Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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January 5, 2005

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In-Depth Issue:

IAEA: Evidence of Secret Nuclear Experiments in Egypt (AP/New York Times)
    The International Atomic Energy Agency has found evidence of secret nuclear experiments in Egypt that could be used in weapons programs, diplomats said Tuesday.
    The agency also was examining evidence that suggested some work was performed as recently as a year ago.
    The Egyptians "tried to produce various components of uranium" without declaring it to the IAEA, as they were required to under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, one of the diplomats said.
    The products included several pounds of uranium metal and uranium tetrafluoride.

    See also Former Mossad Head Queries "Elements of Nuclear Capabilities" in Neighboring Arab Countries - David Horovitz (Jerusalem Post)
    Former Mossad head Ephraim Halevy said in a recent interview:
    "I want to draw your attention to a very interesting article that appeared in the New York Times on the programs of A.Q. Khan in Pakistan."
    "It raises question marks about how many countries in the world were recipients of elements of nuclear capabilities: Syria, question mark; Saudi Arabia, question mark; Egypt, question mark."

    See also Nuke Trader Khan Gave Major Boost to Arab State - Arieh O'Sullivan (Jerusalem Post)
    Days after former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy expressed fears that Syria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia might have acquired some kind of nuclear capability via an illicit weapons trafficking network run by A.Q. Khan, the chief architect of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, Israeli military sources have said that, thanks to Khan, one of those three Arab states now has the potential to achieve a "significant nuclear leap."
    The sources said that Israel is aware of Khan's contacts with all three countries, but that he had provided to one of them expertise and material to manufacture nuclear bombs.
    They would not specify which country.

