Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 28, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Arafat to Retain Control of PA Security Forces - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Sakher Habash, a senior Fatah official closely associated with Arafat, on Saturday denied reports that Arafat was contemplating appointing a new interior minister with expanded authority over the security forces.
    He said that Arafat would remain in charge of PA security forces.
    He also announced that the PA has no intention of confiscating the weapons of the various Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
    According to Habash, Arafat has agreed to the Egyptian demand to reduce the number of PA security forces from 12 to 3, but these 3 forces would report to the National Security Council, headed by Arafat.

Report: Iraqis Killed Italian for Israel Ties (AP/Jerusalem Post)
    An Iraqi terrorist who says he participated in the April murder of Italian hostage Fabrizio Quattrocchi, along with three other Italian security guards, recalled how the captive asked for his blindfold to be removed so he could look his killers in the eye, the British Sunday Times reported.
    "I filmed him as he was executed," said the Arab fighter, who called himself Abu Yussuf.
    Abu Yussuf claimed the Italians had "trained and worked with Israelis."

Israeli-Made Aerial Drones Assigned to Arizona Border Patrol (Reuters)
    Two Hermes-450 aerial drones made by Israel's Elbit Systems were assigned to the Arizona border patrol on Friday to secure a 350-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexican border that has become the most popular corridor for illegal immigrants.
    The remotely piloted vehicles can fly up to 90 mph, detect movement 15 miles away, and transmit live pictures day and night.

Useful Reference:

Incitement to Jihad on Saudi Government-Controlled TV - Steven Stalinsky (MEMRI)
    MEMRI continually monitors Saudi government-controlled television channels, which include shows with leading Saudi religious figures, professors, members of the royal family, government leaders, and intellectuals.
    Constant themes within the shows include: calls for the annihilation of Christians and Jews, rampant anti-Americanism and antisemitism, support for jihad, incitement against U.S. troops in Iraq, and the coming Islamic conquest of the U.S.

