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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January 1, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Hamas Pursuing Chemical, Biological Terror - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)

    In an indictment submitted this week to the military court at the Erez Checkpoint, Walid al-Ara, 32, from Gaza, a member of Hamas's military wing, is accused of helping the organization gather information from the Internet for an attack with biological weapons.
    Ara is also charged with making bombs and with gathering information on how to do so off the Internet for other Hamas bomb-makers.
    Security sources say that over the last few months, more and more arrested Palestinians, mainly from Hamas, have admitted that their organization had sought to use nonconventional weapons.
    Plans to use biological weaponry have included a Hamas plan to poison the food in a Jerusalem restaurant, an Islamic Jihad plan to poison the water supply of a Jerusalem hospital, and a plan by al Qaeda operative Nabil Okhel to poison the entire country's water supply.

Bin Laden Sought Help Making Nuclear Bomb (AP/MSNBC)

    Osama bin Laden approached a leading Pakistani nuclear scientist before the Sept. 11 attacks for help in making nuclear weapons.
    The scientist, Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood, is under a gag order from Pakistani intelligence officials, but his conversations with bin Laden in meetings in 2000 and as late as July 2001 were reconstructed by his son.
    Azim Mahmood said, "Al Qaeda wanted a person who could train their people, and who could get them enriched material for their weapons."
    Computers found at a variety of facilities in Afghanistan indicated al Qaeda had sought to obtain and develop nuclear and other potent weapons.
    An AP reporter saw anthrax and other chemical concoctions at an al Qaeda laboratory outside Kabul.

Useful Reference:

Israel's Population Reaches 6.6 Million - Zeev Klein (Globes)

    Israel's population currently numbers 6.6 million, after growing by 127,000 in 2002, a 1.9% increase.
    Israel had 5.3 million Jews, constituting 80% of the population. Arabs numbered 1.3 million, about a fifth of the population.

