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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August 12, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

  • Arab Crime in U.S. Funds Overseas Terror - John Mintz and Douglas Farah (Washington Post)

        Authorities are quietly investigating more than 500 Muslim and Arab small businesses across the United States to determine whether they are dispatching money raised through criminal activity in the U.S. to terrorist groups overseas.
        The criminal activity includes skimming the profits of drug sales, stealing and reselling baby formula, illegally redeeming huge quantities of grocery coupons, collecting fraudulent welfare payments, swiping credit card numbers, and hawking unlicensed T-shirts.
        $20-30 million is raised annually through these scams, providing a substantial portion of the money that Middle Eastern terror groups spend annually, authorities said.
        Investigators suspect that some of the money has gone to Palestinian groups that use suicide bombings to kill Israeli civilians, including the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, federal officials said.
        Senior U.S. officials said they are concerned that the inquiry might be seen as ethnic profiling but are simply going where leads take them.
        A cigarette smuggling ring in North Carolina also arranged for the delivery of military equipment, such as mine detection gear, blasting equipment and night-vision goggles, to Hizballah.
        Arab gangs in Canada truck millions of tablets of pseudoephedrine into the U.S. where it is sold to Mexican gangs that use it to manufacture methamphetamine, officials said. Authorities have tracked $10 million in the gang's profits to the Middle East, tracing a portion of that money to accounts that are used by Hizballah, officials said.

    Useful Reference:

    Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on Palestinian Violence and Terrorism
    (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

    Key Links

    Media Contact Information

    Back Issues

  • News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Bush Team Divided Over Getting Tougher with Saudis
    Critics of Saudi Arabia fault that country for its poor record on human rights and women's rights, its repressive institutions, and its support and financing for anti-Western religious schools and militant Islamic movements. However, an estimated $600 billion to $700 billion in Saudi money has been invested outside the kingdom, a vast majority of it in the United States or in United States-related investments. (New York Times)
  • Pilot Refuses to Fly Israeli Official
    A pilot for a Delta Air Lines subsidiary would not fly Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Melchior from Cincinnati to Toronto because the pilot thought Melchior posed a security risk. Similar previous incidents have involved the Israeli consul general in New York and a bodyguard of Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Syria Keeps a Tight Grip on Dissidents
    Haitham Naal, 51, Syria's longest serving political prisoner, has been released after serving 27 years behind bars, a Syrian human rights group has said. Naal, who suffers from cancer, told the Lebanese daily An-Nahar he had been released because of his deteriorating health. Last year 10 Syrian dissidents were tried and imprisoned for undermining the constitution and defaming the state through their speeches, among them two parliamentary deputies. More than 1,000 dissidents are imprisoned in Syria. (BBC)
  • Bethlehem Palestinian Terrorists in Exile
    They are getting English lessons, top-notch medical care, and a respite from war with the Israelis. But most of the 13 Palestinian militants who chose deportation over dying in the siege of Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity in April and May now regret their decision. (New York Daily News)
  • Muslim Victim of Palestinian Terror
    Ayman Kabha of Barta'a, Israel, a Hebrew University accounting student, observed Muslim rituals, led a conservative life, and prayed to Allah each day. On June 18, a Palestinian homicide bomber in Jerusalem blew up the bus on which Kabha was riding. (
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Wife Murdered as Husband Came to Rescue Her
    Yafit Herenstein, 31, was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist at her home in Moshav Mechora in the Jordan Valley on Saturday night. Her husband, Arno, a member of the community's standby security team, arrived home just as the terrorist opened fire on his wife. The terrorist then turned his gun on Arno, who was seriously wounded. Residents rescued their two young daughters, age 2 and 4 months, from inside the house, as soldiers charged the terrorist and killed him. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Faces of American Islam - Daniel Pipes and Khalid Duran
    However numerous the American converts to Islam, it is the immigrant community that sets the tone. Fashioning a separate American Islam, away from such historic centers as Egypt and Pakistan, will be a great challenge. (Policy Review - Hoover Institution)
  • Syria: Saddam's Newest Playmate - Michael Freund
    A recent Washington Post story that Syria is evolving into an "anti-terror ally" is little more than Beltway wishful thinking. The number of dignitaries, delegations, and diplomats traveling between Iraq and Syria in recent months has hit a feverish pace. At the same time, Damascus continues to play host to a range of terror groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad; has cooperated with Iran in transferring rockets, weapons, and explosive materials to Hizballah in southern Lebanon; and appears to be permitting al Qaeda members fleeing Afghanistan to find refuge in Syrian-controlled Lebanon. (National Review)
  • War Aims - Saul Singer
    This war is an opportunity to remake the Middle East, end the Arab-Israeli conflict by defeating radical Arab regimes, and rid the world of the threat of rogue regimes obtaining nuclear weapons (a development that previously seemed inevitable). There is no inherent reason why the West must tolerate these threats to its own and international security. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hizballah and the War on Terror - Ely Karmon
    If a campaign against Iraq were initiated, Hizballah - amply armed and with the active support of Syria and Iran - could try to open a coordinated "second front" against Israel from southern Lebanon, in the hope that Arabs and Muslims would press their leaders to become involved in a regional conflict against the United States and Israel. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Big Obstacles to Palestinian Reform - Charles Sabine
    The United States has made its message abundantly clear to the three Palestinian ministers visiting Washington last week: Reform of the Palestinian Authority must come before a Palestinian state can be realistically discussed. (NBC News)
  • Learning the Lessons of Durban for Johannesburg - Gerald M. Steinberg
    The UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, is seen as another opportunity to further demonize Israel. Jews and Israelis will be watching to see if the "international community" can avoid pandering to the persistent efforts to exploit every such gathering for anti-Israeli propaganda. (Jerusalem Post)
  • A Potemkin Democracy - Victor Davis Hanson
    Palestine is a Potemkin democracy, with the sham facade of elections and republicanism but the dreary reality of an uninterrupted dictatorship since its inception under the Oslo accords. Arafat's initial election was rigged and the absence since then of a real opposition, parliamentary debate, and an independent judiciary proves that. (National Review)

  • Talking Points:

    International Financial Aid to the Palestinian Authority Redirected to Terrorist Elements (Israel Defense Forces)

    • The international community has so far invested $4.5 billion in the PA in order to establish infrastructures and an organized civil society.
    • The PA uses a double reporting system for paying the salaries of its employees, claiming that it requires about $60 million a month when it actually needs only about 60% of this sum. The main source for PA salaries is international aid money.
    • The PA financed dozens of Fatah branches to establish a broad infrastructure of field activists who became armed local militias. Fatah elements are allocated $5-10 million per month for expenses in the confrontation against Israel.
    • Marwan Barghouti, head of Fatah/Tanzim in the West Bank, directed the murderous attacks of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
    • PLO veterans employed in PLO representations abroad, some of whom enjoy diplomatic immunity, intensively aid in arms procurement operations and smuggling to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

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