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 6, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

PA Finance Minister to Resign - Ben Caspit (Maariv-Hebrew)
    Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayyad has resigned - according to sources close to Fayyad.
    Fayyad said he might reconsider if Abu Ala forms a permanent government and receives authority over all the security services.
    Fayyad's resignation could cause a crisis in relations between the PA and the U.S., Europe, and Arab states, since much overseas aid is dependent on the donors' trust in Fayyad's personal control over PA bank accounts.

Ex-Iranian Spy Chief: Tehran Responsible for AMIA Bombing in Argentina (DPA/Ha'aretz)
    The Tehran government was exclusively responsible for the 1994 bombing of the Jewish AMIA community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and wounded hundreds, Abolgasem Mesbahi, former chief of the Iranian intelligence service, testified at a Buenos Aires trial Wednesday.
    Mesbahi also reiterated his charge that an emissary of then-president Carlos Menem received payment of $10 million for Menem to cover up Tehran's role in the AMIA attack.

Face-to-Face with Tulkarm Executioners - Orla Guerin (BBC)
    Growing numbers of Palestinians are being hunted down and killed - not by the Israeli army but by their own friends and neighbors.
    Palestinian human rights workers say more than 70 suspected collaborators have died in vigilante killings over the past three years.
    The local commander of the Al-Aqsa Brigades in Tulkarm, Abu Amsha, told us, "We put them on their knees. We fired at their heads and then at their bodies. That's how Mohammed and Samir were executed."
    Mohammed's family claims he was tortured into making a confession in the 21 days that he was held.
    "Mohammed was in the Al-Aqsa Brigades with these other guys. Then he got promoted and they got jealous - that's why they killed him," says Mohammed's mother, Masoosa.
    The men of the Al-Aqsa Brigades told us they are "investigating another collaborator and that he'll probably be dead within days."

Soccer-Playing Gadhafi Jr. Fails Drug Test (AP/Jerusalem Post)
    Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's son, Saadi Gadhafi, captain of Libya's national team, tested positive for a performance-enhancing steroid in a doping test after an Italian major league soccer match, the Italian Olympic Committee said Wednesday.

