Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 26, 2004

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In-Depth Issues:

Soldiers Find Guns in PA Minister's Car - Margot Dudkevitch (Jerusalem Post)
    IDF soldiers confiscated three rifles and two handguns from the car of PA Civil Affairs Minister Jamal Tarifi on Tuesday at a surprise roadblock near Ramallah, Army Radio reported.
    Tarifi was released following the inspection.

"Palestinian" Men Land in Italy (BBC/VOA)
    114 undocumented men who landed on the south Italian island of Lampedusa by boat Saturday claimed to be Palestinians when interviewed by police.
    More than 275 migrants landed at Lampedusa on Tuesday, including 89 children and teenagers. Most said they were Palestinians; some said they were from Bangladesh.
    The Rome government has urged the EU to assist it in coping with the flood of illegal landings.

Jihad Magazine for Women on Web - Sebastian Usher (BBC News)
    Radical Islamists have launched a new magazine on the Internet especially for women, called Al-Khansa, after a famous Arab woman poet in the early days of Islam who wrote eulogies to male relatives who had died in battle.
    One of its encouragements to jihad reads: "The blood of our husbands and the body parts of our children are our sacrificial offering."
    It treats the issue of Saudi women's rights with scorn.

Bomb-Sniffing Dogs on Jerusalem Public Buses (AFP/Yahoo)
    Sniffer dogs have been put into service on public buses in Jerusalem for the first time in a bid to thwart suicide bombers.
    "The association Pups for Peace, financed by gifts from the Jewish diaspora, has specially trained these dogs for five months," said association official Roni Latan.
    "If they detect explosives they must alert the agents and above all must not take hold of the explosive."
    Suicide attacks on buses in Jerusalem have cost the lives of more than 100 passengers in the past 10 years.

Second Temple Village Uncovered - Etgar Lefkovits (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli archeologists have uncovered a 5,000-year-old Canaanite city and a 2,000-year-old Jewish village from the Second Temple period alongside each other in the Modi'in area near the present-day Israeli town of Shoham.
    The Jewish town existed from about 100 BCE to 135 CE, until the Bar Kochba revolt, said archeologist Dr. David Amit.
    Excavations have uncovered a 2,000-year-old street, Jewish coins from the time of the rebellion, and wine presses, as well as a mikve (Jewish ritual bath).

