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

September 26, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Rockets Hit Factory Near Sharon's Ranch

    Three long-range Qassam 3 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip Wednesday night hit a factory in Sderot, a few miles from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's ranch, military sources confirmed. Four workers in the plant were treated for smoke inhalation. (UPI)


Saddam's "Palaces" Could House Entire Factories

    Saddam Hussein's Republican Palace and seven other "presidential sites" cover vast swaths of land capable of hosting extensive industrial or military activities. Bounded by walls or fences, they contain military barracks and warehouses as well as guest houses and villas.
    "These eight presidential sites together comprise some 32 square kilometers," said Ewen Buchanan, spokesman for the new inspection team. "Over that area, there are something like 1,500 buildings. These are far from being palaces. This is not like going into someone's private home." (National Post - Canada)


Domestic Violence Against Palestinian Women Rises

    Palestinian women have been exposed to increased domestic violence since the beginning of the Palestinian uprising two years ago, according to a poll published Tuesday by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion. Some 86 percent of the respondents said violence against women had significantly or somewhat increased.
    While a majority agreed that local customs and traditions hamper Palestinian women's advancement and that boosting their social, economic, and political status was essential, the great majority of respondents also said women should concentrate on being good wives and mothers rather than on their rights. (AFP/Middle East Times)


IMF: Israeli Economy Will Improve in 2003

    Published on the eve of the IMF-World Bank semi-annual conference in Washington on Sunday, the IMF's "Global Economic Forecast" predicts renewed growth for Israel in 2003.
    The report predicts that Israel's GDP will grow 1.8% in real terms, inflation will fall to 3%, but unemployment will rise to 10.9%. GDP in the territories is expected to contract by 20% this year. (Globes)


LA Airport Killer Linked to Egyptian Extremists

    An Egyptian immigrant who fatally shot two people and injured several more on July 4 at Los Angeles International Airport's El Al ticket counter told immigration officials nearly a decade ago that Egyptian authorities had accused him of being affiliated with a known terrorist organization.
    Hesham Mohamed Hadayet applied for political asylum in the U.S. in 1992, saying he had been accused by the Egyptians of being a member of al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, or the Islamic Group.
    The group, classified by the State Department as a terrorist organization, has claimed responsibility for acts of violence in Egypt and has demanded freedom for participants in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. (New York Times)


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September 27 - the holiday of Hoshanah Rabbah

