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 24, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Defectors Bolster U.S. Case Against Iraq - Judith Miller (New York Times)

    Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said Thursday, "Today, we know from multiple sources that Saddam has ordered that any scientist who cooperates during interviews will be killed, as well as their families."
    "Furthermore, we know that scientists are being tutored on what to say to the UN inspectors and that Iraqi intelligence officers are posing as scientists to be interviewed by the inspectors," Wolfowitz said.

"Where are the 29,984" Warheads? - Jan Cienski (National Post-Canada)

    Richard Armitage, Mr. Powell's deputy, speaking at Washington's U.S. Institute for Peace, ticked off the discrepancies in Iraq's declaration to the United Nations.
    Last week, UN inspectors in Iraq found 16 empty rocket warheads designed to carry chemical warfare agents. "Where are the other 29,984? Because that's how many empty chemical warheads the UN Special Commission estimated he had, and he's never accounted for," Mr. Armitage said.
    Iraq has also failed to account for 550 artillery shells filled with mustard gas, as well as thousands of litres of VX, sarin and anthrax.

"Shoe Bomber" Reid Pinpointed Bombing Targets in Israel - Richard A. Serrano (Los Angeles Times)

    In the summer before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, "shoe bomber" Richard Reid traveled extensively in the Middle East scouting potential bombing targets for Afghan terrorists, according to government documents obtained Wednesday.
    The FBI said it recovered Reid's report in late 2001 from a computer in Afghanistan.
    Reid tested the security of Israel's El Al airlines at Amsterdam airport. Flying to Tel Aviv, he closely watched the activity of the pilots, deciding that the landing approach seemed a good time to breach the cockpit.
    For days he roamed Tel Aviv, riding buses and checking train stations. He photographed churches and tall buildings, and noted when certain streets and other public places were most filled with people, the FBI said.

Arafat Knew Charity Money Went to Terror Infrastructure - (IDF)

    Documents seized from Gaza deal with reports sent to Yasser Arafat concerning the activities of the Charity Coalition - the umbrella organization of Islamic charity funds which solicits contributions from Arab countries and the West, then transfers them to charity associations in the West Bank, most of which are identified with the Hamas terror organization.
    These funds maintain Hamas' civilian infrastructure among the Palestinian populace, helping to expand Hamas' circle of supporters in the West Bank, providing for ever widening brainwashing and encouragement for the terrorist organization's activities.
    Money earmarked for humanitarian purposes also flows into Hamas' military-operation infrastructure and serves to underwrite terror activities.
    One document mentioned charity associations from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Great Britain, and the Netherlands that are complicitous with the Charity Coalition.

Terrorist, Disguised as a Woman, Hid Among Civilians (see photos) (IDF)

    A terrorist from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade opened fire Thursday toward the Israeli community of Dugit in the northern Gaza Strip, from a nearby neighborhood.
    The commander of the ground force, Lt. Col. Yossi, said, "The tank at the IDF security post identified the terrorist but did not open defensive fire since the area was populated by civilians and we did not want to harm innocent lives."
    IDF Givati soldiers proceeded to isolate and secure the area, while calling on the residents to come out. "We began checking the people, who strenuously claimed that there was no terrorist in their houses," said Lt. Col. Yossi.
    During the ensuing searches, IDF soldiers identified the male terrorist, disguised as a traditional Beduin woman. The terrorist admitted he had opened fire toward the community.

Israeli MK Airdrops Pamphlets over Arab Towns on PA Corruption (AFP/Jordan Times)

    MK Eliezer Cohen flew a Cessna four-seater over Arab towns in northern Israel on Thursday, air-dropping pamphlets to "inform them of the level of corruption in Yasser Arafat's administration.
    "I flew for one hour over the Islamic center of Israel, especially the city of Umm El Fahm, to drop the pamphlets" in Arabic, said Cohen, who had a long career in the air force and as airline pilot for El Al.
    "The pamphlets tell the Islamists: 'For you to get to heaven, you have to blow yourselves up, but your leaders are getting to heaven with your money!'," Cohen added.

