Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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February 26, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Egypt Doesn't Want Gaza - Jacky Hogi (
    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak made it clear Wednesday that Egypt has no desire or interest to regain control of Gaza.

Israel to Supply Oil to U.S. Forces in Iraq - Iason Athanasiadis (Beirut Daily Star)
    Israel's Sonol fuel company began delivering fuel to U.S. forces in north Iraq through a partnership with a Jordanian firm, according to Kuwaiti petroleum sources.
    The shipments, begun two weeks ago, are being transported across Israel and Jordan and into Iraq by railway.
    In addition, Iraq's Coalition Provisional Authority awarded a contract worth $4-5 million to Iridium Israel for mobile satellite communication services.

Officers Training in Jordan to Lead New Iraqi Army - Thom Shanker (New York Times)
    The Iraqi Army is a work in progress. Plans now call for fielding nine infantry brigades - about 40,000 men - by September.
    The first group of Iraqi officer candidates arrived quietly in December at a base set up outside Amman, Jordan, for three months of training as new leaders for the Iraqi military.

Pakistan: Despite Reform Plan, Few Changes Seen at Most Radical Madrassahs - Ron Synovitz (Radio Free Europe)
    A recent EU report says as many as 30% of the Taliban's fighters attended madrassahs like Dar ul-Uloom Islamia.
    Dar ul-Uloom leader and Pakistani parliament member Maulana Gouhar Shah told Britain's Daily Telegraph last week that his madrassah sent volunteers to fight on the side of the Taliban against U.S. forces in Afghanistan in late 2001 and that his madrassah has not changed its fundamentalist program since 9/11.
    Arnaud de Borchgrave, director of the Transnational Threats Initiative at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, says, "To this very day now, you have madrassahs that have spread all over Pakistan which were originally encouraged by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia."
    "They are churning out hundreds of thousands of kids - about an estimated 700,000 this year from about 10,000 madrassahs - all still paid for by the Wahhabi clergy in Saudi Arabia to the tune of about $300 million a year.

Useful Reference:

Press Conference of Israeli Delegation at The Hague (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    Statement by Daniel Taub, Director, General Law Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Views Gaza Proposal as Possible Interim Step
    The U.S. and Israel are discussing a fresh approach to Mideast peace with a plan that acknowledges that productive talks between Israel and Palestinian leaders are not possible at this moment. Israeli officials describe the Sharon plan as an "interim arrangement," but suggest it could be in place for a long time. In talks with U.S. officials, Israeli officials also appear to be seeking to trade Israeli withdrawal from territories for receiving greater flexibility to build housing in West Bank areas it would want in a final peace deal. Interviews with senior officials suggest the administration views the plan as a vehicle to demonstrate progress. (Washington Post)
        See also U.S. Urges Israel to Work with Arabs in Pullout
    The Bush administration, pressed by Israel to endorse its plan to withdraw from parts of Gaza and the West Bank, is urging Prime Minister Sharon to work with Palestinian leaders in carrying out the pullout, a senior Bush administration official said Wednesday. (New York Times)
  • CIA Says Election in Iran Dealt Blow to Reform
    With the victory of religious hard-liners in this week's parliamentary elections in Iran, the CIA is warning of a new era of repression and inflexibility. A new CIA assessment says the election has dealt a severe blow to Iranian reformers and will strengthen the authoritarian rule of the country's clerical government. (New York Times)
  • In Bethlehem, Disarray and Desperate Times
    Bethlehem and its nearby villages is the hometown of the last two suicide bombers to strike Israel. Israel turned over security control of Bethlehem to the PA almost eight months ago as a test case of whether the PA had the will and capability to thwart violence against Israelis. The image that Bethlehem is supposed to be under PA control makes it the ideal place for Muslim militants in Hamas and Islamic Jihad to recruit bombers. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Terrorists Kill Israeli Soldier at Gaza Border Crossing - Amos Harel
    An Israeli reservist was shot dead Thursday by Palestinian gunmen who opened fire near the Erez crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The gunmen were killed after an exchange of fire. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, linked to Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility. (Ha'aretz)
  • Security Forces Nab "Terror Funds" in Ramallah Banks - Amos Harel and Arnon Regular
    Israeli security forces Wednesday confiscated more than NIS 35 million from three Arab banks in Ramallah. According to defense sources, the money came from Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and other countries, with much of the funds going to Hamas-affiliated organizations, as well as directly to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah terror cells. The chairman of the Cairo-Amman Bank, Abdel Malik al-Jabbar, said, "the soldiers showed bank officials a list of 56 accounts to be confiscated. Then they took NIS 2.8 million from the bank safe, the same amount that was in those 56 accounts." Israel has promised the money will be used instead on projects "that benefit Palestinian welfare." Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said, "The money should be used to improve conditions for the residents of the territories, not to kill Israelis." (Ha'aretz)
        See also Tale of a Money Trail - Matthew Gutman (Jerusalem Post)
        See also U.S. Critical of Israeli Raid on Banks
    State Department spokesman Richard Boucher criticized Israel on Wednesday for raiding Palestinian banks in search of funds for terror groups without coordinating with Palestinian financial authorities. "Some of these actions that were taken risk destabilizing the Palestinian banking system, so we would prefer to see Israeli coordination with the Palestinian financial authorities in order to stem the flow of funds to terrorist groups," he said. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Human Rights of Israelis - Anne Bayefsky
    A November report from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan detailing the harm to Palestinians said to result from Israel's security fence does not describe a single terrorist act against Israelis. The human rights of Israelis are not part of the equation. Suicide bombing violates these rights and freedoms of Israelis derived from international treaties: the right to life, freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, equality, freedom from persecution, security of the person, health and well-being, safe working conditions, protection of the family and the child, education, an adequate standard of living, and self-determination, as well as freedoms from incitement to violence, religion, movement, and association. Israelis are subject to crimes against humanity, attempted genocide, and an effort to accomplish ethnic cleansing. (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Islam in Conflict in Cleveland - Stephen Schwartz
    In December 2003, Imam Fawaz Damra, 41, a Palestinian-born religious officer of the Islamic Center of Cleveland, was arrested for failing to disclose his affiliation with Islamic extremist groups including the Al-Kifah Refugee Center, an operation linked to al-Qaeda, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In addition, money raised in Imam Damra's mosque went to the Holy Land Foundation, which the federal authorities have closed as a Hamas front. The real story is less the exposure of an extremist imam than the willingness of mosque congregants to stand up and call for his removal.
        Islam in America suffers from the domination of radical leaders grouped in "the Wahhabi lobby" - mainly, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Authoritative sources in the Muslim community have long argued that up to 80% of the main mosques in America are controlled by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which has been targeted for a tax investigation by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee as a probable recipient of funds from outside the U.S. - i.e., from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (TechCentralStation)
  • Return of the Old Hatred - Melanie Phillips
    The more Jews warn that anti-Semitism has come roaring out of the closet, the more people don't like the Jews. Which is a bit of a problem if you believe, as I do, that the oldest hatred has indeed alarmingly resurfaced but is hiding under the respectable skirts of hostility to Israel. As Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks told the EU conference, an unholy alliance between the Left, the far-Right, and the Islamic street means millions are being told that alone among nations, Israel has no right to exist and that all the troubles of the world are the work of the Jews. Coverage of Israel is obsessive and disproportionate, and marked by a hysteria and malice not applied to any other conflict. (Observer-UK)
        See also The Left's Anti-Semitic Chic - George F. Will
    Fears about Mel Gibson's movie's exacerbating religiously motivated anti-Semitism are missing the larger menace - the upsurge of political anti-Semitism. Like traditional anti-Semitism, but with secular sources and motives, the political version, which condemns Jews as a social element, is becoming mainstream and chic among political and cultural elites, mostly in Europe. Europe's susceptibility to political lunacy, and the Arab world's addiction to it, is not news. (Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    Israel's Security Doctrine and the Trap of "Limited Conflict"
    - Col. (Res.) Yehuda Wegman (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • The many classic examples of low-intensity conflict - in Indo-China, Malaya, Algeria, Cuba, and Northern Ireland - are irrelevant to the case of Israel. Not a single citizen in Britain, France, or the United States had his daily routine in his native country disrupted as a result of the low-intensity combat conducted by his country's army on a foreign battlefield.
    • The guerilla and terror actions in Vietnam, Algeria, Ireland, Rhodesia, and other places were not directed against the very existence of the rival nation and its army.
    • Something about the Western response to a strike on its population centers can be learned from the American reaction to 9/11, with its military operation directed at the heart of Afghanistan as the sender of terror. In this case, the doctrine of limited conflict was cast aside, as the "strong" side under attack undertook to summarily obliterate the "weak" attacker in accordance with the laws of war.
    • In the mid-1950s, Israel was also subjected to a terrorist onslaught. The IDF's reaction was dictated by a security doctrine that led to the 1956 Sinai Campaign, a war intended to defeat the terrorist entity that had emerged in the Gaza Strip under Egyptian auspices. When it became clear to Israel's leadership that acts of retaliation were unable to halt the terror, they reached the inevitable conclusion that the only solution was a rapid military victory by conquering the territory and eliminating the instigators of the terror and their hosts.
    • Suicide terrorists, though presented as ultimately insurmountable weapons, are really products of a system whose leaders value their lives, property, and reputation. Accordingly, it is the heads of the terrorist organizations who should be the main targets of attack, and not only the end products, the suicide terrorists.
    • The halt in attacks by Hamas from September 2003 to January 2004 was the direct result of the threat to the lives of the group's leadership after an unceasing series of air attacks. This proved once again the validity of Israel's traditional security doctrine, that requires those in charge to apply force - the IDF - to provide defense together with achieving a decision as rapidly as possible against any type of war that may be waged against the State of Israel.

      Col. (Res.) Yehuda Wegmen served for over a decade as a senior instructor of fighting doctrine at the IDF Command and General Staff College.

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