Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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January 27, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Hamas Posts Photos of Suicide Bomber Posing With Her Child (AP/Jerusalem Post)
    Hamas has posted on its Internet site photos of Gaza suicide bomber Reem Raiyshi posing with her two young children.
    The pictures show Raiyshi in camouflage dress holding an assault rifle in one hand while cradling her 3-year-old son, Obedia, in the other arm.
    The boy is clutching what appears to be a mortar shell, and both mother and child wear Hamas headbands.

Afghan War Curbs al-Qaeda Arms Program - Rohan Sullivan (AP/Washington Post)
    An al-Qaeda program to develop chemical and biological weapons was in the early "conceptual stages" when it was cut short by the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, U.S. and Malaysian security officials said, based on interrogations of terrorist suspects captured in Southeast Asia and from clues gathered in the Afghan battlefield.

Habitat International Coalition's Anti-Israel Agenda (NGO Monitor)
    Ford Foundation President Susan Berresford pledged that Ford has taken steps to ensure its funds no longer go to "groups that promote or condone bigotry or violence, or that challenge the very existence of legitimate, sovereign states like Israel."
    Yet the Ford Foundation, along with a number of other European funding agencies, continues to provide funding for the highly politicized work of Habitat International Coalition (HIC).
    HIC's Middle East/North Africa office disseminates thinly veiled anti-Israel propaganda, part of a much wider process of self-defined "humanitarian" NGOs highjacking the human rights agenda for partisan anti-Israel ideological goals.

Singapore Bans Study at "Terror Schools" - Alex Spillius (Telegraph-UK)
    Singapore is to ban members of its Muslim minority from studying at overseas Islamic schools, or madrassas, which it deems too radical.
    The plan is believed to be the first by any country, including Britain, which has seen Muslim nationals radicalized at madrassas.
    Over the past two years, 37 accused militants, many alleged to have studied overseas, have been detained.

