talked about the battle of Jenin, when we decided not to use airplanes that could hurt the Palestinian civilian population, and instead sent our soldiers hunting house to house for weapons and terrorists. I wanted, as someone who had spent a considerable part of his life struggling for human rights, to explain that support for terrorists and dictators like Yasser Arafat and his gang cannot be considered support for human rights. (Forward/Ma'ariv)
  • The Iranian Dossier Remains Open - Ze'ev Schiff
    Even assuming that a nuclear turnaround is beginning in Iran, which is still doubtful, the Iranian file is far from being closed. There are two other sensitive issues pending: the development of long-range ground-to-ground missiles and Tehran's involvement with terror. (Ha'aretz)
  • Analysts: Now Is Not the Time to Revive the Mideast Peace Process - Meredith Buel
    After more than three years of violence between Israel and the Palestinians, some Middle East specialists are saying now is not the time for the U.S. and other countries to revive the peace process. Former Middle East envoy Dennis Ross says, "Three years ago we were talking about making peace....Today we are talking about ending a war." Israeli MK Rabbi Michael Melchior, a strong supporter of the Oslo peace accords, says, "We cannot come with an overall peace solution now at this stage. We should not even attempt it," he said. Yossi Alpher, a former senior official of Israel's intelligence agency Mossad, says the peace process "failed because it was not successful in replacing Arafat's leadership with a Palestinian prepared to approach the conflict differently and capable of doing so." (VOA)
  • One Deadly Morning in Beirut - Chuck Pfarrer
    Twenty years ago Thursday, the U.S. suffered its most humiliating military defeat since Pearl Harbor. On Oct. 23, 1983, a truck loaded with six tons of explosives smashed into the Marine headquarters at Beirut Airport killing 241 Americans. The peacekeepers were withdrawn and the Lebanese people were abandoned to their fate. Lebanon, suffering under the occupation of the Syrian Army, has spent two decades as a lawless, basket case of a nation, a haven for Hizballah thugs and a farm club for suicide bombers. (New York Times)
  • Rousing Muslim Bigotry - Jeff Jacoby
    The Muslim world suffers from many problems, but none is more crippling than its culture of intolerance. Rampant anti-Semitism anywhere is always a sign of grave moral sickness. Until more Muslims are prepared to confront and conquer that sickness in their midst, the Muslim world will remain the benighted backwater that so many Muslims deplore. (Boston Globe)
  • Failed Leadership: The Obstacle to Peace in the Middle East - William J. Bennett and Seth Leibsohn
    It is long past time to forgo the notion that Israel is the obstacle to peace in the Middle East or the cause of terrorism there or here. Quite simply, democracies do not start wars with other democracies - nor do democracies support terrorism. When democracy takes hold in the nascent Palestinian state there will be peace; until then, there will be terrorism, and we should not be complicit in the creation of another terrorist state. By democracy, we do not mean one man, one vote, one time, but, rather, democracy defined by the rule of law, and by freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and freedom to be educated in schools that are not devoted to anti-Jewish and anti-Western propaganda. (National Review)
  • Saudi Arabia's Big Leap - Kenneth M. Pollack
    Saudi Arabia announced last week that within a year it will hold elections for municipal councils. As long as the Saudis keep moving down the path toward democratization, no matter how sluggishly, it will be hard for the other countries of the region not to follow. Saudi Arabia is in desperate need of comprehensive reform. The kingdom can no longer afford the profligate ways of the royal family or the cradle-to-grave social welfare system erected during the fat years of the 1970s and 80s. The Saudi educational system is useless, emphasizing the humanities and Islamic studies at the expense of science and mathematics, and even college graduates have few marketable job skills. The result is that unemployment probably exceeds 30%, and among males in their 20s - the talent pool for terrorists and revolutionaries - it is probably even higher. The writer is director of research at the Saban Center of Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. (New York Times)

    Weekend Features:

  • Cheney's New Adviser Has Sights on Syria - Jim Lobe
    David Wurmser, a neo-conservative strategist who has long called for the U.S. and Israel to work together to "roll back" the Ba'ath-led government in Syria, has been appointed as a Middle East adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney. Wurmser had been working for the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, John Bolton. (Asia Times)
  • Not the Israel I Know - Joseph M. Hochstein
    In his Oct. 7 column Richard Cohen writes about an American who lived in Israel for more than 20 years and left, concluding, "In the perpetual war against Israel, its enemies are winning." I too have lived in Israel for more than 20 years and the Israel in which I live does not match Cohen's description. Recent survey research found more than 80% of Israelis happy with their lives, despite all hardships. We in Israel continue going out to cafes, restaurants, theaters, sports events, concerts, and public festivals. On a personal note, a suicide bomber from the Islamic Jihad nearly killed me a few years ago, and one of my sons, a paratrooper, was killed in a Hizballah ambush. Yet, in my view, life in Israel remains desirable. I spend time with intelligent, stimulating, and decent people, part of an Israeli majority that, according to the polls, supports efforts to achieve peace but doesn't expect miracles any time soon. Hope is part of the Israeli character. It's the title of the national anthem, "Hatikva." The writer is former editor-publisher of the Washington Jewish Week and a former managing editor of Congressional Quarterly. (Washington Post)
  • "Why America Slept" Before Sept. 11 - James Woolsey
    Why does the U.S., after it wins a war, habitually assume that the world has been permanently repaired? In Why America Slept, Gerald Posner offers a mosaic with regard to "how" America ignored the threats to it. A few examples: Congress makes it illegal to deny visas to members of terrorist groups. Sixteen boxes of plans for Islamist terror taken from Rabbi Meir Kahane's assassin in 1990 sit unopened in New York City Police Department custody for years. Law-enforcement authorities conclude promptly that a lone, deranged individual is responsible for any given terrorist act even if substantial leads point toward backing from the Middle East. The CIA and FBI fail to talk to one another; both fail to talk to the Immigration and Naturalization Service or the State Department. Arabic documents are mistranslated by the few overworked linguists, substantially delaying investigations. Politically correct guidelines keep the CIA and FBI from recruiting terrorist informants. In such a way did America sleep.
        Posner's final chapter is a stunning picture of the interrogation of one of al-Qaeda's senior members, who supposedly told his interrogators in spring 2002 that certain Saudi princes aided bin Laden and had advanced knowledge of a 9/11 attack. Three of the princes named in this interrogation, it is said, died soon after the man's testimony was made known to the Saudi regime. (Wall Street Journal)
  • How the Media Reported the Palestinian Uprising - Joshua Muravchik
    This study examines seven national news outlets: the New York Times, the Washington Post, and five television networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and Fox) at ten critical moments in the violence that began on September 2000 - looking at a total of 50 days out of the first two years. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Being Yasser Arafat: A Portrait of Palestine's President - Glenn E. Robinson
    Two new biographies of Arafat by Israeli scholars document the broad consensus about him now in place in Israel: that he is an incorrigible terrorist and liar who used the peace process as a "strategic deception" in his goal to destroy the Jewish state and who alone scuttled negotiations in order to launch a terror war. If one wants to understand why Israel will never again negotiate with Arafat, and why the Israeli government recently announced its formal intention to "remove" him, these books are a good place to start. (Foreign Affairs)
  • Jihad Slavery: An Ugly Living Legacy - Alyssa A. Lappen
    In 1986, Francis Bok, a Southern Sudanese Dinka, then age seven, was abducted by Muslims and spent the next ten years in slavery as a result of Islamist Sudan's ongoing government support for mass enslavement and genocide of Southern Sudanese Christians and animists. At 17 he escaped, and at 20 made his way to the U.S. where he has educated himself and authored the new book Escape from Slavery, giving voice to the enslaved Dinka masses, still suffering from Islamic raids in Southern Sudan. (FrontPageMagazine)
  • Restitution: The Second Round - An Interview with Israel Singer - Manfred Gerstenfeld
    As secretary-general of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Israel Singer's perseverance led to the Holocaust restitution process of the mid-1990s, a process of particular importance to Jewish survivors in Eastern European who had not received any such assistance up to that time. Singer summarizes: "Eight billion dollars in restitution payments were retrieved. Yet I think other achievements are even more important. Fifteen million documents were declassified. They provided important information on many issues, condemning the Vatican, Germany, Switzerland and many others. They enhanced the documentation about insurance companies. They also told family histories, giving a picture of what murdered families looked like, and their names." (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Observations:

    Ya'alon: Terrorism and Nukes Threaten Us - Arieh O'Sullivan (Jerusalem Post)

    In an interview published Friday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon said:

    • I see a potential existential threat to the state from a combination of demographics and terrorism on the Palestinian front. The conflict we are engaged in right now represents the non-recognition of the present Palestinian leadership of our right to live in a Jewish state.
    • The present Palestinian leadership went to war in 2000 in order to get out of an historic agreement whose significance was an end to the conflict. Just as the Palestinians rejected the 1947 partition plan, they rejected the partition plan of 2000.
    • Various elements in the region are trying to purchase nuclear capabilities. The main player here is Iran, but also Libya and other nations are talking of it, too. The Chief of Military Intelligence mentioned this week that Saudi Arabia is seeking nuclear weapons. Some of them are dealing with this in order to really defend themselves and create a semblance of deterrence not necessarily directed toward Israel - like Saudi Arabia, which is mainly afraid of Iran, not Israel.
    • Iran is an extremist regime which today parades Shihab-3 rockets with slogans written on them saying: "This missile will bring about the destruction of the State of Israel."
    • In the area of terrorism, the response is not just military. A decisive part of it is the society's resilience. This is the reasoning behind the Kassam rockets in Sderot. This is attrition directed primarily toward the civilian population and not the army. They know Israel is a military power so they direct their threats to what they see as the weak link in the chain of Israel's security and that is to strike at civilians in order to influence strategic decisions.
    • Twice it has happened that when we blew up a tunnel [under the Egypt-Gaza border], smoke rose from an Egyptian post on their side. I am not saying it is the policy of the Egyptian government, but I claim that the Egyptians can do a lot more. We have made some blunt comments in the past weeks because we were forced to, and they have done more. But why must we come to this? We believe that they haven't done enough and must do more.
    • Today we have an authority that wants the rights of a state but the obligations of a gang. Arafat allowed Hamas and Islamic Jihad to operate. He approved it. He armed the Tanzim. He created this well-organized chaos, this deliberate complication. This is his strategy.

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