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

March 13, 2003

To contact the Presidents Conference:
info@prescon.org

In-Depth Issue:

Rich Flee Baghdad as Panic Grips City's Poor - Janine di Giovanni (London Times)
    Over the past week the fatalistic Iraqi attitude has deteriorated into anxiety and fear. People who previously laughed off the bombing are now running for cover.
    Those who can afford it are packing their families and possessions for either a ten-hour drive across the desert to Jordan or an eight-hour drive northwest to Syria.
    It is a startling change from the attitude of the past two months, when Iraqis refused to admit to any fear or concern.


Report Highlights Threat of Nuclear Terror - Elaine Monaghan (London Times)
    Hundreds of tons of nuclear bomb-making materials are scattered at insecure sites around the globe waiting for al Qaeda to grab them, according to a Harvard University report published Wednesday.
    Al Qaeda has been trying to get stolen nuclear weapons or bomb-making material for over a decade, says the report, Controlling Nuclear Warheads and Materials: A Report Card and Action Plan.
    According to Matthew Bunn of Harvard University's "Project on Managing the Atom," one of the report's authors, "There are hundreds of buildings around the world in scores of countries where the essential ingredients of nuclear weapons are dangerously insecure," with enough material to make tens of thousands of nuclear warheads.


Ambulances Used for Terror Activities (IDF)
    Aslam Jabril, a Red Crescent ambulance driver, has been charged in the Beit El military court with using ambulances to transport guns and explosive belts to terrorists of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Nablus and Ramallah.


Israel Sells Patrol Boats to Greece for Olympic Security (Middle East Newsline)
    Israel Shipyards was awarded a contract to sell three fast patrol boats to the Hellenic Coast Guard for an estimated $100 million, industry sources said.
    Greece will use the Saar-4 class vessels to ensure coastal security during the Olympic Games in 2004.


