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

October 15, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

U.S. Weans Itself Off Mideast Oil - Timothy Burn

    The Bush administration is accelerating efforts to diversify America's sources of oil imports and reduce its dependence on the Middle East, strengthening ties with major producers like Russia and the Caspian Sea region. Yet, it will take several years and dramatic investment before Russian oil can be shipped directly to the U.S. in a cost-efficient manner. (Washington Times)


Bethlehem on the Verge of Explosion - Arnon Regular and Amos Harel

    During Monday's funeral of Mohammed Abiat from the powerful Ta'amra clan in the Bethlehem area, the marchers encountered Isa Kraka, a member of the Fatah steering committee and head of the Bethlehem branch of the Palestinian Prisoner's Society.
    Two weeks ago, as part of the internal Fatah dialogue about the course of the intifada, Kraka published a scathing article entitled "City on the Threshold" about the Ta'amra clan's "takeover" of Fatah in the Bethlehem area, saying they profited most from the intifada.
    The marchers attacked Kraka, requiring his hospitalization. The beating enraged the Fatah leadership in the Bethlehem refugee camps and they "declared war" on the Ta'amra.
    The result - mass enlistment in both the refugee camps and among the Ta'amra clan, with armed men seen Monday night patroling the streets looking for groups from the other side to attack. Bethlehem Governor Mohammed Madani and the head of the Preventive Security Forces in the city, Majdi Alatri, tried to calm the tensions, but Fatah activists say the situation is "on the verge of explosion." (Ha'aretz)


U.S. Navy Wants Harpoon Missiles Upgraded in Israel

    The U.S. Navy supports an upgrade program for Boeing-made "Harpoon" missiles by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI). IAI plans to replace the Harpoon's obsolescent target acquisition and guidance sensors. While the total upgrade program could reach $150 million, this would be less than buying new and improved missiles.
    Israeli defense establishment sources said, "IAI's planned upgrade will considerably extend the [Harpoon] missile's life-span, giving it the performance of new-generation anti-ship missiles." (Globes)


