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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February 28, 2003

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In-Depth Issue:

We Will Gas You When U.S. Bombs Fall, Kurds Told (Telegraph-UK)
    Iraqi officials have threatened that the moment the first American bomb lands, they will reply with a chemical assault on the Kurds of Kifri, at the southern tip of Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.
    "I would gladly give a month's salary for a gas mask, but there are none. Escape to the mountains is our only chance," said Ali Muhammad Nasir, 30.

FBI Sting Nets Yemeni Al Qaeda Funder - Peter Finn (Washington Post)
    Sheik Mohammed Ali Hassan Moayad, 54, had come to Frankfurt to meet a wealthy American Muslim from New York said to be interested in donating funds to charities that Moayad oversaw in the Middle East.
    The rich American Muslim was in fact an undercover agent, a key figure in an elaborate transnational sting engineered by the FBI to lure Moayad from Yemen, and he was arrested by German police on Jan. 10.

Auditing Arafat - Nathan Vardi (Forbes)
    Money keeps Arafat in power. With a tight grip on much of the $5.5 billion in international aid that has flowed into the PA since 1994, he appears to have overseen virtually all disbursements.
    An Israeli intelligence report pegs Arafat's personal holdings at $1.3 billion.
    Arafat created a public sector of 125,000 people consuming $660 million, half the annual budget. This includes $240 million for a security force of 53,000 agents, most of them members of Fatah, Arafat's political party.
    See also Kings, Queens & Despots (Forbes)
    Forbes estimates Arafat's person fortune at $300 million.

Iraqi Dissidents End Training in Hungary - Nick Thorpe (BBC)
    The first group of Iraqi dissidents is due to complete its training at a U.S. airbase in Hungary on Friday. They will now be sent to U.S. army units closer to Iraq, and a new group of Iraqis will begin training in Hungary.
    The first batch of Iraqis came mostly from the U.S. They gave up comfortable lives and in many cases left their families for an indefinite period to volunteer for this mission.
    They are trained in self-defense and in a range of liaison skills between U.S. forces and the civilian population.

PA Defines U.S. as Enemy of Islam - Itamar Marcus (Palestinian Media Watch/IMRA)
    In his Friday sermon on February 21, broadcast on PA TV, religious figure Ibrahim Madiras declared: "America is the first-degree enemy of the Palestinian people and the Islamic and Arab nations. Yes, America is the foremost enemy of this people."

Amnesty International's Reporting of Human Rights Issues in the Arab-Israeli Conflict (B'nai B'rith/Institute for Contemporary Affairs)
    Amnesty's prestige and size means it has a huge responsibility to produce accurate, balanced, and contextualized reports.
    The fact that its reports are so often quoted - recycling the same misrepresentations - is harming the human rights of Israelis and Jews around the world, in contradiction to Amnesty's mission statement.

Artificial Islands Off the Gaza Coast - Shmuel Even, Shlomo Gartner, and Dov Kehat (Jaffee Center-Tel Aviv University)
    The construction of artificial islands off the coast of the Gaza Strip could provide a solution to the problem of population density there and contribute to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian territorial dispute.
    A series of artificial islands could absorb approximately 400,000 people (one-third of the current population in the Gaza Strip).

Useful Reference:

Biographies of New Israeli Cabinet (IMRA)

What Do Palestinians Mean When They Say "End the Occupation"? - A slide show (FrontPage Magazine)
    The map of the Palestinian Authority is the map of the entire State of Israel. The map of the PLO is the map of the entire State of Israel. The map on Arafat's uniform is the map of the entire State of Israel. The map in PA textbooks is the map of the entire State of Israel.
    When the Palestinians say "End the occupation," do they mean "a Palestinian state alongside Israel," or "in place of Israel?"

