Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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January 26, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Nuclear Scientists from Pakistan Admit Helping Iran with Bomb-Making - Massoud Ansari (Telegraph-UK)
    Two scientists and an official working at the Khan Research Laboratory, the headquarters of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, have admitted for the first time that they gave Iran crucial technical information on building an atomic bomb.
    "We confided in them about the items needed to construct a nuclear bomb, as well as the makes of equipment, the names of companies, the countries from which they could be procured, and how they could be procured," one scientist admitted.

Iraq Ready To Cooperate With Israel (IslamOnline-UK)
    Interim Electricity Minister Aiham al-Samarrai of the Iraqi Interim Governing Council (IGC) said Sunday his country was ready to sell electricity to Israel.
    According to the Qatari news agency, he said "it was necessary to change the old mindset that banned dealing with them [Israel]. It is a democratic world."

PA Sets Up "Central Operations Command" to Restore Law and Order - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    On Sunday, Arafat convened the National Security Council in Ramallah and instructed the Interior Ministry to set up a "central operations command" that would work to unite all the security forces under one umbrella.
    A senior PA official explained that the decision means that the security forces would embark on a campaign designed to collect illegal weapons and arrest members of various armed gangs operating in the West Bank and Gaza.
    "This is an important step towards restoring law and order and ending the chaos of weapons," the official explained.
    The decision is apparently linked to the visit of two U.S. State Department officials to the region on Tuesday, David Satterfield and John Wolf.

