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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June 25, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

A State of Corruption

    Since the 1993 Oslo peace accord established the Palestinian Authority's administrative rule over the 3.3 million Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza, Yasser Arafat has run a system built on corruption and repression:

  • The owner of a West Bank food store chain has been paying "taxes" regularly to a PA security force, whose men threatened to jail his children and denounce him as an Israeli collaborator -- effectively a death sentence -- if he didn't pay up.
  • When the mother of a 5-year-old deaf boy petitioned Arafat personally for $20,000 for the boy's emergency surgery, Arafat gave her a signed voucher and sent her to the PA Finance Ministry in Ramallah. There she signed for the $20,000 -- and was handed $5,000, with officials taking the other $15,000 as a "commission."
  • After U.S.-educated West Bank political science professor Sattar Kassem told a Hamas newspaper that Arafat's rule amounted to "tyranny which grasps our people by the throat," he was shot in the legs and hand on his way home.
  • When the president of the Palestinian Supreme Court publicly criticized the PA Justice Minister for interfering in court proceedings and failing to pay court employees' salaries, the Court president was fired.
  • Two policemen and a private attorney held an impromptu session of the state security court in Bethlehem to try two men for collaborating with Israel. After two hours, the novice judges sentenced the men to death.
        In March, PA jailers turned the two men over to members of Arafat's Fatah militia, who took them to Manger Square where they were shot to death, tied to a jeep, and dragged before the crowd. (US News)

    Martyr Necklaces Latest Palestinian Craze

        14-year-old Saleh Attiti of Balata near Nablus proudly displays his growing collection of necklaces with pictures of "martyrs" of the Palestinian uprising. "They're our idols," he says.
        The hottest item in Balata is a pendant of Jihad Attiti, the homicide bomber who killed an 18-month-old baby and her grandmother in a Tel Aviv suburb two weeks ago. (Toronto Star)

    Key Links

    Media Contact Information

    Back Issues

  • News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • President Bush Calls for New Palestinian Leadership
    Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership. Today, Palestinian authorities are encouraging, not opposing terrorism. This is unacceptable. The United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure. (White House)
  • Clear Terms, Murky Future
    Martin Indyk, a top Middle East strategist in the Clinton administration, called Mr. Bush's speech "a moment of clarity. It was right for him to remove the ambiguity from American policy when it came to the question of Palestinian leadership because not only has Arafat failed the test of leadership, there is not an Israeli leader who would negotiate an agreement with Yasser Arafat." (New York Times)
  • Jewish Leaders Praise "Historic" Bush Speech
    "He has essentially created a post-Oslo framework," said David Makovsky, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "He is making it clear that Palestinian aspirations for statehood are intertwined with reform and security." (JTA)
  • For Palestinian Gain, Some Willing to Sacrifice Arafat
    Palestinian reformers say most Palestinians would be ready to ditch longtime leader Yasser Arafat if the U.S. came up with a credible plan for Middle East peace. (USA Today)
  • Terror Takes Enormous Toll in Israel
    The number of Israeli citizens killed in terrorist attacks in the past six months is proportionately equivalent to three times the number of Americans killed in the September 11 attacks. (CNN)
  • Iraqi Defector Describes Murder, Fake Funerals
    Ali witnessed Saddam's oldest son Uday beat to death a man who dared speak to a woman Uday desired. The Baghdad regime collects bodies of dead children in freezers in order to stage elaborate mass funerals. (BBC)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:
  • IDF Thwarts Homocide Bombers
    After a massive manhunt on Monday, Border Police arrested a would-be Palestinian homicide bomber who was planning an attack in the Beit Shemesh area. In Jenin, soldiers destroyed two bomb factories where they found two belts rigged with 15 kilograms of explosives. In Hebron, 4 Palestinians were killed in an exchange of gunfire with IDF troops. (Ha'aretz/Jerusalem Post)
  • Peres, Sharon: Current IDF Operation Has Limited Scope
    The IDF will remain in PA territory only until a security fence is completed, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres told the visiting French Foreign Minister on Monday. Prime Minister Sharon told the Likud faction, "We are not speaking of reoccupation but rather an extended presence, and there is no intention to manage civil affairs in the Palestinian cities." (Maariv)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Getting Rid of Arafat - Editorial
    President Bush made it unmistakably clear yesterday that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat is the No. 1 obstacle to freedom and a good life for the Palestinians. The president must impress on certain members of his administration that they must not undermine his message, with schemes of their own, in the days ahead. (Washington Times)
  • Yasser Won't Go - Danny Rubinstein
    The Palestinian leadership cannot accept the condition stipulated by U.S. President George Bush that the current leadership - in other words, Yasser Arafat - has to be removed in order to realize the vision of a Palestinian state. Thus, the central thrust of Bush's remarks about establishing a new leadership has no realistic application. (Ha'aretz)
  • Sharon's Victory - Aluf Benn
    Bush wholly accepted the Israeli interpretation of the conflict, leveling harsh criticism at the Palestinian Authority, that rejected "[Israel's] offered hand and trafficked with terrorists." He warned the Palestinians that should they continue to choose terrorism, "Israel will continue to defend herself." With these comments, Israel received full American backing for its Operation Determined Path, currently under way in the West Bank. (Ha'aretz)
  • Three Meditations on Cruelty - Cynthia Ozick
    It is unnatural for human parents, however ideologically brainwashed, to endure -- let alone to favor -- the destruction of a child. It is the madness of a people that has adopted both self-destruction and gratuitous killing as its credo. It is Moloch masking as Allah. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Talking Points: President Bush's Middle East Speech

    What's in the Speech

    • The president states that "peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership." He asserts that the current Palestinian Authority is "compromised by terror." He adds that "Palestinian authorities are encouraging, not opposing, terrorism." Bush all but links Arafat to the present wave of terror.
    • The president insists that "every [Arab] leader" end "incitement to violence in official media and publicly denounce homicide bombings." He calls on "every nation" to stop support for Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizballah; and to block Iranian shipments to these groups. While the Bush statement is explicitly directed at Syria, it implicitly warns countries such as Saudi Arabia for their support of some of the terrorist groups.
    • Bush involves Jordan and Egypt in the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state, particularly in security issues. The nature and extent of their involvement requires clarification.
    • Bush notes the requirement for an "externally supervised effort" to rebuild and reform Palestinian security services. This external effort requires clarification.
    • The president bases his call on Israel to stop settlement activity on recommendations of the Mitchell Committee. Those recommendations specifically require first an unconditional ceasefire, followed by a meaningful cooling-off period, and then by confidence-building measures by both sides, that include dealing with the natural growth of existing settlements.

    What's Not in the Speech

    • The president did not call on Israel to cease its defensive operations against terrorists.
    • He did not call for a withdrawal to 1967 boundaries as demanded in the Saudi plan presented by Crown Prince Abdullah. Rather the president referred to UN Resolution 242's call for secure and recognized borders.
    • He did not call for a redivision of Jerusalem or a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem.
    • He did not present plans for Palestinian refugees, stating that the issues of refugees and Jerusalem will be resolved in the future.
    • He did not call for immediate negotiations on a final status agreement. First, new Palestinian institutions and leaders must emerge and demonstrate "real performance on security and reform."
    • The president did not mention previous negotiating positions such as the Clinton proposals or a return to Camp David discussions.

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