Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with the Fairness Project
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

July 26, 2002

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info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

U.S. Tilts toward Turkey for Iraq Strike

    The United States is steering clear of its military bases in Saudi Arabia and opting for Turkey and its naval presence as a launchpad for an attack on Iraq to topple President Saddam Hussein, according to a strategic study by the London-based Eric Morris Consultancy published in the UAE armed forces magazine, Gulf Defence.
    "The Pentagon can no longer count on its military facilities in Saudi Arabia as was the case before, despite the large American air force presence in the Kingdom."
    "There are indications that the new U.S. administration and military leadership prefer long-range strategic operations over front-line deployment that could place a large number of American troops within the conflict and danger zone." (Gulf News - UAE)


Iraq Seeking Nuclear Components

    Procurement agents from Iraq's covert nuclear arms program were detected last month as they tried to purchase stainless-steel tubing, uniquely used in gas centrifuges and a key component in making the material for nuclear bombs, said administration officials familiar with intelligence reports.
    Intelligence reports in recent months have stated that Iraq also is building up its chemical and biological weapons arsenal, the officials said.
    Iraq's efforts to arm itself with unconventional weapons and missiles are a key reason that the Bush administration has called for the overthrow of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. (Washington Times)


Israeli Satellite Targets Iran, Iraq

    Israel sent the sophisticated Horizon-5 satellite into space in May to spy on nuclear capabilities and other defence arsenals in Iran and Iraq, according to a study published in the UAE Armed Forces magazine Gulf Defence.
    U.S. satellites have been spying on Iraq and Iran's nuclear installations for more than 10 years. They have recently focused on the Iranian nuclear Oasis of Helila, 17 km from Bushahr, after detecting unusual movements and a large increase in the number of workers, who now exceed 20,000 scientists and technicians.
    "There has been a great advancement in the detection and monitoring systems with which the US satellites are equipped...the Israeli satellite is believed to be similarly equipped."
    "It is no exaggeration to say that pictures by such satellites can detect nails in wooden doors, car plate numbers, or even letters in a newspaper headline on the ground." (Gulf News - UAE)


