Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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September 15, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Report: Syria Tested Chemical Arms on Civilians in Darfur (AFP/Channel News Asia-Singapore)
    Syria tested chemical weapons on civilians in Sudan's Darfur region in June and killed dozens of people.
    The German daily Die Welt Wednesday, citing Western security sources, said that injuries apparently caused by chemical arms were found on the bodies of the victims.
    The weapons tests were undertaken following a military exercise between Syria and Sudan.
    Syrian officers were reported to have met in May with Sudanese military leaders in Khartoum.

IDF: 23 Family Reunifications Have Led to Terror Attacks - Margot Dudkevitch (Jerusalem Post)
    23 Palestinians, all holders of Israeli identity cards due to the family reunification program, have been arrested by security forces since 2001 for their involvement in terror attacks inside Israel, including three suicide bomb attacks which resulted in the deaths of 16 Israelis, according to information released this week by security officials.
    Palestinian holders of Israeli identity cards have become prized recruits for terror organizations.

Palestinian Security Officers to be Trained in Egypt (Xinhuanet - China)
    The first batch of 45 Palestinian security officers are scheduled to arrive in Cairo Saturday for training, the official Egyptian MENA news agency reported Tuesday.
    Egypt will also help define the tasks and jurisdiction of the different Palestinian security apparatuses and coordinate work among them, said Palestinian Interior Minister Hakam Balawi.

PA Religious Leaders Call for Genocide of Jews (Palestinian Media Watch/IMRA)
    Twice in three days, PA religious leaders have openly called for the genocide of Jews.
    Broadcast on official PA TV, both called for the murder of Jews until the Jewish people are annihilated.
    Both presented the killing of Jews not merely as the will of Allah, but also as a necessary stage in history that should be carried out now.
    Sheik Ibrahim Madiras's Friday sermon - PA TV, Sept. 10, 2004
    Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Maadi's weekly TV show - Sept. 12, 2004

Istanbul Court Indictment Sheds Light on Al-Qaeda (Zaman-Turkey)
    A 128-page indictment prepared by the Istanbul State Security Court (DGM) Republican Attorney General's Office delves into the establishment, aim, power, activities, and leadership of the al-Qaeda terrorist network.
    The indictment explains that al-Qaeda's main goal is to drive Americans and the lifestyle they represent from Islamic countries.
    The group also seeks to destroy Israel and topple pro-American administrations in the Middle East.
    Bin Laden's ultimate aim is the establishment of a state governed by Islamic law under the leadership of a single caliph that would represent Muslims across the globe.
    Al-Qaeda's worldview is to spread the doctrine of Wahhabism put forward by Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab.

Aksa Martyrs Close Down Arab American University - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Fatah's armed wing, the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, Monday ordered the Arab American University in Jenin to close as a protest against interference by the PA's General Intelligence Force in university affairs.
    This is the first time that a Palestinian university is forced to close because of tensions between rival Palestinian groups.

Palestinians Murder Suspected Collaborator - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Gunmen from the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades in Ramallah Tuesday shot and killed another Palestinian suspected of collaboration with Israel.
    Rami Yaghmour, 28, is the sixth suspected collaborator killed in Ramallah in the past 18 months.
    Eyewitnesses said he was kidnapped by a group of masked gunmen as he was being escorted to a local court by members of the Special Forces of the PA.

50% of Israelis Have High-Speed Internet - Judy Siegel-Itzkovich (Jerusalem Post)
    50% of Israeli homes have high-speed Internet connection (ADSL or cable), with another 7% using a regular phone line, according to a new survey by the Smith Research and Consulting Institute for Tel Aviv University's Center for Internet Research.
    A year ago, the overall connection rate was only 46%.

Useful Reference:

CNN Documentary on "The Impact of Terror" on Israelis (
    A CNN documentary entitled "Impact of Terror" will focus on the August 2001 suicide bombing attack at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem and its aftermath.
    CNN's film crews followed the survivors for years after the bombing to discover just how deeply their lives have been altered.
    "Impact of Terror" will premiere Sunday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. (EST) on CNN/US and will re-air Saturday, Sept. 25, at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. (EST).
    See also CNN's "Impact of Terror" (CNN)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Car Bomb Kills 47 in Baghdad
    A huge car bomb blast in a crowded market close to a Baghdad police headquarters building killed at least 47 people Tuesday and wounded 114 in the deadliest single attack in the Iraqi capital in six months. The group led by Jordanian al-Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility. (Reuters)
        See also Engineers Battle Iraqi Insurgents in Oil Blasts
    Saboteurs wrecked a recently repaired pipeline junction Tuesday near the Tigris River at the northern Iraqi city of Beiji, shutting down the pipeline ferrying crude oil from Kirkuk to Ceyhan, Turkey. Oil burned on the desert and poured, still aflame, into the Tigris. The frequent sabotage has cost Iraq more than $2 billion, interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has said. The sabotage came just two days after engineers completed a two-month replacement of critical valves destroyed by a previous bombing. (AP/Washington Post)
  • U.S. Questions European Hamas Support
    William Pope, a State Department anti-terrorism coordinator, told two House International Relations subcommittees on Tuesday that the EU as a whole "has been reluctant to take steps to block the assets of charities linked to Hamas and Hizballah, even though these groups repeatedly engage in deadly terrorist attacks, and the charitable activities help draw recruits." The groups get "a considerable portion of their funding from Europe," Pope said. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Israeli City of Netanya Says Barrier is "Working"
    The frequency of attacks by suicide bombers in Israel seems to be slowing, with many Israelis saying the reason is obvious - the barrier separating the West Bank from Israel is keeping out the suicide bombers. Maurice's cafe, La Creperie, is doing much better than it used to. "There is a big difference. People feel much safer, people are going out much more these days and it's all thanks to the barrier," he says. In this city there's no great debate about the barrier's legality. For Israelis here the equation is simple: the barrier has gone up and life has got better. (BBC News)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • EU Opposed to More UN Talks on Fence - Shlomo Shamir
    Senior diplomats of major EU countries have made it clear to PLO representative Nasser al-Kidwa that they oppose his plans to raise the issue of Israel's separation fence at the 59th UN General Assembly, which opened Tuesday. Reliable sources in New York said Tuesday that Arab diplomats at the UN also expressed in private conversations their opposition to the resumption of the discussion on the separation fence. "We are not interested to continue dealing with the issue of the separation fence within the parameters of the UN," one EU diplomat said. "The opinion on the fence given by the International Court of Justice in The Hague is advisory and does not require that deliberations on the issue continue in the General Assembly."
        Arab diplomats argue that the Palestinians should not endanger their diplomatic achievements by pressing the issue beyond its usefulness. The PLO was planning to propose a resolution that will threaten Israel with sanctions if it continues to ignore the ruling of the ICJ. (Ha'aretz)
  • Five Palestinian Terrorists Killed in Nablus - Amos Harel
    Five armed Palestinian terrorists were killed by IDF troops Wednesday in the West Bank city of Nablus. Witnesses said four of the men belonged to the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades. (Ha'aretz)
  • Letter Urges U.S. Anti-Semitism Monitor - Janine Zacharia
    More than 100 religious leaders, former U.S. officials, writers, artists, and academics have written to Secretary of State Colin Powell to protest the State Department's opposition to a congressional bill that would set up an office dedicated to combating anti-Semitism, and issue an annual report on anti-Semitism around the world. The State Department has said it opposes the bill because it would show favoritism by "extending exclusive status to one religious or ethnic group." Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Cal.), a Holocaust survivor, authored the proposed Global Anti-Semitism Awareness Act. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Seeds of Beslan Were Sown in Ma'alot, Israel - Ehud Olmert
