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 23, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Protecting Israeli Communities

    A pilot project initiated by the IDF to improve the security of communities in the Central Command area, which includes Judea and Samaria, is currently in an advanced implementation stage. Local residents in 11 communities are being specially trained to guard and protect their own communities.
    "This is a specially picked and highly trained response team that will deal with any threat outside of, or infiltrating into the community," said Major Reuven, commander of the Community Defense Branch. "It became necessary to draw conclusions from past experience...[and] build a force that could handle the threat of a hostile terrorist infiltrating into the community."
    Force members sign a special contract with the Ministry of Defense and they are on active reserve duty.
    The advantage of this force is that they have an intimate knowledge of their own community. They are always present and do not leave the community after a defined period of service, as do reservists and regular IDF forces. These forces will replace soldiers currently assigned to guard duty inside the communities.
    Oshrat, a 21-year-old woman soldier, was noted for her dedication to training and for her self-motivation. "I served my compulsory military service as a commander of a men's squad," she said, adding, "I was recently discharged and what attracted me to this job is my desire to help....I get to stay close to my mother and protect her as well." (Israel Defense Forces)

Saddam Hussein, Novelist - Charles Paul Freund

    Saddam's most recent novel - The Impregnable Fortress, a moving tale of love and war - has been selling poorly. This despite the fact that Iraq printed 2 million copies of the novel, issued purchasing quotas for each Iraqi province, and declared the work the best-selling novel in Iraqi history even before it was released. Saddam's son Udai did his filial literary duty to boost sales; he ordered 250,000 copies. (Reason)

82nd Airborne Too Busy to Join Sinai Mission

    Since the early 1980s, the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division has - grudgingly sometimes - sent a battalion to the Sinai about every two years to safeguard the peace between Egypt and Israel. With almost 3,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, it appears the 82nd will not be taking part in the Multinational Force and Observers in the near future.
    MFO duty takes 500 to 700 soldiers away from other duties for more than their six months of deployment. The soldiers also have to switch from their traditional combat training in order to become peacekeepers and observers. (Fayetteville [NC] Observer)

Libyan Camels Smuggled into Israel

    Hundreds of camels from Libya have been smuggled across Egypt into Israel during the past year, the work of an organized gang operating in Sinai and Egypt. The camels cost $500 in Egypt, but Bedouin living in Israel's Negev desert region are willing to pay $4,000 for Libyan camels, which are stronger and give more milk than the local breed. (Yediot Ahronot)

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:

