Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 13, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

CIA Holding al-Qaeda Suspects in Secret Jordanian Facility - Yossi Melman (Ha'aretz)
    The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency runs a top-secret interrogation facility in Jordan, where at least 11 detainees who are considered al-Qaeda's most senior cadre are being held, international intelligence sources say.
    Their detention outside the U.S. enables CIA interrogators to apply interrogation methods that are banned by U.S. law.
    The CIA's prisoners in Jordan include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, considered al-Qaeda's head of operations, along with the Indonesian Hambali, who served as the operations chief for Jemaah Islamiya, behind the attack in Bali that killed over 200 people.
    See also CIA Secretly Holds 11 Bin Laden Lieutenants (Times-UK)

Al-Ahram: Four Attackers in Egypt Fled on Foot - (AP/Ha'aretz)
    The attackers in three explosions in Egyptian Sinai last week all fled minutes before their vehicles blew up, Al-Ahram, Egypt's biggest newspaper, reported Wednesday.
    It said the truck that struck the Taba Hilton hotel contained 500 kilograms of TNT hidden under crates of vegetables.
    Evidence pointed to involvement by al-Qaeda because of the large quantity of explosives and the training needed to use them and determine where to place them for maximum destruction.

U.S. Tried to Save Hostages in Iraq (NBC News)
    A special U.S. military hostage rescue team acting on intelligence information raided two sites in Baghdad where it was believed American and British hostages were being held, defense officials said Tuesday.
    They found both sites to be abandoned, and the hostages were later beheaded in Iraq.

Babies Found in Iraqi Mass Grave (BBC News)
    A mass grave being excavated in a north Iraqi village has yielded evidence that Iraqi forces executed women and children under Saddam Hussein.
    U.S.-led investigators have located nine trenches in Hatra containing hundreds of bodies believed to be Kurds killed during the repression of the 1980s.
    The skeletons of unborn babies and toddlers clutching toys are being unearthed, the investigators said.
    One trench contains only women and children, while another contains only men.

Useful Reference:

Inquiry into IDF Footage on UN Ambulance (IDF)
    The IDF completed an investigation regarding the release of material on October 1, 2004, indicating that a Kassam rocket was loaded on a vehicle with a UN emblem.
    After a thorough review of the material, the nature of the object loaded on the vehicle cannot be determined with certainty.
    Thus, the determination that the object was a Kassam rocket was too unequivocal and made in haste.
    The abuse by terrorists of UN property and insignia is a recurring phenomenon, and the gravity of the issue was conveyed to UN representatives.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Bombings and Kassam Rockets Hurt Support for Palestinians - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Palestinians are continuing to lose the sympathy and understanding of the international community. A senior Palestinian official said that when he contacted different governments to complain about the Israeli "massacres" in Gaza, he was surprised to hear almost full understanding for Israel's motives for the operation, which began two weeks ago after two infants were killed by Kassam rockets in the Israeli town of Sderot. "Before you call us to complain about Israeli atrocities, why don't you tell Yasser Arafat and Hamas to stop firing rockets at Israeli cities," a senior European diplomat said. One ambassador told a top Arafat aide, "My government is not prepared to interfere this time with Israel unless the Palestinian Authority starts taking practical measures to enforce law and order."
        Former Prime Minister Abu Mazen said in a recent interview, "The world is now against us because we are being portrayed as ruthless terrorists who blow up buses and use rockets and guns." Palestinian columnists observed that Israel had managed to place its campaign against the Palestinian armed groups on the same side as the U.S.-led war on terror. (Access Middle East)
  • Insurgent Alliance is Fraying in Fallujah - Karl Vick
    Local insurgents in the Iraqi city of Fallujah are turning against the foreign fighters who have been their allies against the U.S. Relations are deteriorating as local fighters negotiate to avoid a U.S.-led military offensive against Fallujah, while foreign fighters press to attack Americans and their Iraqi supporters. Fallujans have killed at least five foreign Arabs in recent weeks, according to witnesses. Several local leaders of the insurgency say they want to expel the foreigners, whom they scorn as terrorists. They heap particular contempt on Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian whose Monotheism and Jihad group has asserted responsibility for many of the deadliest attacks across Iraq, including videotaped beheadings. "He is mentally deranged, has distorted the image of the resistance and defamed it. I believe his end is near," said Abu Abdalla Dulaimy, military commander of the First Army of Mohammad.
        Residents say foreign fighters have gathered in Fallujah's commercial district after being denied shelter in residential neighborhoods because their presence so often attracts U.S. warplanes. People in Fallujah, known as the city of mosques, have chafed at the stern brand of Islam that the newcomers brought with them. The non-Iraqi Arabs berated women who did not cover themselves head-to-toe in black - very rare in Iraq. (Washington Post)
  • Egyptian in U.S. Convicted in Hamas Case
    A jury Tuesday convicted Soliman Biheiri, 53, an Egyptian national who ran the BMI Inc. bank in New Jersey, of lying to federal agents about business dealings with Mousa Abu Marzook, the political leader of Hamas. Prosecutors said Biheiri and Marzook engaged in financial transactions as late as 1996 - one year after the U.S. government formally designated Marzook a terrorist. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Duke Vigil Memorializes Terrorism Victims - Michael Petrocelli
    The skeletal remains of the bombed out Jerusalem Bus 19 sat Tuesday in front of Duke Chapel in eerie silence as 40 people gathered for a vigil to memorialize the victims. Some, including Duke Provost Peter Lange and Senior Vice President John Burness, lit candles and read short biographies about the 11 killed in the bombing, in advance of a national conference of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement later this week. (Durham Herald Sun)
        See also True Speech Versus Free Speech - Phyllis Chesler
    Dear Duke President Brodhead: Would you proudly host a Nazi Party or Ku Klux Klan conference in the name of academic freedom? The masked and hooded members of al-Qaeda, Hizballah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade are far more dangerous than the Nazis or the Klan ever were. The writer is an emerita professor of psychology and women's studies whose archives reside at Duke University. (Israelinsider)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Ya'alon: IDF Foiled al-Qaeda Attempt to Enter Territories - Arik Bender
    Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday, "We view world terrorism as a threat to Israelis, wherever they are, including in Israel. Al-Qaeda tried to create a stronghold in the territories but we prevented it from doing so." The deputy chief of military intelligence's research department said the Sinai terror attacks had been perpetrated by local cells of the worldwide Jihad. "It takes two years to plan such an attack," he said. (Maariv International)
  • Explosion Targets Arafat's Cousin in Gaza - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Gen. Moussa Arafat, the overall commander of the PA's National Security Forces in Gaza, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt Tuesday when a car bomb exploded near his convoy. The appointment of Gen. Arafat last July as overall commander of the National Security Forces triggered a wave of unprecedented protests, with many Palestinians accusing him of being corrupt and brutal. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Rocket Warning System Set Up in Sderot
    An early warning system against Kassam rockets fired by Palestinians from Gaza was activated in the southern Israeli town of Sderot Tuesday by the IDF Home Front Command. With each rocket fired, loudspeakers will announce "Red Dawn," giving residents an advance warning of 20 to 30 seconds during which they can rush indoors or crouch. The system has been also set up in Kibbutz Nir Am and at Sapir College. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Captures Hamas Hebron Commander Behind Beersheba Bombings - Margot Dudkevitch
    IDF troops on Wednesday arrested Imad Kawasmeh, commander of Hamas' military wing in Hebron, responsible for two suicide bombings in Beersheba two months that killed 17 Israelis, as well as a number of suicide bomb attacks in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • An Opening For Arab Democrats - Jackson Diehl
    No one really expects most Arab governments - or even most Europeans - to take the cause of Middle Eastern democracy seriously in the near future. But just as the Cold War-era Helsinki process encouraged independent democracy and human rights groups to spring up under the cover of intergovernmental talks, the Forum for the Future has given Arab democrats a crucial opportunity. "A voice is beginning to emerge that wasn't there before," says Carl Gershman, the president of the National Endowment for Democracy. (Washington Post)
  • An American in London - Carol Gould
    It is impossible to convey to Americans inside the U.S., or to American Jews, the open loathing of both groups that dominates daily life outside the U.S. today. What is significant about this rage is that it emanates not from the great unwashed but from the educated and intellectual classes. The daily dose of relentless America-bashing in the European media, combined with the abundance of criticism of Israel, has created an atmosphere of anger and hostility that for the first time in my lifetime makes me fearful for my safety in my beloved adopted country, Great Britain. There are some 260,000 Jews in Britain and more than two million Muslims, but at dinner parties all one hears about is the "birthplace of terror, Menachem Begin's Israel" and the "world's number one terrorist state, the United States." (FrontPageMagazine)
  • Palestinians and the Media - Daoud Kuttab
    In the second intifada, television has been a curse for the Palestinians. The image of militarized resistance has also shown suicide bombings by Palestinians and the killing of innocent Israeli civilians. The growth of the Arab satellite landscape has ensured that the day-to-day life of the Palestinians fills the screens. But Arab television coverage has produced other stereotypes of Palestinians, both as victims and with an image of a supernatural hero that can walk through fire without getting burned - that Palestinians can do anything without paying a price.
        If you somehow believe that political problems can be solved militarily, then it is easy to see why peace talks stumble. This image has raised the ante to a degree that it has become difficult for politicians to make any compromises. Similarly, many people in the West have been blinded to the humanity of Palestinians as the terrorist image has overridden this on their screens. The writer is director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al-Quds University in Ramallah. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
  • Observations:

    Israel's Commitment to Domestic and International Law in Times of War - Judge Amnon Straschnov, former IDF Military Advocate General
    (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • All activities performed by Israel during the first intifada as well as nowadays are based on law. Israel follows the emergency defense regulations enacted by the British in Mandatory Palestine in 1945. They are similar to those enacted by the British against the IRA in Northern Ireland.
    • Israel has established four main principles for implementing the laws of war in the fight against terrorism: 1) Military necessity - the obligation to use force only in a situation which yields a direct military advantage. 2) Distinction between combatants - those who take part directly in hostilities - and noncombatants. 3) Humanity - the obligation to refrain from operations which cause unnecessary suffering. 4) Proportionality - the obligation to ensure that the action does not target in a manner disproportionate to the military advantage expected from the attack.
    • Israel classifies terrorists the same way the Americans classify terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq - as unlawful combatants. They do not have the privilege to be under the umbrella of international law because they do not adhere to the laws of war. Rather, they have violated every possible provision of the laws of war. They don't wear uniforms or abide by the conditions that entitle them to be POWS.
    • Once we define terrorists as unlawful combatants, they become legitimate military targets. It is allowed both legally and morally to fight and kill them. They want to come and kill us, and there is no question regarding the evidence. They've manifestly and openly declared their intentions.
    • We are entitled from a legal point of view, as a total act of self-defense, to target them. If we can catch them and bring them to trial, that's better. But if this is not possible, we should be allowed to shoot them down.
    • The Geneva Convention was enacted in 1949 and The Hague Regulations in 1907. There was no such terrorism at the time, and there exists no special convention or protocol against terrorism. There is certainly a need for one.

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