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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July 2, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Jordan Foils Al Qaeda Plot to Attack U.S., Israeli Embassies

Jordan has arrested 11 men said to have Al Qaeda ties who were planning to attack a variety of U.S. and Israeli targets. Those arrested are Arab veterans of the Afghan conflict, working in small, loosely coordinated groups to promote a strict version of Islam through violent action.
    The men are led by Emir Wail al Shalabi, a Palestinian-Jordanian veteran of Afghanistan who fled the Taliban fortress of Tora Bora with 10 followers during America's bombing.
    Informed sources said four of the men were planning attacks on the American and Israeli Embassies, and on leisure centers in Jordan frequented by Americans.
    Jordan was the only Arab state to send peacekeepers to Kabul, and it conducts frequent military exercises with the U.S. A third of its $450 million U.S. aid budget goes to military aid.
    The rise in militant Islam alarms the Jordanian leadership. Friday prayers in some mosques are accompanied with celebrations for the martyrs of the previous week's suicide bombings on Israelis, and an anti-American mood is partially fostered by dozens of Arab veterans of Afghanistan who have returned home to Jordan since Sept. 11.
    Tanks have taken up positions outside the U.S. Embassy in the normally relaxed capital, and American Peace Corps volunteers stationed in the country's hinterland have been cautioned against visiting Amman.
    Since Sept. 11, the authorities have confiscated thousands of books of jihadi literature from publishing houses in Amman and made a spate of arrests.
    A death sentence was passed on Jordanian-American Raed Hijazi for conspiring in 1999 to act against American and Israeli tourists on the eve of the millennium celebrations. The authorities said the plot was funded by Al Qaeda, and linked it to alleged attempts to assassinate King Abdullah while on his summer holiday, and to attack the tourist facilities at the site of Jesus' baptism near the Jordan River. (Christian Science Monitor)

Useful Reference:

Visions for Peace

In a special series of reports, Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Ehud Barak discuss their visions for Israel's future. (JTA)