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News Resources - USA and Europe:
  • Israel Destroys Gaza Rocket Workshops
    Israel sent 7 tanks and a bulldozer into Gaza City early Friday morning to destroy three buildings containing rocket workshops. According to an IDF statement, "During the past few days, dozens of mortar shells and Qassam rockets were launched toward army posts and Israeli communities inside and outside the Gaza Strip." (Washington Post)
  • Hamas: "Most Israelis Are Combatants"
    Hamas spokesman Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi told Newsweek: "Combatants are not just people who wear uniforms." He considers all Israeli men combatants because they at one time or another served in the army and do reserve duty, and the same goes for Israeli women, most of whom have served in the army. So the majority of the Israeli population are considered combatants. (Newsweek)
  • Embattled, Scrutinized, Powell Soldiers On
    Almost from the beginning, Secretary of State Powell has found himself at odds with many of his more hard-line colleagues and the president himself. Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke views the situation this way: "These are deep, philosophical differences between two very different views of America in the world. One is a traditional conservative view; the other is a radical break with 55 years of a bipartisan tradition that sought international agreements and regimes of benefit to us." (New York Times)
  • Suit to Block U.S.-Based Charities from Funding Terrorists
    John Loftus, a former federal Nazi war crimes prosecutor, has filed suit against alleged Islamic Jihad paymaster Sami Al-Arian, a Palestinian professor at Tampa's University of South Florida. Loftus alleges that millions of dollars in funding for the terrorist activities of Al-Qaida, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas originates in Saudi Arabia, and is laundered through Swiss bank accounts and Islamic charities operating in Florida, in violation of that state's consumer fraud and deceptive practices laws.
        Much of the information on Al-Arian comes from a former Israeli agent operating at the headquarters of Islamic Jihad in Syria. The agent had even reported on a debate within the organization in which Al-Arian was considered for Islamic Jihad's top world leadership, "but he lost the vote and became No. 2 in the world."
        Loftus charges that millions of dollars raised by the charities - including funds from the Al-Rajhi family of Saudi Arabia - were used to support terrorist training, create safe houses, provide equipment, and host "terrorist conventions" in the United States. (JTA)
  • New Voices in Iran
    People poured into the streets around Tehran University, defying a government ban, to mark the third anniversary of student demonstrations that were violently crushed by police. A new force is emerging. The Iranians call it the "Third Force," a movement that encompasses almost everyone who is not in power, who wants to see greater government accountability and citizens rights. Workers have formed trade unions, students are mobilizing, and thousands of nongovernmental, issue-oriented organizations have opened in the last few years. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Study on Palestinian Malnutrition
    The study underway for the U.S. Agency for International Development is being conducted by Johns Hopkins University under contract. The preliminary results were based on about 300 households and overstate the current findings of the survey, according to Western diplomats who have seen more recent conclusions. The Israeli government is concerned that international criticism will grow as the crisis in the West Bank and Gaza deepens. It has recently made it somewhat easier for international aid groups to distribute food, diplomats serving in Israel said. (New York Times)
        For another view, see No Hunger Exists in the Territories (IDF) below.
  • "If Their Eyes are Blank or Staring, It's a Warning"
    Jerusalem bus driver Eli Ben-Shushan scrutinizes the passengers waiting at each stop, looking for potential suicide bombers. "As they board, I check their eyes. If they're blank, or equally if they're intense and staring, that's a warning sign. The same applies if their hands are sweating when they pay or if they hand over a large bill and don't expect change." (Daily Telegraph - UK)
  • U.S. Doctors to Get Training in Israel on Coping with Terror
    With threats of terror attacks in the United States continuing, a group of New York medical professionals is seeking training and advice from Soroka Medical Center in Israel, which maintains a state-of-the-art emergency facility and has a long history of treating terror attack victims. (Israel21c.org)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • The Story Behind the Gaza Airstrike
    Senior military intelligence officers, and other high-ranking officials who read the material upon which intelligence assessments are based, dismiss the claims appearing in the Israeli press this week about a cease-fire that was almost brokered between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The whole cease-fire business is nonsense, they said this week at general staff headquarters. Nabil Sha'ath was putting out feelers to see if Hamas and the Tanzim would put their signature on it. He was trying to sell a car he didn't own to a customer who wouldn't buy.
        Arafat, who has no interest in halting terror, did not empower Sha'ath to negotiate with these organizations, and they responded with a resounding "no" and a call for the escalation of violence in the territories. Hamas was opposed to a cease-fire, especially Shehada, but not only him. (Ha'aretz)
  • Defense Minister: "Shehada was Planning a Mega-Attack"
    "We knew that this man was planning a mega-terror attack, perhaps the biggest ever against Israel - a truck loaded with one ton of explosives - the aim of which was to jolt the nation and kill hundreds of people," Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said Thursday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Rabbi Elimelech Shapira, Murdered by Palestinian Terrorists
