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 20, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

More on Al-Najah University's Role as a Hamas Terrorism Breeding-Ground

    Al-Najah University serves as a recruitment center for various Palestinian terror organizations, but first and foremost for Hamas. The Hamas terror infrastructure in the Nablus area, including its Iz A-Din al-Qassam terrorist wing, was formed and developed at the university.
    According to Hamas data, more than 70 Al-Najah students have been arrested by Israel during the last two years on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity.
    Photographs of campus activities depict Hamas operatives showing students how to prepare explosive charges, as well as demonstrating methods of murdering Israeli soldiers and blowing up Israeli buses.
    Al-Najah University boasts of its "strategic ties" with universities abroad. The list of these universities, which appears on its website, includes: McGill University in Canada, Dundee University and Durham University in England, Lille University in France, the University of Trier in Germany, Oslo University in Norway, and the Slovak University of Technology.
    See also Al-Najah University Responds (Israel Defense Forces)

PA Security Official Admits Responsibility for Murder of Palestinians - Khaled Abu Toameh

    The head of the Palestinian Authority's General Intelligence Service in the West Bank, Gen. Tawfik Tirawi, has admitted that his men were responsible for the 1996 kidnapping and killing of several Palestinians suspected of selling land to Jews.
    Until a few months ago, Tirawi was part of a Palestinian security team that met with IDF officers on a regular basis to work out joint security arrangements. (Jerusalem Post)

Pre-Independence Arms Cache Discovered

    While digging holes to plant trees in Kibbutz Sdot Yam, 15-year-old Shai Yaniv found a weapons cache from the days of the British Mandate. The cache contained several rusty pistols, a few less-rusty Sten submachine guns, a number of Tommy Gun submachine guns in working order, and several MG 34 machine guns in excellent condition. Kibbutz veteran Yehuda Michaeli, 82, who had helped hide the weapons, kept their location a secret for 54 years. (Ha'aretz)