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Back Issues

News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Arafat: Mr. Nowhere Man
    Many Palestinians are now openly blaming Arafat for leading them to ruin. "Eight years ago he came to Gaza and Jericho and said, 'I'll make it into Hong Kong.' Instead he turned it into Somalia," says a Bethlehem schoolteacher. Arafat is routinely attacked for mismanaging the uprising, as well as for allowing corruption and cronyism to flourish in his government. Hussam Khader, a Fatah leader from Nablus and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, says, "When Arafat disappears, they will write about his criminality and his catastrophes." (Newsweek)
        See also Bush vs. Arafat
    Does President Bush have a follow-up plan for actually removing Yasser Arafat from power? Apparently not. (Time)
  • After Arafat: Interview with Mohammed Dahlan
    Mohammed Dahlan is tipped to succeed Yasser Arafat. But is the man respected by Hamas, Washington, and even Israel the right person to bring peace to the Middle East? And why is he so keen to talk to The Times about his future? (Times - UK)
        See also We'll Choose Our Leaders - Mohammed Dahlan
    As long as the Israelis are against Arafat, I'm with him - whatever my reservations. [Mohammed Dahlan was until last month head of the Palestinian Authority's security organization in Gaza.] (Guardian - UK)
  • Study Warns of Stagnation in Arab Societies
    The Arab Human Development Report 2002, written by Arab intellectuals commissioned by the UN and issued in Cairo, warns that Arab societies are being crippled by a lack of political freedom, the repression of women, and an isolation from the world of ideas that stifles creativity. Intellectuals are fleeing, half of Arab women are illiterate, productivity is declining, research and development are weak or nonexistent, and science and technology are dormant. (New York Times)
  • Muslim-Jewish Cooperation in Tennis Upsets Pakistani Sports Officials
    Pakistan's Aisamul Haq Qureshi, a Muslim, has created history with the help of Israeli Amir Hadad, who together upset their opponents to make it to the third round of the men's doubles at Wimbledon. But Qureshi, the first Pakistani player ever to reach the third round of a Grand Slam event, faces a ban over his choice of tennis partner. (BBC)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:
  • Unemployed Gazans Ask: "Where are the Millions?"
    Thousands of people bused into Gaza City Monday morning from Rafah and Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, where unemployment is believed to be as high as 60 percent, marched on Palestinian Authority headquarters demanding jobs and food. They even dared to chant direct accusations of theft of donations against the Palestinian Authority. "Where are the millions?" they demanded, in an eerie echo of a chant from the first intifada, which called on millions of people across the Arab world to help the Palestinian cause.
        The workers consulted with human rights groups and one NGO paid for the banners used in the demonstration. The fact that the protest was not under the auspices of any political body has led many in the PA to wonder how it turned out to be such a success and how it has gained such popular support. (Ha'aretz)
        Political sources in Jerusalem called the demonstrations a new phenomenon of public criticism of Arafat. "It appears that the Palestinians are beginning to ask themselves what the terror has brought them, and the answer is suffering and more suffering." Sources close to the prime minister said that over the past few weeks more and more Palestinians have come out against Arafat's rule. (Yediot Ahronot)
  • EU's New Danish President Backs Arafat's Ouster
    Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, whose country has taken over the rotating presidency of the European Union from Spain for the next six months, said he agrees with the U.S. call to replace Yasser Arafat. There has been a significant change in Danish policy since elections there last November and the ousting of foreign minister Mogen Lykketoft, considered among the most anti-Israel ministers in Europe. A Norwegian-initiated boycott of Israeli goods has not been successful in Denmark. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Twilight of the Palestinian Regime - Danny Rubinstein
    A large advertisement appeared this weekend in the West Bank newspaper Al Quds, signed by Dr. Haider Abdul Shafi of Gaza, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti of Ramallah, and civil engineer Ibrahim Dakak of East Jerusalem, headlined "A Palestinian National Initiative for Progress Toward Freedom and Independence," calling for the establishment of a national emergency leadership and making no mention of Arafat. It is the lack of alternatives and fear of civil war that protects Arafat and his people. (Ha'aretz)
  • The Genius of a Fresh Start - Mortimer B. Zuckerman
    The United States will not reward terrorism by offering a formula for Palestinian statehood but, rather, will reward an end of terrorism with statehood. Palestinians may choose their leader, but the rest of the world can choose not to deal with a leader who fails to fulfill his obligations to control terrorism and shun violence. (U.S. News)
  • Sharon Must Say: "Enough is Enough" - Isi Liebler
    Sharon is heading a country at war. His political and military strategies enjoy the support of the vast majority of the public. Let him therefore now take decisive action by demanding the dismissal of those who undermine his administration from within and thus neutralize the impact of the unrepresentative noisy splinter groups. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Carter Defends Arafat - Jimmy Carter
    Further progress is undermined by our almost undeviating approval of Israel's demands and our refusal to deal with the Palestinian leaders who are apt to be re-elected in January. (USA Today)
  • An Experiment in Arab Democracy - Ron Dermer
    Now that the most powerful person in the world has argued that Israeli security is dependent on Palestinian freedom, the argument that American security is contingent on spreading democratic freedoms in the Arab and Islamic world is just around the corner. Should the Bush administration embrace that argument, the U.S. will be well poised to rid the world of the new evil empire that threatens all of mankind. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Talking Points:

    Planning for the Next War

    IDF Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz departs from the army at the end of the month after 36 years of service. He took his leave from the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee on Tuesday, emphasizing the following points:

    • The Palestinians now understand that they cannot arrive at their goals using terrorism and violence.
    • There was greater understanding in the international community of the necessity to replace the Palestinian leadership.
    • I served under three governments. All of them sought peace and did all they could to achieve peace and security.
    • The IDF must plan for the next war as if it is inevitable, not because we seek battle, but because we must be ready at all times for any eventuality. (Maariv/Yediot Ahronot)

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