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 6, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

PA Rejects Ayalon-Nusseibeh Document - Khaled Abu Toameh

    A senior PA official said that a document drafted by PLO Jerusalem representative Sari Nusseibeh and former Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon "does not represent the official policy of the PA." While some points represent the official PA line, "there is a problem with other points in it, particularly those pertaining to the issues of Jerusalem and the refugees." He also noted that the document is "problematic" in dealing with the issue of sovereignty over Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.
    Palestinian columnist Hassan al-Batel Thursday attacked the document in the official PA daily Al-Ayyam, saying it is neither official nor binding. "The Nusseibeh-Ayalon document is yet another attempt to revive the Taba understandings and the ideas of Clinton," he wrote.
    He mocked Israelis who think that because of the document, the Palestinians have given up their sovereignty over the Temple Mount or the right of return to Haifa and Jaffa. (Jerusalem Post)

Two Years of War - Remembering the Victims

    Since Rosh Hashanah 2000, Palestinian terrorists have killed more than 600 people in Israel. They have been Israeli, American, Arab, Chinese, Thai and more. They have included soldiers, tourists, students, grandmothers, and members of the same family. The Israelis ranged from new immigrants to fifth-generation Jerusalemites.
    This special Jerusalem Post website supplement gathers together all of the related news stories.

What, Saudis Worry? Pass the Caviar - Tito Drago (Asia Times - Hong Kong)

    The 81-year-old king of Saudi Arabia, King Fahd, accompanied by nearly all of his children and family members and an entourage of more than 3,000, has been vacationing on Spain's Costa del Sol since August 14.
    He stays in his palace, a replica of the White House named "Mar Mar." Preparing the palace for his visit ran to US$185 million. Luxury villas and 300 rooms in five-star hotels were rented for the rest of the royal family in and around Marbella.
    Chic restaurants and jewelry shops have cheerfully prepared for the Saudi visitors, who spent $90 million on their last stay, in 1999. During this year's visit, which is to be one month longer than the last one, they are expected to spend as much as $300 million.
    50 active-duty Spanish police officers have been hired to moonlight as bodyguards for the Saudi king, princes, and princesses.

The Annihilation of the Infidels is a Divine Decree

    A discussion of the Koranic verse "Allah Will Torture Them [the Infidels] At Your Hands" - in the online magazine Al-Ansar, affiliated with al Qaeda. (MEMRI)

