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

January 3, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Palestinians Still Using Children for Terror - Felix Frisch (Yediot Ahronot)

    Despite Hamas statements that children are not to be used in attacks against Israelis, three 15-year-old boys armed with knives attempted to sneak into the Jewish village of Alei Sinai in the Gaza district on Wednesday night to murder local residents, but were killed by IDF forces instead.
    One of the boys carried a list with the names of 38 Palestinian youngsters who were members of the same youth movement, whose members are asked to prove their "courage" in military-type activities.
    IDF forces in Gaza have frequently spotted youth and even young children sent to dig holes for bombs, and later even bringing the bombs themselves, safe in the knowledge that the IDF will not harm children. All that remains is for an adult bomb handler to reach the site, connect the bomb, and prepare it for detonation.
    See also Palestinian Youths Had a Dream, Families Say - Laura King (Los Angeles Times)
    Thank God, he got what he always wanted -- martyrdom," said Atteyeh Dawais, the father of Mohammed Dawais, one of the slain youths.


Israel Fights Palestinian Mosquitoes (AFP/Borneo Bulletin-Brunei)

    The Israeli environment ministry has given its green light to a program designed to rid southern Israeli cities from mosquitoes breeding in the nearby autonomous Palestinian city of Hebron, Maariv reported Wednesday.
    Professor Yoel Margalit from Beersheva's Ben-Gurion University has discovered a microbe which mosquitoes find particularly tasty but ends up eating them from the inside.
    The municipalities of Beersheva, Omer, and other towns in the Negev area near the southern West Bank demanded in vain that their counterparts from the Hebron region stop pouring their sewage into Israel.
    Some areas in southern Israel adjacent to the West Bank under Hebron's administration have found themselves immersed in noxious waters that are a favorite breeding ground for mosquitoes.


Poll: Palestinians See No Difference between Likud and Labor (JMCC)

    According to a Palestinian opinion poll conducted in early December:
    81% of Palestinians support the continuation of the intifada; 59% want it to continue in its current form, 19% say it should continue in other forms, 17% said it should stop.
    63% support suicide operations, with 71% support in Gaza, 61% in the West Bank, and 46% in east Jerusalem.
    What should be the final goal of the intifada? The total liberation of Palestine - 47%; a Palestinian state based on UN Resolution 242 - 46%. Favor total liberation - Gaza 52%, West Bank 46%, east Jerusalem 39%.
    53% were optimistic that the intifada will achieve its goals.
    28% said they trusted Fatah most, 28% trusted Islamic factions, 4% trusted other factions, 31% said they did not trust any faction.
    Asked about the reform of the Palestinian Authority, 13% found the reform serious, 47% found it not serious.
    54% supported negotiations with Israel, an increase from 47% in September 2002.
    Asked about the Israeli elections, 75% believe there is no difference between Likud's Sharon and Labor's Mitzna with regard to achieving peace with the Palestinians.


Useful Reference:

Hi-Tech Crisis Hurts Israeli Economy More than Terrorism - Zeev Klein (Globes)

    The decline on U.S. stock exchanges, especially Nasdaq, and the global high tech crisis have affected the Israeli economy more than the conflict with the Palestinians.
    The high-tech crisis and the Nasdaq slide since August 2000 have cost Israel 2.9% of GDP, amounting to 65% of the total loss of growth in the past 30 months. The chief causes were a fall in foreign investments, particularly in Israeli start-ups.
    The conflict with the Palestinians, and the accompanying terrorism, have reduced growth by 1.6% of GDP, amounting to 35% of the total loss in growth over the past 30 months. This loss was mostly in tourism, revenue from which dropped by over 40%, and in exports to the Palestinian Authority.


Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues


News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Arab States May Ask Iraqi Leader to Stand Down
    Arab governments keen to avert another Gulf war will try to convince Saddam Hussein to step down if a U.S.-led military campaign becomes imminent. Prince Saud al-Feisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said last week that if war becomes imminent, "we hope that there would be an opportunity given to the Arab countries to mitigate the situation." "One option is for [Mr. Hussein] to depart," said an Arab official. "He's not thinking about it now, but it could be different when the Americans are serious about the alternative of war." (New York Times/Financial Times)
  • Israel, U.S. Partner for Navy Exercise, Anti-Missile Test
    The two countries will conduct joint exercises next week to test Israel's new Arrow anti-missile system teamed with upgraded U.S. Patriot missile batteries. On New Year's Day, the two nations teamed up with Turkey for an annual naval training exercise. Such an exercise featuring the flags of three nations sends a political message. "There is a political symbol for the region that says we are working together and the noose around Iraq is closing," said Prof. Gerald Steinberg of Bar-Ilan University. (CNN-Europe)
  • Israel Sets New Highs In Media Interest - Jonathan Mark
    According to a study by the Pew Research Center for the Public and the Press, Israel's war was "one of the most closely followed international stories in Pew's 16-year history of measuring news attentiveness." Additionally, the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) found that between the end of March and the end of June 2002 -- corresponding to the mass murder at the Netanya seder and Israel's retaliatory actions -- Israel's war was the subject of more cumulative airtime on the ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news than the next nine stories combined.
        Interest peaked in the spring, said Pew, when more than 44 percent of Americans said they tracked Israel's war "very closely," and another 33 percent "fairly closely," but in December the most intense interest slipped to 29 percent, still unusually high. The Oslo peace agreement had only 23 percent of Americans paying very close attention, and interest in the first intifada ranged only between 11-18 percent, according to surveys at the time. (New York Jewish Week)
  • Iraq Tells Arabs to Follow N. Korea's Lead
    "Arabs need to learn the lesson from the Korean example to mobilize in order to stop an attack on Iraq and prevent a U.S.-Zionist crusade in the Arab world," said the daily Babel, owned by Saddam Hussein's son Uday. (AFP/Queensland Courier-Mail-Australia)
  • Leaflets Point Iraqis to Anti-Hussein Broadcasts
    Warplanes taking part in U.S.-British patrols dropped 480,000 leaflets on the cities of Basra and Nasiriyah in the "no-fly" zone over southern Iraq Thursday, pressing Iraqi troops and citizens to listen to U.S. Special Forces radio broadcasts to the area. It was the 12th such mass drop of leaflets in the last three months. The U.S. Central Command said last month that modified C-130 cargo planes were being used to broadcast messages to the Iraqi people. More recently, the broadcasts have been directed to the area by Special Operations ground stations outside Iraq. (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • Many Iranians Weary of Islam Mixed with Politics
    After the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Iran is now the world's only theocracy. And experts say citizens are feeling increasingly oppressed by an Islam imposed from above. In many quarters, worship is no longer considered an appropriate arena for politics. (Newsweek)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Fatah Terrorists Kill Elderly Israeli in Jordan Valley
    The body of Massoud Mahlouf Allon, 72, of Moshav Menahemya, was found Thursday in a burned-out car in the northern Jordan Valley following a widescale police search. Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for the murder. Members of his family told police that Moroccan-born Allon used to collect used clothing and blankets to give to Bedouin and Palestinians in the Arab villages in the Jordan Valley. (Ha'aretz)
  • Sharon: Syria, Hizballah, Iran Train Together - Aluf Benn
    The Syrian army has held joint maneuvers with Hizballah along with units of the Iranian revolutionary guards in Lebanon, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told visiting U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Specter has had close contacts with Damascus over the past 20 years since the time when he participated in negotiations for the release of American hostages in Lebanon. Sharon said he was prepared to renew negotiations with Syria without prior conditions. "I'd be happy to visit Damascus and I'd be happy for [Assad] to come to Jerusalem," Sharon added. (Ha'aretz)
  • "I Thought My Time to Die Had Come" - Daniel Ben-Tal