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Yemen Slayings Suspect Linked to al Qaeda
    The man accused of killing three American missionaries at a Southern Baptist hospital in Yemen may have ties to al Qaeda, officials said as an FBI team joined the investigation. Dr. Martha Myers, 57, from Montgomery, Ala., and William Koehn, 60, of Arlington, Texas, were buried on the hospital grounds in accordance with their wills. Kathleen Gariety, 53, from Wauwatosa, Wis., also had asked to be buried in Yemen. "This is treachery of the highest form," student Ghaleb al-Maqaleh said outside the clinic. "Doctor Martha was like a mother to all us. Whoever committed this crime killed us all." (Washington Times)
  • Northern Iraq City Could be Key to U.S. Invasion
    Kirkuk may be one of the first stops for American troops in order to ensure that Saddam Hussein's forces don't destroy the oil wells. Arabs now dominate Kirkuk, largely because of a deliberate and decades-long campaign by the Iraqi leader to change the makeup of its population. Between 120,000 and 200,000 Kurds, as well as Turkomans and Assyrians, have been expelled from Kirkuk since 1991, according to U.N. officials and a recent Human Rights Watch report. Many are still waiting to reclaim their seized land, homes, and possessions turned over to Arabs during Hussein's rule and to bring Kirkuk back under Kurdish control. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Program Brings Together Women Whose Kids have Died in Violence
    The trauma of losing a loved one has become the common fate of hundreds of Israeli families during the past two years of violence. More than 40 mothers have taken part in women's healing retreats organized by the Koby Mandell Foundation, where they could share their experiences with others through talking, counseling, art, drama, and movement therapy. The Foundation, set up by Sherri and Seth Mandell, whose 13-year-old son, Koby, was murdered by Palestinian terrorists, seeks to turn "trauma, tragedy, and adversity into positive action." (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Egyptian Foreign Minister: Halting Intifada Not on Agenda of Cairo Talks
    Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Maher said Monday that halting the Palestinian intifada was not on the agenda of the meeting of the Palestinian factions in Cairo. Maher said the agenda tackles means of carrying on with the resistance to achieve the Palestinian goals, pointing out that the resistance should not be held captive to one style. (
  • Report: Sharon in Secret Negotiations with Palestinians - Noam Amit
    The Saudi newspaper Al-Wattan reported Tuesday on secret negotiations between Prime Minister Sharon and the Palestinians. According to sources in Washington, the contacts are being held with Abu Mazen with the approval of Arafat. According to the report, Sharon offered a Palestinian state on 53% of the West Bank, with extensive withdrawals in Gaza, in a process taking 10 years. Sharon representatives emphasized that Jerusalem was not a subject for negotiations.
        It was further reported that the Palestinians had agreed to a temporary state on 65% of the territory, with roads linking Palestinian areas. In addition, Abu Mazen proposes to have the Arab neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem be transferred to joint PA-Jordanian rule - including the Temple Mount. (Maariv)
  • Chief of Staff: Arafat Does Not Want a Cease-fire - Smadar Shmueli
    IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday: "Arafat sent his representatives to the Cairo talks without a mandate." "In my opinion, Arafat is not interested in a general cease-fire. He assumes that the Israeli side will break, and he is prepared for only temporary and local cease-fires."
        The chief of staff also said the international organizations that supervise the transfer of funds from Israel to the PA are not preventing the leakage of funds to support terror. (Yediot Ahronot)
        See also Palestinian Seeks Reform by Following the Money (New York Times)
  • Report: Israel-Iran Trade Via Jordan
    The Jordanian Ministry of Trade and Industry has denied that Jordan is facilitating trade between Israel and Iran. Israeli news reports claimed the Jewish state is receiving many Iranian businessmen and merchants through the Kingdom, suggesting that many Jordanian investors have promised to facilitate trade between Iran and Israel. The reports said Israeli exports to Iran include medical products and hi-tech components, while Iranian exports to Israel comprise of agricultural products and industrial inputs. Jordanian sources said the government can't bar such private trade ties, "since these ties don't harm Jordan's interests." (Star-Jordan)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Daughter of an Arab Warrior Tells Her Tale - Nonie Darwish
    I remember going to a Palestinian preschool and kindergarten and the word "Jew" instilled terror and dread into the core of my very being. A Jewish person was portrayed like less than human, a dog, an evil alien from outer space who was about to destroy the world. The main mission of Islam was to get rid of Jews. Arabic poetry was recited daily, with tears in Palestinian children's eyes, on how Palestine was taken from them and how they will retaliate and even die to get it back.
        I wish Islam would show some grace and accept the Jewish people and the state of Israel. The Jewish people enrich the Middle East culture and tie us to the historical origin of the region. I sometimes daydream of a day in which the Moslems welcome and celebrate the Jewish existence in the Middle East and realize that the Jewish religion is not a threat to them and that it is the origin of both Christianity and Islam.
        A message to all Middle East women: it is in your hands to change your society. Stop being submissive in giving up your husbands and sons to martyrdom. Value their lives so they might value theirs and maybe they will respect you more. [Ms. Darwish is an American of Arab/Moslem origin.] (FrontPageMagazine)
  • Kill Them Before They Can Kill Us - Jeff Johnson
    Dr. David Kay, a counter-terrorism expert and former chief UN weapons inspector in Iraq, sees 2002 as "the tipping point when the metaphor for dealing with terrorism changed from 'terrorism is a crime' and the appropriate institutions for dealing with it are the police, law enforcement, and the judiciary, to 'terrorism is war,' and the appropriate tools for dealing with terrorism as war are completely different."
        Paul Bremer, former head of the counterterrorism office of the State Department and chairman of the National Commission on Terrorism, said the U.S. must fundamentally change its primary response to terrorist threats. "This war cannot be won on the defensive," Bremer said. "No matter how good we make our homeland security, there is virtually no way we can defend all of the targets that terrorists can come after." "Wait and respond is no longer acceptable," Bremer explained. "We have to move from 'wait and respond' to 'detect and destroy'....We have to go on the offensive and kill the terrorists before they come here and kill us." (CNS News)
  • Talking Points:

    Desperation Does Not Fuel Terrorism - Extreme Racist, Fanatical Leaders Do - Ephraim Ben-Matityahu (Sydney Morning Herald)

    • The Palestinian terrorists and their organizations are against the very existence of Israel, within any boundaries or concept. This is their strategic goal. It is about Arab Palestine, not the Palestinian people.
    • The campaign of suicide attacks in the Middle East has little to do with "personal grievance, desperation, or humiliations." If such personal grievances over socio-economic or political issues were the cause of such actions, we should have seen many other groups committing similar actions.
    • Martyrdom is not a political concept but a religious ideal. "Homicide bombing" is the product of religious racist fanaticism. It is a result of manipulation, brainwashing, and indoctrination through many years of distorted education. These killers go on their mission with the blessing that God loves what they do, and their society glorifies their indiscriminate murder as martyrdom.
        Ephraim Ben-Matityahu is completing his tour of duty as consul-general of Israel in Sydney, Australia.

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