Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 25, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Gaza Terror Groups May Have Anti-Aircraft Missiles - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    Palestinian terror groups in Gaza may have Russian Strela (SA-7) anti-aircraft missiles in their possession, a security official warned Sunday.
    The working premise now is that such missiles do exist in Gaza and the air force is taking defensive measures accordingly.
    Both sides are aware that if the disengagement plan is implemented, and IDF land forces pull out, airborne forces will play a much larger role than before.
    "The Palestinians are clearly interested in challenging our total superiority in the air," the senior official said.

Nasrallah: Hizballah Seeking Stronger Weapons - Itamar Inbari (Maariv-Hebrew)
    According to the Lebanese newspaper Al-Mustakbal, Hizballah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said recently:
    "In the current situation, the resistance (code name for Hizballah) must be stronger than in the past, and if there is a possibility to acquire stronger weapons, we should acquire them because the national interest requires it."

Saddam's Business Deals Favored Russians, Saudis (AP/Washington Times)
    Saddam Hussein micromanaged business deals under the UN's oil-for-food program to maximize political influence with important foreign governments.
    Iraqi officials have provided a list of foreign companies favored by Saddam for import contracts, including more than 280 Russian and 100 Saudi companies that account for more than half of those on the list.
    Saddam was able to "subvert" the UN program to generate an estimated $1.7 billion in revenue from 1997 to 2003, according to the Duelfer report.
    In addition, Iraq brought in more than $8 billion in illicit oil deals with Jordan, Syria, Turkey, and Egypt during the period that sanctions were in place, according to the report.

Jordanians Protest Israeli, U.S. Actions (AP/Jerusalem Post)
    About 700 Jordanians staged a noisy protest in Amman Friday against U.S. presence in Iraq and IDF operations in the territories.
    "Oh, Kassam, don't let any Jew sleep," the protesters chanted, referring to the Kassam rockets that Palestinians fire from Gaza into Israel.

