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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December 4, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

Hizballah Calls for Global Attacks - Paul Martin (Washington Times)

    Lebanon-based Hizballah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah is urging a global suicide bombing campaign.
    Speaking at a rally in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley last week, he said, "Martyrdom operations - suicide bombings - should be exported outside Palestine....I encourage Palestinians to take suicide bombings worldwide. Don't be shy about it."

Americans Threatened in Egypt (Jordan Times/AP)

    Several incidents involving Americans in Egypt have occurred in the past week that reinforce the need for U.S. citizens to remain vigilant, said U.S. Embassy in Cairo spokesman Philip Frayne.
  On Saturday, Egyptian police fired shots at a pick-up truck that tried to cut into the entourage of U.S. Ambassador David Welch and later followed it into a gas station.
    Also on Saturday, according to a notice distributed by the U.S. embassy in Cairo, an embassy van was in a traffic accident with a vehicle that tried to cut it off. �The driver of the other vehicle and a friend began to hit the van with a baseball bat and rocks,� the notice said, adding that no one was injured.
    In another incident, graffiti artists painted swastikas and other symbols on cars belonging to American, Romanian, and Egyptian citizens in the Cairo suburb of Maadi - an area popular with Westerners.

Palestinian Middle Class Lines Up for Handouts - Arnon Regular (Ha'aretz)