  • Florida University Seeks to Fire Professor with Terrorist Ties
    University of South Florida officials accused tenured Palestinian computer science professor Sami Al-Arian of having terrorist ties and filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking a court to determine whether firing him would violate his free speech rights. "The reality is, this guy's been associated with terrorists for the last 15 years," said Dick Beard, chairman of the USF trustees. "The university has been called Jihad U. It's time we take action and effectively cut this cancer out."
        While USF President Judy Genshaft recommended in December that Al-Arian be fired, citing disruption and breach of contract, the university's 60-member faculty senate later voted overwhelmingly not to support Genshaft's decision. A committee of the American Association of University Professors released a statement supporting Al-Arian and urging Genshaft not to fire him or face possible censure. (AP/Yahoo)
        See also Interview with Al-Arian (FOX News)
  • Libya Bankrolling Iraqi Nukes
    "There is nuclear cooperation between Iraq and Libya. Iraq has the know-how and Libya - they have the money," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told visiting U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli (D-NJ). Foreign Minister Shimon Peres told Torricelli, "There is no sense talking to Yasser Arafat as long as he doesn't control the situation."
        Asked about the right of Jews to settle in the territories, the senator replied, "Israel is being held to a standard which is otherwise not justifiable in history. There is no nation that has ever had territory used against it for an attack, captured at the cost of their own lives, and then forced to return it." (JTA/New Jersey Jewish News)
  • Israeli Officials Welcome P.R. Plan
    Israeli officials have been deeply impressed by an American study of Israel's public relations needs in the U.S., and say they intend to carry out most of its recommendations. Among them: Be less confrontational and more hopeful in television appearances; don't trash Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat or the Palestinian people; and, whenever possible, stress Israel's desire for peace, its vibrant democracy, and the values it shares with America. But Israeli officials balk at stopping their negative campaign against Arafat. They point out that discrediting Arafat is not just a PR gambit but a central element of Israeli policy. (JTA)
  • Divestment Campaign for Palestinians on U.S. Campuses
    Students and professors at institutions like the University of California, Harvard, MIT, and Princeton are backing the Palestinian cause by campaigning to get U.S. universities out of stocks that do business in Israel. They are modeling their effort on the divestment movement that helped topple apartheid in South Africa. The Anti-Defamation League sees the effort as an attempt to "demonize Israel, through the propagation of a false and odious comparison to apartheid-era South Africa." (AP/Washington Post)
  • Israel Holds Herself Together - Christie Blatchford
    A group of 94 young Canadians arrived in Israel last week, part of the Birthright Israel program. I was in the audience as South African-born educator Avraham Infeld told the group, "Israel is not just another country. You want to visit another country, go to Spain! You come to Israel to touch your own soul." And indeed, what he had to say resonated as powerfully with me, a 50-something, agnostic non-Jew, in Israel on a brief mission organized by the United Jewish Federation of Toronto. (National Post - Canada)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • IDF Opposes Hebron Withdrawal Now
    Senior officers in the IDF oppose an Israeli withdrawal from Hebron, discussed by the political echelon as a possible next step in the "Gaza-Bethlehem First" plan for gradual withdrawals from Palestinian territory. IDF sources objected that the plan strengthens the status of PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, thereby undermining the efforts Israel has made over the last several months to weaken him. "This process is returning the color to Arafat's cheeks," said one officer. Furthermore, the sources said, the declarations about Israel's intentions to withdraw from additional cities in the West Bank have raised Palestinian expectations, while Israel has yet to receive any tangible benefits in return.
        The IDF is recommending that any withdrawal from Hebron be deferred for another six weeks, partly to avoid any problems in the city during the High Holidays, when many Jews flock there to pray at the Cave of the Patriarchs, but also to provide sufficient time to determine how the withdrawals have worked in Bethlehem and Gaza.
        On Thursday, Palestinian terrorists opened fire on Jewish houses in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron, though no one was injured. In Gaza, there were exchanges of gunfire throughout the day. On Thursday night, three armed Palestinians dressed in Israeli army uniforms and armed with assault rifles and hand grenades attempted to infiltrate the Gaza Strip community of Kfar Darom; IDF soldiers killed two of the terrorists. (Ha'aretz)
  • Yediot Friday Poll: Israelis Back Gaza-Bethlehem Ceasefire But Harden Line on Final Settlement
    Israelis are willing to give limited understandings with Palestinians a chance but take a harder line on final status agreements. According to polling data presented by Dahaf (Mina Tzemach) and Yediot Ahronot, 67% of Israelis support the limited understanding with the Palestinians called "Gaza-Bethlehem First," while 31% oppose it. Yet at the same time, 63% of Israelis do not believe that these unwritten understandings are a significant step to the end of the intifada. In the longer term, today about 67% of Israelis reject the Clinton parameters and 67% now feel that the Oslo agreements caused damage to the State of Israel, while 21% feel they served Israel's interests. (Yediot Ahronot)
  • Lebanon Pumping Will Reduce Israel's Water Supply
    Lebanon plans to pump 10,000 cubic meters of water a day from the springs that feed the Hatzbani River, and has already begun to lay the necessary pipes. The plan could reduce Israel's water supply by three to four million cubic meters a year. The Nature and Parks Authority has warned that the pumping would seriously damage the nature reserves along the river. The Hatzbani, much of which is in Israeli territory, supplies about one-quarter of the water that flows into the Jordan River. Two previous Lebanese attempts to pump much smaller amounts from these springs sparked vehement Israeli protests that even included threats of war. The Lebanese Daily Star reported that the work is expected to be completed within about two months. (Ha'aretz)
  • National Security Council Assessment
    Major General Uzi Dayan, head of Israel's National Security Council, presented a security assessment analyzing the cardinal security, financial, social, and diplomatic issues facing Israel to a forum of senior ministers on Wednesday. (Ha'aretz)
