Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 19, 2004

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In-Depth Issues:

Mubarak's Party Weekly Magazine Accuses Jews of Blood Libel (MEMRI)
    Hussam Wahba, a columnist for 'Aqidati which is linked to President Mubarak's National Democratic Party, wrote an article based upon blood libels, accusing Judaism of promoting ritual murder.
    See also Egypt's Ruling Party Newspaper: The Holocaust is a Zionist Lie Aimed at Extorting the West (MEMRI)
    Dr. Rif'at Sayyed Ahmad, a columnist for Al-Liwaa Al-Islami, which is Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party's paper, published an article titled "The Lie About the Burning of the Jews."
    Using the work of Western Holocaust deniers, Ahmad stated that the burning of Jews in gas chambers during World War II was a tale made up by the Zionist movement in order to extort the West and make possible the establishment of the Zionist enterprise.

Barghouti Eats Lunch During Palestinian Prisoner Hunger Strike - Jonathan Lis, Yair Ettinger, and Arnon Regular (Ha'aretz)
    The Israel Prisons Service distributed pictures Wednesday of Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti eating lunch during a hunger strike of Palestinian security prisoners initiated by Hamas and Islamic Jihad that began on Sunday.
    Before he began eating, he covered the windows of his cell with newspaper so that he would not be seen.
    The prisoners are demanding public telephones in their cell blocks, the removal of glass partitions separating them from visiting relatives, and an end to what they call "intrusive" body searches.

3/4 of Terror Attacks in West Bank Directed by Hizballah - Hanan Greenberg (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
    3/4 of the terror incidents in Judea and Samaria in 2004 are directed by Hizballah, according to a senior IDF officer.
    The question of whether the PA is directing terror is irrelevant, he said. There is no Palestinian capability to command and direct.
    Iran has stepped into the vacuum via Hizballah, with Hizballah acting as the operations officer.
    A Hizballah operative tells the Palestinian terrorist where to meet the taxi driver, where to get the bomb, and what the target is, all based on the payment of money.
    The Palestinian leadership "is concerned about the influence of Hizballah no less than we are," he said.

