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 17, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

The Nusseibeh-Iraqi Connection - Jonathan Lis (Ha'aretz)

    Documents seized during last week's raid on Al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh's east Jerusalem office included a letter revealing that the Iraqi government had pledged a large sum to the university, after talks between Iraqi and Al-Quds officials.

Formulating a Response to Homicide Bombers - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)

    Senior officials from the security forces are meeting to formulate a response to the homicide bombing phenomenon. The main ideas under consideration are:

  • Expelling families to Gaza: The emphasis will be on relatives, including parents, who supported the attack before it happened. The Judge Advocate General's Office (JAG) believes the High Court of Justice will not prevent such expulsions, as the state will argue that Gaza and the West Bank are one political unit.
  • House demolitions: Intelligence officers regard this practice as particularly effective.
  • Disrupting the money flow: Authorities are targeting the flow of money smuggled into the PA areas from Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and the bank accounts where the money is held.
  • Striking at clergy involved in incitement.
        Said one security source: "They see the suicide bombings as their way to getting their dream of a state. Only if we make clear to the families that there is no chance to achieve that through suicide bombings is there a chance to reduce the number of volunteers."
        Along with the desire for social standing for their families, the public climate in the territories, which legitimizes the attacks, encourages the bombers. Mass funerals for the bombers are often attended by senior PA officials, including mayors and district governors. The PA helps put up mourners' tents for homicide bombers from Fatah. Homicide bombing is considered a local source of pride and streets are named for bombers.
        "There is a sanctification of death in the territories," said one senior officer. "There are streets where the graffiti read 'Beware of death by natural causes.'"

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  • News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Palestinians Murder 8 Jews on "Bulletproof" Bus
    At least three Palestinian terrorists in IDF uniforms ambushed an armored bus near Emmanuel, 20 miles east of Tel Aviv, on Tuesday afternoon, tossing grenades through the windows and shooting at civilians trapped inside. Three members of one family were among the victims - a 9-month-old baby, her father, and her grandmother. Nineteen people were wounded including a 2-year-old, two 12-year-olds, and a pregnant woman. Eight are in serious condition.
        When the town's security officer drove to the scene, "I saw three soldiers at the side of the bus. I was happy, seeing they had already arrived...[and then] they shot at me." The IDF chased the terrorists and killed one Wednesday morning, with 3 soldiers wounded in the exchange. Seven months ago terrorists attacked a bus near the same location, murdering 11 and wounding scores. (FOX News/Jerusalem Post)
  • The "Quartet" Meets in New York on Middle East Peace
    Secretary of State Powell emphasized that ending the violence was the key condition for movement, but representatives of the EU, Russia and the UN stressed parallel efforts on humanitarian aid and political reform, and reciprocal steps by Israel.
        Prime Minister Sharon, in a letter to Powell over the weekend, said "Without a reconstituted security organization, there will be no Palestinian fight against terror and the Israel Defense Force will remain in the heart of Palestinian cities." He described the Palestinian Authority as "grounded in the existence of 12 armed gangs, competing with each other in the murder of Israelis and innocent Palestinians, pillage, extortion, and collection of protection money." A senior State Department official said the United States was working with the "Egyptians and others" on ways to build a professional Palestinian security force. (Washington Post)
  • Diplomats Weigh Palestinian Protectorate
    There is a growing consensus among the Europeans and the U.S. that Arafat lacks a political strategy over how to end the violence, initiate reforms, and eventually return to the negotiating table. One idea is the appointment of an envoy by the UN Security Council with executive powers to oversee the implementation of Palestinian political reforms and security cooperation between the Israelis and the Palestinians. In effect, this would mean placing the Palestinians under a protectorate. (Financial Times - UK)
  • U.S. Sees Hizballah as Next al Qaeda
    Before Sept. 11, the United States viewed Hizballah as a local problem connected to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Today, however, the administration sees Hizballah as an arm of Iran meant to dominate the Middle East and replace al Qaeda as the next global terrorist group. (WorldNetDaily/Geostrategy-Direct)
  • The Damage Done - A Doctor's Story
    Dr. Avraham Rivkind is head of general surgery and trauma at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem. "When a human bomb goes off in Jerusalem, I know within seconds. I wear two beepers and a cell phone, even to bed. Our enemies choose their targets to maim our youngsters. We have been treating damage to the brain, lungs, bones and heart caused by nails, bolts, and ball bearings packed into the high-velocity bombs." (Chicago Tribune)
  • How Egypt Fights Terror
    The regime has placed modern religious leaders in key institutions, who keep an eye out for terrorists in the making. In addition, Egyptian officials have been promoting a new effort to have convicted terrorists publicly renounce their past. "The state is keen to get religious people to denounce violence," says Dr. Zeinab Bishri, a psychiatrist who praises the efforts. "They want to show how young men have been brainwashed but have woken up to see the light." (Christian Science Monitor)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:
  • Arafat Losing His Grip
    Former Shin Bet head Yaacov Perry thinks Yasser Arafat "may have serious problems in grasping reality." Arafat's reputation as a "master schemer" and "superb tactician is no longer correct," said Perry at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy in Washington. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Why Bush's Plan to Oust Arafat Won't Work - Janine Zacharia
    While Bush's rhetoric may have substantially undermined Arafat's standing in the United States, the truth is that the U.S. has little leverage over Arafat and the Palestinians. The PA gets far more money from Europe, and the Europeans have shown little interest in following Bush's lead. Without a united U.S.-European front, Arafat is unlikely to step aside. (New Republic)
  • U.S. No-Fly Zones in Iraq: To What End? - Lt. Col. Phillip Gibbons
    Last year alone, Iraqi military forces engaged coalition aircraft with surface-to-air missiles or antiaircraft fire on more than 500 occasions. In response, coalition forces attacked -- and, for the most part, destroyed -- these missile or artillery sites in thirty-eight separate instances. Yet it appears that Saddam has actually improved his air defense network. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Unsung Heroes of the Middle East War - Lawrence Henry
    The great unreported story in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the resistance to the Palestinian Authority dictatorship and the fight against terror within the West Bank and Gaza by Arab and Muslim sympathizers with Israel, who are often executed by mobs baying for blood and mutilation. If "dozens have been killed," there must be hundreds of such heroes who have braved the insanity gripping their people to fight for real freedom -- freedom from the thuggish tyranny of the terrorist gangs, freedom from ignorance and hatred. (
  • Talking Points:

    Prospects for Palestinian Democratization - Meir Litvak
          (Dayan Center - Tel Aviv University)

    • With the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, Arafat maintained the system of personal control he had developed in Beirut during the 1970s.
    • Since foreign aid constituted the bulk of its revenues, the PA did not depend on tax revenues from its citizens and was therefore unaccountable to them.
    • The allocation of more than 30% of the PA budget to Arafat's presidential office provided him with another instrument for dispensing favors and maintaining control.
    • Arafat neutralized the judiciary by dismissing independent judges and by ignoring verdicts not to his liking.
    • The print and electronic media were brought under PA control and used to promote Arafat's personality cult.
    • Palestinian society has undergone a process of militarization with the establishment of nine different security forces that function as major employers.
    • The Palestinian middle class has suffered severely due to official corruption and a Mafia-like system set up by the security organs to extort "commissions" from businessmen.
    • It is highly unlikely that a genuine shift to democracy will take place as long as Arafat and his cohorts continue to dominate Palestinian politics.

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