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 19, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Istanbul Bombings Mastermind Thought to be Hiding in Syria - Jonathan Lis, Yossi Melman, and Zvi Barel (Ha'aretz)
    The mastermind of Saturday's deadly synagogue attacks in Istanbul is now believed to be hiding in Syria, Turkish government sources said Tuesday.
    Turkish authorities said the bombings were staged by two Turkish suicide bombers and accomplices who were inspired by or even worked actively for al-Qaeda.
    The two suicide bombers were cousins, and the brother of one of the bombers headed the operation.
    The two bombers and the head of the cell went to school in Afghanistan and lately went through training in Iran, where they learned about munitions and bomb-making.

PA Could Lose an Armed Confrontation with Hamas - Matthew Gutman (Jerusalem Post)
    Learning from the last hudna (cease-fire), the Israeli security establishment believes that it will enable terrorist groups to rest, rearm, and upgrade.
    "We've seen that movie," said one IDF source, who recalled that Hamas used the last hudna to smuggle an unprecedented number of arms into Gaza.
    IDF commanders in Gaza who have witnessed the influx of weapons into the area believe that Hamas's weapons now outnumber those in the hands of the PA.
    They have warned for months that the PA could lose an armed confrontation with Hamas.

Israeli GDP Grows 2.7% - Moti Bassok (Ha'aretz)
    "The recession is over," Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday after the Central Bureau of Statistics reported that the economy grew by 2.7% in the third quarter of 2003.
    Israel's exports in the quarter leapt by 24.2%.