South Africa Says It Won't Sell Uranium to Iran - Amir Mizroch (Jerusalem Post)
    South Africa will not assist Iran's nuclear development and will not sell any uranium to the Islamic Republic, the South African Ministry of Defense said Wednesday.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Lawmaker Urges Syria to Follow Libya's Steps
    Syria should follow Libya's example and renounce weapons of mass destruction and links to anti-Israel militant groups in return for better U.S. ties, Rep. Tom Lantos, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives' International Relations Committee, said Wednesday during a visit to Damascus. "Choosing sides in this global struggle between the civilized world and terrorism is a matter of deeds, not words," said Lantos, who charged that Syria was supplying and allowing weapons to be ferried to Lebanon's Hizballah guerrillas. (Reuters)
  • U.S. Eyes Money Trails of Saudi-Backed Charities
    Nearly three years after 9/11, a number of Saudi-supported Islamic preachers, centers, charities, and mosques remain under intense scrutiny as U.S. investigators continue to look into the tangled money trails leading from Saudi Arabia to its embassy in Washington and into dozens of American cities. A survey of the 1,200 U.S. mosques undertaken in 2000 by four Muslim organizations found that 2 million Muslims were "associated" with a mosque and that 70% of mosque leaders were generally favorable toward fundamentalist teachings, while 21% followed the stricter Wahhabi practices.
        The worldwide export of Wahhabi Islam began in 1962, when Saudi Arabia's ruling Saud family founded the Muslim World League in Mecca to promote "Islamic solidarity," seeking to counter the fiery pan-Arab nationalism of Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser. The sparsely populated Saudi kingdom had no trained foot soldiers to run the Muslim League, so the royal family enlisted scores of Egyptians belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, a secretive movement dedicated to restoring Islamic rule over secular Arab societies. (Washington Post)
  • Israelis Try to Save Young Arab Victim of Palestinian Bombing
    Mahdi Abu Snaineh, 6 years old, cannot move his legs or his left arm, and has shrapnel close to his spinal cord and his aorta. His father, Nidal, 27, hovers nearby, wary of the bustling Israelis at Hadassah University Hospital who are trying to save his child. Mahdi was in a car with his grandparents at a checkpoint in northern Jerusalem last week when a fellow Palestinian set off shrapnel-filled explosives by remote control. His grandfather died instantly and his grandmother was wounded. Mahdi, sitting in the back, was paralyzed, his abdomen pierced by nearly 10 pieces of shrapnel. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Egypt's Conditions for Gaza Role "Unrealistic" - Herb Keinon
    Talks with Egypt over a possible security role in Gaza after Israeli disengagement from the area are not progressing because the Egyptians are raising unrealistic demands, Israeli diplomatic officials said Wednesday. The Egyptians want Israel to reopen a safe passage from Gaza to the West Bank; to withdraw entirely from Gaza, including from the Philadelphi corridor; to allow the Palestinians to open air and sea ports to Gaza; to permit Palestinian laborers entrance into Israel; and to ensure that Egyptian security specialists won't be harmed if they are dispatched to Gaza. According to Western diplomatic assessments, Egypt's unrealistic conditions indicate that, at this point, Egypt has no intention of sending security experts to train Palestinian security officials in Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Mortar Fire Wounds Five Israelis in Gaza - Amir Buhbut and Marwan Athamna
    One Israeli suffered moderate injuries and four more were lightly injured Thursday when Palestinian mortar fire hit a house in the Gush Katif settlement of Neve Dekalim, causing severe damage. (Maariv International)
  • U.S. "Unimpressed' with Arafat's Admissions - Lamia Lahoud
    The U.S. is "unimpressed" with Arafat's admissions on Wednesday that the PA has made mistakes and his promise to correct them. The U.S. is remaining steadfast with its earlier statements that it will not conduct negotiations with Arafat, Israel Radio reported. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
        See also Arafat's Speech a Letdown, Many Say
    Palestinian lawmakers complained that a speech by Arafat on Wednesday fell short of expectations, with critics charging that he offered no way out of the chaos plaguing the Palestinian territories. (AP/Detroit Free Press)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Terror Web - Lawrence Wright
    Gustavo de Aristegui, one of the leaders of the Popular Party in Spain's Basque country and in the Spanish congress, has been preoccupied for many years with the rise of Islamic terror. "Al-Qaeda has four different networks," he says. "First, there is the original network, the one that committed 9/11....Then, there is the ad-hoc terrorist network, consisting of franchise organizations that al-Qaeda created." The third network is more subtle, "a strategic union of like-minded companies." "Hamas is in, or almost in....Bin Laden is trying to tempt Hizballah to join." The fourth network are the "imitators, emulators," ideologically aligned with al-Qaeda but less tied to it financially. "These are the ones who committed [the] Madrid [train bombings]," Aristegui said.
        Appeasement is a foolish strategy for dealing with al-Qaeda. Last year, many Saudis were stunned when the terrorist group struck Western compounds in Riyadh - shortly after the U.S. had announced that it would withdraw troops from Saudi Arabia, fulfilling one of bin Laden's primary demands. The Saudis now realize that al-Qaeda won't be assuaged until all foreigners are expelled from the Arabian Peninsula and a rigid theocracy has been imposed. (New Yorker)
  • The Latest Challenge from Al-Sadr - Jeffrey White and Anna Solomon-Schwartz
    Iraqi Shi'i cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is once again attempting to foment a rebellion. Military engagements are usually lopsided (though indecisive) affairs, with al-Sadr's militia taking disproportionate casualties. Coalition troops rely heavily on precise and overwhelming firepower, while the militiamen employ hit-and-run tactics featuring mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms. The militiamen stay as close as possible to the shrines, knowing that this imposes significant limitations on U.S. and, to a lesser extent, Iraqi security forces. Moreover, scenes of fighting around the shrines galvanize Shi'is across the region.
        Although Prime Minister Allawi appeared strong at the beginning of the current crisis, he is now vacillating between negotiations and force, taking half-measures that serve to keep al-Sadr on the political scene. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Iran Should be Punished for Nuclear Cheating - Editorial
    The Iranian government has evidently calculated that American preoccupation with Iraq and the presidential election has created a window of opportunity for the pursuit of its nuclear ambitions with impunity. The British government says it has no illusions about Iran's determination to become a nuclear weapons power, an admission which underlines the bankruptcy of its policy of constructive engagement.
        If it persists in cheating, Teheran must be further isolated and, if necessary, punished by sanctions. Beyond that, America and its allies should leave the clerics in no doubt that they will not tolerate their possession of nuclear weapons. In such hands, they would pose a far greater threat than Iraq under Saddam Hussein. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Observations:

    Israel Protests at UN Against Terror Attacks - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)

    • Arye Mekel, Israel's outgoing deputy ambassador at the UN, sent a letter to the president of the UN Security Council describing last week's attack at a roadblock north of Jerusalem that killed two Palestinian bystanders and wounded six Border Policemen as an example of why the roadblocks are so important.
    • Mekel wrote, "The continued Palestinian use of terrorism, with the support and toleration of the Palestinian leadership, is not just an ongoing and egregious violation of basic international norms, signed commitments, and the explicit terms of the road map. It is the enemy of peace in the region, and endangers the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians."
    • He also wrote, "The firing of rockets from civilian areas in Beit Hanoun [in Gaza] is a grave violation of international humanitarian law not only because it targets innocent Israeli civilians. Palestinian residents' lives are also put at risk, and held hostage, by the continued and despicable tactics adopted by Palestinian terrorists by which innocent Palestinians are used as human shields and civilian areas are used as staging ground for terrorist atrocities in direct violation of the most basic human rights and humanitarian norms."

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