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 29, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

Turks Open Borders to 20,000 U.S. Troops - Amberin Zaman (Telegraph-UK)

    The U.S. is to send up to 20,000 troops through Turkey and into northern Iraq, allowing it to open up a second front against Saddam Hussein.
    Under the deal struck between the Turkish military and the Pentagon, Ankara will allow an initial deployment of a mechanized division that would travel through Turkey to Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.
    In exchange, Washington has agreed to the presence of Turkish troops in northern Iraq, who would halt any influx of Kurdish refugees as well as prevent the creation of an independent Kurdish state.

Behind the Renewed Fighting in Afghanistan: Saudi Links?

    The fierce battles in Afghanistan are being conducted against forces headed by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who has been described by Taliban expert Ahmed Rashaid as a "neo-Wahhabi protege" of Saudi Arabia.
    In March 1990, according to Rashid, the Saudis granted him $100 million.
    In the late 1980s and early 1990s his militia - Hezb-e-Islami - was known for its extreme brutality. The 1993 war between Hekmatyar and President Rabbani of Afghanistan left 10,000 civilians dead.
    (Ahmed Rashaid, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000)

    In a March 2002 20/20 interview with Barbara Walters, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah admitted that he met Hekmatyar together with Osama Bin Laden. (ABC News)
    See also Troops Search Afghan Caves After Clash
    The military believes the men were followers of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a renegade warlord who has allegedly linked his forces with remnants of the Taliban and al Qaeda.
    The fighting was being led by two ex-Taliban - Hafiz Abdul Rahim, the regime's former chief of the border security, and Sirajuddin, former district chief of Shindand in western Afghanistan. (AP/New York Times)

Israel to Help Build Stealth Jet - Janine Zacharia (Jerusalem Post)

    Israel and the U.S. have agreed on a framework for Israeli involvement in development of the next-generation Joint Strike Fighter, the most lucrative military aircraft program ever.
    Some European partners in the program had resisted full Israeli participation, so the U.S. and Israel worked out a special bilateral security cooperation deal. Thus, Israel will have full input via the U.S., sources said.
    The U.S. has pledged to modify the plane to employ Israeli air-to-air missiles.
    An advanced Israeli helmet will be used on all the planes produced. Manufactured by Elbit, it enables pilots to use eye motion to direct missile fire.

Useful Reference:

The New Members of the Knesset
    The party lists. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

Israeli Election Results

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Bush Takes U.S. to the Edge of War
    President Bush took the U.S. to the edge of war with Iraq Tuesday, declaring in his annual State of the Union message that Saddam Hussein had missed his "final chance" by showing contempt for UN weapons inspections. In the Middle East, Bush said, "we will continue to seek peace between a secure Israel and a democratic Palestine." (Washington Post)
        Full text of Bush's State of the Union Speech (Washington Post)
        See also Talking Points below.
        From a "Senior Administration Official" - Michael Kelly
    "This is not a declaration of war," said the senior administration official, speaking on the day before the president's State of the Union address. But it was a declaration of an iron determination to wage war against Iraq, no matter what, if war is necessary. (Washington Post)
  • U.S. and Its Allies Fight Rebel Force on Afghan Peaks
    Some 350 American, European, and Afghan forces fought a fierce battle through the night against a large group of rebel fighters in a mountainous region of southeastern Afghanistan, in the heaviest fighting they have encountered in nine months, the American military spokesman said Tuesday. As many as 80 fighters aligned with the former mujahedeen commander Gulbuddin Hekmatyar were thought to be lodged in caves and mountain hideouts near the border with Pakistan. Forces responding to the violence included Norwegian F-16s, the first time its planes had carried out operational bombings since World War II. (New York Times)
  • U.S. Opposes Iraqi UN Disarmament Presidency
    The U.S. has warned it cannot accept Iraqi chairmanship of the UN Conference on Disarmament and is considering options to block such an appointment scheduled for May. "Iraq for more than 13 years has defied numerous UN Security Council resolutions demanding its disarmament," State Department spokeswoman Lynn Cassel said. "The United States believes it is unacceptable for Iraq to assume the presidency of the international community's main multilateral disarmament negotiating forum," she said. The Geneva-based 66-member organization was founded in 1979. (BBC)
  • Pro-Israeli Demonstration in Oslo
    Nearly 1,000 demonstrators rallied outside the Parliament buildings (Storting) in downtown Oslo Sunday, as part of a pro-Israeli demonstration in the streets in the center of the capital. (Norway Post)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

    Israeli Election Results

    According to actual voting returns reported by Haaretz and Yediot Ahronot (not including votes of soldiers) for elections to the 16th Knesset, the leading parties are Likud - 37 seats, Labor - 19, and Shinui - 15. The center-right and religious bloc won 67 seats, while the center, center-left, and Arab party bloc won 53 seats.