Another West Bank "Honor" Killing - Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson (Knight Ridder/Arizona Republic)
    Rofayda Qaoud - raped by her brothers and impregnated - refused to commit suicide, her mother recalls, even after she bought the unwed teenager a razor with which to slit her wrists.
    So her mother killed her, a crime repeated almost weekly among Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Israel.
    Victims' rights groups say the number of "honor crimes" appears to be climbing.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel Urged to Aid Palestinians
    White House officials have held intense discussions with Israeli officials in recent weeks on ways to ease the plight of the Palestinians, lift roadblocks in the territories, and deal with other vexing issues that have created a chill in the generally warm relations between President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Sharon, U.S. officials said Tuesday. A senior administration official, briefing reporters on Air Force One as Bush flew to Britain, said it was necessary for the Palestinians to build security forces that would fight terrorism. "But it's also still necessary for Israel to create conditions in which a partner can emerge, and that means not prejudging the outcome of a final status agreement with settlements or with the route of the fence," the official said. "It means trying to do something about the kind of daily difficulties that Palestinian people experience at any given checkpoint." (Washington Post)
        See below - Observations: Balancing IDF Checkpoints and International Law
  • Europe to Oppose U.S. Effort to Air Iran Arms Issue in UN
    Europe will resist an American effort to bring the suspected Iranian development of nuclear weapons before the UN Security Council, hoping to lure Iran into compliance with negotiations and incentives, European officials said Tuesday. The stand was a rebuff to Secretary of State Powell, who met in Brussels with European foreign ministers and sought a forceful response to a UN report that Powell said had proved that Iran was defying its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. (New York Times)
  • U.S. to Hand Iraqi Police Lead Role in Volatile Town
    American soldiers have faced near daily attacks from guerrillas in the so-called Sunni triangle. Maj.-Gen. Charles Swannack said 90% of the attacks were carried out by remnants of Saddam's Baath party and Iraqi followers of Saudi Arabia's strict Wahhabi Islamic movement. (Reuters/MSNBC)
        See also U.S. Officers in Iraq Find Few Signs of Infiltration by Foreign Fighters
    The commanding general of the U.S. Army division that patrols much of Iraq's western borders with Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that his men had encountered only a handful of foreign fighters trying to sneak into the country to attack American and allied forces. "I want to underscore that most of the attacks on our forces are by former regime loyalists and other Iraqis, not foreign forces," said Maj.-Gen. Charles Swannack, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division. (New York Times)
  • Ford Foundation Announces New Funding Guidelines as It Admits to Aiding Anti-Israel Groups - Edwin Black
    The Ford Foundation has admitted it erred in funding anti-Israeli Palestinian groups and has vowed to establish tough new guidelines to stop its funds from being used for anti-Semitic action anywhere in the world. The foundation said it was "disgusted" by anti-Israel and anti-Semitic agitation at the 2001 UN Conference Against Racism at Durban, South Africa, which it helped finance. "We now recognize that we did not have a clear picture of the activities, organizations, and people involved," conceded Ford president Susan Berresford in a Nov. 17 letter to U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). In addition to establishing new funding guidelines, the foundation said it promises to cease financing pivotal anti-Israel groups and even recover funds where the grant's intent was violated. (JTA)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Terrorist Attacks Tourists at Jordan Border Crossing Near Eilat
    A terrorist Wednesday opened fire in the Jordan border crossing terminal north of Eilat, wounding five South American tourists, one of them critically, before the terrorist was killed by Israeli security guards. (Ha'aretz/Yediot Ahronot)
  • Powell Rules Out New Palestinian Hudna - Gil Hoffman
    U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell ruled out American support for a new cease-fire between the PA and terrorist organizations on Tuesday, telling Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom in Brussels that the U.S. will insist on the PA fighting terror. "Another cease-fire cannot be the solution," Powell told Shalom. "We will judge the new Palestinian government only by its performance."
        Senior officials in Shalom's delegation denied reports that Powell issued heavy-handed criticism of Israeli policies in the settlements. "When the Americans want to bash us, they do it without any hesitation," Shalom's chief of staff Ron Prosor said. "Powell wasn't being confrontational. His language was very moderate, as if he was merely trying to go through the motions."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Arafat Frees Islamists' Funds
    Arafat decided Tuesday to release funds of Islamic charities frozen in August, a Palestinian official said. He said the decision was a goodwill gesture to the Islamic groups in advance of talks about a cease-fire. (Al Bawaba-Jordan)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Erasing Phase One of the Road Map - Ehud Ya'ari
    Abu Ala's government is not a revamped version of Abu Mazen's. It represents a worrying step backwards, to a format dictated and directed by Arafat. What we are left with is a cabinet that in many respects is just another of the chairman's executive branches. Arafat has managed to turn the tables and lock the "reform government" into his service.
        Arafat and Abu Ala, two veteran comrades, have prepared a two-stage plan. The first is a cease-fire brokered by the PA, that does not include any promises regarding the dismantling of Hamas or Islamic Jihad, despite the fact that Phase One of the Road Map, at its core, calls for the elimination of the Palestinian terror infrastructure. Abu Ala intends to tell Sharon soon that this is the best he can offer, and that he doesn't have the power to take on Hamas. That the choice is to take quiet without a dismantling of the terrorist infrastructure, or to expect the terror attacks to go on. The Palestinian assumption is that under these circumstances, Sharon and Defense Minister Mofaz will prefer calm. Then it will be time for the second act, to hold elections for the PA institutions in June 2004, which according to the Road Map should take place only after the terror infrastructure has been dismantled. What this means is the effective erasure of Phase One of the Road Map, skipping over the war on terror. (Jerusalem Report)
  • Funerals for Istanbul Bombing Victims Mix Jewish and Muslim Symbols - Molly Moore
    On Tuesday morning, in a striking marriage of cultural symbols, each of the six coffins was embossed with the Star of David and draped in the crimson Turkish flag with its white Islamic crescent and star - an honor reserved for soldiers and government officials or civilians who die as martyrs in the eyes of this predominantly Muslim nation. (Washington Post)
        See also In Turkey, a History Lesson in Peace - Seyla Benhabib
    The presence of about 30,000 Jews in Turkey is a testament to the peaceful coexistence of Jews and Muslims throughout the old Levant. This is something the murderous forces of Islamic terrorism would like to obliterate. The Jews of Turkey are also proof of the foresight and sound judgment of secular Turkey's republican founders. A thorn in the flesh of Islamic terrorists is the peaceful coexistence of Jews and Muslims since the 15th century in a Muslim country that respects the democratic equality of citizens of different faiths and ethnicities. (New York Times)
  • Understanding the Istanbul Synagogue Bombings - Christopher Hitchens
    Why would the jihadists be so careless to have also killed a fair number of non-Jewish Turkish passersby? Those who think this even semiconsciously have already forgotten what jihadists were doing in Algeria, Egypt, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, long before the assault on the World Trade Center (which also killed a substantial number of Muslims). It's pretty safe to say that the large majority of those murdered by Islamic holy warriors have not been Europeans or Americans. The worshippers at Neve Shalom were members of a very old and honorable community who were murdered for being Jews. Their Turkish neighbors were casually murdered as "collateral damage." This is in the nature and essence of the foe that we face. (Slate)
  • Observations:

    Balancing IDF Checkpoints and International Law: Teaching the IDF Code of Conduct - Lt. Col. Amos Guiora, Commander of the IDF School of Military Law (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • The IDF has decided to teach commanders about international law in order to enable them to more effectively carry out their missions.
    • The IDF has developed a code of conduct that is a combination of international law, Israeli law, and the IDF's own traditional ethical code - ruach tzahal, "the spirit of the IDF."
    • The IDF has developed educational computer software simulations. In one scenario, a 19-year-old soldier has been given intelligence information on a terrorist bomber traveling in an ambulance. An ambulance arrives at his checkpoint with a seemingly pregnant woman. If he lets in the terrorist, innocent civilians will be hurt. But if he delays the wrong ambulance, he endangers the woman and her child.
    • The IDF is teaching very complicated issues and presenting complex dilemmas in a user-friendly fashion to help its soldiers better understand the issues they must deal with on a daily basis.

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