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 13, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Kibbutz Killer May be Cousin of Robert Kennedy Assassin - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)

    The gunman who killed five people at Kibbutz Metzer this week may have been Sirhan Sirhan, a distant cousin of the man who assassinated U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Robert Kennedy in 1968, security sources in Israel and Palestinian sources said Tuesday.

Fears for Future of Bethlehem's Christians - Stephen Farrell (London Times)

    According to Father Amjad Sabbara, the Franciscan pastor of Bethlehem, the exodus of Christians leaving the Holy Land has accelerated in the past 24 months. "It is the middle classes, the intelligentsia, who are leaving because those are the families who have money and can afford visas," he sighed. "They won't come back."
    The prospect of losing more of an already dwindling Christian community - just 2 percent of the general population, with the proportion having fallen to 13 percent even in Bethlehem - has made the Vatican anxious about the future of Christianity's holiest shrines.
    Samir Hazboun, head of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce, said "I myself have sent my three daughters to Prague. If the situation continues, I will not allow them to come back."

Phone Cable between Israel, Italy Raises Arab Concerns (Arabic

    Italy and Israel have agreed to install a sea cable for international telecommunications to link the two countries and the southern Mediterranean states. The BBC reported that Arab states may object to having their telephone contacts with Italy go through a center stationed in Haifa.

Toymaker Hasbro in Thin Battery Deal with Israeli Company (CNN/Reuters)

    Israel's Power-Paper, a maker of thin and flexible batteries, said Tuesday it has entered into an agreement with toymaker Hasbro Inc., which will use the technology in future toys and games by 2003.
    The micro-power source technology enables product designers to design the power source around the product rather than the product around the battery.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Israeli Tanks Move Into Nablus
    Israeli tanks backed by helicopter gunships swept into the West Bank city of Nablus Wednesday in a stepped-up military response to a Palestinian attack that killed five Israelis on a kibbutz. Israel had vowed retaliation for Sunday's shooting at nearby Kibbutz Metzer, where the dead included a mother and her two young sons killed as they cowered under their blankets. The army said troops had so far arrested 30 wanted militants. (Washington Post/Reuters)
  • West in Mortal Danger from Islam, Says Putin
    Islamic radicals are pursuing the systematic annihilation of non-Muslims, President Vladimir Putin told a European Union summit in Brussels Monday. The Russian leader said that western civilization faced a mortal threat from Muslim terrorists, and claimed that they had plans to create a "worldwide caliphate." Putin said the world no longer faced isolated acts of terrorism but a "concerted effort and program" by a global network bent on slaughter, perhaps with nuclear weapons. He said the West should face up to the reality that Chechen terrorists were religious extremists in league with al Qaeda. (Telegraph - UK)
  • Latest American Airstrikes Pave Way for Invasion
    American jets launched air raids on Sunday on a key Iraqi airbase base that forms part of a network of Iraqi air defense facilities safeguarding the approaches to Baghdad. Every no-fly zone airstrike, in response to Iraqi groundfire, helps to prepare the way for an invasion, particularly in the south and west. The clear objective of U.S Central Command is to disrupt Saddam's integrated air defense network and to undermine the command-and-control set-up between bases in the south and Baghdad. (London Times)
  • Harvard Cancels Poet Appearance
    After student complaints, Harvard University said Tuesday it had canceled a reading by Irish poet Tom Paulin. In April, Paulin was quoted in the Egyptian Al-Ahram Weekly, saying American Jewish settlers should be "shot dead." "I think they are Nazis, racists, I feel nothing but hatred for them." In his poem "Killed in the Crossfire," he writes of "another little Palestinian boy in trainers jeans and a white teeshirt" killed by the "Zionist SS." Paulin is teaching this semester at Columbia University. (San Francisco Chronicle/AP)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • U.S. Agrees to Put "Road Map" on Hold Until After Elections - Aluf Benn
    The U.S. has agreed to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's request to freeze its "road map" for a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict until after the elections and the formation of a new government in Israel, informed sources in Jerusalem said Tuesday. An understanding on the issue was reached Monday in Washington during a meeting between head of the Prime Minister's Bureau, Dov Weisglass, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.
        An updated version of the road map presented by American envoy David Satterfield in Jerusalem is far more detailed than the original draft. The Americans decided to tighten up security demands on the Palestinians and calls for Israel to freeze settlement activity, rejecting Israel's position that a freeze on building should not include building to meet "natural growth." (Ha'aretz)
  • Inside the Tulkarm Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades - Amira Hass
    K, a former Popular Front activist, described the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades as "semi-illiterate children pushed into playing at being heroes and fighters and leaders." About two dozen members of the Tulkarm group live in underground-like conditions. After the Palestinian Authority was formed, no attempt was ever made to compensate the children of the first intifada for all the lost years of study. Instead, they were recruited, especially the Fatah supporters among them, into the various security apparatuses. Six of the founders and leaders of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Tulkarm (out of 12) have been killed so far.
        The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Tulkarm have killed 15 people suspected of collaborating with Israel. On April 1, 2002, a short time before the IDF took control of the city, they killed a group of Palestinians in broad daylight including Imad Al-Hamshari, 23, a father of six. His older brother, Dr. Muhammad Al-Hamshari, despises the killers. "They are the real collaborators. Within five minutes they killed eight people with Kalashnikov rifles. They are criminals." (Ha'aretz)
        See also Fatah's Failure - Amira Hass
    As opposed to the centralized decision-making processes in Hamas and Islamic Jihad, in Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement any three youngsters can join together, decide they are a military cell, and conduct this or that "operation," sometimes "responding" to a call by their leaders not to go over the "green line," and sometimes going over the line. (Ha'aretz)
  • Gaza Residents Victims of Own Mortars
    Palestinian residents of Al Barka and areas close to the community of Kfar Darom have called on the Nationalist and Islamic forces to stop firing, and especially from firing mortar bombs, from areas close to inhabited houses. Firing from densely populated areas just brings damage and destruction to the residents and their property.
        The residents presented their case during a meeting at the offices of the Nationalist forces in Dir El Balach in which a number of Islamic armed faction members participated. The residents stated that most of the mortar bombs fired actually fell short of their targets, landing instead on Palestinian buildings and land, posing a danger to the lives and security of the residents. (Al-Hayat Al Jadida - PA/IMRA)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Arab Analysts: Only a Miracle Can Save Iraq
    Barring a miracle, a U.S.-led war on Iraq looks inevitable, even if Baghdad agrees to the drastic disarmament terms set out by the UN Security Council, Arab analysts said Tuesday. Resolution 1441 is "a statement of war as well as a death sentence," said Abdul Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper. Mohammed Al Mesfer, political science professor at Qatar University, said, "The resolution has virtually given Washington a free hand to occupy Iraq." Mohammed Said Idriss, from the strategic studies center of Cairo daily Al Ahram, said that the "only way out for Saddam Hussein is to be in the pay of America, to establish relations with Israel, and to agree to Iraq becoming a substitute homeland for the other words, a miracle." (Jordan Times/AFP)
  • Egyptian TV Fuels Hate - Editorial
    Egyptian state television has begun a 41-part series called "Horseman Without a Horse," based on vicious lies about the birth of the Zionist movement. The show serves as a madrasa, or religious school, in fanaticism for the masses. Egypt, which receives nearly $2 billion a year in aid from the U.S., regularly prints and broadcasts explicitly anti-Semitic material. In questioning Israel's right to exist, the series flouts the spirit of the 1978 Camp David accords that established peace between Israel and Egypt. Egypt can only be perceived in this instance as actively promoting ignorance and hatred. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Deadline for Hussein - Dennis Ross
    The hard part begins now. As the president has said, there have been 16 Security Council resolutions against Iraq, and Saddam Hussein has not disarmed. The moment of truth will come on Dec. 8, when Iraq must provide a full accounting of all its WMD sites, programs, capabilities, developments, and personnel. If disarmament is the objective, the only possibility of achieving it without war will depend on Hussein's understanding that anything less than full disclosure is, in fact, the trigger for war. (Washington Post)
  • Talking Points:

    Understanding the Breakdown of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations - Lt. Col. Jonathan D.H. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    The author is an IDF intelligence officer. This Jerusalem Viewpoints is based on his analysis that first appeared in Maarakhot, the IDF magazine for military affairs (in Hebrew), and received the IDF Chief of Staff's prize for military affairs writing.

    • In the view of the PA (and of Fatah and the PLO as well), the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a political confrontation between Palestinian and Israeli entities over a specific parcel of territory, but a struggle between two civilizations which oppose each other in their basic worldviews and national aspirations. Israelis are viewed as "invaders" into a land that does not belong to them, where they have established an entity which is an alien implant within Arab and Muslim living space, and which serves as a bridgehead for "imperialism" and for Western civilization. The struggle, then, is an existential one between the Zionist enterprise and the Palestinian national enterprise.
    • The source of legitimacy for the Oslo process is the decisions of the 12th meeting of the PNC (i.e., the "Doctrine of Stages"), which accepted a gradual liberation process but without surrendering the "armed struggle" and without conceding one inch of Palestine.
    • The (expected) establishment of an independent and fully sovereign Palestinian state in the 1967 territories is perceived as a bridgehead connecting the Palestinian diaspora to Palestine and deepening ties with the "Palestinian hinterland" within Israel (and within the Kingdom of Jordan, too).
    • Four steps to eradicate Zionism: 1) Unite the national and Islamic forces; 2) The demographic time bomb; 3) Alliance with Israeli Palestinians; 4) Support from the Arab world.
    • A Palestinian state will never be perceived as the ultimate fulfillment of Palestinian national aspirations. Perceiving political compromise as proof of a historic retreat of Zionism before the Palestinian national movement, and proof that the balance of power is changing in their favor, with a state the Palestinians will be in a better position to continue the struggle.
    • The return of refugees to the State of Palestine, which will become feasible as soon as the Palestinians assume control of their border crossing points, will entail the absorption of thousands of Palestinian warriors from Fatah, Hamas, and other armed Palestinian militias in Lebanon. This additional manpower will significantly increase the order of battle within Palestinian territory.
    • The ongoing educational campaign within the PA that emphasizes the values of the "struggle to the finish" against Zionism and the liberation of "all of Palestine" has created a compulsory legacy that delegitimizes any Palestinian initiative to seek a "historic compromise" involving two separate states in Palestine.

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