Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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March 2, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Report: Israel Broke Iranian Code (Jerusalem Post)
    A secret Israeli intelligence unit, known as Unit 8200, broke a sophisticated Iranian code a number of years ago, enabling Israel to monitor communications, including contacts with Pakistan regarding the development of Iranian nuclear weapons, Seymour M. Hersh wrote in the New Yorker magazine Tuesday.
    The investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into Iran's nuclear capability was spurred by Israeli intelligence findings, which were also shared with U.S. intelligence services.
    Hersh said he was told by a senior Israeli intelligence officer that Israel remains convinced that "the Iranians do not intend to give up the bomb. What Iran did was report to the IAEA the information that was already out in the open and which they cannot protect. There is much that is not exposed."
    See also The Deal: Why is Washington Going Easy on Pakistan's Nuclear Black Marketers? - Seymour M. Hersh (New Yorker)

Libya Reveals More Secrets - Joby Warrick and Peter Slevin (Washington Post)
    Recent disclosures have revealed that Libya was in the process of acquiring a large uranium enrichment plant that could have produced enough fuel for several nuclear bombs a year.
    "Libya would have needed to do relatively little to assemble and start the centrifuges," according to a study by the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington.
    Yet while Libya had managed to acquire a serviceable design for a nuclear warhead, the bomb depicted in the blueprints was too big to fit on any of the Scud-C missiles in its arsenal.
    The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is overseeing the destruction of about 3,000 Libyan chemical bombs and warheads, a process due to be completed this week.
    See also The Spread of Nuclear Know-How - Peter Grier (Christian Science Monitor)

