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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September 3, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Bin Laden Escaped to Pakistan - Arnaud de Borchgrave (Washington Times)

    Pakistan is the new Afghanistan, a privileged sanctuary for hundreds of al Qaeda fighters and Taliban operatives. Some estimates go as high as 5,000. Most al Qaeda fighters slipped out of the Tora Bora trap last December and into the mountainous Pakistani tribal areas.
   Indian intelligence has verified the claim of a prominent Pakistani tribal leader that Osama bin Laden and some 50 escorts escaped in the second week of December and moved into Peshawar, the teeming capital of the Northwest Frontier Province.
    In the past two weeks, according to the same sources, bin Laden and several members of his family moved to Karachi, the sprawling port city of 12 million 900 miles to the south on the Arabian Sea. Bin Laden's second in command, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, is still with him.
    The man orchestrating hostile extremist forces is the ubiquitous former Pakistani Intelligence (ISI) chief Hamid Gul, who is an admirer of Osama bin Laden and a friend of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the former Taliban leader.

Learning to be a Martyr in Elementary School (IDF)

    A program broadcast on Palestinian television featured young Palestinian girls describing the central role of the armed struggle (against Israel) in their lives.
    One small girl described how in her Palestinian elementary school, the physical education teacher directs the game "Soldiers and Arabs." The children pretend that various objects are weapons and use these "weapons" to "kill" other girls, playing martyrs. They then grasp the "martyr" and shout, "Martyr, wait! Wait! Take us with you to Paradise!"

Zam Zam Cola Challenges Coke and Pepsi

    Iran's Zam Zam Cola is fast capturing the beverage market in the Gulf region and could quench the thirst of the 2 million Muslims expected next February on their annual pilgrimage to Mecca, following a Saudi boycott of U.S. giants Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola.
    Named after Mecca's Zam Zam holy spring water, the company was the Iranian partner of Pepsi Cola until their contract was terminated after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. (Middle East Times/AFP)

