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 13, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Where Did the Money Go? - Rachel Ehrenfeld

    How corrupt is the PA? How much money have Arafat et al. stashed away? Where did the money come from? How long have we known about it?
    Britain's National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) estimated the PLO's loot in a 1993 briefing paper at $8-10 billion. In addition, the PLO enjoyed an annual income of about $1.5-2 billion from "donations, extortion, payoffs, illegal arms dealing, drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud, etc."
    In 1996, a Palestinian Legislative Council investigative commission found that nearly 40 percent of the PA's $800 million annual budget (coming mostly from foreign aid) had been lost through corruption and mismanagement. The PA's comptroller wrote: "The overall picture is one of a Mafia-style government, where the main point of being in public office is to get rich quick."
    The London Daily Telegraph revealed records of about $8 billion held in numbered PLO bank accounts in New York, Geneva, and Zurich, as well as secret holdings of the PLO in front companies, European real estate, and shares in Mercedes-Benz and the national airlines of the Maldives and Guinea-Bissau.
    Die Zeit's special investigation into EU funding revealed that at least 4.1 billion euros have flowed from the EU to the PA since the autumn of 1993, in addition to hundreds of millions of euros in grants contributed by individual European countries.
    U.S. aid to the PA runs about $75 million annually, not including the millions of dollars sent each year from private sources. (National Review/IMRA)

Microwave Weapons May be Ready for Iraq

An attack on Iraq is expected to see the first use of high-power microwave weapons that produce a split-second spike of energy powerful enough to damage electronic components and scramble computer memories. (Aviation Week)

Useful Reference:

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on Palestinian Violence and Terrorism
(Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • CIA Chief Skeptical about New Palestinian Security Force
    After a weekend meeting between Palestinian officials and CIA Director George Tenet in Washington, Tenet remains skeptical about prospects for a rapid reorganization of a new Palestinian security force and has concluded that there is a limit to what he and his agency can do, administration officials said. "Tenet is unwilling at the moment," an official said. "He really wants to lean heavily on the Egyptians and Jordanians for a lot of the legwork of this retraining and a lot of the details." (New York Times)
  • Beyond Baghdad: Expanding the Target List
    While still wrangling over how to overthrow Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, some close to the Bush administration are already looking for other targets, eyeing Iran and even Saudi Arabia. Also under discussion are Syria and even Egypt, along with North Korea and Burma. (Newsweek)
  • Opposition Says Saddam "Very Weak"
    Iraq's military -- including the elite Republican Guard -- is "ready to rise up" against Saddam Hussein, an Iraqi opposition leader told reporters Saturday after speaking with top U.S. officials. Sharif Ali Bin AlHussein, of the Constitutional Monarchy Movement, said "There is nobody left in Iraq who believes in Saddam Hussein. They only fear his apparatus of terror. With the help of the United States, that apparatus of terror can be dismantled. [He] is very weak." (CNN)
  • Islamists Win Bahrain Elections
    The elections in May were Bahrain's first since 1973. But the results may have left monarchies of the Persian Gulf region thinking hard about democracy, as Islamic parties opposed to the government won a solid majority. Bahrain is the home port for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, the battle group that patrols the Persian Gulf, and the kingdom is a crucial link in any war with Iraq. Members of the ruling Khalifa family warn that wide-open democracy would lead to a Shiite government that would kick the Navy out of Bahrain, an idea that has support among many young Bahrainis. (Dallas Morning News)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Relatives Who Assisted Terrorists to be Sent to Gaza
    Kifah Ajouri is the brother of Ali Ajouri, a senior Tanzim operative responsible for the homicide bombing in Tel Aviv on Tisha b'Av. Kifah told police interrogators that he knew his brother made bombs. Kifah stood watch for him at his safe house and supplied him with food and bedding. Azzam Atzida is the brother of Nasser Atzida, a Hamas leader responsible for two attacks on Egged buses near Emmanuel in which 20 Israelis died. He knew his brother was involved in terrorism, supplied him with food, and lent him his car.
        Deportations to Gaza are meant to deter terrorists by threatening consequences to their families. Preliminary evidence indicates that the new policy is having some success: Palestinian sources said that a resident of Kabatiyeh, south of Jenin, recently shot his son in the leg to keep the youth from carrying out a planned suicide attack. (Ha'aretz)
  • Saddam Bankrolls Jerusalem Arabs
    According to Palestinian sources, at least 500 Arab families living in Jerusalem - who carry Israeli ID cards and enjoy almost all the social and economic benefits enjoyed by Israelis - have received financial aid from Saddam Hussein ranging from $500 to $25,000 per family. In addition, a large number of public and private institutions in the city, including Sari Nusseibeh's Al-Kuds University, have either received money from Saddam or are waiting for their requests to be approved. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Indirect Victims of Terror
    Those who help during mass disasters - the police, Magen David Adom workers, fire-fighters - often see worse sights than those who are involved in the incidents themselves, who are evacuated from the scene quickly. Those who clean up the sites of terror attacks, the individuals who fix the traffic lights, media crews, and municipal officials who arrive to restore order are all exposed to the trauma, and some 20 percent are likely to suffer from symptoms characteristic of post-traumatic stress disorder. (Ha'aretz)
  • Poll: Dim Prospects for Palestinian Democracy
    A new Palestinian public opinion poll conducted by Bir Zeit University included the following results: Do you think the upcoming elections will be fair? Yes 39%, No 47%. The political system I would choose for a future Palestinian state is: Democratic with all political groups represented 42%, Islamic ruled by an Islamic party 42%, Presidential as in most Arab countries 14%. Do you boycott Israeli products? Yes 62%. Do you boycott American products? Yes 63%. If presidential elections took place today and Mr. Yasser Arafat nominated himself, would you elect him? Yes 55%, No 31%. (IMRA)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Step It Up - Ehud Ya'ari
    There are cracks in the Palestinian camp. The majority of the public still bays for revenge against the Jews, yet is even more interested in finding an exit from the intifada. A choking feeling of defeat and loss of direction pervades the ranks, a silent acknowledgment of having made a terrible mistake. Israel has to step up the pressure on the Palestinians, unrelentingly and uncompromisingly. (Jerusalem Report)
  • The Need for De-Nazification - Berel Wein
    The problem is not only Yasser Arafat or his henchmen. It is the entire mindset, society, and wicked fantasies of the Palestinian street. In a documentary about the Hitler Youth movement, many former members agreed that it took the crushing military defeat of Germany, Hitler's death, years of de-Nazification and reeducation programs, and a decade of Allied occupation of West Germany to bring that generation of poisoned youth to its senses. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Arabs Ignore Palestinians' Plight - Marc Ginsberg
    Arabs claim to be outraged by the Palestinians' plight, but in reality they have contributed little to the welfare of the Palestinian people. Except for Jordan, no Arab state has granted them citizenship. They remain stateless dependents of the UN. Of UNRWA's $340 million annual operating budget, the Arab states combined donate less than $5 million (or just under 2%), compared to nearly $90 million from the U.S. - well over 30%. Egypt gives only $10,000 per year, and the wealthy Persian Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates collectively donate a paltry $4.5 million. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Talking Points:

    Iraq is Our Greatest Danger (Ha'aretz)

    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday:

    • "Iraq is a great danger. It could be said it is the greatest danger." However, "strategic coordination between Israel and the U.S. has reached unprecedented dimensions."
    • A deal with the Palestinians is possible "only in stages" because "we cannot agree to any change as long as we can't see there has been a change in relations between us. We will not agree to any step that is irreversible."
    • "As long as Yasser Arafat is head of the PA, we can't reach an agreement because the terror won't stop." "At the end of the day we will have to reach an agreement. I hope we reach it. If Arafat wasn't there, it would take less time."
    • "I don't think that we'll be able to remain permanently in Nablus, Jenin, and certainly not Gaza. Anyone who thinks we'll stay for years is simply wrong."
    • When one MK proposed to Sharon that the IDF carpet bomb Palestinian cities, the prime minister responded, "I would never do such horrible things. That would be an enormous mistake."

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