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 7, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

How Saddam Plundered the UN Oil for Food Program - Mark Hosenball (Newsweek)

    Saddam Hussein has been plundering the Oil for Food program for years, netting a huge cash windfall that the CIA believes the Iraqi dictator has used to finance his weapons programs.
    U.S. government figures estimate that Iraq has received at least $2.3 billion in oil-contract kickbacks since 1997.
    �The United Nations is, in these matters, 50 percent corrupt and 50 percent incompetent,� says Richard Perle, a top adviser to the Pentagon on Iraqi policy. "The end result is, they cannot enforce a serious set of sanctions, and they�ll do no better conducting weapons inspections."

Iran�s President Khatami On His Way Out - Michael Ledeen (National Review)

    Last Wednesday two leading members of the Iranian parliament, including an outspoken opponent of the regime, were killed when their automobile went off the road into a ravine north of Tehran. Ayatollah Taheri, the cleric who recently resigned as the religious leader of Isfahan, announced they had been executed by the regime.
    Well-informed Iranians believe the "accident" was an explicit warning to Iran's enfeebled president, Mohammad Khatami: If you dare challenge us further, you will end up the same way.

Israeli Officer Disciplined for Death of Palestinian Youth (IDF Spokesperson)

    According to an inquiry presented to the IDF Chief of Staff, a Palestinian boy was wounded and later died of his wounds while standing on the balcony of his home during stone throwing and disturbances in the Samarian village of Nazlat Zid on October 4, 2002.
    The deputy battalion commander on the scene has been dismissed from his post and will not be reinstated to a command post for at least three years - a decision that emphasizes the severity with which the IDF views the harming, even unintentionally, of innocent civilians during operational activity.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. Elections 2002: Congress Remains Pro-Israel
    A predominance of pro-Israel lawmakers retained their seats, and several new faces emerged, many of whom pro-Israel officials called promising. A senior pro-Israel official said he expected the 108th Congress to be even more supportive of Israel than the outgoing body. (JTA)
  • Report: Iraq Has Scuds Ready for War
    A U.S. intelligence assessment indicates that Iraq has as many as two dozen old Scud missiles from the 1991 Gulf War which it might be able to fire at Israel or other regional states in any U.S.-led war against Baghdad, U.S. officials said on Wednesday. The officials said Israel had been quietly helping the Pentagon prepare for any conflict with Iraq, confirming reports that Israel had sent military scout teams into remote Western Iraq. (Reuters)
  • U.S. Raid Foils Plot to Send Arms to Al Qaeda
    U.S. law enforcement officials have broken up a major drug operation aimed at furnishing weapons to al Qaeda. In San Diego, two Pakistanis and an American, Ilyas Ali, were charged with plotting to trade heroin and hashish for four Stinger antiaircraft missiles they were planning to sell to al Qaeda. (New York Times)
  • May I Have My Bomb Back?
    Ian Rimell, a 52-year-old Brit, is an explosive-ordnance-disposal expert working with a Scandinavian-funded de-mining team that has cleared thousands of "improvised terrorist devices" from Jenin. "We found 4668 items, of which 804 were live," Ian says. Ian's team gets called all the time by "people who are not happy about two-meter-long pipe bombs planted in the road near their houses." "And there were instances when guys with guns would show up and demand their bombs back," says Ian. (Village Voice)
  • Iran Bans Advertising for U.S. Goods
    Iran has banned advertising for American goods at the recommendation of the Society for Defending Palestine, the state TV announced Thursday. The ban came just as advertising for American products was on the increase, in defiance of calls for a boycott by hardline clerics. (ABC News)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • IDF Crimps Hamas Bomb-Making
    During military operations in Jenin on November 5, the IDF uncovered a warehouse filled with hundreds of kilograms of fertilizer, a banned chemical substance used for making explosives [like the bomb in Oklahoma City]. In an interview in the Jordanian A-Sabil (Oct. 14, 2002), a member of Hamas' military wing admitted that Israeli restrictions on the import of raw materials used in explosives have hurt Hamas' ability to manufacture bombs, forcing the group to search for new routes to obtain such materials. (IDF Spokesperson)
