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

September 23, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

The Officer Who Destroyed Arafat's Compound (Yediot Ahronot)

    Lieutenant Talia, 23, is the operations officer of the IDF engineering unit responsible for destroying the buildings in Yasser Arafat's Ramallah headquarters.
    She personally directed the men and heavy equipment for three days from the moment they entered the compound.


How Could Iraq Hide its Weapons? Count the Ways - Doug Saunders (Globe and Mail - Canada)

    Such items as Scud-missile engines have been found beneath the sand. Beneath the Tigris, in waterproof containers, inspectors found crucial components for long-range missiles - accelerometers, gyroscopes, sensitive electronics.
    Dissident Iraqi arms workers reported this summer that deep beneath the waters of the Tigris is a major laboratory known as Tahhaddy, where 85 workers have spent months developing deadly new compounds, including a weaponized strain of Ebola.


Tirawi Victim Tells of Torture (Jerusalem Post)

    A Palestinian accused of "collaboration" who managed to flee from Hebron last week has accused PA General Intelligence chief Tawfik Tirawi's men of torturing him and many others. Tirawi is reportedly hiding in Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah.
    Arrested 18 months ago, the man, 32, said he was released only after a relative paid a top General Intelligence official $10,000.
    "The prisons are full of people like me. Where I was, there were more than 25 people, all accused of "collaboration" with Israel," he said.


