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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November 4, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

PA Forces Cooperate with Shin Bet - Arnon Regular (Ha'aretz)
    For the last few months there has been growing cooperation between Palestinian security services and the Shin Bet in preventing terrorism inside Israel, that has apparently led to the elimination of key Islamic Jihad and Hamas operatives, particularly in the Hebron area.
    The cooperation is confirmed by Israeli security officials, foreign diplomats operating on the ground in the territories, and sources in the Palestinian security services.
    Senior PA officers perceive security coordination as the key to preserving the option of an independent state.

Islamic Charities' Frozen Assets Going to Legal Bills - Gregory L. Vistica (Washington Post)
    Millions of dollars impounded by the U.S. government from three Islamic charities accused of financing terrorism have been spent to pay the legal bills of the foundations' attorneys, according to the Treasury Department and the lawyers themselves.
    Lawyers for the charities - the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, Benevolence International Foundation, and Global Relief Foundation - have billed the government for approximately $3 million worth of services.
    The practice of allowing assets frozen in the domestic war on terrorism to be relinquished to the organizations accused of financing groups such as al-Qaeda has alarmed several members of Congress.
    Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, said his panel plans to review the issue as part of hearings on the financing of terrorist groups.

Saudi Ramadan Features Charity Campaign - Donna Abu-Nasr (AP/Washington Post)
    This year, politics and an anti-terror drive have influenced the way Saudis give during Ramadan, a month of charity and high religious fervor.
    Conspicuously absent from mosques and shopping centers are collection boxes that Saudi charities usually set up under posters of dying children in the Palestinian areas.
    To curb terrorist funding, the government banned the boxes after the May 12 Riyadh bombings.
    Under new regulations, donations are made through charities' bank accounts, which are advertised in posters and billboards across the city.

