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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October 4, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Hamas Trying to Set Up Bomb Labs Inside Israel - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)

    Hamas has been actively trying to set up weapons labs in Arab villages inside Israel in recent months, security sources say.
    Until recently, most of the weapons workshops providing explosives and other war materials to Palestinian militant organizations, particularly to the Hamas, were situated in and around Nablus.
    Gradually bomb factories were also set up in Jenin and the villages in the Tulkarem area, mostly by the Islamic Jihad.
    Now, because of the IDF presence in Nablus and the constant patrolling, bomb labs are finding it difficult to operate fully.
    The Arab towns of the Triangle area south of Afula may be particularly suitable for Hamas' attention, both because the police presence in them is comparatively slight and because thousands of Palestinians from the territories live there illegally.

Hamas Leader Mohammed Deif Out of Action
    A week following the assassination attempt against Hamas leader Mohammed Deif in the Gaza Strip, the IDF assesses that though he survived the helicopter attack, he was seriously injured and he will be unable to return to planning and carrying out terrorist attacks for a considerable period of time.

Kuwait Deploys Patriot Missile Batteries(AFP/Hindustan Times)

    Kuwait has deployed 10 U.S. Patriot missile batteries in case of Iraqi attack, the emirate's Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah said on Wednesday.
    "The situation is not normal and recent military deployments have caused certain worries in the country has taken delivery of 10 Patriot missile batteries, whereas Israel only has four," he said, quoted by the state's KUNA news agency.
    The government is also planning the distribution of gas masks "very soon" to nationals and expatriates, he added.
    U.S., German, and Czech military personnel deployed in Kuwait finished on Wednesday a two-day exercise focused on helping the emirate respond to biological or chemical attack.

Top Al Qaeda Leader Visits Baghdad - John J. Lumpkin (AP/Washington Post)

    A senior al Qaeda operative, accused of organizing a foiled attack on an American tourist spot in Jordan, was in Baghdad about two months ago, a U.S. defense official said. Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian, is believed to have left Iraq. U.S. counterterrorism officials have described Zarqawi as among al Qaeda's top two dozen leaders.

U.S. Approves $32 Million Aid to Lebanon (UPI)

    The U.S. Embassy in Beirut said Tuesday that Washington has authorized $32 million in aid to Lebanon, denying reports that assistance had been suspended because of tensions between the two countries.

