Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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February 12, 2004

To contact the Presidents Conference:
[email protected]

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

In-Depth Issue:

Osama's Navy - Gary Jones (Mirror-UK)
    Osama bin Laden has a "terrorist navy" of 15 ships, and Scotland Yard has warned one could sail up the Thames to attack Parliament.
    A private memo sent to police chiefs states: "Al-Qaeda has reportedly taken possession of 15 ships, forming what could be described as the first terrorist navy."
    "The ships fly the flags of Yemen and Somalia where they are registered - and are capable of carrying lethal cargoes of chemicals or a dirty bomb."

U.S. Doubles Bounty on Al-Zarqawi (Gulf Daily News-Bahrain)
    The U.S. army Wednesday doubled to $10 million the bounty for extremist Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, suspected to be the instigator of two bombings that killed more than 100 people in Iraq.
    Coalition spokesman Dan Senor described Zarqawi as a new "wild card" in the U.S. deck of cards of most-wanted Iraqis.

U.S. Asks Israel about Reopening Iraqi Oil Pipeline - Joseph Farah (WorldNetDaily)
    A senior Pentagon official asked a top Israeli Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem last week to report on the feasibility of pumping oil from the Kirkuk wells to the refineries in Haifa, including a request for a cost estimate for repairing the old Mosul-Haifa pipeline.
    According to the National Infrastructure Ministry, construction of a 42-inch diameter pipeline between Kirkuk and Haifa would cost about $400,000 per kilometer; the old pipeline was only 8 inches in diameter.

NPR Corrects Inaccurate Claim (CAMERA)
    U.S. National Public Radio claimed on Jan. 26 that Israel's army was the world's fourth-largest.
    In a correction on Feb. 5, NPR admitted, "measured by manpower, Israel ranks 13th according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

Useful Reference:

Palestinian Terrorists Target Women, Seniors (International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism, Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya)
    An analysis of fatalities from 27 Sep 2000 to 10 Feb 2004 shows 277 Israeli female civilian deaths compared with 88 female Palestinian deaths.
    221 Israeli civilians over age 45 were killed, compared with 80 Palestinians.
    People killed by actions of own side - Israelis 20; Palestinians 338.

