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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November 4, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Israel Helping U.S. War Preparations - John Diamond (USA Today)

    Israel is secretly playing a key role in U.S. preparations for possible war with Iraq, helping to train soldiers and Marines for urban warfare, conducting clandestine surveillance missions in the western Iraqi desert, and allowing the United States to place combat supplies in Israel, according to U.S. defense and intelligence officials.
    Israeli commandos, using their own satellite intelligence and imagery provided by U.S. intelligence services, have conducted clandestine surveillance missions of Scud missile sites in western Iraq, mapping concrete launch pads and conducting reconnaissance that could help U.S. commandos attack the sites.
    Israeli infantry units with experience in urban warfare during the Palestinian uprising helped train U.S. Army and Marine counterparts this summer and fall for possible urban battles in Iraq, a foreign defense official says.
    The Pentagon has beefed up stocks of ammunition, fuel, and other basic military staples at six storage depots in Israel over the past year, for possible use by U.S. forces in combat contingencies.

In Event of War, Patriots Won't Be on Front Line - Paul Richter (Los Angeles Times)

    Despite an intensive development effort since 1991, the Patriot's ability to destroy all its targets is considered so unreliable that Pentagon planners are focusing their antimissile efforts on how best to find and destroy Saddam Hussein's mobile Scud launchers before the missiles are fired, according to U.S. and private analysts.
    During the Gulf War, Patriot interceptors were often striking only metal debris from disintegrating Scuds, not touching their warheads. After the war, a congressional study found that the Patriots had been effective against only four Scuds; one Israeli study contended the number was zero.
    Philip E. Coyle, the Pentagon's chief weapons tester from 1994 until 2001, said that based on recent tests of the latest version, the Patriot could be expected to bring down less than 50% of incoming Scuds.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Britain to Mobilize 10,000 Reservists
    Enforced mobilization of up to 10,000 reservists will be announced by the British government this week in preparation for a war on Iraq, in a move not seen since the Korean War. The mobilization is expected to be matched in America this week. (Telegraph - UK)
  • Saudis Warn U.S. Over Military Bases
    Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said on Sunday the U.S. would not be allowed to use bases in Saudi Arabia to launch an attack on Iraq, even if such an invasion were sanctioned by the United Nations. Previously, Saudi officials had said the U.S. could only use the bases after a UN resolution approving the use of force. (Financial Times - UK)
  • Saddam: Public Opinion Working in Our Favor
    Saddam Hussein told the Egyptian weekly Al-Osboa Sunday: "Time is in our favor, and we have to buy more time hoping that the U.S.-British alliance might disintegrate because of...the pressure of public opinion on American and British streets." (Washington Post/AP)
  • New Palestinian Minister Backs "Military Operations"
    The new Palestinian interior minister, Hani al-Hassan, said on Saturday he opposed attacks on civilians but was not against "military operations," an apparent reference to targeting Jewish settlers and soldiers. Hassan replaced Abdel-Razzak al-Yahya, a favorite of Washington for his apparent reform zeal. (Reuters)
  • Wider Conflict with Hizballah Predicted
    Israeli military and intelligence officials believe that Hizballah has 2,000 to 3,000 men in the region bordering Israel and the Golan Heights, armed with weapons that include several hundred 240mm Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 missiles provided by Iran, which have ranges of 26 and 43 miles, respectively. Hizballah has thousands of old Soviet 107mm Katyusha rockets, wire-guided TOW missiles, artillery, and 57mm antiaircraft guns. Syria has begun providing Hizballah with 220mm rockets that are made in Syria and have a range of more than 45 miles. (Washington Post)
        See also An Uneasy Quiet on Lebanese Border (Newsday); Israeli Planes Overfly Beirut (Beirut Daily Star)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Turkish Party with Islamic Roots Wins in Landslide
    Turkey's voters gave a resounding victory to the Islamic-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP) of former Istanbul mayor Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday. Turkish State Television TRT gave the AKP some 35% of the vote, meaning the AKP would control an absolute majority of more than 350 seats in the 550-seat Turkish parliament. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Mortar Shells Land Near Children in Neve Dekalim