Useful Reference:

The Latest U.S. Road Map - December 2002 [with European notations]
    (Palestinian National Authority - Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation)

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • UN Team Still Unable to Meet Scientists Alone
    UN and U.S. officials said Thursday that weapons inspectors have not been able to question any Iraqi scientists in private. Inspection leaders believe Iraq may be dissuading scientists from agreeing to confidential interviews despite its public promise to the contrary last Monday. Iraq's chief liaison with the inspectors, Gen. Hossam Mohammed Amin, said his government "did our best to push the scientists" to agree to private interviews, but that all have insisted that government officials be present. The inspectors regard their inability to conduct the interviews as "a clear sign of noncooperation" that almost certainly will feature prominently in a report that chief weapons inspector Hans Blix is scheduled to present to the Security Council on Monday. (Washington Post)
        See also Top Inspector Rebukes Iraq for Blocking Reconnaissance Flights
    Hans Blix, the chief UN inspector, criticized Baghdad Thursday for blocking U-2 aerial photography flights. (New York Times)
  • "War within Weeks"
    President George Bush is determined to go to war with Saddam Hussein in the next few weeks, without UN backing if necessary, according to authoritative sources in Washington and London. The U.S. president is "to turn up the heat" in his state of the union address on Tuesday. "The pressure comes from President Bush and it is felt all the way down," a European official said. Downing Street was adamant that the decision to go to war should not be declared before Tony Blair flies to Camp David for talks with Mr. Bush next Friday. An informed source in Washington said: "Blair is a good guy. They won't want to do that to him. They want it to look like he played a part in the policy-making but the decision has been made."
        White House spokesman Ari Fleischer Thursday brushed off mounting anti-war feeling across Europe, led by France. It was "entirely possible that France won't be on the line," he said, adding that Britain, Australia, Italy, Spain, and "virtually all of the eastern European countries" would provide support. Secretary of State Colin Powell echoed this, saying: "I don't think we will have to worry about going it alone." (Guardian-UK)
  • Moderate Powell Turns Hawkish on War with Iraq
    Powell's shift, apparent in public statements and in private conversations with his aides, stems from his dismay at the French decision to publicly oppose military action and President Bush's growing belief that neither inspectors nor Saddam Hussein appear capable of disarming Iraq. Powell has told aides in recent days that he would support military action even without a formal UN resolution. This week Powell also said: "The question isn't how much longer do you need for inspections to work. Inspections will not work." The result is that the once-bitter debates over Iraq among Bush's senior foreign policy advisers have melded "into a pretty solid consensus now," a senior State Department official said. (Washington Post)
  • Hamas Rejects Egyptian Plan for One-Year Truce with Israel - Sarah El Deeb
    Hamas will not agree to an Egyptian proposal for a one-year truce with Israel, Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan said Thursday. Abdullah Shami, a leader of Islamic Jihad, said in Gaza that his group also won't accept a truce. (AP/San Francisco Chronicle)
        See also Fatah Militia Vows to Ignore Future Cease-Fire - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, said Thursday it will ignore any future cease-fire agreement with Israel and strongly attacked Egypt for its efforts to end the intifada. The group vowed "to continue the jihad" and said its members would continue to launch terrorist attacks against Israel on both sides of the Green Line.
        Ten Palestinian factions have agreed to attend a conference in Cairo under the patronage of the Egyptian government to discuss a draft proposal prepared by Gen. Omar Sulieman, head of Egyptian Intelligence. The plan, which has been rejected by most of the participants, calls for a temporary lull in terrorist attacks against Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Shaath: Cairo Talks Do Not Aim at Ending Intifada
    Nabil Shaath, PA Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, said that high level talks between Palestinian factions in Cairo does not aim at ending the intifada or uprising against Israel. (Jerusalem Times/IMRA)
  • Plot to Poison Food of British Troops Suspected
    Islamic militants arrested in Britain this month may have been plotting to lace the food supply on at least one British military base with the poison ricin, according to American government officials. (New York Times)
  • Spain Arrests 10 Suspected of Al Qaeda Links
    Spanish police rounded up at least 10 suspected members of the al Qaeda network in a major operation against cells in Barcelona and the surrounding region, officials said on Friday. (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • White House Sets Talks with Israel on Special Aid
    Israel's request for $8 billion in loan guarantees and $4 billion in special assistance will be considered by working groups of U.S. and Israeli officials in the coming weeks, the White House said Thursday. "We recognize the economic impact on Israel of the ongoing war against terrorism and regional stability, and are considering how the U.S. can contribute to continuing to assure its bright future," said White House spokesman Sean McCormack. (AP/San Francisco Chronicle)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Three Soldiers Killed Near Hebron - Amos Harel, Arnon Regular, and Nadav Shragai
