Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 7, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Israel Warns of Nuclear Iran by 2008 - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
    Teheran may have its first nuclear bomb by 2008, Head of IDF Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi said Tuesday.
    Ze'evi said according to Israel's intelligence information, Iran has no intention of halting its nuclear program, despite international pressure.
    Ze'evi said Israel believes that by the spring of 2005 the Iranians will have independent nuclear research and development capability, and it will take another two and a half years for Iran to build its first nuclear weapon.

Hizballah Increases Missile Arsenal (Middle East Newsline)
    Hizballah has significantly increased its missile and rocket arsenal, receiving more than 1,000 missiles and a range of rockets from Iran, Iraq, and Syria in 2002 and 2003, Israeli officials said.
    Hizballah now has an estimated 12,000 rockets and missiles deployed in southern Lebanon that present a strategic threat to Israel.
    While Iran and Syria withheld weapons shipments to Hizballah for several months in 2003, missile and rocket deliveries were resumed at the end of last year.

Egypt Demands PA Fire 70 Corrupt Officials - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Egyptian Intelligence chief Gen. Omar Suleiman, who met with Arafat in Ramallah on June 23, presented him with a list of 70 top PA officials involved in corruption and demanded that they be removed from their jobs, a PA official said Tuesday.
    The London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi said Suleiman told Arafat that the EU and other countries have conditioned continued financial aid to the PA on the dismissal of the corrupt officials.
    According to intelligence gathered by European countries, the officials whose names appear on the list had pocketed funds earmarked for the Palestinians and had set up private companies with the money.
    Suleiman said the donors estimate that hundreds of millions of dollars did not arrive at their destination, according to the PA official.

