Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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February 10, 2004

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Israel's Security Fence: Upcoming Hearings at the International Court of Justice
  (Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations)

In-Depth Issue:

Islamic Extremists Invade U.S., Join Sleeper Cells - Jerry Seper (Washington Times)
    Islamic radicals are being trained at terrorist camps in Pakistan and Kashmir as part of a conspiracy to send hundreds of operatives to "sleeper cells" in the U.S., according to U.S. and foreign officials.
    Dozens of Islamic extremists have already been routed through Europe to Muslim communities in the U.S.
    U.S. intelligence officials said the camps are financed by various terrorist networks including al-Qaeda, and by sources in Saudi Arabia.
    Al-Qaeda sleeper cells are believed to be operating in 40 states, according to the FBI and other federal authorities, awaiting orders and funding for new attacks in the U.S.

Muslim Terror Groups Stepping Up Activities in Latin America - Amir Oren (Ha'aretz)
    Muslim terror groups, including Hamas and Hizballah, have recently stepped up their efforts to consolidate their power in distant areas of Latin America, particularly in the triangle of borders of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, say Israeli and American security sources.
    The deputy chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, Gen. Peter Pace, told the House Armed Services Committee last week that the area is a center for drugs, weapons, money laundering, forgery, and activity that supports Islamic terror in Latin America.
    Hamas and Hizballah, alongside al-Qaeda and world Jihad groups, are busy training recruits, collecting arms, and gathering intelligence about targets, including Jewish and Israeli targets.

Saudi Arabia Builds Security "Screen" on Yemen Border (Reuters)
    Saudi Arabia said on Monday it was building a security "screen" on its southern border with Yemen aimed at curbing the flow of militants and weapons.

