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 22, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

U.S. Moves Command Center from Saudi Arabia to Qatar

    Faced with the loss of Saudi Arabia's large airfields for combat operations and, in particular, the critical combined air operations center (CAOC) south of Riyadh, the U.S. has been building and enlarging bases elsewhere.
    These efforts range from repairing three airfields capable of landing C-130 transports, in Kurd-controlled Northern Iraq, to expanding Al Udeid airbase near Doha on the east coast of Qatar. The base now has more ramp and hangar space for aircraft, and will host the new CAOC for the region which, in the event of conflict, would coordinate minute-to-minute air operations.
    The U.S. will also rely heavily on bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Oman, and Turkey. (Aviation Week and Space Technology)

The Perils of Israeli Curfews

    Residents of Bethlehem reacted with relief to news of Israel's withdrawal from the city. Living under four months of intermittent curfew has taken its toll in many ways. Many complained of gaining weight after being forced to stay in their homes with little to do but eat and watch television. (Los Angeles Times)

Saudis to Sue U.S. Over 9/11 Aftermath

    A Saudi lawyer is planning to file more than 15 lawsuits against the U.S. government and other parties for causing physical and psychological damages to his clients, preventing them from completing their studies, and damaging their reputation through the media.
    Families of 600 people killed in the Sept. 11 attacks filed suit last week against Saudi Arabian banks, charities, and members of the royal family, accusing them of financially sponsoring the al Qaeda terrorist network. (Arab News - Saudi Arabia)

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:

  • Israel Captures Hebrew U. Bombers
    Israeli security forces have captured a Hamas terrorist cell in east Jerusalem that carried out 8 bombings in the last 6 months, including a blast at Hebrew University on July 31 that killed 5 Americans. One of the cell's members, Mohammed Odeh, 29, who worked at the university as a painter, placed the bomb on a table in the cafeteria and detonated it using a cellular phone. The day after the attack Odeh returned to the university to paint the very building he had bombed.
        Fifteen members of the group were arrested just before their cell set off another bomb in central Israel. Four of the group lived in east Jerusalem and held Jerusalem identity cards, allowing them to move about Israel. "The brains, the explosive charges, almost everything moved from Ramallah to east Jerusalem," a senior security official said. (Washington Post/Jerusalem Post)
  • Reforms Expected to Delay Palestinian Vote
    Palestinian elections to choose a president and parliament, originally scheduled for January, will be delayed until U.S.-led reforms can ensure that a free and fair vote takes place, senior State Department officials say. Palestinian officials were told of the U.S. assessment at meetings earlier this month in Washington, said Edward Abington, former U.S. consul-general in Jerusalem and a consultant to the Palestinian Authority.
        U.S. officials said the reforms needed before a vote can be held include: an independent election commission to oversee the vote, access by opposition candidates to free and independent media, a ban on the use of PA funds for any candidates, and a code of ethics that candidates and parties must sign that includes a pledge of nonviolence. (Boston Globe)
  • DeLay: Saddam Must Go
    "The question is not whether to go to war, for war already has been thrust upon us," House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas) said on Monday. The case against Saddam "is self-evident" and the United States can stop the Iraqi dictator from peddling weapons of mass destruction to terrorists "only by taking them out of his hands." "Every generation must summon the courage to disregard the timid counsel of those who would mortgage our security to the false promises of wishful thinking and appeasement." (USA Today)
  • How the PA Persecutes Gays
    The torment of gays is very nearly official Palestinian policy. "The persecution of gays in the Palestinian Authority doesn't just come from the families or the Islamic groups but from the P.A. itself," says Shaul Ganon of the Tel Aviv-based Agudah-Association of Gay Men, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgender in Israel. "It's now impossible to be an open gay in the PA." (New Republic)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • The CIA's Unwelcome Mission
    The CIA is moving forward with plans to overhaul the Palestinian Authority's security services, based on restructuring and training new ranks with the help of Egyptian, Jordanian, and American trainers. One of the greatest ironies of the latest Palestinian intifada is that a considerable number of those attacking the Israelis have been members of Yasser Arafat's security forces who were trained by the CIA, at Israeli insistence, to stamp out the very Islamic militants they joined soon after the uprising erupted in late September 2000. Senior and mid-level Palestinian security officials underwent training at a CIA facility in North Carolina by counter-terrorism and covert operations specialists, while lower-level operatives attended facilities in Virginia. (Ha'aretz/Jane's Weekly/Daily Star - Lebanon)
  • UK Tightens Arms Embargo on Israel
    Britain has embargoed the supply of various materiel to Israel, including pilot ejection seats used by the Israel Air Force for its F-4 Phantom warplanes. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Saddam and Terror - William Safire
    Let's not pretend we must "make the case" that Saddam personally directed 9/11. The need to strike at an aggressive despot before he gains the power to blackmail us with the horrific weapons he is building and hiding is apparent to most Americans, including those who will bear the brunt of the fight. Terror's most dangerous supporter can be found in Baghdad. (New York Times)
  • Handling the House of Saud - Editorial
    There is evidence of large-scale disinvestment by wealthy Saudis from the U.S. economy in recent months, but the growing divide between Washington and Riyadh is also exactly what Osama bin Laden was working for. The Saudis must root out the terrorists in their midst, but President Bush needs to consider whether it is truly in U.S. interests to alienate Saudi Arabia now, when he is already in a deepening confrontation with Iraq and Iran. (Financial Times - UK)
  • A Forest of Falling Trees - Jim Hoagland
    The Persian Gulf region today is a forest of falling trees. Iraq's Baathist dictatorship is a dying if still highly dangerous Nazi-like remnant of Arab socialist nationalism. In Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic revolution has run its course as a profoundly disaffected population demands change. And Saudi Arabia's royals can no longer treat their country and its oil wealth as their private plaything and piggybank. (Houston Chronicle)
  • This Time the World Has to Act - Terje Roed-Larsen
    Nine years ago several Palestinians and Israelis finished eight months of secret negotiations. Although there were tense moments, the scene pulsated with optimism and hope. Its end result: the groundbreaking Oslo peace accords. Today, the process now simply known as Oslo has collapsed. The institutions that it created are shattered and almost destroyed. Now we have a completely new situation, and while our foundation remains the principles of the Oslo process - land for peace, nonviolence - our tactics must change. (International Herald Tribune)
  • Talking Points:

    Will IDF Reservists Traveling Abroad be Arrested for War Crimes? - Danielle Haas (San Francisco Chronicle)

    • The recent establishment of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, is raising fears that Israel will be one of the first countries to be targeted. The Court has jurisdiction over individuals charged by other individuals, laying Israeli officials, soldiers, and citizens open to prosecution.
    • Israeli political and security officials insist that the military is abiding by legal and ethical rules of combat, and Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer has ordered the army to allow passage of medical and humanitarian traffic into Palestinian areas with the minimum delay possible.
    • Soldiers charged with committing offenses in the Palestinian territories are brought to justice in Israeli military courts. Military sources say 26 soldiers have been indicted since the current intifada began in September 2000.
    • Prime Minister Ariel Sharon followed the example of the United States in saying Israel would not ratify the 1998 Treaty of Rome, which set up the International Criminal Court.
    • Legal experts in Israel say the most objectionable clause in the Court's charter, insisted upon by Arab countries, defines an occupying country's transfer of its citizens to the areas it has occupied as a "war crime." Some 220,000 Israeli Jews live in approximately 145 settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on land Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war. Israeli officials say the clause is specifically aimed at the settlements, and they note pointedly that terrorism is excluded from the same list of offenses.
    • "In an ideal world, nothing would be more welcome than the idea of enforcing the law against war crimes in international institutions," said Israeli Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein. "But in our world, there is reason to fear that the motivations of the Court will be political rather than objective."

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