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 14, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Marwan Barghouti: Terrorist Chief - Peter Hermann (Baltimore Sun)

    Most Israeli officials believe Marwan Barghouti is not the man they once thought he was. Far from being a political reformer, they say, he is an unabashed militant, the financier of suicide bombers and gunmen who have killed dozens of Israeli civilians.
    Barghouti, general secretary of Arafat's Fatah faction for the West Bank, was arrested in April in Ramallah during Operation Defensive Shield.
    The Israeli army says Barghouti also commanded the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant wing that escalated its attacks from sporadic shootings of Jewish settlers in the West Bank to suicide bombings and attacks in Israeli cities.
    Among the PA documents captured by the IDF is a memo from a militant leader who wrote to Barghouti complaining that Palestinian security officials had confiscated an M-16 assault rifle and that he wanted it back. Handwritten at the bottom of the memo is this: "I request the return of the weapon to the brothers or suitable monetary compensation. Thank you and all the best, Marwan Barghouti."
    In another memo, Barghouti requests that Arafat approve paying 19 fighters $3,000 each, all of whom, he wrote, "are wanted by the occupation authorities."
    The Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot reported that other papers show Barghouti provided money to Palestinians involved in the lynching of army soldiers in a Ramallah police station on Oct. 12, 2000.
    Israeli authorities have said that during interrogation, Barghouti confessed to his involvement in attacks.
    Barghouti's popularity in the West Bank is high, but his influence beyond Ramallah is not clear. In outlying villages and northern West Bank cities that serve as militant strongholds to rival factions, his directives are considered but not necessarily followed.

Useful Reference:

American Citizens Killed or Injured by Palestinian Terrorists

Since September 13, 1993, at least 37 Americans have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists and at least another 72 Americans have been injured. This is a list of names and dates of attacks on U.S. citizens. (Republican Study Committee)

