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 16, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

200,000 Palestinians Left Territories in Past Two Years - Fahed Fanek (Daily Star - Lebanon)

    We have had our fill of slogans about the Palestinian people's adherence to their land and their resistance to being uprooted. The fact that there are 5 million Palestinians living outside Palestine (half of them in Jordan) does not uphold that hypothesis.
    It is not true that the numbers of people who have been leaving and entering the West Bank across the bridges are roughly equal. There is population flight from the Palestinian territories.
    According to one well-placed official, since the start of the intifada two years ago, the number of Palestinians who have entered Jordan via the bridges and not returned is around 200,000. Some have stayed in Jordan and joined relatives; others have moved on elsewhere.
    We have a national duty to Jordan first, and to Palestine second, to prevent the Palestinian state from being relocated outside Palestine, specifically to Jordan.
    It is in the interest of both Jordan and Palestine for traffic across the bridges to be tightly controlled. Jordan should disregard pressure to open its borders. If we're not doing enough to keep the West Bank Palestinian, we should at least keep Jordan Jordanian.

Iranians Drilling Hizbullah and Palestinian Groups - Nicholas Blanford (Daily Star - Lebanon)

    A detachment of Iranian Revolutionary Guards are in Lebanon training elite units of Hizbullah and Palestinian fighters to fire rockets and carry out underwater suicide operations as part of a $50 million program, according to a "special report" allegedly compiled by a Western intelligence agency.
    The report focuses on a secret meeting of representatives of hard-line anti-Israel groups that took place on June 1 in Tehran to thwart any attempts to halt the suicide bombing campaign in Israel and neutralize the intifada.
    New shipments of missiles and rockets have been dispatched to Lebanon, the report said, including Fajr 5 surface-to-surface rockets which have a range of 70 kilometers, SAM-7 anti-aircraft missiles, and the more advanced U.S.-made Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.

U.S. Base Rises in Qatari Desert - Kedar Sharma (Reuters/ABC News)

    Construction work at Al Udeid in the Gulf state of Qatar, 28 miles west of the capital Doha, was switched into top gear in November after Saudi Arabia refused to let U.S. planes and troops heading to Afghanistan use the Prince Sultan base.
    The Al Udeid facility has one of the longest runways in the Middle East, that can accommodate up to 120 fighter jets, U.S. officials say.
    The airbase has three hardened concrete underground shelters which can each hold 40 aircraft capable of operating even if the base came under biological or chemical attack. Next to the base is a sprawling arms warehouse where Central Command has stored tanks, armored personnel carriers, and enough weapons to equip a whole brigade.
    Al Udeid hosts around 3,000 U.S. troops and 50 planes. Officials say once complete, it will be home to 10,000 troops.

