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 6, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

U.S.-Israeli Laser Destroys Artillery Rounds in Flight (BBC)

    The U.S. army has, for the first time, shot down an artillery shell in flight using a high-powered laser weapon.
    The laser tracked and locked on to the shell, before firing a stream of concentrated light energy photons and destroying it, at the White Sands, N.M. missile range.
    The U.S. Army's Space and Missile Defense Command said that "seconds later, at a point well short of its intended destination, the projectile was destroyed."
    The Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser (MTHEL) is being developed by the TRW Corporation for use by the U.S. military and the Israeli Defense Ministry. Two years ago, it successfully shot down a Katyusha rocket.
    "This shoot-down shifts the paradigm for defensive capabilities," said Lt. Gen. Joseph Cosumano, head of the missile defense command. "We have shown that even an artillery projectile hurtling through the air at supersonic speed is no match for a laser."

    The project was initially conceived to destroy Katyusha rockets fired by Hizballah into northern Israel from Lebanon. (Austin American-Statesman/AP)

Is Canada a Haven for Hizballah? - Stewart Bell (National Post - Canada)

    A Hizballah "special agent" who admitted to orchestrating terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians was caught in Toronto in 1998, according to federal war crimes officials.
    When Toronto police officers tried to arrest the Hizballah member on an immigration warrant, he grabbed at their guns but was subdued and later deported to Lebanon for his alleged involvement in crimes against humanity.
    While Canadian Jewish organizations want the government to ban Hizballah under Canada's new counter-terrorism law, Bill Graham, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, says he does not want to outlaw the work of the organization's doctors, lawyers, and social workers because that might hamper Canada's efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.
    The Canadian Security Intelligence Service says that, far from fostering peace, Hizballah is devoted to wrecking any settlement between Israelis and Palestinians and wants to impose Islamic rule and remove Western influences from the region.

