Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 20, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Al-Qaeda Threatens More Attacks Against Israel (Jerusalem Post)
    The al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist organization that claimed responsibility for the attacks two weeks ago in Sinai that killed 34 people, including 12 Israelis, promised to continue attacks against Israel and Israeli interests.
    "We promise the masses of the Islamic nation to continue the Jihad until we destroy the Zionist enemy," Israel TV Channel 1 reported.

Saddam Planned to Use Aerial Drones to Assassinate Israeli Prime Minister (Geostrategy-Direct-WorldNetDaily)
    Saddam Hussein's government discussed supplying unmanned aerial vehicles to terrorists, according to the CIA's Iraq Survey Group report.
    Imad Abd-al-Latif al-Rida, the director of Iraq's Al Quds remotely piloted aircraft program, reported that four Al Quds drones were to be used as "flying bombs" in an attempt to assassinate Israeli Prime Minister Sharon.
    The UAVs were to be given to former Hamas member Abu Radin, a friend of Saddam Hussein, who would take them to Jordan, install 5 kg of C4 explosive, and use them to attack Sharon in Jerusalem.

Palestinian Gunmen Force Government Offices to Shut (AP/Gulf News-UAE)
    Two dozen armed Palestinians belonging to the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades stormed two government buildings in Jenin Tuesday, ordering employees to leave their offices and hand over their keys, witnesses said.
    Several hours later, the militants were gone but the buildings remained locked up.

Mauritania Asks Israel for Help Fighting Locusts (Albawaba-Jordan)
    Mauritania has appealed for help from Israel in fighting a locust epidemic.
    The appeal for experts in disease control was made via Israeli MP Ayub Kara, a member of the Druze minority in Israel, who was visiting Mauritania for a seminar of parliamentarians sponsored by NATO.
    Mauritania is the only Arab country to have an ambassador currently serving in Israel.