Greek Orthodox Patriarch Approved - Abigail Radoszkowicz (Jerusalem Post)
    The Israeli cabinet on Sunday approved Irineos I as Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem.
    Charges that Irineos I was close to the Palestinian Authority had led the government to hold off approval for more than two years.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • 9/11 Panel Faults U.S. For Letting Hijackers In
    The U.S. government fumbled repeated opportunities to stop many of the men responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks from entering the country, missing fraudulent passports and other warning signs that should have attracted greater scrutiny, according to a preliminary report released Monday by the independent commission investigating the terrorist strikes. (Washington Post)
  • U.S. Says Top al-Qaeda, Ansar al Islam Figures Captured
    Hasan Guhl, a Pakistani veteran of al-Qaeda operations, was captured Thursday in Iraq. "He's a longtime facilitator of al-Qaeda operations in terms of moving both people and money. He has an extensive network of contacts all over the world," said a U.S. official. U.S. forces also captured Husan al-Yemeni, the leader of an Ansar al Islam cell in Fallujah, on January 15, "the most senior Ansar al Islam person that's been caught to date," said another U.S. official. Al-Yemeni is considered the number two to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian with links to al-Qaeda who has emerged as the leader of Ansar al-Islam, a militant group which has established operations in the Baghdad area. "Both [arrests] point to stepped up efforts on al-Qaeda's part and other Islamic extremists to launch terrorist attacks in Iraq," said a U.S. official. (AFP/ChannelNewsAsia-Singapore)
        See also below Jihadists in Iraq: An Unwelcome Saudi Export
  • Half of British Voters Unwilling to Accept a Jewish PM
    The current Conservative Party leader, Michael Howard, is a practicing Jew. But an ICM poll published in the Jewish Chronicle found that 47% of people were unable to agree with the statement: "A British Jew would make an equally acceptable prime minister as a member of any other faith." The poll found 20% did not think that Jews made a positive contribution to political, social, and cultural life, while 18% believed that Jews had too much influence in Britain. Neville Nagler, director general of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: "I read this survey as saying that 82% of people are content to have a Jewish prime minister or they would not mind if there was one. There have been many Jewish cabinet ministers." (Independent-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Thirty Wanted Terrorists Hiding in Arafat's Headquarters
    Israeli security officials said some 30 wanted Palestinians were holed up in Arafat's headquarters compound, among them the upper echelon of the militant Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Israel Radio reported Tuesday. Several months ago, Palestinian officials expelled the fugitives, but they have now returned under the protection of commanders of Force 17, Arafat's personal guard. (Ha'aretz)
  • Jordan Urges Arab Stand Against Suicide Bombings
    Jordan's Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher said Sunday in Davos, Switzerland, that Arab states need to take a strong stand against suicide bombings that have claimed hundreds of Israeli lives in the past three years. "We have not publicly, clearly, unequivocally taken a stand against suicide bombs,'' Muasher declared. "We have not told the average Israeli citizen that suicide bombs are wrong from a moral and political point of view.'' (AP/Ha'aretz)
  • Hamas Proposes 10-Year Truce for Israeli Pullback
    Top Hamas official Abdel Aziz Rantisi told Reuters Sunday that Hamas had come to the conclusion that it was "difficult to liberate all our land at this stage, so we accept a phased liberation." "We accept a state in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. We propose a 10-year truce in return for [Israeli] withdrawal and the establishment of a state," he said. Rantisi said the proposal would not mean that Hamas recognized Israel or spell the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
  • In Rafah, Tunnels are Booby Traps - Margot Dudkevitch
    "My main concern is the booby-trapped tunnels," said Lt.-Col. Adam, commander of the Givati Brigade's Rotem Battalion in the narrow Israeli-controlled border strip between the PA-controlled town of Rafah in Gaza and Egypt. A few weeks ago, a tunnel packed with 1,000 kg. of explosives was detonated next to the Hirdon military post. While none of the soldiers were wounded, the force of the blast threw heavy generators into the air.
        Lt.-Col. Adam denied Palestinian and foreign media reports on recent IDF operations in Rafah, which claimed more than 30 houses were demolished. "I can definitely say that none of the demolished buildings were inhabited, and claims that we shot a woman in a yard are also baseless....We are not cold-blooded killers and operate within clear-cut regulations," he said. "Sniper fire, anti-tank rockets are fired at us daily....In an hour, soldiers here have to deal with situations that other battalions deployed elsewhere rarely confront in a week." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Is France on the Way to Becoming an Islamic State? - Barbara Amiel
    Many demographers estimate that as much as 20-30% of the French population under 25 is now Muslim. Given current birth rates, it is not impossible that in 25 years France will have a Muslim majority. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Anti-Semitism: The French Crisis - Michel Gurfinkiel (New York Sun/FrontPageMagazine)
  • Palestinians, Israelis React Differently - Paul Crespo
    At Arafat's presidential compound in Ramallah, many of the buildings are outwardly devastated and still bullet-ridden, though deep inside the complex, beyond a labyrinth of passageways and security doors, the presidential offices are actually fairly insulated and well maintained. Rather than clear the rubble and rebuild the area, the PA apparently chooses to keep the buildings in disarray as a monument to the Israeli military actions, part of a deliberate and generally successful Palestinian victimization strategy that contrasts sharply with the way Israelis handle Palestinian terror attacks. For the Israelis, by the next day, most signs of an attack have disappeared. Most Israelis do not dwell on death, but sadly too many Palestinians seem to revel in it. (Miami Herald)
  • Saudi Arabia's Clerics Set Boundaries on Reforms - Samia Nakhoul
    When Saudi Arabia's top religious authority ruled this month that Islam forbids men and women to mix in public, he reset the boundaries for reformists pushing for women's rights in the ultra-conservative kingdom. No one, not even the royal family, which derives legitimacy from the clerical establishment, could challenge his verdict. Analysts say the House of Saud has for years turned a blind eye to Wahhabi teachings which are now blamed for breeding militancy, but cannot repudiate them without harming its own legitimacy. No one expects sudden change in a country where religious diktat intervenes in every detail of life. But some officials now acknowledge that religious dogma, which instills bigotry and hatred of the West, has helped create a militancy which led to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. (Reuters)
  • Jihadists in Iraq: An Unwelcome Saudi Export - Stephen Schwartz
    The main influence inciting Sunni Muslim Iraqis to attack coalition forces is Wahhabism, although its proponents seek to disguise it under the more acceptable name Salafism. It is financed and supported from inside Saudi Arabia, which shares a long border with southern Iraq. "The Fallujah region is filling up with Wahhabis," a tribal representative from that section of the Sunni Triangle said in late December. Mullah Krekar, religious mentor of the terrorist group Ansar al-Islam, declared defiantly last year that he was proud to be a disciple of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab.
        Beginning last summer, Saudi names began appearing among those of "martyrs" killed in Iraq. In November, the Saudi opposition website, which had chronicled the deaths of various Saudi jihad fighters in Iraq, reported the death of Adel Al-Naser from Riyadh. Furthermore, Saudi guards on the Iraqi border told the website's writers, "Saudi fighters are still heading to Iraq, with little scrutiny by Saudi authorities." The Saudis have a long history of using foreign jihad campaigns to divert attention from crises at home, and to reinforce the hold of Wahhabism, their state religion, over their subjects. (Weekly Standard)
  • Observations:

    Iran's Threat to Coalition Forces in Iraq - Raymond Tanter
    (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

    • According to the State Department's Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002, Tehran provides the Lebanon-based Hizballah with "funding, safe haven, training, and weapons." Such support, estimated at $80 million per year, has given Iran a terrorist proxy of global reach.
    • According to Iranian dissident sources (and confirmed in part by U.S. intelligence), Tehran tasked Hizballah with sending agents and clerics across a major portion of southern Iraq, not only from Syria, but from Iran as well.
    • According to Mohammed al-Alawi, Hizballah's chief spokesman in Iraq, the organization's agents act as local police forces in many southern cities. Overall, Tehran seems to be using Hizballah to supplement its own penetration of local Iraqi governing offices and judiciaries.
    • Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is establishing armed underground cells across the Shi'i southern region of Iraq, often using the Iranian Red Crescent as a front.
    • According to the State Department, some al-Qaeda operatives have obtained safe haven in Iran. U.S. intelligence believes that one such operative is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, for whose capture the State Department is offering up to $5 million.
    • The devastating earthquake that struck Iran in December 2003 renewed the debate over whether Washington should resume its quiet dialogue with Tehran. Prior to resuming any dialogue, Washington should not only insist that Iran expel al-Qaeda, but also demand that Ansar al-Islam, Hizballah, and the IRGC's Jerusalem Force withdraw from Iraq.

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