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 8, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Know Your Koran

Israel Security Services (Shabak) interrogators who have dealt with hundreds of Palestinian suspects speak about their work:
    "An interrogator must show that he is knowledgeable about religion, knows religious blessings, is able to argue by quoting suras from the Koran. This is the way to gain the respect of religious suspects."

Plotting to Kidnap Israelis

In October 2000, Colonel (res.) Elhanan Tannenbaum flew out of Tel Aviv Airport on a plane to Brussels for a meeting in Europe and vanished without a trace. Ten days later he was a captive of Hizballah.
    Israeli security services believe that someone Tannenbaum knew well lured him to a business meeting in Europe.
    The Shin Bet now suspects Kais Obeid, an Arab citizen of Israel, of planning to lure additional Israelis and repeat the success of the Tannenbaum abduction. (Yossi Melman - Ha'aretz)

UN Winks at Food Profiteering

In addition to allegations that UN-run camps in Gaza are centers for bomb-making, indoctrination, recruiting, and dispatching of suicide bombers, UN officials also tolerate profiteering on food supplies that are supposed to be free.
    Inside food distribution compounds, outside their gates, and at nearby stores, the coupons Palestinians use to claim emergency food aid made available through the UN agency by international donors are bought and sold. The food itself, in packages clearly marked ''not for resale,'' is openly resold.
    Faez Abu Amri, a food-distribution worker for the UN agency, says that ''90 percent of the people who are getting this food aid do not need it,'' while the truly needy get less than they should have. (Boston Globe)

Key Links

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Back Issues

News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Intifada Fatigue Hits Palestinians
    After 21 months of open conflict, many Palestinians are rethinking two key elements of their struggle against Israel: their leader and the use of violence against Israeli civilians. Decades of backing Yasser Arafat and years of fighting Israel with suicide bombers have not produced any positive gains, a growing number of Palestinians now say. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Terrorist Camps in Lebanon and Syria are Threat to U.S.
    Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham (D-FL) told "Meet the Press" that the training camps in Syria and Lebanon "where the next generation of terrorists are being prepared" pose a much more immediate threat to the security of the United States than Saddam Hussein. (NBC News)
  • Fury as Academics Sacked for Being Israeli
    Worldwide protests have erupted in the wake of the suspension of two scholars from international journals because they are Israeli. Prof. Stephen Greenblatt of Harvard, president of the Modern Language Association of America, said that singling out a particular group "for collective punishment violates the essential spirit of scholarly freedom and the pursuit of truth." Francis Robinson, a professor of history at London University, said: "This sounds dreadful. It runs counter to the very principles of academic freedom." (Daily Telegraph - UK)
        See also Call for EU Boycott of Israeli Institutions
    The petition was organized by Prof. Steven Rose of the Open University. (Daily Telegraph - UK)
  • U.S. Foreign Service Journal Slams Israel
    The June 2002 issue of the Foreign Service Journal, the publication of the American Foreign Service Association and closely linked to the U.S. State Department, contains a highly imbalanced account of how Israel has "repeatedly detained, tortured, and incarcerated Americans of Arab origin." (Foreign Service Journal)
  • Sharansky's Quiet Role
    At a conference of conservative heavyweights in Beaver Creek, Colo., last month, one-time Soviet dissident and now Israeli cabinet minister Natan Sharansky again reminded Bush administration officials of the necessity to dump the region´┐Żs dictators and make democracy a precondition for peace. (Newsweek)
  • For Israelis Wounded in Bomb Attacks, Recovery is a Battle
    Efrat Ravid, 21, was at the trendy Moment Cafe in Jerusalem on March 9 when a suicide bomber exploded, sending three screws into her right leg, and a fourth screw near her heart. (New York Times)
  • Boom in Islamic Studies
    Campuses across the nation are hiring specialists in Islam and the Middle East. Yet, according to Martin Kramer, editor of Middle East Quarterly, "Student interest in the Middle East, like general public interest, is crisis-driven and always has been. It peaked last fall; by spring it was down; and enrollments will drop still further." (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • On Patrol with Israeli Reservists,
    The military reoccupation of the West Bank has dramatically reduced the level of violence inside Israel. (Newsweek)
  • Palestine Destination Angers Jewish Passengers
    Arguments broke out between passengers and crew on an Air France flight from Paris to Tel Aviv after a pilot described the final destination as Israel-Palestine. (BBC)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:
  • IDF Expects Arafat to be Displaced within 6 Months
    The IDF's General Staff believes Arafat's prestige has been so damaged that there is no need for action on Israel's part to expel him. "Bush's speech caused a drastic drop in Arafat's stature. The Arab states and European Union supported the Bush speech. That means the world is behind Bush's delegitimization of Arafat," one source said.
        In less than three weeks of Operation Determined Path, 600 Palestinians, including 15 wanted men and nearly a dozen who were planning suicide attacks, have been arrested. (Ha'aretz)
  • PA Naval Police Destroyed
    Eight large patrol boats and smaller rubber boats belonging to the PA Naval Police have been destroyed in joint operations of the Israeli Navy and Air Force in order to prevent sea-based terrorist attacks, a senior officer reported. (Maariv)
  • VP Cheney Meets Palestinian Dissident Karsou
    Omar Karsou, a Palestinian from Ramallah who lives in New York, has found favor with U.S. government leaders. He is convinced that the Oslo Accords were a mistake, that Israel encouraged a corrupt and murderous regime headed by a dictator, and that compromise is unavoidable. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Israeli Heroism in LA - Nathan Guttman
    The shooting attack at Los Angeles International Airport restored Israel's security image in the United States. U.S. law enforcement authorities, the FBI, and local politicians use the expression "heroism" again and again when describing the actions of the El Al guards. (Ha'aretz)
  • "Unripeness" and Conflict Management - Gerald M. Steinberg
    The general assumption of "ripeness" in the Palestinian-Israeli relationship under the Oslo process was incorrect. Critical conditions such as mutual understanding and confidence were absent. Many of the core factors behind the conflict, including religious and identity issues, were largely ignored in the formal peace process. (Bar-Ilan University)
  • Talking Points:

    This Is a War for Our Homes - IDF Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz (Maariv)

    Three years ago, Israeli Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz thought he would be known as the "peace chief of staff." In a pre-retirement interview, the Iranian-born Mofaz sums up 36 years of IDF service:

    • After President Bush's call for a change in leadership, I don't think anyone will shed a tear if action is taken to remove Arafat from the area.
    • There are those who in the past were active in terror who believe it is time to change their strategy. They understand that 20 months have passed with no achievements. We see this among part of the leadership and in the Palestinian street.
    • When homicide bombers and car bombs are exploding in Tel Aviv, Afula, Hadera, and Jerusalem, this is a war for our homes. Every citizen, in every place, is threatened by terror. In this situation, there is a very broad consensus within Israel, seen in the high rates of response by reservists to call-ups.
    • One success of Operation Defensive Shield was its revelation of the depth of the Palestinian leadership's involvement in terror, which has now become more widely recognized internationally.
    • The average Palestinian is not part of the terror. Even if he hates us, when he looks at reality, he wants to make a living, educate his kids, have a life, and today his life is interrupted. This is not because of us, but because of the path chosen by the Palestinian leadership.
    • Israel's entry into Gaza should be only if there is no choice. When there is a choice, I would not recommend entry. In Gaza we are employing aggressive defense.

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