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 16, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

IDF: Bethlehem Haven for Terrorists

    Bethlehem has become a haven for Palestinian fugitives since the IDF pulled out in accordance with understandings reached in the "Bethlehem-Gaza First" plan almost three months ago, Col. Shimshon Arbel, head of information and coordination for the coordinator of government activities in the territories, said Monday.
    Arbel warned that we should not be deceived by the "relative calm" in the Bethlehem area, which has become a hotbed of terrorists from all over the West Bank, especially from the Hebron area. "From the city, where they receive shelter, they convey instructions to terrorists elsewhere in the West Bank to perpetrate attacks," he said.
    The PA is capable of acting if it chooses to do so. "A good example is what happened recently in the Gaza Strip, when Hamas killed the Palestinian police commander. Immediately, the PA condemned the act and demanded that those responsible for the attack be turned over. Yet I never heard such sharp and immediate responses of condemnation in cases where terrorists who lived in areas under PA control entered Israel and perpetrated suicide attacks."
    Meanwhile, the PA announced an investigation into Monday night's attack on the home of Bethlehem Mayor Hanna Nasser. Masked men hurled a firebomb and fired into the air from automatic rifles outside his house near Manger Square. Although Nasser and his wife were inside, no one was injured. (Jerusalem Post)

Americans View Films of IDF Action in Khan Yunis - Amos Harel

    Last week, U.S. Army officers visiting the Gaza Strip met with senior officers in the Southern Command and watched IDF films photographed by pilotless planes documenting IDF operations in the Gaza Strip.
    The films documented, among other things, massive fire against IDF forces from the area of the mosque in Khan Yunis a short time before an Israeli Air Force helicopter fired an anti-tank missile at the armed group. It develops clearly from the films that the fired missile was aimed at armed men.
    The American officers commented that they were impressed by the high professional abilities that the IDF demonstrated in urban battle and in carrying out operations targeting Palestinian individuals. (Ha'aretz/IMRA)

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Israel Commemorates Tonight the 7th Anniversary
of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's Murder

