Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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March 23, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Israel, U.S. Test Compatibility of Arrow, Patriot Units - Barbara Opall-Rome (Defense News)
    Israel and the U.S. are honing their cooperation on anti-missile systems through joint production of the Arrow interceptor and a series of increasingly demanding operational exercises that began in Israel on March 10 aimed at ensuring interoperability of the Israeli-designed system with the U.S.-built Patriot.
    In the event of regional hostilities, the systems will have an inherent capability to work also with Aegis ship-based radars deployed in the area.
    Nearly 50% of Arrow missile components and major subsystems are produced in the U.S. and shipped to Israel for final assembly.
    Arrow missile components are produced at Boeing's Huntsville, Ala.-based facility.
    Major subcontractors include Alliant-Techsystems, Iuka, Miss., and Clearfield, Utah; Manes Machine, Fort Collins, Colo.; Ceradyne Thermo-Materials, Scottsdale, Ga.; and Sanmina SCI, Huntsville, Ala.
    See also Juniper Cobra - The Ties that Bind - Amir Oren (Ha'aretz)
    The scenario behind exercise Juniper Cobra: Missiles are launched from a "red" country, whose identity is unknown, although the people speak Persian, at a "blue" country, or perhaps a "blue-and-white" one.
    The Israeli Arrow missiles must shoot down the attacking missiles, which are amazingly similar to the Shihab-3, and are carrying dangerous warheads, and if the Arrow fails - the Israeli or American Patriot missiles and the "standard SAM-3" from the American ship must try to stop the incoming missiles before Israeli cities and bases are hit.
    A Pentagon investigation committee determined last year that the Patriot system functioned successfully in Iraq and shot down all nine missiles launched at Western forces, but it also brought down two friendly planes.

Look Out Below - The Terror Threat from the Sea - Mark Hosenball (Newsweek)
    Al-Qaeda frogmen sound like one of the more exotic terrorist threats - but Homeland Security chiefs are preparing.
    Three years ago Dutch authorities looking into a jihad recruiting ring in Eindhoven found a Tunisian diving instructor with a connection to radical Islam who ran his own diving classes with suspected Islamic militant students from around the Netherlands.
    Last week, a captured militant from a Qaeda affiliate in the Philippines claimed he and other jihadis took diving lessons to prepare for a seaborne attack.

Our Man in Baghdad - Eli Bardenstein (Maariv-Hebrew, 18Mar05)
    D, 28, a former sharpshooter in an elite IDF unit, just returned from four months in Baghdad where he worked as a security guard for an American firm building a power station.
    He had previously worked as a guard for Jewish communities in Europe.
    Recalling a meeting with an Iraqi colonel, D notes, "Once he was my enemy and suddenly I'm talking with him, buying him pizza, and even shaking his hand."