Prime Minister Sharon's Speech to the Jewish Agency - Feb. 25, 2003 (Prime Minister's Office)

Disputed Territories: Forgotten Facts About the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Diplomatic and Legal Aspects of the Settlement Issue - Jeffrey Helmreich (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Historical Jerusalem Maps Now on Web
    Some 250 historical maps of Jerusalem are now on the Internet. (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Republican Guard Troops Moved Nearer to Baghdad
    Iraq has begun shifting some of its best-trained, best-equipped troops from the northern city of Mosul to positions farther south in an apparent effort to bolster defenses around either Baghdad or President Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit in the first major repositioning of Iraqi forces in recent weeks, defense officials said Thursday. The buildup of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region has now topped 200,000. (Washington Post)
        See also Republican Guard Digs In around Cities
    Iraqi soldiers have allegedly dug trenches on the outskirts of Baghdad with the intention of filling them with oil and setting fire to them, generating smoke intended to foil the use of laser-guided bombs. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency claimed that one of the trenches was lit a few days ago as a test. The Pentagon said U.S. warplanes also have a significant arsenal of satellite-guided bombs which would be unaffected by smoke. (Guardian-UK)
        See also Iraq Moves Missiles into No-Fly Zones
    Iraq is preparing for war by secretly moving surface-to-surface missiles, capable of carrying chemical and biological warheads, within range of U.S. and British troops in northern Kuwait. (National Post-Canada)
  • U.S. Lowers Warning Level to "Yellow"
    The Bush administration lowered the nation's terrorist alert level Thursday back to "elevated risk," or yellow on its color-coded scale, but warned of a continuing serious threat of terrorist attacks on American soil. Senior administration officials said that there was still an alarming level of intelligence suggesting the possibility of a new domestic attack by al Qaeda's terror network, and that the alert would almost certainly return to "high risk," or orange, in the days before an American invasion of Iraq. (New York Times)
  • Jordan Won't Allow In Western Warplanes
    Jordan will not allow Western military aircraft to use its territory in a war against neighboring Iraq, the country's prime minister said Thursday. Some Western diplomats have suggested that Jordan, along with Saudi Arabia and Oman, was hampering U.S. preparations for a war by refusing to allow British and other jet fighters to refuel. (AP/Washington Post)
  • "Old Europe" Feeds Hussein's Suicidal Fantasy - Amir Taheri
    The Iraqi media are building a fantasy world in which a resurgent Europe, inspired by Saddam Hussein's "heroic leadership," will put an end to the U.S. "quest for global hegemony." Iraq's media are trying to create the impression that Hussein enjoys worldwide support that cuts across ideological barriers. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Iraqi Shi'ites Eager for Post-Hussein Iraq - Ron Synovitz
    Thousands of Iraqi Shi'ites, who form an estimated 60% of the Iraqi population, have fled Iraq and now live as exiles in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, and other parts of the Persian Gulf. Exiled Iraqi Shi'ites in Kuwait welcome the possibility of Hussein's ouster so they can return home and start rebuilding the country.
        Muhammad Radha al-Ghazwini, 62, said he felt puzzled by the antiwar demonstrations in Europe and the U.S. "We are thankful that people have such sympathy for us as Iraqi people. But we wonder why all these protesters don't know how horrible the situation is for the people in Iraq." He said that if the demonstrators had lived through the same experiences as the Kurds in northern Iraq or the Shi'ites of southern Iraq, they would be demonstrating instead for Hussein's immediate ouster. "It is a wild regime that has killed thousands of people and left behind thousands of orphans and widows," he said. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
  • Arabs Destroy Joseph's Tomb
    The sacred Jewish site regarded as the grave of the biblical patriarch Joseph has been turned into a pile of rubble by Arab vandals, according to Israeli officials. "If we would have razed the gravesite of one of the founders of Islam, billions of Muslims would have taken to the streets," said Minister Natan Sharansky. "It's inconceivable that the world should not know about this travesty." The Oslo Accords put the site under Israeli jurisdiction, but on Oct. 7, 2000, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak ordered a unilateral retreat, based on a Palestinian agreement to protect the site.
        Israeli archeologists say they have convincing documentation of the site's authenticity, dating to biblical times. The book of Joshua says "Joseph's bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver." (WorldNetDaily)
  • France Tackles School Anti-Semitism
    France is adopting new measures to stamp out anti-Semitism in schools, described as a "true danger" by the education minister. Luc Ferry said anti-Semitic insults of a new kind were becoming a feature of everyday life. Teachers and school officials would no longer be allowed to turn their heads when Jewish students were being harassed, he said. Some 455 racist and anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in French state schools in the autumn term alone of the current academic year. (BBC)
        See also French Jews Leave with No Regrets
    "As a Jew I don't see any future for me in France," says student Jonathan Taieb. "Just put on a skull cap in the street and see the reaction you get, while Muslim girls can wear veils and no one says a word." In the past 12 months, the numbers of Jews leaving France have doubled, from 1,000 to 2,000. At the weekend's anti-war demonstrations it was noticeable how many protesters sang anti-Israeli songs. (BBC)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Suicide Bomber Caught Heading for Jerusalem's Sports Stadium - Jonathan Lis
    The Israeli police thwarted an attempt to carry out an attack at the Teddy Kollek Stadium in Jerusalem in mid-January, the capital's police chief, Mickey Levy, revealed Thursday. A Palestinian on his way from Bethlehem was seized at the entrance to the city. Later, security forces found a three-and-a-half kilogram explosives belt meant for use by the bomber, who confessed that he planned to carry out the bombing when the stadium was packed with people.
        There were 41 terror attacks in Jerusalem in 2002, including 17 suicide bombings. Eleven attempted suicide attacks were thwarted by the police. (Ha'aretz)
  • The War of "Shock and Awe" - Alex Fishman
    Israel's contributions to the option of American combat in urban areas are armored bulldozers. It seems that the Americans liked the Israeli bulldozer technique which was used in the Jenin refugee camps. Several weeks ago the Americans received from the IDF nine armored D-9 bulldozers which were apparently sent to the American front in Turkey. (Yediot Aharanot)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