Israel Sends Medical Equipment to Haiti - Judy Siegel-Itzkovich (Jerusalem Post)
    Medical equipment for treating victims of Hurricane Jeanne has been shipped to Gunayev, Haiti, by Magen David Adom in cooperation with Israel's Health Ministry.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • 49 Iraqi Army Recruits Executed
    The bodies of 49 freshly trained Iraqi National Guard recruits, lined up and executed by insurgents, were discovered on a roadside about 75 miles northeast of Baghdad, Iraqi officials said Sunday. The recruits had just departed their base aboard three buses when they were stopped at a checkpoint manned by insurgents dressed as Iraqi police, residents said. Most of the recruits had their hands tied behind their back. The guardsmen were were unarmed because they were going on leave. A group led by Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born militant linked to al-Qaeda, asserted responsibility for the attack, according to a statement on the Internet.
        In a separate attack, Edward Seitz, 41, the assistant regional security officer for the U.S. Embassy, was killed when a rocket or mortar landed in a U.S. military base adjoining Baghdad airport Sunday. (Washington Post)
        See also Zarqawi's Group Changes Name to Al-Qaeda Iraq
    Tawhid and Jihad, the Iraqi militant group of terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, apparently has changed its name two days after announcing its merger with bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization. The group released an Internet statement Tuesday under the new name, Al-Qaeda of Jihad in the Land of Two Rivers, referring to the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in Iraq. (AP/Boston Globe)
        See also Huge Cache of Powerful Conventional Explosives Used in Production of Nuclear Weapons Vanished from Site in Iraq (New York Times)
  • EU: Gaza Plan Should be the First Step in Wider Pullout
    EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Israel's withdrawal from Gaza should be the first step in a wider pullout from Palestinian territories, according to the German magazine Der Spiegel in an interview published Monday. Sharon "must also commit to making the withdrawal the first step in a process that leads to the pullout from all the occupied areas," Solana said. (AFP/Daily Times-Pakistan)
  • All Israelis Legitimate Targets, Says Canadian Muslim Leader
    All Israeli citizens over age 18 are legitimate targets for suicide bombers and other attacks by the Palestinian "resistance" because they serve in the country's army, says Mohamed Elmasry, president of the Canadian Islamic Congress. The Canadian Jewish Congress called Elmasry's position an invitation to murder all Israelis, regardless of who they are or what they have done. "Their nationality is apparently their crime," said Ed Morgan, the group's national president. (Toronto Globe and Mail)
  • Iran Rejects European Demands Over Uranium Enrichment
    Iran refuses to suspend indefinitely work on enriching uranium, part of the nuclear fuel cycle, as called for in the deal offered to Tehran last week by the European Three of Britain, France, and Germany, said Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Saturday that Washington had seen no sign Iran will comply with international demands and will push next month for the matter to be sent to the Security Council. (AFP/Yahoo)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Knesset Votes on Disengagement - Amnon Barzilai and Gideon Alon
    Israel's Knesset opens debate Monday on approval of the disengagement plan, with a vote expected Tuesday. At least 65 MKs are expected to support the disengagement plan in the 120-member body. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Cabinet Okays Pullout Bill - Gideon Alon and Yuval Yoaz
    The Israeli cabinet Sunday approved a bill governing implementation of the disengagement plan by a vote of 13-6. (Ha'aretz)
  • Study: Israel Seen as Occupying Gaza, Even After Pullout
    Even after Israel withdraws from Gaza, it will still be considered under international law as the occupying power, according to a study by legal experts from the Justice Ministry, Foreign Ministry, and IDF made public Sunday. Because Israel intends to maintain control over the crossings into Gaza, its coastline and airspace, "We must be aware that the disengagement does not necessarily exempt Israel from responsibility in the evacuated territories," said the report. "The more active control is given to other parties, the more difficult it will be to claim Israel is still responsible," the study said. If the Palestinians were to declare a state, it "would be free to conduct its foreign relations and we can expect a flood of agreements with Arab nations and Muslim organizations," the report said, warning of Palestinian military pacts with Israel's enemies. (AP/Ha'aretz)
  • Gaza Fighting Continues - Margot Dudkevitch
    Two IDF soldiers were wounded Sunday in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza when an anti-tank rocket hit their armored personnel carrier. Palestinians reported 13 killed and 50 wounded in clashes with soldiers operating in an area from where Palestinians have fired mortars and anti-tank rockets at Israeli towns and IDF positions in Gush Katif. Security officials said that since the beginning of September, 200 mortar shells have been fired at Gush Katif. Over twenty mortars hit Gush Katif this past week alone.
        On Monday, Palestinians from Jabalya in northern Gaza fired three Kassam rockets at Israel near Sderot. (Jerusalem Post/Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • Israel May Accept Egyptian Border Troops - Aluf Benn
    Israel is leaning toward accepting Egypt's proposal for deploying additional troops along the Gazan border in an effort to combat Palestinian arms smuggling, government sources said Sunday. "The Egyptian proposal is serious, though it will obviously be judged by the results," said one source. Egypt proposed deploying two battalions of Border Police, 750 soldiers in armored vehicles, along the 4-km border between Gaza and Sinai. A beefed-up Egyptian deployment that seriously reduced arms smuggling into Gaza could enable the IDF to leave the Philadelphia Road, which runs along the Gazan-Egyptian border. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Goodbye Gaza: Sharon is Challenging the Israelis and Palestinians - Editorial
    Ariel Sharon is often presented outside of Israel as simply a belligerent and uncompromising political hawk and thus an obstacle to the Middle East peace process. That caricature has never been fair and has rarely been more misplaced than at the moment. It cannot be overstressed just how radical the Gaza withdrawal scheme is and the high price that Mr. Sharon has already paid for it. None of the Labor prime ministers since the 1967 war has dared to attempt to extract Israel from this territory.
        If the vote is carried, then international reaction should not be churlish. The open contempt for Israel has, alas, acquired a momentum that any concession of whatever substance is dismissed as a ruse or a cunning ploy to entrench authority over the Palestinian people. Political leaders should be willing to acknowledge publicly the scale of the political wager that Mr. Sharon has accepted. His critics have insisted that he would never pursue a pull-out - he is proving them wrong. (Times-UK)
  • Syria to UN: Drop Dead Again - Editorial
    How seriously does Syrian dictator Bashar Assad take the UN Security Council? Not very. In response to Assad's disregarding one declaration with no backbone, the Security Council decided to pass another. And unsurprisingly, Assad's response was much the same. Unlike the first resolution, which required a report in 30 days, this one asks for Mr. Annan to report back in six months. In his report, Mr. Annan said it was time for foreign troops to leave Lebanon and end a "sad chapter in Lebanese history." Until the Security Council realizes that the threat of more paper reports and resolutions isn't what makes a dictator fold - it's the threat of force that does - Lebanon's story is only going to get sadder and sadder. (Wall Street Journal Europe-25Oct04)
  • Observations:

    Officials Fear Iraq's Lure for Muslims in Europe - Craig S. Smith and Don Van Natta Jr. (New York Times)

    • France's antiterrorist police on Friday identified a young Frenchman killed fighting the U.S. in Iraq, the first confirmed case of what is believed to be a growing stream of Muslims heading from Europe to fight what they regard as a new holy war. Hundreds of young militant Muslim men have left Europe to fight in Iraq, according to senior counterterrorism officials in four European countries. They have been recruited through mosques, Muslim centers, and militant Web sites.
    • Intelligence officials fear that for a new generation of disaffected European Muslims, Iraq could become what Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Chechnya were for European Islamic militants in past decades: a galvanizing cause that sends idealistic young men abroad, trains them, and puts them in touch with a more radical global network of terrorists. In the past, many young Europeans who fought in those wars came back to Europe to plot terrorist attacks at home. Virtually all of the major terrorists arrested in Europe in the past three years spent time in Bosnia, Afghanistan, or Chechnya.
    • A network of recruiters for Iraq first appeared in Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Norway within months of the U.S.-led invasion, and the recruitment effort has now spread to other countries in Europe, including Belgium and Switzerland.
    • One senior European intelligence official said there was evidence that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has established a sophisticated network that has helped recruit nearly 1,000 young men from the Middle East and Europe. "They easily cross the borders of Syria or Turkey, and they go directly to Falluja," the official said.
    • A French official said many people en route to Iraq were passing through Britain, or through Saudi Arabia, using the cover of a pilgrimage to Mecca to enter the Saudi kingdom before making their way across the border.

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