    We Israelis can so readily identify with the suffering of the Russian victims in Beslan. In 1974, I watched the terrorist assault on a school in Ma'alot as Palestinian gunmen, ironically from a PLO faction funded by the Russians, infiltrated a high school and took dozens of students hostage. Before the army could free the children, the terrorists managed to kill 26 of them. The world voiced only silence, and business went on as usual. Israelis were forced to learn that our tragedies were always going to be personal affairs, and that there would be no united international response to terror. The seeds of terror planted by the Palestinians in 1974 have come to fruition in a schoolhouse in Russia 30 years on, and should be seen as Yasser Arafat's legacy.
        Countries that are determined to protect their citizens and safeguard their security now understand that they can no longer remain passive in the face of evil. Either democratic states will bury the terrorists and their patrons, or they will bury us. In Israel, we have learned that you can either fight the perpetrators in their cities and villages or you can turn your own streets and schools into a war zone. (Wall Street Journal, 15 Sep 04)
  • Facing Up to Unholy Terror - Fouad Ajami
    Israel had been the first battleground in this ongoing war between civilized life and terror: It was there that pizzerias and buses and discotheques became targets of terror. It was there that the cultists of death cut their teeth and developed their rituals of mass murder - the videotapes, the boys (and then the young women) with headbands proclaiming their zeal for "martyrdom," the posters lionizing mass killers. And it was there, too, that religious preachers bent the faith to their will.
        In our innocence, we think that a battle ought to be waged for Muslim hearts and minds, that perhaps if we refined or amplified our message, this hate would be driven away. It is in this spirit that the 9/11 commission recently recommended the launching of a campaign of public diplomacy in the Muslim world. But this is illusion. For at heart, this war for Islam is one for Muslims to fight. It is for them to recover their faith from the purveyors of terror. (U.S. News)
  • Sharon's Disengagement Plan May Trigger Political Realignment - William Safire
    Sharon's plan calls for completing a security fence to protect almost all Israelis and pulling back into well-defended territory the remainder of those now most vulnerable in Gaza and the West Bank. Israel needs defensible borders and cannot absorb Palestinians nearby. The day of decision in the Knesset to adopt the disengagement plan is near. (New York Times)
  • Syria's Phony Peace Overtures - Editorial
    Syria's President Bashar Assad said he wants to renew negotiations for a permanent peace agreement with Israel. Syria talks of peace negotiations even as it either tolerates or encourages Hizballah and Hamas terrorists who use Israeli civilians for target practice. The recent suicide bombing in Israel, which killed 16 civilians, has been linked to Hamas operatives in Damascus. If Syria intends its overtures to be taken seriously, it has to follow them with some serious moves. Pulling out of Lebanon after nearly three decades of actual or virtual occupation is the obvious place to start, as is taking an active role against terrorist groups operating in Lebanon. Or in Syria itself. (Chicago Tribune)
        See also Only If He Comes to Jerusalem - Aluf Benn
    Here's some advice for Bashar Assad: When you really want peace and a diplomatic breakthrough, come and talk to us. Yes, pack up Foreign Minister Farouk Shara and the maps of the Golan, and invite yourself to Jerusalem. Like Sadat. (Ha'aretz)
  • How to Handle Iran's Nukes - Editorial
    Everyone prefers to handle the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy, but if the diplomatic route is blocked, the U.S. and Israel will be forced to resort to force to disrupt, delay, and thwart Iran's nuclear arms race. Use of force will be a last resort, but anyone who blocks diplomacy will force use of force even on those who abhor it. Israeli experts on Iran believe the struggle for nuclear weapons is a national goal the existed before the reign of the ayatollahs, and will outlast them. Iran's special threat lies in the connection between a fanatic regime, whose declared aim is spreading the Islamic revolution and destroying Israel, and its ability to implement its doctrine. (Ha'aretz)
  • Let Us Remember Correctly Terror "In the Name of Allah" - Michelle Malkin
    On the third anniversary of Sept. 11, we remain at war - and the media remain in denial. It wasn't no-name militants or wayward guerrillas who have butchered, beheaded, and slaughtered thousands of innocents over the last three years. In the name of Allah, Muslim terrorists in Russia shot toddlers in the back, Muslim terrorists in Spain detonated bombs on four commuter trains, Muslim terrorists in Pakistan kidnapped and beheaded American journalist Daniel Pearl, Muslim terrorists in Saudi Arabia kidnapped and beheaded American engineer Paul Johnson, Muslim terrorists in Iraq kidnapped and beheaded American contractor Nick Berg, and Muslim terrorists in Israel engineered suicide attacks on two buses, killing 15 people. In the name of Allah, Muslim terrorists in America hijacked and incinerated three planes full of men, women, and children. (Houston Chronicle)

