Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 23, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Arab Media Report Victory Over U.S. - Amir Taheri (New York Post)
    The group that beheaded Paul Johnson calls itself "The Fallujah Brigade," after the Iraqi city which was the scene of a brief insurgency a few weeks ago.
    The Arab media, especially the satellite TV channels, presented the Fallujah insurgency as "one of the greatest battles the Arabs have ever waged against the Crusaders," as an editorial in the daily Al-Arab claimed.
    The Arab media claimed that the U.S. had deployed "all its military might" to conquer Fallujah and had failed.
    The "heroes of Fallujah" fought like lions and succeeded in winning "a spectacular victory," thus "saving Arab honor."
    More than a dozen Arab poets have already committed odes and sonnets to commemorate Fallujah as "the Arab Stalingrad."
    The satellite channels that peddled those lies are all owned by Arab governments (including the Saudi one) or individuals related to the ruling families.
    What really happened in Fallujah?
    According to the UAE Red Crescent, "The number of those who died did not exceed 270, almost all fighters, not civilians. The resistance was made up of former [Iraqi army] officers with a small number of [non-Iraqi] Arabs representing Salafist [radical Islamist] groups."
    Paul Johnson was killed by the sheiks who finance Arab television, and who continue to finance the terror organizations.

Britain Sends Special Forces to Protect Saudi Embassy - Michael Smith (Telegraph-UK)
    A 25-man SAS team has been sent to Saudi Arabia to bolster security at the British embassy, defense sources said Tuesday.
    The squad is backed by many more special forces troopers in neighboring Qatar who would be summoned if the 20,000 British citizens in Saudi Arabia had to be withdrawn in a hurry.
    The armed SAS troops, who wear civilian clothes, have been given clearance by the Saudi authorities to shoot any attacker who tries to kidnap or ambush embassy staff.