    Three IDF soldiers were killed Thursday night when Palestinian gunmen opened fire on them on the road between Kiryat Arba and Beit Hagai, about 5 km south of Hebron. They are Corporal Asaf Bitan, 19, from Afula; Corporal Ronald Berrer, 20, from Rehovot; and Staff Sergeant Ya'akov Naim, 20, from Kfar Monash. The three soldiers were on a foot patrol when they were ambushed and taken by surprise from very close range. Military sources cite a noticeable shift of militants from the area of Bethlehem toward Hebron. (Ha'aretz)
  • Kassam Rockets Send Sderot Children into Underground Shelters
    Five rockets fired from Gaza landed in Sderot, a town of about 25,000 people, located about 5 kilometers from the Gaza line. School children in the town were shepherded into underground shelters. One of the rockets left a hole the size of a truck tire in the yard of a home and lightly injured a woman hanging laundry, said police spokesperson Michal Chaim. Two other rockets landed in a field. Hizballah television in Beirut reported that Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Kills 2 Terrorists in Samaria - Felix Frisch
    An IDF force killed 2 terrorists, one of whom was a woman, who were planting a bomb on the road near the Jewish town of Shavei Shomron in Samaria, west of Shechem. (Yediot Ahronot)
  • Arab Candidates: Syria is Interfering in Election Campaign - Yair Ettinger
    Arab candidates for the 16th Knesset are claiming that Syria and Lebanon are interfering in the elections and are engaged in a propaganda drive for Balad leader Azmi Bishara. The Lebanese television station Al-Mustaqbal, owned by Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, has been running highly sympathetic interviews with Bishara, and candidates from other parties are convinced that this is on orders from Damascus and Beirut. Hadash party sources said station bosses told them "the orders have come from on high - from Damascus." (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • No Turning Back Now - Charles Krauthammer
    The window of legitimacy - that interval during which the U.S. could mass its forces around Iraq and prepare for war, ostensibly in the name of the UN - is now officially closed. Now Germany, France, Russia, and China have declared themselves opposed to war so long as Hans Blix can run around Iraq merely "containing" Saddam Hussein. The president cannot logically turn back. Having said that the possession of weapons of mass destruction by Hussein is an intolerable threat to the security of the United States, there is no logical way to rationalize walking away from Iraq. (Washington Post)
  • Canada Should Get Off the Fence - Howard Gerson and Harold Waller
    The first successful attacks on the U.S. mainland in almost 200 years have generated a shift in U.S. Middle East policy. Canadians should recognize the logic of the new U.S. position and should be at the forefront of efforts to implement policies that end the appeasement of repugnant regimes, but which also seek to bring about regime change in polities that actively support terror, are bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and have some of the worst human-rights records on the planet. (Montreal Gazette)
  • Dreams of a Kurdish State Die, at Least for Now - C. J. Chivers
    A common sight in northern Iraq is a glossy color map about the size of a doormat on display in many homes and on sale in every bazaar, defining a territory beginning at the northeastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea and extending east, north, and south, ending more than 200 miles inside Iran. Its name is "Kurdistan," with a land claim spanning large parts of four nations. (New York Times)
  • U.S. Should Remember Lessons of Lebanon - Trudy Rubin
    The aim in Iraq, if we go in, should be to help Iraqis form their own government and then move to the background as soon as possible. U.S. troops may be welcomed in Iraq as liberators at first, especially by Shia and Kurds. But that welcome will wear thin if a U.S. presence lasts too long, is heavy-handed, or becomes viewed as occupation. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • "Palestine" for Dummies - David D. Perlmutter
    Why should the Palestinians, who have no separate religion, culture, history, national identity, ethnicity, or language from other Arabs, be given a homeland ahead of say, the Kurds (an independent ethnic nation for thousands of years)...or for that matter many American aboriginal peoples. David Yeagley, a professor at the University of Oklahoma and a descendent of the Commanche war-chief Bad Eagle, told me, "My people existed as a separate nation before the Ottomans invaded Europe....Why aren't we getting airplay for a homeland while some thug in Jenin is a media-darling?" (Jewish World Review)
  • The Mother of All Middle East Questions - Shmuley Boteach
    So long as the Arabs continue to embrace a Homeric model of valor, where glory is won through the gore of terrorism and splendor through the spilling of blood, there will never be peace in the Middle East. When the day comes that the Arabs feel more embarrassed by having suicide bombers than having Israel in their midst, only then will they reclaim their former greatness. Until that day comes, we have to contend with far more vexing questions: How is it that half a billion hostile Arabs have managed to successfully portray themselves as the victims of five million Israeli Jews? How did more than a dozen Arab tyrannies successfully portray Israel, the region's lone democracy, as the bad guy in the Middle East? (
  • Weekend Book Reviews (Reviews of recent fiction and non-fiction on the Middle East):

