Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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September 22, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Palestinian Bomber Planned to Attack Soccer Stadium - Margot Dudkevitch (Jerusalem Post)
    Mohammed al Razak, the would be suicide bomber caught at the Erez crossing on August 31 wearing an explosive belt sewn into his underpants, told Israel TV Channel 10 that he planned to blow up at Bloomfield Stadium in Jaffa during a soccer game three days later.
    He said he had walked two or three meters past the checkpoint at Erez when a female soldier called out to him to stop.

Palestinian Deported From Tampa Indicted (AP/Los Angeles Times)
    Mazen Al-Najjar, the brother-in-law of former University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian, was indicted Tuesday in the terrorism financing case involving Islamic Jihad, responsible for the deaths of more than 100 people in terrorist attacks in Israel.
    Al-Najjar, a Palestinian, was deported from the U.S. in August 2002 and is believed to be in Lebanon.
    He was named as an unindicted co-conspirator when Al-Arian and eight others were indicted in 2003.
    Prosecutors allege the men used an Islamic charity and academic think tank at the university as fund-raising covers for Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

U.S. Okays New Armored Vehicles for IDF - Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)
    In a notification from the Pentagon to Congress on September 7, the U.S. government approved the supply to Israel of wheeled armored vehicles that have superior maneuverability in dense urban areas.
    Israel had requested to purchase 103 armored Dingo vehicles, developed in Germany and assembled in the U.S., to be financed with U.S. military aid.

Microwave Gun to be Used by U.S. Troops on Iraq Rioters - Tony Freinberg and Sean Rayment (Telegraph-UK)
    Microwave weapons that cause pain without lasting injury are to be issued to American troops in Iraq as concern mounts over the growing number of civilians killed in fighting.
    Using technology similar to that of a microwave oven, an invisible high-powered electromagnetic beam with a range of one kilometer penetrates the skin to a depth of less than a millimeter, rapidly heating water molecules in the skin to cause intolerable pain and a burning sensation.
    As soon as the target moves out of the beam's path, the pain disappears and there are no after-effects.
    The U.S. Department of Defense believes the beam could be used to scatter large crowds.

