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

November 14, 2002

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info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

Killing Christians - Amitai Etzioni (Front Page Magazine/Weekly Standard)

    Christians are being killed, often at places of worship, in several countries with Islamic majorities or governments, not because they are Westerners or Americans (many are neither) but because they are Christians.
    On October 17, Muslim extremists killed 6 Christians and wounded 143 in Zamboanga, Philippines. On September 25, militant Muslims shot dead 7 Christian Pakistanis execution-style in Karachi, the fifth such attack in the last twelve months.
    A religious war between Muslim Eritrea and Christian Ethiopia in which tens of thousands perished raged for more than 30 years. Indonesian Muslim militants killed many East Timorese Christians, while thousands of Indonesian Christians died during riots in the Moluccan Islands in 2000.
    The bloody war in Sudan pits the Muslim government in the North against the Christian and animist South. In Nigeria, armed conflicts between Muslims and Christians have erupted and thousands have died as Muslims try to impose a strict version of the sharia legal code.
    In the Ivory Coast, Muslims in the North have been attacking Christians in the South. In January 2000, scores of Coptic Christians were killed in Egypt.


Egyptian Playwright Blacklisted After Trip to Israel

    Ali Salem was once one of Egypt's most prominent playwrights, but since visiting Israel in 1994, Salem hasn't found a producer for his works.
    Intellectuals stopped shaking hands or talking with him, and he was expelled last year from the Egyptian Writers Syndicate. Yet his book about his trip, Journey to Israel, sold more than 60,000 copies - a best seller by Egyptian standards. (Washington Times/AP)


Israel Develops Secure Army Mobile Phone System - Gwen Ackerman (Forbes/Reuters)

    "Mountain Rose" is a $90 million cutting-edge secure mobile phone system, developed with Motorola Israel Ltd., that is expected to revolutionize the modern battlefield once it becomes fully operational in 2004.
    Field commanders will have terminals to the new system sewn into their battle vests over which they will be able to receive and confirm instructions from top army brass.