    The Bush Speech:  (Full Text)

  • Peres Sees No U.S. Pressure on Sharon - Aluf Benn
    Bush's Wednesday night speech, in which he presented his plans for war in Iraq and the "day after," were well received at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem. Sharon spoke with the president on the telephone a few hours earlier. Bush stuck to the proposal upon which he agreed with Sharon: first the Palestinians will stop terrorism, they will undergo serious reforms and replace Arafat; only then will it be Israel's turn to respond with concessions of its own. Bush reiterated his commitment to the Quartet's plan, but left open the possibility for changes and amendments when he said it still required "work."
        Shimon Peres, back from a short trip to the U.S., believes the administration will not pressure Sharon. Sharon will visit Washington after the situation in Iraq becomes clear, and he will conclude with Bush a peace plan that he will then begin to implement. (Ha'aretz)
  • Bush Speech May Signal Shift on Mideast Policy - Glenn Kessler
    In his speech on postwar Iraq, President Bush signaled a shift in the administration's policy on the controversial issue of Israeli settlements, apparently embracing the Israeli government's view that substantial concessions by the Palestinians are necessary before Israel must begin to rein in the expansion of settlements in the territories. In his pivotal speech on the Middle East on June 24, Bush said: "Consistent with the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee, Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories must stop." But Wednesday, Bush said, "As progress is made towards peace, settlement activity in the occupied territories must end." The differences may seem minor, but they could loom large in the high-stakes politics of the Middle East.
        Martin Indyk, a former Clinton administration official, said the Israeli government had been fearful the administration would attach conditions regarding the settlements to loan guarantees it is seeking to shield it from the effect of a war with Iraq. "They can breathe a sigh of relief," he said. (Washington Post)
  • Free Nations Do Not Breed Murder - David Frum
    President Bush's speech ranks among the most important state papers of the past three decades. The U.S. government did not use to care about the internal governance of the oil-producers of the Middle East. From now on, it does. The U.S. will not merely overthrow Saddam Hussein, but it will seek to build a more democratic Iraq afterward. To those who would say that the forms of government adopted in the Arab world are none of America's business, the President replied that the Arab world's authoritarianism bred the terrorism of 9/11: "The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder." (National Review)
  • Talk of Arab "Democracy" is a Double-Edged Scimitar - Steven Lee Myers
    Many Arabs are unconvinced that a war against Iraq would bring stability, let alone democracy. On the contrary, those interviewed said the forcible overthrow of Iraq's dictatorship would unleash a fury of anti-American sentiment, especially among fundamentalist Islamic forces, resulting in new crackdowns that would stifle democratic changes. (New York Times)
  • False Note - Editorial
    Mr. Bush's reference to "the occupied territories" suggests Israel is occupying someone else's land. In fact, by both biblical standards and the standards of international law, Israel has a better claim to the lands of the West Bank than anyone, including the Palestinian Arabs.
        Mr. Bush went on to talk about his personal commitment to implement the road map setting out the necessary conditions for progress toward the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine. When Mr. Bush was running for president, he said, "There can be no lasting peace if the Israelis, for whatever reason, feel like they must accept an agreement because it makes us happy." Peace can only work if it is reached between the parties, not imposed by America. (New York Sun)