Kansas Man Travels to Israel to Give Kidney to 10-Year-Old Jewish Boy (AP/Kansas City Star)
    Eric Swim was surfing on the Internet in June when he stumbled across the story of a 10-year-old Jewish boy from Israel who was in desperate need of a kidney transplant.
    Swim, 38, returned Sunday from Israel with one less kidney and the thanks of the many Israelis he met.
    "It's a humbling thing when a Holocaust survivor comes up to you and says 'you're a big hero,'" said Swim, who works in a Marysville, Kan., hospital.
    The organ recipient, Moshiko Sharon, who had waited for a compatible kidney donor for more than a year, is doing well.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • EU and Syria Initial Association Pact
    The European Union and Syria Tuesday initialed an association agreement that commits both sides to work towards free trade - as well as against weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. Syria was the only Mediterranean country in the EU's "Barcelona process" - launched in 1995 - not to have concluded an association agreement thus far. The agreement provides for the creation of a free-trade area between the EU and Syria as part of the larger goal of a "Euro-Mediterranean" free-trade zone by 2010. (AFP/EUBusiness-UK)
        See also Israel Slams Syrian Deal with EU - Herb Keinon
    Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told the cabinet Sunday that stepping up international pressure and isolating both Syria and Iran at this time is "critical." Shalom called the EU's intention to sign an "association agreement" with Syria a "pity," and called on Europe to "strengthen the international front against terror." A continuation of international pressure against Damascus will cause it to abandon terror "and will bring them back to the negotiating table with Israel faster," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Syria Urged to Get Troops Out of Lebanon
    The UN Security Council urged Syria on Tuesday to withdraw its remaining 14,000 troops from Lebanon and called for reports from Secretary-General Kofi Annan every six months on its compliance. All 15 council members agreed on the presidential statement. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Syria Rejects Call to Withdraw Troops from Lebanon (Reuters)
  • Britain Charges Muslim Cleric Sought by U.S.
    Abu Hamza al-Masri, a radical Muslim cleric who faces extradition to the U.S., was charged by British police on Tuesday with encouraging followers to murder Jews and other non-Muslims. The former imam of the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, Masri, 46, is considered a radical preacher and was known for delivering fiery speeches. Both Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, and Zacarias Moussaoui, accused of being the 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11 attacks, reportedly attended that mosque before their arrests. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Snipers Kill IDF Soldier at West Bank Base - Amos Harel and Nadav Shragai
    Staff Sergeant Yair Tourjeman, 20, was killed Tuesday when Palestinians fired several shots at the Menashe Regional Base, near Mevo Dotan south of Jenin, penetrating the tent where Tourjeman was sitting. Fatah's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, claimed responsibility for the attack. Troops searching the area after the incident determined that the shots were fired from a nearby hill that overlooks the base, not far from the Palestinian town of Arrabe. (Ha'aretz)
  • Homes of Gaza Evacuees Would be Razed After Pullout - Arik Bender
    Head of the National Security Council Giora Eiland told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday that all the homes belonging to Gaza settlers would be razed after the pullout. According to Eiland, there would be no Jews in Gaza by the end of September 2005.
        Eiland also discussed the Philadelphia route, which divides southern Gaza from Egypt. "A possibility that a multi-national force would assume responsibility of the route after the disengagement is being examined," he said, noting that the government's current position is that Israel would maintain control of the route. (Maariv International)
        See also Israel to Leave Infrastructure for Palestinians - Dan Gerstenfeld
    Itamar Yaar, deputy head of the National Security Council, told a conference on Palestinian-Israeli economic relations at Tel Aviv University on Tuesday that Israel plans to transfer infrastructure and business facilities in Gush Katif to the Palestinians. He said Israel has been holding talks with the World Bank to improve Palestinian conditions. "We have looked for possible employment solutions for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, but not in Israel," he said. Following the disengagement, the Palestinians will receive large tracts of land in Gush Katif that can be used for development and agriculture. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Injustice in Gaza - Matthew A. Levitt
    It's been a year since the Oct. 15, 2003, bombing of a U.S. diplomatic convoy in Gaza that killed three Americans. Palestinian officials say they know who was responsible but will not arrest them. A year later, with Washington pressing for an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and a return to the road map, the U.S. should press the PA to do its part to enforce the rule of law. Bringing to justice those who kill Americans in premeditated attacks must become a Palestinian priority, not a matter of convenience. The writer is director of terrorism studies at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Baltimore Sun)
        See also Palestinians Failing to Prosecute Bombers of U.S. Convoy
    The Palestinian Authority had shown "unacceptable" performance in prosecuting those behind the deadly bombing of a U.S. convoy in Gaza last year, the U.S. State Department said Friday. "We haven't seen them demonstrate either the will, much less the capacity, to investigate the case seriously," department spokesman Richard Boucher said. "We have seen statements from time to time by Palestinian officials that they know who did it. And if that's true, then they should take immediate action to arrest and prosecute whoever did it." (DPA/Ha'aretz)
  • Human Rights Watch Report on Gaza Lacks Credibility and Reflects a Political Agenda
    The Human Rights Watch report condemning recent Israeli security actions in Gaza reflects unverifiable Palestinian allegations and unsubstantiated security judgments. For example, HRW claims that IDF actions were taken despite the absence of "military necessity," ignoring hundreds of rockets fired by Gaza Palestinians at Israeli towns.
        HRW's report stands in stark contrast to its minimalist approach to terrorism. In the past four years, HRW has issued over 100 reports, press releases, and other condemnations of Israeli defensive actions, in contrast to a handful of low-profile reactions to terror. HRW reports on Israel lack substantive credibility and are driven by a clear and consistent political and ideological agenda. Beyond contributing to the destruction of human rights norms and demonization of Israel, this agenda also diverts attention from genuine human rights catastrophes, such as in Sudan, which has received far less attention from HRW. (NGO Monitor)
        See also HRW Falls Short - Editorial
    Terrorism, as HRW has eloquently stated, is a human rights problem. Yet the human rights community has a long way to go to fully absorb the implications of this, by shining their spotlight at least as brightly on terrorist groups and the governments that support or tolerate them as they do on democracies that are willing to sacrifice their own soldiers' lives to uphold the sacred value of innocent human life. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Iran Ran Away with the Bomb - Arnold Beichman
    The talks and meetings will go on and on and Iran will go on working on its nuclear arms program until it has the Bomb. There will be no deal with Iran no matter how costly nuclear bomb manufacture might be. Iran earns an estimated $900 million for every $1 per barrel increase in the price of its oil. With oil up in the $50+ per barrel range, Iran is awash in cash and can do what it wants as bomb maker and bomb supplier.
        Iran is today the dominant land power in the Middle East militarily and economically, and seems unstoppable. It has lots of scientific talent at home and abroad for hire, lots of theological-imperial ambitions, lots of money, lots of eager sellers and money lenders in the EU and in Russia. And that's how wars begin. The writer is a Hoover Institution research fellow. (Washington Times)
        See also Iran Test Fires More Accurate Shihab-3 Missile
    Iran said it test fired on Wednesday a more accurate version of its Shihab-3 missile, already believed capable of hitting Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf. (Reuters)
  • Observations:

    Terrorism's Silent Partner at the UN - Joshua Muravchik (Los Angeles Times)

    • This month, the UN Security Council voted to condemn terrorism in a resolution introduced by Russia. But the convoluted text and the dealings behind the scenes that were necessary to secure agreement offer cold comfort to anyone who cares about winning the war against terrorism. Even after Beslan and after Madrid and after 9/11, the UN still cannot bring itself to oppose terrorism unequivocally because the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which comprises 56 of the UN's 191 members, defends terrorism as a right.
    • The U.S. delegation tried to get language into the resolution stating that the deliberate massacre of innocents is never justifiable in any cause, but this was rebuffed by Algeria and Pakistan, the two OIC members currently sitting on the Security Council.
    • For eight years now, a UN committee has labored to draft a "comprehensive convention on international terrorism." Everyone understands what terrorism is: the deliberate targeting of civilians. The Islamic Conference, however, has insisted that terrorism must be defined not by the nature of the act but by its purpose. In this view, any act done in the cause of "national liberation," no matter how bestial or how random or defenseless the victims, cannot be considered terrorism.
    • This boils down to saying that terrorism on behalf of bad causes is bad, but terrorism on behalf of good causes is good. Obviously, anyone who takes such a position is not against terrorism at all - but only against bad causes.
    • As Pakistan's envoy to the UN, Munir Akram, put it: "We ought not, in our desire to confront terrorism, erode the principle of the legitimacy of national resistance that we have upheld for 50 years."
    • As long as the Islamic states resist any blanket condemnation of terrorism, we will remain a long way from ridding the Earth of its scourge. And the UN, in which they account for nearly one-third of the votes, will be helpless to bring us any closer.

      The writer is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

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