Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 22, 2004

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In-Depth Issues:

El Al Jets Given Missile Defense over Heathrow Airport - Uzi Mahnaimi and Dipesh Gadher (London Times)
    El Al, Israel's national carrier, is to become the first passenger airline operating from Britain to deploy anti-missile technology on its planes to safeguard against a terrorist strike.
    The new anti-missile system, called Flight Guard, is expected to be installed on all El Al flights to and from Britain by the start of next month, and will automatically trigger decoy flares to divert the path of an incoming, heat-seeking rocket.
    Israeli aviation officials say Flight Guard's flares have been specially developed to burn for only two or three seconds, emitting infrared energy and little visible light.
    Nevertheless, America's FAA has stated that El Al flights entering U.S. airspace would have to switch off the system.

Sacked Sergeant is New al-Qaeda Chief in Saudi Arabia - Brian Whitaker (Guardian-UK)
    Salih al-Oufi, 38, a former sergeant in the Saudi security forces, has been appointed head of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula after the death of Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin in a gun battle on Friday.
    Oufi was no. 5 on a list of the 26 most-wanted suspects issued by the Saudi authorities last December.
    The swift replacement of Muqrin by Oufi appears to confirm that despite numerous arrests and killings, the militant groups are able to regenerate themselves.

Algerian Islamic Terrorist Leader Killed - Craig S. Smith (New York Times)
    The Algerian Army has killed Nabil Sahraoui, the leader of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, in a gun battle east of Algiers.
    Terrorism experts regard the group as North Africa's largest, best organized, and best financed Islamic terrorist group, with links to al-Qaeda and with operatives across Europe.

