Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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January 5, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Jihad Money Trail Leads to Damascus - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    On Sunday, charges filed in Samaria Military Court accused Sheikh Bassam Sa'adi, 43, of transferring funds from Islamic Jihad's Damascus headquarters to terror activists in Jenin, as well as being a member of the organization's senior leadership since 1995.
    Sa'adi, along with other senior Jihad members, used bank accounts in the territories opened by their wives to conduct the money transfers from Damascus.
    In addition to going to the families of suicide terrorists, some of the money also went toward "personal expenses" - buying arms.

Nuclear Weapon Brochure Adds to U.S. Dilemma Over Pakistan - Alec Russell (Telegraph-UK)
    Pakistan faced embarrassment Sunday with the publication in the New York Times of a sales brochure from the AQ Khan Research Laboratories, the center of Pakistan's top-secret nuclear weapons program, apparently hawking technology and components to would-be nuclear powers.
    The brochure has an official-looking seal on the cover saying "Government of Pakistan."
    Its publication undercuts Pakistan's claims that any transfer of its nuclear technology to rogue states has been the work of individuals.

Palestinian NGOs Reject Anti-Terrorism Pledge - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Palestinian nongovernmental organizations said Saturday they are planning a campaign to pressure Washington to scrap an anti-terrorism document requiring a commit not to transfer funds to individuals or groups that engage in terrorism.
    The U.S. and some EU countries lately informed the Palestinian NGOs that, prior to entering into funding agreements, they must sign a "Certification Regarding Terrorist Financing," pledging not to "provide material support or resources to any individual or entity that advocates, plans, sponsors, engages in, or has engaged in terrorist activity, including but not limited to individuals and entities" based on U.S. Executive Order 13224.
    Such groups include Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades (the armed wing of Fatah), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine as some of the terrorist groups.

Useful Reference:

Revised link:
The Security Fence: Israel's Line of Defense (Foreign Ministry)
    What would you do if terrorists were attacking your people?

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Terror Plot Foiled to Attack U.S. with British Airways Jets
    An al-Qaeda suicide plot to hijack several passenger jets simultaneously - including a British Airways flight - and crash them into high-profile American targets has been uncovered by the security services. The American capital and nuclear power stations on the country's East Coast are said to have been among the terrorists' potential targets. The September 11-style plot explains the recent grounding of 10 U.S.-bound flights across the world. According to a senior intelligence source, an informant claimed that Islamic extremists intended to hijack flights operated by BA, Air France, and AeroMexico. The informant said that as well as targeting Washington, New York and Los Angeles, the terrorists were planning to launch a strike on the Valdez oil terminal in Alaska. A CIA assessment subsequently identified nuclear plants as possible targets. (London Sunday Times)
        See also Hunt for UK Terror Cell - Hijack Gang "Have British Passports"
    Intelligence officials hunting Islamist terrorists suspected of planning attacks on British Airways flights believe they may be carrying legitimate American, UK, or other European passports to try to beat airport security. (Observer-UK)
  • U.S. to Base Foreign Aid on Good Governance
    In a revolution in U.S. foreign aid, rewarding countries for how they govern, the $5 billion Millennium Challenge Account will favor countries whose governments are judged to be just rulers, welcoming hosts for foreign investment, and promoters of projects to meet their people's basic health and education needs. Corrupt police states need not apply. (AP/Baltimore Sun)
  • Tehran Worshipers Cry "Death to France!" Over Head Scarves
    Thousands of Muslim worshipers shouted "Death to France!" during weekly prayers in Tehran Friday in response to a sermon denouncing a proposal to prohibit Muslim schoolgirls in France from wearing head scarves. Ayatollah Ahmad Janati called on Islamic countries to "threaten France with canceling contracts and to reconsider their relations with France" over the issue. Janati assured worshipers that all that was necessary was "a roar from Muslims, and the French would back off." His comments were welcomed by shouts of "Death to France!"  (AFP/International Herald Tribune)
        See also Why France May Be the Next Target of Islamist Terror - Olivier Guitta (FrontPageMagazine)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel to Reject Hague Court's Authority on Fence - Aluf Benn
    Israel will inform the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague that it rejects its jurisdiction to deliberate on the building of the separation fence, senior political sources in Jerusalem said Sunday. Nevertheless, Israel's statement to the ICJ will present substantial arguments to justify the security need for the fence. The ICJ hearing on the fence will be on February 23, and it has called for arguments in writing by January 30. Israel's political leadership thinks the court will rule against Israel. A special team of jurists has been set up to formulate Israel's statement to the ICJ, coordinated by former ambassador Meir Rosen. International jurist Prof. Daniel Bethlehem of Cambridge University will represent Israel at the ICJ in The Hague. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinians Fire 20 Mortars at Israelis in Gaza
    Twenty mortars were fired at Gush Katif settlements in the Gaza Strip on Monday, mostly at Nevei Dekalim. One hit a home, one the local park, Army Radio reported. Nobody was injured. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF: Assad Backs Terror, Wants to Talk - Herb Keinon and Tovah Lazaroff
    Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi told the cabinet Sunday that Syrian President Bashar Assad continues to assist Hizballah and host Palestinian terrorist headquarters in Damascus, but was "more serious than ever" about trying to renew negotiations with Israel. Ze'evi added that Syria is still providing Hizballah and Palestinian terror groups, particularly the Tanzim, with both financial and logistical support. Ze'evi told the cabinet that continuous U.S. diplomatic pressure on Syria, including the recently passed Syrian Accountability Act, as well as Israel's attack on a terrorist base deep inside Syria in October, have combined to bring about Assad's recent overtures. According to Ze'evi, Assad has identified a Bush administration need for some kind of achievement in the Middle East and believes the U.S. may be interested in pursing the Syrian track at a time when the Palestinian track has become stalemated.
        Intelligence Research Department head Brig.-Gen. Yossi Kupperwasser has said Assad is not serious, and that these overtures are merely a way to deflect U.S. anger over Syrian aid to Iraqi guerrillas. Deputy Defense Minister Ze'ev Boim said, "Even now, according to my knowledge, in the last few days, Syria is involved in conveying weapons from Iran to Hizballah." Still, he said, it's possible that international pressure could be pushing Assad to start taking negotiations with Israel seriously. "Assad understands that he is in very bad shape," said Boim. (Jerusalem Post/Ha'aretz)
        See also A Constructive Role for Assad? - Editorial (Washington Times)
  • 30,000 Palestinians Allowed into Israel
    The defense establishment has granted some 30,000 Palestinian laborers and merchants permits to enter Israel, the IDF said Sunday, part of the latest efforts to ease conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Disarmament Issue - Editorial
    The U.S. has chalked up several achievements in its efforts to rid the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction. These developments contribute to Israel's security, removing serious threats that have developed in neighboring countries. Israel's guiding principle should be to refrain from making unnecessary statements while maintaining wide security margins that will preserve its strategic deterrent capability. In the Middle East, where there are still many groups that reject the very existence of Israel as a Jewish state in the region, it is too early to discuss Israel's nuclear capabilities. The U.S. recognizes Israel as a special case and has not pressured it to scrap its nuclear capabilities. (Ha'aretz)
  • Fatally Flawed Peace Proposal - Shlomo Avineri
    Now that the worldwide fanfare accompanying the so-called Geneva Accord has died down a bit, it's time to look at why most Israelis have failed to rally behind the unofficial plan's outline for how to achieve peace with the Palestinians. The biggest problem for Israelis is that what the document's authors claim it says and what it actually says are very different. Many Israelis - including those ready to make considerable concessions - feel that with the Geneva initiative, they have been taken for a ride by the Palestinian propaganda machine and some willful - or naive - Israeli accomplices. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Children Taught All of Israel is Palestine - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
    If you want to know what's really at the heart of the Palestinian conflict with Israel, go to Palestinian children. Children interviewed on PA TV last week state without reservation that Israel has no right to exist, and that the goal for which they're willing to sacrifice their lives is Israel's destruction. "Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Haifa, Acre, Ramle. All these cities belong to Palestine," one youth explained in a December 25 broadcast. Children are taught that all of Israel is part of Palestine.
        Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei is on record as rejecting the idea of Israel as a Jewish state. "President Bush said that Israel is a Jewish state, which is a cause for our concern. This should not have been said," he told Al-Nahar and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on June 15, 2003. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    America and the Middle East After Saddam - Kenneth M. Pollack
    (Foreign Policy Research Institute)

