Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

July 16, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Arafat Accused of Stashing Millions

    "We have recently identified the transfer abroad of tremendous sums by Palestinian leaders who are preparing nest eggs for the future," a senior Israeli political figure told Yediot Ahronot.
    The official said money sent by Arafat to his wife Suha in Paris came from funds provided by Saudi Arabia for assistance to the Palestinian people.
    The Israeli source said the second-ranking man in the Palestinian hierarchy, Abu Mazen, recently channeled $70 million in Palestinian Authority funds to European banks through his brother, a wealthy businessman operating in the Gulf states. (Washington Times)


Population Trends in Jerusalem's Old City

    According to the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, the proportion of Jews in Jerusalem's Old City increased from 8.6% (2,802) in 1995 to 11.3% (3,800) in 2002.
    Most of the Jewish growth has been in the "Muslim Quarter," which now houses 800 Jews.
    Out of 32,488 people living in the Old City, 70% were Muslim and 20% were Christian.
    Out of 879 dunams of land, 24% is owned by the Islamic Wakf, 28% by Muslims, 29% by Christians, and 19% by Jews.
    Christians are leaving in the face of increasing Islamic fundamentalism. They feel there is no room for them as Christian Palestinians because they are not accepted by Muslims. This reflects a nationwide trend.
    Although 40% of the Jews who returned to the Old City after 1967 were secular, today the Jewish population is 70% Haredi (ultra-Orthodox), 25% Orthodox, and 5% secular. (Jerusalem Post)


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News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Powell's Plan: President Arafat - Without Powers
    Secretary of State Powell is encouraging a plan that would give the Palestinians a state while moving Arafat into a figurehead presidency with limited powers. Washington badly wants to avoid the embarrassment of having Arafat run for election and win handily. (Newsweek)
  • Jerusalem Revisited - Oliver North
    The last time I was in Jerusalem was in 1986 when I was working with the Israeli government on a secret initiative that came to be called "Iran-Contra." The much maligned people of this nation have made the Negev bloom, the skyline of Tel Aviv and the hills around the New City of Jerusalem bristle with high-rise businesses and condos in a building boom that rivals that of any nation on Earth. And they have done it all with one hand holding a weapon to protect themselves from angry, resentful, and bitter neighbors. (Washington Times)
  • Gender Apartheid in Saudi Arabia
    When a fire broke out at a girls' school in Mecca, a member of the muttawa - morality vigilantes - prevented firefighters from entering the building because some of the fleeing girls had left their headscarves behind, and their would-be rescuers were men. Fifteen girls died and more than 40 were injured. All women in Saudi Arabia live in a kind of gender apartheid, separate and unequal.
        In a confidential poll of men age 25-41 conducted by the Saudi intelligence agency in October 2001, 95% approved of Osama bin Ladenís cause. (Newsweek)
  • American Jewish Emigration to Israel Rises
    American Jews are emigrating to Israel in larger numbers, spurred by a growth in anti-Semitism and a belief that they might as well face terrorism in their ancestral homeland as in the United States. Last year 1,378 American Jews emigrated to Israel, while this year almost 1,800 have arrived so far. The new arrivals are mostly young professionals, and many said the events surrounding September 11 triggered their move.
        A recent planeload with 400 new arrivals from America and Canada was supported by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, with which U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other leading American figures are associated. (Daily Telegraph - UK)
  • What to Do with the Corpses of the Enemy?
    What little is left of 25 suicide bombers and snipers has been piling up for weeks in the steel refrigerators of a Jaffa forensic lab. Lab director Dr. Yehuda Hiss can pick out the bomber at a glance from among the scraps of flesh and bone spread across the metal tables. The bombs are cinched about the waist, and the explosion tends to send the killer's feet and head flying out of fire's range. When the smoke clears, that's usually all that's left. "You know how many of these I've done?" Hiss says. "I can tell in a second." (Los Angeles Times)
  • The Firing of Stephen Schwartz
    One of the most prominent commentators on the war against terrorism, and particularly on the role of the Saudis, has been dismissed from his post as an editorial writer at the Voice of America. [See commentary by Stephen Schwartz below.] (FrontPage Magazine)
        See also State Out of Step by William Safire (New York Times).
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:
  • Can Yasser Arafat, the Ultimate Survivor, Survive?
    Arafat is being personally blamed by his own people, as never before, for, as one Palestinian businessman puts it, "all of their miseries." PA financial corruption, Arafat's marked lack of leadership, and the absence of any clear direction or gains from almost two years of the intifada have caused widespread resentment. (Jerusalem Report)
  • Israeli, Palestinian Firefighters Cooperate
    When Palestinian firefighters in Kalkilya were unable to extinguish a burning four-story building on Monday, two Israeli fire stations in the territories - in Ariel and Karnei Shomron - sent help. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • U.S.-Israel Defense Treaty Outline - Bruce Riedel
    Barak suggested at Camp David that the U.S. and Israel conclude a formal mutual defense treaty. Barak also asked for a $35 billion financial aid package - $10 billion to compensate Palestinian refugees, $10 billion for water desalination plants, and $15 billion for Israel. Of this sum, $3-5 billion would be used to upgrade and modernize the IDF, $2.5 billion to redeploy inside the green line, $1 billion to construct new training facilities, $2 billion to construct new roads and fences, and $3 billion for the expenses of removing Israeli settlers. (The author served for 8 years as a White House advisor on Middle East issues.) (bitterlemons.org)
  • America's Poison-Pen Muslim Press - Stephen Schwartz
    A steady diet of violent rhetoric is served up by the American Muslim community media - periodicals with names like The Minaret, Islamic Horizons, the Weekly Mirror International, and the Muslim Observer,which toe the anti-American, anti-Israel line of Saudi Arabia's Islamofascist Wahhabi sect. (Weekly Standard)
  • Europe's Reluctance to Change the Script - Mark Steyn
    Europeans expend an awful lot of energy explaining why nothing can change, but after the Bush speech, Arafat is toast. Israel knows it, the Arabs know it, Hamas knows it, his Fatah cronies know it. The only folks who haven't figured it out are senior British civil servants, European foreign ministers, and the Danish prime minister. (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Reaching an Agreement Without the Right of Return - Yossi Beilin
    Agreement to a right of return by Palestinians to Israel means an end to the Zionist vision, meaning the vision of a Jewish, democratic state. Yet, accepting a limited number of Palestinian refugees, agreed upon in negotiations, does not contradict Israel's rejection of the principle of the right of return. (Ha'aretz)
  • What Kind of Palestinian State? - Nat Hentoff
    Whether provisional or permanent, an independent Palestinian state will be a danger to Israel and the rest of the Middle East so long as its citizens believe, as the majority does now, that their ultimate goal is the destruction of Israel. (Washington Times)
  • Talking Points:

    Israeli Defense Minister Meets Egyptian President - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)

    Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer told Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak the following during their meeting in Alexandria on Monday:

    • Israel would not suffer continued Hizballah aggression on the northern border, with Iranian support.
    • As far as Israel is concerned, Arafat has been, and remains, the central problem.
    • Ben-Eliezer's "Gaza-first" plan calls for a reduction in terror and violence in Gaza in exchange for Israeli consent to the rebuilding of the Palestinian security forces and, at a later stage, the resumed entry of Palestinian laborers from Gaza to Israel. (The plan has not been endorsed by Sharon.)
    • Ben-Eliezer thanked Mubarak for Egypt's help in the uncovering of tunnels used for smuggling arms from Egypt to the Palestinian Authority in the Rafah area of Gaza.


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