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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August 5, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Government Reform in the Palestinian Authority - Mu'awiya Al-Masri
    (Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council)
    Government reform in the PA means that the former labor minister was appointed agriculture minister; the transportation minister was appointed youth and sports minister; the trade and economics minister received the Industry Ministry portfolio; and the tourism minister was appointed transport minister.
    This government, like the previous government, does not have my confidence because there is not a single bureau that acts like an institution. No minister can appoint a driver or a delivery boy in his ministry without the president's consent. The health minister cannot appoint a doctor unless he gets a financial guarantee signed by the president. The education minister cannot appoint a teacher unless he first obtains a financial guarantee for the appointment, signed by the president.
    There is only one institution, and that is the institution of the presidency, which has no law or order and is based on bribing top officials.
    We don't notice any change because, in effect, no ministry does anything. Even if a minister decides something, anyone with access to the president can extract from him a decision canceling the minister's decision - sometimes that very day.
    The treasury minister cannot control all the financial resources because since the inception of the Legislative Council there are considerable revenues that are not included in the budget, such as revenues from sales of natural gas, cigarettes, milk, and cement. The gas revenues alone come to $500 million annually, and this does not go into the PA's general budget. (Al-Sabil - Jordan/MEMRI)

Challenges for the New PA Finance Minister
    Tinned fish, stamped with the logo of the European Community and the words "Not for Sale," part of a food-aid shipment to help hungry Palestinians, is being sold in Tel Aviv's outdoor Carmel market for about a dollar apiece. Newsweek bought a can and delivered it to Salam Fayyad, the new Palestinian finance minister. (Newsweek)

Useful Reference:

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

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Saddam Plans Biological Weapons for Palestinians
    According to a British government dossier containing a detailed assessment of Saddam Hussein´┐Żs weapons of mass destruction program, which has been circulated to the Prime Minister and other senior Cabinet ministers, Saddam Hussein is planning to arm a Palestinian terrorist group with biological weapons to attack either American or Israeli targets. (Times - UK)
  • Lieberman: Saudis Fund Hamas
    Interviewed on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Joseph Lieberman said, "The terrorists in the Palestinian community have taken over leadership of the Palestinian movement and their goal is not to have a Palestinian state and an Israeli state. Their goal is to destroy Israel."
        There's very ample evidence that money was sent from Saudi Arabia to Hamas and other terrorists groups claiming credit for bombings such as those that occurred last week killing five Americans, he said. (FOX News)
  • Exposing Al Qaeda's European Network
    According to a 700-page report by Spanish authorities, the product of several years of wiretaps of Islamic militants, the Al Qaeda cell that carried out the Sept. 11 attacks, along with several others in Europe, made up a network that relied on clusters of religiously motivated Muslims from North Africa who had settled in Spain in the mid-1990s. To this day, Europe remains Al Qaeda's forward position for logistics, financing, and recruitment. An 11-month dragnet across Europe has resulted in the arrests and questioning of more than 200 people suspected of ties to Al Qaeda, in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, England, and the Netherlands. (Boston Globe)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Nine Murdered, 55 Wounded in Bus Bombing in North
    A Palestinian homicide bomber blew up a bus packed with soldiers returning to their bases Sunday morning near Mt. Meron in northern Israel, murdering or wounding nearly all of the passengers. As soldiers congregated by the back door as the bus approached their stop, one of the passengers suddenly stood up, approached the soldiers, and set off his explosives. The driver, Ronen Shmuel, 31, had survived a previous bombing of his bus in Jerusalem in 1995 and had moved to the north to escape the danger. (Jerusalem Post/Maariv)
  • Family Ambushed, Parents Murdered
    Avi Volanski, 29, and his pregnant wife Avital, 27, of Eli, were murdered, and one of their two children in the back seat, aged 2, was injured moderately when Palestinian terrorists opened fire on their car with automatic weapons near their home late Sunday night. (Ha'aretz)
  • Two Dead, 16 Wounded, in Jerusalem Shooting Attack
    A Palestinian terrorist murdered a telephone company guard near Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday. In the ensuing gunbattle, another person was killed and 16 wounded. Ten more Israelis were wounded in 3 additional bombing and shooting attacks on Sunday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Jordan's Abdullah "Working Closely" with Saddam
    The Bush administration has acquired evidence that Jordan's King Abdullah II, once a cornerstone of U.S. policy against Iraq, is in fact working closely with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, according to senior political sources in London. In addition to Abdullah's relationship with Saddam, the sources said he also has a long-standing friendship with Saddam's sons, Uday and Qusai, with whom he spent most of his vacations during the 1990s before becoming king. (Jerusalem Post)
        For an editorial critique of this issue, see Who Lost Jordan? (New York Sun)
  • The Legal Dilemmas of War
    The IDF will ask the Supreme Court to reject requirements that the army give terrorists' relatives prior warning before demolishing their houses, since this would make IDF soldiers vulnerable to attack. The IDF demolished the houses of two suicide terrorists on Friday and nine more on Sunday.
        A special military committee has been set up to debate the expulsion of relatives of Palestinian suicide bombers to Gaza. On Thursday, Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein told senior security officials that it was legal to expel to Gaza suicide bombers' relatives who have been proven to be involved in terror activities. (Ha'aretz)
  • Peres Sees Libel in L'Express Story
    Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has asked Israel's embassy in Paris to investigate launching a libel claim against the French weekly L'Express, which published a quote suggesting that Peres had stated "Arafat needs to die from gunfire, though not from our bullets." Peres said, "There's no basis for the report, which entirely contradicts my view." (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Shell Shock in Academia - Gabriel Danzig
    An attack on Hebrew University, where a vocal minority of professors have led in championing the Palestinian cause, is like an attack on a meeting of Peace Now. The attack is yet another revolting example of the complete moral depravity of the popular leaders of the Palestinian national movement. Every resource that comes into Palestinian hands is somehow channeled into this life-destroying effort. Gaining control over significant areas of the West Bank was a great bonanza for these criminals, and a great step forward on the path to exterminating the Jewish inhabitants of Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Annihilate Hamas - Editorial
    Given its genocidal intentions and actions, distinguishing between the "political," "spiritual," and "military" leaders of Hamas is ludicrous and offensive. Would it have mattered if Nazi brown shirts also ran food kitchens? How does calling Yassin a "spiritual" leader show respect for religion in general and Islam in particular? (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Cause: A Growing Gap - Anat Kurz
    While outside pressure forced Arafat to undertake some visible steps, it also gave him the pretext to fortify his position. For example, he dismissed some of the security chiefs who had built up independent power bases and replaced them with personal loyalists more dependent on him. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies)
  • Bush's Shame - Thomas L. Friedman
    When an Egyptian president we give $2 billion a year to jails a pro-American democracy advocate, I'm "outraged" and expect America to do something about it. (New York Times)
  • Talking Points:

    The IDF's Working Plan - Amir Oren (Ha'aretz)

    • The IDF is not demanding to beat up the Palestinians. On the contrary, the goal now is to avoid escalation in the weeks and months ahead, waiting for three local and regional developments that will have far-reaching implications:
      • The coming American offensive against Saddam Hussein (there are at least two very high ranking generals who are prepared to bet that President Bush will order action against Saddam Hussein before September 11)
      • The rise of a Palestinian leadership that will depart from Arafat's hardline approach
      • The completion of the fence and obstacle course dividing the north and center of the West Bank from Israel's coastal population center.
    • By the spring of 2003, says this plan, Saddam Hussein will be gone, Arafat will be sidelined, and the residents of Tulkarm and Kalkilya will wake up to a view of the wall, not the Mediterranean.
    • The plan's weak point is in two areas out of the army's control: The Israeli public's forbearance and the terrorist organizations' survival.

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