    The gross national product per capita in the Palestinian Authority has dropped from $2,000 a year to around $700. According to the offices of the Israeli government coordinator in the territories, some 1.8 million Palestinians now rely on humanitarian handouts from international organizations for food and medicine.
    While a Red Cross program provides food coupons for the needy, the Palestinian Authority puts together the lists, which include low-ranking PA officials.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • U.S. Finds Palestinians in Violation, But Waives Sanctions
    For the first time, the White House has officially determined that the Palestinians are not in compliance with agreements signed with the United States and Israel. However, President Bush immediately waived any sanctions required by law, invoking national security as the reason. According to the State Department's semiannual report on Palestinian compliance, the Palestinians have not complied with the requirements to recognize the right of Israel to exist in peace and security, solve all disputes through negotiation and peaceful means, and renounce the use of violence.
        The 12-page State Department report found that "the PLO has not complied with its commitments to assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel to assure their compliance with the renunciation of the use of terrorism, prevent violations, and discipline violators." It also found that PA officials have supported violence "as a proper path towards an acceptable end to the conflict, even as they called for renewed negotiations." "There is strong evidence that some members of the PA security forces were allowed to continue serving even though their participation in terrorist incidents was well known," the report said.
        The Middle East Peace Commitments Act, included in the State Department Authorization Act that was signed this year, changed the process for assessing Palestinian compliance and made it harder for the administration to avoid a conclusive yes or no finding with regard to compliance. (JTA)
  • Egyptian Court Orders Retrial for Human Rights Activist
    Egypt's highest appeals court has ordered a retrial for Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a sociology professor, is an outspoken advocate of greater democracy and minority rights in Egypt. Ibrahim had been sentenced to 7 years in prison for illegally accepting funds from the European Union to monitor legislative elections, and defaming Egypt in an article he wrote about Muslim-Christian relations. President Bush protested the case. (VOA News)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Jordan's King is Cleaning Out the Stables - Zvi Bar'el
    The coronation of King Abdullah in 1999 came at time when Jordan was at the height of an economic crisis. "When the promises of investments, employment, and trade were not realized, the peace agreement began to play very well into the hands of its opponents, especially the members of the burgeoning Islamic bloc," says a former senior Jordanian official. "On the one hand, we have a peace agreement with Israel...and on the other, we have trade unions that take the law into their own hands. They have imposed a boycott on Israel, they have journalists that visit Israel removed from the Journalists Union, engineers that have ties with Israeli companies removed from the Engineers Union, and in this way, they systematically act not only against ties with Israel, but also completely against the interests of Jordan."
        "In absence of a parliament [It was dispersed about a year and a half ago] and freedom of the press, the unions are the alternative to political parties and the public views their political activities as a kind of substitute for a parliament," says a Jordanian commentator. (Ha'aretz)
  • PA Finance Minister Has No Money for Salaries - Lamia Lahoud
    Palestinian Authority Finance Minister Salaam Fayad announced Tuesday that the salaries of PA employees would not be paid for November due to lack of funds. Payment of October's salaries was only finalized on Monday. Fayad borrowed money for the last three months' salaries from private Palestinian banks, which are reluctant to continue giving loans to the PA. The PA spends around $55 million on salaries each month and Arab states have pledged the same amount. However, since October, only Saudi Arabia has paid its share, which comes to about $7.7 million a month. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • An Islamic Reformation - Thomas L. Friedman
    What's going on in Iran today is a combination of Martin Luther and Tiananmen Square - a drive for an Islamic reformation combined with a spontaneous student-led democracy movement. It reflects a deepening understanding by many Iranian Muslims that to thrive in the modern era they, and other Muslims, need an Islam different from the lifeless, anti-modern, anti-Western fundamentalism being imposed in Iran and propagated by the Saudi Wahhabi clerics. What's going on in Iran today is precisely the war of ideas within Islam that is the most important war of all. Only the disenchanted citizens of the Soviet bloc could kill Marx; only Muslims fed up that their faith is being dominated by anti-modernists can kill bin Ladenism and its offshoots. (New York Times)
  • If the Plane Had Been Hit - Ze'ev Schiff
    What would Israel have done if the Strela missiles fired by al Qaeda terrorists at the Arkia plane in Mombasa had hit their target? It's impossible to answer that question without first asking: What would the U.S., Britain, or France do if missiles hit their civilian passenger planes? Global cooperation must be expressed in international treaties, an effort to control the funding sources of the terrorists, their helpers and their movements, and through extraditions. Most important is rapid intelligence cooperation.
        Cooperation is also necessary in the development of security technologies. If international terror wants to destroy global tourism, it does not make sense for each country to invest separately in defense measures, when it is the defense of the international order that is at stake. (Ha'aretz)
  • Ein al-Hilweh: Lebanese Tinder Box - Jonathan Schanzer
    There have been 19 bombings in the Ein al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon since the end of September 2002, believed to be the work of Asbat al-Ansar (League of Partisans) - a predominantly Palestinian terrorist group based in the camp with established links to al Qaeda. Established in 1948 with an original population of 9,000, today an estimated 75,000 persons actually live there. Currently, Palestinian refugees are second-class citizens in Lebanon, which strictly limits employment and restricts travel. A 1990 Lebanese constitutional amendment stipulates that there is to be "no settlement of non-Lebanese in Lebanon." (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Talking Points:

    Unity of Vision at the Top - Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)

    • The discussions held this week at the Herzliya Conference on National Security highlighted the ideological unanimity that now exists between the prime minister, the defense minister, and the highest professional levels of the defense and intelligence establishments.
    • All agree that Israel must continue the war with the Palestinians until Yasser Arafat and his colleagues have been replaced by a new Palestinian leadership with which it is possible to discuss a diplomatic solution to the conflict.
    • They also all expect an American attack on Iraq to serve as an engine for far-reaching strategic changes that will weaken the Arabs and strengthen Israel.
    • IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon said that Israel's war aim must be a decisive victory in which the other side recognizes that it has no chance of achieving anything via terror. Until this occurs, he said, Israel must keep up its military pressure on the terrorist infrastructure, alongside "differential humanitarian" abatements to make life easier for the Palestinian civilian population, in order to encourage the process of second thoughts now taking place among the Palestinians.
    • Ya'alon said he opposed evacuating isolated settlements such as Netzarim in Gaza "under pressure from terror," viewing this as an expression of weakness that would strengthen the armed struggle against Israel. "We will pay many times over for an evacuation under pressure from terror, due to the tailwind such a move would give the Palestinian struggle," he said. [Amos Harel - Ha'aretz]

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