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Back Issues

News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • U.S. Links Egyptian Aid to Human Rights
    The Bush administration will oppose any additional foreign aid for Egypt to protest the Egyptian government's prosecution of human rights campaigner Saad Eddin Ibrahim and its poor treatment of pro-democracy organizations, administration sources said yesterday. The Ibrahim case makes it "impossible" for the administration to contemplate extra money for Egypt, according to a White House official. (Washington Post)
        See also Egypt Won't Bow to U.S. Pressure over Ibrahim (Reuters)
  • Rice Makes Case for Deposing Saddam
    U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said the Iraqi leader had "developed biological weapons, lied to the UN repeatedly about the stockpiles...and had used chemical weapons against his own people and against his neighbors. He has invaded his neighbors. He has killed thousands of his own people. He shoots at our the no-fly zone where we're trying to enforce UN security resolutions. This is an evil man [Saddam Hussein] who, left to his own devices, will wreak havoc again on his own population, his neighbors and, if he gets weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them, on all of us. (BBC)
  • Peres: Postponing Attack on Iraq More Dangerous
    Attacking Iraq now would be "quite dangerous, but postponing it would be more dangerous," Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said Thursday. A war with Iraq would be "an attempt to bring an end to the government of one of the most terrible persons of our time, Saddam Hussein....And we think and know that he is on his way to acquire a nuclear option." (CNN)
  • New York City Council Calls for Closure of Palestinian UN Office
    The New York City Council voted on Thursday to urge President Bush to close the Palestinian observer mission at the United Nations, accusing the Palestinian Authority of sponsoring terrorism in Israel. "As a government entity that shelters terrorist groups, the offices of the Palestinian Authority may pose a danger to New Yorkers,'' the resolution said, and it called on the U.S. government to add the Palestinian Authority to its list of terrorist organizations. (New York Times/Reuters)
  • Sept. 11 Victims' Families Sue Saudis
    Families of 600 people killed in the Sept. 11 attacks filed suit Thursday against Saudi Arabian banks, charities, and members of the royal family, accusing them of financially sponsoring the al Qaeda terrorist network and its leader, Osama bin Laden. Named as defendants in the 259-page court filing were three Saudi princes - Prince Turki al Faisal al Saud, former chief of Saudi intelligence; Prince Sultan, Saudi defense minister and a brother of King Fahd; and Mohammed al Faisal al Saud. Also accused were seven banks, the government of Sudan, and international charities that the U.S. government has contended are linked to terrorist groups. (Washington Post)
  • Support for Homicide Bombers May be Dwindling
    Atta Sarasara has lost everything. First his 16-year-old son, Hazem, blew himself up in Jerusalem. Then the Israeli army blew up the Palestinian man's home as a result - to discourage future suicide bombers. Sarasara is angry with not just the Israelis, but also with the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades for preying on impressionable teenagers and giving his son a bomb. (FOX News)
  • Israel's Image Slipping, New Surveys Reveal
    Israel is still winning the public relations war against the Palestinians, but is losing ground as the violence continues and more Americans blame both parties, according to two new surveys. The most effective way to make Israel's case is to emphasize its democratic values, alignment with the United States, and commitment to peace. And it is counterproductive to verbally attack Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and his people because such rhetoric only reinforces the perception that Israel is hostile to the Palestinians and not interested in peace. (New York Jewish Week)
  • Israeli-Palestinian Conflict a Challenge for Sacramento Jews
    Rabbi Brad Bloom of the Reform Temple B'nai Israel has heard many Jews privately express reservations over Israeli policy but, Bloom said, "This is a war" - Jews must put aside their personal views in the name of patriotism. Rabbi Josef Etz-Hasadeh of the Orthodox Kenesset Israel Torah Center also feels when Israel's survival is at stake, "It's not the time for internal argument - it's time to work together against a common enemy." At a fund-raiser this summer, local Jews contributed more than $100,000 for Israel to put bulletproof glass on school buses and fences around elementary schools. (Sacramento Bee)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • IDF Arrests Palestinian Sniper Who Murdered Hebron Baby
    In an operation in the Hebron area early Friday morning, the Israel Defense Force arrested Sudki Zaro, the Palestinian sniper believed to have killed 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass 18 months ago . (Ha'aretz)
  • Jordanians, Egyptians to Train PA Policemen
    Jordanian and Egyptian intelligence officers are to arrive soon in Jericho to train Palestinian policemen, PA Minister Nabil Sha'ath told Israel Radio on Friday. On Thursday, Sha'ath told Voice of Palestine radio that negotiations between the PA and Hamas on an end to terror attacks inside Israel have failed. Spokesmen for Hamas and Islamic Jihad said they would not cease attacks inside Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Psychological Warfare in the Territories
    As part of a new psychological warfare campaign, the IDF has distributed tens of thousands of flyers written in Arabic explaining that the Palestinians' difficult situation results from attacks against Israel, and that anyone who aids terrorists will be dealt with harshly. "You should know that anyone who gives aid or cooperates with terrorists is liable to pay dearly. You should know that destruction of houses and expulsion of families to Gaza are only some of the actions the IDF takes against those involved in attacks. You should know that the difficult situation you and your family are in is due to the attacks that come from your area. Important: Your fate and the fate of your family is in your hands."
        "Murder and bloodshed harms Palestinian society first and foremost, and any assistance given to those who carry out attacks will destroy any hope for you and your family for a life of honor and security."
        Central Command sources said that expulsion of families of homicide bombers to Gaza was an especially effective deterrent for the Palestinians. They added, "Every family whose house is destroyed because of involvement in a homicide attack receives money from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Hamas totaling $40,000, which is enough to build a very nice house in place of the one destroyed." (Yediot Ahronot)
  • "Dear Saddam, Bomb Tel Aviv"
    Setting fire to U.S. and Israeli flags, and chanting "Dear Saddam, bomb Tel Aviv," several hundred Palestinians marched through Rafah in southern Gaza Thursday in a Fatah-led demonstration in support of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Some clutched automatic machineguns and had black paint smeared on their faces like combat soldiers. Saddam has sent at least $30 million in cash to support the families of Palestinians killed since the uprising began. (Ha'aretz)
  • U.S. Blocks Israeli Participation in Joint Strike Fighter Program
    The U.S. administration will not let Israel participate in its Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) development program, claiming concern that classified technology might be leaked to countries unfriendly to the U.S., such as China. Israel has defense relations with numerous third world countries with whom the U.S. does not maintain defense relations. (Globes)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Civil Society, PA-Style - Editorial
    This is what passes for political dialogue in the Palestinian Authority. At secret meetings in Gaza this month, delegates from 13 Palestinian groups tried to cobble together a draft unity platform for reforming Yasser Arafat's corrupt administration. But apparently, all they could agree on was that terrorism is fantastic. The only dispute is over what should be blown up. (National Post - Canada)
  • Mistrust Dominates U.S. Views of Saudi Arabia - Editorial
    Almost a year after the September attacks, perpetrated largely by Saudi citizens, U.S.-Saudi relations have reached rock-bottom. Ever more critical comment on Saudi Arabia has been circulating in the American press, much of it inspired by Bush Administration officials. The country was reported still to be funding Islamic groups that were fronts for terrorism and anti-Western activism, and, most provocatively, Saudi Arabia has refused to counter the groundswell of support for bin Laden and al-Qaeda or provide intelligence on the terrorist network. (Times - UK)
  • War Comes Closer - Tony Blankley
    Henry Kissinger, the high mandarin of the American foreign-policy establishment, has endorsed the president's pre-emptive war strategy. In justifying "bringing matters to a head with Iraq," he has stated: "While long-range American strategy must try to overcome legitimate causes of [Islamic] resentments, immediate policy must demonstrate that a terrorist challenge...produces catastrophic consequences for the perpetrators, as well as their supporters, tacit or explicit." In other words, we must break the will and pride of all those in the Islamic world who would dare terrorize us and the international system. (Washington Times)
  • First We Take Baghdad - Mark Steyn
    A new regime in Baghdad means more oil, which means cheaper prices at the pump, which means more pressure on the House of Saud. The less money they're getting from oil, the less they have to fund Islamist recruitment in Europe, South Asia, and North America.
        The last time the West went to war with Saddam, in 1991, Afghanistan was still Communist, as were the Central Asian republics, and Pakistan was under the corrupt Sharif regime. Eleven years later, General Musharraf is trying his hardest to be Washington's new best friend, and American forces are in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and even Georgia. The Middle East's eastern and northern borders have quietly become an American sphere of influence. That's the way Araby will look in a couple of years. It starts in Baghdad. (National Post - Canada)
  • The Mideast Threat That's Hard to Define - Youssef M. Ibrahim
    The Sept. 11 attacks have strained ties between the House of Saud - wealthy, cosmopolitan, and increasingly Western in tastes and habits - and the proponents of an austere form of Islam based on a literal interpretation of the Koran. An increasing number of newspaper commentators, regional leaders, and Saudi officials are daring to speak up against the backwards "Wahabi" vision of society. Instead of representing growing Wahabi power, the Sept. 11 attacks and their aftermath in Afghanistan may signal the peak of Wahabi influence, and a turning point in Arab attitudes toward such extremists. (Washington Post)
  • A Journey to Israel - Larry Miller
    When we landed in Tel Aviv, the first thing I noticed was...nothing. I mean, I guess I expected tanks and soldiers all over the place, but there was nothing. Just an airport. Before leaving, most of my friends had made me a little crazy - What are friends for? - by telling me how dangerous this was. They got me thinking that Israel was like London in 1940, that I'd be spending the whole trip dashing from doorway to doorway to avoid blasts. Well, it's not. (Weekly Standard)
  • Changing Rogue Regimes - Raymond Tanter
    Simply creating a democratic Palestine would not be sufficient to maintain peace, given the troublemaking potential of rogue states. Rather, the regime in Baghdad should be toppled first, followed by the creation of a democratic, market-based Palestine, which would then be free to make peace with a democratic Israel. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