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Investigating Al Qaeda Links to the Bali Terror Attack
    Indonesia's defense minister, Matori Abdul Djalil, has asserted that the bombing was linked to al Qaeda. An official of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) said eight people - seven Indonesians under the leadership of someone from the Middle East - carried out the bombing.
        Prime Minister John Howard said there was mounting evidence that al Qaeda was behind the Bali bombing, together with the radical Indonesian organization Jemaah Islamiah, or JI. British security and intelligence sources assume that Jemaah Islamiah, affiliated to al Qaeda, chose the target in Bali. (The Age - Australia)
  • U.S. Says It Told Indonesia of Plot by Terror Group
    The U.S. repeatedly warned the Indonesian government in the weeks before the bomb blast in Bali that a group linked to al Qaeda was planning attacks to kill Americans and other Westerners, Bush administration officials said Tuesday. The American ambassador, Ralph C. Boyce, delivered the latest warning to President Megawati Sukarnoputri just a day before the bombing. (New York Times)
  • Israel Seeks Solution to Exports Standoff with EU
    Israel will propose to an EU-Israel Association Council meeting in Luxembourg next Monday an interim solution to its long-running standoff with the European Union over goods produced in the West Bank and Gaza, an Israeli official said on Tuesday. At issue are goods worth some $200 million a year that receive preferential tariff treatment because they are labelled "made in Israel." The savings Israel enjoys on the goods - mostly low-tech industrial products and citrus fruit - amount to only $6 million a year. "It's not up to the European Union to decide where our borders are. That's up to the Israelis and the Palestinians," the official said. (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • PA Interior Minister Smuggled Weapons - Caroline B. Glick
    Palestinian Authority Interior Minister Abdel Razak al-Yahya is implicated in 30-40 weapons smuggling operations, according to the Shin Bet security service. The operations were carried out by Yahya's drivers between 2000 and 2001, who transported weapons in Yahya's car from Jordan to the PA-ruled areas through the Allenby Bridge crossing point. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Islamic Website: "How to Kidnap American Citizens"
    An extremist Islamic online forum recently published an Internet guide entitled "How to Kidnap American Citizens." Some chapters from "A Guide to the Kidnapping of Israelis," which Hamas recently published on the Internet, are used in their entirety in the guide to kidnapping Americans. Another extreme Islamic online forum includes precise instructions on how to prepare poison for use in terror attacks. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Arabs Fail to Meet Financial Pledges to Palestinians
    Arab aid to the Palestinian Authority for the six-month period ending in September totalled $145 million, less than half their $330 million commitment, an Arab League official said on Monday. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Oman were the only members to have disbursed in full their share of the assistance that the 22-member Arab League agreed upon at its last summit, held in March in Beirut. (Jordan Times/AFP)
  • Top U.S. Admiral to be Liaison to Israel During Iraqi War
    Vice Admiral James Metzger, an assistant to the chairman of the American joint chiefs of staff, has been assigned the delicate job of American liaison to the Israel Defense Forces during a possible U.S. offensive against Iraq, sources in Washington said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Aerial Salute to Ron Arad
    The Israel Air Force has arranged an aerial salute to MIA navigator Ron Arad, marking 16 years since he was shot down over Lebanon. (IDF Spokesman/Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Democracy in the Middle East - Victor Davis Hanson
    Our greatest challenge may be not the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction but the subsequent reconfiguration of the Middle East. What we do in Iraq will set the stage for success or failure in the entire region. The realists remind us that there has never been a truly free Arab democracy in 1,500 years. But our commitment to political reform - not to any individual or clique - will give us the military and ethical advantage of consistency, purpose, and clarity. At root, the Arab masses probably hate us less than they abhor their own governments for lack of freedom and economic progress. Let September 11 remind us that inaction can be as deadly as intervention. We need to prevent more Egyptians, Kuwaitis, Pakistanis, Palestinians, and Saudis from murdering more Americans. (Weekly Standard)
  • Hitler's Disciple in Baghdad - Senators Ted Stevens and John Warner
    Many in our generation joined the military to put an end to Hitler's aggression. As two of the seven sitting senators who served in World War II, we see the next Hitler in Saddam Hussein. The events preceding World War II parallel the events of today except for one great difference - Saddam is building an arsenal of weapons far more destructive to mankind than ever possessed by Hitler. (Washington Times)
  • Campus Hypocrisy - Thomas L. Friedman
    Memo to professors and students leading the divestiture campaign: Your campaign for divestiture from Israel is deeply dishonest and hypocritical. To single out Israel as the only party to blame for the current impasse is to perpetrate a lie. Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction - out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East - is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest. (New York Times)
  • Israel and Lebanon: The Battle for the Wazzani - Eyal Zisser
    Israel has threatened war if Lebanon proceeds with the diversion project, and Lebanon, under pressure from Hizballah (perhaps with Syrian encouragement), cannot easily back down. Still, both Israel and Lebanon (and the Syrians and Hizballah, as well) prefer to avoid a regional conflagration on the eve on an expected American offensive against Iraq. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies - Tel Aviv University)
  • Talking Points:

    Saddam, Al Qaeda Intricately Linked - David Rudge

    According to Prof. Amatzia Baram, of the University of Haifa's Department of Middle East History, an expert on Iraqi affairs:

    • There is very close ideological affinity and political cooperation between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda. Saddam Hussein probably knew beforehand about the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.
    • In 1998 bin Laden issued a religious edict warning against any attacks on Iraq.
    • Recent al Qaeda communiques broadcast via al-Jazeera stated that the attacks against U.S. marines in Kuwait and the French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen were warnings of severe retaliation in the event of an assault on Saddam's regime. These are clear indications of political cooperation.
    • There is a very real possibility, because it has happened in the past, that Saddam Hussein will do his utmost to persuade Palestinian groups, or at least members of his own movement in the Palestinian camp, to carry out a mega-attack against Israel. (Jerusalem Post)

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