    See also A View of Saudi Education
    - from political cartoonist Pat Oliphant

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Transfers Sovereignty to Iraqis
    Iraq's occupying powers formally transferred sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government on Monday - two days earlier than expected - to try to thwart guerrilla attacks, officials said. (Reuters/New York Times)
        See also A New Beginning for Iraq - Prime Minister Ayad Allawi (Washington Post)
  • Iraqi Group Threatens to Behead Missing Marine
    A militant Iraqi group threatened Sunday to behead an American marine it said it had abducted, according to a video broadcast on Al Jazeera. The video shows Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, who is of Lebanese descent, wearing camouflage fatigues, with a blindfold over his eyes and a long, curved sword held over his head. (New York Times)
        See also American Killed on Plane Taking Off from Baghdad
    An American passenger on an Australian military flight was fatally shot Sunday when the plane was fired on during takeoff from Baghdad International Airport. (The Age-Australia)
  • Intelligence Backs Claim Iraq Tried to Buy Uranium
    According to senior European intelligence officials, illicit sales of uranium from Niger were being negotiated with five states including Iraq at least three years before the U.S.-led invasion. The claim that the illicit export of uranium was under discussion was widely dismissed when letters referring to the sales - apparently sent by a Niger official to a senior official in Saddam Hussein's regime - were proved by the International Atomic Energy Agency to be forgeries. But European intelligence officials have for the first time confirmed that information provided by human intelligence sources produced sufficient evidence for them to believe that Niger was the center of a clandestine international trade in uranium. "There were several sources, and they were reliable sources," said a European intelligence official. (Financial Times-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Two Israelis Killed in Palestinian Missile Attack on Sderot - Amir Buhbut
    Mordechai Yosopov, 49, and Afik Zahavi, 4, were killed and at least eleven people were injured after two Kassam rockets fired from the northern Gaza Strip exploded in the southern Israeli town of Sderot. The mother of the child that was killed is fighting for her life. "There were about 20 children inside the kindergarten when the Kassam exploded in the playground outside," Simha Revivo, a kindergarten assistant, recounted. (Maariv International/Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • IDF Soldier Killed, 5 Hurt in Attack on Gaza Army Post - Nir Hasson, Arnon Regular, and Nadav Shragai
    Staff Sergeant Roey Nissim, 20, was killed and five others were wounded Sunday after explosives were set off in a tunnel beneath the IDF's Orchan fortress, which sits on the Gaza Strip's main north-south artery. Gaza Division commander Brig.-Gen. Shmuel Zakai said the entire structure collapsed. The Al-Aqsa Brigades said militants had dug a 350-meter-long tunnel, and detonated 150 kilograms of explosives underneath the outpost. Tens of thousands of Palestinians filled the streets of Gaza City in celebration. (Ha'aretz/Jerusalem Post)
  • Terrorist Leaders Killed in Nablus Operation - Arnon Regular
    The IDF Saturday killed the current heads of the military wings of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah in operations in the Old City of Nablus, along with other armed terrorists. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Conflict-Weary Nablus Residents Disgusted with Armed Gangs - Arnon Regular
    Part of the population in Nablus is growing disgusted with the plethora of armed gangs. Internal terror - old vendettas, extortion, fights over donations reaching the city - has also worsened. Some people still support the organizations, but others are fed up with their activities. The IDF's Civil Administration even reported receiving phone calls Sunday from Nablus residents who expressed satisfaction at Saturday's killing of the seven wanted men. Naef Abu Sharh, one of the men killed Saturday, used to receive a salary from Arafat's presidential guard, Force 17. But in recent weeks, he complained that the PA had stopped supporting him and other wanted men. (Ha'aretz)
  • Mofaz: Israel Expects Egypt to Stop the Arms Smuggling - Herb Keinon
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz briefed the cabinet Sunday on his recent talks with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. Mofaz told Suleiman that while Israel welcomes Egyptian involvement, it does not see the Egyptians as judges or negotiators. Mofaz also told Suleiman that Israel expects Egypt to stop the arms smuggling into Rafah and the Negev. Mofaz said he made it clear that Israel will retain the right of defense and freedom of movement against the terrorists, including along the Philadelphia Corridor.
        Prime Minister Sharon said that the Quartet must not be given any status in security matters surrounding disengagement, an obvious rejection of calls for some kind of international presence in Gaza after the IDF pullout. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Naomi Shemer: First Lady of Israeli Song - Sagui Ben-Nun and Gidi Avivi
    Songwriter and composer Naomi Shemer, 74, who died Saturday, was one of the most important Hebrew songwriters since the founding of the state - many of the hundreds of songs she wrote formed the very bedrock of Israeli culture. In 1967 she wrote the legendary "Jerusalem of Gold," regarded by many as Israel's second national anthem. "Naomi has left us an immortal legacy of Hebrew works on which many generations of Israelis will be raised," said Education Minister Limor Livnat. (Ha'aretz)
        See also An Interview with Naomi Shemer - Sarah Hershenson (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Intifada Slowing Down - Ehud Ya'ari
    The volume of alerts reaching the Israeli security services have dropped from 60 a week to "only" 30. In the West Bank, the 300-400 operatives still on the loose spend most of their time in the pursuit of safe refuge, deep underground. Some of the PA security apparatuses have recently been carrying out preventive efforts - albeit partially and hesitantly - that have contributed to the reduction in violence. (Jerusalem Report)
        See also Is the War Over? - Hirsh Goodman
    From a military point of view, this war was over before it started: It was only a question of time and blood until the Palestinians understood that they had no chance. Israel did not even begin to use the military means available to it, like heavy artillery, and held back when using its air force. Instead of conducting a campaign from the air which would have meant virtually no Israeli casualties and thousands of Palestinian fatalities - a method employed by the NATO allies in the former Yugoslavia and by the U.S. and its partners in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan - Israel used its infantry and occasionally armored forces preemptively and preventively. (Jerusalem Report)
  • Saudis in Terror's Shadow - Editorial
    If Washington is interested in long-term stability in Saudi Arabia, it must press harder for reform. Bin Laden's rhetoric strikes a resonant chord among Saudis who are increasingly anxious about the economy and their own uncertain employment prospects. The kingdom uneasily combines a 21st-century oil industry, an absolutist and hugely corrupt family monarchy, and a fiery, fundamentalist religious establishment. Without thoroughgoing reforms, the House of Saud faces a bleak and violent future. (New York Times)
        See also 12 Steps for Saudi Arabia - Jim Hoagland (Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    Why the Americans Were Right to Overthrow Saddam Hussein - Shimon Peres
    (Jerusalem Post Magazine, 25 June 04)

    Former Prime Minister Shimon Peres, interviewed by Amotz Asa-El and Herb Keinon:

    • Q: Are you as supportive of the war in Iraq now as you were last year?
      Peres: Yes. There has not been a tyrant since Hitler and Stalin like Saddam Hussein. He initiated two wars that cost a million lives. He killed Kurds and Iranians. And the whole world was quiet.
    • If Europe would have gone to war against Hitler two years earlier, history would have been different. Saddam Hussein was the most immoral creature in recent years. A dangerous murderer.
    • He used gas against Iran. He killed Kurds [with gas.]...He made gas and used it, he could do it again tomorrow. I think it was a courageous decision at the right time.
    • [America] is a nation that participated in many wars, had had many victories, conquered many countries, and didn't keep anything for itself. It conquered Japan and returned to Japan a fixed, working country. The same happened with Germany. I predict that they will return to the Iraqis a fixed, working country as well.
    • It is clear that to win in Iraq, and that will happen, you need a change in Iran. Iran is providing terrorism and incitement. Without an Iraqi army, there is no one to keep them from entering.

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