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News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Israelis Pull Back in Bethlehem
    Israeli troops halted patrols in downtown Bethlehem under a new agreement that calls for Israeli troop pullbacks in that city and in Gaza in exchange for a crackdown by Palestinian security services. But three hard-line Palestinian groups - Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Hamas - refused to go along with the deal. (Washington Post)
        See also No Ceasefire in Gaza
    An Israeli soldier was killed on Tuesday during an exchange of gunfire between Palestinian snipers and IDF troops near the Jewish community of Gadid in the southern Gaza Strip. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Will Understand If Israel Retaliates Against Iraq
    The Pentagon will for the first time begin funding covert operations by Iraqi opposition groups, London's Sunday Times reported. In addition, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has suggested that the administration would not have a problem if Israel attacks Iraq in response to an Iraqi strike against Israeli targets. "It's understood," Myers said, without elaborating. "We understand the point." (FOX News)
  • U.S. Companies Slash Imports of Iraqi Oil
    U.S. imports of Iraqi crude have fallen from about 1 million barrels a day five months ago to between 100,000 and 200,000 barrels a day, according to U.N. expert Michel Tellings. "If you think that within the next eight months this significant source of crude oil may suddenly be out of reach, you will want to develop alternative sources," said James Placke, a former U.S. diplomat and specialist on the Iraqi oil industry. (Washington Post)
  • Top Terrorist Abu Nidal Killed in Baghdad
    Palestinian terrorist leader Abu Nidal, 65, was found dead in his Baghdad home with gunshot wounds, Palestinian sources said Monday. The organization he headed killed or wounded hundreds of people, mostly during the 1970s and 1980s. According to one report, he was killed by Iraqi agents because he maintained contacts with Kuwait. (ABC News/Reuters/Yediot Ahronot)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Infiltration to Israel via Saudi-Jordanian Borders
    The Jordanian weekly Sheihan reports that last week witnessed three infiltration operations through the Jordanian border with Israel in order to carry out attacks. A fourth attempt involved four Saudis who were discovered while swimming through the Gulf of Aqaba to implement an attack in Eilat. (
  • Israel, Jordan to Announce Red-Dead Sea Canal
    Israel's Minister for Regional Cooperation Roni Milo and Jordan's Minister for Development Bassem Awadallah will announced the Red-Dead Sea project at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg at the end of August. The project will cost $2-5 billion, including a 350-km pipeline from Eilat to the Dead Sea and a desalination facility on the Jordanian side. The aim of the project is to save the Dead Sea, which has fallen 30 meters in recent years at a rate of 1.2 meters a year. (Globes)
  • Canadian Government Challenges Contributions to Magen David Adom
    Canadian Jews are anxiously awaiting a decision by the Federal Court of Canada regarding a tax appeal launched by a Jewish charity. The decision could mean that the Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel (CMDA) loses its charitable status for financing activities beyond Israel's pre-1967 border. Under Canadian law, it is not illegal to send money to Israeli settlements. It is unlawful, however, to claim a charitable tax deduction for the contribution, which is exactly what many CMDA contributors are doing. (Arab News - Saudi Arabia)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Fog of War - Thomas L. Friedman
    The first rule of warfare: never launch a war that you can't explain to your people and the world on a bumper sticker. The Palestinians could never explain why they were killing Jews to end an occupation that the U.S. and Israel were offering to end through diplomacy. There is only one bumper-sticker phrase that can explain such behavior: "Death to Israel." And if that is their real strategy, then a war to the death it will be. (New York Times)
  • Saudi Indecision - Editorial
    Enlightened Saudis realize that if their nation is to survive it must become more like modernizing Muslim states such as Bahrain. Less than a decade ago, a strife-ridden basket-case, Bahrain introduced some democratic reforms and a respect for human rights unknown in the region. The results have been political stability and that rarest of things in the Middle East - tolerance. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Militant Islam's Burgeoning Borders - Jonathan Schanzer
    Militant Islam has become a world epidemic. As allied troops fight to rid Afghanistan, Yemen, Georgia, and the Philippines of its radical Islamic elements, new Islamic movements are gaining strength in Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. (Front Page Magazine)
  • Guile, Gas and Germs: Syria's Ultimate Weapons - Danny Shoham
    Syria today is a prominent member of the chemical and biological weapons (CBW) club, spending between $1 billion and $2 billion annually on its ballistic and CB capabilities, an enormous share of the Syrian military budget. Syria provides a textbook case of how a small but determined state can operate beneath the radar of international scrutiny, to build a formidable array of non-conventional capabilities under ostensibly scientific cover. (Middle East Quarterly)
  • Yes, the Iraqi Dictator has Weapons of Mass Destruction - Stephen F. Hayes
    "We don't know how good his means of delivery are. But we know he's got the weapons of mass destruction," said an administration source. A succession of Iraqi defectors have confirmed Saddam's continuation of his WMD programs. Last fall, an Iraqi civil engineer told U.S. intelligence officials that he had worked at nearly two dozen of Saddam's biological and chemical weapons facilities. (Weekly Standard)
  • In an Israeli Hospital, Signs of Hardship, Hope, and Horror Larry Miller
    In Hadassah hospital, I couldn't help but notice the many Arab families and children. "Oh, yes, we treat everyone," a doctor told me. "It's not easy, I admit. And it gets hard when they cheer when the bodies are brought in." I looked at her. What did you say? She sighed. "Yes, it gets hard when they cheer." (Weekly Standard)

  • Talking Points:

    Israel's Bethlehem Pullout

    • The Fatah, Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad have pledged to continue the fight against Israel, despite the new agreement between Israel and representatives of the Palestinian Authority.
    • For the agreement to work, the security services of the Palestinian Authority must be prepared to force all these organizations to stop terrorism.
    • Unless Palestinian security forces are equally effective as the Israel Defense Forces at intercepting attacks, more terrorism will inevitably follow, after Palestinian terrorist groups use the Israeli pullout to regroup and re-arm.
    • Israel must make clear that its willingness to try yet another ceasefire should not be interpreted as a first step in the rehabilitation of Yasser Arafat. Israel remains firmly committed to the vision President Bush outlined in his June 24 speech that called for regime change in the Palestinian Authority because of its support of terrorism.

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