    Several Palestinian mortar shells landed inside Neve Dekalim in Gush Katif on Sunday. According to Israel Radio, no one was hurt and no damage was caused. One of the shells landed very close to a group of playing children, but did not explode, the radio said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel, India Sign Space Program Cooperation Agreement
    Israel and India signed an agreement last week to cooperate on space research. The Indian Space Research Organization has one of the most advanced space programs in the world, with an annual budget of half a billion dollars. Israel has proposed to equip an Indian communications satellite with an Israeli telescope. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israeli Arabs Seek Links with Arab World
    Delegates from 55 Arab-Israeli non-governmental organizations (NGOs) attended a conference in Cairo entitled, "The Palestinians of 1948 Knock at the Door of the Arab World." Bassel Ghattas, who heads the Ittijah umbrella organization for the Arab-Israeli NGOs, said, "We are part of the Palestinian people. Ties with us do not amount to normalization (with Israel), but on the contrary, they reinforce the struggle against the Zionist project." (Jordan Times/AFP)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Russia Would Be Overwhelmed by a Palestinian Scenario - Alexei Arbatov
    Several dozen kamikaze terrorists who seized a cultural center in Moscow is just a drop in the bucket. In Chechnya, there are hundreds of young men who are ready to sacrifice their lives for the sake of mythical symbols in which they trust absolutely. Neither the military nor the law enforcers are in a position to deal with this Palestinian scenario. (Moscow News/Center for Defense Information)
  • Where is the Arab Patrick Henry? - Shmuley Boteach
    Hatred of Israel has produced one of the greatest injustices in the history of the world - not against the Jews, but against innocent Arabs. By blaming all Arab ills on the monstrous Zionist entity, the Arab dictators have successfully shifted their people's rage away from themselves and onto Israel. The tragic irony is that the one country in which Arabs have enjoyed freedom and democracy is Israel, the very enemy the Arab world has scapegoated as the source of all evil. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Sharon Gets His Chance to Fail - Yossi Beilin
    The disbanding of the government was inevitable and healthy. The pretext for the dissolution - disagreement over approval of the national budget - was of secondary importance. The alternative plan presented by the Labor Party must make one promise: All efforts will be devoted to reaching an agreed solution with the Palestinian Authority (without any preconditions as to who its leader will be, and without giving the terrorist organizations the opportunity to stop negotiations through violence). (New York Times)
  • Unmasking the Real Israel - Stewart M. Weiss
    Over the last month, since our son Ari was killed in battle in Nablus, I have had the opportunity to encounter the Israeli, and the Israel, you never - or rarely - see; certainly the Israel you almost never read about. It is, I can report, an Israel with a huge heart, a towering soul, and an inner desire to do good. I look out on all of this love, all of these expressions of unsolicited kindness, and I am absolutely convinced that we are a nation like no other. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Talking Points:

    Fear of Democracy - John Yaukey (Gannett News - Lancaster Eagle-Gazette)

    • In its campaign against Saddam, the Bush administration has talked about spreading the seeds of democracy across Arabia, starting with Saddam's replacement. But right now, little would take root in a progressive, Western-friendly way.
    • In Jordan, Palestinian unrest and a looming war with Iraq have prompted Jordan's Abdullah to suspend parliamentary elections twice. Ironically, in Amman it is Muslims from the once-radical Islamic Action Front who are pressing for elections against a reluctant monarchy backed by the United States. "The government here has plenty to fear," said the Front's Jamil Abu-Baker. "If there are elections, we will win seats."
    • In bellwether Egypt, candidates from the terrorist organization Hamas have been winning campus elections running on anti-government, anti-American platforms.
    • In Saudi Arabia, the fear is that the democratic alternative to the strict brand of Islamic rule practiced by the House of Saud could look dangerously like the reactionary Islam espoused by Osama bin Laden.
    • The more the Bush administration talks about regime change in Baghdad, the more leaders in the region quietly shudder at what could happen. "This notion of somehow re-arranging the region and changing regimes and systems of government in a way that fits the interests of the United States is indeed a very scary notion," said Marwan Muasher, Jordan's Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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