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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December 9, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Iraqi Imports Now Pass Through Israel (UPI/MENAFN)
    Israel's port of Haifa has become a transit port for second-hand cars sent from Europe to Iraq, a resurgent business conduit that is expected to grow, Shlomi Fogel, co-owner of Israel Shipyards, said Sunday.
    Fogel said a shipload of dozens of second-hand cars reaches Haifa once a week, which are then sent to Zarka in Jordan and from there to Iraq.
    Fogel said he expected Haifa to also become a port for transferring imported grains to Iraq.

Israel Helps Train U.S. Counter-Insurgency Forces - Julian Borger (Guardian-UK)
    Israeli advisers are helping train U.S. special forces in aggressive counter-insurgency operations in Iraq, U.S. intelligence and military sources said Monday.
    The IDF has sent urban warfare specialists to Fort Bragg, home of U.S. special forces, and according to two sources, Israeli military "consultants" have also visited Iraq.
    U.S. special forces teams are already behind the lines inside Syria attempting to kill foreign jihadists before they cross the border, and a group focused on the "neutralization" of guerrilla leaders is being set up, according to sources familiar with the operations.
    In a letter to Army magazine in July, Brig. Gen. Michael Vane, deputy chief of staff at the army's training and doctrine command, wrote: "We recently travelled to Israel to glean lessons learned from their counterterrorist operations in urban areas."
    An Israeli official said the IDF regularly shared its experience in the West Bank and Gaza with the U.S. armed forces.

    See also Moving Targets - Seymour M. Hersh (New Yorker)
    A new Special Forces group, designated Task Force 121, has been assembled to neutralize Baathist insurgents.
    The Pentagon has sought help in the war against the Iraqi insurgency from Israel, America's closest ally in the Middle East.
    See also Tough New Tactics by U.S. in Iraq (New York Times)

The Saudi Takeover of Cairo's Al-Azhar University - Laurent Murawiec (Media Line)
    Al-Azhar University in Cairo is the oldest in the Muslim world, established in 971 AD.
    With its Academy of Islamic Research, whose fatwas are authoritative in the Sunni world, it is a center of Sunni Islam and, even more, of the Arab world.
    Yet Al-Azhar and its Great Sheikh have been purchased by the Saudi regime and its Wahhabi creed.
    By the end of the 1990s, it was hard to find an Azhari who had not enjoyed Saudi largesse, with the Saudi-sponsored World Muslim League (WML) endowing chairs and funding whole departments.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • UN Sending Israel Security Fence Issue to World Court
    The UN General Assembly approved a nonbinding resolution on Monday asking the International Court of Justice to rule on the legality of the barrier that Israel is building in the West Bank. The vote was 90 in favor and 8 opposed, with 74 abstaining. The World Court is not obligated to issue an opinion. The U.S., which voted against the resolution, vetoed a similar Security Council resolution in October. James Cunningham, the deputy U.S. representative, denounced the resolution as "one-sided and completely unbalanced," adding, "It doesn't even mention the word terrorism." "This is the fence that Arafat built. His terrorism initiated it and made its construction inevitable," declared Dan Gillerman, the Israeli ambassador. "While the rights of local residents are legitimate and important, we should not forget that the right not to be murdered by terrorists is a right which is certainly no less important and, if violated, is impossible to redress," he said. (New York Times)
        See also Israeli Reaction to UN Vote - Shlomo Shamir and Aluf Benn
    Prime Minister Sharon's spokesman Ra'anan Gissin said, "This is an delegitimize the right of the Jewish people to have a Jewish state that they can defend." Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman, called the vote "a moral victory," saying "most of the world's enlightened democracies" were among the large number of countries that didn't support the resolution, while those who voted in favor were "mostly tyrannical dictatorships, corrupt and human rights-defying regimes." The EU countries joined the unusually high number of abstentions, believing that seeking an opinion from the court was legally questionable and would work against a political dialogue.
        Sharon and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom decided prior to the vote that Israel would cooperate with the international court in the Hague should the resolution pass and that Israel would argue that the decision to build the barrier was based on self-defense. Israel would present its position that the barrier is legal and stands up to all standards of judicial scrutiny. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Statement by Israel's Ambassador at the UN General Assembly (Israel's UN Mission)
        See also UN Voting Results (United Nations)
  • Hamas Official Says Suicide Attacks to Resume
    "The martyrdom operations come as waves," Hamas chief spokesman Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi said Monday after the collapse of talks among Palestinian factions on a complete cease-fire with Israel. "We are just in the period of a gap between waves." Rantissi said Palestinian militants were emboldened by Israeli Prime Minister Sharon's domestic woes and U.S. problems in Iraq and Afghanistan. "The problems of America and the situation of America in Iraq and Afghanistan has its effect on the situation in Palestine. I believe that the Palestinian people are stronger than before," he said. (Reuters)
  • Controversial Fence Proves Its Worth
    In Netanya, a city of 185,000 people north of Tel Aviv, there have been 14 terror attacks in recent years, killing 43 people and wounding more than 400. The last attack was in March. The atmosphere in the city has now changed since Israel completed a formidable security barrier, at the edge of the West Bank, 10 miles east of Netanya. Israel Security Agency interrogators have concluded that the fence has become a "significant obstacle," as arrested militants say in their interrogations they have had to devise complicated ways to penetrate Israel. (UPI/Washington Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Seeks to Strengthen Qurei - Margot Dudkevitch
    Since October, Israel has refrained from targeted killings of suspected terrorists as a gesture towards PA Prime Minister Qurei in an attempt to help him strengthen his position. However, terrorist organizations have not stopped planning attacks, said officials, who received 47 warnings of plots this month. In the Gaza Strip, officials reported a significant increase in attempts to attack soldiers and Israeli communities, and hundreds of Palestinians actively involved in the terrorist infrastructure. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Sharon Not Afraid of Demographics
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told a business conference in Tel Aviv on Monday, "History teaches us that ever since the founding of the Zionist movement, and certainly since the founding of the state, time works in our favor." "I'm familiar with the claim by self-appointed experts and commentators that time is working against us. After the Balfour Declaration the Jewish community in Eretz Israel numbered only 56,000, much less than the 650,000 at the time of the declaration of statehood and the 7 million Israelis, including 5.5 million Jews, today." (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • Sharansky Meets in Berlin with Authors of EU Report on Anti-Semitism
    Minister Natan Sharansky on Friday met the authors of the study from the Centre for Research on Anti-Semitism at Berlin's Technical University and said their findings were in line with Israeli research. "There is a clear correlation between the size of the Muslim community in one or other country and the number of physical incidents of anti-Semitism, a kind of feeling of fear by Jews in the streets," he said. "The moment you start appeasing extremists instead of fighting extremists, that is really dangerous," he said. Sharansky was last in the German capital 17 years ago when he was released from Soviet detention into what was then West Berlin. (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
  • Arab-Americans Protest Award to Peres
    About 100 Arab-American protesters picketed a dinner in Detroit on Monday sponsored by Seeds of Peace honoring former prime minister Shimon Peres, calling him a war criminal. Palestinian peace advocate Sari Nusseibeh was also being honored at the dinner. (AP/Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Return of Anti-Semitism - Craig Horowitz
    Israel has become the flash point - and the excuse - for a global explosion of an age-old syndrome. The stunning result of the burgeoning anti-Israel, anti-Zionist emotion is a kind of politically correct anti-Semitism. In this worldview, the "Zionist entity" has no legitimacy and as a result no right to do what other nations do, like protect itself and its citizens. "It's not about this or that Israeli policy," says Malcolm Hoenlein, head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. "It's about Israel's right to exist." (New York Magazine)
  • The Hate that Shames Us - Julie Burchill
    Some people use the Jews as a sort of warped magic mirror, accusing them of things that they themselves are obviously guilty of. Attacks on Jews in Britain have risen by 75% this year; and since 2000, there has been a 400% increase in attacks on synagogues. Make no mistake, the Jews are not hated because of Israel; they are hated for their very modernity, mobility, lust for life, and love of knowledge. Their most basic toast, "L'chaim!" (To Life!), is a red rag to those who fetishize death because they have failed to take any joy from their life on earth. (Guardian-UK)
  • Observations:

    Al-Qaeda's Intellectual Legacy: New Radical Islamic Thinking Justifying the Genocide of Infidels - Jonathan D. Halevi (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • The Islamic victory over the USSR in Afghanistan, the creation of the al-Qaeda global network, and the spread of Islam in many Western countries are seen as signs of an Islamic awakening that from the radical Islamist perspective may lead to the restoration of Islam as the world's most dominant power.
    • In this emerging world order, Christians and Jews are no longer protected minorities under Islam. As a result, there is a dangerous trend among militant Islamist clerical authorities, especially from Saudi Arabia, justifying not only acts of terrorism against individuals, but also mass murder against whole groups of people regarded as infidels. Their call for the complete extermination of peoples means they have moved ideologically toward the justification of genocide.
    • Jihad against America is the realization of "the right of self-defense" in retaliation for the terrorist war waged by the United States against the nation of Islam. Based on the Islamic principle, one al-Qaeda leader argues that Muslims have the right to kill four million Americans, while a Saudi scholar argues for killing ten million.
    • The citizens in democratic Western countries become full participants in governmental decision-making by voting in elections, and therefore they are no longer considered "non-combatants." Democracy is a prohibited innovation that contradicts Islamic values and embodies a new heretical religion.
    • An official al-Qaeda publication presents a new, comprehensive concept of total extermination of Islam's enemies. Al-Qaeda's Saudi clerics are also having a growing influence on other militant groups, from Hamas to Chechen groups to the mujahideen in western Iraq: their legal rulings appear on the websites of these organizations in Arabic.
    • There has only been a partial moderation of these trends as a byproduct of Saudi Arabia's internal struggle with al-Qaeda since May 12, 2003; some clerics have called for discontinuing the practice of takfir - branding Muslims as infidels worthy of destruction. But they have not altered their harsh doctrine against Christians and Jews.

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