Freed Guantanamo Detainees Back in Rebel Ranks - Shaun Waterman (UPI/Washington Times)
    Several detainees released by the U.S. military from the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have rejoined their former comrades-in-arms and taken part in fresh attacks on American troops, according to Defense Department officials.
    "At least five detainees released from Guantanamo have returned to the [Afghan] battlefield," a defense official said.
    One of the men, Mullah Shahzada, a Taliban field commander, may have become active again almost immediately after his release.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Powell Expresses Disappointment Over Israeli Record on Settlements
    In a talk with reporters after meeting Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom Tuesday, Secretary of State Colin Powell said: "With respect to the outposts, and other activity related to settlements and access, the minister and I had an open and candid discussion about it....I explained to the minister that we have some disappointment in the rate at which outposts have been removed and the minister gave me assurances that they are hard at work on that, and we'll be exchanging more information on the subject." Shalom said the Sharon government is committed to removing the unauthorized outposts, even though he said the Palestinians have done nothing to implement their "road map" commitments. (VOA News)
        See also Israel Says It's Not Stalling in Removing Outposts
    Israel fully intends to keep its pledge to the U.S. to remove so-called illegal outposts from the West Bank, but it will only be done within the framework of the law, Prime Minister Sharon's spokesman Dr. Ra'anan Gissin said on Tuesday. A U.S. official said on Tuesday that the administration is not "upset" with Israel and that it is up to Israel to define what is an illegal outpost under Israeli law.
        "Israel is a country governed by law," Gissin said. A list has been submitted but the issue of outposts cannot be compared to the demand that the Palestinians fight terrorism, he said. "It has nothing to do with the war against terrorism," he said. It doesn't interfere with one Palestinian's life, he added. (CNSNews)
        See also below Observations: Israel, U.S. Agree on "Long Series of Understandings" (Ha'aretz)
  • Lawsuit Accuses Arab Bank of Aiding Terrorists
    Six families of U.S. citizens killed or hurt in terrorist attacks in the Middle East have filed an $875 million lawsuit against the Arab Bank, accusing it of financing terrorist actions in Israel and the West Bank. The suit alleges that the bank's New York branch laundered Saudi money and distributed it to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad suicide bombers, to prisoners involved in terrorist activities, and to families of suicide bombers. According to the suit, funds raised through the Saudi Committee in Support of the Intifada Al Quds, an official Saudi non-profit, were converted to dollars at Arab Bank's Madison Avenue branch in Manhattan, then funneled into the personal accounts of terrorists and their families. (CNN)
  • Group Threatens Al-Zarqawi Over Attacks
    An armed vigilante group threatened on Tuesday to kill Jordanian Islamic radical Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, responsible for numerous insurgency attacks that have killed Iraqis. In a videotape sent to Al-Arabiya television, the group, which called itself the "Salvation Movement," ordered al-Zarqawi to leave the country and questioned how he could justify the killing of civilians and his threats to assassinate Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. The emergence of the group highlights internal opposition to al-Zarqawi, who is believed to have links to al-Qaeda. "This is the last warning. If you don't stop, we will do to you what the coalition forces have failed to do," said one gunman in the video. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Iraq Battles Its Leaking Borders
    Since last year, 1,000 to 3,000 foreign militants tied to a growing string of terrorist strikes in Iraq have crossed the border, but officials contend that recent attacks instigated by foreign fighters have backfired. In Baqubah in late June, Iraqi citizens spontaneously grabbed weapons and took to the streets to fight outside insurgents.
        Senior Iraqi and American officials are quick to blame Syria and Iran for tacitly supporting car bombings and other attacks that have killed and wounded hundreds of people in the past month. Along the Syrian border, tribes such as the Shamar, al-Jubouri, and al-Fawzil migrate back and forth from Iraq. Many of the Iraqi border guards are tribal members with family on either side of the border, and often turn a blind eye to smuggling. A long dirt berm built by U.S. military engineers to delineate the Syrian border is easily transversed in many places by four-wheel drive pickup trucks. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Radioactive Material Seized from Iraqi Nuclear Plant
    American officials have seized about 1,000 sources of radioactivity and nearly two tons of low-enriched uranium from Iraq's Tuwaitha nuclear center, and airlifted the material to the U.S. on June 23, the Energy Department announced Tuesday. While none of the materials were usable in a nuclear bomb, the uranium could have been further enriched to make a weapon, said Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration. He also said the radioactive sources could have been mixed with conventional explosives to make a "dirty bomb." (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Rockets Hit Sderot - Shmulik Hadad and Efrat Weiss
    Two Palestinian Kassam rockets landed near the southern Israeli town of Sderot Wednesday. No injuries or damage were reported. The rockets were fired from an area outside Beit Hanoun in Gaza where there is no IDF presence. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • Sderot Mother Learns Her Son is Dead - David Rudge
    Ruthie Zahavi, who was seriously wounded in last week's Kassam rocket attack on Sderot, in which her three-year-old son, Afik, and another local resident, Mordechai Yosefov, were killed, has finally learned that her only child is dead. Zahavi had been unconscious since the attack and underwent a series of operations including the amputation of her right leg. She opened her eyes on Monday and her first words were: "Where is Afik?" (Jerusalem Post)
  • Fatah Tanzim Terror Cell Captured
    Israel's security services have captured a 7-member Fatah Tanzim terror cell in Silwad in the Binyamin region that was responsible for many shooting attacks over the past four years, including the murder of Asaf Hershkowitz and Idit Mizrahi. Hershkowitz, 30, of Ofra, was killed in May 2001 when his vehicle was fired upon. Mizrahi, 20, of Rimonim, was gunned down as she drove to a family wedding, also in May 2001. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Fallout from Anti-U.S. Hostility - Ze'ev Schiff
    Hostility toward the U.S. in general and to the Bush administration in particular currently occupies a major share of public opinion in the larger countries of Europe, while Israel supports the U.S. with all its heart and soul. It would not be an exaggeration to say that many would like to see America's defeat in Iraq, but it is doubtful that they have considered the strategic implications of such a defeat on Europe. The close relationship between Israel and the U.S. influences the Europeans' considerations regarding Israel. If Bush supports something, he must be instantly opposed no matter what the issue is. Generally speaking, contributing soldiers to an international force - such as in Gaza, for instance - had lost any attraction it might have had in the past. (Ha'aretz)
  • Not an Ocean - Editorial
    On Sunday, General Security Services head Avi Dichter told the cabinet: "Palestinian terror is a barrel with a bottom. It is not a sea or an ocean that cannot be drained." It should not be seen as a coincidence that Dichter's optimism appeared after Hamas leaders Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi met timely ends. Dichter is right and his comments are a breath of fresh air in contrast with the defeatism so routinely offered that there is "no military solution" against terrorism. The only way to defeat jihad is to prove its futility through military skill and demonstration of will. What we are seeing is the result of Israel doing just that. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    Israel, U.S. Agree on "Long Series of Understandings" (Ha'aretz)

    • Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Wednesday after meeting in Washington with Secretary of State Colin Powell that the U.S. and Israel saw eye to eye on a "very, very long series of understandings," including:
      • An unequivocal demand that the PA consolidate its security forces and combat terrorism.
      • The need for Egypt to halt smuggling from the Sinai desert into the southern Gaza Strip.
      • The disengagement plan should be kept out of the UN Security Council.
      • The need for a U.S. veto, should the International Court of Justice rule the West Bank fence illegal, and the Security Council attempt to act on the ruling.
    • Shalom asked Powell to try and convince the nations donating money to the PA to condition future financial aid on the cessation of Kassam rocket attacks against Israel, and on the political reform of the PA.
    • Shalom said that the discussion of the outposts came at the end of lengthy talks in which broad agreement was evident between the two sides. The foreign minister told an Israel Radio interviewer that Powell's "remarks at the news conference came after your reporter repeatedly asked him the question, until he finally succeeded in prying out that answer."

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