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Sharon: Israel Has No Intention of Striking Iranian Nuclear Sites
    "Israel has no intention of attacking Iran and continues to support the diplomatic efforts of the international community, in particular the U.S., to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons," a top official quoted Prime Minister Sharon as saying during talks with a visiting delegation from the U.S. Congress. (AFP/Yahoo)
  • Bomb Attack Kills Two in Lebanese Christian City - Hussein Dakroub
    A bomb rocked the shopping center near Jounieh, the main Christian port city about 10 miles north of Beirut Wednesday, killing at least two people. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Cairo Students Rally Against Israel
    Thousands of Egyptian university students have urged Arab leaders, meeting at a summit in Algeria, not to compromise with Israel with regard to the Middle East peace process. "We don't want meetings or negotiations again," the students chanted Tuesday at Cairo's Al-Azhar University. Students in the Egyptian capital and the southern town of Assiut also burned Israeli and American flags. Muhammad Nazzal, a Hamas political bureau member, spoke to the rally by telephone, saying: "We tell our leaders who are meeting in Algiers that the Palestinian people will never lay down our arms and that the banner of resistance will remain high." (AFP/Aljazeera-Qatar)
        See also Egyptian Students Call on Arab League to Declare War
    About 7,000 students demonstrated on Tuesday in the Egyptian city of Assiut calling on the Arab League to declare war on Israel. Demonstrators shouted: "Leaders, be strong, we want the summit to declare war." (DPA/IOL-South Africa)
  • New Homes to Link Jerusalem, Maale Adumim - Molly Moore
    Israeli Prime Minister Sharon accepted the Defense Ministry's final plan on Sunday for a swath of houses, apartments, and public facilities that would connect the settlement of Maale Adumim, with 30,000 residents, just east of Jerusalem, to the eastern borders of the city, Raanan Gissin, the prime minister's spokesman, said Monday. The Israeli government gave initial approval to the plan in 1999. Gissin cited a letter delivered to Sharon by Bush last April saying: "new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers" would likely preclude "a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949."  (Washington Post)
        Israel has long held that Maale Adumim is an integral part of nearby Jerusalem. The government made it official last week that the city would be on the Israeli side of a barrier being built in the West Bank. (Los Angeles Times)
        American officials are concerned that the Maale Adumim expansion will cut off north-south transportation for Palestinians. Israeli officials counter that roads, tunnels, or bridges can be built to ease that problem. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Jordan's King Abdullah: Syria, Hizballah Promote Terror against Israel - Nathan Guttman
    Jordan's King Abdullah warned Tuesday that Syria and Hizballah are encouraging Palestinian activists to carry out terror attacks against Israel, trying to divert attention from the situation in Lebanon and Syria. In a meeting in Washington with representatives of leading Jewish organizations, Abdullah also said Iran, Syria, and Hizballah are the greatest threats to stability in the Middle East. Abdullah said Jordan has succeeded in thwarting several attempts by terrorists to infiltrate Israel to carry out attacks. He told President George W. Bush at their meeting last week that the success of the peace process could weaken Hizballah and Hamas, while its failure would strengthen them.
        He said relations between Jordan and Israel were good and that he intends to act to speed up joint projects. Abdullah spoke of a new Jordanian initiative to fight anti-Semitism in the Arab world and said he sent a message to the Muslim states urging them to fight anti-Semitism. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF: PA Stopping Terror, Not Uprooting It - Tovah Lazaroff
    The PA is stopping as many terror attacks as Israel, but it has not done anything to dismantle the terrorist organizations, Brig.-Gen. Yosef Kupperwasser told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday. He said PA Chairman Abbas was riding the new wave of calm in the area, but it is more a reflection of a change in Palestinian public opinion than of the effectiveness of his administration. While polls show that most Palestinians oppose suicide bombings, they still believed the bombings were legitimate but had come to understand that they did little to improve the situation, said Kupperwasser. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Britain to EU: Freeze Hizballah's Assets - David Rudge
    Britain is actively trying to persuade EU member states to freeze all of Hizballah's assets, including those of its political and social wing, following a change in government policy, British Ambassador to Israel Simon McDonald said Tuesday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Israeli Arms Sales to China: The Americans Are Going Too Far - Ze'ev Schiff
    A thorough examination reveals that since 2000, Israel has sold to China defense equipment at an approximate value of only $35 million. Since 2003, when the U.S.-Israel mechanism for disclosure of weapons sales to China was set up, total sales from Israel to China have amounted to some $20 million.
        In 1999, Israel sold about 100 Harpy combat UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to China for about $70 million. The Americans allege that Israel is also engaged in upgrading these UAVs, and that it concealed facts about the transaction from the U.S. It was explained to the Pentagon that Israel's current policy is not to sell China "firing weapons"; in its sales to China, Israel would do everything possible not to jeopardize American defense interests. (Ha'aretz)
  • New Hope for the Holy Land - David Makovsky
    Mahmoud Abbas may be elected, but he does not yet have the authority to veer from the Arafat legacy on final status. Thus, any U.S. final status blueprint should not be put forward at this time. However, the guiding criteria should be whether such an American-led effort has a chance of success and not if it possibly engenders ephemeral sympathy in the Arab world. The criteria for success depend on the outcome of the Gaza withdrawal and the willingness of key Arab states to visibly come out in support of explicit compromise on contentious issues such as refugees and Jerusalem. If they do not provide Abbas with political cover, there is little chance that he can veer from the Arafat legacy. From a conference on Arab-Israeli Futures: Next Steps for the United States sponsored by the U.S. Institute of Peace. (San Diego Union Tribune)
  • Disarming Hizballah? - Tyler Marshall and Sonni Efron
    Hizballah, which maintains the largest military contingent in the country next to the Lebanese army, is also a formidable political force. "There's not a lot of talk about disarming Hizballah because no one can do it," a senior U.S. official said. Those familiar with Lebanese politics suggest that Hizballah could win more than 20% of the vote in a free election and claim many more than the 12 seats it currently holds in Lebanon's 128-seat parliament.
        Rather than provoke a potentially bloody confrontation to disarm Hizballah, administration officials say that a new, more open political environment inside Lebanon could generate its own disarmament pressures. With the Israelis gone from southern Lebanon, new Palestinian leaders calling for an end to violence against Israel, and Lebanon's historically oppressed Shiite minority no longer in need of protection, the militant organization would be hard-pressed to justify its large militia, administration officials argue. "There are a lot of 'ifs' and a lot of things have to fall together, but the reality is that the reasons for their existence are being stripped away," a U.S. official said. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also The Riddle of Hizballah - Daniel Klaidman and Kevin Peraino
    The popularity at home of Hizballah, which the State Department has officially labeled a terrorist organization, puts the Bush administration in a delicate spot. The president's ambitious plan to spread democracy in the Middle East requires a far more nuanced approach than he, or his aides, are used to. The administration's top priority in Lebanon is to get the Syrians out, so the democratic movement can take hold. The last thing the White House needs is to pick a fight with Hizballah, which would only strengthen the hand of Lebanon's anti-U.S. radicals and their patrons in Syria and Iran. (Newsweek)
  • Observations:

    Thinking the Unthinkable - Dennis Ross (US News)

    • Nearly every Arab regime has ruled on the basis of coercion and intimidation. It was not just Saddam Hussein; our friends there have done so as well. They may have been less brutal than Saddam, but they, too, have been authoritarian, claiming that stability required it.
    • Regimes that have monopolized the power and wealth of their societies are unlikely to suddenly preside over their loss of both. Holding on to power may lead Arab leaders to make symbolic gestures on reform, designed to defuse the anger and show they are ready for change.
    • But make no mistake, if the Lebanese succeed in producing a stable government free of Syrian control and Hizballah coercion, every regime in the Middle East will wonder whether mere gestures can work and whether they can prevent more profound challenges to their survival.
    • The Bush administration needs to forge an agreed-upon common response with the Europeans and the Japanese on what they will do in the event of a crackdown or bloodbath in Lebanon or elsewhere. The certainty of collective condemnation, isolation, and sanctions needs to be made clear to regimes like Syria in advance of any crackdown, to convince these regimes that the cost of turning their armies on their people will be high.
    • Arab publics may be losing their fear of their regimes, and nothing has been more central to keeping those leaders in power than fear. If the fear is being eroded, this, far more than any election, will herald a new day in the Middle East.

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