News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Rice: Iraq Helping al Qaeda Develop Chemical Weapons
    National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told PBS on Wednesday: "We clearly know that there were in the past and have been contacts between senior Iraqi officials and members of al Qaeda going back for actually quite a long time. We know too that several of the detainees, in particular some high ranking detainees, have said that Iraq provided some training to al Qaeda in chemical weapons development."
        "There clearly are contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq that can be documented. There clearly is testimony that some of the contacts have been important contacts and that there's a relationship here." (PBS)
  • U.S. to Train the Iraqi Opposition
    Reversing a long-standing policy, the Bush administration is expected to seek congressional approval soon to provide military training for up to 10,000 members of the Iraqi opposition, according to administration officials and Iraqi opposition sources. The goal is to create an array of forces to assist the U.S. military in a possible attack on Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi sources say. The forces, to be culled from all of Iraq's major ethnic and religious groups, would not be used to lead the charge against Hussein, administration sources say. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Iran Starts Mass Production of Missiles
    Iran, accused by the U.S. of developing weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them, has begun the mass production of a new surface-to-surface missile, newspapers said Wednesday. They said Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani inaugurated a production line for the Fateh A-110 surface-to-surface missile which has a range of 130 miles, as well as an anti-ship missile and 35mm anti-aircraft shells. (Washington Post)
  • Iraqi Dictator Puts Son's Finger on WMD Trigger
    The British Government's dossier says that Qusay Hussein, Saddam's younger son and heir apparent, may be in joint control of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. According to Iraqi experts, Qusay first tasted real power in 1991, when he was ordered to help put down uprisings against the regime by Shia Muslims in the south in an operation that left thousands dead. "Qusay was in charge," one Iraqi expert said. "It was very bloody. The regime took the gloves off and Qusay proved himself to his father." (Times - UK)
  • Pentagon Plans Pinpoint Attack to Oust Saddam
    The Pentagon has presented President Bush with detailed plans for a war to oust Saddam Hussein that is designed to destroy the Iraqi president's power base but spare the country's rank-and-file troops. Under the plan, a narrowly focused but "extremely intense" air bombardment will be aimed at Saddam's "regime structure," backed by an almost simultaneous ground attack by a small, fast-moving force heavily reliant on Special Operations troops. (Times - UK)
  • Rice Says U.S. Will Rebuild Iraq as Democracy
    The U.S. will be "completely devoted" to the reconstruction of Iraq as a unified, democratic state in the event of a military strike that topples Saddam Hussein, said Condoleezza Rice, U.S. national security adviser. Ms. Rice signaled U.S. willingness to spend time and money rebuilding Iraq after the fall of Mr. Hussein's regime. (Financial Times - UK)
  • America Will Try Saddam for War Crimes
    Pierre-Richard Prosper, the U.S. official responsible for dealing with war crimes, said that evidence of Iraqi abuses was being collected to use in court. U.S. investigators and human rights groups estimate that Saddam and his security chiefs have been responsible for the deaths of between 60,000 and 100,000 civilians over 14 years. (Times - UK)
  • Christians Buck World Opinion To Stand With Israel
    Some 3,500 Christians from 70 nations are in Jerusalem this week for the 23rd annual Feast of Tabernacles conference. "We're bringing...the largest pro-Israel solidarity mission to this land three years in a row," said David Parsons, spokesman for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. Nearly 400 Americans formed the largest contingent at the feast, coming despite the perils and often in the face of strong opposition from family and friends. (Cybercast News Service)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • IDF Officer Killed Flushing Terrorist from Cave
    Captain Harel Mermelstein, 23, from Mevasseret Zion, was shot and killed by a Palestinian terrorist on Thursday as the naval commando unit he was leading was searching caves near Tulkarm for wanted Hamas militants. Soldiers returned fired and killed the terrorist. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinians Shoot 2 Israelis West of Ramallah
    Dov Remez, 43, of Ateret, was driving his 19-year-old nephew, Nir, home when they were attacked Wednesday evening. Remez was moderately wounded in the stomach and suffered a fractured hand. His nephew was lightly wounded in the hand. Security forces found 15 bullet casings from a Kalashnikov assault rifle. Six bullets hit the car. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Demolishes Terrorists' Houses
    In Hebron the IDF demolished the house of Hamas leader Abed Natshe. According to the Shin Bet, Natshe sent out the terrorists who attacked Adora and Carmei Tsur in April and June, murdering seven Israelis including a five-year-old girl in her bedroom.
        In Yatta, south of Hebron, the IDF demolished the house of Diab El-Shweik of Islamic Jihad, wanted for the murder of two observers of the TIPH (The International Presence in Hebron) in March.
        In Dura, southwest of Hebron, the house of the brothers Anis and Akram Namura was demolished. The two, members of the Tanzim, operated an explosive charge which killed IDF Captain Shai Shalom Cohen in July 2001. Anis had taken part in security courses in the U.S. for the PA. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Denies Setting Up New Samaria Settlement
    Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer's adviser on settlements, Yarden Vatikay, has denied international press reports about the establishment of a new settlement in the territories. A ceremony marking the inauguration of the first neighborhood with permanent housing in the 10-year-old Samarian Jewish village of Rachelim was held Wednesday, which allows 14 of the village's 24 families to move out of trailers and into new houses. Rachelim was founded to commemorate two residents of the nearby village of Shiloh who were killed in a terror attack in 1991. (Ha'aretz)
