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 9, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Syria and Israel: The Quietest Border? (Yediot Ahronot)
    While the Israeli-Syrian border is thought to be the quietest of Israel's borders, lately there has been an escalation of incidents.
    April 25, 2002 - A hole in the fence separating Israel and Syria is found near Kibbutz Ramat Hamagshimim. Weapons found but terrorists never located.
    March 24, 2002 - Infiltration by four terrorists near Hamat Gader.
    April 15, 2001 - An Egyptian, claiming that he sought political asylum, crossed into the northern Golan near Kibbutz Marom Golan and was caught.
    November 11, 2000 - Palestinian terrorist infiltrates the southern Golan Heights; he is captured.

PLO Constituent Group, DFLP, Describes Palestinian West Bank/Gaza State as First Stage to Elimination of Israel (IDF)
    The leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), Naif Hawatma, stressed during an open chat on the website "Islam On-line" on Jan. 6, 2003, that the establishment of the an independent Palestinian state in the 1967 territories will prepare the grounds for a future "liberation of all historic Palestine."
    Hawatma described the Democratic Front as "a fundamental force in the [leadership] of the intifada" and one of five factions bearing the armed struggle: "Fatah, the Democratic [Front], Hamas, the Popular [Front], and the [Islamic] Jihad."

CIA: Libya, Syria Seek WMD - Maxim Kniazkov (Middle East Online)
    Libya, Syria, and possibly Sudan are quietly trying to acquire or expand secret arsenals of weapons of mass destruction, the CIA warned in a report submitted to Congress and made public Tuesday.
    According to the report, Tripoli tried to negotiate with Russia a deal to purchase a nuclear reactor and secure Moscow's assistance in developing the Tajura Nuclear Research Center.
    "Tripoli still appears to be working toward an offensive CW capability and eventually indigenous production," the report stated. "Evidence suggests that Libya also is seeking to acquire the capability to develop and produce BW (biological weapons) agents."
    Syria is suspected of trying to acquire precursor materials and know-how for a chemical weapons program. "Damascus already holds a stockpile of the nerve agent sarin, but apparently is trying to develop more toxic and persistent nerve agents," the CIA said.
    The agency believes it is "highly probable" that Syria is also developing biological weapons.
    See the full CIA Report.

