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 22, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Anti-U.S. Demos Target Bahrain Naval Base - Tony Perry

    Chanting "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel!" protesters in Manama, Bahrain, on Friday angrily called for the government to oust the U.S. Navy from the base that serves as its regional headquarters in the Persian Gulf. The Navy's 5th Fleet is headquartered here, and U.S. and British Royal Air Force planes use the international airport as a regional hub.
    Organized by the local Islamic political group, the protest was the latest in a series of anti-U.S. demonstrations in recent months, including a rock-throwing march by several thousand people outside the U.S. Embassy in April. Two sailors were beaten by a crowd a month later.
    King Hamed ibn Isa Khalifa has opted to allow street demonstrations as part of his drive toward opening up the Bahraini political process. Under his late father, such demonstrations were banned and political opponents sometimes were jailed. (Dawn - Pakistan)

"Living Martyrs" Crippled by Saddam's Mustard Gas - Michael Theodoulou

    Tehran estimates that during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, 100,000 Iranian soldiers and civilians were exposed to Iraqi chemical weapons, mostly mustard and nerve gases. Iranian doctors say that between 2,000 and 3,000 of Saddam’s victims are still under medical surveillance, with about 1,000 severely injured with chronic lung diseases.
    The mortality rate among those exposed to nerve gas, which paralyzes the muscles and respiratory system, was much higher than among those who suffered mustard gas attacks, which produce blisters first on the skin and then inside the lungs.
    Some 5,000 Iraqi Kurdish civilians were massacred by chemical bombing at Halabja in 1988 by Saddam Hussein's regime. (Times - UK)

26 Stingers Retrieved, 200 Still Missing - Abdul Sami Paracha

    The U.S. army has retrieved 26 missing Stinger missiles from various former heads of warring factions after paying $120,000 per missile to Pakistani tribesman Nasir Afridi during an arms recovery drive in Kandahar.
    There are still more than 200 stingers missing in Afghanistan, which were supplied by the CIA to different warlords during the Russian war. (Dawn - Pakistan)

