Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with Access/Middle East
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
If your email program has difficulty viewing this page, see web version.


December 2, 2003

To contact the Presidents Conference:
[email protected]

In-Depth Issue:

Arafat's Over Billion-Dollar Stash - Rodney Dalton (Sunday Mail-Australia)
    PA finance minister Salam Fayyad "is really trying very hard," says Matthew Levitt, a former FBI analyst who tracks terrorism.
    "However, (his) best efforts can only be successful as they pertain to the PA's funds. He has no jurisdiction over PLO funds, Fatah (Arafat's political party) funds, or any funds that have been diverted to Yasser Arafat's (or his associates') personal accounts."
    Arafat still pays the salaries of more security officers than he needs, including Palestinian naval police based in landlocked Hebron.
    The renewed interest in Arafat's finances comes at a sensitive time for the Palestinians, who will present their 2004 budget at an international donors conference in Rome on December 12.
    Europe - the PA's main financial backer - wants to know what happened to the $US5.5 billion in international aid that has flowed in Arafat's direction since the PA was established in 1994.
    See also One Man Bank - Asaf Romirowsky (FrontPageMagazine)

Stickers Produce Unique Battle in Egypt - Maggie Michael (AP/Washington Post)
    First came the fish bumper stickers, imported from the U.S. and pasted on cars by members of Egypt's 10% Coptic minority as a symbol of their Christianity.
    Before long, some Muslims responded with their own bumper stickers: fish-hungry sharks, a tiny reminder of the tensions between Egypt's Copts and majority Muslims.

Terrorist Killed in Gaza "Work Accident"
(Jerusalem Post)
    The explosion that ripped through a car in Rafah in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, killing a Palestinian terrorist, was an apparent "work accident," according to Israeli army sources.
    Yusuf Matar, 25, a member of the violent Islamic Jihad, was also a member of the Palestinian preventive security forces.

Useful Reference:

Manifestations of Anti-Semitism in the European Union (Jerusalem Post)
    A commissioned report on anti-Semitism in Europe prepared by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia - that the EU has refused to publish - was given to the Jerusalem Post by CRIF, representing the French Jewish community, and by the European Jewish Congress. Read the full text here.

    See also Delay of Anti-Semitism Report Criticized - Peter Finn (Washington Post)