    Rabbi Elimelech Shapira, murdered early Thursday morning while driving to a religious study session in Petah Tikva, was the founder of a pre-military training college and the Eretz Hatzvi hesder yeshiva in Peduel in western Samaria. His friend and neighbor, Rabbi Yona Goodman, described Shapira, the father of eight children, as a kind, humble man who dedicated his life to educating and preparing young men to serve as future officers in the army. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Anti-Tank Missile Hits Civilian Bus
    On Friday, Palestinians fired an anti-tank missile at an armored civilian bus on the Karni-Netzarim road in the Gaza Strip. The bus was heavily damaged but no injuries were reported. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Targeting Shehada as Justified as the Pursuit of al-Qaeda - Editorial
    The proposal floated would not have ended attacks on Israeli soldiers, did not bear the signatures of any Palestinian leaders, and comes after all too many protestations of peace more honoured in the breach than the observance. Above all, the ceasefire offer did not have the backing of Hamas, the organisation led by Salah Shehada. Given his record, and that of his organisation, the likelihood of any cessation of hostilities from Hamas seems wildly improbable.
        Given his bloodstained and continuing role in directing indiscriminate terror, the Israeli targeting of Salah Shehada is as justified as the West's pursuit of any al-Qaeda leader. Israel must continue to fight its war of self-defence. (Times - UK)
  • Human "Wrongs" - Gerald M. Steinberg
    During the past two years, the Palestinian mass terror campaign has been based entirely on deliberate attacks designed to kill Israeli children. Yet, for most of this period, Europe and the "international community" has sided with the murderers and condemned the hundreds of victims. The inability to distinguish between aggressors, who show no concern for human life, and the defenders, whose goal is to preserve the sanctity of these lives, constitutes the fundamental moral failure of our time. (National Review)
  • Iran in Crisis - Daniel Pipes
    In Iran, militant Islam is on the defensive and perhaps in retreat. One sign is the resignation of 90-year-old regime stalwart Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri, the Friday prayer leader of Isfahan. He then won the endorsement of nearly half of the deputies in Iran's parliament. (New York Post)
  • The Necessity of Targeted Assassinations - Steven R. David
    Targeted killing - intentionally killing individuals who are on their way to commit a terrorist attack or those who are behind such attacks - is a moral and appropriate response to the terror launched against Israel by Palestinian leaders.
        Targeted killings make an important contribution to Israeli security by keeping terrorists on the run and gradually eliminating some of the skilled operatives. As bad as things are now, they may have been even worse, or would get worse in the future, without the policy of targeted killing. When targeted killing works, the only one killed is the perpetrator (or backer) of the terrorist act. This is far better than major military sweeps that kill and injure countless innocents.
        As long as the Palestinian Authority is unwilling or unable to curb those who deliberately seek to kill innocent Israelis and bring these attackers to justice, it is up to Israel to do so. Targeted killing does this, and at a cost that is far less harmful to the Palestinians than its alternatives. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Suicide Attacks: Israel and Islamic Terrorism - Nachman Tal
    Hamas' main infrastructure for organizing suicide attacks is in the northern West Bank, especially in the Nablus area, while the Islamic Jihad is concentrated in Jenin. Suicide attackers have become the stuff of legend in Palestinian society. Their photographs are displayed in public, and stories of their heroism are told in mosques and on the street. Moreover, the attacks engender great admiration and support within Palestinian society, with recent polls showing support for them at nearly 90%. (Jaffee Center - Tel Aviv University)
  • Hamas Violates the Geneva Convention - John Podhoretz
    The Fourth Geneva Convention convicts Hamas and Salah Shehada in one sentence. Part 3, Article 1, Section 28 reads: "The presence of a protected person [civilians] may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations." The responsible party is Salah Shehada, who was already responsible for hundreds of deaths for which he was gleefully proud. May he rot in Hell. (New York Post)
  • Business as Usual, Just without China - Aluf Benn
    Washington is not too thrilled about the sale of Israeli weapons to China and has warned Israel about possible implications. The question is not who is in the right; Israel is dependent on the United States, and not vice versa. The sale of weapons to China is not vital to Israel's existence and security, as American policy support and military assistance is, and Israel will have to do without such deals. (Ha'aretz)
  • Talking Points:

  • No Hunger Exists in the Territories
        - Colonel Shimshon Arbel (IDF)

    • A policy of curfews allows us to prevent terrorists from leaving the area. The policy is to make a clear distinction between the general population and those who practice terror. In some cities there are night curfews and the population can work during the day, while in others there are still ongoing curfews.
    • The rural villages in the West Bank, in their entirety, are under no curfew. Thousands of people living in the villages go out to work.
    • The Gaza Strip is not under curfew and the IDF has not taken control of that area.
    • There is no hunger in the territories - not in the Gaza Strip and not in the West Bank. International organizations are sending dozens and even hundreds of trucks loaded with food on a daily basis. We have approved thousands of food donations.
    • We have presented an extensive plan of action for alleviating conditions for the population. The time factor is not dependant upon us, but upon the decision of the Palestinian Authority and those who practice terror to stop their hostile activities.


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