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Palestinian Car Bomb Destroys Bus, 14 Murdered
    A sport utility vehicle primed with a powerful bomb slammed into an Israeli bus at rush hour on Monday near Hadera, igniting the fuel tank of the bus and killing at least 14 passengers and wounding 65. Debris and body parts were blasted over an area larger than a football field. (New York Times)
        See also "People Were Burned Alive Inside My Bus" (Jerusalem Post)
  • New York to Face Suicide Bus Bombings
    After a five-day trip to Israel, Metropolitan Transportation Authority security chief Louis Anemone and Port Authority police chief Joseph Morris believe Israel-style suicide bus bombings are headed to New York. (New York Sun)
  • Mass Amnesty of Iraqi Political Prisoners
    Within minutes of the announcement of the amnesty on Sunday, a crowd began gathering outside Abu Ghraib prison, 20 miles west of Baghdad, the grimmest in a gulag that has incarcerated tens of thousands of political prisoners. Soon, the gates were forced open and the mob stormed the cellblocks, liberating as many as 10,000 captives. (New York Times)
  • U.S. to Train Saddam's Opponents
    The Pentagon will train thousands of opponents of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to help in a possible invasion, under an order signed by President George Bush, U.S. officials said Saturday. (CBS News)
  • A Host of Volunteers Aid a Culture of Violence
    The emergency ambulance service Magen David Adom employs 1,450 paid personnel and 10,000 volunteers to operate the thousand or more ambulances in Israel. More than 99 percent of the ambulances are bought through private donations. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
        See also The Israelis Are Ready; We're Not
    Hadassah in Jerusalem is the most thoroughly disaster-prepared hospital system that I'm familiar with. The hospitals have developed a disaster plan for conventional, chemical, and bio-terror attacks that is totally integrated with the army, police, emergency medical system, and other area hospitals. Today we recognize how poorly the U.S. is prepared for a terrorist attack, compared to Israel. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • EU Agrees to Delay Tax on Territories Products
    Following a meeting between the foreign ministers of Israel and the EU Monday, European sources said that they had acceded to Foreign Minister Shimon Peres' request for an extension of the deadline with regard to customs on Israeli exports coming from the territories until the beginning of 2003 to enable a mutually agreed formula to be worked out. (Ha'aretz)
        For a contrasting European view, see EU Threatens Action on Israeli Exports
    Diplomats said proposals that Israel had pledged to present failed to materialize. One ambassador said Mr. Peres was "buying time." (Financial Times - UK)
  • Feminist Palestinian Play Opens in Gaza
    "A play? In Gaza? About feminism? With Palestinian actresses? Unbelievable!" Written, directed, and performed by Palestinians, "Mr. Perfect" deals with the problem of divorced women who are rejected by Palestinian society as well as the women's difficulty in achieving self-fulfilment because their fathers, brothers, and husbands confine them to their homes to care for their families. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • America in the Dock - David Frum
    The certainty that American policy is controlled by what one British magazine called a "kosher conspiracy" was the single most widely held opinion I heard in the course of an eight-day visit to Britain, though true anti-Americanism is faint and marginal, often motivated by envy rather than hatred.
        When Americans look at the Palestinians, what do they see? Not the victims that Europeans perceive - but the people who danced with glee as New York and Washington burned. Americans see the inventors of the airplane hijacking and the exponents of suicide-murder. In short, they see people who inspired and sympathize with America's newest and deadliest enemies. (Daily Telegraph - UK)
  • Israel's Role in Toppling Saddam - Neill Lochery
    Now is not the time to isolate Israel in order to appease the Arab world. On the contrary, as Israeli involvement in any conflict is inevitable, it makes sense for U.S. planners to coordinate planning activities with their Israeli counterparts. The most obvious use of Israel would be in the intelligence field. U.S. over-reliance on intelligence gathered from technical sources such as spy satellites over hard intelligence gathered by agents on the ground remains a key problem. In terms of military operations, Israel could contribute to the widely expected air campaign, and by employing its special forces to destroy Iraqi mobile missile sites on the ground. (National Post - Canada)
  • Are the Saudis the Enemy? - Nicholas D. Kristof
    Osama bin Laden succeeded magnificently in at least one of his goals: creating a rift between the United States and Saudi Arabia. A poll released this month found that 87 percent of Saudis have an unfavorable view of the United States. It's absurd to imagine the Saudi government intentionally promoting people like Osama bin Laden when Osama's first target was the Saudi royal family itself. To my ear the harsh denunciations of Saudi Arabia as a terrorist state sound as unbalanced as the conspiratorial ravings of Saudi fundamentalists themselves. (New York Times)
  • Attacking Iraq would be War - But Not Aggression - Jonathan Rauch
    Aggression is a breaking of the peace. In the case of Iraq, however, there never has been a peace to break. (National Journal)
  • Designer Gas Masks - Michael Freund
    When I recently went down to the local branch of Israel's Civil Defense Office to get my gas masks, the last thing I expected to hear was a lecture on their improved color patterns. "We have added this orange strip to certain models, to brighten them up a bit," said the sprightly young soldier. (National Review)
  • Talking Points:

    Israel, Iraq, and the Palestinians - As the U.S. Moves Toward War - Ze'ev Schiff

    Ha'aretz military and strategic affairs editor Ze'ev Schiff told journalists and diplomats at a briefing at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs' Institute for Contemporary Affairs, founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation:

    • Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Ariel Sharon realized in 1991 that if Jordan were Palestine, Iraqi forces could be deployed very close to Israel's border.
    • A number of Israeli leaders felt that Israeli deterrence was damaged by the policy of restraint in 1991. If Israel did not react to the use of gas or chemical weapons against it, then the lessons of the Holocaust would be meaningless.
    • Israel need not respond only in western Iraq. There are hundreds of strategic targets in Iraq.
    • After the war in Afghanistan, al Qaeda members took refuge in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, while quite a few went to the Ein Hilwe refugee camp in Lebanon via Syria.
    • Al Qaeda members reached Iraq as well. Palestinians who trained at the al Quds camp north of Baghdad reported seeing a number of al Qaeda people.

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