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 27, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Report: Jordan Blocks Al-Qaeda Attack on Israel (Maariv-Hebrew)
    Five al-Qaeda terrorists attempted to infiltrate into Israel last Friday to carry out an attack, according to a report Wednesday on Israel TV Channel 10.
    Shots were heard on the Jordanian side of the border near Kibbutz Kfar Ruppin in the Bet Shean valley.
    According to the report, Jordanian forces shot one infiltrator near the border, who then led them to four others, all al-Qaeda activists.
    Israeli security forces believe it is only a matter of time until al-Qaeda carries out an attack in Israel.

Al-Qaeda Badly Wounded But Far from Defeated - Evan Thomas and Mark Hosenball (Newsweek)
    The CIA seems to believe that bin Laden and top lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahiri are either on the Afghan-Pakistani border or in a teeming Pakistani city like Karachi, while some Pentagon officials are intrigued by hints that bin Laden and al-Zawahiri may be hiding in Iran.
    The CIA and a host of other intelligence services are on the lookout for Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, a poisons expert with ties to bin Laden and, the Bush administration has claimed, Saddam Hussein.

Motivation Among New IDF Recruits Remains High - Osnat Shostak (Maariv-Hebrew)
    88% of physically-fit IDF recruits drafted in November have requested to serve in combat units, according to IDF Logistics Chief Brig.-Gen. Avi Zamir.

Iran Alone Has 30,000 Political Prisoners - Amir Taheri (Jerusalem Post)
    Anyone looking for a Muslim Nelson Mandela is bound to be disappointed.
    Muslim tyrannies do not allow a serious opponent to live long enough, even in prison, to acquire iconic status.
    The Muslim world accounts for some 80% of political prisoners in the world.