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. Links Money Laundering, Terrorists
    According to law enforcement officials and court records, Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi, 51, founder of the American Muslim Council and the American Muslim Foundation, was involved in or knew about the transfer of hundreds of thousands of dollars to companies and organizations tied to international terrorists, including Hamas and al-Qaeda. Federal authorities said money was forwarded to terrorist groups from offices in Alexandria that housed a number of companies and foundations in which al-Amoudi is listed as an officer, founder, director, or board member. At least $160,000 went to an organization implicated in al-Qaeda's December 1999 plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport. An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) affidavit noted that al-Amoudi had access to substantial amounts of cash, including $2.2 million in four separate accounts, though he did not report the cash on his federal tax returns. (Washington Times)
  • Russian Oil to Flow to Asia Via Israel
    Russia and its neighbors may boost crude oil shipments through the 254-kilometer Ashkelon-Eilat pipeline from the the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, helping them compete against Persian Gulf nations for sales in Asia. The demand for Russian oil is growing faster in Asia than in Europe, as China and Japan seek to reduce their dependence on Middle East exports. The pipeline gives oil companies an alternative to the longer route around Africa and lets them avoid restrictions in Egypt's Suez Canal. Very large crude carriers, which can carry about 2 million barrels of oil, take 10 days to travel from the Red Sea to Asia compared with 30 to 35 days from the Mediterranean. (Bloomberg/Moscow Times)
  • Sabotage Still Clogs Iraq's Oil
    In October, Iraq exported a daily average of 1.14 million barrels of crude, worth about $24 million. Yet the 300-mile pipeline from Kirkuk to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, which accounted for about 40% of Iraq's exports before the war, remains dry. The pipeline passes through the "Sunni Triangle" where resistance to the U.S. coalition is strongest, and it has been repeatedly targeted by saboteurs. Thousands of Iraqis have been recruited into the Facilities Protection Force to guard the pipeline. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Israel Circulates First Mideast Crisis Resolution
    Israel, which has seen hundreds of UN resolutions passed against its policies over the years, circulated its first resolution ever Monday, saying the outcome will show whether the organization is taking a balanced approach to the Mideast. The Israeli resolution calls for the protection of Israeli children victimized by Palestinian terrorism, closely mirroring a similar draft submitted by Egypt highlighting the plight of Palestinian children. "The test will be if they pass the Palestinian one but not ours," said deputy Israeli Ambassador Arye Meckel. (AP/FOX News)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Sharon: PA Leadership that Objects to Terror Will Soon Arise - Aluf Benn
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Monday during a visit to Russia that he believes "very soon a Palestinian leadership that objects to the path of terror, violence, and incitement of Yasser Arafat will arise, and will be prepared to act with us to honestly implement the road map. When that happens, they will find us to be a serious partner, and together we will bring peace and quiet to both our peoples." (Ha'aretz)
        See also Sharon: Putin a True Friend of Israel
    "President Putin is a true friend of Israel," Prime Minister Sharon said at the start of talks in Moscow. "We highly appreciate [his] attitude." Sharon also said, "Israel was ready to make concessions in exchange for a real peace. Israel is probably the only state in the world that is ready to make concessions even though it hasn't lost a single war." (AP/Moscow Times)
  • Muslim UNESCO Official: Bombers Violate Islam - David Rudge
    Men and women who carry out suicide bombing attacks allegedly in the name of Islam are not real Muslims, Aicha Bah-Diallo, UNESCO assistant deputy director-general for education, said Monday. Bah-Diallo, from Guinea, is among dozens of women from nearly 40 countries taking part in an international symposium on "Women's Voice in Conflict Resolution and Peace-Building" at the Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center in Haifa. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Top Egyptian Cleric: Islamic Law Sees Suicide Bombers as Martyrs
    The Grand Shaykh of Al-Azhar, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, announced Sunday that suicide bombers who are defending their land are seen as martyrs in Islamic shari'a law. (IMRA/MENA-Cairo)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Untangling the Web: Crossovers among International Terrorist Groups - Matthew Levitt
    Many of the logistical support groups are not particular to a single terrorist organization. In fact, militant Islamist organizations from al-Qaeda to Hamas interact and support one another in an international matrix of logistical, financial, and sometimes operational terrorist activity. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Keys to Understanding the War Over the War on Terrorism - Rich Lowry
    In November 1995, a bomb exploded at an office of the Saudi National Guard in Riyadh, killing five Americans and two Indians. In June 1996, a massive bomb exploded at the eight-story Khobar Towers complex, killing 19 U.S. servicemen. The pattern of Saudi non-cooperation had been set after the Riyadh bombing, when the Saudis denied FBI agents access to four suspects, and swiftly beheaded them.
        The price of not getting to the bottom of the matter wasn't just shrugging off the murderer of 19 Americans. It was failing to understand fully the changing nature of the terror threat. "Khobar provided the keys that unlocked the new terror world," says one terror expert. "Everything you needed to know about the new terror network, the cooperation between all the different sects and factions, the rise of Wahhabi radicalism in Saudi Arabia, the changing dynamic of the Middle East - it all was present in that case." (National Review)
  • The Islamic Terrorism Club - Stephen Schwartz
    The same Riyadh regime that continually promises to curb incitement by its state-supported Wahhabi clerics and media leaves unimpeded inflammatory websites that recruit for violent jihad. At the same time, according to a study by Jonathan Zittrain and Benjamin Edelman of Harvard Law School entitled "Documentation of Internet Filtering in Saudi Arabia," the Saudis block such sources of subversion as websites run by the Anne Frank House and Amnesty International, as well as sites relating to Shia Islam, Christianity, and tolerance and interfaith dialogue. No less pernicious are the many text sites available to Saudi citizens solemnly promoting the views of Wahhabi clerics - that Shia Muslims are infidels, that Western culture is dangerous, and that what the rest of the world calls terrorism is legitimate resistance crowned with martyrdom. (Weekly Standard)
  • Observations:

    The Persuasion Myth - Ralph Peters (New York Post)

    • It's a foolish error to imagine that, if we only find the right combination of reasoned arguments, we might convince the populations of the Middle East to love us and embrace our national values.
    • If you want to change the mindset of another culture, your only hope is to "lead by example," to demonstrate the incontestable superiority of your approach until it sinks in.
    • The Muslim populations of Eurasia don't want our logical explanations for their failures. They want revenge for self-created disasters. They want excuses for the inadequacy of their social, political, and economic regimes. Arab civilization, especially, has backed itself into a historical corner where it deteriorates by the day.
    • The downtrodden don't want sober analysis. They want someone to blame. And the United States (along with Israel) fits the bill perfectly - facts be damned.

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