    Holiday Features:

  • Mister Security - Arieh O'Sullivan
    Avi Dichter, head of Israel's General Security Service (Shin Bet), epitomizes the insistence that with resolve and imagination, terror can be put on the defensive. Dichter insists that the solution is not political, that it is possible to defeat Palestinian terror through tactical means. The seven quiet months up to the Beersheba attack can be credited to the fact that we defied international pressure, built a wall, eliminated terrorist leaders, and generally took our fate into our own hands. Dichter took over from Ami Ayalon, the former commander of the navy who had introduced the practice of targeted interceptions to the Shin Bet. Dichter turned it into an expertise, which foreign security services are emulating as one of the most efficient ways to weaken terrorist infrastructure. Dichter had been head of the GSS southern region responsible for the Gaza Strip when a booby-trapped mobile telephone exploded in the ear of Yihya Ayash, the "engineer" who taught a generation of Palestinian bombmakers their deadly craft.
        Since January 2003, there have been 36 "successful" suicide bombings, which have killed 178 people. During the same period, the Shin Bet has foiled 629 attempted suicide bombings. Of the 205 thwarted this year alone, 193 of these bombers were captured in their homes, while the dozen others were captured on their way to blow themselves up. This represents about a 95% success rate. The Shin Bet says it has removed 6,207 terrorists from the circle of terror, killing 930 and arresting and interrogating the rest. Some 6 to 12 arrest operations occur every night. Last year Dichter told the Herzliya Conference that the buds of democracy among the Palestinians far surpassed the Arab world of dictators, kingdoms, and ruthlessness. "There is life after terrorism, not just for us but for them as well," Dichter said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel's Spokesmen to the Arab World - Yoav Stern
    Israel has three spokesmen to deal with 300 million Arab speakers around the world - two in the Foreign Ministry and one at the IDF. Major Eitan Arusi, the IDF spokesman in Arabic who was appointed four months ago, is the first person to fill this role. "One of my biggest concerns was that they [Arab journalists] would not want to interview a spokesman in uniform, an IDF officer, but the opposite was true. They are a lot more open than I expected," Arusi says.
        "In journalism schools they say 95% of the message is in the appearance. They attack me, cut me to shreds, but the fact that they have an IDF representative, in uniform, being interviewed for a satellite station being viewed by millions, is in itself an achievement," Arusi says. His mere presence on a live program creates situations that would have been impossible had there been no such IDF spokesman, such as when he is faced-off with a representative of Hamas or Hizballah, who clearly have different versions of events. Special importance is given to the military in the Arab world. After all, many of the leaders of Arab countries were military officers and some still wear uniforms. Furthermore, the world of Arabic language media has undergone a face-lift in the past decade with the appearance of satellite news, enabling Arab viewers to pass over official state news broadcasts. (Ha'aretz)
  • Why Israel is a Land of Tech Promise - Again - Neal Sandler
    Israel's high-tech sector finally is emerging from a long financial drought. "There's a lot of talk about several of the major global technology players on the verge of cutting deals in the next few weeks," says Gilay Dolev, senior analyst at D&A High Tech Information Ltd., an industry-analysis firm based near Tel Aviv. Why the renewed interest in Israel? First, for a small country, Israel has lots of startups. And startups, unlike big Western tech giants, didn't have the luxury of cutting back research and development to get through the downturn.
        So the Israelis kept innovating even as the global tech industry swooned. Now there are lots of small survivors with leading-edge technology in areas such as Internet security, wireless broadband, and medical devices. No wonder acquisition activity is up by some 25% over the past year. Israel's tech exports surged 20% in the first six months of the year, to more than $6 billion. (Business Week)
  • Observations:

    Sharon: After Disengagement, No More Settlement Evacuations Until Terror Stops - Amotz Asa-El, Herb Keinon, and Gil Hoffman (Jerusalem Post)

    New Year's Interview with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

    • Q: Are you saying that after disengagement there will be no more settlement evacuations until there is a Palestinian partner?
      Not until it is possible to enter negotiations on the basis of the road map. As long as the terror does not completely stop, as long as the [Palestinian] reforms are not carried out, and the terror organizations are not dismantled and their weapons not confiscated, there will be no additional course of action beyond this one.
    • As long as we cannot get to a situation where negotiations are possible, nothing else is being discussed beyond the settlements in Gaza and the four in northern Samaria.
    • A Palestinian state, when it emerges...will only emerge after the road map, after the terror ends.
    • Q: Regarding the fence, what do you make of the International Court of Justice's ruling?
      It was a grave, politically motivated ruling, and we do not obey it.
    • Q: A resolution for sanctions will likely return for a vote in the General Assembly.
      This only shows us that those who think the Jewish struggle for the existence of an independent Jewish state in the Jewish homeland has stopped are mistaken. Jews will need to continue to fight for their existence in the State of Israel.
    • When it comes to the security of Israel, only we will decide on this matter, and no one else can determine the security needs for Israel, only Israel.
    • It would have been better if we could have built the fence farther east than where we built it. The Jewish settlements will all be protected, in some cases as part of blocs, and in other cases as lone settlements. I don't see the possibility of Jews not living in Shiloh or Beit El, or not controlling Rachel's Tomb or living in Hebron. The situation in Gaza is more difficult....The areas of Judea and Samaria are strategically more vital.
    • It was impossible to include hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in enclaves inside the fence.
    • Q: Is there anything to talk about with the current Syrian regime?
      If their intention is real, the first thing they have to do is dismantle the terror headquarters, stop allowing the training of terrorist organizations on Syrian soil, and kick out the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. In order to show that their intentions are true, and not only a public-relations trick to reduce American pressure, they have plenty to do.

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