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Israel Today Commemorates the 8th Anniversary
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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Combating Anti-American Influence of Radical Islamic Schools
    Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his top deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, have begun raising the sensitive issue of whether the U.S., either openly or covertly, should combat the anti-American influence of radical Islamic schools in Muslim countries. Some of the schools, called madrassas, have been seen as a breeding ground for anti-American terrorists, and Rumsfeld raised the issue in his private Oct. 16 memo to top aides about the current war on terrorism. One way to counter those schools, Wolfowitz said, would be to cut off the funding that often comes from Saudis promoting Wahhabism, a particularly austere and rigid form of Islam. But he suggested that a better way would be to channel support to people who oppose the schools, though he acknowledged that "we're not very good at doing that yet." (Washington Post)
  • Muslim Militants from Europe Drawn to Iraq
    Iraq is becoming a magnet and proving ground for young Muslims from Europe. "Since the end of the war, there has been a large movement of people motivated by Islamic extremism from Germany and the rest of Europe toward Iraq," said a German security official. "They're people who want to fight a jihad (holy war)," he said. (AP/Newsday)
        See also Britons Join Attacks on Allied Troops in Iraq
    Handpicked groups of British Muslims are among the increasing number of foreign fighters slipping into Iraq to join terrorist attacks against coalition troops. (London Times; 4 Nov 03)
  • From a Suicide Bomber's Father, No Praise, Just Grief
    The day after 16-year-old Sabih Abu Saud blew himself up in a West Bank village, with Israeli troops in pursuit, his father Kamal Abu Saud did something extremely unusual - he declined to eulogize his son as a hero. Sabih was widely hailed as a martyr, and posters of the youth were plastered along the streets of Nablus. But Mr. Saud, 53, said he saw only the pointless loss of his son's life. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Hizballah Plants Bombs on Israel-Lebanon Border - Uri Ash
    An IDF patrol uncovered a series of roadside bombs planted by Hizballah on Wednesday in Israeli territory along the Lebanese border near Ghajar. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Lifts Closure on Most West Bank Cities - Amos Harel and Aluf Benn
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz decided Wednesday to lift the sieges on West Bank Palestinian cities - except for Jenin and Nablus because of alerts about terror attacks being plotted there. (Ha'aretz)
  • Congressmen Urge Ford Foundation to Cease Funding Subversive Palestinian Groups - Melissa Radler
    Seventeen members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter, drafted by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), to Ford Foundation president Susan Berresford urging the foundation to halt funding to groups that promote anti-Semitism and anti-Israel hate, after an investigation by the JTA found that the Ford Foundation provided millions of dollars to groups that promoted the destruction of Israel at the 2001 UN Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, and other activities. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Spreading Hate: Jihadists in London - Rachel Ehrenfeld
    As the UK outlawed Hamas, the Hamas publication Filisteen Almuslima (Muslim Palestine) continued to be published in and distributed from London. The cover of the September issue carries the horrifying picture of the bloody casualties and the dissevered No. 2 bus in Jerusalem, as well as the glorified image of the homicide bomber who murdered 23 innocent civilians. Inside, the magazine praises and justifies the terrorist attack against Israelis and glorifies the terrorist as a heroic role model for potential homicide bombers against oppressors of Islam everywhere. (National Review)
  • Gadhafi Must Go - Claudia Rosett
    In the war on terror, one of the strangest developments has been the step-by-step return to polite society of Libya's terrorist-sponsoring tyrant, Moammar Gadhafi. For a better sense of the real face of Gadhafi, take a closer look inside Libya itself, a country Gadhafi has run for 34 years as his own totalitarian wonderland, and one of the most repressed societies on earth. There are no private newspapers; there is no independent rule of law. Multilayered, pervasive surveillance is routine; so is arbitrary arrest; so is torture in the prisons; so is collective punishment of entire families for the actions of one individual. The true redemption of Libya cannot be achieved by accepting promises and blood money from Gadhafi. Real reform can only begin when he is gone. (Wall Street Journal)
  • What's New About Anti-Semitism? - Miriam Greenspan
    As a daughter of Holocaust survivors born in a refugee camp, I am passionately concerned about the fate of the Jewish people. I identify with Palestinians languishing in refugee camps and, at the same time, I am angry about the rabid anti-Semitism on the streets of the West Bank and Gaza. I feel a profound sense of betrayal in relation to my Leftist brothers and sisters who obsessively condemn Israeli sins while consistently ignoring tyranny, misogyny, and anti-Semitism in the Muslim world; who excuse the murder and mutilation of Jews in Israel; who have recurrently failed to understand anti-Semitism, much less to raise their voices or rally against it. (Tikkun)
  • Peace Index - October 2003 - Ephraim Yaar and Tamar Hermann
    Today only 6% of Israeli Jews support the possibility of a binational state, while 78% favor a two-state solution. 80% believe it would be impossible to maintain the security of the Jewish population in a binational state. 83% favor the separation fence, while only 12% oppose it. 63% believe that constructing the fence can significantly reduce terror, and another 19% believe it can prevent terror. 63% say the route should be determined according to considerations of the Israeli government, whereas only 19% say it should follow the "green line."
        While 79% of the Jewish public say they have heard of the Geneva Initiative, it is acceptable to only about one-fourth, whereas 54% oppose it. Furthermore, only 7% think the Geneva Initiative stands a chance of being realized, whereas 81% believe its chances are small or nil. 65% hold the view that only the elected government is authorized to conduct peace negotiations, since such initiatives by a group of private citizens, even if legal, undermine the elected government's status. (Steinmetz Center for Peace Research - Tel Aviv University)
  • Observations:

    A Visit to the Kremlin - Uri Dan (Jerusalem Post)

    • During his visit to Russia, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on Tuesday: "I am quite sure that Russia is not against Israel. However, Russian initiatives, such as the attempt to have the road map adopted as a Security Council resolution, endanger Israel and the chances of the peace process."
    • "The UN is hostile toward Israel, even in humanitarian issues. UN representatives openly lied in the affair of the three soldiers who were kidnapped by the Hizballah in Lebanon. I know UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan very well. His position is unreservedly anti-Israel. If anyone thinks that we will abandon our fate to the mercies of the secretary-general of the UN - an organization saturated with lies, hostility, and malice towards Israel - he is mistaken."
    • Regarding Iran's development of nuclear weapons, Sharon was told that Russian intelligence is aware of what the Mossad and CIA know - that Iran is trying to buy time in order to produce such weapons. Russia is also worried by such a danger, and now says it is necessary to take steps to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons - even if Russia was the one which supplied the nuclear reactor to Iran.

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