Alphabet Brings Iraq and Israel Together at UN (Reuters)
    Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom had a brief encounter on Tuesday at the UN General Assembly when their delegations took seats side-by-side because of alphabetical ordering.
    Shalom and Allawi shook hands and the Israeli minister said he told the Iraqi leader that he hoped for peace in the Middle East.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran Defies Demand of Nuke Watchdog Agency
    Defying a key demand set by 35 nations, Iran announced Tuesday it has started converting raw uranium into the gas needed for enrichment, a process that can be used to make nuclear weapons. Iran's president, Mohammad Khatami, vowed his country will press ahead with its nuclear program even if it means a rupture with the UN watchdog agency and an end to inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities. "We've made our choice: Yes to peaceful nuclear technology, no to atomic weapons," Khatami said at a military parade in Tehran. (AP/ABC News)
        See also Iran's President: "We Will Not Give Up Our Nuclear Program" - Smadar Peri and Sefi Handler
    Displayed at the parade were two Shihab-3 missiles - on one was written the word "Israel" and on the other "America." Meanwhile, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak revealed that North Korea already possesses 2-4 nuclear weapons. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew, 22 Sep 04)
        See also Israel Challenges Iran's Nuclear Ambitions
    Israel admitted Tuesday that it is buying 500 "bunker-buster" bombs, which could be used to hit Iran's nuclear facilities. The BLU-109 bombs, which can penetrate more than 7ft of reinforced concrete, are among "smart" munitions being sold to Israel under America's military aid program. "This is not the sort of ordnance needed for the Palestinian front. Bunker busters could serve Israel against Iran, or possibly Syria," an Israeli source said. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Islamist Web Site Reports Beheading of Second American
    The militant group One God and Jihad, led by the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, posted an Internet message on Tuesday saying it had beheaded a second American hostage in two days, and that it would release a video of the second killing soon. (New York Times)
        See also CIA Says Zarqawi Was Speaker in Beheading Tape
    Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was "intimately involved" in the killing of American hostage Eugene Armstrong, a U.S. intelligence official said on Tuesday after the CIA determined that he was the speaker on the videotape of the beheading. The speaker on the video says: "Oh, you Christian dog Bush, stop your arrogance." (Reuters)
        See also Fanatical Murderer Who Uses the Internet to Revel in His Savagery (Telegraph-UK)
  • Abuse Propaganda Fuels Hatred of Westerners - Jack Fairweather
    Images depicting an American soldier with a female Iraqi prisoner or Pvt. Lynndie England with an Iraqi soldier on a dog leash can be found everywhere in Iraq - on video and DVD at market stalls and as mass-produced flyers. The effect has been to fuel a level of hatred against foreigners that makes kidnap and murder a ready response. Most Iraqis believe that women are being held - and abused - by American forces. Anger at the images has blurred the demarcation between U.S. troops and Western civilians, making kidnappings a simpler, acceptable alternative to attacks on armed soldiers. "We only see ajnabi - the Arabic word for foreigner - now," said one Iraqi. A spokesman for the U.S. military said no more than 45 women were processed through Abu Ghraib and the last two were released in July. (Telegraph-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Shalom Tells Powell No New Settlements to be Built
    Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom assured Secretary of State Colin Powell on Tuesday that Israel would build no new Jewish settlements on the West Bank or in Gaza but did not promise to stop natural growth of existing communities, as families grow larger. "We are committed not to build more settlements," Shalom said, noting that Israel would remove some two-dozen remaining temporary outposts in the territories. But "you cannot force young people who are getting married out of their villages, their settlements. You cannot do it." Shalom said Powell did not press him for assurances the withdrawal would be only the first step in a wider pullout. (Maariv International)
  • Syria Shifting Soldiers in Lebanon, Not Bringing Them Home
    Syria is shifting only about 3,000 of its 20,000 soldiers in Lebanon - not bringing them home - and such redeployment is not likely to satisfy the U.S., the UN, or Lebanese critics of Syria's presence. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
  • Shin Bet: Terrorists Recruiting More Women, Minors - Margot Dudkevitch
    According to Shin Bet officials, terrorist organizations continue to perceive that women are less susceptible to checks by security forces and are therefore more likely to enter Israel without raising suspicions. Over the past four years, 40 female terrorists were recruited to carry out suicide bomb attacks. Seven blew up, and security forces arrested 33. In some instances, they posed as pregnant women, stuffing a pillow underneath their garments. So far this year 109 Palestinian minors were arrested for involvement in terrorist activities compared to a total of 102 in 2003, 54 in 2002, and 27 in 2001. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Ticking Bomb - A Determined Response Must Halt Iran's Nuclear Plans - Editorial
    By announcing that it has embarked on a process that will lead to uranium enrichment, and thus the material for an atomic arsenal, Iran has, in effect, said "no" to further cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Few now doubt that Iran has the facilities and the components to make nuclear weapons. European nations have realized that Tehran has taken advantage of their willingness to compromise in negotiations.
        The regional and international implications of a nuclear Iran are profound and grave. It would be much tougher to deal with an actual nuclear power than an aspiring one. To put faith in moderates to act in a responsible fashion has not worked, and it is not clear whether, on this issue, they disagree with the hardliners. It is now time for the UN Security Council finally to address this matter and to make it clear what the sanctions will be if the IAEA ultimatum is disregarded. This may well, alas, be the very last chance left to prevent Iran from becoming a dangerous nuclear power. (The Times-UK)
  • Syrian Window-Dressing - Editorial
    For far too long, the outside world acquiesced in a peace imposed by a dictatorship and a sponsor of terrorism. This month, the UN Security Council approved Resolution 1559 calling for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, and Syria began shifting troops from Beirut towards its border with Lebanon. Pax Syriaca is the product of circumstances quite different from those that pertain today. Then, Lebanon was emerging from a protracted civil war. Now, it is perfectly capable of standing on its own. Military redeployment will remain a sop to international opinion as long as Damascus retains its political grip over its neighbor. Having belatedly awoken to the iniquity of Syrian control, the outside world must continue pushing till it is removed. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Palestinian Media Running Scared - Khaled Abu Toameh
    A Palestinian newspaper editor recently fled Ramallah together with his wife and children for one of the Gulf countries after receiving death threats from the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah. Before leaving, he received a letter with a bullet and a note: "Your fate will be like that of Nabil Amr," referring to the Palestinian legislator who was shot and seriously wounded several weeks ago in Ramallah after he appeared on an Arab television station and criticized Arafat's performance and the lack of democracy and transparency in the PA. The verbal and physical intimidation of Palestinian journalists, especially those who dare to report on issues that reflect negatively on Arafat and the PA, has almost become accepted practice in the West Bank and Gaza.
        The Palestinian Journalists Association, a body controlled by Arafat loyalists, has issued a directive banning Palestinian journalists from covering the internal strife. The majority of Palestinian journalists are complying with the new regulations. Many reporters working for Al-Jazeera and the foreign media live in Ramallah and Gaza City and are subjected to the same threats, so have begun toeing the line. Perhaps the international community doesn't even know that the Palestinian media is entirely controlled by Arafat and that many journalists are under threat. (Access/Middle East)
  • Observations:

    We Must Help the Reformers of the Middle East (White House)

    President Bush addressed the UN General Assembly on Tuesday:

    • The Middle East [is] a region where millions have been denied basic human rights and simple justice. For too long, many nations, including my own, tolerated, even excused, oppression in the Middle East in the name of stability. Oppression became common, but stability never arrived.
    • We must take a different approach. We must help the reformers of the Middle East as they work for freedom, and strive to build a community of peaceful, democratic nations.
    • This commitment to democratic reform is essential to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. Peace will not be achieved by Palestinian rulers who intimidate opposition, tolerate corruption, and maintain ties to terrorist groups. The longsuffering Palestinian people deserve better. They deserve true leaders capable of creating and governing a free and peaceful Palestinian state.
    • Even after the setbacks and frustrations of recent months, goodwill and hard effort can achieve the promise of the road map to peace. Those who would lead a new Palestinian state should adopt peaceful means to achieve the rights of their people, and create the reformed institutions of a stable democracy.
    • Arab states should end incitement in their own media, cut off public and private funding for terrorism, and establish normal relations with Israel.
    • Israel should impose a settlement freeze, dismantle unauthorized outposts, end the daily humiliation of the Palestinian people, and avoid any actions that prejudice final negotiations.
    • World leaders should withdraw all favor and support from any Palestinian ruler who fails his people and betrays their cause.

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