More Mosques in France Falling Under Sway of Radicals - Eva Cahen (CNSNews)
    A study by undercover police forces reveals that the number of radical mosques in the Paris area has increased by 10 in the last year, with 32 mosques now under the control of extremists, Le Monde reported.
    According to Olivier Roy, a senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research, the radicalization of mosques is a result of the growing Salafism movement.
    This neo-fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, which uses doctrines from the Saudi Arabian Wahhabis, appeals particularly to young, second-generation Arabs.
    Some Salafist radicals are believed to be linked to al-Qaeda and other terror groups, and the increase of radical-controlled mosques is regarded as a threat to security in France and Europe.
    "Not all Salafists are terrorists but all terrorists are Salafists," said Roy.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Scores Die in Multiple Blasts at Iraqi Shiite Shrines
    A series of coordinated blasts struck major Shiite Muslim shrines in Baghdad and Karbala Tuesday, killing more than 100, including 30 in Karbala and at least 75 in Baghdad. The attacks occurred during the Ashoura festival, which draws hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims to the Iraqi shrines. (Washington Post)
  • Making Bombers in Iraq
    Holy warriors from abroad and from insurgent strongholds such as the city of Fallouja have been enlisting young Iraqis for suicide bombings as well as guerrilla-style attacks, military intelligence officers say, probably working through mosques to identify zealots. Namir Awaad made his strike at the entrance to a U.S. base which occupies a former hospital complex run by the Iraqi military. He wrapped his head in white bandages, posing as one of the injured Iraqis who show up at the gate seeking treatment, advanced 300 yards to the Bradley fighting vehicle blocking the gate, and blew himself up, injuring a soldier. Yet the reaction in Awaad's village to his "martyrdom" differs markedly from the glorification prevalent in the Palestinian territories, where bombers are celebrated in posters plastering village walls. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Supreme Court Rejects Muslim Charity's Appeal
    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld the government's decision to freeze the assets of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a Texas-based Muslim charity accused of funneling millions of dollars to Hamas. The foundation, which called itself the largest U.S.-based Muslim charity, was shut down when the government seized its assets on Dec. 4, 2001. In November the high court rejected a similar appeal by Global Relief Foundation, an Illinois-based Muslim charity that challenged the government's freezing of its assets. (Reuters)
  • Iraqi Oil Output Nears Prewar Levels
    Iraq's oil industry has undergone a remarkable turnaround and is now producing and exporting almost as much crude oil as it did before the war. A month before the April 1 deadline set by Iraq and American officials for restoring the industry to prewar levels, the country is producing 2.3 million to 2.5 million barrels a day, compared with 2.8 million barrels a day before the war. Iraq owns the third-largest oil reserves in the world, after Saudi Arabia and Canada. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • U.S., Israel Meet on Disengagement Plan - Aluf Benn and Assaf Bergerfreund
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's bureau chief, Dov Weisglass, and National Security Advisor Giora Eiland met for five hours in Washington Monday with U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and her Middle East advisors to discuss Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan. The participants agreed that another round of talks at the professional level would be necessary before a Sharon trip to Washington. Sharon is seeking written commitments from the U.S. in exchange for Israeli withdrawals. However, it is not clear that the Americans are willing to accept Israel's conditions. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israeli Wounded by Palestinian Mortar Fire in Gaza - Margot Dudkevitch
    One person was lightly wounded Monday when mortar shells were fired at an Israeli community in Gaza, Israel Radio reported. Also Monday, shots were fired at an Israeli car near Ofra, north of Jerusalem. Shots were also fired at an Israeli vehicle south of Homesh in Samaria. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Victims Get Lien on Seized Terror Funds - Hilary Leila Krieger
    Tel Aviv District Court Monday placed a temporary lien on the approximately NIS 40 million in funding for terrorist organizations seized by security officials from Ramallah banks last week, as requested by the family of two terrorism victims. The children, parents, and siblings of Yaron and Efrat Unger, killed by Hamas gunmen near Moshav Gefen on June 9, 1996, won a $113 million verdict against the organization in a U.S. federal court in January. They believe the seized money should be contributed toward this judgment. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Arafat Adviser Murdered in Gaza City - Amos Harel
    Gunmen in Gaza City Tuesday shot and killed Khalil al-Zaben, 59, a well-known Arafat adviser, in what appears to be growing internal violence and power struggles. Al-Zaben returned to Gaza with Arafat in 1994, and published a weekly magazine. (Ha'aretz)
  • Mubarak: Rapid Reforms Recipe for Chaos
    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, under pressure from Washington to promote reform in the Middle East, said Monday that instant freedoms would lead to anarchy and it would then be hard to pick up the pieces. "Nobody imagines that we can press a button and freedoms will arrive. Otherwise it would lead the country to chaos, and that would be a danger to people....If you opened the door wide open without any controls, it would be anarchy, and to go back and gather people up again would be difficult." Mubarak said Egypt had been carrying out reforms for years, but that the Arab world had different traditions and customs from Europe and America. (Reuters/Gulf News-Dubai)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • ICRC's Perverted Priorities - Don Habibi
    According to its 2001 Annual Report, the International Committee of the Red Cross's (ICRC) budgetary allocations do not reflect proportionality, urgency, or a hierarchy of need. In North Africa, the ICRC has one office, a budget of 2,512,613 Swiss francs, and 15 staff. For Asia and the Pacific, serving a population of 1.7 billion, the ICRC has one office, a budget of 5,838,991 Swiss francs, and 60 personnel.
        For "Israel/Occupied Territories/Autonomous Territories," the ICRC has 13 offices, a budget of 22,407,815 Swiss francs, and 210 personnel in a region of less than 9.5 million people, whose services are concentrated on the Palestinian population (3.5 million). Like so many other humanitarian and human rights organizations, the ICRC has far more of its limited resources concentrated in this very tiny area than it has almost anywhere else. It is tragic that the self-inflicted "plight of the Palestinians" has dominated the agenda of the international community and diverted our attention from the countless innocent victims of human rights violations elsewhere in the Middle East and the world. The writer is professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Iran's Atomic Lies - Editorial
    If Iran keeps lying about its nuclear activities, the international community will have to assume it is building a bomb. A nuclear Iran is something frightful to contemplate. This remains a ruthless, hardline regime, deeply hostile to the West, and determined to be a regional power. It continues to support terrorist organizations such as Hizballah and Hamas, and continues to call for the destruction of Israel. Avoiding confrontation with Iran now could lead to a far worse confrontation later. (Toronto Globe & Mail)
  • Netanyahu Gives Israel a Taste of Milton Friedman - Kimberley A. Strassel
    The land once labeled the "last remaining socialist state in Eastern Europe" has seen its governing coalition embark on what could be the most important economic reform in the country's history. Finance Minister Netanyahu has tackled economic reform with the zeal and single-mindedness that has marked his career, cutting government expenditures, welfare entitlements, and public-sector jobs while seeking to lower taxes and jump-start a stalled privatization program. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Observations:

    Unorthodox But Essential - Editorial (Baltimore Sun)

    • Israel struck a potentially damaging blow to the financing network of Palestinian militants last week with raids on banks in Ramallah, which may do more to deter future suicide attacks than its controversial security barrier.
    • Cutting off the finances of Palestinian militants is essential to crushing the terror network - and saving lives on both sides.
    • The Israeli government drew sharp criticism from the State Department for the raids, but the U.S. is pursuing the same money trail in its war on terrorism.
    • Would we have preferred to see Palestinian officials hit militants where it will hurt? Yes. But the prospects of decisive Palestinian action to thwart terror seem hopeless in the current climate.
    • The raids reinforce the importance of dismantling Palestinian militant groups and the deceptively benign organizations and individuals that support them.

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