  • Talking Points:

    Missile Proliferation in the Middle East - Moshe Arens
          (Jerusalem Issue Brief - Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • The present Iraqi capability is relatively limited. According to recent U.S. estimates, Iraq may have a dozen or two Scud missiles that were not caught by UN inspectors. They are working to attain nuclear capability but do not have it at the moment. However, both the Iraqis and the Iranians have chemical warheads, and both probably have biological weapons as well.
    • During the Gulf War, Saddam thought that provoking Israel was a way to help break up the U.S.-led coalition he faced that included Arab countries, something that is not a factor this time. Indeed, Israel's situation today is much different and considerably better. With the Arrow system in place, Saddam must take into account that there is a high probability that any missile sent against Israel will be intercepted. If the missiles were to carry non-conventional warheads, not only would the missile be intercepted, but it would be revealed to the entire world that he had tried to send a missile with a non-conventional warhead against Israel.
    • It has been suggested that in the age of missile systems, borders are not really important anymore because missiles fly over borders. This might be the case if missiles were the only way of conducting war, but, as a matter of fact, no war has yet been won by missiles alone. Wars are still won by forces on the ground. So unless Israel can protect itself against enemy ground forces, even the most advanced missile interceptor system will not keep enemy tanks out of the streets of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Defensible borders still matter.
    • In the immediate future, the threat that Israel most likely will have to contend with, even if it is not the greatest threat in terms of destructive capability, is that of Syria with its 150 missiles, some of which may be armed with chemical or biological warheads. This kind of threat on Israel's doorstep obviously arouses very deep concern.

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