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel Urges Syria to Discourage Attacks
    Israel's president, Moshe Katsav, said Monday that Syria must stop supporting armed factions that attack Israel if it is serious about restarting negotiations with Israel. (New York Times)
        See also Syrian Pressing for Israel Talks
    President Bashar al-Assad called Sunday for the U.S. to use its influence to revive negotiations between his country and Israel. (New York Times)
        See also Interview with Syria's President (New York Times)
  • Self-Appointed Israeli and Palestinian Negotiators Offer a Plan for Middle East Peace
    Self-appointed Israeli and Palestinian negotiators came together on Monday in Geneva to celebrate a sweeping shadow agreement that would create a Palestinian state. Among those bearing witness were former President Jimmy Carter. The U.S. conspicuously was not among the governments sending a message of support, though a low-level representative was present. The Israeli government did not take part at all. The Swiss government underwrote the $542,000 event, with substantial help from private donors. (New York Times)
  • Ehud Barak: Geneva Accord Rewards Terror
    Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak told CNN Monday that the "Geneva Accord" plan rewards militant groups that have killed hundreds of innocent civilians. "After three years of one of the most bloody suicide bombing campaigns in the history of terror, led by Mr. Arafat and Hamas, we find Israeli and good-intentioned leaders like former President Carter rewarding terror," he said. "It will not save lives. It will lead to more loss of life in the future." Also, he said, "There is no recognition of Israel as a Jewish state - the simplest demand." Despite claims to the contrary, he said, the language of the agreement does not call for Palestinians to give up the right of return. "This fictitious agreement creates an illusion that somehow, magically, it is Sharon and not Arafat that is responsible for the fact we are not moving toward peace," he said. (CNN)
  • Saudi Interrogators Use Koran to Connect with Captives
    Saudi interrogators often bring clerics and a Koran to their prison interviews with al-Qaeda captives to establish a religious connection, a technique that has proved successful in eliciting information from terrorist suspects and reorienting them to less violent religious beliefs. Saudi officials said the tactic is reserved mostly for mid-level and low-level al-Qaeda prisoners. (AP/CNN)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Hits Hamas Infrastructure in Ramallah - Margot Dudkevitch
    Three senior Hamas fugitives were killed during a wide-ranging operation against the Hamas infrastructure in Ramallah that concluded Monday. 29 suspects were arrested, and two bomb factories and a belt containing 20 kg. of explosives were blown up. Palestinians reported 16 to 20 wounded, including senior Hamas commander Sheikh Ibrahim Hamed, who is suspected of planning numerous terror attacks in which 68 Israelis were murdered and over 550 wounded. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Protest Geneva Accord - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The Palestinian Religious Scholars Association, one of the leading Islamic bodies in the PA, issued a fatwa (religious decree) Monday forbidding any Muslim from signing an agreement that forgoes the right of return for all refugees to their original homes inside Israel. "Resistance is the only way to resolve the Palestinian cause," the fatwa added. Thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza took to the streets to protest against the Geneva Accord, while Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah distributed leaflets pledging to continue the armed struggle against Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Army Making Headway Against Smuggling Tunnels
    A senior IDF officer told Israel Radio Sunday that three Palestinians intimately involved in the smuggling tunnels in the Gaza Strip had been captured recently and were a source of much valuable information. He added that the army is receiving valuable assistance from Egyptian security forces. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also No Tranquility in Gaza - Arieh O'Sullivan
    The army proudly displayed Sunday some recent successes on the Gazan front. In one thermal film, a top fugitive responsible for smuggling weapons through tunnels from Egypt was filmed from above as he fled his home during a raid. The drone operators were able to direct troops on the ground to the house where the fugitive had sought refuge and thus to capture him.
        Another film recorded a recent clash with a Hamas squad spotted as it moved into action toting a heavy machine gun. An IDF sniper hit one gunman, and when the others brought in a donkey cart to evacuate him, they also brought with them two children as human shields. "It was clear they were terrorists, but we didn't fire at them because of the two kids," said a senior officer. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Boy Killed by Brother, Not IDF, PA Report Says - Amos Harel
    A 9-year-old boy from Rafah in the Gaza Strip was not killed last week by IDF fire, according to a report by Palestinian security services. Although his death was initially blamed on the IDF, further investigation by the Palestinians revealed the boy had been shot by his older brother.
        The past 10 days have seen a 70% increase in attacks in the Gaza Strip, most involving Qassam rockets and mortars, and a total of 26 explosive devices were set during November. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Muslim Feminist Wows Crowd in Toronto - Sheldon Gordon
    A Muslim Canadian author has called for an Islamic Reformation that would purge the Muslim world of anti-Semitism. Irshad Manji, 34, a Toronto broadcaster and self-described observant Muslim, is the author of the Canadian best-seller The Trouble With Islam: A Wake Up Call for Honesty and Change. The charismatic and self-assured Manji, an avowed feminist, described how she visited local mosques incognito, dressed in a full-length burka, and heard the clergy talk of a "Western, Jewish-led conspiracy against Islam and declare that it is the responsibility of Muslims in the West to support the jihadis, with their money, if not with their sons." The Koran includes harsh commentaries on Jews, she said, "but it also reminds us of the Jews' 'exalted nationhood' and validates the sovereign role of Jews in the Holy Land." The Koran "gives ample opportunities to be respectful of Jews; it's a matter of what to emphasize and what to downplay," she said. (Forward)
  • A Bomb in Iran's Basement - Editorial
    A few weeks ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency issued its long-awaited conclusions on Iran's quest to develop nuclear weapons. The IAEA declared, "to date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities referred to above were related to a nuclear weapons program." Come again? Iran lies and runs secret programs for almost two decades to produce plutonium and enriched uranium - which fuel atomic bombs - and there's no evidence that it's trying to develop weapons? It's caught building at least two clandestine nuclear facilities capable of producing weapons-grade fuel and there's no evidence of its intentions? (Chicago Tribune)
        See also Iran-Pakistan Atomic Link Seen - Douglas Frantz
    Tehran acknowledged to the IAEA that its centrifuge enrichment program was based on designs by a European firm, Urenco. Diplomats said the designs were the same Urenco-based technology used by Pakistan to develop its nuclear bomb in the 1990s. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Observations:

    Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism - Emanuele Ottolenghi (Guardian-UK)

    • Israel deserves to be judged by the same standards adopted for others, not by the standards of utopia. Singling out Israel for an impossibly high standard not applied to any other country begs the question: why such different treatment?
    • Zionism comprises a belief that Jews are a nation, and as such are entitled to self-determination as all other nations are. To oppose Zionism in its essence and to refuse to accept its political offspring, Israel, as a legitimate entity, entails more. If nationalism is a pernicious force, then one should oppose Palestinian nationalism as well.
    • Negating Zionism, by claiming that Zionism equals racism, denies the Jews the right to identify, understand, and imagine themselves as a nation. Anti-Zionists deny Jews a right that they all too readily bestow on others, first of all Palestinians.
    • Zionism reversed Jewish historical passivity to persecution and asserted the Jewish right to self-determination and independent survival. By negating Zionism, the anti-Semite is arguing that the Jew must always be the victim.
    • What anti-Zionists find so obscene is that Israel is neither martyr nor saint. Their outrage refuses legitimacy to a people's national liberation movement. Israel's stubborn refusal to comply with the invitation to commit national suicide and thereby regain a supposedly lost moral ground draws condemnation. Jews now have the right to self-determination, and that is what the anti-Semite dislikes so much.

      The writer is the Leone Ginzburg Fellow in Israel Studies at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and the Middle East Centre at St. Antony's College, Oxford.

    To subscribe to the Daily Alert, send a blank email message here.
    To unsubscribe, send a blank email message here.