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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Bin Laden is Alive, New Tape Indicates
    The White House has been told that government linguistics experts believe the voice on a new audiotape praising recent terror attacks and broadcast on Arab television is Osama bin Laden's, administration officials said Wednesday. "The assumption is that it is him, that it is legitimate and that it is cause for great concern," an administration official said. "We continue to operate under the assumption that he is alive and still very capable of controlling the operations of al Qaeda and determined to strike again." (New York Times)
        See also War on Two Fronts - Editorial
    Wishfully written off as dead by some senior American officials months ago, bin Laden has re-emerged like a nearly forgotten nightmare. The battle with Islamist extremism is far from over and is not, as some administration officials asserted in recent months, merely a mop-up job. (New York Times)
  • Going After Arafat's Monopoly on Money
    A team of American accountants hired from Standard & Poor's by the reform-minded new Palestinian Finance Minister, Salam Fayyad, are combing through the many business interests of Arafat's Palestinian Authority, looking to uncover malfeasance. When they are done, according to an agreement Arafat signed in August under pressure from U.S. and European officials who threatened to cut aid, the Authority's investments will be given over to a fund administered by independent Palestinian businessmen, ending the one-man dominion Arafat has enjoyed over Palestinian funds for decades. (Time)
  • Rise in Antiquities Thefts Vexes Israeli Authorities
    Ron Kehati of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) is part of the special Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Theft, charged with preserving and preventing the looting of archaeological treasures from Israel's 35,000 known field sites. His biggest problem these days is in the West Bank, outside the IAA's jurisdiction, where there has been a noticeable rise in the plundering of archaeological treasures. "We see the results of the destruction of archaeological sites [in the West Bank] as thousands of pieces make their way to the shops here in Jerusalem," he says. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • U.S. Anti-Terror Agents Focus on Detroit
    Federal investigators have focused much of the government's secret war on terrorism in metro Detroit neighborhoods. The result is a massive, extraordinary network - with undercover agents infiltrating Arab and Muslim communities, street informants feeding information to investigators, and cooperative, but wary, community leaders acting as cultural guides into the local Arab world. (Detroit Free Press)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Terror Groups Warn PA Not to Interfere with Attacks - Khaled Abu Toameh and Lamia Lahoud
    Palestinian terror groups associated with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah issued a stern warning on Wednesday to the Palestinian Authority not to try to stop them from continuing attacks. In the past 18 months, members of the three groups jointly carried out a number of terrorist attacks against targets both inside and outside the Green Line. According to PA security sources, Islamic Jihad, which receives support from Iran, has been paying stipends of $200-$300 per month to gunmen from Fatah's Aksa Martyrs Brigades. Growing isolation, assassinations of Fatah operatives, and a lack of funds from the Fatah movement have led to a growing number of dissident Fatah cells that cooperate with other factions, especially Islamic Jihad. (Jerusalem Post)
  • 3 Egyptians on Trial for Spying for Israel
    Three Egyptian citizens are standing trial in a Cairo court for allegedly spying for Israel, Egypt's media reported Wednesday. The main suspect, a woman called Nagla, is accused of having ties with the Mossad and other foreigners. Two men are accused of assisting her. Two Egyptian civilians were convicted of spying for Israel earlier this year, symptomatic of the low point in Egyptian-Israeli relations. In addition, the Syrian Human Rights Committee announced Wednesday that three Syrian citizens have been under arrest in Damascus since early October on charges of spying for Israel. Sources said that the charges stemmed from the trio's criticism of Syria's government. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Untangling the Terror Web: al Qaeda is Not the Only Element - Matthew Levitt
    Militant Islamist groups from al Qaeda to Hamas interact and support one another in an international matrix of logistical, financial, and sometimes operational terrorist activity. Inattention to any one part of the web of militant Islamist terror undermines the effectiveness of measures taken against other parts of that web. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Two Faces, One Terror - Fouad Ajami
    Iraq and al Qaeda are two main tributaries of Arab radicalism. Saddam and the leaders of al Qaeda offered the masses that flocked to their banners an absolution from responsibility, and a dream of revenge. It was the sparing of Saddam in 1991 that nourished al Qaeda, and gave it ammunition and an ideological pretext for targeting America. The banners America's enemies in the region unfurl - secular or religious - are of no great significance. It is the drive that animates them that matters - a determination to extirpate American influence from their world, and a view of history that lays the failings of the Arab world at the doorsteps of the distant American power. (Front Page Magazine/Wall Street Journal)
  • Saddam Hussein's Delusion - Amir Taheri
    Saddam Hussein's basic assumption is that there is a single Arab nation stretching from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, and that it is now Iraq's turn to assume leadership of this mythical nation. Since 1972 he has been working to Arabize Iraq by force. Nearly a million Persians, born and raised in Iraq, were expelled, to be replaced by Egyptian Arabs. In addition, more than 4,000 Kurdish villages in the north of the country were razed, their inhabitants transferred to southern Iraq and scattered among the Arabic-speaking majority. (New York Times)
  • Talking Points:

    Where First Strikes Are Far From the Last Resort - Aluf Benn (Washington Post)

    • The Bush administration has embraced Israel's broader strategic approach of preemption. The administration has shown a willingness to hunt down terrorists, attack nascent programs to develop weapons of mass destruction in other countries, and even invade nations to change their governments and deny safe havens to terrorists and other enemies, much as Israel has done for over 50 years.
    • Foreign Minister (and former prime minister) Binyamin Netanyahu and cabinet member Natan Sharansky have argued for years that Arab democracy is the best guarantor of peace. Turning Iraq into a model Arab state, run by a pro-Western regime, would create a positive domino effect, as autocratic regimes throughout the Middle East would have to fight for their survival, and thus have less energy to confront Israel.
    • Many Israeli officials believe that after taking Baghdad, the United States would try harder to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and even revive the Syrian track. The compensation that Washington's Saudi and Egyptian allies will demand will be pushing Israel out of the territories according to the "road map" that Bush has already laid out for Palestinian statehood and a final-status agreement by 2005.
    • Most analysts in Israel recall how the elder Bush forced Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's government into the peace process following the Gulf War. A minority opinion, held by foreign ministry officials, holds that after Iraq, the younger Bush will turn to his reelection in 2004. To avoid alienating American Jews and their Christian right allies, the president will refrain from pressuring Israel to compromise.


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