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Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • UN Inspectors to Delay Return to Iraq
    The leaders of UN weapons inspections teams, responding to intense pressure from the U.S. and Britain, said Wednesday that they would delay their return to Iraq until the Security Council gives them new instructions to guide their work. (New York Times)
  • Anti-Israel Voices Muted In New Congress
    Several leading anti-Israel voices no longer will be heard in the Capitol’s halls because a number of representatives whom Jewish activists have deemed anything from “not a friend of Israel” to “anti-Israel” are not returning to their jobs. Some lost primaries and some are aiming at higher office, but the departure of these lawmakers - together with the expected victory this fall of dozens of strong supporters of Israel - signals the advent of a particularly pro-Israel Congress for the next two years. (JTA)
  • Lebanon Arrests 10 with Ties to Al Qaeda
    Lebanese authorities have detained at least 10 people with suspected ties to al Qaeda, including a Palestinian who met in the past with Osama bin Laden, according to sources in the region. The detainees are among dozens of former fighters in Afghanistan with suspected al Qaeda ties thought to have taken refuge in Lebanon. The suspects were arrested over the past two months, and Lebanese authorities are sharing information from their interrogations with the U.S. (Boston Globe)
  • Poll on U.S. Ties Rocks Iran
    According to a poll of 1,500 Iranians published on September 22, 74% of respondents over the age of 15 support dialogue with the U.S. The conservative judiciary has shut down a state-run polling institute and is taking both its director and the head of the state news agency Irna - which published the poll - to court. The reformist-dominated national parliament, which commissioned the poll, has defended it and called for the prosecutions to be dropped. (BBC)
  • Canada's Military Prepares for Iraq War
    The Canadian military has started planning for a possible role in a UN-sanctioned attack against Iraq. Defence Minister John McCallum said that if asked, Canada could assemble a force comparable to the 2,000-strong air, land, and naval force that has been involved in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf region for almost a year. (Ottawa Citizen)
  • Oklahoma National Guard Ordered to Sinai
    More than 500 members of the Oklahoma Army National Guard will go to the Sinai Peninsula early next year, military officials said Wednesday. The soldiers will spend six months in the Middle East, replacing Oregon soldiers who will return home in January. Their mission will be to maintain peace by reporting activity along the borders of the Sinai between Egypt and Israel, operating 12 remote observation and checkpoint sites. (AP/Oklahoman)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • U.S. Promises Israel to Stop Scuds
    During a series of meetings in recent months, American officials have told Israeli leaders that the U.S. intends to introduce massive ground forces into the H3 region of northwestern Iraq in order to locate and destroy Scud missiles and launchers. (Maariv)
  • U.S. Rejects Comparisons between Iraq and Israel
    The U.S. Thursday rejected every comparison between Iraq and Israel, in regard to weapons of mass destruction, reports Israel Radio. Senior State Department official Richard Haass, visiting in Cairo, said one cannot draw a comparison between Iraq and Israel, because Iraq has used weapons of mass destruction twice - once against Iran and once against its own people [Iraqi Kurds]. Haass said that Iraq is a violent nation that cannot be permitted to possess such weapons. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Scuffles Mar Opening of Barghouti Trial
    A Tel Aviv District Court hearing about whether the State of Israel has the legal authority to put Marwan Barghouti on trial descended into an outright riot before and after the court session. With masses of foreign press on the scene, both the angry relatives of terror victims and peace activists jockeyed for media attention.
        The West Bank Fatah movement's secretary general and leader of the Tanzim, Barghouti is accused of murder and attempted murder. In a new public opinion poll by east Jerusalem's Jerusalem Media Institute, only three percent of Palestinians regard Barghouti as the best possible leader. Yasser Arafat won 26.7% support, and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin of Hamas won 10.3%. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Homicide Bombers Plotted to Strike Druze Holy Site
    A Palestinian terrorist cell plotted to send homicide bombers to Nebi Shuweib, a site holy to Druze near the Kinneret, according to an indictment presented at Salam Junction Military Court. (Ha'aretz)
  • Poll: 60% of Israelis Say They are Fighting for their Survival
    Sixty percent of Israelis believe Israel is fighting for its existence in the now two-year-old Palestinian war, according to a poll conducted by Smith Research and Consulting. Only 11% of Israelis believe that the war is being fought over the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
        According to an opinion poll conducted by the Palestinian Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, 64.3% of Palestinians support suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. Only 9.4% said they strongly oppose suicide bombings. (Jerusalem Post)
        Most Israelis think the IDF operation at Arafat's compound was the right move. A poll by Shevakim Panorama for Israel Radio found that 57.4% thought the IDF operation at the Muqata in Ramallah after the attack in Tel Aviv was correct, while 34.1% thought it was a wrong move. (IMRA)
  • Bush to Push Palestinian Reforms
    Officials in Washington believe that the strengthening of Arafat's status as a result of the Muqata siege is a transient phenomenon. They believe the IDF withdrawal from Arafat's Ramallah compound created a "window of opportunity" for the resumption of PA reforms. The U.S. wants Egypt, Syria, and Jordan to lobby for the appointment of a Palestinian prime minister. (Ha'aretz)
  • Iran: Shihab Missile Designed to Target Israel
    Ahmed Wahid, head of Iran's missile development program, revealed Thursday in an interview with the London-based Al-Hayat that the Shihab rocket had been developed to have a range of 1,500 km. because the primary aim was to "hit Israeli targets in the event that Israel fires missiles at Iran." He also revealed that Iran intends to soon conduct an experimental launch of a satellite, using the Shihab rocket, which would be used for civilian as well as military intelligence purposes. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Dangerous UN Game - Anne Bayefsky
    U.S. negotiators at the UN thought that serving up Israel via Resolution 1435 would smooth the way on Iraq. A week later, they are still bargaining, while the clamoring for condemnation of Israel over non-compliance with 1435 has only just begun. When the Iraq issue is over, stage two - the declaration of a "provisional" Palestinian state, before serious negotiations get under way between the parties - is guaranteed to follow.
        The UN is not an honest broker in the Middle East, and never has been. The Arab bloc, along with Russia, France, and China, think blowing up Israelis is legitimate - according to the UN Human Rights Commission resolution of April 15. (Globe and Mail - Canada)
  • How to Build a New Iraq after Saddam - Ellen Laipson and Rend Rahim Francke
    Many in Washington discount the potential value of the Iraqi opposition (in exile and in northern Iraq), but these elements should be considered as serious candidates for immediate succession following Saddam's removal. Some object that the Iraqi opposition-in-exile lacks legitimacy, but surely it has no less legitimacy than the current regime. Many exiled opposition elements have been active since long before the U.S. took interest in them. They could play an important role in a successor government, ensuring security, justice, public health, food distribution, and other vital services. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • The Stones of Baghdad - Nicholas D. Kristof
    If American military strategy assumes popular support from Iraqis facilitating an invasion and occupation, the White House is making an error that could haunt us for years. After scores of interviews with ordinary people from Mosul in the north to Basra in the south, I've reached two conclusions: 1. Iraqis dislike and distrust Saddam Hussein, particularly outside the Sunni heartland, and many Iraqis will be delighted to see him gone. 2. Iraqis hate the U.S. government even more than they hate Saddam, and they are even more distrustful of America's intentions than Saddam's. (New York Times)
  • Who Says We Never Strike First? - Max Boot
    It is certainly true that pre-emptive wars are not the norm in history. But they are not as rare as President Bush's critics suggest. (New York Times)

