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 4, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

A Secret Saudi-Israeli Meeting

  • A senior Saudi official met secretly with an Israeli official in March to explain his kingdom's peace initiative and bring a message from Crown Prince Abdullah.
        According to a well-placed Israeli source, the Saudi said: "Don't think that we came up with our plan to help our P.R. effort in America. We face a dangerous domestic situation, with 50 percent unemployment and sharp decline of the per capita GNP."
        The message was clear: Calming the Israeli-Palestinian bonfire was crucial to Saudi well-being.

  • Gen. Amos Gilead, charged with assisting the Palestinian population, has warned that taking full responsibility for their civil affairs would cost the Israeli treasury $600-$800 million a year, a huge sum in a depressed economy.
        But as long as there are Palestinian officials to sign the receipts, international assistance will keep flowing.
        Therefore, Israel's goal is to keep the Palestinian Authority alive enough to keep foreign money flowing in.

  • Ron Schlicker, the American consul general in Jerusalem and envoy to the P.A., said privately that after draft 14 or 15 of the Bush speech, Washington stopped sending his office further drafts and did not ask for his advice on the contents.
        Schlicker was devastated by the speech, which undermined his credibility with the Palestinians. American diplomats in Tel Aviv shared this disappointment.
    (Aluf Benn -

    IDF Seeks to Block Gaza Smuggling Tunnels

        For the IDF, the smugglers' tunnels on the Israeli-Egyptian border are Gaza's number one security problem. In the last three months, 11 such tunnels have been discovered, while some 40 operating tunnels are estimated to remain.
        Unlike the West Bank, there is no lack of ammunition or explosives in Gaza -- it all comes in through the tunnels.
        The army is planning to insert extremely tall and wide steel plates into the ground to create an underground wall that will be impenetrable to Palestinian diggers. Two new outposts will also be built along the border road. (Ha'aretz)

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    Back Issues

  • News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Powell: U.S. Won't Work with Arafat
    Secretary of State Colin Powell reiterated on Wednesday: "Not to be disappointed once again, we will need other leaders identified within the Palestinian community who will be given the authority to work with us and the authority to take action....So this requires some change in the way that we're doing business and until we see that, we don't think we can work with the current leadership of Chairman Arafat." (Reuters)
  • Russia Backing Out of Iran Nuke Deal
    Sources inside the Russian government say that intensifying pressure from Washington has forced President Putin to decide to gradually end Moscow's involvement in building a 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactor at Bushehr, Iran, according to Stratfor global intelligence. (
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:
  • Shortage of Wanted Terrorists
    After systematic attacks on the heads of the militant Palestinian organizations by Israeli security forces, there are very few obvious leaders of those networks who have survived. Since the end of Operation Defensive Shield in April, most Hamas leaders in the northern West Bank have been either arrested or killed. The majority of the heads of Islamic Jihad's military wing have also been taken out of action. Tanzim's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades has been left with mainly local leaders and no longer has charismatic heads who exercise influence beyond their area of residence. (Ha'aretz)
  • Sharon: IDF to Stay in Area A
    The IDF will remain in the Palestinian territories for an extended period, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the security cabinet Wednesday, two weeks after the start of Operation Determined Path. At the same time, the cabinet decided to ease living conditions for the Palestinians in areas which are quiet. It was also decided to release part of the Palestinian tax money frozen by Israel since the beginning of the violence to pay the PA's massive water and electric bills. (Jerusalem Post)
  • PA, Hamas Clash in Gaza
    Palestinian police injured 10 Palestinians in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday when they opened fire to prevent rioters from breaking into the local police station in order to lynch a suspected collaborator with Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • The Palestinian Debate Over Martyrdom
    Some high ranking Palestinian officials express opposition to such operations, others call to limit them only to the territories, and others call to continue them unconditionally. (MEMRI)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Arafat's Despotism Has Caused Us Palestinians Enough Harm - Omar Karsou
    The tightly controlled Palestinian media suppress the fact that many ordinary Palestinians are heartened by the calls for democracy for Palestinians from around the world. We Palestinians witness the ostentatious corruption of our officials. Our cause was hijacked by the despotic rule of the Palestinian Authority and by those who want to speak through violence. Before elections are held, we must ensure that all other elements of a free society are in place: freedom of the press; freedom to hold political rallies; equal time on state-run media. [The writer is a Palestinian businessman who recently launched the movement Democracy in Palestine.] (Daily Telegraph - UK)
  • Our Enemies, the Saudis - Victor Davis Hanson
    The House of Saud resembles an Ottoman sultanate staffed by some 7,000 privileged royal cousins. The more favored are ensconced in plush multi-million dollar palaces and maintain luxury estates abroad. When the UN Committee Against Torture asked the Saudis to curtail flogging and amputations, they answered that such punishments have been an integral part of Islamic law "for 1,400 years" and simply "cannot be changed." (Commentary)
  • It's Time to Get Rid of Arafat - Marcus Gee
    The choice before the Palestinians could not be clearer. Turn away from Arafatism and violence and accept the help of the outside world, or stick with Mr. Arafat and fight on alone with your rocks and suicide bombs. The decision should be obvious. (Globe and Mail - Canada)
  • Erecting a Separation Fence - Shlomo Brom and Yiftah S. Shapir
    The process of constructing the fence, with all its sensors, communications and observation posts, might take a year, if not longer. By the time the barrier attains a minimal degree of effectiveness, the situation on the ground might be completely different. (Jaffee Center)
  • Why PR is Not as Important as We Think - Jonathan Friedman
    Despite all the allegedly pro-Palestinian media, Congress -- and the American people it represents -- is solidly behind Israel. And those are the people who count. The reality is better than the perception because the real contest takes place not on the TV screens, but on the battlefield and in the halls of power and diplomacy, as it always has. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Talking Points:

    World War III Started on September 11

    From the presentation by Mossad Head Efraim Halevy to a closed meeting of the NATO Alliance Council in Brussels in June:

    • Tactical, short-range suicide attacks are becoming strategic threats of significance to the whole world.
    • NATO's new strategic concept is no longer limited to the European/Atlantic arena, but is intended for a confrontation with the enemy "anywhere he could be."
    • Ten Palestinian groups operate out of Damascus. After the Palestinian Islamic Jihad sent a suicide attacker to blow up a bus in the north of Israel, killing 20 people, the organization's leader, Ramadan Shalach, sitting in Damascus, publicly took responsibility for the attack.
    • Islamic terror is no longer limited to specific areas in the world. Terrorists are living, making plans, and preparing operations in Hamburg, Milan, Brussels, London, Miami, Kuala Lumpur, and elsewhere.
    • If the violent minority groups are not restrained or completely eliminated, they are liable to pose a terrible threat to the basic fabric of the member countries of NATO in which Muslim communities are growing and developing, in numbers and in influence, while they preserve their unique identity and culture.
    • Terror in its entirety, and suicide attacks in particular, must be outlawed as "a form of warfare" and prohibited in international law.
    • Three of the 19 most wanted terrorists on the FBI list are Lebanese Hizballah, supported by Iran.
    • "The hosting countries" which enable terror and suicide attacks include the Palestinian Authority, together with Syria, Iran, and Iraq.
    • Israel cannot abandon any effort to counter, prevent, or delay attainment of the capability of weapons of mass destruction by hostile countries. Cooperation with certain NATO members has led to results deserving all praise. (Yediot Ahronot; translation by J. Silverman)
        See also Why the Mediterranean Matters to NATO - NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)

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