  • Ex-Mossad Head Envisions Regional Change
    Efraim Halevy, who just stepped down after 4 1/2 years as head of the Mossad, envisions the following changes in the region: Within a year, plus or minus, Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein are expected to disappear from the horizon. In the next 2 or 3 years change is expected in Iran; part of the Iranian leadership does not support the official line that calls for the destruction of Israel, and nearly 70% of the elected representatives in parliament oppose Iran's militant line. (Maariv)
  • Israel-PA Trade Almost Halved
    Officially reported trade between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) has fallen since 2000 from NIS 10.4 billion at 2002 prices to a projected NIS 5.8 billion in 2002, a 44% decrease. Unreported trade (illegal trade along the seam line) fell by an estimated NIS 2 billion, according to the IDF coordination command for government activities in the territories. Lt. Col. Isaac Gurvich estimated the losses to the Palestinian economy since September 2000 at $4.5 billion.
        Unemployment in the territories is estimated at 36% in the West Bank and 56% in Gaza. Some 58% in the West Bank and 85% in Gaza live below the poverty line, defined as $2.10 per day. Annual Palestinian per capita GDP has declined from $1,900 before the violence started to $1,300 at the end of 2001, and is expected to fall below $1,000 at the end of 2002. (Globes)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Beginning of Robotic Warfare - Daniel McGrory, Michael Evans, and Elaine Monaghan
    When the CIA used a remote-controlled, unmanned aircraft to fire Hellfire missiles at a top al Qaeda terrorist in the Yemeni desert, America was pursuing a revolutionary new form of warfare in which no terrorist will be safe anywhere in the world. The person who launched the missile could have been at a military base in Yemen, across the Red Sea in Djibouti, or at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida. According to Clifford Beal, editor of Jane's Defence Weekly: "To use a remote-controlled drone that engages and kills people, that is quite a threshold to cross. This is the beginning of robotic warfare....They were taken out Israeli-style." (London Times)
        See also CIA Missile Team Stalked al Qaeda Terrorist for Months (Telegraph - UK)
  • The Binational Option - Meron Benvenisti
    A growing number of articles and analyses by Palestinians and their supporters are warning that the "two states for two peoples" option is fading, and the goal of a Palestinian state should be exchanged for the establishment of a binational state - a plan that would mean full Israeli annexation of the territories. (Ha'aretz)
  • Work for Peace by Riding the Buses - Gerald M. Steinberg
    The images of peace campaigners getting on and off the buses in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and other places, and taking the same risks that Israelis take every day, will send a powerful message to the bombers and their supporters. By visibly riding the buses, international peace advocates can also contribute to saving lives. (International Herald Tribune)
  • Talking Points:

    The Case of the Missing Reform Movement - Barry Rubin (Jerusalem Post)

    • Yasser Arafat has killed off the Palestinian reform movement with the greatest of ease. The Palestinian legislature's much-touted refusal to approve his cabinet collapsed the moment he made tiny changes in its composition.
    • As much as they might grumble, the secondary leaders will not try to replace him no matter how many catastrophes he leads them into.
    • Activists in both Hamas and Fatah still believe in the prospect of victory over Israel through the systematic use of terrorism. They think that attacking its civilians will make Israel withdraw from the West Bank unilaterally or bring international intervention to hand them a state without any compromise on their part. The extent of Palestinian human or material losses is made to seem irrelevant to them. Steadfastness will bring victory,
    • Other Palestinian leaders, and the general public, dare not speak out because Arafat and the radicals still dominate their world view and set the permissible options. The PLO, Fatah, the media, the educational system, and other Palestinian institutions - all controlled by Arafat and his lieutenants - still overwhelmingly preach a hard line. From every direction Palestinians are told that Israel does not want peace and that the U.S. is their enemy.

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