    Weekend Features:

  • IDF Soldiers Visit Berkeley - Matt Krupnick
    A trio of former Israeli soldiers - two men and one woman, all in their 20s - spoke to about 30 students and Bay Area residents at Berkeley's Boalt Hall law school as part of a speaking tour of the Bay Area. The tour, which includes about 40 other young Israeli students and recent graduates around the U.S., is sponsored by New York businessman Joey Low and supported by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
        Law student Meri Madon could not keep from crying during one discussion, saying antagonism toward Jewish students has grown in recent months. "Living in Berkeley as a Jewish person is very difficult," she told the speakers. "There's a lot of anger toward Jews, as you can tell. I don't think peace can come from this anger." (Contra Costa Times)
  • Policing Israel's Front Line - Samuel M. Katz
    During "normal" times in Israel, the job of the Israel Police Special Patrol Units is to provide a tactical edge to the regular patrol force, whether executing narcotics warrants or serving as first responders to terrorist incidents. In these days of the Palestinian terror campaign, their job is clear-cut - to hunt down and stop suicide bombers before they can strike. (Washington Times)
  • Israeli Security Fence to Split Oasis of Peace - Danielle Haas
    Relations between Kibbutz Metzer and the adjacent Arab village of Kafin, not far from Tulkarem, have been traditionally good. "People from Kafin don't so much as steal one banana from us," said Israeli farmer Avi Ichiya, acknowledging that the bond between the communities defies the ordinarily tense relations between Jewish and Arab neighbors in the region. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • A New Synagogue in the Old City - David Gelernter
    The Hurva synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City is the story of modern Israel in microcosm. In 1948, when Israel declared independence, the Hurva, built in 1864, was the main synagogue in the Old City. The Jordanians kicked out all the Jews and blew up the Hurva synagogue, just for the hell of it. When the Israelis recovered Jerusalem in 1967, they rebuilt a single arch in the ruins of the Hurva, intending it as a temporary memorial. Now, at last, they have plans in hand to rebuild the synagogue itself. (Weekly Standard)
  • North Americans in the IDF - Jenny Hazan
    According to Jewish Agency official Akiva Werber, North Americans in the IDF are "a highly motivated group." Yehuda Weinraub of the Jewish Agency and former lieutenant colonel at the IDF Spokesman's unit, concurs: "In my personal experience with North American soldiers, they were highly motivated, many were highly educated, and many made a positive contribution." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Talking Points:

    Human Rights in Iraq - Micha Odenheimer (Ha'aretz)

    Interview with Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, one of Germany's leading authorities on human rights in Iraq:

    • In 1991, we were the only Europeans in Amara in the Shi'ite area of southern Iraq near Basra, and we arrived just a few weeks after the uprising had been crushed. The Iraqis made people lie down in the streets and then buried them alive under asphalt. They killed everyone who looked a little religious, because this was a Shi'ite area. It was forbidden to take the corpses from the street. All in all, 60,000 or 70,000 people were killed in this area.
    • Syria is a dictatorship, but the fear and control in Iraq reaches into your living room. If there is no picture of Saddam Hussein in your living room, you might be arrested. In Syria, as long as you are not a member of the opposition, you can relax. You know you will not be harmed. But in Iraq, if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, you may be arrested, tortured, killed.
    • The estimate of one million killed [by Saddam] only includes civilians. A million Iraqi soldiers were killed in the Iran-Iraq war. A half-million Iraqis died of hunger or disease because of sanctions on Iraq, and more were killed in the Gulf War. Ten percent of the Iraqi population has been killed or deported during the rule of Saddam Hussein. He is conducting a war against his own people and it must be stopped.
    • The [Iraqi] Ba'ath ideology mixes pan-Arabism with admiration of Mussolini and Hitler, some ideas of state socialism, and the notion of an Arab supremacy which will be realized after the Arabs have liberated themselves from foreign - that means mainly Jewish - influence and British and American imperialism. Everything in Iraq is explained through this huge conspiracy theory against the Arabs, in general, and Iraq, in particular.
    • With regimes like the Iraqi one, there will be no peace in the Middle East. You cannot contain a regime like Saddam Hussein's.

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