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Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • After 30 Years: Battle between IDF and Syrian Soldiers
    An armed Syrian infiltrator opened fire on Israeli soldiers Wednesday near the Syrian border east of Kibbutz Meitzar in the southern Golan Heights. The Syrian was killed in an exchange of fire with the IDF. Israeli soldiers arrested a second Syrian infiltrator. An hour later, several Syrian soldiers stationed at an outpost opened fire on Israeli troops. (Guardian-UK/Ha'aretz/Maariv)
        The IDF later said the two infiltrators were Syrian soldiers, based on the interrogation of the one who was captured. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Oil Key in U.S. Strategy on Iraq - H. Josef Hebert
    Nearly 4 billion barrels of oil are in emergency stocks worldwide, including nearly 600 million barrels in a U.S. reserve. If withdrawn at 2 million barrels a day, the U.S. stocks could counter a disruption of 286 days, the administration told Congress this past summer. Other producers have up to 5.5 million barrels of excess capacity and have signaled they will increase production to replace lost Iraqi oil. (AP/San Francisco Examiner)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Sharon's Envoy Holds Talks in Cairo - Herb Keinon
    National Security Council head Ephraim Halevy met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher and veteran presidential adviser Osama el-Baz in Cairo on Wednesday. One diplomatic source said the visit is significant because Halevy was once head of the Mossad and has a close relationship to Sharon. "They send us Omar Suleiman," the official said, in reference to the Egyptian intelligence chief who has come to Jerusalem on several occasions over the last year as Mubarak's personal emissary, "and we send them Ephraim." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Dahlan Calls for Fatah Elections - Lamia Lahoud
    Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement is falling apart as different factions act on their own, former Gaza Preventive Security chief Muhammad Dahlan said Wednesday. To reorganize the movement and regain control of activists on the ground, Fatah must hold elections for a new leadership, he said. "There haven't been elections for over 12 years." Meanwhile, a senior Palestinian security officer in the West Bank said Islamic Jihad, which has money from Iran, has been financing Fatah cells in the northern West Bank. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Palestinian Dissension Confounds a "Martyr"
    Khalid Idris, 36, a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, sleeps in a different house each night to avoid the Israeli army patrols searching for him. (Baltimore Sun)
  • Israel Supreme Court: Let Arab MKs Run in Election - Moshe Reinfeld and Yair Ettinger
    A panel of 11 Supreme Court justices on Thursday overturned the Central Elections Committee's decisions to disqualify Arab MKs Ahmed Tibi, Azmi Bishara, and the Balad party from running in the January 28 election. The CEC had disqualified Balad and Bishara for rejecting Israel's character as a Jewish state, in violation of the Basic Law on the Knesset. The CEC also contended that in speeches delivered in Syria and Umm al-Fahm, Bishara supported armed resistance by terror groups. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Jackals Gather Round - William Safire
    Jackal-nations are circling, eager to subvert liberation and make off with the coming freedom of the Iraqi people. Some Iranian theocrats, observing American troop movements, want friends at the table when Saddam's power is divvied up. While providing a black-market conduit for Iraqi oil and a land passage for Hizballah weapons, Syria has been touting its cooperation with the U.S. in tracking other terrorists. The Saudis and Egyptians, sensing Saddam's demise, are devising Saddamism without Saddam. Jacques Chirac has suddenly taken to threatening Saddam with "war of unimaginable consequences" unless he disarms right away, and France will soon dispatch an aircraft carrier to the gulf. (New York Times)
  • Jihad's Fifth Column in the West - Serge Trifkovic
    In 30 years, the Moslem population of Great Britain rose from 82,000 to two million. In Germany there are four million Moslems, mostly Turks, and over five million across the Rhine in France, mostly North Africans. There are a million Moslems each in Italy and the Netherlands, and half-a-million in Spain. Almost a tenth of all babies born in EU countries are Moslem. (FrontPageMagazine)
        See also Islam's Immigrant Invasion of Europe - Serge Trifkovic (FrontPageMagazine)
  • Daniel Pipes Gets Blackballed - Stanley Kurtz
    Long before 9/11, Daniel Pipes was one of the very few Middle East experts to warn of the danger posed by Islamism. In scandalous violation of America's traditions of free speech and open debate, Pipes was recently disinvited from two important speaking engagements at American universities because of claims by his academic enemies that he practices "McCarthyism" on his Campus Watch website. Who are the real "McCarthyites"? The folks at Campus Watch, or the people who have blacklisted one of the most important voices in our national debate over the war on terror? (National Review)
  • To End the Palestinian Violence - Daniel Pipes
    The Palestinians average more than 10 attacks on Israelis every day. However, many signs point to a realization among Palestinians that adopting violence has been a monstrous mistake. What the Associated Press calls a "slowly swelling chorus of Palestinian leaders and opinion-makers" is expressing disillusion with the poverty, anarchy, detention, injury, and death brought by 27 months of violence. The sooner Palestinians realize how counterproductive their violence is, the sooner they will end it. (New York Post)
  • Talking Points:

    The UN Nurtures Terrorists and Lets Real Refugees Fend for Themselves - Claudia Rosett (Wall Street Journal)

    • The UN lavishes more than a quarter of a billion bucks a year on the Palestinians, darlings of every despot in the Middle East, while abandoning utterly a large group of refugees who are far hungrier, more dispossessed, and mortally in need of urgent help: the North Koreans.
    • It's a contrast all the more bizarre when one considers that many of the UN-supported Palestinians have turned their refugee camps into bomb factories, while the hundreds of thousands of North Korean refugees, almost all hiding in China and ignored by the UN, are not in the habit of blowing up anybody.
    • For the Palestinians, the UN provides an exclusive agency, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, or UNRWA, set up way back in 1950 solely to minister to their needs.
    • Over the decades, the number of Palestinians registered on the UNRWA dole has expanded from the original 750,000 to almost four million. UNRWA has become a vast entitlement program, with a network of headquarters in New York, Geneva, Cairo, Amman, and Gaza, and a staff of about 120 international workers and 22,000 Palestinians.
    • UNRWA's annual budget last year totaled more than $280 million, with about one-third of that donated by U.S. taxpayers. This goes to needy innocents. But it also goes to the folks who danced for joy on Sept. 11, were just seen once again burning the American flag and cheering for Saddam Hussein, and who in UNRWA-supported schools have glorified the practice of sending people rigged as human cluster bombs to blow Israelis to bits.
    • The business of UN refugee policy should be not with entitlements, but with emergencies. Scrap UNRWA, it's had its half century and then some. If the UN wants to run a special project devoted to the most vital and urgent refugee sufferings of the day, those with the true claim are the North Koreans now hiding or running for their lives inside China.

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