Israel Providing Asylum for War-Torn Refugees (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel has provided refugee status for 500 foreign residents from countries in which civil wars are taking place, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees representative in Israel Mickey Bavli.
    Over the past 3 years, refugee status has been given to people from countries such as Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Ivory Coast, with a further 200 applications being examined.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Annan Urges UN to Fight Anti-Semitism
    Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday urged UN member nations to take action to combat the "alarming resurgence" of Jewish hatred and adopt a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, at the first-ever UN seminar devoted entirely to confronting anti-Semitism. Anne Bayefsky, an adjunct professor at Columbia University Law School, called the UN "the leading global purveyor of anti-Semitism, intolerance, and inequality against the Jewish people and its state," providing "a platform for those who cast the victims of the Nazis as the Nazi counterparts of the 21st century." "Anti-Semitic acts around the world are occurring at a rate unseen since the end of the Second World War," said Edgar Bronfman Sr., president of the World Jewish Congress. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Is the UN Finally Ready to Get Serious about Anti-Semitism? - Anne Bayefsky (Wall Street Journal)
  • Israel Enjoys Long Lull in Attacks
    It has been just over three months since Palestinian suicide bombers last struck inside Israel - the longest such lull in more than three years. Almost everyone has a theory as to what accounts for the lull: the barrier Israel is erecting in the West Bank, Israel's effort to smash the infrastructure of militant groups such as Hamas, or the eddying currents of Palestinian internal politics. Senior Israeli security officials cite the juxtaposition of good intelligence and good luck. The letup in attacks, they say, is not for any lack of trying on the militants' part. "All it takes is for one to get through," a senior security official said last week. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Iran Seizes 3 British Navy Boats, Detains 8 Sailors
    Iran seized three small British Royal Navy boats and arrested all eight sailors on board on Monday after they entered Iranian waters. The navy was delivering the three boats to the Iraqi Riverine Patrol Service when the sailors were stopped on the Shatt al Arab, a stretch of water that marks the southern boundary between Iran and Iraq. (New York Times)
        See also Iran to Prosecute British Crewmen
    Eight British Navy sailors will be prosecuted on charges of entering Iran's territorial waters, Iran's state-run television reported Tuesday. (AP/USA Today)
  • Saudi Arabia and Pakistan Let Terrorists Flourish Before 9/11
    Saudi Arabia and Pakistan helped set the stage for the Sept. 11 attacks by cutting deals with the Taliban and bin Laden, according to several senior members of the Sept. 11 commission and U.S. counter-terrorism officials. Saudi Arabia provided funds and equipment to the Taliban and probably directly to Bin Laden, and didn't interfere with al-Qaeda's efforts to raise money, recruit and train operatives, and establish cells throughout the kingdom. Only after Saudi Arabia and Pakistan launched comprehensive efforts to take out their domestic al-Qaeda cells did the two nations become victims of terrorist attacks. Officials in both countries acknowledge that al-Qaeda's structure is now so firmly rooted that it will be extremely difficult to eliminate. (Los Angeles Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • PA Militants Strongly Oppose Egypt's Gaza Role - Arnon Regular
    Fatah, Hamas, the Popular and Democratic Fronts, and other Palestinian political groupings Monday issued a joint statement strongly opposed to the "security role" proposed for Egypt and Jordan in the territories. The announcement says it regards an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza as a victory for the armed struggle. It further notes, "Any withdrawal must be unconditional with no guarantees for the safety of the enemy and must be a first step toward the liberation of the rest of our lands."
        Fatah and Hamas fear the plan marks the start of operations to dismantle armed factions in Gaza. Incitement against the Egyptian role has stepped up dramatically in recent days and there is now concern about possible terror attacks aimed to drive the Egyptians out. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Report: Syria Wants to Torpedo Egypt's Gaza Plan
    Damascus wants the Palestinian terror groups to torpedo the Egyptian security plan for the Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources told Israel Radio. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Ya'alon: Destroying Terrorists' Homes Works
    IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon has defended the destruction of terrorists' houses, saying that neighbors and family members of would-be Palestinian suicide bombers often come forward with information to prevent pending attacks, in an effort to spare their homes from demolition. Speaking to cabinet ministers on Sunday, Ya'alon also reported on over 70 terror attacks in the last week: seven shootings on the highways; 32 shootings attacks on security forces; 12 mortar attacks in the Gaza Strip; five rocket attacks; and 19 mine and anti-tank attacks on forces in the Philadelphia Corridor on the border with Egypt. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Ex-PA Minister Decries Corruption - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Jawad Saleh, a former PA cabinet minister, called on fellow Palestinians Sunday to take to the streets and topple the Palestinian Legislative Council, saying it is "trying to cover up all the corruption in the Palestinian Authority." Saleh's call came after he was ejected from a PLC debate on the supply of cement for the construction of Israel's security fence. Saleh says prominent PA officials are profiting from the import of cement from Egypt on behalf of Israeli businessmen. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Why Americans Die in Riyadh - Simon Henderson
    The 1979 seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by Islamic militants did not lead to the collapse of the House of Saud. But this time the king and senior princes are all old and increasingly frail. The only person with his hand on the tiller appears to be Interior Minister Prince Nayef, 71, who has been running the kingdom's police and security services since 1975. The trouble is that his police are well-equipped but hopelessly inefficient, with a reputation for al-Qaeda sympathizers in their ranks. The writer is a London-based associate of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (FrontPageMagazine)
  • Mainstream Radicals in European Parliament - David Twersky
    Last week's election to the European Parliament in Strasbourg saw the rebound in France of the opposition Socialist Party. Yet the swing to the Socialists swept away many of the small leftist and extremist parties. The platform of the Euro-Palestine list had declared: "There cannot be a future for the people of the European Union nor peaceful coexistence between the citizens of [different] origins and cultures which make it up, without respect of the right and justice in the world, beginning with the Middle East." Some Jews read this as a threat: Jews are fair game in France and throughout Europe until there is "justice" for Palestinians.
        While the Euro-Palestine list was defeated, elements of the "establishment" parties that returned to power share many of the assumptions articulated on the margins of political society. And Israel's two best defenders in the EU Parliament, Francois Zimmeray of France and German Green Ilke Schroeder, were sent packing. (New York Sun, 15 June 04)
  • Living in a Bubble: The BBC's Very Own Mideast Foreign Policy - Tom Gross
    Using lavish public funding and an unprecedented worldwide reach, the BBC's news division - by far the world's biggest - virtually conducts its own anti-American and anti-Israeli foreign policy. BBC interviewers live in a bubble with regard to the Middle East and Arab world, which has led them to seek to undermine, even delegitimize Israel, the region's sole democracy, while at the same time bending over backwards to excuse extremist Islamic clerics, and the worst of the Arab dictators. (National Review)
  • Observations:

    The Iranian Nuclear Challenge - Editorial (New York Times)

    • If international treaties to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons have any power, now is the time to flex it on Iran.
    • Tehran has been defying the spirit, and probably the letter, of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in order to acquire the technology and fuel needed to build nuclear weapons.
    • If Europe, Russia, and China now toughen their stands, as Washington is urging, Iran can probably still be stopped.
    • Tehran has been concealing suspicious nuclear activities from the International Atomic Energy Agency since at least 1985.
    • In light of Tehran's new belligerence and Iran's failure to cooperate with the IAEA, Europe should overcome its qualms about referring the Iranian nuclear issue to the UN Security Council.

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