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News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • UN Spy Photos Show New Building at Iraqi Nuclear Sites
    A team of UN weapons inspectors, studying satellite photography, has identified several nuclear-related sites in Iraq where new construction or other unexplained changes have occurred since the last international inspections nearly four years ago. (New York Times)
  • U.S. Official: Hizballah - the "A-Team of Terrorists"
    "Hizballah made the A-team of terrorists, maybe al Qaeda is actually the B-team," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said Thursday. "We're going to go after them just like a high school wrestler goes after opponents, we're going to take them down one at a time," Armitage said. Hizballah operates in southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley, and has established cells in Europe, Africa, South America, North America, and Asia. An IDF soldier was killed last week from Hizballah rocket fire across Israel's northern border. (Reuters)
  • The Barghouti Trial
    The president of the three-judge panel, Sara Sirota, urged Mr. Barghouti to use a lawyer, but he refused. "I am a freedom fighter, fighting for the freedom of my people and peace between the two peoples," he said in Hebrew. Someone fighting for peace, Judge Sirota fired back, "doesn't turn people into bombs and kill children." Barghouti responded, "I don't want to get into that." Israeli spokesman Daniel Taub explained that the case was not about Mr. Barghouti's political views, but about the killings. (New York Times)
        See also Who is Marwan Barghouti? (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • U.S. Earmarks Billions in Search for Terrorist Cells
    By May the Pentagon had spent $17 billion on its war in Afghanistan, and that has almost certainly risen to $20 billion by now. The figure does not include coalition contributions that include special forces from around the world and an international flotilla operating as a picket off the coast of Pakistan to prevent al Qaeda members slipping away by sea.
        The CIA, bolstered with $1 billion in emergency cash, has increased staffing from 500 to 5,000. The FBI will assign 2,600 agents, a quarter of the bureau's total, to the hunt for al Qaeda sleeper cells, backed up by many more thousands of support personnel including linguists, computer specialists, and forensic scientists.
        In Britain, MI5 stepped up its investigation of Islamist extremists and told its agents abroad to give total priority to al Qaeda. GCHQ (British Intelligence) immediately switched its priorities, devoting as many as 40% of its 2,000 eavesdroppers, codebreakers, and computer operators to the crisis, and doubled the size of its counter-terrorism team. Scotland Yard intends to double the strength of its anti-terrorist squad. (Guardian - UK)
  • U.S. Strengthens Forces in Kuwait
    The U.S. army recently doubled the size of its war stocks in Kuwait to accommodate a little-noticed expansion of American armored forces at a base near the Iraqi border, officials said Thursday. The materiel is enough to equip a combat brigade of more than 3,000 soldiers. The supplies include tanks and other armored vehicles, as well as fuel, ammunition, and other supplies. (CBC News - Canada)
  • The Safest Airline - 60 Minutes II
    What's the safest airline in the world? It's El Al, Israel's national airline. What do the Israelis do that the Americans don't do? Well, they've had sky marshals since the 1960s. And racial profiling. El Al security and airport security is not in the hands of El Al or the airport, but in the hands of the secret service. It's as if the American Secret Service that protects the President of the United States was also running airport security in the United States. (CBS News)
  • PBS Removes Slanted Material from Website
    A PBS documentary prepared by New York's WNET public television station to mark September 11, entitled "Caught in the Crossfire: Arab-Americans in Wartime," had a companion website portraying all of Israel as "Palestine," blaming Ariel Sharon for provoking the recent wave of violence by Palestinian Arabs, and linking to websites of Arab-American organizations that have defended groups like Hamas and Hizballah. The material has now been removed from the site. (Sydney Morning Herald)
        See also PBS Draws Ire Over 9/11 Show (New York Sun)
  • al-Jazeera TV to Air al Qaeda Confessions for 9/11
    Arabic television station al-Jazeera said it will broadcast next Thursday the confessions from two members of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, interviewed in Karachi, Pakistan, who claimed the group was responsible for the September 11 attacks. "It is the first direct confession as to how al Qaeda planned and executed the September 11 (attacks)," said Yosri Fouda, the journalist who prepared the documentary, titled "Top Secret." (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Palestinians Blow Up Israeli Tank
    Wednesday night, a Merkava tank, driven by Sgt. Aviad Dotan, 21, hit a powerful land mine, killing him instantly. For the third time since the start of the fighting a Merkava tank was knocked out of commission and its personnel killed or wounded. The tank was moving along a dirt road near Kissufim, following some suspicious figures, when a 100-kilo bomb blew up underneath it. The tank commander was blown from the hatch, landing almost unharmed in a ditch. Two others were trapped inside the tank, one with light injuries, and the other with moderate injuries, and it took nearly five hours to get them out.
        Also in Gaza, two mortars were fired at an IDF position in Kfar Darom. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinians Kill Israeli Beduin IDF Officer
    Lt. Malek Jerifat, 24, of the Galilee Beduin village of Beit Zarzir, a deputy company commander, was killed by a Palestinian sniper near Nisanit in northern Gaza. He was the third member of his village to have died in uniform during the intifada and came from a family with a long tradition of service in the security forces. Thousands attended his funeral. (Ha'aretz)
  • The Beginning of the End of Gaza First
    The recent attacks in Gaza that killed 2 soldiers and wounded 4 may be the "beginning of the end" of the Gaza First understanding, said a senior IDF source. Since the beginning of the "Gaza and Bethlehem First" initiative on August 18, in the Gaza District there have been 37 shootings and mortar attacks, 11 anti-tank missiles fired, and 5 large roadside bombs, as well as attempts to penetrate the Jewish village of Kfar Darom and attacks on civilian vehicles near Kissufim. (Yediot Ahronot)
  • Analyst Who Criticized Saudis Leaves RAND - Janine Zacharia
    Laurent Murawiec, the RAND analyst who gave a presentation about Saudi Arabia on July 10 to the Defense Policy Board, has resigned from the U.S. government-funded think tank. Murawiec had said "the Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader." (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Agrees on Libya's Push For Nuclear Weapons - Ze'ev Schiff and Nathan Guttman