    Roland and Patricia Mori's house in Moshav Maor borders on an open field. At 1 a.m. Thursday, Patricia, 51, was watching television as Roland, 53, slept in their bedroom when an armed terrorist walked into their living room. "I heard the front door open and got up because I thought Roland needed help. Then I saw the terrorist right in front of me; he was young and thin and carried a Kalashnikov. I thought my time to die had come." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Prosecution Outlines "Mountain of Evidence" Against Barghouti - Matthew Gutman
    Prosecutor Devorah Chen read a brief outline of what was called "a mountain of evidence" against West Bank Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti in Tel Aviv District Court Thursday. The prosecution intends to present evidence from testimony of militants affiliated with Barghouti; Barghouti's own statements made during interrogation; Israeli, Arab, and Western media reports; documents captured by the IDF; and the expert testimony of Shin Bet and military intelligence officials.
        Even if Barghouti did not pull the trigger or set the bomb's timer in each terrorist attack, as head of several militant organizations he presided over a systematic effort to murder Israeli civilians and soldiers. Among the most damning documents are IDF-intercepted faxes written and signed by Barghouti, showing him actively funding terrorists such as Tulkarm's Ra'ed Karmi. Other evidence shows Barghouti recruiting Palestinians for terrorist attacks, asking them whether they have a gun or an explosive device. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Wants "Broad Participation" in Knesset Elections
    U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Thursday that the U.S. wanted to see broad participation in this month's Israeli elections, implicitly criticizing the preliminary disqualification by the Central Elections Committee of Israeli Arab MKs Ahmed Tibi and Azmi Bishara and Bishara's Balad party. "We're of course interested in broad participation in the political process in Israel, as we are elsewhere....I'm not commenting on the particular individuals or the parties or the political aspects of this. I'm commenting on the question of the broadest possible participation in the political process," Boucher said. (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
  • British Gov't Embargos Sale of Engines to Israel - Dror Marom
    Israel is unable to procure engines following an extension of the British government's embargo on arms sales to Israel. All of Israel's recent efforts to convince the British government to cancel the embargo have failed. The ban on engines comes on top of a ban on sales of components used in catapult propulsion systems for Israel Air Force Phantom plane ejection seats. (Globes)
        See also Files Reveal British-Israel Tank Secrets
    Previously secret files released by the Public Record Office tell how Britain blocked the sale of Chieftain tanks to Israel in 1969, even though it had agreed to the sale the previous year. Israel was furious because at the same time, Britain sold Chieftain tanks to Libya. (BBC)
  • Palestinian Terror Aid Seized in Denmark
    Authorities in Denmark have seized money belonging to a Palestinian charity on suspicion the group was allegedly sending financial aid to Middle East terrorists, media reports said Thursday. It was the first known instance when Danish authorities invoked the anti-terrorism measures enacted by the parliament last summer. (DPA/Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Iran's Nuclear Activities: What Might the IAEA Learn? - Chen Zak
    Recently published satellite photos showed two sites in Iran that might house a civilian energy program and/or a nuclear weapons program. What are the chances that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the organization responsible for verifying compliance to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), will detect clandestine nuclear activities in these two sites or elsewhere in Iran? (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Osama Bin Laden's African Progress - Irit Back
    Osama Bin Laden's appeal, with its anti-Western message, is gaining in popularity among African Muslims, not only because of its religious content, but also, and perhaps mostly, because it expresses the grievances of so many about the general condition of Muslims in Africa. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • If Iraq Attacks, We Must Fight Back - Aharon Levran
    This time, even if the likelihood of missiles being launched against Israel is low and their number small, Israel, if attacked - certainly if non-conventional warheads are involved - should by no means stand by. Israel must not repeat its non-reaction to an attack on its non-combative population and become a punching bag in a war that is not its own. The very fact that an Arab leader dared cross every red line and set new and terrible "rules of the game," and Israel failed to respond in equal measure or more, is intolerable for the future. Likewise, it is intolerable for the relatives of Jews exterminated in gas chambers to again be the victims of biochemical weapons. (Jerusalem Post)

