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 19, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

French Sources: U.S. to Attack Iraq "Soon"
- Amir Oren
    The U.S. operation to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein will take place in the coming months, even before November's Congressional elections, according to high-level sources in the French government following talks with American decision-makers and professionals in Washington. (Ha'aretz)

New Tenet Plan: Egyptian-Trained Palestinian Forces
- Aluf Benn
    After lunch at the State Department with the visiting foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters: "I reaffirmed to my colleagues President Bush's working as hard as possible to try to achieve a final settlement within the three-year period."
    American officials are now saying behind closed doors that broad agreement was reached at the Quartet meetings on how to proceed. All the participants agreed that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat must be bypassed.
    The Americans are convinced there is complete agreement on the need to first of all deal with the security issue, and even if work is undertaken on other issues, security has to come first.
    According to a new plan worked out by CIA director George Tenet and approved last Friday by the White House, Egypt would train the Palestinian security forces city-by-city, and as Israel withdraws, Palestinian police, screened for their credibility, will enter.
    The Americans said there's no point to conduct Palestinian elections if they only reconfirm Arafat as president, and it would be best to hold parliamentary elections that would end with the election of a Palestinian prime minister and Arafat "kicked upstairs."
    The U.S. administration has told Jerusalem that it does not accept the idea of a temporary agreement on 42 percent of the West Bank (a combination of Area A and B), with a promise to discuss the rest of the territory in another decade, as Sharon wants. (Ha'aretz)

    For another view, see Arabs "Heartened" after Meeting with Bush
- Karen DeYoung and Glenn Kessler
    "We came out very encouraged," Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher said after he and his counterparts from Saudi Arabia and Egypt left the 30-minute White House meeting. "He couldn't have been more forthcoming."
    Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Faisal said that Bush told them he believes in parallel movement on three fronts - security, political and economic. "We were very pleased and very heartened that he laid equal responsibilities on both sides," Faisal said.
    The Arabs came away convinced the president is prepared to push for Israeli withdrawal. (Washington Post)

Useful Reference:

Names of People Murdered by Palestinian Terrorists since September 2000
(Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • IDF Considers Sending Terrorists' Families to Gaza
    IDF troops arrested 21 Palestinian men in the West Bank Thursday night - fathers, brothers, and sons of the terrorists who carried out the attacks in Tel Aviv and Emmanuel. Sources in the IDF propose exile to the Gaza Strip. The homes of two terrorists were demolished. The sources said that only actions that harm the immediate surroundings of the terrorists might deter future suicide bombers, Israel Radio reported.
        Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said he supported the IDF decision, if the move were legally sanctioned. In an interview with Israel Radio on Friday, Peres said, "Look, it is obvious that we are being pushed to do things that we would willingly prefer not to do, but what happened this week, the two grave incidents [the terror attacks in Tel Aviv and Emmanuel] almost leaves us no choice." (New York Times (Reuters)/Ha'aretz)
  • In a Matter of Minutes, Half a Family is Wiped Out
    The blast knocked Ayelet Shilon, her mother, and three children out of their seats and onto the floor of bus. Her first instinct was to stretch her small frame over her children to shield them - a move that probably saved the lives of two of them.
        Ayelet then phoned her husband Gal, a former air force pilot, and told him the bus was under attack near the gate of Emmanuel. As Gal advanced toward the bus, the Palestinians turned their rifles on the approaching car and sprayed it with bullets, killing him instantly. Inside the bus, a bullet struck one of Ayelet's twin girls, Sarah, killing her instantly. Another bullet killed Shilon's mother, Zilfa Kashi. Shilon suffered a serious head-wound and her 2-year-old son was lightly injured. (Boston Globe)
        Yoheved Ben-Hanan, 21, on Thursday became the ninth victim of the terror attack against a passenger bus at Emmanuel. (Yediot Ahronot)
  • Israeli Volunteers Face Gruesome Task
    Among the scores of rescue workers and policemen arriving within minutes at the scene of suicide attacks and terror bombings in Israel are the men of ZAKA, a Hebrew acronym for "Identification of Victims of Disaster." Wearing distinctive fluorescent green jackets marked with the words "Police Auxiliary," these ultra-Orthodox Jews are members of a volunteer organization whose first task is to treat the injured and save lives. They also collect body parts of the dead so that, in line with Jewish law, the entire corpse can be buried on the day of death, if possible. ZAKA has more than 600 volunteers throughout Israel and receives no funding from the Israeli government. (NBC News)
  • House Weighs Change in U.S. Saudi Policy
    Liberal California Democrat Rep. Tom Lantos and libertarian Texas Republican Ron Paul share a mutual disdain for Saudi Arabia. Lantos noted how the United States protected Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf War. In return, he said, the kingdom allows schools to teach anti-American ideology and tightly controls U.S. military activity within its borders. "Without the support of the United States, the House of Saud would be a villa on the French Riviera," Lantos said. (Congressional Quarterly)
  • Radio Sawa: An Alternative to al-Jazeera
    Radio Sawa, the hip replacement for Voice of America's (VOA) now-defunct Arabic service in the Middle East, is formally known as the Middle East Radio Network (MERN), an Arabic-language pilot operation that appeals to young people in the region - about 60 percent of the population is under the age of 30 - and provides fast-paced, substantive, and uncensored news as a counter to the sensationalistic coverage of events by Arab media giant al-Jazeera. On the air for just three months, Radio Sawa is already number one in eight Arab countries, reaching ten times the number of people Voice of America Arabic reached in 50 years. (National Review)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:
  • U.S.-Financed Study Opposes Palestinian Demilitarization - Ze'ev Schiff
    The State Department is financing a study on the conditions for establishing a Palestinian state based on the outline presented by President Bush. The study was apparently drafted by a pro-Palestinian group at the Council for Foreign Policy in New York and ignores the fact that for the last two years a war initiated by the Palestinians has been underway. A member of the official Palestinian negotiating team on security was asked to formulate a synthesis of the Israeli and Palestinian demands.
        The Palestinians, in effect, are demanding that the Palestinian state not be demilitarized. The study suggests that the Palestinian army in the future state be equipped with anti-aircraft missiles and mortars. The Palestinian state would also be allowed to invite whoever it wants to train its army (the Iranians?). In exchange for the IDF's right during an emergency to reach the Jordan Valley, they demand an Israeli surrender of the cities of Ma'aleh Adumim and Ariel. Israel has to regard the latest Palestinian demands as either hutzpah or a joke. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israeli Consulates Closing in Houston and Philadelphia?
    The Houston consulate, which serves communities in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New Mexico, is one of 10 embassies and consulates the Foreign Ministry plans to announce on Sunday that it is closing as a cost-saving measure. Israel's consulate in Sydney, Australia, is also slated for closure. (Jerusalem Post)
        Israel currently supports 102 such overseas offices. The Philadelphia consulate, only three hours from New York, is also a candidate for closure, as are those in Rio de Janeiro and San Paulo, Brazil, Minsk, and, perhaps, even Hong Kong. (Yediot Ahronot)
  • The Conservative Saudi Opposition
    Al-Jazeera interviewed three leading conservative Saudi sheikhs, all of whom served extensive prison terms for criticizing the Saudi regime and calling for greater adherence to Wahhabi teachings. (MEMRI)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Strong Dictators Cannot Make a Strong Peace - Natan Sharansky
    From the beginning, I believed that the notion that strong dictators can make a strong peace was a dangerous illusion. My experiences in the Soviet Union had taught me that there is an inextricable connection between internal repression and external aggression. I believed then that a Palestinian dictatorship, regardless of who was at the helm, would inevitably endanger Israel's security.
        The idea that there are certain peoples whose values are incompatible with democracy has a long pedigree; it resurfaces each time the West is faced by the choice of whether to support a friendly dictator or to interfere in his internal affairs and bring about changes in his regime. Like the other peoples whose values did not prove inimical to democracy, I have no doubt that the Arabs will also prove the skeptics wrong. While each culture is unique and may have its own ordering of values, I do not believe that any people wants to live in a society where the fear of imprisonment is omnipresent. (Ha'aretz)
  • Time to Dispense with Yasser Arafat - Fahed Fanek
    President Bush's Middle East policy speech turned Yasser Arafat into an impediment to the Palestinian people's cause. There will be no solution, no talks, no state, and no aid, while he remains president of the Palestinian Authority (PA). So we will no longer hear any Arab regimes defending Arafat's survival; none of them want to bet on a horse that has no future. (Beirut Daily Star)
  • Their Kampf: Hitler's Book in Arab Hands - David Pryce-Jones
    I suspect that many - probably most - Arabs accept Israel as a fact of life, created by the millions of individual choices which make up history, and over which nobody has any control. But the leadership, the intellectuals particularly, have internalized and perpetuated Hitler's fantasies about Jews and a Jewish state. In one Muslim country after another, leaders who may describe themselves either as Islamist or secular call for the State of Israel to disappear from the map, and its people to be annihilated. (National Review)
  • End Europe's Love-in with Arafat - Douglas Davis
    A Syrian colleague told me at the time of Oslo that he had overestimated the intelligence of Israelis: "Do you really think you can negotiate with a mafia boss?" he asked incredulously. While Arafat's friends in Europe continue pouring cash down his throat - impervious to hard evidence of misuse and corruption - Washington is the only game in town, and Washington is at war with terror. (Spectator - UK)
  • Free the Abducted Americans in Saudi Arabia - Rod Dreher
    An American court awarded Patricia Roush custody of daughters Alia and Aisha in a 1985 divorce from her husband, Khalid, who comes from an influential Saudi family. In 1986, Khalid kidnapped the children and took them to Saudi Arabia. Congress should order the State Department to deny visas to any Saudi government official until all American citizens held illegally in Saudi Arabia are allowed to return home. (National Review)
  • The Future Would Look Brighter Without Arafat - James Klurfeld
    The coffee-break conversations at the Saban Center inaugural symposium at Brookings tended to be about Arafat's future or, more accurately, that many experts don't believe he has a future. Even if Arafat were re-elected president of the Palestinian Authority, a new government structure based on a parliamentary system could make the key player the new prime minister while the president would be essentially a figurehead.
        A precedent for this type of arrangement is Israel. The prime minister is selected by the majority party and is the head of government. The president of Israel is the head of state, a largely ceremonial office. (Newsday)
  • We Shouldn't Make Arafat the Issue - Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.)
    America cannot afford to stand by and allow the next generation of Arabs and Muslims to grow up hating us. Nor can Israel. Young Palestinians need to see their future in a peaceful, fully functioning state with economic opportunities and democratic institutions. If we are serious about reform in the Palestinian Authority, then we must allow the Palestinians and the Arabs to deal with Arafat. Credible alternative Palestinian leadership will not step forward in response to a perceived American-Israeli demand for Arafat's removal. Change must come from within. (Washington Post)
  • Power of the "Arab Street" - Daniel Doron
    Idle youth have joined private armies financed by almost every Arab state and political movement, making Palestinian politics a proxy for interstate Arab rivalries. Militancy has become a chief avenue for the social advancement of youth of lesser status in class-bound Muslim societies. It grants them instant heroic status, good income, and family welfare, should they become "martyrs." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Are the West Bank and Gaza Really "Occupied"? - Barbara Lerner
    When Emperor Claudius took a census in 48 A.D., he counted 7 million Jews on his turf, including 2.5 million in Palestine. Their three million descendents - known as Eastern (Mizrachi) Jews - have lived in Palestine and all through the Middle East from time immemorial: a non-Arab, non-Western people, persecuted in the East and unknown in the West. (National Review)
  • Fears of Arab Democracy - Jurg Bischoff
    While their absolute monarchs, military dictators, and single-party bosses have led the Arabs from defeat to defeat, Israel has built a democratic state and at the same time grown ever stronger militarily. (Neue Zurcher Zeitung)
  • Jordan is Palestinian - Esam Sohail
    There already is a Palestinian state. It is a country where 54% of the population, including the queen, is Palestinian. Fully half of this nation's parliament is made up of Palestinian lawmakers. And when King Abdullah II's half-Palestinian son ascends the Hashemite throne, the Palestinians will have their own king, too. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Jews among Arabs, Arabs among Jews - Jeff Jacoby
    Israel's Cabinet voted 22-2 to bury a bill that would have barred Arab citizens from buying homes in some Galilee towns. If it was repugnant to propose that Arabs be kept from moving into certain Jewish towns, it is even more repugnant to demand that hundreds of thousands of Jews be ethnically ''cleansed'' from their homes and communities in Judea and Samaria.
        The claim that the settlements are illegal is bogus. Israel took the West Bank in self-defense in 1967, and nothing in international law prohibits Jews from moving back there: Jews have lived in Judea and Samaria since antiquity. If there is room in Israel for a million Arab citizens, there is surely room in Palestine for a few hundred thousand Jews. (Boston Globe)
  • Talking Points:

    Emerging from the Israeli-Palestinian Crisis - Yaacov Perry
          (Saban Center - Brookings Institution)

    Yaacov Perry is former head of Israel's General Security Services, presiding during efforts to build a security foundation through the Oslo Accords.

    • Regrettably, the Palestinians did not reciprocate and today we know this to be an absolute, irrefutable truth. From the first moment of the establishment of the Palestinian Authority over part of the territories, they engaged systematically and purposefully in arms smuggling, the building of military capacity, and the establishment of terrorist infrastructure by cynically taking advantage of the means and capacity that we had placed at their disposal out of trust and good will.
    • We know from interrogations and documents that the Palestinians knowingly and maliciously breeched our trust and cooperation, and the best example is what we call the "revolving door" approach to people arrested for terrorism.
    • The Palestinian leadership cooperated with the terrorists quite willingly as part of its strategic view that the pressure of terror will play an important part in the coming conflict with Israel.
    • Arafat's desire to avoid internal conflict is what permitted his survival as head of the PLO from 1965 to the present day. This is why, since his arrival in Gaza in 1994 and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, Arafat never took any resolute action against Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or the rejectionist organizations, such as the Popular Front.
    • Arafat has been ill in recent years. He has trouble moving and speaking and apparently may have serious problems in grasping reality.
    • The Palestinian security organizations that engage in intelligence gathering are alive and well. If the Palestinians indeed want to restrict terrorist activities from their territory, they could do this starting tomorrow morning.

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