How U.S. Put Rogue Atom Scientist Out of Business - David Blair (Telegraph-UK)
    America closed down the Pakistani-based "nuclear supermarket" by confronting President Musharraf with "mind boggling" evidence and threatening isolation and economic sanctions, it emerged Sunday.
    A high-powered American delegation led by Richard Armitage, the U.S. deputy secretary of state, met Gen. Musharraf last October and demanded that he deal with Abdul Qadeer Khan, the "father" of Pakistan's nuclear bomb.
    The Americans had tracked every journey Khan had made outside Pakistan.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Palestinian Probe of U.S. Deaths Faulted
    The State Department dismissed as inadequate Monday a Palestinian military inquiry into the deaths of three U.S. security officials killed in a roadside explosion last October in Gaza. Rhonda Shore, spokeswoman for the State Department's Department of Near East Affairs, suggested the inquiry would not be the serious investigation needed to find and punish those responsible. (AP/Kansas City Star)
        See also U.S. Faults PA Probe of Gaza Attack - Jenny Hazan
    U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer Monday criticized the Palestinian military court that on Saturday began to try four individuals suspected of involvement in the attack. "If these people are in fact the suspects that should be tried, it ought to be done in a criminal proceeding and not behind closed doors," Kurtzer said. "We're not even sure that the charge sheet that has been put together reflects the gravity of the crime. The charges seem to implicate these individuals for involuntary manslaughter rather than what we would call first-degree murder."
        Kurtzer also denounced the PA for the collapse of the road map peace process. "It failed because Palestinians had...not done enough to stop terrorism and had not done enough to uproot the terrorist infrastructure," he said. "A significant amount of American resources have been dedicated to the reconstitution of this mishmash of Palestinian security organizations that don't do security, but exist on paper. Many of the people involved in those organizations actually have resorted to terrorism in the past three and a half years, when in fact their mandate should be to protect the Palestinian people from bad guys and thereby also to stop the terrorism that affects the people of Israel." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Bush Aims for "Greater Mideast" Plan
    The Bush administration has launched an ambitious bid to promote democracy in the "greater Middle East" that will adapt a model used to press for freedoms in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The initiative, to be announced at the G-8 summit hosted by President Bush at Sea Island, Ga., in June, would call for Arab and South Asian governments to adopt major political reforms, be held accountable on human rights - particularly women's empowerment - and introduce economic reforms. (Washington Post)
  • Palestinian Mafia
    A fragmented array of heavily armed criminal gangs has turned the intifada on itself. As many as eight separate factions in Nablus lay claim to the title Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the radical offshoot of Arafat's Fatah movement. According to Palestinian legislator Moa'wah al-Masri, "For the past two weeks, the Palestinian police have gone through the motions of spreading out in the streets to create the appearance they have things under control. But people make fun of them. Last week, one young man ran up to three of them and said: 'Be careful, the Israeli army is coming.' They dropped their guns on the spot, tore off their uniforms and ran away, terrified. There was no army coming, of course, but by the time they returned, their guns had vanished." Masri holds Arafat directly responsible for the lawlessness. "If he truly had the will to do something about it, he could have the situation under control within 24 hours." (Toronto Star)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Intelligence: Palestinians View Withdrawal from Gaza as Victory for Terror - Ilan Marciano
    Head of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday that the Palestinians view Israel's planned withdrawal from Gaza as "a victory for terror, and as an incentive to intensify attacks." "From the perspective of the Islamists in Gaza, this could strengthen the legitimacy of terror. Withdrawal is interpreted by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades as a surrender to terror that strengthens the motivation to continue attacks - in order to achieve additional political successes," he said. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew; 10 Feb 04)
  • PM Treated for Kidney Stones - Aluf Benn, Mazal Mualem, and Yuval Dror
    Prime Minister Sharon underwent non-invasive therapy at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Monday to smash stones in his urinary tract, and was sent home the same day for recuperation. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israeli Foreign Minister Visits India
    Israel's Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom arrived in India Monday on a four-day visit, as the two countries prepare to sign a $1.1 billion deal for the Israeli Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) for the Indian Air Force. (Kerala News-India)
  • Foreign Ministry Weighs Painting Security Barrier - Eliel Shahar
    Israel's Foreign Ministry public relations wizards have come up with an idea to tone down the damage to Israel's public image from the separation fence - paint it in gay colors. Only 10 of the current 200 km of the barrier consist of actual, easily paintable concrete walls. According to a Foreign Ministry official, "A colorfully painted barrier would be more aesthetic." Meanwhile, the municipality of The Hague approved a request by Zaka, the ultra-Orthodox rescue and casualty identification volunteer group, to display the Jerusalem bus that was blown up on January 29. Because of the tight timetable, the hulk of the bus will be cut in two and sent by air. (Maariv International)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Dictatorships Require an External Conflict - Yaron Rivlin
    In Western democracies, the survival of a ruler depends upon the improved economic state of the nation. In a dictatorship, by contrast, revenue remains in the hands of a few rulers in order to strengthen their sway. Where the economic gap between a nation and its rulers grows, the resulting frustration is liable to endanger the ruler and so he requires an outside enemy to aid him by directing public rage outwards. That’s how it is in the Palestinian Authority as well as in Syria, where the Alawite minority oppresses the Sunni majority and conflict with Israel is a crucial strategy for Assad’s rule. External conflict is the breath of life for a dictatorship, not a problem that requires a solution. This is also the reason for the incitement and violence which the PA foments against Israel. (Maariv International)
  • About Those Settlements - Daniel Pipes
    The dictionary defines "settlements" as "a small community" or an establishment of people "in a new region." This inaccurately describes some of the Jewish habitations in question that boast tens of thousands of residents in place over several decades. Some analysts consider Jews living in the West Bank and Gaza to be one of the leading obstacles to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Yet this assumes that Palestinians seek only to gain control over the West Bank and Gaza, whereas overwhelming evidence points to their also aspiring to go further and control Israel proper. Therefore, pulling Israelis from the territories does no good. (FrontPageMagazine)
  • Al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia - Evan Kohlmann
    After U.S. military forces put the notorious Afghan jihad camps permanently out of operation, bin Laden's scattered cadres, particularly those from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other regions of the Arabian Peninsula, quietly returned to their homelands. Rather than assimilating back into Gulf society, these arriving extremists were quickly reorganized into new terrorist cells by a highly intricate and developed network of al-Qaeda henchmen headquartered in the Arabian Peninsula. (National Review)
  • Observations:

    Israel's Anti-Terror Fence: The World Court Case - Laurence E. Rothenberg and Abraham Bell (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • The UN General Assembly (GA) resolution asking the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for an advisory opinion is actually a request for an endorsement of an already-stated political opinion of the GA. The ICJ lacks jurisdiction over the case because the GA has dictated the desired result. The court is not authorized to make endorsements of the GA's political opinions dressed in legal garb.
    • The security fence is a necessary and proportional response to a campaign of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes by Palestinians. If the fence were built along the 1949 armistice line (the “green line”), it would not achieve Israel's legitimate security goal of protecting its citizens.
    • The “green line” from 1949 bounding the West Bank is solely a defunct military line demarcating the extent of the Transjordanian invasion of Israel in 1948. Indeed, at the insistence of Syria, Egypt, and Jordan, each of the armistice agreements of 1949 specified that the ceasefire lines were not borders and that neither side relinquishes its territorial claims.
    • The fence does not violate the Fourth Geneva Convention because the convention does not apply to the West Bank, a territory of disputed sovereignty to which Israel has the strongest claim, and which was not previously possessed by a legitimate sovereign.
    • Even if the convention applied, a fence that controls movement of civilians does not violate it; the convention permits occupying states to take necessary and proportional steps for security purposes.
    • The resort to the International Court of Justice by the PLO is itself a violation of the Oslo Accords. Under Oslo, any disputes must be resolved by negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians, by agreed-upon conciliation, or agreed-upon arbitration.
    Laurence E. Rothenberg is a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. Abraham Bell is a member of the Faculty of Law at Bar-Ilan University.

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