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News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Scorecard on the "Gaza-Bethlehem First" Security Agreement
    Israeli Defense Minister Ben Eliezer announced a plan on Aug. 19 aimed at pulling IDF troops out of Bethlehem and from parts of the Gaza Strip. Since the announcement, attacks on the road that runs from Kissufim checkpoint in the middle of the Gaza Strip have increased, officials said. The Israeli army contends that more troops, not fewer, are now necessary in Gaza. According to Col. Halutzi Rudoy, commander of the 7th Armored Brigade, "In Bethlehem, the army went in, got inside, and drove most of the bad guys out. Here, the bad guys haven't gone anywhere. All of them are still inside." (Chicago Tribune)
  • Experts: Iraq has Tons of Chemical Weapons
    "Iraq continues to possess several tons of chemical weapons agents, enough to kill thousands and thousands of civilians or soldiers," said Jon Wolfsthal, an analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. UN weapons experts have said Iraq may have stockpiled more than 600 metric tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, VX, and sarin. (CNN)
  • PBS Draws Ire Over 9/11 Show
    New York's WNET public television station is marking September 11 with a documentary whose website is being lambasted by Israelis and American Jewish groups for offering an inaccurate and one-sided history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The website includes a map portraying all of Israel as "Palestine," a time line that blames Ariel Sharon for provoking the recent wave of violence by Palestinian Arabs, and links to websites of Arab-American organizations that have defended groups like Hamas and Hizballah, which the American government considers terrorist organizations. WNET receives $9 million a year in government funding. (New York Sun)
  • Al Qaeda Moves Financial Reserves to Sudan
    Financial officers of al Qaeda and the Taliban have quietly shipped large quantities of gold out of Pakistan to Sudan in recent weeks, transiting through the United Arab Emirates and Iran. The move highlights the growing role of Iran in aiding al Qaeda, the potential reemergence of Sudan as a financial center for the organization, and the ability of the terrorist group to generate new sources of revenue despite the global crackdown on its finances. Just before the Taliban and al Qaeda were driven from Afghanistan last year, the two groups shipped large amounts of gold to Dubai, and from there to other safe havens. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Court Approves "Relocation" of Terrorists' Relatives
    A special nine-judge panel of Israel's High Court of Justice unanimously approved on Tuesday the relocation for two years from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip of a brother and sister of a suicide bomb mastermind. "They not only knew of the intention of the terrorists, they were involved in the attack," Israel Radio summed up the justices as saying. (Jerusalem Post)
        See complete text of Court decision (IMRA)
  • PA Minister Calls for End to Palestinian Violence against Israelis
    The new PA interior minister, Abdel Razak Yehiyeh, who is overseeing the security reform demanded by the United States, told Reuters on Monday that "All forms of Palestinian violence have to stop....All resistance acts that are characterized by violence, such as using arms or even stones...are harmful. I call for civil resistance within the framework of the political struggle," he said. (Ha�aretz/Reuters)
        See also Palestinian Militants Reject Call to Halt Attacks
    On Tuesday, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades - an armed group linked to Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, the militant Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations, and the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine all rejected Yehiyeh's call. (Washington Post/Reuters)
  • Pro-Palestinian Demonstrators Attack Peres Speech
    Pro-Palestinian demonstrators clashed with police in Johannesburg, South Africa, in the wake of a speech by Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. Peres said he couldn't understand the demonstrators: "If the Palestinians want independence, we offered independence. If the Palestinians want a Palestinian state, we offered them a Palestinian state....why violence? What for?" (Ha'aretz/AP)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Ayalon-Nusseibeh Document - Akiva Eldar
    Maj. Gen. (res.) Ami Ayalon believes that as long as the Israeli peace camp has not reached an understanding with the Palestinians, it has no chance of winning an election. That's why he regards the document he formulated with Prof. Sari Nusseibeh, the PLO's representative in Jerusalem, as so important. (Ha'aretz)
  • Iraq Without Saddam - Thomas L. Friedman
    Invade Iraq and we own Iraq. And once we own it, we will have to rebuild it. We are talking about nation-building from scratch. Iraq has a lot of natural resources and a decently educated population, but it has none of the civil society or rule of law roots that enabled us to quickly build democracies out of the ruins of Germany and Japan after World War II. (New York Times)
  • Owned by the Saudis - Jeff Jacoby
    The values and aspirations of Saudi society are fundamentally at odds with the values and aspirations of our own. Virtually everything our civic culture venerates - religious and political tolerance, freedom of speech and expression, constitutional self-government, liberal democracy, sexual equality - Saudi culture abominates. There may be no country on earth with which we have less in common. (Boston Globe)
  • Iran's Sullen Majority - Tim Judah
    The 1979 Islamic revolution of Ayatollah Khomeini is now crumbling. Iran is a country with two faces: the public face of conformity with Islamic rules and the private face, which as often as not shuns, ignores, or even despises those strictures. Iran is in the throes of a new revolution: a social and cultural revolution every bit as powerful as the one that toppled the shah. According to the Ayande polling firm , 66 percent of Iranians say they want reform, and 23 percent want radical change. Only 11 percent say the system is fine as is. (New York Times Magazine)
  • Talking Points:

    Israel, Jordan Join to Save the Dead Sea - Michael Belling (JTA)

    • Israel and Jordan have announced a collaborative venture to save the Dead Sea at the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development: a canal to divert water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.
    • The level of the Dead Sea is dropping by over three feet a year. �This is a natural disaster in the making and we will be criminals if we ignore it and watch the Dead Sea disappearing before our eyes,� said Jordan�s planning minister, Bassem Awadallah.
    • Stabilizing the water level would help maintain the heritage value of the Dead Sea, which has archeological, tourism, ecological, historical, and cultural value.
    • Initial investigations by a special binational technical task team have so far not shown any real environmental obstacles to the plan.
    • Funding for the plan, which could cost up to $1 billion, would come from the World Bank.
        See also Arab Reaction to the Dead Sea Project
    Announcement of the project at the summit in Johannesburg triggered the walkout of the Palestinians and drew a negative reaction from Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. (Beirut Daily Star)

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