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Israel Charges Fatah Leader with Murder
    Israel Wednesday indicted Marwan Barghouti, 42, leader of the Tanzim on the West Bank, for murder and being "a central participant in decision-making which in the past two years perpetrated dozens of attacks in which dozens of Israeli citizens lost their lives and many hundreds were wounded." The Justice Ministry said Barghouti had "managed, financed, and activated" attacks, "providing a clear picture of a murder chieftain whose hands are in dozens of terror acts." "We asked for the trial to be held in a public court and not in a military court so it would be open for everyone to see,'' a ministry spokesman said. (Reuters/New York Times)
  • U.S. Spots Activity at Iraqi Biological Weapons Facility
    A convoy of about 60 trucks was photographed by a U.S. spy satellite at a known biological weapons facility near Taji last week, according to U.S. intelligence officials. After the war, the Taji plant was found to have produced hundreds of liters of botulinum toxin and was suspected of producing anthrax spores.
        Iraq is a self-sufficient producer of a variety of deadly germ weapons, noted Kelly Motz, a specialist on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, that include aflatoxin, anthrax, botulinum, and other agents. It also has worked on deadly viruses, possibly a virus similar to smallpox. (Washington Times)
  • Palestinians Seek Alternative Collective Leadership
    "Collectively, the Palestinian leadership has lost its credibility with the Palestinian people, and Arafat is having serious difficulty trying to control things....He's finished," said Eyad Sarraj, a Palestinian psychiatrist and a leading civil rights activist and political analyst in Gaza City. "Hamas reflects the basic feeling of every Palestinian that we cannot surrender without a feeling of hope and dignity."
        "We hope that the Palestinian leadership and Arafat will draw the conclusion that Arafat should relinquish power to a collective leadership or institution" that could include Hamas, said Ziad Abu Amr, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza.
        According to Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, "The Palestinians are losing support on the international front, and they have to take action, but their dilemma is how to take action without causing a rift in the rank and file and creating a civil war, so they are trying to create a broad consensus on terms that are totally unacceptable to Israel. They've tried to achieve an elimination of terrorism by consensus. We've seen it before, and it never works, because there's always a renegade willing to launch an attack in Israel or against the [Jewish] settlers" in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Court Puts Gaza Expulsions on Hold
    Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner Tuesday issued an interim injunction preventing the expulsion of three relatives of terrorists from the West Bank to Gaza until the court has heard their petitions against the planned expulsion. The IDF was given 15 days to submit a response. Nevertheless, the IDF believes the court will ultimately approve the deportations, which it deems "vital" to Israel's fight against suicide terrorism. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Intelligence Estimates Arafat's Wealth at $1.3 Billion
    Yasser Arafat's personal wealth is estimated at $1.3 billion, the head of military intelligence, General Aharon Zeevi Farkash, disclosed during a meeting of the Knesset's Security and Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel to Distribute Nuclear Fallout Antidote
    Defense Ministry Director-General Amos Yaron Wednesday confirmed that Israel would include Lugol's Iodine capsules in the protective kits it distributes to the public as an antidote to the fallout from a radioactive weapon. The U.S. administration has ordered hundreds of thousands of Lugol's Iodine capsules. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Smallpox Inoculation Dispute
    Prof. Aryeh Eldad, who heads the team advising the Health Ministry on epidemiological control, has resigned in the wake of the ministry's decision to reject his team's proposal that the entire population be inoculated against smallpox. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • On Fighting Corruption in the Arab World - Dr. Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Effendi
    Charges of corruption have no meaning unless they take place in an open and transparent regime, with known and fixed rules and regulations, clear foundations for accountability, and independent and neutral apparatuses to deal with it.
        In the Arab world, where there are absolute autocratic regimes, the concept of corruption loses all meaning, as the law is the ruler's will; he decides what is permitted and what is forbidden, and his bonuses and gifts are a legitimate livelihood. The ruler chooses to favor his friends and cronies - the men of his court, his entourage, and his proteges - in what is considered the embodiment of legitimate gain. (Al-Hayat - London/MEMRI)
  • Democracy Matters - Thomas L. Friedman
    With 150 million Muslims, India has the largest Muslim minority in the world. The richest man in India is an Indian Muslim software entrepreneur. Democracy in India forces anyone who wants to succeed nationally to appeal across ethnic lines. If Islam is ever to undergo a reformation, as Christianity and Judaism did, it's only going to happen in a Muslim democracy. Change the political context within which Muslims live their lives and you will change a lot. (New York Times)
  • The Saudi Way - Simon Henderson
    The "American way" is very different from the "Saudi way." Under the House of Saud, the people of Saudi Arabia--including foreign workers and visitors--are subjected to juryless trials, lashings, and public beheadings. The Saudi way of public diplomacy is to deny everything; for months Interior Minister Prince Nayef simply said the Sept. 11 hijackers had stolen Saudi identities. A Jan. 9 story in U.S. News & World Report said two senior Saudi princes had been paying off Osama bin Laden since a 1995 bombing in Riyadh, which killed five American military advisers. U.S. and British officials told me the names of the two senior princes. They were using Saudi official money - not their own - to pay off bin Laden to cause trouble elsewhere but not in the kingdom. That is "the Saudi way." (Wall Street Journal)

  • Talking Points:

    Terrorists at the Gate - Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Daniel Ayalon (Washington Times)

    • Even skeptics among America's European and Arab allies have today accepted the principle that the reform of the Palestinian Authority is a necessary prerequisite for returning to the political process to secure a stable and lasting peace.
    • The reconstruction of the Palestinian security services is the primary need in order to produce the environment for all of the other reforms. These new initiatives will only prevail if they can be enforced and protected by the authorities.
    • It is not the responsibility of the international community to select the Palestinian leadership. Rather, it is the role of the world community to create conditions that will allow the Palestinians to liberate themselves from their current problematic, dictatorial regime.

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