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 15, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Who Killed Muhammad Al-Dura? - Amnon Lord

    Muhammad Al-Dura, the poster child of the current Palestinian uprising, was not killed by IDF gunfire at Netzarim junction, according to an inquiry by the German ARD television network based on a study by Israeli physicist Nahum Shahaf.
    Shahaf analyzed all available unedited videotape from the area of the event, spoke with IDF soldiers and photographers who were present, and concluded: The Palestinians, in cooperation with foreign journalists, arranged a well-staged production.
    Talal Abu-Rahma - the man who brought the world the famous pictures showing Muhammad Al-Dura the moment he was shot - states that he never said the IDF killed Al-Dura.
    In the videotapes of the area in front of the Palestinian position - in the area that is supposed to be under IDF fire - one can see the audience. Close to 200 men, teenagers, and children are standing there in two or three rows, with the people in the front row sitting on the edge of the sidewalk. Passing next to them are teenagers riding on bicycles.
    In an area distant from the IDF position, people are posing as if they are taking cover at the time of battle, while at the same time, behind them, men and children are walking around freely and smiling, as are many TV photographers (all of whom are Palestinians), just like in Hollywood.
    The raw videotape shows that the Palestinian television photographers themselves were part of the events, and that by the time their edited material was received by European, American, and Israeli news editors or networks, it was already in such a format that all that was needed was to add a few anti-Israel comments.
    Furthermore, the father's testimony that Muhammad was hit in the back does not square with the claim that he was shot by IDF soldiers. (Jerusalem Viewpoints - Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

"If Attacked, Israel Might Nuke Iraq" - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)

    U.S. strategic affairs expert Dr. Anthony Cordesman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that if Iraq strikes at Israel with non-conventional weapons, causing massive casualties, Israel could respond with a nuclear retaliation that would eradicate Iraq as a country.