  • A Costly Charade at the UN - Charles Krauthammer
    America goes courting Guinea, Cameroon, and Angola in search of the nine Security Council votes necessary to pass our new resolution on Iraq. For unfathomable reasons it matters to many, both at home and around the world, that the U.S. should have the permission of Guinea to risk the lives of American soldiers to rid the world - and the long-suffering Iraqi people - of a particularly vicious and dangerous tyrant. As soon as the dust settles in Iraq, we should push for an expansion of the Security Council - with India and Japan as new permanent members.
        We should be thinking now about building the new alliance structure around the U.S., Britain, Australia, Turkey, such willing and supportive Old Europe countries as Spain and Italy, and the New Europe of deeply pro-American ex-communist states. Add perhaps India and Japan and you have the makings of a new post-9/11 structure involving like-minded states that see the world of the 21st century as we do: threatened above all by the conjunction of terrorism, rogue states, and weapons of mass destruction. (Washington Post)
  • Reasons for the Offensive Against Hamas - Ze'ev Schiff
    Hamas emerged from the Cairo talks with the upper hand. Its leaders feel the organization received Egyptian legitimization by the very fact that it was invited to Cairo. The firing of Qassam rockets at Sderot, which is within the 1967 Green Line, left Israel no choice but to launch an offensive. The European suggestion-cum-complaint - that Israel refrain from responding - should be seen as crude interference. How would they react if towns in their countries were shelled? Hamas offered to stop firing rockets at Sderot if Israel stopped its raids in the Gaza Strip; in other words, Hamas viewed Sderot as a hostage.
        Even if the deal had been accepted, Hamas would have sought to continue attacks along the security fence, at border crossings, and against Israeli army units and Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip. Hamas believes that they can use the rockets to achieve a kind of mutual deterrence vis-a-vis Israel. In this they are guided by the Hizballah, whose rockets that target Galilee communities have led Israel to be more cautious in its operations and responses in Lebanon. (Ha'aretz)
  • Did a Muslim Professor Use Activism as a Cloak for Terror? - Michael Isikoff
    Last week federal agents arrested Sami Al-Arian, a University of South Florida engineering professor, and charged him with being a top leader of one of the world's most violent terrorist organizations: Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed group that has carried out suicide bombings that have killed more than 100 Israelis, as well as two Americans. Far from keeping to the shadows, Al-Arian repeatedly lobbied Congress on civil-liberties issues, and made thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to influential members of Congress.
        Using national-security wiretaps, agents began monitoring Al-Arian's phone calls as early as 1994. Yet federal agents say they couldn't use much of their evidence because of tight restrictions that kept them from sharing intelligence with criminal investigators. ("The wall," as the feds called it, has now been lowered.) (Newsweek)
        See also A Triumph of U.S. Political Will - Caroline B. Glick
    The indictment and arrest of University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian by the FBI last week was a watershed event in the U.S. war on terrorism. This was so not because Arian was the CEO of the Islamic Jihad, nor because by arresting Arian, the U.S. has shown that it will apply the full weight of its laws against terrorists, whether their targets are Israeli or American, nor because it brought to bear the new anti-terror law enforcement powers granted to police and intelligence arms of the U.S. government by the 2002 Patriot Act.
        Rather, Arian's arrest was a watershed because of the political will that stood behind the decision to move forward in the case. Since terror expert Steven Emerson produced the PBS documentary "Jihad in America" in 1994, the fact that Arian was the head of the Islamic Jihad in America was the worst-kept secret in the world. (Jerusalem Post)
  • An Unconventional Arab Viewpoint - Joseph Farah
    I'm an Arab-American Christian journalist with first-hand experience covering the Mideast on the ground. According to most news sources, Palestinians want a homeland and Muslims want control over sites they consider holy. But in fact, these two demands are nothing more than phony excuses and rationalizations for the terrorism and the murdering of Jews. The real goal of those making these demands is the destruction of Israel.
        The Arabs control 99.9 percent of the Middle East lands. Israel represents one-tenth of 1 percent of the landmass. The Arabs have built 261 settlements in the West Bank since 1967; the Jews have built only 144. If Israel's policies make life so intolerable for Arabs, why do they continue to flock to the Jewish state? (WorldNetDaily)
  • Patriot "Minute-Men" - Israel's Last Line of Defense - Dan Williams
    Ten missile-killer crews stationed at sites throughout Israel are bracing for possible Iraqi strikes should the U.S. go to war against Saddam Hussein. After a "blip" appears on the edge of their Patriot battery's radar screens, they have about a minute to respond. (Reuters)
        See also Arrow and Patriot Combine to Provide World's Best Missile Defense System (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs)
  • Talking Points:

    Address at the Swearing-In of the New Government
    - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (Prime Minister's Office)

    • This is a strong and ancient people. A people of great spirit. A people who, during the last century, learned the importance of its right and duty to defend itself by itself. It is a people who returned to its ancient language and historic homeland and staked a strong claim to this land - a claim which we will never relinquish.
    • In conversations with U.S. President George W. Bush and senior officials in his government, we reached an understanding regarding the necessary conditions to initiate a political process, as well as the need for a gradual outline to resolve this long-lasting and complex conflict between the Palestinians and ourselves. Before returning to a political track, the Palestinian Authority must stop terror and incitement, implement far-reaching reforms, and replace its current leadership. A political process which will lead to genuine peace must be based on lessons learned from the failed attempts of the past decade.
    • Any political settlement achieved in the future must ensure the historic, security, and strategic interests of Israel, primarily Palestinian renunciation of the groundless demand for "the right of return," the sole purpose of which is to allow the entrance of masses of Palestinians into Israel. Furthermore, the agreement should include security and buffer zones, and preserve the unity of the Capital of Israel - Jerusalem.
    • I take this opportunity to call upon Israeli Arabs: our children and ourselves will always live here, side by side. The rift between the Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel harms us all. I intend to open a new chapter in the relations between the State and its Arab citizens.
    • For most of my life, I have served the Israeli nation as an IDF soldier and commander, and as a minister in various Israeli governments. Today, as I enter my 75th year, I have only one aspiration: to lead this nation - which has known so much hardship and suffering and deserves so much - in a new path, a path of quiet, a path of prosperity, a path of peace. I again thank the Israeli people for trusting me to lead them in these trying times, and I pray to God that I will be found deserving of that trust.
  • See also Sharon: Starting Over at 75 - Bradley Burston (Ha'aretz)
        Ariel Sharon turned 75 Wednesday. No living Israeli politician can claim the length and breadth of Sharon's military-political background. Sharon biographer Uzi Benziman recalled "the roles he played in the 1950s, which changed the IDF's entire conception regarding fedayeen [Arabs who crossed the border to attack Israelis], the roles he played in the wars, his roles in politics, as the founder of the Likud, in establishing settlements, as prime minister."

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