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 10, 2003

To contact the Presidents Conference:
info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

PA Official Claims Orient House Operations Renewed (Ha'aretz)
    Samir Rosheh, the head of the PA's operations in Jerusalem, told El Quds newspaper that limited activity at Orient House had been resumed, including a legal committee and the PA's foreign liaison panel.
    Rosheh added that some of the activity previously run from Orient House had been relocated to a temporary headquarters in A-Ram, north of Jerusalem.
    The Oslo agreements explicitly ban official PA activity in Jerusalem.


Unarmed Police Return to Palestinian Cities - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Palestinian policemen are once again patrolling the streets of West Bank cities. However, they neither wear their blue uniforms nor carry Kalashnikov rifles or pistols.
    The decision to send the policemen back to the streets was taken at a meeting held in Arafat's office in Ramallah earlier this week following complaints of a dramatic upsurge in crime.
    Residents of West Bank cities have complained that local thieves and criminals are exploiting the security situation to break into private homes and businesses, especially during IDF-imposed curfew hours.
    In Hebron, which has suffered from a wave of thefts, a leaflet distributed by Fatah threatened to cut off the arms of thieves in accordance with strict Islamic rulings.


Former Inmate Remembers a Young Saddam (AP/New York Times)
    Locked in a fetid Iraqi prison nearly 40 years ago, Hussein al-Rikabi met a serious-minded young inmate who he recalls was so cunning that he once engineered a jailhouse dispute to identify informers among the prisoners.
    Saddam stood out among the hundreds of Baathists, communists, nationalists and others held in the prison, al-Rikabi recalled.
    Al-Rikabi said Saddam eventually escaped from prison, disguised as a garbage collector, with the help of some friendly guards.


Psychological Warfare Expert: Change Anti-Terror Tactics - Margot Dudkevitch (Jerusalem Post)
    Dr. Ron Schleiffer, a lecturer on psychological warfare at Bar-Ilan University, said it is time to embark on a new strategy combining psychological warfare and action on the ground.
    After the IDF destroys the homes of terrorists, "The following day they begin to rebuild, sometimes a better home then what they had before." The only true deterrent is to prevent rebuilding.
    The Palestinians must be made to fear Israel's presence, and must realize that their leadership is leading them, as pawns, away from their own best interests, he said.
    Confiscating land "is something they will fear and it will serve as a serious deterrent," he said.