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News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Iraq's Official Policy of Ethnic Cleansing of Non-Arabs
    Osman Siddiq, his wife, and eight children were deported in July from their home in Kirkuk and trucked 80 miles east to the self-governing Kurdish enclave that lives under Western air protection. The Siddiqs are Kurds, the predominant ethnic group in northern Iraq, and they had rejected Decree 199, proclaimed last year by Saddam Hussein for "nationality correction" - Iraq's equivalent of ethnic cleansing. It gives Kurds and other minorities (Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Turkmen) the chance to avow that they "mistakenly" registered themselves as non-Arabs and that they wish to reclaim their Arab origins. (New York Times)
        See also The Kurds of Iraq are Girding for War
    Guerrillas, known as "peshmergas," are working day and night hauling sandbags, digging trenches, and bulldozing mountain roads to their front lines. In what may be the opening battle of the war for Iraq, the Kurds are preparing to crush the Taliban-inspired Islamists known as Ansar-al-Islam, who have seized territory on the Iraqi-Iranian border. (The Dawn - Pakistan)
  • Smuggled Parts Help Iraqi Military Maintain Arsenal
    Spare parts for Iraq's military are being smuggled from Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics, keeping Saddam Hussein's troops prepared for combat despite an international embargo on weapons trafficking, U.S. defense officials say. The equipment - from truck tires to aircraft parts - is being brought across the border from Syria and Jordan in trucks, officials believe. (Boston Globe/AP)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Israel to Transfer NIS 70 Million to PA
    Foreign Minister Shimon Peres pledged Wednesday night to transfer another NIS 70 million of frozen Palestinian tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority as part of its effort to ameliorate the Palestinians' standard of living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In a meeting with Palestinian officials, the sides also discussed Israel's proposal to pull back IDF troops from the Gaza Strip and hand over responsibility for security there to the PA. "Israel is ready to talk about every place where the PA can prove it can handle security," Peres said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Counterfeit Industry Funds Terrorism
    Profits from a massive manufacturing operation in the Palestinian territories producing counterfeit CDs, computer software, and designer clothing are funding terrorist activities, according to a classified Israeli Police intelligence investigation reported in Maariv. "The owners of factories producing the fake merchandise pay royalties to Hamas, Fatah, and even to senior Palestinian Authority officials," an Israeli involved in the operations revealed. (Israelinsider)
  • Saddam Gives $120,000 to Families of Hebron "Martyrs"
    Twelve Palestinian families from Hebron who lost sons in the intifada received $10,000 each as a personal gift from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on Monday at a ceremony organized by the pro-Iraqi Arab Liberation Front, which turned into a pro-Saddam rally. Most of the dead men belonged to the armed wings of Fatah and Hamas. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Blocks Entry of Iranian-Born Israeli Terror Victims
    Four Israeli victims of terror, part of a delegation to the U.S., have been refused entry because they were born in Iran. The American Consulate in Jerusalem explained that since September 11, a minimum 3-week waiting period has been instituted before beginning to process visa requests from anyone born in a Muslim country. (Maariv)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Mideast Specter: Modernity - George F. Will
    Francis Fukuyama notes demographic trends that give Europe a huge stake in the transformation of the Middle East. As the median age in Europe rises, in the Middle East and North Africa it will remain at about 21. "So you're going to have this little island of well-to-do elderly people surrounded by vast numbers of people who are a good deal younger and poorer, all wanting to move to the island." (Washington Post)
  • A People that Celebrates Mass Murder - Michael B. Oren
    In Gaza, crowds of children reveled and sang while adults showered them with candies in celebration of the cold-blooded murder of 9 people - 5 of them Americans - and the maiming of 80 more at Jerusalem's Hebrew University. In the mid-1990s, after bus bombs in Israel killed dozens, an estimated 70,000 Palestinians filled a Gaza stadium to cheer a re-enactment of the massacre. For a majority of Israelis, the issue is whether a fundamentally sound society can trust one that has lost its mental and moral bearings. (Wall Street Journal)
  • History and Logic Dictate War with Iraq - Michael Kelly
    The emerging core argument against war with Iraq is that such a war would constitute an unprovoked attack against a sovereign state. After Sept. 11, the largely accepted argument became: Persistent state support for groups bent on waging war against the U.S. is sufficient provocation for a U.S. attack against that state, and we, rightly, attacked the sovereign state of Afghanistan. The fact of Iraq's persistence in its weapons program is alone "proper provocation," as it clearly and massively violates the 1991 cease-fire that Iraq signed to escape destruction in the Gulf War.
        The United States has frequently waged war on nations that have not "properly" provoked it. Such conflicts include the invasions of Grenada and Panama, the Gulf War, and the air campaigns in 1996 against the Serbs in Bosnia and in 1999 against Serbia itself over Kosovo. (Seattle Times)
  • U.S. Can Count on England - John O'Sullivan
    Left-wing members of Blair's own Cabinet have signaled that they might resign if Britain joins in attacking Iraq - and about half the Labor MPs in the House of Commons have signed a parliamentary motion opposing it. Most newspapers and television news programs report the signs of a U.S. military build-up in the Middle East in a disapproving tone. Several polls suggest that about 30 percent of the British public would support the war while as many as 50 percent would oppose it.
        Let me express my firm opinion that Britain will join in an attack to liberate Iraq and that British public opinion will overwhelmingly support the decision. Both the government and the main opposition party, the Tories, will support the decision - thus giving Blair a clear parliamentary majority for the war. What President Bush needs to do to win support for the action against Iraq is to say a very hearty ''thank you'' for what Britain has done so far in the Afghan campaign. (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Talking Points:

    Barghouti Indictment Reveals Pyramid of Terror - Dan Izenberg
          (Jerusalem Post)

    • Marwan Barghouti is head of the West Bank Fatah organization, the Tanzim, and the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, all of which have been declared terrorist organizations by Israel.
    • Barghouti was indicted on charges including premeditated murder, accessory to murder, incitement to murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and participation and membership in a terrorist organization.
    • The indictment includes a list of 37 operations carried out or attempted by terrorists under Barghouti's command that claimed the lives of 26 Israelis.
    • Barghouti was always informed and updated about the actions of his field commanders and knew in advance about attacks. He was directly involved in enlisting activists for the organizations, persuading them to take part in terrorist operations, and providing the logistics for their operations. He was also involved in their financing, arming, and training.
    See Text of Barghouti Indictment - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 (IMRA)

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