Britons Rank Israel "Worst Country" - Atarah Haber (Jerusalem Post)
    British people rate Israel as the country least deserving of international respect, as well as one of the world's "least democratic countries," according to a recent survey.
    The Telegraph asked Britons to rate almost two-dozen countries on the basis of 12 different criteria. Israel was ranked the number one country where British people would least like to live or visit on holiday.
    Israel gained the title of the world's least beautiful country, and was rated the most unfriendly country after France and Germany.
    In response to the poll, Zvi Hefetz, Israel's ambassador to England, said, "Other polls show that 49% of Britons wouldn't even like to live in their own country."
    Israel's Tourism Ministry said some 131,000 Britons visited Israel in 2004, a 44% increase from 2003.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Said to Weigh Sanctions on Syria Over Iraqi Network
    The Bush administration is considering imposing new sanctions on Syria to prod it to crack down on Iraqis there who are providing financial and logistical support to insurgents in Iraq, senior American counterterrorism officials said Tuesday. On a visit to Syria over the weekend, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage delivered what one American official described as a "stern warning" to the Damascus government. A senior American counterterrorism official said, "More and more, we're seeing groups funded and supported by former regime elements, and they are operating out of and with the support of the Syrian government." "We haven't yet seen them take appropriate action to prevent the funding and the transport of weapons," he said.
        Fatiq Suleiman al-Majid, a cousin of Mr. Hussein and a former officer in Iraq's Special Security Organization, is among those who have spent time in Syria and are believed to have played a leading role in financing the insurgency. A second counterterrorism official said the Pentagon in particular was pressing for a more aggressive approach against Syria, while the State Department was opposed. "This is not the Ho Chi Minh trail that's keeping the insurgency alive," the official said. "But if Syria were to take action, it would have an impact." (New York Times)
  • U.S. Preparing Post-Election Boost in Palestinian Aid
    The Bush administration is considering a proposal to boost U.S. aid to the Palestinians this year by up to $200 million to help shore up support for a newly elected president, sources close to the deliberations said Tuesday. The money is expected to be tied to Palestinian efforts in stopping violence and carrying out reforms, U.S. officials and diplomatic sources said. The new aid would come on top of the financial assistance already provided by the U.S., either through the UN or through nongovernmental organizations. (Reuters)
  • Anti-Semitism Rising, State Dept. Says
    The U.S. State Department has issued its first annual report on global anti-Semitism. A rise in the number of poor and uneducated Muslims in Western Europe is contributing to an increase in deeply rooted anti-Semitism there, while ultra-nationalists and other far-right elements are behind most incidents in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, the report said. (AP/Los Angeles Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Rockets Wound 12 Soldiers at IDF Base in Gaza - Hanan Greenberg and Shmulik Hadad
    Two Palestinian rockets hit an IDF base in northern Gaza Wednesday, wounding 12 soldiers. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
        See also Kassams Target Sderot, Western Negev - Margot Dudkevitch
    Palestinians fired two Kassam rockets at Israel on Wednesday. One landed in the Israeli town of Sderot and one in a kibbutz in the western Negev, damaging a building. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Wave of Kassam Rockets Shatters Sderot Calm - Nir Hasson
    Nine Palestinian Kassam rockets fired from Gaza have fallen within the city limits of Sderot since Friday and an equal number in its environs. "It's like Russian roulette in this city," said Sderot resident Meir Azran, after a rocket landed next to his house. The Kassam alarm system worked efficiently this week, warning of an incoming rocket 20 to 30 seconds before it landed. Deputy Mayor Oren Malka was sitting with his family next to a large glass window in his living room. "All of a sudden we heard 'red dawn' [the warning alert]. I gathered everyone up and moved them. When the rocket fell, the glass exploded." It is widely acknowledged in Sderot that the alarm system has also made people more anxious. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF: Increased Rocket Attacks Aimed at Abu Mazen - Hanan Greenberg and Eli Vaked
    The IDF cannot ignore the tens of recent rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian terror groups, primarily Hamas, even though the launchings "are aimed primarily at Abu Mazen," an IDF source said. "Clearly we will not be able to continue to remain quiet and react only with pinpoint actions. In the end, the IDF will have to operate on a much broader and more serious scale," said the source. "It was only a miracle that no children were hurt when the mortar hit the school bus [Tuesday]. The moment the terrorist cell was identified, we had to fire back. Otherwise, the shelling would have continued." (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • Israel Sends Food to Tsunami Survivors
    A two-day food collection for disaster victims in Southeast Asia concluded on Tuesday with tons of products collected at supermarkets throughout Israel. The aid was immediately dispatched to Sri Lanka. The mobilization was organized by Magen David Adom, backed by the American Red Magen David for Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel Dispatches Urgent Blood Supplies to Sri Lanka (Israel 21C)
        See also Sri Lanka Requests More Medical Aid from Israel (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israeli Group Biggest Civilian Aid Contributor to Sri Lanka
    The Israeli humanitarian aid organization Latet (Hebrew for "to give") has already shipped 70 tons of supplies to Sri Lanka, the largest amount sent by any civilian aid organization. (CNS News)
  • Terror Attack Delays Muslim Haj Worshippers - Margot Dudkevitch
    An armed Palestinian set off an explosive charge at the Erez crossing in Gaza as 800 Muslim worshippers were preparing to set out for the Haj. He then approached an IDF position, where he threw grenades and fired shots at soldiers before being shot and killed. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Turkish FM to Relay Diplomatic Message to Syria - Herb Keinon
    Visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Gul will take a message from Prime Minister Sharon to Syrian President Assad that Israel will negotiate with Syria once it takes concrete steps to stop supporting anti-Israel terror. Sharon told Gul that Damascus has to close the terrorist organization headquarters located in Damascus, and stop the transfer of rockets from Iran to Hizballah.
        Israeli officials said Turkey is keen on playing a mediating role between Israel and Syria, partly because the Turks want to show the EU that it is a major player in the Middle East. Gul also offered Turkey as a venue for a future Middle East peace conference. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Abu Mazen is "Playing with Fire" - William Safire
    In Gaza, the leading candidate to replace Arafat in Sunday's election, Abu Mazen, has embraced the radical Arabs who want not peace but conquest. These terrorists are firing rockets and mortars at nearby Israeli civilians in the hopes of making Sharon's planned withdrawal appear to be a surrender to the warriors of Hamas. When Israeli defenders returned fire this week, Abu Mazen called all Arab casualties "martyrs who were killed today by the shells of the Zionist enemy." He hopes to win extremists' votes by adopting their hate-filled rhetoric as well as Arafat's platform of a "right of return" of Arabs to overwhelm Israel. By appeasing his fiercest faction of die-hards, Abu Mazen is playing with fire. To reach a settlement, he will have to make compromises that these warring radicals totally reject. (New York Times)
  • Credulous about Syria - Editorial
    To listen to Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage after his visit to Syria, relations between the U.S. and the regime of Syrian strongman Bashar Assad may have some difficulties but seem to be moving in the right direction. Mr. Armitage's performance was an unfortunate one because the behavior of the Syrian regime does not merit gentle treatment. Syria should be read the riot act for continuing to support Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist groups determined to sabotage the Jan. 9 elections scheduled to take place in the West Bank and Gaza. And Syria continues to subvert Iraq through its support of the terrorist insurgency there. (Washington Times)
  • Observations:

    Dangers Awaiting Israel from the Road Map Process - Interview with Former Mossad Head Ephraim Halevy - David Horovitz (Jerusalem Post)

    • If Abu Mazen succeeds, with the help of the Egyptians and others, in bringing down the level of violence over a period of time - a period of several months - it will be very difficult for Israel to say that this is unacceptable. There will be pressure on Israel to begin negotiating within the confines of the road map - even though, technically speaking, the steps that were taken in order to [reduce violence] were not exactly the steps which were outlined in the road map.
    • I have maintained from the outset that the road map was an aberration. It is based not only on UN Resolutions 242 and 338, it also mentions the Saudi initiative and other resolutions. The road map itself was approved by the Security Council....It is not only accepted by the parties, but is the official document which is the basis for the future. And the fact that Israel has reservations on "14 points" is immaterial. The 14 points were not accepted even by the United States.
    • The ultimate judgment of whether Stage A or Stage B [of the road map] has been obtained is in the hands of the Quartet, not in the hands of the parties. This is the beginning of an imposed solution. The whole structure of the road map creates an international forum which sort of adjudicates, it doesn't just monitor, the situation.
    • The concept of the unilateral disengagement as it was presented was that unilateral disengagement would create a new situation which would last for some time, the assumption being that the parties were not ripe for final status negotiations.

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