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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Muslim Suicide Bombing of Australians Thwarted in Singapore
    A radical Muslim cell in Singapore planned to use suicide bombers to detonate up to six explosive-laden trucks parked near targets that included the Australian High Commission, an official report has revealed. Singapore's government said that the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) group planned the attack for late 2001 - around the time the authorities swooped and arrested six of the cell members. JI is linked to al Qaeda and has been implicated in the October 12 bombings in Bali. (Sydney Morning Herald)
  • Saudis Beef Up Forces in Washington
    With mounting criticism from Congress over its record in the war on terror, Saudi Arabia is beefing up its forces - in D.C. The Saudis have retained the high-powered law firm of former Texas GOP congressman Tom Loeffler, whose firm will be paid about $720,000 a year. Loeffler headed up fund-raising for President Bush's first gubernatorial campaign and served as finance cochair for his presidential race. "You couldn't find anybody closer to this White House," said one D.C. consultant. A Saudi official says Loeffler will be used mostly to lobby on trade issues, but will branch out to matters such as terrorism financing when needed. (Newsweek)
  • French Jews Leave Home for Israel
    Emigration of French Jews to Israel increased drastically last year in the wake of a string of attacks on members of the community. France, which has the largest Jewish population in the European Union, lost 2,326 citizens - the largest number in 30 years and double that of 2001. (BBC)
  • The Predator
    The Predator, an unmanned reconnaissance drone, could well be the most valuable weapon in the American arsenal. It has already fired more than 50 times in Afghanistan and has killed at least two high-ranking members of al Qaeda. A Predator can see a man on the ground at 12 miles, and it can keep watching him for hours, transmitting live video to a ground station that can be set up anywhere - including the Pentagon or at the CIA. (CBS News)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Sources: Israel May Not Receive Whole Aid Package - Ran Dagoni
    Following a meeting with members of Congress, Israeli sources in Washington said Thursday, “Many House and Senate members understand that aid to Israel is not betting on a bad horse. Israel received special aid packages in 1985 and 1992. In both cases the aid proved worthwhile. The 1985 package helped eliminate hyperinflation, and the 1992 package helped absorb immigrants from the former Soviet Union. In both cases, Israel was able to use the special aid effectively to repair its economy.
        The House members and Congressional aides at the meetings were inclined to grant Israel “something,” i.e., some special aid, although there is no guarantee Israel will receive everything it asked for. (Globes)
  • Blair to Mitzna: I'll Work to Lift Embargo - Sharon Sadeh
    After a meeting with Israeli Labor Party chairman Amram Mitzna in London Thursday, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he intended to work toward reversing his country's policies restricting the export of security-related equipment to Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Jordanian Engineers Repair Bulge in Temple Mount Wall - Etgar Lefkovits
    A team of senior Jordanian engineers began repair work on the bulge on the southern wall of Jerusalem's Temple Mount. "Looking at the problem solely from an archeological point of view, they know how to work very well," said Danny Bahat, former Jerusalem regional archeologist for the Antiquities Authority.
        However, Hebrew University archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, a leading spokesperson of the Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, said, "The problem remains a question of responsibility. Because the Temple Mount is at the heart of Jerusalem and the State of Israel, it is the government's job and in this case the Antiquities Authority to be responsible for what is going on at the Mount, something that is certainly not the case today." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Jewish Families Move into Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City - Nadav Shragai
    After more than a decade of trying to buy a building near the Damascus Gate in the Muslim quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, three Jewish families moved in Sunday. A Jewish donor bought the building from the Arab family that previously lived there. Some 58 Jewish families and several hundred yeshiva students live in the Muslim quarter. The building will be named Beit Baruch after Baruch Lerner, a victim of the Moment Cafe bombing, who was a security guard in the Old City. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Israeli Restraint Makes Terrorism More Likely - Jeff Jacoby
    The suicide bombings in Tel Aviv this week were the third worst terror attack in Israel in the past quarter-century, and Arafat's spokesman issued a statement in English expressing ''total condemnation of these terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.'' But at about the same time, the Fatah Web site posted another statement - in Arabic - celebrating the attacks: ''With faith in the calling of holy jihad,'' it said, ''two suicide attackers...succeeded this evening to infiltrate the Zionist roadblocks and to enter the heart of...Tel Aviv....We swear before our people that additional suicide operations will occur.''
        To demand ''restraint'' of Israel now - to insist that it voluntarily suppress its right to self-defense - is to make bloody atrocities like last Sunday's not less likely but more so. Like the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Palestinian Authority and the murderers it has supported must be crushed. That is the plain meaning of the Bush Doctrine and the essential first step to peace. (Boston Globe)
  • A U.S. Diplomatic Victory - Richard Beeston
    The struggle to enlist Baghdad’s reluctant neighbors in the American campaign is nearing its close. One by one the opponents of the war have gradually shifted their positions and are now reluctantly ready to do Washington’s bidding. If and when hostilities do break out, it is hard to imagine any country in the region, including stubborn holdouts such as Syria and Saudi Arabia, choosing to stand up to the Americans and risk being seen to side with President Saddam Hussein in his final hour. There is even a possibility that when the countdown begins for war, a mini-stampede of latecomers will send their troops to join the Americans and the British. (London Times)
  • Blair Needs to Take On Public Opinion Again over Iraq - Editorial
    Mr. Blair might be tempted to offer a renewed emphasis on the Middle East peace process to balance the invasion of Iraq. He needs to be careful in that venture. Where this country can play a constructive role, such as the conference on reform of the Palestinian Authority that may have been lost after the Tel Aviv blasts on Sunday, then it should do so. It would be unwise, by contrast, to make demands of the White House for which there is no significant constituency at all inside the United States. To suggest, for example, that Colin Powell visits the Middle East after the Israeli elections is reasonable. To ask that the President act in a manner which might be viewed at home as appeasing suicide-bombers would not. (London Times)
  • Guide to the Iraq Debate - Reihan Salam
    Saddam may have overlooked an important detail amid his now-familiar delay-tactics: The United States is no longer operating according to a UN timetable, like the bad old days of the mid-1990s. It is operating according to its own timetable. (New Republic)
  • Aaron Miller Leaving State in a State of "Despair" - Ori Nir
    A 25-year State Department veteran, Aaron Miller has served since the first Bush administration as part of a specialized team devoted to advancing Middle East peace negotiations. Now, at age 53, Miller is leaving the diplomatic service to become president of a not-for-profit organization, Seeds for Peace. A condition to successful negotiations, Miller said, is a clear Palestinian agreement that their "armed struggle," as they refer to their campaign of anti-Israel violence, has to stop. "I see no way - under any conceivable or imaginable circumstance - of creating any kind of environment for negotiations, without that fundamental realization being grasped by Palestinians and executed," he said. Miller confirmed that the crisis with Iraq will "have to be resolved before a serious focus or emphasis can be placed on Israeli-Arab peacemaking." (Forward)
  • Shame on the CBC's Israel Coverage - Norman Spector
    Your reporters do not leave viewers to decide whether curfews are self-defense measures; they unambiguously refer to "collective punishment," the Palestinian term and a crime under the Geneva Conventions. You call Israel's targeted killings, though not the recent U.S. one in Yemen, "assassinations" - an honorific used by Palestinian spokespersons but not normally conferred by CBC on any mass murderers, other than, it appears, those who send bombers to blow up babies in Jerusalem pizzerias.
        Your correspondents refer to the "occupation" and to the West Bank and Gaza as "occupied Palestinian land," not as disputed territory. And they call Israeli communities "settlements" and their residents "settlers." Interestingly, you never mention that even these Israelis - as do Palestinians - have a stronger claim than my neighbors who've settled on aboriginal lands in British Columbia. [Norman Spector is Canada's former ambassador to Israel.] (National Post-Canada)
  • Abu Mazen: A Pragmatic Alternative to Arafat - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Better known as Abu Mazen, Mahmoud Abbas is among Yasser Arafat's oldest comrades in arms, and is seen as a pragmatic alternative to the Palestinian boss. (Jerusalem Post)