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News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Arafat Compound Lies in Ruins
    Yasser Arafat's compound looked like a junkyard Saturday. The Palestinian leader's scorched, bullet-riddled office - the only building still standing in the complex - was ringed by piles of rubble, squashed cars, and coils of barbed wire three rows high. As Israeli army bulldozers pulverized buildings and soldiers swapped a rooftop Palestinian flag for an Israeli one, an Israeli military commander said troops would stay until dozens of Palestinians inside who are believed to be behind terror attacks surrender.
        According to senior PLO official Hani al-Hassan, when Arafat heard that an Israeli flag had been planted above the wreckage, he got up quietly to take a look. (Associated Press)
  • Israel Halts Bulldozers
    Following U.S. pressure, the IDF pulled out its bulldozers Sunday. On Monday, the UN Security Council is to discuss the Israeli siege of Arafat's Ramallah headquarters, ahead of Tuesday's scheduled U.S. bid to secure a new Security Council resolution against Iraq. (Ha'aretz)
  • Fenced-In Arafat Finds Few Allies Outside
    Ghassan Khatib, the Palestinian labor minister, who spent the first day of the siege in the compound with Arafat and had kept in close touch with him by telephone since, said he saw little evidence of strong global support. He said that Arafat was damaged by President Bush's call earlier this year for a change in the Palestinian leadership and that the international community is too focused on Iraq to pay attention to the Israeli-Palestinian issue now. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Iraq Excludes Palaces from Inspection Sites
    After agreeing last week to allow UN weapons inspectors unconditional access, Iraq reversed course Saturday and said it would not abide by any new UN resolution allowing monitors entry to key presidential compounds. The move appeared to be an attempt to undermine a sweeping and tough new UN Security Council resolution, UN diplomats said. (Los Angeles Times)
  • U.S. Studies Iraqi Chemical War Plan
    A top secret document sent to Iraqi military commanders on President Saddam Hussein's orders appears to confirm that they have a chemical arsenal and are prepared to use it. The 23-page military order allegedly instructs local commanders that, in the event of the Iraqi regime facing defeat in a war, the officers are free to use their own initiative and unleash chemical weapons. (Times - UK)
  • Iraq's Quest to Build a Nuclear Bomb
    New evidence proves that Saddam Hussein has continued his efforts to assemble an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. (Observer - UK)
  • Arab States Stand With U.S. on Iraq, or Stand Aside
    Some Arab nations are cooperating with preparations for a U.S. military campaign against Iraq. Interviews with officials and observers from Qatar, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia reveal a wish to maintain good relations with Washington. Bush will not be able to recruit Arab states into a coalition against Hussein, but this time, the Arabs are bending to the will of U.S. superpower dominance. (Washington Post)
        See also Arab Leaders Desert Saddam (Sydney Morning Herald)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • U.S. Asks Lebanon to Halt Water Diversion
    U.S. State Department official Richard Lawson met on Thursday in Beirut with Lebanon's Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and Parliament Speaker Nabih Beri to deliver an American request for a halt to the project to divert water from the Wazzani River. The Wazzani feeds into the Hatzbani River, which flows across the border into Israel and into the Sea of Galilee. Lebanese leaders have rejected the American request. (Ha'aretz)
  • 60,000 Israeli Arabs Rally Against U.S., Israel
    Nearly 60,000 people packed the Umm el-Fahm stadium to hear former Mayor Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the radical northern branch of the fundamentalist Islamic Movement in Israel denounce President George Bush as "that American cowboy." (Jerusalem Post)
        Former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Israel Radio: "Imagine 60,000 militant Muslims gathering in a stadium in the U.S. - and proportionately the number would be much higher - chanting 'With blood and fire we will redeem Washington.' Imagine how the American government would react?"
  • Palestinian Girl Receives Jewish Bomb Victim's Kidney
    Yasmin Abu Ramila, 7, a Palestinian from east Jerusalem, had been on a transplant waiting list and undergoing dialysis treatment for almost two years, an Israeli Health Ministry official said. A suitable donor finally became available when Jonathan Jesner, 19, a yeshiva student from Scotland, died on Friday, a day after he was critically wounded when a Palestinian homicide bomber blew up a bus in Tel Aviv. (Jerusalem Post/AP)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Case for Toppling Saddam - Binyamin Netanyahu
    If a pre-emptive action will be supported by a broad coalition of free countries and the U.N., all the better. But if such support is not forthcoming, then the U.S. must be prepared to act without it. This will require courage, and I see it abundantly present in President Bush's bold leadership and in the millions of Americans who have rallied behind him. Today the terrorists have the will to destroy us but not the power. Today we have the power to destroy them. Now we must summon the will to do so. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Sharon's Hard Choice - William Safire
    Before Palestinian Arabs can earn a state of their own, they will have to fight and win a civil war to crush rebellious zealots of Hamas and Islamic Jihad who demand the conquest of Israel. Needed now are new Arab leaders courageous enough to take on the absolutists responsible for the death of thousands and misery of millions. (New York Times)
  • Analysis: Operation Muqata 2 - Ze'ev Schiff
    Israel justified its operation because of Arafat hampering any effort to further the cease-fire or to initiate reforms that might undermine his status as the leading Palestinian. Defense sources say Arafat chastised those in the PA leadership who sought to gain an understanding with the Hamas in the Gaza Strip for an end to the firing of mortars against Israeli targets. He also tried to undermine the quiet established in Bethlehem and all efforts by Interior Minister Abd al-Razek Yihiye for a general cease-fire. These obstructions are meant, say the security sources, to prevent any internal discussion in the PA regarding the continuation of a violent confrontation with Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Talking Points:

    Waiting for Arafat to Jump - Felix Frisch (Yediot Ahronot)

    • Among the 200 people with Arafat in the Muqata are 50 wanted men, most of them Tanzim.
    • Even more dangerous are those who have resuscitated the Hamas and Islamic Jihad, enabling them to carry out homicide attacks inside Israeli cities, military sources say.
    • The IDF leadership feels that an end to the war "that was forced upon us" and is "longer than the War of Independence" is closer than ever.
    • According to a senior officer, the word "victory" does not appear in the IDF code of war, but rather the word "subdue." "This means that the other side understands that it submits. The Palestinians understand that they have been subdued, that they have achieved nothing and have lost everything."
    • Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon believes that Jewish hands should not remove Arafat, which would only strengthen Arafat's standing.
    • For the past year IDF intelligence officers have been saying that the Palestinian people, and even the people around Arafat, are trying to distance themselves from "the crazy old man in the Muqata," challenging him in the legislative council and writing critically in the press.


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