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Arafat Rebuffs Palestinian Critics' Latest Push for Reforms
    Arafat stonewalled his detractors once again Wednesday in the latest confrontation over administrative reforms. Refusing to sign presidential decrees needed for restructuring his administration, Arafat instead pledged to take the necessary steps in a letter to the parliament, and the lawmakers approved it, 31-12. However, reform campaigner Hassan Khreishe said Arafat showed no intention to act. (AP/San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Iraqi Dissidents Flee Najaf Shrine
    Fighters loyal to the Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr had largely abandoned Najaf's Imam Ali shrine Tuesday before an American offensive. Sources said the majority of the militiamen slipped out of the complex five days ago. "We are cleverer than the Americans think. Anybody who stays behind is likely to be killed," one source said. Many fighters appeared to be regrouping in the neighboring town of Kufa, having been told that the battle for the shrine has effectively been lost. (Guardian-UK)
        See also Al-Sistani Returns to Iraq, Urges March on Najaf
    Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most powerful Shiite Muslim cleric, arrived in Iraq Wednesday from England, where he had undergone an angioplasty, and called on Iraqis Wednesday to march to Najaf. (CNN)
  • Islamic Militants Funded with Petty Crime
    Islamist militants are turning to common crime - from dealing drugs to selling knockoff shampoos and pirated compact discs - to pay for attacks because they no longer can move funds easily through world banks, security officials say. (AP/Washington Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Proud of Olympic Win - Rami Hipsh
    Gal Friedman became the first Israeli to win a gold Olympic medal Wednesday in windsurfing. During the awards ceremony, the Israeli national anthem Hatikva was played at the Olympic Games for the first time. Friedman dedicated his victory to the 11 Israelis killed in the Munich massacre at the 1972 Olympics, vowing he would visit their memorial to show them his medal. Friedman's victory brought screams of delight in shops and offices across the country, as many were glued to television sets.
        Friedman said after his victory. "I simply felt that the entire country was pushing me from behind. I suddenly felt extra energies, and I didn't know where they came from." Friedman's first name, Gal, means "wave" in Hebrew. (Ha'aretz)
        See also An Israeli Moment to Savor - Herb Keinon
    At a time when Jews in France are afraid to walk out their doors displaying any sign of their Jewishness, there was something deeply moving about watching Friedman proudly wrap himself in an Israeli flag. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israelis Revel in First Taste of Gold (New York Times)
  • Palestinians Fire Rockets at Sderot - Margot Dudkevitch
    Palestinians fired two Kassam rockets at the western Negev town of Sderot Thursday. There were no reports of injuries but a storeroom was damaged. Palestinians also fired four mortar shells at the community of Morag in the southern Gaza Strip. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Two Israelis Killed in Russian Plane Crash - Amiram Barkat
    Two passengers on one of the Russian planes that crashed Tuesday were Israeli citizens. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Najaf Showdown - Hiwa Osman
    A serious misunderstanding of Iraq is developing in the West. Muqtada al-Sadr is not a populist; the Najaf standoff has little to do with Iraqi popular will and everything to do with Iranian political muscle flexing. For the majority of the Iraqi people, al-Sadr is little more than a low-level cleric cum outlaw who is being exploited by Iran to undermine an emerging Iraqi state.
        It is not in Iran's interest, nor in the interest of the autocratic countries of the region, to have a functioning democracy in Iraq. A stable, democratic Iraq will become a haven for the democratic opposition movements in neighboring countries. (Washington Times)
  • So Who's an Egyptian? - Zvi Bar'el
    Egypt, Jordan, and Kuwait have become increasingly strict about whom they give citizenship to. In July, the Egyptian Parliament decided that Egyptian mothers who have children whose fathers are not Egyptian will not be able to pass their Egyptian citizenship to their children. Since 1978, when Egyptian culture minister Youssef al-Sibai was assassinated in Cyprus by Palestinian terrorists, Palestinians living in Egypt have had the status of aliens. (Ha'aretz)
  • Saudi Armed Forces Journal: Jews "Aspire to Dominate the World"
    In Al-Jundi Al-Muslim (The Muslim Soldier), published by the Religious Affairs Department of the Saudi armed forces, Ma'ashu Muhammad wrote an article for the "Know Your Enemy" section on "The Jews in the Modern Era": "The majority of revolutions, coups d'etat, and wars which have occurred in the world...are almost entirely the handiwork of the Jews. They turned to [these methods] in order to implement the injunctions of the fabricated Torah, the Talmud, and the "Protocols [of the Elders of Zion]," all of which command the destruction of all non-Jews in order to achieve their goal - namely, world domination. In addition, they aspire to dominate the world in material, cultural, and spiritual terms in order to annihilate it."
        "World Jewry has established a shadow government run by 300 Satans who call themselves 'elders.'" "The Jews caused the outbreak of World War I and World War II." (MEMRI)
  • Photographer and Fighter - The IDF Combat Communication Course
    Another 4-month "Operational Documentation" course for soldiers from selected units has concluded under the auspices of the IDF Spokesperson's Unit. The course enables soldiers to document with their cameras the daily activities of their units. Soldiers learn everything concerning photography, picture angles, filming in motion, and night filming, with practice during operational activities.
        The commander of the Film and Photography Unit explained that the course is a result of the terror incidents that started four years ago. While there have been reports that armed Palestinians shoot from behind children, by the time the IDF Film Unit crew arrived for documentation, the terrorists were already gone. Since the terrorist organizations take advantage of every opportunity to capture a photographed story from their perspective, the IDF decided to train its soldiers to photograph events as the soldiers see them. (IDF)
  • Observations:

    Darfur Exposes Trait of Arab Politics - Salim Mansur (London Free Press-Canada)

    • The one constant in the history of Arab states over the past five decades is the abuse of people by power-holders in a part of the world where regimes rule without popular legitimacy. It is understandable, though inexcusable, that there are no demonstrations anywhere in the wider Arab-Muslim world denouncing the Khartoum regime for its crimes in Darfur.
    • Arabs and Muslims now live in growing numbers in cosmopolitan centers of the West, and enjoy freedoms denied their people elsewhere. Here they came out in unprecedented numbers, protesting American-led wars to liberate Afghans and Iraqis from despots, but in their unconscionable silence over Darfur, they disclose how selective is their outrage.
    • Blacks are viewed by Arabs as racially inferior, and Arab violence against blacks has a long, turbulent record. The Arabic word for blacks ('abed) is a derivative of the word slave ('abd), and the role of Arabs in the history of slavery is a subject rarely discussed publicly. Here, the contrast between the Arab treatment of blacks and the Israeli assimilation of black Jews of Ethiopia cannot go unnoticed.

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