  • U.S. Police Officials in Israel
    Nine U.S. law enforcement officers from the New York and Los Angeles Police Departments, the Major Sheriffs Association, the New York Port Authority, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority toured Israel on a visit arranged by the Washington-based Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. The group met with the head of the bomb squad and forensic lab and toured the country, meeting with the heads of police districts as well as visiting sites of Palestinian terror attacks. (Jerusalem Post/AP)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The War on Women - LaShawn R. Jefferson
    After the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. government threw its full energies into combating terrorism emerging from militants in the Islamic world. But it has done little to expose and condemn the ways some states are using radical interpretations of Islamic law, or Shariah, to subordinate and exclude women. The restoration of women's basic rights must be a goal in those parts of the world where the growing power of certain interpretations of Shariah is a pernicious and chronic threat to women's very existence. [The author is executive director of Human Rights Watch's Women's Rights Division.] (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Moral Blindness of Terje Roed-Larsen - Shlomo Avineri
    Roed-Larsen, a Norwegian diplomat who was crucial in negotiating the Oslo agreements, reminds me of those pacifists of the 1930s - moral exemplars, all of them - who called for understanding the German claim to the Sudetenland in 1938 on the grounds that Hitler was, after all, only calling for the right of the Sudeten Germans for self-determination. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Planning Now for a Postwar Iraq - James P. Rubin
    The administration should stop telegraphing plans to invade Iraq and start developing and publicizing a concrete plan for a post-Saddam Iraq. Supporters of military action are probably right that post-Saddam Iraq will be relatively easy to stabilize. The Iraqi people are highly skilled, highly educated, and secular. Given Iraq's oil wealth, there will be no need for nation-building on the scale required by Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. (New York Times)
  • The Collaborator - Gershom Gorenberg
    M. is Palestinian, but speaks Hebrew with only a hint of his native Arabic. He joined Israeli society years ago, when he was recruited by Israel's Shin Bet security service to provide information about other Palestinians. On the surface, he has learned to fit in in Israel, but on a deeper level, he is a displaced person, a casualty of a long war. Eighty percent of all attempted terror attacks are prevented on the basis of intelligence, much of it from informers, according to a spokesman for the IDF.
        During the first Palestinian uprising, between the end of 1987 and the signing of the Oslo accord in 1993, about 1,000 Palestinians suspected of being collaborators were murdered by other Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. Bassem Eid, head of the East Jerusalem-based group, estimates that fewer than half of the accused collaborators actually worked with Israel. Between late March and the end of May 2002, at least 26 accused collaborators were murdered. (New York Times)
  • America's Options - Uzi Arad
    The United States has two strategic options regarding Iraq: the attack option, which will install a new regime, or the enforcement option, which will threaten the use of force without necessarily implementing it. (Ha'aretz)
  • Starting Over After Oslo - Gerald M. Steinberg
    The optimistic assumptions and mechanisms that guided Palestinian-Israeli negotiations under the "Oslo" process proved unrealistic and fatally flawed. This failure - as reflected in two years of Palestinian terrorism, the catastrophic leadership of the Palestinian Authority, and the realization that the rejection of Israel as a Jewish state remains the core of the conflict - has fundamentally changed the framework for negotiations. Under these conditions, it is entirely unrealistic and counterproductive to use the concepts and parameters of the Oslo process, the Camp David summit, or the Taba talks as the basis for any new Middle East peace effort. (Jerusalem Issue Brief - Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The Network of Terrorist Financing - Matthew Levitt
    Cracking down on terrorist financing demands an all-encompassing approach, targeting not only the full array of terrorist groups, but also the individuals, businesses, banks, criminal enterprises, and charitable and humanitarian organizations that finance terrorism. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Germany's Critical Approach to Israel and the Jews
    Considerable effort will have to be expended in order to prevent Israel's image from eroding in Germany. A friendly and even sympathetic attitude from the Germans can no longer be taken for granted. (World Jewish Congress)
  • Red Herrings in Iraq Debate - Tom Neumann
    We do not need a court of law to understand those seeking our destruction and that of our friends. Saddam used missiles against Iranian cities, chemicals against the Kurds of Halabja, and poison gas against the Shi'ites of southern Iraq. How many more people will we allow him to kill? From the perspective of the terrorists, Saddam won the first Gulf War because he remained standing. The money he gives to the families of Palestinian homicide bombers is far in excess of anything he does for his own people, and he does it to encourage more terrorism. (Washington Times)
  • Talking Points:

    Palestinian Lies and Western Complicity - Daniel Doron

    • Western complicity helps the Arabs spread disinformation damaging to Israel's - and the West's - war against terrorism. The two big lies about continued Israeli "occupation" and "stolen Arab lands" have scored great successes, especially in Europe.
    • Since 1995, over 95 percent of the Palestinian Arab population of the West Bank and Gaza have not been under physical Israeli occupation.
    • The "Authority" Arafat has established is even more repressive than many of the 21 dictatorships governing all other Arab states. His Tunisian henchmen established a rule of terror, brooking no opposition, and wrested control from the local leadership. The Palestinians are right in feeling under occupation and oppressed. But they are mistaken to think it is by Israel.
    • Israeli "settlements" occupy less than 3 percent of the West Bank's area, and were built on empty government-owned land.
    • As Bernard Lewis notes, "From the end of the Jewish state in antiquity to the beginning of British rule, the area now designated by the name Palestine was not a country and had no frontiers, only administrative boundaries...within a larger entity" of Syria. (National Review)

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