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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. Seeks UN Vote by Friday
    Bush administration officials said Wednesday they could still win 9 of 15 votes in the Security Council for a resolution effectively authorizing an attack on Iraq and insisted they would force a vote on the resolution by Friday. (New York Times)
  • Turks Add Hurdles to U.S. War Plans
    Turkey's leaders insist they need further assurances about postwar Iraq before they allow U.S. troops to deploy along the border for an attack. They also are refusing to let the Pentagon use Turkish airspace without approval from parliament, but appear to be in no hurry to schedule a new vote. Without the use of Turkish airspace, Pentagon officials would have to consider using the more provocative route of flying over Israel and Jordan. (Washington Post)
  • Palestinians Receive Checks from Saddam Hussein
    Palestinian families received $245,000 in checks from Iraq on Wednesday. The family of a Palestinian suicide bomber received a check for $25,000. The other 22 families received $10,000 each. Officials of the Arab Liberation Front said Hussein has paid $35 million to the kin of Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip and West Bank since September 2000. (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • Palestinian Man Sentenced for Bronx Shul Attack
    A 22-year-old Palestinian man was sentenced to up to four years in federal prison for his role in a failed Yom Kippur Eve synagogue bombing in the Bronx. Mohammed Alfakih of Yonkers hurled two Molotov cocktails at Congregation Adath Israel in Riverdale on Oct. 8, 2000. A co-defendant, Mazin Assi, also a Palestinian, was convicted of attempted arson and weapons possession. (JTA/New York Jewish Week)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Soldier Killed in West Bank Clash - Amos Harel
    Staff Sergeant Assaf Fuchs, 21, of the Paratroopers Brigade, was killed and another was wounded Wednesday in clashes with Islamic Jihad gunmen outside the West Bank village of Saida. One Palestinian terrorist was killed and two were wounded and captured. (Ha'aretz)
  • Where's My Reward for Appointing a Prime Minister, Arafat Asks Quartet - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Meeting with Terje Roed-Larsen of the UN, Miguel Moratinos of the EU, and Andrei Vdovin of Russia in Ramallah on Wednesday, Yasser Arafat demanded that they put pressure on Israel, now that he has agreed to share powers with a prime minister. A senior Palestinian official said, "The people are demanding to know what kind of compensation we are going to get after President Arafat agreed to give up some of his powers." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Poll: Islamists More Popular than Fatah - Eli Vaked
    Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Islamic groups are now more popular among the Palestinian public than Arafat's Fatah and leftist secular movements, according to a poll conducted by Bir Zeit University and released Wednesday. The Islamic groups together received 35% support, compared to 30% for Fatah and the left. (Yediot Ahronot)
  • New Child Allowance Plan Targets Polygamy - Ruth Sinai
    The Prime Minister's Office is seeking to reduce or end child allowances to families in which the father has more than one wife. Bigamy is forbidden by law, but the Sharia (Islamic law) courts in Israel were allowing Muslim men to circumvent the civil law. The initiative also targets the practice of Bedouin men bringing women from the territories and Jordan into Israel as additional wives, some of whom come with children from previous marriages. Around 30% of Bedouin men are believed to have more than one wife. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The French Connection - William Safire
    France, China, and Syria all have a common reason for keeping American and British troops out of Iraq: the three nations may not want the world to discover that their nationals have been illicitly supplying Saddam Hussein with materials used in building long-range surface-to-surface missiles. (New York Times)
  • UN Absurdity - George F. Will
    Inebriated by self-approval, the United Nations is grounded in neither democratic consent nor territorial responsibilities, nor independent fiscal means, nor the material means of enforcing its judgments. By trying to lasso the American locomotive with the cobwebs of UN procedures, France has emboldened Iraq and made war inevitable. The UN Security Council is a snapshot of 1945 delusions and compromises. (Washington Post)
  • Saudi-Funded U.S. Group Recruits for al Qaeda - Rita Katz and Josh Devon
    The Saudi-funded, al Qaeda propaganda machine is in full effect behind the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA), an ostensibly mainstream organization that had five of its members arrested and indicted at the end of February. IANA receives half its funding from the Saudi government and the other half from mostly Saudi private donors, according to a New York Times interview with IANA's director, Mohammed al-Ahmari. Backed by the Saudis, IANA has become a glorified al Qaeda recruitment center. Two of the most radical sheiks in Saudi Arabia who provide religious justification for al Qaeda, Salman Al-Awdah and Safar al-Hawali, have several fatwas (religious rulings) and statements plastered all over IANA's websites that legitimize suicide bombings, terrorist attacks, and spit hatred towards the West. (National Review)
  • Jordanians Love Microsoft, Hate America - Adam Davidson
    The estimates of how many Jordanians hate the U.S. never change. ''You can start thinking of a number above 95%,'' says Laith Shubeilat, a leading Jordanian Islamist. Still, almost everyone in Jordan sees his own future, his own happiness, tied up with America. American movies and TV shows and fast food have never been more popular. It's difficult to find a professional who didn't study in the U.S., and harder still to find an ambitious young person who isn't eager to do the same. (New York Times)
  • Observations:

    A Road Map to Nowhere - Mortimer B. Zuckerman (U.S. News)

    • The road map the president drew in his Middle East speech last June 24, with the objective of two states living side by side in peace, dignity, and freedom, was tenanted on a fundamental assumption: that Palestinians should not expect anything - not a state, not a provisional state, not an Israeli withdrawal, not American support - until they get rid of their corrupt leaders and select new ones untainted by terrorism.
    • The president recognized that Palestinian suffering and violence are not the product of Israeli "occupation" but the result of an occupation by a thugocracy of Palestinian leaders who came from Tunisia to Gaza and the West Bank a decade ago.
    • Instead of focusing on what the Palestinians must do to end terrorism once and for all, the Quartet's Road Map would allow the Palestinians to begin the process without first having made any meaningful commitment to peace. Israel would find itself obligated to make irrevocable concessions without concrete evidence that the Palestinians really had renounced terrorism, really had accepted the permanence of the Jewish state, really had reformed.
    • The Quartet buys into the sham parallelism between the conduct of Israel and that of the Palestinians. Israel has to pledge an immediate end to "attacks" against Palestinians everywhere. Once again, terrorism and retaliation to terrorism are treated as morally equivalent, as if the arsonist and the firefighter are one and the same.
    • Within the Quartet, the UN, the EU, and Russia are the very entities that have so signally failed to monitor and implement the terms of the Iraq disarmament Resolution 1441. Rather than make hard assessments, they have made political judgments to serve their own interests, which are contrary to America's most vital security interests. Wonder what kind of treatment little Israel would get under the proposed Road Map from this trio?


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