    The U.S. agrees with Israeli assessments that Libya has renewed its efforts to acquire a nuclear bomb, and that those efforts have been stepped up since 1999, when UN sanctions on the country were removed. Israel's concern is that Libya, which doesn't have long-distance missiles capable of reaching Israel, could use one of its planes, a ship - or perhaps most dangerous - a terrorist organization to deliver a nuclear weapon, if it does acquire one. (Ha'aretz)
  • PA Donor Aid Only 15% of Pledged Amount
    Majdi Khalidi, assistant deputy in the PA Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, told Al-Ayyam that donor countries have met only 15% of the amount they promised in aid to the Palestinian people in their May meeting. In the last six months, Arab countries paid $130 million out of $330 million that was pledged for the period. Average monthly Arab and European aid since May amounted to $30 million, while aid between October 2000 and March 2001 amounted to $50 million every month. (Jerusalem Times/IMRA)
  • First Woman El Al Security Guard
    A young Israeli woman, originally from the former Soviet Union, has completed the airplane security guard course run by the General Security Services and will become the first woman to undertake this role. She had previously served in the unit to protect individuals. (Maariv)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Are Palestinian Refugees Being Told There's No Return? - Akiva Eldar
    Abu Mazen recently visited the Yarmuk refugee camp in Syria and told the people of the camp: "I'm sure that you all want to go back to Palestine, to the homes your families left in the Galilee, Jaffa, and Haifa." A roar of agreement came up from the crowd, and Abu Mazen went on: "But it is important for you to know what is awaiting all those who choose to realize that right and prefer it over the option to settle in the new state of Palestine or to emigrate to Canada, or Europe, or to join families in other countries."
        "You won't be going back to your home. The houses, neighborhoods, and villages are all gone. New cities have been built on your lands, and in your houses, Jewish babies have been born. You will join a Palestinian minority in a country where the language of the state is not their language, its culture is not theirs, its flag is not theirs, and the anthem is not theirs. No jobs await you, nor a welcome home." Abu Mazen also said those who choose to go to Israel will block their own way to the West.
        Nabil Sha'ath told the Palestine-Israel Journal about a similar visit to the Rashadiyeh refugee camp in Jordan. "I told them they won't find their homes in Sheikh Munes, and that nowadays it's called Ramat Aviv." (Ha'aretz)
  • In Egypt, Homeland of Mohamed Atta, Some See War on Terror as a War on Islam - Paul Adams
    Mohammed Saleh, a reporter for the Al Hayat newspaper, is regarded as an expert on the shadowy world of violent Islamist groups. Saleh says that while al Qaeda is "definitely weaker now" than it was a year ago, if only because of the United States's enormous effort to crush it, the political and religious forces that allowed it to recruit so many fanatical followers have grown stronger in the past year, not weaker. (Globe and Mail - Canada)
  • Iran's Morality Police Crack Down on Country's Youth
    Black-clad members of the public morality police in Iran have been scouring the streets to eradicate "social corruption" among Iranian youth. Three-quarters of all Iranians, some 40 million, are under the age of 25. The crackdown is indicative of the impending sense of encirclement and doom that has gripped the fundamentalists as the prospect of a U.S.-led assault on Iraq has strengthened. Less than 1.4% of the population ever bothers to attend Friday prayers, according to Iran's ministry of culture and guidance. "No one wants the mullahs, not even Khatami," said Farideh, a medical student at the university. Displaying as much hair as possible from beneath her headscarf, she added: "A lot of us dream of moving to the USA." (Guardian - UK)
  • Why Arabs Fear Iraq Attack - Paul Wood
    Arab states fear that Saddam Hussein's regime might not be the only one which is changed if there's a U.S.-led assault on Iraq. Arab governments worry that this war, if it happens, will look like an Anglo-American effort to install a client regime in Baghdad - and that their own peoples will punish them for supporting it. Even if an independent and open society emerges from the ruins of post-Saddam Iraq, many rulers around the region do not want to encourage such aspirations. (BBC)
  • Saving Islam from bin Laden - Christopher Hitchens
    There is a civil war raging within the Muslim world, where many believers do not wish to live under sharia. This war has been at an incandescent pitch in Algeria for more than a decade. It is smouldering but still toxic in Iran, in Egypt, among the Palestinians, and now in some of the major cities of the West. But the extremist and fundamentalist side in that war has evolved a new tactic. By exporting the conflict and staging it in Europe and America, it hopes both to intimidate and impress those who are wavering.
        Paradoxically, the world is a less dangerous place as a consequence of September 11, 2001. Until that day, we had been suffering severely from "under-reaction" to the most lethal threat to our civilization. We are on the "right" side of this civil war in one way, because we have no choice. It is impossible to compromise with the proponents of sacrificial killing of civilians, the disseminators of anti-Semitic filth, the violators of women, and the cheerful murderers of children. (The Age - Australia)
  • We Still Have a Choice on Iraq - Sen. John F. Kerry
    For the American people to accept the legitimacy of this conflict and give their consent to it, the Bush administration must first present detailed evidence of the threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and then prove that all other avenues of protecting our nation's security interests have been exhausted. The administration must seek advice and approval from Congress. Then, in concert with our allies, it must seek full enforcement of the existing cease-fire agreement from the United Nations Security Council. (New York Times)
  • A Remedy in Iraq: Kurdish Autonomy - David D. Perlmutter
    Washington should assist in the breakup of Iraq by recognizing the millenniums-old national aspirations of the Kurdish people. The Kurds have existed as an independent people since ancient times. Unlike more prominent local aspirants for nationhood - the Palestinians - the Kurds have a separate language, culture, ethnic heritage, and a continuous political precedent of seeking statehood. Indeed, legally, there should be an independent Kurdistan. The Treaty of Sevres, which delineated the breakup of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, recognized that the Kurds deserved their own state. (Los Angeles Times)
  • The Iraq Connection - Was Saddam Involved in Oklahoma City and the First WTC Bombing? - Micah Morrison
    Two investigators connect Baghdad to two notorious incidents of domestic terrorism. Jayna Davis, a former television reporter in Oklahoma City, believes an Iraqi cell was involved in the 1995 bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Middle East expert Laurie Mylroie links Iraq to the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, and has published a book on the subject. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Talking Points:

    The IDF's Mission - Caroline B. Glick (Jerusalem Post)

    • A visit with the forces in the northern Gaza Strip provides an opportunity to observe firsthand just how smart and effective a fighting force the IDF is. Every day the IDF foils terror attacks, catching terrorists who hide like needles in haystacks or attack like thieves in the night.
    • The precision of IDF operations is impressive. From April to August, the IDF killed 141 terrorists in Gaza and, aside from its hit on Salah Shehadeh, has killed only eight civilians.
    • At the headquarters of the northern brigade, senior officers show visiting journalists videotapes of recent battles between soldiers and terrorists. In one, two Palestinians near Dugit wound two soldiers. The soldiers kill one terrorist, but the second keeps shooting. In an act of heart-stopping heroism, the soldiers' commander, whose ammunition had run out, runs directly into the terrorist and fights him hand to hand until he kills him.
    • From the beginning of April until the end of August, the Palestinians in Gaza carried out 1,452 attacks against IDF and civilian targets: 682 shootings, 320 grenade attacks, 284 mortar attacks, 52 anti-tank missile attacks, 23 rocket attacks, 47 attempted infiltrations, five of which were successful, 64 roadside bombs, and three booby-trapped vehicles. But in all these attacks the terrorists caused no civilian casualties.
    • Since the government decided to transfer security power back to Yasser Arafat's forces in Gaza and Bethlehem, the IDF has redeployed from certain areas in Gaza and has allowed the PA's forces to operate more or less freely in them. "While the Palestinians have stopped some terrorists en route to attacks, they have taken no active role in thwarting terrorism. They have conducted no raids or arrests," a senior officer noted.

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