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 22, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

U.S. Considers Citing Saudi Arabia for Intolerance - Peter Slevin (Washington Post)

    The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a government agency, has recommended that Secretary of State Powell name Saudi Arabia a "country of particular concern," opening the possibility of diplomatic or economic sanctions.
    Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) contends the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act requires the move.
    State Department officials say that Saudi Arabia's poor record might merit designation under the law, but they question the effectiveness of escalating the public criticism of Riyadh.

PA Soccer Tournament Named After Passover Homicide Bomber - Itamar Marcus (Palestinian Media Watch/IMRA)

    A Palestinian soccer tournament has been named after the homicide bomber who attacked a Netanya hotel last Passover eve, the official Palestinian Authority daily Al Hayat Al Jadida reports.
    "In Tulkarm's Abd Al Majid Tia School soccer field, under the auspices of Jamal Tarif, director of education; Sport Supervisor Jamal Odeh; and in the presence of school principal Jamal Ayat; the head of the Sports committee, and committee members; the Tulkarm Shahids [Martyrs] Memorial soccer championship tournament of the Shahid Abd Al-Baset Odeh (the suicide bomber who attacked a Netanya hotel last Passover eve), began with the participation of seven top teams, named after Shahids who gave their lives to redeem the Homeland."
    "Isam, the brother of the Shahid [of the Passover eve massacre], will distribute the trophies."

Useful Reference:

The NGO Monitor

    The NGO Monitor analyzes the reports and advocacy activities of human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in relation to the complex humanitarian issues of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
    The current issue looks at the Israeli branch of Physicians for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, and the Nazareth-based Human Rights Association.
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Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Blair Sees Iraq Weakening as France Resists Early War
    Speaking a day after Britain announced it was putting more than a quarter of its 109,000-member army in position for combat with Iraq, Prime Minister Tony Blair told senior members of Parliament Tuesday that a "massive amount" of new intelligence suggested that the escalation of armed forces in the Persian Gulf is shaking Saddam Hussein and undermining his rule over Iraq. France said it would press the European Union to oppose any hasty decision to fight and Germany already has said it would oppose a war, while Italy and Spain have tacitly approved Britain's position. (New York Times)
        See also The UN Endgame - Editorial
    President Bush signaled Tuesday that if pressed he will choose to act with a "coalition of the willing" rather than be blocked by the council's failure of nerve. That was the right message to send. It would be best if that coalition could act with full Security Council support; but it can, if necessary, succeed without it. (Washington Post)
  • 2 Arab Nations Deny Reports of Plans to Oust Iraqi Leader
    The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, meeting in Cairo, denied reports Tuesday that they were seeking a safe exile haven for President Saddam Hussein of Iraq in order to avert war. But they seemed to leave the door open to a possible military coup. Prince Saud al-Faisal and the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Maher, were at pains to insist that Iraq's future was in the hands of "the Iraqi people." "Both Saudi Arabia and Egypt agree that changing any political leadership should come from inside the country and not from outside," said Prince al-Faisal. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Hizballah Shells IDF Posts on Northern Border - Uri Ash
    Hizballah shelled IDF positions in the Har Dov area of Israel's northern border Tuesday for the first time in over four months, firing anti-tank rockets and mortar shells. The IDF returned fire. No soldiers were injured, but one outpost suffered minor damage. The IDF Northern Command had received intelligence warnings this week that Hizballah was planning an attack, so all forces in the area had been placed on high alert. On the same day, U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa of California, who has Lebanese origins, met with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud in Beirut as part of a fresh American effort to negotiate a prisoner swap between Israel and Lebanon. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Public Display of Attrition - Uri Ash
    In the reality of the Har Dov region since Hizballah kidnapped three Israeli soldiers there in October 2000, the next attack is always just a matter of time. (Ha'aretz)
  • Mega-Attack Foiled Near Green Line - Jalal Bana and Arnon Regular
    After Border Patrolmen on alert near Umm al Fahm spotted a suspicious car trying to cross the Green Line, its four occupants fled. The car was carrying as much as a half-ton of explosives, as well as cooking gas canisters connected to a detonator, said the police. (Ha'aretz)
  • Kassam Rocket Explodes in the Living Room of Israeli House in Gaza
    On Tuesday night, a Kassam rocket was fired at a Jewish town in the northern Gaza strip and landed inside a house, exploding in the living room and causing serious damage. The children were asleep in the room adjacent to the living room, and the mother was in the kitchen at the time of the explosion, and no one was injured. A second rocket was fired at a Jewish town in the central Gaza strip and exploded near some houses, without causing injuries or damage. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Razes Illegal Structures to Make Way for Fence
    The army Tuesday demolished illegal structures and market stalls at the Palestinian village of Nazlat Issa, in the seam area beside the Green Line east of Baka al Sharkia, where the separation fence is due to pass. Israeli officials informed the owners, who had a chance to remove the inventory before the demolition, said IDF spokesperson Talia Somech. (Ha'aretz)
        Israel says that suicide bombers have frequently crossed the West Bank boundary in that area to strike against Israelis in the north and center of the country. (New York Times)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Gaza Has Been Indirectly Reoccupied - Ze'ev Schiff
    The Gaza Strip has gradually been reoccupied in an indirect manner by the IDF, through control over the transportation routes and open spaces. Large concentrations of the Palestinian population have turned into islands cut off from one another. During the past year, 10 or 11 people crossed the security fence surrounding the Strip for criminal purposes or to seek work in Israel. Two crossed for terrorist purposes, but without munitions. There were 41 people killed trying to cross it. The planners of the fence in the seam area in the West Bank should keep in mind, first, that a fence is not enough, and second, that operational security activity must take place on both sides of the fence, and not only on the Israeli side. (Ha'aretz)
  • Thinking About Iraq (I) - Thomas L. Friedman
    Regime change in Iraq is not some distraction from the war on al Qaeda. And simply because oil is also at stake in Iraq doesn't make it illegitimate either. Some things are right to do, even if Big Oil benefits. Regime transformation in Iraq could make a valuable contribution to the war on terrorism. If we don't help transform these Arab states, we will never begin to see the political, educational, and religious reformations they need to shrink their output of undeterrables - the boys who did 9/11, who hate us more than they love life. It's these human missiles of mass destruction that could really destroy our open society. Liberating the captive peoples of the Mideast is a virtue in itself because in today's globalized world, if you don't visit a bad neighborhood, it will visit you. (New York Times)
  • Interview with Aaron Miller - Nathan Guttman
    When Aaron Miller is asked what was the low point in the 15 years he was actively engaged in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the U.S. State Department, he answers: "Pick any day in the last two years." Miller resigned from the State Department last week and in these last two years watched everything he had worked for falling apart.
        "I do not believe that in this environment there can be any connection between the use of terror or any violence on the ground to create a more productive environment for negotiations," says Miller. He didn't always feel this way. With his colleagues on the American "peace team," he believed at certain times in the past two years of the intifada that when the situation would become awful enough, the two sides would realize they had gone too far and must stop. "That was an illusion," he said. "Why would we Americans want to help to bring into the world a Palestinian state that is linked with terrorism?" (Ha'aretz)
  • Talking Points:

    Exploitation of Palestinian Children Prohibited by International Law
    - Moshe Fox (Embassy of Israel Briefing, Washington, D.C., January 21, 2003)

    • The exploitation of children by Palestinian terrorist organizations for the purposes of executing terrorist attacks and suicide bombings is prohibited by international law, as it poses a threat to their well-being and safety.
    • Terrorist organizations exploit the innocent appearance of children who do not arouse suspicion and can easily blend in among the crowds. The terrorist organizations view children and youth as convenient recruits for suicide bombing missions, since they are easily influenced.
    • Through brainwashing and religious indoctrination, children are persuaded that if they carry out terrorist attacks, they will be granted paradise in the hereafter.
    • On June 27, 2002, Palestinian Television broadcast an interview with Dr. Fatal Abu Hin, a lecturer in psychology, during the film "Child Martyrs and Lovers of their Homeland," who spoke about the growing involvement of children in violent incidents. Abu Hin said the Palestinian child understands that through martyrdom, he can win honor and respect.
    • Abu Hin presented a survey by the Islamic University in Gaza, in April 2001, of 1,000 youngsters aged 9-16. 45% had taken an active role in the violence, and 73% stated they wanted to become martyrs.
    • Palestinian media, educational institutions, and summer camps are all involved in inciting and indoctrinating Palestinian children with extreme Islamic ideas, planting the seeds of hatred toward Israel and calling for support and encouragement of Jihad.
    • Palestinian children dress up as martyrs with their parents' encouragement, participating in processions wearing replicas of explosive belts and inscriptions declaring that they are martyrs.

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