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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Israel Readies for Iraqi Strike
    15,000 Israeli emergency workers are being inoculated against smallpox. "For Israel in particular the concept that Jews may be killed by chemicals or viruses is one that the very nature of Israel was designed to prevent," says Professor Gerald Steinberg, who lectures in strategic studies at Bar-Ilan University. "Jews should not be killed without response. And in that case, 1991 was an aberration and should not expect to be repeated." (BBC)
  • Pentagon Orders Battle Staffs to Kuwait
    The Pentagon has taken numerous steps in recent weeks to position U.S. forces so as to reduce the time required to launch an attack on Iraq. In the latest such move, the Pentagon ordered the battle staffs of the Army's V Corps and the Marine Corps' 1st Marine Expeditionary Force to go to Kuwait. The V Corps, commanded by Lt. Gen. William Wallace, has 41,000 troops and includes the 1st Armored Division and the 1st Infantry Division, specifically trained for fighting in Europe or the Middle East. The battle staff of U.S. Central Command, which would have overall responsibility for war in Iraq, is planning to move to Qatar next month from its headquarters in Tampa. (Washington Post)
  • Saved by U.S., Kuwait Now Shows Mixed Feelings
    Muhammad al-Mulaifi, head of the information department at Kuwait's Ministry of Islamic Affairs, broke into a broad grin when asked if he supported the terrorist attacks on the United States last year. "I would be lying if I said I wasn't happy about the attack," he said. His view is not an uncommon one among Muslims in this part of the world, but it is surprising coming from someone whose country the U.S. rescued from Iraqi domination just over 11 years ago. (New York Times)
  • Pro-Israel Activists Seeking Allies among Immigrants from India
    Mirroring close ties between India and Israel, leaders of Jewish organizations and Indian-American groups have been meeting in recent months to discuss hate-crimes legislation and political activism. A major catalyst for the cooperation is the perception that both communities face a common enemy in Muslim extremism. (Forward)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Efforts to Limit Wazzani Pumping - Aluf Benn and Daniel Sobelman
    Lebanon has agreed to pump only a predetermined quantity of water from the Wazzani River and to permit UN observers to oversee the pumping to ensure that this agreement is kept, the U.S. State Department's Charles Lawson told Israeli officials Monday. However, the Lebanese have not yet specified what quantity they have in mind. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel, U.S. Reach Agreement on Supervision of PA Finances - Aluf Benn
    Israel and the United States reached an understanding Tuesday over the supervision of the Palestinian Authority's finances, in order to enable the Israeli transfer of some NIS 2 billion of frozen tax revenues to the Palestinians. According to the plan, supervision will be imposed on PA income and expenditure in order to ensure monies are not used to fund terror. The Palestinians will be required to hand over a list of those to whom it pays salaries, and American and European officials will be stationed in the Palestinian Finance Ministry to oversee its economic activity. (Ha'aretz)
  • Arens: Israel Still Dependent on U.S. Data for Scud Alerts
    Although Israel has its own reconnaisance satellite in space, the Jewish state is still dependent on Washington for crucial real-time warnings of missile launchings from Iraq, Moshe Arens, defense minister during the 1991 Gulf war, said Monday. At present, only the U.S. and Russia possess the capability of keeping a satellite fixed in orbit over Iraq. Israel's Ofek spy satellite passes over Iraq, but only periodically, he said. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Is It Really Deja Vu? - Moshe Arens (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Muslim Suspicions of U.S. Widen - Nicholas D. Kristof
    Last week's elections in Pakistan resulted in huge gains for fundamentalists who are vehemently anti-American. The fundamentalist parties, which used to be a fringe element in Pakistani politics, now will control two of the country's four provinces. If we gain friendly governments in Afghanistan and Iraq but see the rise of an Islamist nuclear power in Pakistan, that will have been an appalling trade. (New York Times)
  • Turkey: Our Most Underappreciated Ally - Editorial
    Turkey's support in the war on terror is important, both symbolically and substantively. As our most prominent Muslim ally, it serves as proof that we are fighting a war on terror, not on Islam. Turkey's strategic location on Iraq's northern border makes it a key to our success in the coming campaign. Moreover, Turkey is now taking over the military peacekeeping task in Afghanistan, freeing up American troops for other duties. (Washington Times)
  • To Fight Terror, Fix Saudi Schools - Reps. Jim Davis (D-FL) and Doug Bereuter (R-NB)
    Although Saudi Arabia has cooperated with the U.S. on several fronts in the war on terrorism, their education policies are evidence that the country's education system itself remains part of the problem, instead of part of the solution to international terrorism. It is past time for the U.S. to hold the government of Saudi Arabia to its promise to combat terrorism by calling on Saudis to address the terrorist influences at work within their own borders. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • The United Nations vs. the Rights of Children - Anne Bayefsky
    On October 4, in Geneva, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child decided that Israelis and Palestinians were engaged in "terror on both sides," thereby joining a long list of UN entities incapable of recognizing terrorism, and which use every Palestinian civilian casualty to thwart Israel's right of self-defense. The human-rights cover for a contrary political agenda has become something of a UN art form. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Talking Points:

    Palestinians Must Change Their Regime - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

    From the prime minister's speech on Oct. 14 opening the Knesset winter session:

    • We all strive to end the terrible, bloody conflict with the Palestinians. But will the present Palestinian leadership want to abandon their scheme to eliminate Israel, and instead, chose to live with us in peace?
    • The bands of terrorists and murderers that have taken over the lives of the Palestinians with the encouragement, agreement, and at the initiative of the Palestinian Authority that controls them, do not want peace - not for us and not for the Palestinians. They are an obstacle to peace. In order to reach peace, their murderous regime must be removed and replaced with one of peace.
    • I say to the Palestinians: Your terrible pain is unnecessary! Your sacrifices are unnecessary! The blood you have spilled has been spilled in vain! Say: "Enough!" Change the regime of tyranny that leads you from defeat to defeat, from disaster to disaster.
    • I believe that the hand we extend in peace will not be ignored forever. I believe that our Palestinian neighbors will, of their own accord, reach a moment of historic change in their relationship with the State of Israel. This government will monitor every sign of change and every opening in order to realize the hope of generations, and to make peace.
    • The threat to the security of Israel also stems from the existence of dark regimes in our region that make every effort to arm themselves with weapons of mass destruction, in order to bring about our elimination. I would like to tell all the citizens of Israel: Do not be afraid. Israel is prepared and ready for any scenario that our enemies are planning. (Prime Minister's Office)

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