Bahrain Arrests Six Al-Qaeda Suspects - Mehrdad Balali (Reuters)
    Bahrain, bordering Saudi Arabia, says it has arrested six people suspected of having links to al-Qaeda to thwart attacks in the kingdom, which is home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.
    Interior Minister Sheikh Rashed bin Abdullah al-Khalifa said the six were arrested to "prevent them committing dangerous operations.
    The lawyer of five of the detainees, Abdullah Hashim, said the men were known to be Salafists.
    Salafist is a general term that strict Islamist movements in mainstream Sunni Islam use to describe their desire to return to the ways of early Muslims; in Saudi Arabia they are often referred to as Wahhabis.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • China Willing to Enhance Cooperation with Israel
    Chinese Vice-Premier Wu Yi said Tuesday that China and Israel have great potential in economic and trade cooperation and China welcomes Israel to play a more active role in its economic development. In a meeting with Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Wu said China and Israel are highly complementary in economic and trade cooperation and China encourages Israel to participate in its strategy of developing the west region and northeast industrial base. China and Israel established full diplomatic ties in 1992 and the trade volume between the two sides has increased nearly 30 times during the past 12 years, with bilateral cooperation producing remarkable results. (Peoples Daily-China)
  • U.S. Will Hold Saddam Even After Transfer
    The U.S. will transfer legal custody of Saddam Hussein and other top prisoners to Iraqi authorities as soon as Iraqi courts issue the necessary warrants, a U.S. official said Tuesday. But U.S. forces won't let go of the former dictator, even after Iraq regains its sovereignty next week, because it doesn't have a prison strong enough to hold him, the official said. (AP/Yahoo)
  • South Korean Beheaded in Iraq
    Kidnappers in Iraq beheaded South Korean civilian Kim Sun Il, 33, on Tuesday after the Korean government rejected a demand to withdraw its 660 troops in the country and cancel a planned deployment of 3,000 additional forces to northern Iraq. (Washington Post)
  • Iran Issues Order to Release British Sailors
    "Following comments by British forces that they made a mistake by entering Iranian waters...the order for the release of the vessels and their military crew [captured by Iran on Monday] was issued [on Tuesday]," said Ali Reza Afshar, a member of the Iranian armed forces general staff. (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • Kurds Deny "Israeli Infiltration"
    Iraqi Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani has denied reports that Israeli military and intelligence teams are at work in the Kurdish zones of northern Iraq, calling the reports "total fabrications." (BBC)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Sharon: Egypt Will Not Mediate between Israel and the Palestinians - Arnon Regular
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Wednesday that while he attaches great importance to talks with the Egyptians on their role in the Gaza Strip after Israel's planned withdrawal, he does not intend to allow Egypt to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians. The disengagement plan would remain unilateral, he said. Egypt is demanding that the IDF cease operations in the Gaza Strip as a precondition to deploying security advisers to the area, and has proposed that international forces be deployed at the Gaza port and airport after the IDF withdrawal. Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday: "I don't think that any of us can promise that the Gaza Strip...won't be filled with rockets and other weapons that will threaten all the cities of Israel....I think that leaning on Egypt is very problematic." (Ha'aretz)
        See also Egypt Seeks to Train PA Security Forces in West Bank - Jacki Hogi (Maariv-Hebrew)
  • Saudi Arabia Cutting Hamas Funding - Amir Buhbut
    After many years of supporting the families of suicide bombers and sending millions to fund terror attacks in Israel and the territories, the Saudis are beginning to "dry out" Hamas. According to a senior military source, after American pressure, "for the first time in years the Saudis have begun to reduce the flow of funds to Hamas and to the Gaza Strip." In addition, in recent months Israel has arrested couriers posing as businessmen bringing money from Hamas headquarters abroad to Hamas activists in Gaza and the West Bank. According to the source, Hamas's financial problem is one of the principal reasons behind the decline in its terror operations. (Maariv-Hebrew)
  • PA Police Officer Behind Ashdod Bombing Nabbed - Arieh O'Sullivan
    A key player behind the double suicide bombing in the Ashdod port last March was in the midst of planning a similar attack but was nabbed by Israel on June 4, security sources revealed Tuesday. Muween Atallah, a member of the Palestinian Preventative Security forces, allegedly used his position to slip terrorists through the Karni Crossing out of Gaza. Atallah oversaw the movement of open containers and trailers through the crossing, where some 700 to 800 trucks pass daily. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Mofaz: Fence is Good for Economy - Amnon Barzilai
    In those places where the separation fence has been built, the number of terror attacks has dropped by dozens of percent. In addition, the fence has contributed to an increase in the gross domestic product and has resulted in a 0.3% decline in unemployment, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Tuesday. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Responding to Arab Lies - Ben Caspit
    At a UN International Media Seminar in Beijing last week, Sheikh Abdullah al-Hussni, Oman's ambassador to China, claimed that in the last four years Israel has murdered ten thousand Palestinians, women, children and infants, while abandoning the peace process and declaring a war of destruction on the Palestinian people. No one in the room bothered to correct him. When I responded, a scandal ensued. I was forbidden to call his statements "lies" because, as I was told later, that is very offensive in Arabic culture. Indeed, in Jewish culture it is offensive to hear accusations of genocide. Al-Hussni asked me to leave the room. When I didn't leave, he did. (Maariv International)
  • Reaping the Whirlwind - Fouad Ajami
    It was a matter of time before the terrible wind that originated in the Arabian Peninsula returned to its point of origin. The jihadists had struck far and wide. They had taken the Wahhabi creed, stretched it to the breaking point, and turned it into an instrument of combat. A year ago, as this cycle of terror within Arabia began to play out, there were Saudis speaking of the "Talibanization" of their society, warning that the radicals were on the verge of running away with the faith. This scourge of terror is indivisible. You can't bless terror in the streets of Jerusalem and condemn it in Arabia.
        This terrible wind has no need of what Israel does in its struggle with the Palestinians, and it pre-dates this willed, simulated rage over the abuses at Abu Ghraib. (US News)
  • For Iraq's Shiites, Faith Knows No Borders - Youssef M. Ibrahim
    While Iraqi Shiite religous leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has approved of the Shiite-led transition government set to take over in Baghdad next week, and the militias loyal to the rebel cleric Moktada al-Sadr have peacefully abandoned their occupation of the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf, it would be a mistake to consider the Shiites a problem solved. Shiism is a phenomenon that transcends borders and domestic politics. Iran, with its 65 million Shiites, its powerful army and its ancient civilization, is the de facto master of the Persian Gulf. Tehran is clearly pleased that Iraq's 15 million Shiites will more or less control their country eventually.
        In Iraq, Sadr's father was the most revered Shiite figure during the Baathist regime and was assassinated by Saddam's goons in 1999. America should not get in the way if Sadr manages to carve a role for himself in a democratic Iraq. Any hopes for a secular Iraq should also be abandoned - the Shiites will dominate by force of numbers. (New York Times)
  • Observations:

    The Kuperwasser Assessment of the Palestinian Vision - Yoel Esteron

    According to the head of the Military Intelligence research unit, Brig. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser:

    • "The Palestinian vision is a state over all of Palestine. They try to hide that from the world. Certainly from the Israelis....The stages doctrine is repressed, but still valid. The final goal is very clear."
    • "From their point of view, the right of return is a real element and not a pawn in the game." There are some "who think that the goal of 'all of Palestine' is unrealistic. There's a little more flexibility from them about the right of return. But a magnifying glass is needed to see it."
    • Kuperwasser agrees that there is definitely a debate among the Palestinians on what instruments will bring them closer to their goal. There are groups who believe in "only terror." And there is a small minority that believes in political negotiations. "Arafat believes in a combination of terror on both sides of the 'green line' and political negotiations, with an emphasis on international help."
    • In the debate over the nuances of terror, there is no debate among the Palestinians about the morality of terror. Only about its efficacy.
    • Is Arafat himself involved in terror? Kuperwasser shows a visitor a videotape from January 31, a few days after the terror attack on a Jerusalem bus. Arafat enthuses the crowd with rhythmic chants of "a million shaheeds marching to Jerusalem," and his people understand him very well. "What was it Zakariye Zabidi [head of Tanzim in Jenin] said?" quotes Kuperwasser. "When I see Arafat I know what to do."

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