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 23, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

PA Crackdown on Hamas a Show for the West - Rana Awwad

    Some argue that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is sometimes forced to crackdown on resistance groups such as Hamas to show the international community that it is pursuing peace.
    "On the surface, the PNA looks as if it is against resistance movements, and acts accordingly on very few occasions in order to keep the U.S. and Israel silent," said Ouda Abu Susain, one of the leaders of the Gaza refugee camp. "But these deeds are very limited and are not ill-intended," he added. (Gulf News - Dubai)

No Wine, No Dinner, Spain Tells Iran - Isambard Wilkinson

    The Spanish government has cancelled a state banquet in honor of President Mohammed Khatami of Iran after Tehran insisted that he would not sit down to a meal with wine on the table. The state banquet, which was due to be given by King Juan Carlos, was removed from the schedule after Mr. Khatami's protocol office cited religious reasons for refusing to eat at a table where alcohol, specifically wine, was on offer.
    Rather than agree to a wine-free meal, the Spaniards cancelled the celebration customarily afforded to visiting foreign dignitaries. (Telegraph - UK)

Kuwaiti, U.S., German, Czech Forces Hold Chemical Warfare Drill

    U.S., Kuwaiti, German, and Czech forces on Monday conducted a mock drill in nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) warfare to increase Kuwait's level of preparation. The exercise was the first grouping units of all four countries under the Cooperation Defence Initiative (CDI) program sponsored by US CENTCOM.
    The German unit provided command and control assets and reconnaissance, while the Czechs provided decontamination for personnel. (Jordan Times/AFP)

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. Planes Comb Arabian Desert for Al Qaeda
    The trackless, desolate sands of the vast Arabian desert known as the Empty Quarter are being scoured by pilotless U.S. surveillance aircraft looking for signs of al Qaeda operatives among the nomadic tribes there. "They are basically looking for movement within the desert, unusual movement, of cars and so forth," said Abubaker al-Qirbi, Yemen's foreign minister. After the Pentagon dispatched Special Forces trainers to teach the Yemenis counterterrorism techniques, some 400 Yemeni soldiers have now been deployed at more than 12 bases near the Saudi border. (New York Times)
  • Public Protest in Baghdad Over Missing Relatives
    An unprecedented public protest flared Tuesday in Baghdad as dozens of Iraqis demanding to know the fate of missing relatives gathered outside the Information Ministry. Iraqi officials announced Monday that not a "single Iraqi" remained in prison after Saddam Hussein granted a general amnesty that included political prisoners for the first time in the Iraqi regime's history. The demonstrators told reporters of sons, husbands, and brothers not heard from since they were seized by security forces years ago. Many of the missing appeared to be young Shi'ite men, detained in the failed uprising against the Iraqi leadership following the 1991 Gulf War. (CNN)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Victims of the Bus Bombing
    Professor Yehuda Hiss, head of the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute, said that it could take several days to identify the remaining victims because the bodies were mangled and burned. Only one victim was recognizable visually. The others can only be identified through DNA testing. He said he couldn't remember an attack after which identifying the victims was so difficult. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Bombing Victim was Heading Home for Sister's Wedding (Jerusalem Post/AP)
  • Peres to EU: Be Concerned with Human Rights of Israelis
    "The passengers aboard the bus yesterday had the basic human right to live and not be burned to death, and this was violated in the most shocking and horrific way," Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said in Brussels Tuesday. "No one in Europe has ever experienced suicide attacks," he added. "If you want to rebuild homes of terrorists that we destroyed, why not repair blown up buses and bring people back to life?" (Jerusalem Post/Itim)
  • IDF Heading Back to Jenin, Nablus
    After evidence gathered from Monday's terror attack confirmed that the bombers came from Jenin, the army, which had thinned out its presence in Jenin and other northern West Bank towns earlier this week due to international pressure, now appears likely to move back in. Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday that the attack "took place a mere 48 hours after the curfew in Jenin was eased," enabling the bombers to leave the city.
        A senior intelligence officer told the committee that since the start of Operation Defensive Shield in April, the army has uncovered 37 weapons smuggling tunnels in Rafah, on the border between Gaza and Egypt, each of them four to seven meters deep and 600 to 700 meters long. Ya'alon reported a recent incident when the IDF exploded a smuggling tunnel and the smoke created by the explosion could be seen rising from an Egyptian Army position on the Egyptian side of the border. [IMRA]
        The intelligence officer added that the new Palestinian finance minister, Salam Fayyad, has so far not managed to gain control of all the Palestinian Authority's sources of income. Most of the money is still in the hands of Arafat, who continues to buy arms. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Moves to Counter PA "Water Intifada"
    National Infrastructure Minister Effi Eitam said Tuesday he has suspended the approval of new well drillings by the PA until it assumes responsibility for polluted ground water, illegal drilling sites, and "pirate" hookups. Regarding prevention of pollution in ground water wells, "They have not adopted plans or projects set up by donor countries, even when the funding does not come from their [own] money," said Eitam. "There will not be any reduction in water transferred to Palestinian civilians. Our efforts are to safeguard the future water resources of both peoples," Eitam said.
        According to Baruch Nagar, in charge of the Israeli Water Commission's administration in the West Bank and Gaza, some 200 illegal drilling sites have been discovered and over 250 illegal hookups have been dismantled recently. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • No More Cat and Mouse - Mortimer B. Zuckerman
    Even if the UN passes a clear and tough resolution and the inspectors got on some of the right trails, they would run up against delays, obstructions, bugging, and a succession of manufactured crises and diversions. Inspections are a trap. The only way to force Iraq to get rid of its terrible weapons is to rid the country of the regime that builds them. Washington must not pause in its push to depose Saddam. (U.S. News)
  • Remembering Malki Roth - Killed One Year Ago in the Sbarro Explosion - Yaeli Bronstein (American high school student)
    Malki accomplished so much in her short life and she had plans for her future. That future was taken away from her in a split second when her life was so unfairly cut short. Malki has taught me that although we feel that we have our whole lives ahead of us to do everything we plan, now is the time to put your dreams into action. An innocent 15-year-old girl is gone forever and my world has turned upside down. (New York Jewish Week - "Fresh Ink")
  • Talking Points:

    Sharon Calls Quartet Road Map "Problematic" - Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)

    • In his first public reference to the "road map" peace plan draft worked out by the Quartet - the U.S., EU, UN, and Russia - and presented to him in Washington last week, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said, "It's not credible that Israel takes irreversible steps while the other side only makes statements. There is a danger Israel will face a timetable that only it is required to keep to."
    • Government and defense officials are bitterly critical of the plan, which calls for comprehensive political and security reforms in the Palestinian Authority leading to a Palestinian state with temporary borders by the end of 2003, and a final status agreement by the end of 2005.
    • U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs William Burns arrives in Israel Wednesday for meetings about the road map plan with Israeli and Palestinian officials - though not with Yasser Arafat.
    • The prime minister and his aides say they will not accept any deviation from President Bush's June 24 speech. "We have to stick to what was agreed in Washington regarding the Bush plan. It is of utmost importance that any progress to each stage be conditioned to the implementation of the previous stage. All progress has to be conditioned to determined action against terror and incitement. If that doesn't happen, it will be impossible to move toward a demilitarized state without final borders," Sharon said.
        See also Palestinian Statehood Fades - Nicole Gaouette (Christian Science Monitor)
    As William Burns arrives in Israel bearing a road map to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israelis and Palestinians are increasingly questioning whether an independent Palestinian entity is even feasible.

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