    PartyIdeologyLeaderSeats 1999Seats 2003
    Center-Right and Religious Bloc:67
    Center-Right Parties46
    LikudWill talk peace with Palestinians only after a cessation of violenceAriel Sharon1937
    National UnionNo Palestinian stateAvigdor Lieberman77
    Yisrael b'AliyahPalestinian state only if democraticNatan Sharansky 62
    Center-Right Religious Parties21
    ShasUltra-Orthodox and traditional SephardimEli Yishai1711
    United Torah JudaismUltra-Orthodox AshkenazimYaakov Litzman55
    National Religious PartyReligious Zionism, emphasizing army service and the Land of IsraelEffi Eitam55
    Center, Center-Left, and Arab Party Bloc:53
    Center-Left Parties25
    LaborResume talks on Palestinian statehood before end to violence Amram Mitzna2619
    MeretzWithdrawal to 1967 bordersYossi Sarid106
    Center Parties19
    ShinuiSeparation of religion and stateYosef Lapid615
    Am Ehad - One NationWorkers' rightsAmir Peretz24
    Arab Parties9
    United Arab List-Ra'amDominated by Islamic movement, supports Palestinian stateAbdulmalek Dehamshe52
    Hadash-Ta'alFormerly Communist party, supports Palestinian stateMohammad Barakeh44
    BaladCultural autonomy for Arabs, supports Palestinian stateAzmi Bishara13

  • A Call for Unity - Ariel Sharon
    I will ask all Zionist parties to join a unity government that will be as broad as possible. The differences between us diminish in the face of the murderous hatred of the terrorist organizations of anything Israeli and Jewish, the threat of the war in the Gulf and attacks on Israel, and the economic crisis that is ripping Israeli society apart. This is a time for coming together in unity, for fusing all forces in order to bring about a genuine victory. Victory over terrorism, and the beginning of a true peace process. Everyone is waiting to see if Israel will act together, united, in order to achieve its aims: security, prosperity, quiet, and peace. This is possible. It depends only on us. (Ha'aretz)
  • Sharon Weighs Coalition Partners - Yossi Verter
    For the next 42 days, Sharon will do everything in his power to establish a national unity government in the image of the previous one - including the Labor Party. If he fails, he will approach Shinui and offer the anti-religious party a place in a narrow, right-wing government, with or without Shas. If that fails too, Sharon will be forced to establish the government he doesn't want - a right-wing government with the Haredi parties. (Ha'aretz)
  • Ariel Sharon - the Moderate - Bill Schneider
    If the war with Iraq is successful and Saddam Hussein is overthrown, it will open up new prospects for peace. And Ariel Sharon wants to be the man who negotiates that deal. He wants a broad-based coalition. He does not want to depend on a narrow base of right wing parties, because he wants maximum flexibility. Notice what we're saying here, something quite remarkable. Ariel Sharon as a moderate. (CNN)
  • Sharon Victory Shows He's One of Country's Most Skillful Politicians - Ross Dunn
    Mr. Sharon's ruling Likud Party is predicted to nearly double its number of seats in the parliament to 36, twice that of its main rival Labor, demonstrating a major shift to the right in Israeli public opinion. (VOA)
  • Minor Parties Fail in Israel Elections - Mark Lavie
    Thirteen parties won seats, according to results announced Wednesday, but 14 others failed to make the grade. Two parties left out of parliament that had been expected to fare better were the ultranationalist Herut, with a settler from Hebron in a prominent position, and Green Leaf, favoring legalization of marijuana. (AP/Guardian-UK)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Necessary Steps - Ze'ev Schiff
    Any government that is formed will have to take the following diplomatic-security steps if it wants to prevent a grave deterioration in Israel's situation: Avoid becoming embroiled in the Gaza Strip. Be wary of military deterioration on the northern border. Continue to erect the security fence only as an additional obstacle and not as a solution to all terror attacks. If a war breaks out in Iraq and Israel is hurt, Israel's response must be one that will be remembered for many years. (Ha'aretz)
  • Anger and Islam Rise in Jordan - Anthony Shadid
    Palestinian refugees in Jordan are increasingly funneling their frustrations through the politics of Islamic parties, according to Jordanian officials, analysts, and camp residents. Jordanian officials insist they can maintain control of the camps if protests erupt in the event of a U.S. attack on Iraq. But the rise of Islam-based politics represents a challenge for King Abdullah (Washington Post)
  • Talking Points:

    State of the Union - President George Bush (White House)

    • To date, we've arrested or otherwise dealt with many key commanders of al Qaeda. All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way - they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.
    • From three Iraqi defectors we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs. These are designed to produce germ warfare agents, and can be moved from place to a place to evade inspectors. Saddam Hussein has not disclosed these facilities. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed them.
    • The dictator of Iraq is not disarming. To the contrary; he is deceiving. From intelligence sources we know, for instance, that thousands of Iraqi security personnel are at work hiding documents and materials from the UN inspectors, sanitizing inspection sites, and monitoring the inspectors themselves. Iraqi officials accompany the inspectors in order to intimidate witnesses.
    • Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda.
    • Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

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