    Weekend Features:

  • For Israeli Schoolchildren, Lessons in Gas Masks - Dexter Filkins
    For an hour today in Sarah Efrati's fourth-grade class, math, science, and Hebrew stood aside for lessons about poison gas. "To be a child in Israel you lose something," said Bilha Noy, director of psychological and counseling services for the Education Ministry. "You are not so innocent. As a child you know there are bad people in the world and that you cannot afford to be so optimistic. So you've got to be ready." Every Israeli is issued a gas mask. (New York Times)
  • Talk of War Rekindles Iraqi Jews' Old Feelings - Peter Hermann
    They are Iraqi and Jewish, and they came to Israel half a century ago to escape violent attacks and killings targeting Jews. Now, many eagerly await an American war. If Saddam Hussein is ousted from power, they say, they could visit their childhood homes once more. (Baltimore Sun)
  • Palestinian Violence Strikes Chord in Israeli Music - Gwen Ackerman
    "The land absorbs our blood and tears...but the SOB has yet to be born who can stop the state of Israel," raps a local hip hop star. Hip hop, rooted in the urban ghettos of the United States, has become the voice of defiant Israeli youngsters whose social life has been jolted by suicide bombings in cafes, pubs, and discos. (Reuters)
  • Israeli Researchers Make Heart Tissue from Stem Cells - Tamara Traubman
    Medical researchers at Haifa's Technion have succeeded in producing heart tissue using stem cells from a human being. Following testing, the heart tissue appears to be beating like a normal human heart, according to Dr. Lior Epstein, head of the research team at the Technion's Rappoport Institute. The findings were recently published in the journal Circulation Research. (Ha'aretz)
  • U.S. Police Forces are Choosing Israeli Technologies
    U.S. police departments are using advanced communications technology developed in Israel to improve their law enforcement and public safety capabilities. Two new Los Angeles Police Department 911 dispatch centers will be using digital voice recording technology developed by NICE systems, headquartered in Ra'anana. (Israel21c)

    People-to-People:

  • Israeli Teen Singers Score Hit with Locals
    The Kiryat Bialik Youth Ensemble came to Boca Raton as part of the United Jewish Communities' Partnership 2000 program. (Boca Raton, FL News)
  • Kansas City Leaders Visit Israel
    Caroline McKnight, director of the Mainsteam Coalition, and Gwendolyn Grant, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, represented the city on a seminar in Israel sponsored by the American Jewish Committee's Project Interchange. (Kansas City Jewish Chronicle)
  • Frederick Man Volunteers on Israeli Military Base
    Donald Lachman, 76, past president of the Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, is back after a month working at an Israeli military base 6 miles from the Gaza Strip. (The [Montgomery Co., MD] Gazette)
  • Love of Israel Inspires Volunteers
    Ariel Hantin, 24, of Glencoe, fixed broken tank parts on an armor base south of Tel Aviv. "On a day-to-day basis, I felt safer there than I do here," she says. "I know that sounds strange from everything we see and hear in the news. But they make you feel very secure." (Skokie Review)
  • California Man Aids Emergency Units in Israel
    Mike Harris, general manager of Riggs Ambulance Service, recently returned from Israel where he helped refine emergency medical services in the town of Beit Shemesh. (Modesto Bee)
  • Connecticut Couple Ties Knot on Birthright Trip
    With hundreds of other Birthright Israel participants looking on, Megan Seltz and Ian Brandt exchanged vows at Neve Ilan, a hilly town on the outskirts of Jerusalem. (Stamford [CT] Advocate)
  • Talking Points:

    Israeli Arabs Penetrated by Terrorist Organizations - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)

    • There was a 32 percent increase - from 56 in 2001 to 74 in 2002 - in the number of Israeli Arabs prepared to participate in terror activities against Jewish Israelis.
    • In 2000, when the military conflict began, there were eight terrorist cells discovered among Israeli Arabs. In 2001, there were 25 groups uncovered, while in 2002, 32 were discovered.
    • Three groups of Israeli Arabs activated by Hizballah were uncovered in 2000 and 2001, while in 2002, two such groups were discovered.
    • Hamas and Islamic Jihad were the pioneers in using Israeli Arabs for terrorism, but in 2001, Fatah-Tanzim became the leading organization using Israeli Arab terror accomplices - nine such cells were uncovered in 2001 and 13 in 2002.
    • After Palestinian gunman Sirhan Sirhan murdered a mother and her two small children at Kibbutz Metzer in November, he escaped to the Arab village of Umm Kutaf, near Kibbutz Ma'anit. There he asked Ahmed Sahdi Kabha, 18, to hide Sirhan's Kalashnikov rifle. Kabha did not hesitate and even asked to be given a gun. He did not tell anyone he had the murderer's weapon and even tried out the Kalashnikov in shooting practice.
    • Sirhan, the murderer, continued to Baka al Sharkia, on the east side of the Green Line, and from there he got a ride to Tulkarm. Sirhan's commanders in Tulkarm then sent an Israeli Arab, Majdi Sa'id from Baka al Garbiyeh, to pick up the Kalashnikov from Kabha. The common denominator between Sa'id and Kabha is that both were immediately ready to help in the murder of Israelis.


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