    • The Arab states are broken. They are absolutely stagnant, politically, economically, and socially. And their people know it. The vast majority of Arab schools don't teach anything useful to their students and don't produce students who have useful job skills. Most of the students specialize in humanities, many of them aspire to be lawyers and Islamic scholars: two-thirds of all of the Ph.D.s issued in Saudi Arabia every year are in Islamic studies.
    • The legal system in all the Arab countries is a disaster, which is one reason so few American companies invest there, except for the oil firms. In many of these countries rule of law is meaningless. The law is entirely arbitrary.
    • There are nearly 500 princes in the Saudi royal family, all of whom believe that they are entitled to live like princes. The Saudis are having a real problem because in the 1960s-70s, when they had massive oil revenues, they created a cradle-to-grave welfare system. But with the decrease in global oil prices, coupled with a massive rise in population, the Saudis can no longer live or support their people the way they once did. But after 40 years of no one's having to work, there is almost no work ethic left in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia probably isn't going to blow up tomorrow, but I wouldn't make a bet as to whether it's still in its current state ten years from now.
    • The people of the region understand that the rest of the world has taken off with globalization. How did East Asia go from being behind them to being so far ahead of them? The governments just feed them a steady diet of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism, creating an intellectual class that blames its problems on us. The only alternative out there is even worse: the Islamists.
    • In Jordan, the beloved King Abdullah presides over a population that's two-thirds Palestinian, and those people are very unhappy with their lot in life. They would like nothing better than to be able to control the levers of power inside Jordan.
    • In the last ten or fifteen years, another voice has been developing in the Middle East, the voice we should all be supporting. That's a group of liberal democratic Arabs who have been saying, "Our choice should not be Mubarak's Egypt or the Ayatollah's Iran. Why can't we start to democratize, open up our economies, and build a democratic system that is perfectly compatible with Islam and with traditional Arab values?" If we get Iraq wrong, that voice is going to die.

    The writer served on the staff of the National Security Council and is now Director of Research for the Saban Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the Brookings Institution.

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