Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 12, 2004

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In-Depth Issues:

Sabotage an Option Against Iran's Atomic Plans - Dan Williams (Reuters)
    Somewhere between sanctions and air strikes lurks a third option for those who seek to stop Iran's atomic program in its tracks: sabotage.
    Covert action of the kind used elsewhere by Israel and the U.S. could already be under way against the Islamic republic, experts say.
    "Iran has been trying to go nuclear since the 1970s and has not yet managed," said Gad Shimron, a veteran of Israel's Mossad spy service.
    "Who's to say there has not been sabotage already, now proving its worth?"

Egyptians Accuse Israel of Sinai Bombings - Yoav Stern (Ha'aretz)
    Lior Ben-Dor, an official in the Foreign Ministry's Arab media section, was interviewed on Nile TV Sunday on a program hosted by Omeima Al-Baz, the wife of Osama Al-Baz, adviser to President Mubarak.
    Ben-Dor was interrupted incessantly by Fuad Alan and Daya Rashuan, two terror experts, who insisted that Israel was behind the series of blasts in Sinai.

Zarqawi's Terror Command in Falluja is Half Destroyed - Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt (New York Times)
    American airstrikes in Falluja in the last month have killed at least six senior members of the terrorist network led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, according to senior Pentagon and military officials, eliminating about half of the foreign terrorist leadership in the city.
    Yet because Iraq's border with Syria is porous, foreign fighters may still be able to reach Falluja in central Iraq.

Exodus of Iraqi Christians in Full Flood - Kim Sengupta (Independent-UK)
    So far, 110 Iraqi Christians have been killed in a systematic and brutal campaign by Islamic extremists, leading to a flow of Christians - mostly middle-class and members of the intelligentsia and entrepreneurs - out of the country, with a marked acceleration in the past few months.
    About 45,000 have left so far out of a community estimated at 6-700,000.

5 Out of 6 Science Nobel Prizewinners are Jews - Tom Tugend (Jerusalem Post)
    Five out of six of the 2004 science Nobel Laureates are Jews.
    Two are Israelis, three are Americans - two with close ties to Israel.


Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • UN Warns of Missing Iraqi Nuclear Equipment
    The IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog, expressed concern Monday at the disappearance from Iraq's nuclear facilities of high-precision equipment that could be used to make nuclear weapons. "The IAEA continues to be concerned about the widespread and apparently systematic dismantlement that has taken place at sites previously relevant to Iraq's nuclear program and sites previously subject to ongoing monitoring and verification by the agency....The [satellite] imagery shows in many instances the dismantlement of entire buildings that housed high precision equipment...formerly monitored and tagged with IAEA seals," said the agency's director-general, Mohamed ElBaradei. (AP/Boston Globe)
  • Palestinian Children Flirt with Death
    Mohammed al-Najar, 12, of Gaza died last week doing what many children do when the shooting starts - he rushed to the masked gunmen, excited by the action, the noise, the danger. Israeli army commanders complain that militants use the boys as human shields, but the children often run to the gunmen on their own, against the orders of their parents - the result of a breakdown in the traditional authority of the Palestinian family. Mahmoud Youssef Abu Saleh, 12, says, "Sometimes children go because they want to be martyred." Those who participate "become big men" in the neighborhood. (Baltimore Sun)
  • Destroyed Jerusalem Bus Displayed at Duke to Protest Pro-Palestinian Meeting
    A Jerusalem city bus left gutted and burned by a Palestinian suicide bombing is being displayed this week at Duke University in protest of the national student conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement on the Durham campus. Duke officials have said they do not endorse the Palestinian group's mission but are allowing the conference in the interest of educational dialogue and free speech. Organizers of the bus-display protest say they want to achieve the same things. (AP/Winston-Salem Journal)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Egypt Seeks to Boost Forces in Eastern Sinai
    In the wake of the terror attacks, the Egyptian government has decided to ask Israel to add an appendix to the peace treaty between the two countries allowing Egypt to deploy trained military forces into eastern Sinai to boost security in the area. Israel is prepared to allow the deployment of Egyptian military forces along the Sinai border, but is against amending the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, preferring instead to arrange the matter by means of "an exchange of letters" between the two governments. (Ha'aretz)
  • The Middle East Strategic Balance - Amnon Barzilai
    According to "The Middle East Strategic Balance 2003-2004," released Monday by Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, the U.S. seemed closer to the possible use of force to prevent Iran from completing its nuclear program. Jaffee Center head Prof. Shai Feldman noted that Iran is now closer than ever to the production of fissile material, but that global attention to the inherent dangers in Iran's nuclear efforts had increased, especially among the U.S. and key European states.
        According to the deputy head of the center, Dr. Ephraim Kam, any Israeli military operation against Iran would require dialogue with the U.S. because U.S. forces are currently positioned between the two countries. Iran had 4-5 nuclear reactors, and maybe even additional ones that had been built in secret, Kam said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Consequences for Syria - Editorial
    Heat from the outside world has been slowly rising on the world's remaining Arab Baathist dictatorship - Syria. Syria's government has been a longtime sponsor of terrorism, a stockpiler of missiles and chemical weapons, and an unapologetic ally of Islamic extremists; it has allowed hundreds, if not thousands, of insurgents to stream across its borders to fight U.S. forces in Iraq. The Security Council should renew its demand that Syria withdraw from Lebanon, and accompany it with the threat of sanctions.
        The Bush administration and Iraqi leaders should make it clear that continued infiltration of insurgents and terrorists into Iraq will be considered a hostile act by Syria and subject to the responses usually given an enemy, from the breaking off of relations to - in the last resort - military retaliation. There are no reasons for continued toleration of Syria's rogue behavior; instead, there is an opportunity for insisting on change in the Arab state where it is most needed. (Washington Post)
  • The Battle for the Jewish Vote - Jonathan D. Sarna
    The bare-knuckled campaign for Jewish votes seems surprising. After all, Jews comprise less than 2% of the national population. Why then are both parties focused upon them? First, Jews are known for participating actively in civic affairs, with as many as 80% turning out at the polls. Second, Jews are geographically concentrated. Some 85% live in just 20 metropolitan areas critical to any presidential candidate's election.
        More than two-thirds of Al Gore's electoral votes four years ago came from eight of the nine states with the highest overall percentages of Jewish voters: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, California, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Without those states he would have lost the election by a landslide. Third, pundits believe that the Jewish vote is up for grabs. (Boston Globe)
  • Nuclear-Bound, Terrorism-Supporting Iran is Giving Israelis Nightmares - Steven Erlanger
    Iran - large, ambitious and run by radical clerics committed to the destruction of the Jewish state - is seen by Israelis as the most obvious and urgent threat today to Israel's very existence. Israeli officials say they have not had great success so far in encouraging a preoccupied Washington, a conflicted Russia, and a divided Europe to do much about Iran except talk anxiously about it. A nuclear Iran would embolden Syria and Hizballah to feel protected by an Iranian nuclear umbrella, suggested Dan Schueftan, a senior fellow at the National Security Studies Center at Haifa University. Egypt and other Arab countries would feel pressure to develop nuclear weapons, he added. (New York Times)
  • A Headless Intifada - Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid
    In its early stages the intifada succeeded in putting Israel on the defensive, seen as confronting children with tanks. Palestinian organizations then hijacked the intifada, transforming it into one of those ordinary wars witnessed in various parts of the world. The intifada lost its innocence and glamour after the picture changed to armed Palestinians killing Israeli children. The Palestinians have proved they possess an ever-flowing supply of unflinching and fearless youth who are ready to die, and that they have a leadership that failed to gain politically from this vast human resource. The intifada is now drifting aimlessly without a leadership to harness its energy and to guide it to a safe port. (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
  • Observations:

    No Political Progress Before the Elimination of Terrorism - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (Prime Minister's Office)

    From the prime minister's address Monday at the opening of the new Knesset session:

    • In the Sinai terror attacks we were attacked twice: once because we are Israelis and because of the hatred towards us for insisting on preserving our right to live a normal life in a Jewish state of our own. And twice because we are part of the enlightened world, a world of free nations which champions liberty, tolerance, and democracy as supreme values in contrast with the barbarity, tyranny, and fanaticism which every terrorist all over the world worships.
    • The torch of liberty which we carry alone in the darkness of the Middle East is the one which the murderers seek to extinguish. We refuse - and we will always refuse - to abandon our lives as Jews, Israelis, and free people, and we will never let go of the sword which defends the torch of our independence.
    • The readiness of many members of the Security Council to denounce Israel for its defensive activities has taught us that the world is no longer interested in the question of who started and who is to blame. The world is not too concerned by the firing of rockets and missiles at Jewish communities or by the murder of women and children. Therefore it is important to guarantee that our friends in the world, primarily the U.S., will stand by us and help us thwart the diplomatic campaign, while the IDF thwarts the terror campaign.
    • The policy of my government has always been that there could be no political progress before the elimination of terrorism. This principle was fully recognized in President Bush's vision and in the Roadmap, and we are committed to it. This plan compels the Palestinians to take a series of practical steps towards the eradication of terrorism and a fundamental governmental reform, before progress can be achieved toward political negotiations.
    • To date, the Palestinians have done nothing to abide by their commitments under the Roadmap. The blame for the political deadlock and their inability to progress toward a realization of their national aspirations rests solely on their shoulders.
    • I intend to submit the disengagement plan for Knesset debate and approval on October 25. The Knesset is the elected institution and it alone will discuss and decide. We will all accept its verdict and act together, with true unity, to implement the decisions.

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