  • EU Lawmaker Seeks to End PA Aid Abuse
    Francois Zimeray, a French delegate to the EU parliament, began a campaign on Tuesday to obtain the necessary signatures from parliament members to initiate a commission of inquiry into the EU's funding of the PA. He has already obtained 51 of the 157 signatures required to put the matter on the parliament's agenda. "I think Europe bears a huge responsibility for what has happened in Israel over the past two years, because a large portion of European funds have been used for corruption, support of terrorist actions, and educating to hate," Zimeray said.
        Zimeray, a socialist MP from Rouen in Normandy affiliated with the European Labor Party, said he began his effort in order to help the Palestinians, who he said deserve better than their corrupt leadership, and European taxpayers, who he believes would protest their money going to fund terrorism. "All the suicide bombers had their education financed by European taxpayers, so Europe has a moral and economic responsibility for what has happened," Zimeray said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Let Israel Fight Terrorists, Too - Editorial
    Why is it urgent that the United States hunt down terrorists, wherever they may be hiding, but Israel is not supposed to do the same thing? Arafat's refusal to surrender the militants was an unusually public example of his duplicity - pretending to want peace while protecting supporters suspected of having blood on their hands. Israel cannot be expected to tolerate more cold-blooded killing of innocent citizens.
        The United States surely does not genuinely expect Israel to be timid in trying to round up terrorists in its own back yard while the United States seeks to eradicate al Qaeda all over the world. (Des Moines Register)
  • Demonstrating for Arafat
    "It is hard to understand the mass demonstrations that were held by Palestinians this week...in support of Yasser Arafat," a Maariv editorial said Tuesday. "Instead of standing up to Arafat and his cronies, who represent the failing and tainted leadership, they go out into the streets and cheer the person who sentenced them to a life of poverty and shame." (Baltimore Sun)
  • What Sharon Told Powell - Uri Dan
    "We shall not permit the Palestinians to continue murdering Jews, at the same time telling us they are introducing reforms," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Secretary of State Colin Powell Saturday night, two days after a Palestinian suicide bomber slaughtered six passengers on a bus in Tel Aviv. "Several countries have expressed concern to us and wanted to know why we are destroying the buildings in the Muqata, Arafat's headquarters. But not one wanted to know about the victims of the attack...in Tel Aviv," Sharon told Powell. Sharon is not prepared for Jews to pay with their blood in the interval until the Palestinians reform. Sharon is also not prepared for Jews to continue to be murdered while Israel sits on its hands because of the approaching war against Arafat's partner, Saddam Hussein. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Singling Out Israel for Divestment - Alan M. Dershowitz
    I congratulate President Lawrence H. Summers for his willingness to say out loud what many of us in the Harvard community have long believed: namely, that singling out Israel, among all the countries in the world, for divestment, is an action which is anti-Semitic in effect, if not in intent. Let Harvard choose nations for investment in the order of the human rights records. If that were done, investment in Israel would increase dramatically, while investments in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Philippines, Indonesia, the Palestinian Authority and most other countries of the world would decrease markedly. (Harvard Crimson)
  • On Campuses, Critics of Israel Fend Off a Label
    When MIT professor Nancy Kanwisher helped launch a spring petition calling on Harvard and MIT to cut their financial ties to Israel, she saw it as a political protest against Israel's alleged violation of Palestinians' human rights. But in the months since she helped gather signatures on the two campuses, her effort has become the target of a much larger counterpetition - and, this week, a high-profile denunciation by Harvard president Lawrence H. Summers, who declared her group's actions ''anti-Semitic in effect, if not intent.''
        At Princeton University, where a divestment petition began circulating last spring, a student leader of the campaign renounced the cause publicly. ''I came to the realization not only that it was impractical but that it is divisive in that the tactic isolates one group - Jews and Israeli people,'' said Taufiq Rahim, who is Muslim. (Boston Globe)
  • We're Losing the Battle for Hearts and Minds - Robert Satloff
    Our natural allies in the war on terror are beleaguered moderates throughout the Middle East fighting against cultural totalitarianism. To fight the right war, we need to fight the xenophobic, anti-Western, anti-American media and old-style educational systems that dominate throughout the Middle East, reach out to help our hardy but lonely allies, and do more to provide Arabs and Muslims with the tools, such as English language training, to access American politics, culture, and society for themselves. (Los Angeles Times)
  • The Sunshine Warrior: Paul Wolfowitz - Bill Keller
    You hear from some of Wolfowitz's critics, always off the record, that Israel exercises a powerful gravitational pull on the man. Those who know him well say this - leaving aside the offensive suggestion of dual loyalty - is looking at Wolfowitz through the wrong end of the telescope. He has generally been less excited by the security of Israel than by the promise of a more moderate Islam. ''As a moral man, he might have found Israel the heart of the Middle East story,'' Stephen Sestanovich says. ''But as a policy maker, Turkey and the gulf and Egypt didn't loom any less large for him.'' (New York Times)
  • Not So Fast Back to Gaza - Danny Rubinstein
    The same political circumstances - of the U.S. preparing to attack Iraq - that now prevent Israel from capturing or expelling Arafat, block a broad army operation in Gaza at this time. (Ha'aretz)

