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 21, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Fatah's Strength Said Declining - Matthew Gutman (Jerusalem Post)

    Corruption and nepotism within the ranks of Fatah is rapidly eroding its popularity, especially among Palestinian youth, Husam Khader, the Fatah officer in the Balata refugee camp, said Wednesday.
    "We have seen hundreds of Fatah elements marching towards Islamic Jihad and the other religious parties in Nablus. With time, most will flock there, or to the other military groups," he said.
    Khader said the young desire an opportunity to fight, but only the rejectionist groups are providing them with that outlet.
    According to recent polls conducted by Khalil Shikaki's Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, support for Fatah has dropped to 26% from 37% before the intifada, while Hamas' popularity rose by 11% to 27%.

Japan Weighs Gulf Area Evacuation (Yomiuri Shimbun)

    The Japanese government has begun preparations to secure transportation and evacuation routes for Japanese residents in Iraq and surrounding countries in case the U.S. attacks Iraq, government sources said.
    Five Japanese are living in Iraq, 740 are living in the eastern coastal area of Saudi Arabia, 590 in Israel, 206 in Kuwait, 162 in Bahrain, and 105 in Qatar.
    During the 1990 Gulf War, more than 500 Japanese were detained by Iraq to be used as human shields.

Iraq's Crazy Uncle (Weekly Standard)

    "Uncle Saddam," a documentary by French filmmaker Joel Soler, will air on Cinemax on November 26 at 7:00 p.m.
    Saddam, it turns out, is a gold-plated weirdo of the Howard Hughesian stripe. "Uncle Saddam" turns out to be a fairly important document, chronicling how dismal and dangerous it is when an entire nation becomes an extension of one man's twisted psyche.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Palestinian Bomber Murders 11, Injures 50 on Jerusalem Bus
    A Palestinian homicide bomber killed 11 people and injured 50 aboard a crowded Israeli commuter bus in Jerusalem on Thursday morning. Many school children were on the bus, officials said. Children's sandwiches and schoolbooks lay scattered in the street.
        The bomber came from Bethlehem, just south of Jerusalem. IDF troops had withdrawn from the town on August 19, as part of an attempt by former Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer to put in place a gradual truce, in exchange for a PA commitment to track down militants. Palestinian sources said that IDF tanks had reentered the city Thursday after the bombing. (CNN/Ha'aretz)
  • Saudis Arrest 100 al Qaeda Sympathizers
    Saudi Arabian Interior Minister "Prince Nayef unveiled the arrest of more than 100 Saudis who returned from Afghanistan on suspicion of having links to the al Qaeda organization," the al-Eqtisadiah newspaper reported Wednesday. "The number of those questioned on this issue was around 700 Saudis," the prince added. (Guardian - UK)
        See also Saudis Clash with al Qaeda Partisans
    8 Saudi security men were wounded on Saturday in Riyadh in clashes with persons suspected to be supporters for Osama Bin Laden, according to Saudi opposition sources and an eyewitness. (
  • Congress Approves Funding for U.S.-Israeli Strategic Programs
    Congress last week passed a defense spending bill that includes more than $400 million in funding for joint U.S.-Israeli strategic programs. The Arrow Missile Defense program received $55 million above the administration´┐Żs request for a total of $120 million, while the Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser, which is designed to shoot down incoming missiles, received $23.5 million. The Litening II Targeting Pod, which enables aircraft to fly and target in bad weather and at night, received $60 million, while an additional $18.6 million was allocated for the Pioneer and Hunter Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, which target and assess bomb damage without putting pilots at risk. (AIPAC)
  • Syrian Kurds Seek Recognition - Tish Durkin
    An estimated quarter-million Kurds live in Syria. They carry the identity card of a foreigner, or ajanib, even though born in Syria. Ajanibi cannot own property or vote, nor will their marriage or children be recognized by the state. "The U.S. Congress has devoted millions of dollars to the development of democracy in the Middle East," said Abdulbaki Yusef, secretary of the Kurdish Unity Party. "The Kurds are one of the main forces for democracy in Syria, so why not help them?" (National Journal)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • FBI Seeks Israeli Help in Prosecuting Islamic Jihad in U.S.
    An FBI team was in Israel this week seeking Israeli law enforcement help for the prosecution of suspected Islamic Jihad supporters in the U.S. The discussions focused on how charity groups raising money in America are funneling the funds to terrorist groups in the territories. The FBI hopes to submit a number of indictments in the coming weeks, in part based on intelligence information provided by Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel to Build Patrol Vessels for 2004 Olympic Security
    An Israeli shipyard will build patrol vessels for security during the 2004 Olympics, the Greek Defense Ministry said Wednesday. Two type SAAR 4 fast-attack missile craft will be built by Israel Shipyards Ltd. under the $79.4 million deal. (Jerusalem Post/AP)
  • 70 U.S. Medical Professors Coming to Protest Divestment
    Some 70 prominent U.S. professors of medicine - 12 from Harvard University Medical School alone - will hold an international medical conference in Jerusalem next week to protest the divestment campaign and other anti-Israel activities on American campuses. The U.S.-Israel Solidarity Medical Conference is sponsored jointly by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston and the Hadassah Women's Zionist Organization. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Life of a Liberal Muslim - Franklin Foer
    Shortly after September 11, 2001, Khaled Abou El Fadl, a professor of Islamic jurisprudence at UCLA, began to receive death threats from fellow Muslim Americans accusing him of selling out the faith after he published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times charging that the "rampant apologetics" of Muslim thinkers had "produced a culture that eschews self-critical and introspective insight and embraces projection of blame and a fantasy-like level of confidence and arrogance." He called the police after he noticed a van that repeatedly lingered outside his relatively isolated home, and after the windows of his car were smashed in a crowded parking lot but nothing was stolen.
        "Naively, I had assumed that the freedoms afforded in the United States...would allow for a Muslim intellectual rebirth," he wrote. But, instead of tolerance, Abou El Fadl found a community that wasn't significantly more open than the one he'd left behind in Egypt, with rigid conformity to Wahhabi-like practices. (New Republic)
  • Driving While Female - Maureen Dowd
    Saudi Arabia is a suffocating, strict, monochromatic world of white-robed men and black-robed women. On Nov. 6, 1990, inspired by the presence of American troops - including female soldiers - 47 women from the Saudi intelligentsia went for a joy ride in a convoy to protest Saudi Arabia's being the only place where women can't drive. The clerics blamed "secular Americanist" ideas and the women were publicly harassed, received death threats, and lost their jobs. (New York Times)
  • Talking Points:

    Telling It Like It Is - Max Singer (National Review)

    Telling the truth to Arab governments is the best way for the U.S. to pursue peace, and it also meets the needs of the current U.S. fight against militant Islam. The U.S. should say clearly:

    • Israel is a legitimate state based on law and justice. The Jewish people have ancient roots in Palestine. The League of Nations established the international authority for a Jewish homeland in Palestine - and its decision was formally endorsed by the U.S. and never superseded by the UN.
    • UN Security Council Resolution 242 does not require that Israel relinquish all territory acquired in 1967. Israel is not occupying Palestinian land. It is occupying disputed territory to which it has a substantial claim and which was never under Palestinian sovereignty, while trying in good faith to negotiate about the disposition of that land as required by Resolution 242.
    • Israeli neighborhoods and settlements in Jerusalem and the disputed territories are not illegal.
    • Palestinian refugees do not have a "right of return." The Arab interpretation of UN General Assembly Resolution 194 is incorrect. They must be resettled like all other refugees in the world.
    • Jerusalem as a city is central to Israel and to Judaism. The claims and interests of Palestinians and Israel in Jerusalem are profoundly asymmetric.
    • The deliberate killings of innocent Israelis is terrorism. The Palestinian/Arab definition that anything done to "resist occupation" is not terrorism undercuts the fight against international terrorism.
    • The only hope for peace is to compel the Arab world to give up its illegitimate weapons: terrorism and the denial of resettlement to Palestinian refugees.

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