  • The Last Jihad by Joel C. Rosenberg
        Reviewed by Kathryn Jean Lopez
    What if, a year from today, Saddam Hussein is still in power? What if, seven years from now, he is still there - with a fully developed arsenal of unconventional weapons of mass destruction? The Last Jihad is a page-turning novel that makes the case for regime change now. (National Review)
  • The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Saud from Tradition to Terror by Stephen Schwartz
        Reviewed by Richard Bernstein
    In April 2002, seven months after the attacks of Sept. 11, a Saudi cleric named Sheikh Saad al-Buraik, preaching in a mosque in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, called for the enslavement of Jewish women by Muslim men. "Do not have mercy or compassion toward the Jews," he said. "Their women are yours to take, legitimately. God made them yours." Al-Buraik was a member of the official Saudi delegation that accompanied Crown Prince Abdullah during his visit to President Bush in Crawford, Texas, at the end of April 2002. (New York Times)
  • The Age of Sacred Terror by Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon
        Reviewed by Arnaud de Borchgrave
    In a truly free election in Saudi Arabia, with the royal family on the sidelines bereft of the divine right of kings, and Osama Bin Laden as a candidate for prime minister, the world's most wanted terrorist would win hands down. (Washington Times)
  • The Right Man by David Frum
        Reviewed by Tim Read
    Former Bush White House speechwriter David Frum lifts the lid on the ideological battles over the best way to pursue a war on terrorism. Rather than describe the ideological split between Gen. Powell and Mr. Rumsfeld as one between "doves" and "hawks," Frum prefers the analogy of the Civil War: between those who wanted to fight the smallest possible war, and those who desired the biggest possible victory. (London Times)
  • Weekend Features:
  • Palestinian and Israeli Researchers Joined Forces for Space Shuttle Project
    Palestinian biology student Tariq Adwan and Israeli medical student Yuval Landau worked with Dr. Eran Schenker of the Israeli Aerospace Medical Institute, who organized a series of astrobiology experiments to study the effects of space on cells and DNA. (CNN)
  • Bedouins Soldier On in Israel
    Every boy in Zarzir seems to want to follow hundreds of brothers, cousins, and uncles who have served in the Israeli military. The Arabs of Zarzir are Bedouins who, in the past 40 years, have given up their nomadic lives as shepherds to settle in the hills of northern Israel. Unlike most of the country's 1.2 million Muslims, the 200,000 Bedouin - concentrated in the Galilee and in the Negev Desert of the south - have served militarily to protect the Jewish state since its founding. (Newsday)
  • Amid Backdrop of Death, a Resilient People Endure - Jack Balser
    Israelis are the most resourceful people I have ever seen. We visited a group of immigrants employed by one of Israel's largest meatpacking plants, take Hebrew lessons in their workplace provided by the company. We met with an Israeli philanthropist who has established a nationwide network of soccer clubs assisting more than 9,000 disadvantaged kids including Israeli Arabs. Magan David Adom - the equivalent of the American Red Cross - uses a network of volunteers to respond to terror in ways that are innovative, incredibly effective, and copied by the rest of the world. Against a backdrop of terror, Israelis have found the strength to cope. They are amazingly resilient and eager to lead normal lives and to help one another. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • Talking Points:

    The EU Needs to Move Closer to the U.S. - Per Ahlmark (Jerusalem Post)

    • When it comes to the Middle East, what is necessary is a very different European approach from the one we have seen during the first three years of this century.
    • First, we Europeans should closely cooperate with the U.S. When the U.S. and the EU are split, unfortunate things easily happen. Saddam, the Arafat regime, the rogue states, and the terrorist organizations all exploit any schism in the Western world. They love to see Europeans heaping scorn on U.S. leaders.
    • Secondly, we should politically support Washington in what is likely to be the inevitable strike against Iraq. And later during the inevitable "nation building" in Iraq, the EU has to be an active and resourceful ally of America.
    • Third, if after the war a window of opportunity opens in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Europe should try to be close to the U.S. when a peace process is restarted.
    • As Europe stands today, words and other EU initiatives are making life easier for two of the worst liars and killers in the modern history of the Middle East, Arafat and Saddam.

    Per Ahlmark is former deputy prime minister of Sweden.

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