    The Iraqi Front:

  • Blair Makes a Persuasive Case for Action on Iraq - Editorial
    The dossier released by Downing Street made a credible case that Iraq has intensified its illegal activities in the past four years, a serious "step change" that other reports had not outlined. Mr. Blair carries the heavy responsibility of persuading not only the Washington elite but ordinary Americans that the whole of Europe is not hostile to them. (Times - UK)
  • Why Iraq Can't Be Deterred - Kenneth M. Pollack
    Proponents of deterrence argue that Mr. Hussein will not engage in new aggression, even after he has acquired nuclear weapons, because he is not deliberately suicidal and so would not risk an American nuclear response. But what they overlook is that Mr. Hussein is often unintentionally suicidal - that is, he miscalculates his odds of success and frequently ignores the likelihood of catastrophic failure. Mr. Hussein is a risk-taker who plays dangerous games without realizing how dangerous they truly are. He is deeply ignorant of the outside world and surrounded by sycophants who tell him what he wants to hear. [The author is a former CIA analyst of the Iraqi military.] (New York Times)
  • The Day After - Nicholas D. Kristof
    As soon as American troops are rolling through Saddam Hussein's palaces, expect battles between rebels and army units in one Shiite city after another, periodic calls for an Iranian-style theocracy, and perhaps a drift toward civil war. If the U.S. brings democracy to Iraq, it will mean seizing power from the 17 percent Sunni minority who dominate the army and government and giving it to the 60 percent Shiite majority. The upshot could be greater influence for Iran. (New York Times)
  • A U.S. Attack on Iraq Could Launch an Era of Pragmatism - Mohammed Al-Jassem
    The shock of Saddam's fall is needed to bring the Arabs back to reality and away from their political dreamscape. After Saddam's fall, the dismantling of the extremist Islamic parties, and the containment of the Palestinian issue, most Arab rulers will no longer be able to hide from their people by invoking the dangers of "external threats." (Newsweek)
  • Iraq's a Loose Cannon, So U.S. Must Fire First - Avigdor Haselkorn
    There is no way to deal with the likes of Hussein other than a preemptive strike. Hussein's actions cannot be explained using Western strategic concepts such as deterrence. During the 1991 Gulf War, Hussein repeatedly attacked Israeli population centers despite grave and ominous warnings from Israel. The more the U.S. acts unilaterally and the greater the perception that the U.S. is an unchecked and unpredictable power, the better it is for U.S. security and for world peace. (Los Angeles Times)

    Weekend Features:

  • In Hollywood, a Small Break in the Silence on Israel - Rachel Abramowitz
    A nascent effort, spearheaded by a mostly younger group of rising players, is trying to challenge the status quo and galvanize Hollywood's powerful communication machine in support of Israel. Unofficially spearheaded by Dan Adler, a 39-year-old Creative Artists agent, the effort, dubbed Project Communicate, this fall will launch a marketing push on college campuses. The idea is "to create defenders and advocates of Israel," says Adler, the son of a Holocaust survivor whose group is trying to navigate Hollywood's political divisions by adopting a non-ideological stance. "We're trying to be pro-humanity and pro-solution, rather than simply pro-Israel," he says. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Plotzing in New Paltz - Alisa Solomon
    For the first time in more than 15 years, the SUNY-New Paltz college administration has denied funding to the annual women's studies conference, asserting that it would not serve "the best interests of the university." The October 19 conference on "Women and War, Peace and Revolution" features Dr. Ruchama Marton, president of Israel's Physicians for Human Rights, and Nadia Hijab, a Palestinian writer.
        Retired professor Sheila Schwartz volunteered for this year's conference planning committee, then resigned in protest, objecting to Marton's inclusion and charging that the keynote panel would be a fest of "Israel-bashing." (Village Voice)
  • Camel Racing Makes a Comeback - Tsahar Rotem
    About 4,000 Jewish and Bedouin spectators sat together in circles - just like in old times - a cup of coffee in hand, an ancient narghile at their side, and the incessant sound of beating darbukas. At the entrance to the event, booths offered bourekas, grilled meat on skewers, soft drinks - and massages. The local sheikhs were entranced when a Jewish girl performed a spontaneous and spirited belly dance, adding flavor to the high spirits. Nine camels participated in two races on the 4.5 km track, organized by the El-Azzam, El-Assam, and Abu-Rabiyeh tribes. (Ha'aretz)
  • The Once-a-Year Search for the Perfect Citron (Etrog) - Jessica Steinberg
    The global market for the citron, a pulpy cousin of the lemon, is not large. Nearly the only use it has is in celebrating the week-long Jewish autumn holiday of Sukkot. On some 74 acres of orchards, Yossi Ludmir and his family produce 70 percent of the world's supply. In a typical year, the Ludmirs ship around 100,000 citrons to the United States and another 70,000 are sold domestically. (New York Times)
  • Talking Points:

    Israel Cannot Lift Arafat Siege Because of Ongoing Security Threats

    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon:

    • The Palestinians are attempting to escalate the terror attacks before a possible U.S. action in Iraq. Their operating assumption is that the closer we come to a U.S. attack in Iraq, the more difficult it will be for Israel to respond to terrorism.
    • Israel had to move quickly in Ramallah, before this escalation occurred at an even more sensitive time. (Jerusalem Post)

    Foreign Minister Shimon Peres:

    • Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres told foreign diplomats on Wednesday that Israel cannot yet implement UN resolution 1435 calling for an immediate halt to its siege of Yasser Arafat's Ramallah headquarters.
    • "While I am speaking before you we have warnings of another and another attempt to infiltrate into Israel suicide bombers. It is our duty as a government to prevent it. Somebody has to (be) responsible for the security in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip," he said.
    • Peres telephoned his Japanese counterpart Yoriko Kawaguchi to say that Israel would like to implement Tuesday's resolution, but that the daily security threats and the Palestinian Authority's failure to stop the bombers made it impossible at present, Israeli public radio said.
    • When asked by journalists how Israel could continue to demand the Palestinians carry out the promised reforms while putting most of the West Bank under siege, Peres said there was no link between the two. The Palestinian Authority had agreed to carry out reforms and now it had to realize them, he said. (AFP/iafrica.com)
    • Foreign Minister Peres told European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana this week: "We cannot tolerate a situation in which anyone can come and kill us. This [siege] is taking place because the Palestinians lack anyone taking responsibility for eliminating acts of terror." (Baltimore Sun)


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