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 30, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Economic Gap Narrows between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs - Amnon Rubinstein

    Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics reports a dramatic narrowing of the gap in the standard of living between Israeli Jews and Arabs.

  • In 1986-87, only 9 percent of Arab families owned a car. In 2000, this figure had increased to 46 percent - only 10 percent less than the Jewish sector.
  • The number of telephone lines reaching Arab households has gone from 33 percent to 85 percent - again only 10 percent less than among Jews.
  • Computer ownership in Arab homes rose from 2 percent to 21 percent, compared to about 50 percent in Jewish households. (Ha'aretz)

    Tensions Between Qatar and Saudi Arabia Threaten U.S. Forces

        Tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia began with negative press coverage of Riyadh by the Doha-based Al Jazeera satellite TV network.
        Another factor is Qatari support for a U.S. military campaign against Iraq. Qatar is a key U.S. military asset and will likely play a strategic role in any operations against Iraq.
        U.S. military planners may be hoping to turn the al Udeid air base into an operations center to replace the Combined Air Operations Center at the Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia.
        Two other key U.S. bases are Camp Al Sayliyah on the outskirts of Doha and Camp Snoopy, adjacent to the main airport in Doha. There are about 3,300 American troops now deployed in Qatar.
        In a worst-case scenario, Saudi Arabia might pressure Qatar to oust U.S. forces stationed there, or it might stir dissidents inside its tiny neighbor to try to destabilize the Doha regime or even launch assaults against American military personnel. (

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  • News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Intellectual Elite in Arab World Warms to Al Qaeda Leaders
    In a disturbing and growing phenomenon prevalent in intellectual and Islamist circles from Cairo to Riyadh, there is a steady trend toward historical revisionism that promotes Al Qaeda leaders as the "good guys" and U.S. officials as the "bad guys" in an ethics and morality public relations war that is far from over. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Terrorists are Educated, Not Poor
    A new report on "Education, Poverty, Political Violence and Terrorism" prepared by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass., has found that involvement in terrorism has little to do with economics. An examination of the backgrounds of 129 Hizballah members, compared with the Lebanese population as a whole, shows that the militants were less likely to come from poor families and were significantly more likely to have completed secondary education. A similar pattern holds for Palestinian suicide bombers.
        The latest intifada began when economic optimism and education levels among Palestinians were rising. Thus, the violence cannot be blamed on deteriorating economic conditions. (Guardian - UK)
  • Mideast's Sesame Street Copes with War
    An Israeli-Palestinian co-production of Sesame Street, which now includes Jordanians, is running into difficulty as the concept of a place where people and puppets from those three groups can mingle freely has become untenable. Reflecting the somber mood in the Middle East, producers see their best hope as helping children to humanize their historic enemies through separate but parallel stories. (New York Times)
  • Impact of War on Performing Arts in Israel
    The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra has been forced to cancel an eight-concert tour in the United States next month because no insurance company would cover the performances due to concerns about possible terrorist attacks. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Two Israelis Murdered Near Ariel
    Two Israelis in a fuel truck were shot to death on Tuesday in an Arab village near Ariel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Homicide Bomber in Jerusalem
    A Palestinian homicide bomber exploded in downtown Jerusalem on Tuesday, wounding 5 Israelis. (Yediot Ahronot)
  • Terrorist Stabs Two in Their Home
    A Palestinian terrorist armed with two knives entered the home of David and Orna Mimran in the Samarian community of Itamar at 3 a.m. and attacked the sleeping couple, wounding both. In the struggle, the attacker was wounded with his own knives and then killed by security forces. Eight Itamar residents were murdered in two similar incidents in the past two months. (Ha'aretz)
  • Fire Station Hit by Palestinian Mortars
    The Gaza Coast regional fire station was badly damaged in a fire after being hit by a mortar fired from Palestinian territory on Sunday night. Two fire trucks were damaged in the blaze and much rescue equipment was destroyed. (Maariv)
  • Russia Plans 5 More Nuclear Plants in Iran
    Russia plans to build five more nuclear reactors in Iran over the next decade, according to a document approved by Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. The document suggested that three additional reactors be built alongside the current $800 million, 1,000-megawatt, light-water reactor under construction at Bushehr, which is slated to be operational by late 2003 or early 2004. Two reactors are also proposed for Ahvaz. (Tehran Times/
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • When Editing is Censoring at the New York Times - Andrea Levin
    The editors at the New York Times accepted an op-ed by Professor Anne Bayefsky, noted scholar of international and human rights law, that was critical of the United Nations and human rights groups for their distorted focus on Israel and their "diversion" from confronting actual rights abusers. Yet the Times demanded extensive revisions to delete criticism of the UN, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, and to whitewash their scapegoating of Israel, before the neutered column was finalized for publication. (Jerusalem Post)
        For the uncut version of Bayefsky's article, together with some of the alterations required by the Times, see Justice, the journal of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists.
  • Facing the Common Enemy - Amir Oren
    A few hours after the IDF airstrike killing of Salah Shehada, CIA station chief in Israel Geoff O'Connell telephoned Shin Bet director Avi Dichter and IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon to congratulate them on a "great job." There has indeed been a fundamental shift in America's approach to the region: For the first time in their histories, Washington and Jerusalem are now fighting the same enemies. (Ha'aretz)
  • U.S. Accuses Iraq of Stoking Mideast Conflict - Richard Wolffe
    Saddam Hussein is stoking the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to divert Arab and world attention from his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, according to U.S. Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith. "Iraq is purposefully and systematically aggravating Palestinian-Israeli relations," he said, citing Iraqi payments to families of Palestinian suicide bombers. "[Hussein] may think that the more he can encourage terrorist bombings against the Israelis, the more the world is diverted from the issue of his tyranny, his weapons of mass destruction programs, his terrorist activities." (Financial Times - UK)
  • Talking Points:

    Defense Minister: Reports of Tanzim Cease-Fire Initiative Misleading

    Appearing before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday, Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer responded to reports of an alleged Tanzim cease-fire proposal that had been halted by Israel's strike against the leader of Hamas.

    • Ben-Eliezer said he had known of the Tanzim report, but clarified that those involved were political activists in the organization and not people in the field.
    • In any case, he added, Hamas head Salah Shehada had not been a party in the talks.
    • Furthermore, Ben-Eliezer revealed that Shehada was planning six simultaneous terror attacks in six different Israeli cities. (Ha'aretz)

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