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 25, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Shots Fired at Home of Arafat Challenger

    Masked gunmen opened fire Tuesday night at the Ramallah home of Nabil Amr, a former Palestinian Authority cabinet member who has openly challenged PA Chairman Yasser Arafat and called for wide-scale reforms in the PA. No one was hurt in the attack.
    The attack came hours after the armed wing of Fatah, the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, issued a statement naming Amr as one of the "traitors" trying to create "an alternative leadership with Israeli and American backing." (Jerusalem Post)
    See text of statement Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades: Nabil Amr is a Traitor (Israel Defense Forces)

House of Homicide Bomber Encouraged by Family is Demolished

    Um Nadil, mother of Muhammad Farat, a Hamas terrorist who infiltrated the Israeli village of Atzmona and shot to death five Israeli youth at a school on March 3, 2002, had been featured on Al Jazeera television sending her son off on his mission.
    In Palestinian society, Um-Nidal became a model for a mother who sacrifices her son for the greater glory of Palestine, and a source of inspiration to additional mothers who imitated her.
    This week the IDF demolished her house. (Israel Defense Forces)

Arab Teen Alerted Police to Homicide Bomber

    An Israeli-Arab youth who was seriously wounded in the homicide bombing near Umm el-Fahm last Wednesday was the one who tipped off police about the bomber.
    Rami Mahmid, 17, alerted police before the bomber could board a bus, as he had planned to do. His action spared many lives, police said. (Jerusalem Post)

11 Palestinian Security Officials Arrested for "Collaborating" with Israel

    Palestinian intelligence services chief Mussa Arafat said Tuesday that a total of 18 people have been arrested in the West Bank and Gaza on charges of "collaborating" with Israel, and that the 11 worst offenders belonged to the Palestinian security services. (Voice of America)

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News Resources - USA and Europe:

  • Israel Continues to Surround Arafat's Compound
    Israeli troops kept up their siege of Arafat's Ramallah compound, despite calls from the UN Security Council, the United States, and Europe for a withdrawal. Israeli officials said they would not end the Ramallah siege until the Palestinians complied with the part of the UN resolution that calls on the PA to "bring to justice" people responsible for terrorist attacks against Israelis. (Washington Post)
  • Israeli Reaction:
        "If the Palestinian Authority suddenly, by a miracle, takes action against the terrorists and arrests them - the reason for our being where we are today would be we could comply," Ra'anan Gissin, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, told news agencies. "Since the PA definitely not only is not arresting terrorists but is actually aiding and abetting them, then it is highly unlikely that we could unilaterally fulfill our part of the resolution," he said. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israeli UN Ambassador Yehuda Lancry in Talking Points.
  • U.S. Reaction:
    Remove Arafat's Siege from International Agenda
    Administration officials told Israel's ambassador to Washington Danny Ayalon Tuesday that the U.S. is interested in a swift conclusion to the siege on Arafat and its removal from the diplomatic agenda. (Ha'aretz)
        See also U.S. Wants Israel to End Arafat Siege
    Bush said after a Cabinet meeting: "It's not helpful, what happened recently." (ABC News)
  • Arafat's Last Stand?
    Sharon hopes that isolating Arafat will speed the Palestinian leader's ouster. According to a senior Fatah committee member, "The majority of the central committee thinks the time has come for a real change." Penned in by his enemy and with even his own followers questioning his position, Arafat looked more like a frail man surrounded by rubble than the builder of a future state. (Time)
  • Israeli Ad Campaign to Air Over CNN Objections
    After CNN rejected requests to run the pro-Israel ads nationally, the two Jewish groups behind the ads bought air time from individual cable TV operators in local markets. "In the end, the ads are running on CNN around the country," said Kenneth Bandler of the American Jewish Committee. (JTA)
        See the Ads (O'Dwyer's PR Daily)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Suspected "Collaborator" Murdered in Gaza
    During a press conference on August 22, Gaza security boss Rashid Abu Shabak displayed Akram Muhammad al-Zatma, a Palestinian student suspected of informing Israel of the whereabouts of Hamas military leader Salah Shehadeh. Zatma was arrested in late July and held in detention until Monday night, when he was turned over to Hamas gunmen and summarily executed. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Poll: 70% of Palestinians Support Iraq Over U.S.
    Slightly more than 70% of Palestinians would support Iraq if it were attacked by the U.S., according to a poll released by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion. The survey also found that 51% of Palestinians think suicide attacks within the Green Line should continue, while 35% think they should stop. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Thousands Flock to Hebron One Day After the Attack
    A day after Monday's shooting attack, several thousand visitors arrived in Hebron to celebrate the Sukkot holiday. Jews from the national religious camp were prominent among the crowd, but there was also no dearth of haredim (ultra-Orthodox), particularly at the Hassidic song performances which ended the day's events in the square adjacent to the Cave of the Patriarchs. (Ha'aretz)
  • Abbas: Palestinians Made "Big Mistake" by Using Firearms
    "I believe that we made many mistakes, starting from the beginning of the intifada," Arafat deputy Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) told journalists in his home in Ramallah. He said he personally believes Palestinians should have refrained from using firearms or shooting at Israeli targets from populated areas. "The mistakes reflected the state of chaos prevailing on the ground. Now, after all that has happened, we say: Enough is enough, we want to tell the whole world that we are against the killing of civilians, be they Israelis or Palestinians....It's time to abandon all forms of violence and armed groups." Abbas is widely regarded as a candidate to succeed Arafat and is believed to have the backing of many senior Fatah leaders for the proposed position of prime minister, aimed at reducing Arafat's power. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Any Proposal at Camp David Was Sure to be Rejected - Amin Al-Mahdi
    No matter what peace proposal Clinton presented to the Arab side, it was sure to be rejected. This is because the Palestinian issue was always the main source of legitimacy for the revolutionary [Arab] regimes that established rural or tribal military republics. The Palestinian issue was always the prop for the war declared on democracy and modernization [by the Arab regimes], an eternal pretext for imposing emergency laws and military laws. (Al-Hayat - UK/MEMRI)
  • A Former Weapons Inspector Explains Why Saddam is Still a Menace - Richard O. Spertzel
    The threat that Iraq's biological weapons program poses as a bioterrorist weapon to any of its perceived enemies is enormous. While much attention is focused on bioterrorism against people, the economic devastation that could be wreaked on agriculture could be far greater in the long term. For the U.S. at home and abroad, the greatest danger from Iraq's weapons development remains the potential for its use in terrorism, whether by Iraq directly or through support to terrorist organizations. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Rolling the President - Editorial
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's aim is to drive Mr. Arafat and his closest collaborators back into exile. Instead, the prime minister has managed to restore Mr. Arafat's authority and support among Palestinians just as it was slipping away. The gratuitous siege in Ramallah grabbed the attention of the UN Security Council as Mr. Bush was seeking its support for a new resolution on Iraq. (Washington Post)
  • Talking Points:

    UN Resolution 1435 - Israeli Ambassador to the UN Yehuda Lancry (United Nations)

    • The Council is meeting just days after a Palestinian suicide bomber boarded a city bus and detonated a powerful explosive charge - turning an ordinary street in Tel Aviv into a scene of horrific carnage.
    • Israel has been following with great interest those internal Palestinian voices that were beginning to question the value of the Palestinian campaign of terrorism and suicide bombings.
    • Out of a genuine concern for the plight of the Palestinian people, Israel had begun to scale back some of the security precautions it had implemented to ease freedom of movement, particularly the suspension of curfews. It was no coincidence that the terrorist attacks had resumed precisely as those precautions had been relaxed, affirming that the only thing standing between Palestinian terrorists and their Israeli victims had been the preventive actions of the Israeli military.
    • Time and again, Palestinian terrorist groups had shown their eagerness to scuttle any attempts to energize the peace process and restore hope to the people of the region.
    • The responsibility of the Palestinian leadership to decisively and resolutely combat Palestinian terrorism stems from relevant Security Council resolutions, signed commitments, and requirements of international law.

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