Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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March 16, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Fatah Tried to Detonate Explosives on Palestinian Child at Checkpoint - Margot Dudkevitch (Jerusalem Post)
    Fatah Tanzim activists in Nablus attempted to use an 11-year-old boy to smuggle a bomb through an IDF roadblock on Monday, and tried to detonate the bomb when soldiers stopped him.
    The men gave the boy a bag containing a 10-kilogram bomb stuffed with bolts, and promised him a large sum of money if he would carry it through the roadblock and hand it to a woman waiting on the other side.
    A military policewoman lifted the heavy bag and thought it was suspicious, alerting the others.
    "When the boy's dispatchers saw he was being detained, they dialed the cellphone inside the bag meant to detonate the bomb, but it failed to go off," said Lt.-Col. Guy, a paratroop commander.

Gadhafi's Son: Libya's Nukes Were for Use Against Israel - Yossi Melman (Ha'aretz)
    Libya armed itself with weapons of mass destruction for the purposes of a war with Israel, Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam told the London-based Al Hayat newspaper.
    He also revealed that the negotiations with the U.S. and Britain over Libya's weapons of mass destruction were concluded before the war in Iraq in April 2003.

Over 140 "Collaborators" Arrested by PA - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    At least 140 Palestinians have been arrested in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the intifada on charges of collaborating with Israel, PA security officials disclosed Monday.
    Ten were sentenced to death, and four have already been executed, with the remaining six to be executed as soon as Arafat approves the death sentences.
    Most of the arrests of suspected "collaborators" were carried out by the Preventative Security Service, headed by Col. Rashid Abu Shabak.

Syria to Bury Achille Lauro Mastermind (Reuters)
    Syria has agreed to bury Mohammed Abbas, mastermind of the 1985 Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking, an official of the militant Palestinian group that Abbas led said Monday.

Useful Reference:

Israel's Submission to the International Court of Justice on the Security Fence (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Spanish Police Identify 6 Moroccans in Madrid Blast
    Spanish police believe they have identified six Moroccans who carried out the train blasts which killed 200 people in Madrid last week, the newspaper El Pais said Tuesday, citing security sources. One of those identified, who has already been arrested, was recognized by two survivors of the blast who said they saw him before the explosions took place. (Reuters)
  • Ashdod Bombing: Attempted "Mega Attack"
    A militant leader in Gaza said the bombers in Sunday's attack had intended to blow up fuel storage tanks in Ashdod, confirming Israeli suspicions that militants are trying to carry out a "mega attack'' with hundreds of casualties. One of their handlers said he believed they crawled through a tunnel. The assailants also used high-grade plastic explosives. (AP/Guardian-UK)
        See also Two French Nationals Killed in Israel Blast
    Two French nationals were among the 10 civilians killed in a weekend bombing in Ashdod, the French foreign ministry said Monday, condemning the attack. (AFP/Expatica)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Arafat Rejects His Cabinet's Demand to Act Against Terror - Arnon Regular and Aluf Benn
    Arafat Monday refused his cabinet's call to use the Palestinian security forces against terror organizations. Interior Minister Hakem Balawi and the commander of the National Security forces, Haj Ismail Jabbar, both called upon Arafat to act against Hamas and Fatah's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Other ministers warned Arafat of Israel's expected harsh response to the attack in Ashdod and the international community's reaction to the continuing chaos in the territories. Arafat refused to allow arrests of Fatah activists and also turned down other aspects of the plan, such as the collection of illegal arms. (Ha'aretz)
  • Rocket Hits Israeli Home in Gaza - Margot Dudkevitch
    An anti-tank rocket hit an Israeli home in Neve Dekalim in Gaza Tuesday, causing severe damage but no injuries. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Weighs Funding Negev Development - Eliel Shahar
    The Americans have told Sharon that they will not pay for compensation to Israeli settlers removed from Gaza. However, the Bush administration is currently weighing a plan to fund the development of new towns in the Negev and the development of industry and agriculture in the area, in return for the Israeli evacuation of Gaza. In parallel, America would support the development of the Palestinian economic infrastructure in Gaza. (Maariv-Hebrew)
  • Syria Seals Off Iraqi Border After Kurds Issue Threat - Yossi Melman
    Syria on Monday sealed off its border with Iraq after Iraqi Kurd fighters threatened to enter the country if violent clashes between Syrian security forces and Syrian Kurds were not brought to an end. Disturbances continued throughout the Kurdish regions in the north of the country, as an American delegation was sent in to try to stabilize the situation following several days of riots. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Same Old Anti-Israel United Nations - James S. Tisch
    The UN's International Court of Justice is hearing the case of Israel's security fence. The question brought to the court by the General Assembly is nothing more than the UN's routine discriminatory treatment of Israel dressed up in lawyers' robes and wigs. Whatever the court decides, Israel's fence will and must be built. And it will save lives. To paraphrase President Bush, Israel must never outsource its national security decisions. The writer is Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. (New York Daily News)
  • The Cancer of Anti-Semitism in Europe - Jeff Jacoby
    What the world should already know but so often forgets is that Jews are the canary in the coal mine of civilization. Anti-Semitism is like cancer; unchecked, it can metastasize and sicken the entire body. When civilized nations fail to rise up against the Jew-haters in their midst, it is often just a matter of time before the Jew-haters in their midst rise up against them. (Boston Globe)
  • Anti-Semitism is a Virus and It Mutates - Stephen Byers
    As the agnostic child of practicing Methodist parents, I have viewed with alarm the dramatic increase in anti-Semitic attacks and asked myself if it is really the case that Jews must denounce the behavior of the Israeli government in order to earn a European commitment to fight anti-Semitism. Of course, criticism of Israel's policy is not, of itself, anti-Semitic. But it can become so when it involves applying double standards, holds all Jews responsible for the actions of the Israeli government, or reveals a demonization of Jews. It is clearly anti-Semitism if it provides an excuse for anti-Jewish hatred. The writer is chairman of the Parliamentary Committee Against Antisemitism. (Guardian-UK)
  • Sharon as "Godfather" - Zev Chafets
    If and when Ariel Sharon decides to make good on his offer to leave the Gaza Strip, he'll go the way the Corleone family left New York: guns blazing. And for the same reason: clarity. The Palestinians, whatever they say, know they have lost. Sharon wants to keep it that way. He has to make sure Palestinians understand that Israel is not getting chased out by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The most obvious way to make this point is to eliminate the leaders of these groups before pulling up stakes. (New York Daily News)
  • Rethinking the Arab World in Cairo - Amir Taheri
    A conference of Arab foreign ministers, representing the 22 members of the Arab League, was held recently in Cairo. The league, created by the British as an instrument of their strategy in the Middle East and later transformed into an arm of pan-Arabism wielded by Egypt, serves little or no purpose today. The league's bureaucracy, led by Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister of Egypt, presented its own reform project that envisages the creation of an Arab parliament, and half a dozen "councils" dealing with social, cultural, economic, and technological issues. If implemented, the project will turn the Arab League into a gigantic paper-pushing machine modeled on the EU but without the latter's mission and mandate. (
  • Observations:

    Israel Will Continue to Fight Palestinian Terror with All Its Might
    - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

    Addressing the Knesset on Monday, Prime Minister Sharon said:

    • Ten months have elapsed since the Government of Israel accepted the "Roadmap" together with the 14 Israeli reservations. During this entire period, Israel was willing to extend a hand to its Palestinian neighbors, and act together with them to implement the "Roadmap" in all its stages.
    • Unfortunately, the attempts at attacks, the terror, the violence, and the incitement have not ceased during this period, even for a day, and the leadership on the Palestinian side has not taken any steps to stop these actions.
    • The Palestinians must understand that the only way they will live in security and peace will be if they fight the terror, violence, and incitement which originate in their area.
    • Until the Palestinians understand that their interest obligates them to stop the terror, Israel is forced to act according to its own discretion. Israel will continue to fight Palestinian terror with all its might. We will pursue the terrorists, their dispatchers, those who finance them, and those who sponsor them. No murderer, no villain who raises his hand against a Jew or against any Israeli citizen, will escape.
    • The terror attack Sunday in Ashdod strengthens the understanding that there is no leader on the Palestinian side with the courage and ability to fight terror. Soon it will become clear to the world that Israel has no genuine partner for peace on the Palestinian side. Therefore, also in the political arena, Israel will have to act according to its own discretion.

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