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Rumsfeld: Israel "Would Prefer Not to Get Put in the Sea"
    Responding to a question Saturday about Israel and nuclear weapons, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, "Israel is a small state with a small population. It's a democracy and it exists in a neighborhood where many - over a period of time - have opined from time to time that they'd prefer it not be there and they'd like it to be put in the sea. And Israel has opined that it would prefer not to get put in the sea, and as a result, over a period of decades, it has arranged itself so it hasn't been put in the sea." (U.S. Defense Department)
  • Iranians' Affinity for U.S. Grows After Encounters with Troops in Iraq
    Anti-Americanism is not what it used to be in Iran. Iranian pilgrims returning from Iraq after visiting the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala are spreading admiring stories of their encounters with American troops, expressing surprise at the respectful and helpful behavior of the U.S. soldiers they met along the way. (Washington Post)
  • Saudi Arabia Enrages Yemen with Fence
    Saudi Arabia, one of the most vocal critics in the Arab world of Israel's "security fence" in the West Bank, is quietly emulating the Israeli example by erecting a barrier along its porous border with Yemen. The barrier is part of a plan to erect an electronic surveillance system along the length of the kingdom's frontiers involving fencing and electronic detection equipment, at a cost of up to $8.57b. Behind the plan is a deep-seated lack of trust in the Yemeni authorities' ability to arrest infiltrators before they make it into Saudi territory. (Independent-UK)
  • Regime Thought War Unlikely, Iraqis Tell U.S.
    A complacent Saddam Hussein was so convinced that war would be averted or that America would mount only a limited bombing campaign that he deployed the Iraqi military to crush domestic uprisings rather than defend against a ground invasion, according to a classified log of interrogations of captured Iraqi leaders and former officers dated Jan. 26. The study offers a scathing history of a Stalinist, paranoid leadership circle in Baghdad disconnected from reality in peace and in war, where members of Hussein's inner circle routinely lied to him and each other about Iraqi military capacities. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF: Gaza Terrorists Shoot From Among Women and Children - Amira Hass and Arnon Regular
    During Wednesday's clash in the Sajiyeh quarter in Gaza City in which 12 Palestinians were killed, all of the dead were armed or preparing explosive devices, Army Radio reported. Many Gazans were infuriated that the Palestinian gunmen allowed youngsters and children to wander among them freely during the shoot-out instead of sending them home. Col. Yoel Strick, who commanded the IDF troops during the battle, said many dozens of armed Palestinians had participated. He also said many of them stood firing from among the women and children who had left their homes to watch the battle. Shortly afterward, Palestinians fired 10 Kassam rockets at Israeli targets within the "green line" and in Gush Katif, damaging one house. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Photo of Armed Terrorists in Firing Positions Surrounded by Civilians (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
        See also U.S. Convoy Killer Said Among Slain Terrorists - Arieh O'Sullivan
    Israeli military sources said that Hani Jamil Abu-Skhaila, 25, who was killed in Sajiyeh, was a senior commander in Izzadin Kassam, the armed wing of Hamas, and had been suspected by the Palestinian security forces of involvement in the deadly October 15 attack on the U.S. convoy. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Poll: Americans Support Security Fence - Melissa Radler
    68% of Americans say Israel has the right to build a security fence "even if many other countries disagree," while 22% disagreed, according to a poll conducted Jan. 23-25 by Ipsos-Public Affairs and released by the Washington-based Alliance for Research on National Security Issues. In addition, 57% said Israel has the right to proceed with construction of the fence "even if the international court opposes it," and 51% say the fence is justified even if it encroaches on Palestinian land, compared to 32% who say it is not justified. The poll's findings, said Alliance deputy director Cliff May, show that "most Americans recognize that Israel and other democratic nations have a right to defend themselves, not least by erecting non-violent terrorism-prevention barriers." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Legal Team Against Israeli Participation in Hague Hearing - Herb Keinon
    The Foreign Ministry's legal advisors are recommending Israel not take further part in the International Court of Justice hearing in The Hague concerning the West Bank security fence, in order not to give legitimacy to the procedure, ministry officials said Wednesday. Regardless of whether Israel decides to present its case to the court, a team of spokespeople from the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office is being formed to travel to The Hague to deal with the scores of journalists expected to cover the hearing. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Murderous Fantasies - Bret Stephens
    In Israel, where I live and work, suicide bombings are commonly understood by the foreign press as acts of desperation by a people who have lost all hope for a better future. Ease the economic hardships of Palestinians and end the occupation, so the thinking goes, and terrorism will be deprived of its motive. It's a convenient notion, which more or less excuses mass murder as the deeds of men who have been robbed of their property, pride, and patrimony. But is it right? What if suicide bombings aren't an act of despair at all but something approaching the opposite: a supreme demonstration of contempt for everything Westerners hold dear, not least life itself? What if, too, suicide bombers are no poor-man's F-16 but a robust expression of confidence that the Palestinians are infinitely more ruthless than Israelis in what amounts to a zero-sum game? (Wall Street Journal)
  • Syria's Ambassador - Oubai Shahbandar
    An urgent dose of democratic reform would prove to be an effective inoculation to the despotism and terror proliferation of Bashar Assad's Syria. Assad's latest weapon of mass deception is his ambassador to the U.S., Imad Moustapha, billed by some as a "reformer" and "fresh face." In reality, this facade is nothing but a cynical attempt to lure our country into a false sense of comfort with the status quo of Syria's dictatorship. In truth, however, Moustapha is merely attempting to repackage the old, tired Ba'athist agenda of despotism, corruption, and terror. In fact, Syria's new PR blitz somewhat mirrors attempts made by the Wahhabi monarchy of Saudi Arabia to make palpable their version of Islamist extremism to the American public. The writer is an activist with the Reform Party of Syria. (Washington Times)
  • The Geneva Accords: A Step Forward in the Wrong Direction? - Moty Cristal
    The Geneva initiative erodes the Israeli-Jewish hold on national symbols, and does not offer a proper exchange that meets essential Israel interests in the "permanent solution" with the Palestinians. The authors of the document are still caught up in a world dominated by "the perception of trust" between the parties to the conflict, both in relation to the arrangements themselves and in relation to the implementation mechanism. Particularly noticeable is the absence of the Palestinian minority in the State of Israel, which constitutes a "missing presence" in any discussion of the permanent arrangements. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies)
  • Observations:

    Israeli FM: India Building Separation Fence to Block Terrorist Incursions
    - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)

    During his visit to India, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said:

    • India, which voted in the UN in favor of sending the security fence issue to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, has decided not to present oral arguments against the fence. One senior diplomatic official said India is worried that if the ICJ takes up the fence issue, the court will then feel free to take up India's conflict with Pakistan over Kashmir.
    • India "has decided to take the same step and build a separation fence to prevent the incursion of terrorists into its territory. Therefore on this matter India may be able to understand better than others the need to build a barrier that will prevent those acts of terror and suicide bombings."
    • "We are very much concerned about the [nuclear] proliferation and the possibility that an extreme organization like al-Qaeda will have the access. With nuclear weapons it will destabilize the entire world. We should work together in order to put an end to their efforts."
    • "Terror is an enemy which threatens our common values and our shared way of life. Israel and India are natural partners in the struggle against it."
    • Pakistan has made no move to establish political or economic ties with Israel, contrary to media speculation.

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