Anti-Sharon Cartoon Wins Top Prize in Britain (Ha'aretz)
    A cartoon of Prime Minister Sharon eating the head of a Palestinian baby against the backdrop of a burning Palestinian city has won first prize in the British Political Cartoon Society's annual competition.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel Withdraws UN Resolution on Protecting Israeli Children from Terrorism
    Israel withdrew a UN resolution on protecting Israeli children from terrorism Wednesday, after amendments proposed by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and others would have substituted "Middle East" for "Israeli" children and inserted language condemning "foreign occupation," thus subverting its purpose and shifting its focus. The resolution was meant to mirror one adopted last week by 88-4 with 58 abstentions demanding protection for Palestinian children. (Reuters)
        See below Observations: Statement of Israel's UN Ambassador
  • UN Nuclear Agency Censures Iran
    The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog, censured Iran Wednesday for covering up its nuclear activities and suggested that further violations could lead to Security Council sanctions. Under a compromise reached between the U.S. and European nations, the resolution did not seek any immediate UN action. The resolution "strongly deplores Iran's past failures" to disclose 18 years of clandestine nuclear activity and called for a "robust verification system" to track Iran's behavior in the future. (Washington Post)
        See also Iran Resolution Includes "Trigger" Language
    The IAEA resolution includes a "trigger" paragraph that says Iran's case will be sent automatically to the IAEA Board of Governors in the event of any future violations of its nonproliferation obligations. U.S. officials said that, given Iran's past attempts to conceal its nuclear ambitions, there is a good chance that it might get caught in noncompliance again soon. (Washington Times)
  • Palestinian Islamist Gives Insight into Workings of Al-Qaeda
    An Islamist militant who helped plan terrorist attacks on Jewish sites in Germany was given a relatively mild prison sentence on Wednesday because he had provided evidence on the inner workings of al-Qaeda. Shadi Abdallah, 27, a Palestinian of Jordanian origin, was sentenced to four years in prison by a Dusseldorf court. Abdallah admitted that Berlin's Jewish museum and a Jewish bar in Dusseldorf had been targets, and gave evidence against former colleagues. A member of the Sunni Palestinian al-Tawhid movement, Abdallah told of the military and explosives training he received in al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, how al-Tawhid members in Germany had organized false passports for Islamic militants injured in Afghanistan, and how they gathered explosives and weapons for planned attacks. (Financial Times-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • U.S.: Cut to Loans Includes Cost of Security Fence - Nathan Guttman
    The U.S. clarified on Wednesday that the cuts in loan guarantees to Israel take into account Israel's investments in the West Bank security fence. The loan guarantees allow Israel to borrow money at a more favorable rate. The deduction could cost Israel $4 million a year in extra interest costs, said Ben-Zion Zilberfarb, a former director-general of the Finance Ministry. (Ha'aretz)
  • Katsav: Geneva Negotiators Should Talk Directly to Sharon - Gil Hoffman
    Israeli President Moshe Katsav reprimanded the Palestinian signatories to the Geneva Accord on Wednesday after hosting a delegation of Palestinians and Israelis who support the initiative. "Only the democratically elected Israeli government has the legitimacy to negotiate and conclude a formula for peace," Katsav told the Palestinians. "Your decision to bypass the Israeli government may boomerang. It is a mistake to seek international approval for this initiative before trying to convince the Israeli people." Hatem Abdel Kader, a leader of Fatah in Jerusalem, admitted that the purpose of the meeting was to undermine the government of Prime Minister Sharon. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Jews Out of Palestine - Amnon Rubinstein
    The call of the new anti-Semitism of our age is "Jews out of Palestine." The absurd thing is that negating Israel's right to exist, which provides the intellectual backing for the threats of its destruction, is being done in the name of the most supreme doctrines of human rights and equality. In other words, all nations have the right to self-determination - except the Jews. Gerard Dupuy, writing in Liberation, says that anyone trying to explain the anti-Semitism, if not justify it, in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is making a moral mistake, because it is a murderous trend, rooted in Muslim society, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is just an excuse for it. (Ha'aretz)
  • An Open-and-Shut Case of Hypocrisy - Mark Steyn
    The EU's Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia has decided to shelve its report on the rise of anti-Semitism on the Continent. The survey found that "many anti-Semitic incidents were carried out by Muslim and pro-Palestinian groups," and so a "political decision" was taken not to publish it because of "fears that it would increase hostility towards Muslims." Let's go back over that slowly: the EU's main concern about an actual epidemic of hate crimes against Jews is that it could provoke a hypothetical epidemic of hate crimes against Muslims. A tolerant society is so reluctant to appear intolerant, it would rather tolerate intolerance. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Europeans Slam Decision Not to Publish Anti-Semitism Study - Sharon Sadeh
    Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a leader of the Greens Party in the European Parliament, on Tuesday strongly denounced the EUMC for shelving the report. "The completely mad thing is that they didn't want to continue because they were afraid to offend a certain Muslim opinion in Europe....This is a completely crazy and wrong approach." (Ha'aretz)
  • Saudi Arabia Cannot Stay a Family-Owned Business - Editorial
    Few countries are more tightly controlled than Saudi Arabia. The royal family chooses to run the place virtually as a family-owned business. While the royal family knows its own survival is at stake, there is little evidence it will be willing to subject itself to the democratic imperatives of its citizens, or to greater religious tolerance. (Houston Chronicle)
  • Observations:

    Israel Withdraws UN Resolution on Protecting Jewish Children from Terrorism - Ambassador Dan Gillerman

    • Israel withdraws its draft resolution and will not ask for it to be voted upon. We do so after the Egyptian delegation together with a number of other delegations have proposed hostile amendments to this resolution and have worked to ensure that its focus and intent has been perverted.
    • Israel presented its draft resolution only after the resolution on Palestinian children was presented to, and adopted by, the Committee. We would have preferred that no group of children be singled out. But once the plight of Palestinian children has been reserved for special attention, Israeli children certainly deserve no less.
    • In presenting this resolution, we presented a challenge before member states: could they avoid the selective treatment of Israel that so often plagues the UN and, at least on the issue of children, demonstrate the same sense of sympathy and compassion for Israeli children that has already been offered to Palestinian children? Those delegations that proposed these hostile changes, and those that quietly supported and tolerated them, have given their answer.
    • Perhaps someone can explain to me why the hundreds of Israeli children killed or maimed in brutal terrorist attacks deserve less sympathy and attention. A resolution that expressly recognizes that Israeli children are also suffering would contradict a worldview that Israelis are the villain, never the victim; that Israelis have responsibilities but no rights; and that the Palestinians have rights but no responsibilities.
    • The delegations that have opposed Israel's resolution at every turn and sponsored the proposed changes have demonstrated the shameless double standard that animates their conduct at the UN. These same delegations have for years used their numbers and their audacity to dictate their own blinkered worldview on the UN agenda as if the UN were their private property.
    • As long as this state of affairs is tolerated and appeased rather than forcefully confronted, no one should wonder why the credibility and relevance of the UN, and its role as a Quartet member, is sometimes questioned.

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