    Weekend Features:

  • My Cellphone Saved My Life, Survivor Says - Mati Milstein
    Itzik Ya'acobov of Holon owns a restaurant that was five meters from one of the two blasts. He said every diner sitting at his outside tables on the crowded pedestrian mall was wounded. Michael Tataro, 43, was saved by his cellphone. Shrapnel from one of the blasts flew into his jacket just above his waist, but entered the back of the phone and flew out the side, completely destroying it. Yevgeny Schreiber, 53, of Azur, said. "It was lucky I had a big bag on my back. The backpack was completely destroyed." (Jerusalem Post)
  • NASA on Terror Alert for First Israeli in Space - Jacqui Goddard
    When Israel's first astronaut, former fighter pilot Ilan Ramon, prepares to blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, next week, he will be at the center of an unprecedented security operation by NASA. Ramon will be joining the space shuttle Columbia for a 16-day research voyage. While the fleet is already seen as a high-profile terrorist target, NASA is conscious that a shuttle carrying an Israeli - who took part in devastating combat sorties against his country's Arab enemies - would be the ultimate trophy. (London Times)
        See also Israeli Astronaut Says Space Unifier, Not Divider - Jeff Franks
    The man set to be the first Israeli astronaut said Friday he does not expect to become a target of Israel's enemies because space flight is a uniter of people. "There's no better place to emphasize the unity of people in the world than flying to space," said Ilan Ramon, 48, an Israeli air force colonel who was scheduled to launch aboard space shuttle Columbia on Jan. 16 with six other crew members. (Reuters/Akron Beacon Journal)
  • Portland Police Chief's Trip to Israeli Terrorism Conference Stirs Controversy - Maxine Bernstein
    Several local Muslim leaders objected to Portland Police Chief Mark Kroeker's upcoming trip to Israel to attend a terrorism security conference. Kroeker is one of 38 police chiefs and FBI officials at a four-day conference in Tel Aviv called United Against Terror: Law Enforcement in the Era of Global Terror. The conference, sponsored by Israel Police, will include workshops on identifying sleeper terror cells, drawing public support for the fight against terror, and coping with the aftermath of a terrorist attack. Kroeker said he wants to get ideas on how they're dealing with terrorism because 9/11 showed the potential of attacks on U.S. soil. (Oregonian)
  • A Semester in Israel in Spite of the Violence - Steve Strunsky
    There are 35 overseas students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheva this spring, most of them American, from institutions including the State University at Albany, Vassar College, and Rutgers University. (AP/Newsday)
  • American Students in Israel Strive to Live as Israelis - Howard Goodman
    Maureen Melcer, 20, from Boca Raton, is spending her junior year of college at Hebrew University, and was helping set up for a convention of about 4,000 young Jewish travelers to Israel when news came of the Tel Aviv blasts. "It's incredibly hard to be so far away from home, with everything that's going on here," she said Monday, "but with most of us, we have each other, and we believe in Israel, and that's why we're here." A psychology major, Melcer started at Hebrew U. in August. Two days after she arrived, the cafeteria was blasted by a bomb hidden in a bag, killing 7 people including her adviser. "I'd been there five minutes before," she said. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
  • Talking Points:

    No Peace Without Palestinian Leadership Change - Foreign Minister Benyamin Netanyahu (Israel Foreign Ministry)

    • Arafat is a classic, corrupt, terrorist dictator that has to go the way the Taliban has gone, not only for the sake of ending this terror, but also for allowing a new beginning for Israelis and Palestinians.
    • It's just not going to happen with this man and these groups who are subordinate to him. As long as they're here, we're going to have more and more tragedy for Israelis and Palestinians alike. We need something else. We can do better.
    • We have an ongoing battle with savage terrorists. Yesterday (Sunday), they deliberately murdered people, not only Israelis but the nationals of several lands. They just indiscriminately kill anyone. It's a battle between barbarism and civilization. And civilization will win, must win.
    • We want to talk to the Palestinians. We want to talk to people who want to talk to us about living, not about killing us. You are faced at certain points in history with dictators and tyrants who simply refuse to compromise with your existence. You have to change the leadership in order to get any progress.
    • Are there no Palestinians we can talk to? Of course there are. But we can't talk to them right now because if they raise their heads, if they criticize Arafat, if they actually stand against him, they will be shot. So until you have a leadership replacement, you're not going to get any movement towards peace.


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