Palestinians Murder "Collaborator" with Israel (AP/Jerusalem Post)
    A Palestinian accused of collaborating with Israel was killed in Nablus Sunday.
    The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a terrorist group linked to Arafat's Fatah faction, claimed responsibility for the death of Nidal al-Dabbik, 27.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel to Exchange 400 Arab Prisoners for One Kidnapped Israeli
    Israel will free more than 400 Arab prisoners in a swap with Lebanon's Hizballah guerrilla group, in return for a kidnapped Israeli businessman and the remains of three Israeli soldiers, officials said Saturday. The exchange was brokered by the German government and is set to occur Thursday. Israel will free mostly Palestinian prisoners, but will also release 23 from Lebanon including Hizballah leaders Sheik Abdel Karim Obeid and Mustafa Dirani, and others from Syria, Morocco, Sudan, and Libya. (New York Times)
        See also Israeli Government Statement on Prisoner Exchange (Prime Minister's Media Adviser/IMRA)
        See also Germany: We'll Free Prisoners for Missing Israeli Ron Arad - Aluf Benn, Yoav Stern, and Baruch Kra
    The German government has promised to free two Lebanese and an Iranian currently serving life sentences in Germany in exchange for the missing Israeli navigator Ron Arad or his body. Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah said, Hizballah believes Arad is in Lebanon, and not in Iran, as Israel believes. The Palestinians to be released, according to criteria set by the cabinet, are prisoners with less than two years still to serve and without "blood on their hands." (Ha'aretz)
        The agreement also requires Israel to pass on to Hizballah maps indicating the location of mines laid by IDF forces in southern Lebanon. (Ha'aretz)
  • Cheney: Terror is "the Worst Enemy of the Palestinian People"
    Speaking to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, U.S. Vice President Cheney said: "Peace will not be achieved by Palestinian rulers who intimidate opposition, tolerate and profit from corruption, and maintain ties to terrorist groups. The best hope for a lasting peace depends on true democracy. And a true Palestinian democracy requires leaders who understand that terror has in fact been the worst enemy of the Palestinian people and are prepared to remove it from their midst. Israel, too, must redouble its efforts by alleviating the suffering of the Palestinian people and by avoiding actions that undermine the long-term viability of a two-state solution." (White House)
  • Saddam's WMD Hidden in Syria, Says Iraq Survey Chief - Con Coughlin
    David Kay, the former head of the coalition's hunt for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, claimed Saturday that part of Saddam Hussein's secret weapons program was hidden in Syria. Kay said that he had uncovered evidence that unspecified materials had been moved to Syria shortly before last year's war to overthrow Saddam. "We know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD program," he said. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Saudi Province Sows Seeds of Revolution - John R. Bradley
    Al-Jouf province bordering Iraq is the power base of the al-Sudairy branch of the Saudi royal family - which includes King Fahd and his six full brothers. But now there are signs of a rebellion by merchant families and tribes who were prominent before the al-Sudairys took over. Locals say that in the buildup to the invasion of Iraq, when U.S. troops took over the airport in Arar near the official border crossing with Iraq, many local officers resigned from the Saudi army in protest when they were temporarily relieved of their duties by U.S. soldiers, according to Saudi opposition groups.
        Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Saudis have since sneaked across the border from al-Jouf to join the insurgency against U.S. forces in Iraq. Some have been implicated in suicide attacks, including the Aug. 19 attack that killed 22 persons at the UN headquarters in Baghdad. Recent violence in al-Jouf, including the assassination of the deputy governor and the execution-style killing of the police chief in the provincial capital, shows in microcosm what is happening throughout Saudi Arabia, where there is now near-universal domestic resistance to the rule of the al-Sauds. (Washington Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • U.S. to Oppose Fence Debate at The Hague - Eliel Shahar
    The U.S. has promised Israel to submit, in writing, its opposition to the so-called "Fence Trial," to the International Court of Justice. The U.S. move follows understandings reached during talks between Foreign Ministry Director-General Yoav Biran and the Prime Minister's Bureau Chief Dov Weisglass, and representatives of the U.S. administration. The document to be submitted will express American support for resolution of the security fence controversy through future peace negotiations. Several European countries will submit similar letters to the International Court of Justice. Last Thursday, Weisglass met with U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice and requested that the U.S. lead the opposition to possible UN sanctions against Israel following the ruling at The Hague. (Maariv International)
        See also ICJ Won't Postpone Fence Deadline - Nina Gilbert
    The International Court of Justice at The Hague rejected a call by Israel to postpone the January 30 deadline for written arguments on the security-fence case, said Foreign Ministry legal adviser Alan Baker. The final draft of Israel's statement to the court was presented Sunday to Prime Minister Sharon's bureau chief, Dov Weisglass. Baker said Israel's line of defense would focus on the court's lack of authority to consider the question. Israel is also to question the legitimacy of "Palestine" to be a side to the case. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Prevents Suicide Bombing Planned for Tel Aviv
    Israel's security establishment last week prevented a suicide bombing planned for central Tel Aviv, according to details released Monday, Army Radio said. Following his arrest in Askar in the West Bank on Sunday, Tanzim member Ahmed Ashkar, 18, said he had set out in the direction of Tel Aviv last Tuesday, accompanied by a number of other Palestinians, with an explosive device hidden in a computer monitor. When they reached the town of Bidya, near Elkana, the terrorists spotted an IDF unit, causing them to hide the device and flee. The bomb was uncovered Monday. (Ha'aretz)
  • Saudi Peace Initiative: Arab States to Absorb Refugees - Yoav Stern
    The Kuwaiti newspaper Al Siyasa reported Saturday that a new peace initiative led by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah would bring an end to the conflict between Israel and the Arab states, which would declare a normalization in their ties with Israel, including the appointment of ambassadors. The Arab states will demand that Israel withdraw to its borders prior to the June 1967 war. Two million Palestinian refugees would be allowed to return to the new Palestinian state. More than two million others would be absorbed by other Arab states and compensated for the suffering they had endured. The Arab countries would open their gates to the refugees on the condition that their number won't exceed 10% of the existing population. (Ha'aretz)
        See also PA Denies Refugee Resettlement Report - Khaled Abu Toameh
    A PA official told the PA daily Al-Ayyam on Sunday that a Kuwaiti newspaper report regarding a Saudi initiative that calls for the resettlement of Palestinian refugees "is concocted. It has no basis whatsoever, it is completely fabricated." The paper claimed that the refugees would be resettled in eastern Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Saudi Arabia has also denied the report. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Did Hitlerism Die with Hitler? - Omer Bartov
    Adolf Hitler's so-called second book, written in 1928, was not published in his lifetime because it was apparently seen as disclosing his foreign policy plans too explicitly to allow publication. Published in German in 1961, and in a pirated and unreliable English edition in 1962, it is only now that the public can read this text in an authoritative translation. We still do not seem to have learned a simple crucial lesson that Hitler taught us more definitively than anyone else in history: some people, some regimes, some ideologies, some political programs, and, yes, some religious groups, must be taken at their word. Some people mean what they say, and say what they will do, and do what they said. When they say they will kill you, they will kill you - if you do not kill them first. (New Republic)
  • Anti-Israeli Ire Lets Tyrants Off the Hook - Saul Singer
    The international community remains oblivious to the terrible impact the anti-Israel obsession has had on the causes of human rights, freedom, and world peace. The most extreme case was the recent decision by the UN General Assembly to refer the case of Israel's security fence to the International Court of Justice. Instead of the typical near-unanimous vote, the measure failed to receive an absolute majority among the 189 member states. In what Israel termed a "moral victory," the vote was 90 in favor, 8 against, with 74 abstentions, including most of Europe. The primary collateral damage of the Arab-Israeli conflict is that it has given tyrants the world over a breather, and disenfranchised millions who look to the international community for survival and defense. (National Review)
  • Observations:

    Suicide Bombs and Moral Argument - Rabbi Ian D. Morris (Independent-UK)

    On Thursday, Liberal Democrat MP Jenny Tonge referred to suicide bombers and said: "If I was in their situation, I might just think about it myself."  (Telegraph-UK)
        Rabbi Ian D. Morris, Chairman of the Assembly of Rabbis of the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain, responds:

    • Dr. Tonge asserted that she did not regard suicide bombing as being so immoral as to be beyond the boundaries of defensible behavior.
    • Is it acceptably moral to assert that I may hijack an airliner and fly it into a skyscraper for any reason whatsoever? Is it acceptably moral to consider detonating an explosive belt in an Arab restaurant where Arabs and Jews are socializing together?
    • Suicide bombing is not political discourse. Nor is it ever a moral option. Nor is it a weapon of war or resistance when used against civilians in restaurants or discotheques or skyscrapers.
    • It is a weapon of hate, calculated to punish those who have the temerity to seek peace, be they Arabs or Jews, or the West in general.
    • Peace between Israel and the Palestinians was in sight when the suicide bombers, whom Jenny Tonge so feelingly understands, deliberately and cruelly blew it to bits. Shame on Jenny Tonge for failing to identify suicide bombers as killers of peace as well as people.

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