Key Links

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Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. Warns Companies Over Israel Boycott
    "The Commerce Department is closely monitoring efforts that appear to be made to reinvigorate the Arab boycott of Israel and will use all of its resources to vigorously enforce U.S. anti-boycott regulations," said Undersecretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Kenneth Juster. U.S. laws ban the participation by U.S. nationals and companies in unsanctioned foreign government trade boycotts, especially the Arab League's boycott of Israel. The Department of Commerce has issued more than $26m in fines and turned down export licenses to those found violating the law. (BBC)
  • Islamists on Brink of Power in Pakistan
    An Islamist cleric with Taliban sympathies is poised to become Pakistan's next prime minister. Maulana Fazlur Rehman, 49, heads the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal alliance of six religious groups that did unexpectedly well in last month's general election. He was locked up last year after denouncing America's war in Afghanistan and wants all U.S. bases in Pakistan to be closed down. (Guardian - UK)
  • Israel Faces Rampant Discrimination at the UN - Julian Schvindlerman
    Observe the evolution of the newest diplomatic charge by Arab leaders: the UN, it turns out, is biased in favor of Israel. As a matter of fact, in more than 50 years, the UN voted in favor of Israel just two times: in November 1947 (partition of Palestine) and in May 1949 (admission of the Jewish state to the UN). Furthermore, Israel is the sole nation prevented from winning a seat on the UN Security Council. (Miami Herald)
  • Israel Student Programs Grapple with Smaller Numbers
    As the intifada enters its third year, Israel programs are looking at a 92 percent decrease in the number of Jewish youth participating in educational trips to Israel. In the summer of 2002, only 820 high school-aged kids visited Israel on organized trips, down from 10,000 in the year 2000. However, enrollment at post-high school yeshivas in Israel is believed to have remained relatively stable. (JTA)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Hamas Gunman Murders Two Israelis
    A Palestinian worker at the Gush Katif community of Pe'at Sadeh in Gush Katif shot two Israelis to death on Wednesday - Amos Sa'adah, 52, and Asaf Sefira, 18. The community security officer then killed the shooter. (Jerusalem Post/Yediot Ahronot)
  • Security Forces Catch Homicide Terrorist Heading to Airport
    Israeli security forces caught a Palestinian homicide bomber in a dragnet that blocked the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway Tuesday night. The terrorist was believed to be on his way to an attack at Ben-Gurion Airport. (Maariv)
  • Israel Prepares for Elections
    The Knesset is now discussing a late January election date. Former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be sworn in as foreign minister on Wednesday. (Ha'aretz)
        See also The Israeli Electorial System (Jerusalem Post)
  • Argentine Community Shaken by Kfar Sava Bombing Deaths
    The victims in Monday's terror attack at the Kfar Sava mall - security guard Julio Magram, 51, and Gaston Parapierian, 15, the only child of a family who immigrated from Cordoba last April - were new immigrants from Argentina. Some 4,500 Argentinean immigrants have arrived in Israel this year. (Ha'aretz/Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S.: Syria, Libya Also Rogue States
    John Bolton, the U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, put Syria, Libya, and Cuba on the new list of rogue states. "Beyond the axis of evil, there are other rogue states intent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction - especially biological weapons." Syria has a stock of sarin nerve gas, and is engaged in research and development of the nerve gas VX. Israel has known for over a decade that Syria "is able to produce small amounts of biological warfare agents." Senator Bob Graham, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says, "We have to tell the Syrians we expect them to close the Hizballah camps in the Lebanese Bekaa Valley within a defined period of time, and if they don't, we reserve the right to close them ourselves." (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Islamists Gain Votes as U.S. Acts - Neil MacFarquhar
    The sudden gain in votes by Islamist parties in recent elections in Pakistan, Bahrain, Morocco, and Turkey is being viewed as a sign that voters - at least in those few countries that actually allow free elections - want to assert pride in their faith to the outside world. "Arab and Muslim populations think the war against terrorism is nothing but a war against Islam, the culture of Islam, the Arab culture," said Professor Muhammad Darif of Hassan II University in Morocco. "The Islamist parties have been able to exploit this." (New York Times)
  • The Secret of Turkish Democracy - Barbara Lerner
    Why is Turkey the only Muslim democracy in the Mideast? How has Turkey's republic managed to survive for 79 years? What makes the Turks so different from their Arab and Persian neighbors? The Turkish military is the great secret of Turkish democracy. It keeps Turkey democratic by acting as a necessary limit on the potential excesses of popular majorities and the sometimes demagogic elected leaders who represent them, a role not unlike the one the Supreme Court plays in our own republic. (National Review)
  • Saddam's Brain - The Ideology Behind the Thuggery - David Brooks
    Saddam's speeches since 1968 have a consistent ideological, pseudo-intellectual character, with a layer of Islamist rhetoric added in the past decade. He has always presented the Arabs as the master race, whose history and accomplishments are glorious. He has always had a mystical belief in self-purification through violence, the notion that the soul is elevated through warfare and killing. In dealing with Saddam, then, we are not dealing with a normal thug or bully, but with a missionary. The ideology of Baathism calls for relentless struggle, ever-widening conflict, until some ideal culmination of history is achieved. (Weekly Standard)
  • Talking Points:

    Interview with Ariel Sharon (London Times)

    • Sharon regards Iraq as "a very, very dangerous country led by an insane regime" (he then asks an aide in Hebrew if there is a stronger word than "insane"). "We will support every decision that will be taken by President Bush and his ally, Prime Minister Blair, because we know maybe better than others the dangers of terror: global terror, regional terror, and local terror."
    • Iran makes every effort to possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. That is a danger to the Middle East, to Israel, and a danger to Europe. Iran also has sent rockets to Lebanon via Syria, and is a problem in Palestinian areas, where Iranian money supports extremists.
    • 646 Israelis have been killed during the violence of the past two years, which would be the equivalent of 6,460 deaths in Britain. "There are whole families who have disappeared. Parents have lost their children and children have lost their parents."
    • "This man [Arafat] is responsible for the murder of thousands of people. I was a soldier for many years - I know that in war civilians suffer or are even killed, but their [Palestinian terrorist] targets are civilians."
    • "You ask me if we are going to hold the sword all our lives. If we have to do it we will do it, but I hope that it won�t be necessary. There are those among the Palestinians who understand that they will not be able to achieve anything by force. Those that are ready to speak peace, I am ready to talk and negotiate with, as a matter of fact I am in contact with them now."

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