Israel Resource Review 29th March, 2002


The Arab League Summit Closing Statement

The Saudi Plan, as presented by Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia contains three elements: " . . . withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories, recognition of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and the return of refugees". Such a plan represents a formula for Israel's dismemberment, since this would require that Israel relinquish strategic hills that overlook its coastal plain, forfeit its capital city and repatriate 3.6 million Arab refugees (and their descendents) from the 1948 war to 531 Arab villages that have been replaced by Israeli cities, collective farms and woodlands WITHIN Israel's 1949-1967 cease fire lines.

Beirut - March 28,2002 WAFA (Official Palestine News Agency)
These are excerpts from the final statement issued at the end of the deliberations of the 14th regular session of the Arab summit conference in Beirut, at which the leaders praised the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in face of Israeli occupation and paid respect for the Palestinian martyrs and supported the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people until fulfilling the demands of the right of return, the right of self-determination and the establishment of the Palestinian state with Holy Jerusalem as its capital.

The declaration of Beirut pointed out that the Arab leaders had comprehensively evaluated the changes and challenges, notably that pertaining to the Arab region and the occupied Palestinian territories and the destructive war launched by Israel under the pretext of fighting terrorism, exploiting the tragic incidents of September 11 in the US

The Arab leaders reviewed the peace process and the Israeli practices that aim at undermining the stability of the middle east, and followed up the heroic Palestinian Intifada as well as the Arab initiatives that aim at realizing just and comprehensive peace in the region in the light of the resolutions of the international legitimacy pertaining to the Arab Israeli dispute and the Palestinian problem.

'Shouldering our national responsibility, and in line with the conventions of the Arab league and the U.N., we would like to announce our determination to go ahead on the path of the Arab solidarity in all spheres, and to work for abortion of foreign plots hatched to undermine our Arab regional safety', said the declaration, and added 'we would like to salute the heroic Intifada of the Palestinians and their resistance to Israel's occupation and its destructive military machinery and repressive measures against them.

The declaration hails the courageous martyrs of Intifada, stressing the strong support for the Palestinian people in all forms and for their legitimate heroic struggle against the occupation to achieve their just demands for the right of return, self determination and the setting up of their state with Alquds as its capital.

It expressed solidarity with Lebanon to complete the liberation of its territories and expressed its support for Lebanon's development and reconstruction.

It demanded the immediate release of Lebanese detainees in Israeli jails and condemned the repeated Israeli aggression against Lebanon's sovereignty notably the violation of its airspace and territorial waters, shouldering Israel full responsibility for the serious consequences of its provocations.

The Arab leaders stressed their solidarity with Syria and Lebanon against Israeli aggressive threats that undermine the security and stability in the region, considering any attack on the two countries as an aggression against all Arab countries.

"In light of the setback of the peace process, the leaders stressed their commitment to halt any relations with Israel and to activate the Arab bureau for boycotting Israel so that Israel implements the resolutions of the international legitimacy, Madrid's peace reference and withdrawal from all Arab occupied territories to the border lines of June, 1967," the declaration said.

The declaration emphasized that peace in the middle east will not be successful if it is not just and comprehensive in line with security council resolutions numbers 242, 338, 425 and 1397, and the principle of land for peace.

The declaration also emphasized the unity of the Syrian and Lebanese tracks and their organic linkage with the Palestinian track in realization of the Arab goals of solution comprehensiveness.

The Arab leaders asked Israel to reconsider its policy, adhere to peace and announce that just peace is its strategic choice too.

They also demanded that it carry out the following:

  1. Total withdrawal from occupied Arab territories including the Syrian Golan to the lines of the 4th of June 1967 and the territories still occupied in south Lebanon.
  2. Reaching a just solution to the Palestinian refugees problem to be agreed upon in accordance with united nations general assembly resolution number 194.
  3. Acceptance of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state in the Palestinian territories occupied since the 4th of June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza strip with Alquds as its capital.

Then, the Arab countries will carry out the following:

  1. Consider the Arab Israeli conflict as finished and enter in a peace agreement between them and Israel to achieve peace for all countries in the region.
  2. Establish normal relations with Israel as part of this comprehensive peace.
  3. guarantee the rejection of all Palestinian settlement forms contradicting the special status of some host Arab countries.

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When the English version of HaAretz differs from the Hebrew version
Yitzhak Sokoloff

[Note from David Bedein: Ever since HaAretz pioneered an English edition for its daily Hebrew paper, with English translations overseen by David Landau, many astute readers who know both languages have noted that the English language version tends to sanitize the PLO.

David Landau was the co-author (with Shimon Peres) of The New middle East, and has served as the bureau chief of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in Israel for the past 25 years, and has also worked for many years as the Israel correspondent for The Economist. Previous critiques of Landau's JTA editorial policies can be found on this site at: or]

In reading the article entitled "Israeli killed in shooting attack near W. Bank town" (Ha'aretz English edition March 24, 2002),I was struck by what seemed to be the extraordinary efforts made by your writers to avoid using the word "terrorist" to describe the Palestinians who had infiltrated across the Jordanian border into Israel last night and were killed by the Israeli Army near Kibbutz Tel Hatzir.

The use of neutral language to describe these individuals, who came across the border armed with Kalachnikov rifles and hand grenades, was particularly striking, because it contrasted so starkly with the language used by another article I had read earlier on the same subject.

Much to my surprise, the other article turned out to be the original Hebrew version of the very same article as published by "Ha'aretz" itself.

Consider the following examples. In each case the Hebrew text describes the Palestinians as "mechablim", contemporary Hebrew for terrorists, while the English version uses a language that could imply that the Israeli Army hunts down and kills illegal immigrants:

Ënglish version: "Earlier Sunday, following a long chase on the southern slopes of the Golan Heights, IDF troops killed four men Sunday afternoon near Tel Katzir, who had infiltrated across the Jordanian border into Israel".

In the original Hebrew version the phrase was "IDF troops killed four terrorists Sunday afternoon near Tel Katzir, who had infiltrated across the Jordanian border into Israel".

English version: "At around 2 P.M., soldiers from the elite Egoz unit spotted the four close to the border with Jordan and opened fire. Three were killed instantly, while one managed to escape. Troops tracked down the fourth man a short while later and shot him dead".

Hebrew version: "At around 2 P.M., soldiers from the elite Egoz unit spotted four terrorists east of Tel Katzir in the vicinity of the Haon cliffs and opened fire . . . "

English (translated) version: "The search for the infiltrators was launched after soldiers discovered tracks near the Israeli-Jordanian-Syrian border . . . "

Hebrew (original) version: "The search for the terrorists was launched after soldiers discovered tracks . . . "

The translator seems to confuse the Hebrew word for infiltrator ("mistananim" ) with the word for "terrorist" used by the author of the article. However a few lines later, when the original article actually uses the word "mistananim", he or she does manage to translate it correctly. If so, why translate "terrorists" as "infiltrators' unless the goal is to raise doubts about the moral right of the Israeli Army to hunt and kill them?

I suspect that these examples indicate a problem far more serious than the sloppiness of the English translation used by Haáretz staff.

The translator - or the English editor- has taken it upon his or herself to distort both the original article and the event itself.

The men who crossed the Israeli-Jordanian border armed to the teeth with automatic rifles were not seeking to better their standard of living by sneaking into Israel.

Bitter experience indicates that their mission was to kill as many Israelis as possible.

The authors of the original article got it right- such men are terrorists.

It behooves the editor and translators of the English version of Ha-aretz to share this information with their English readers.

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How the IDF Must Make Order
Amnon Dankner
Editor-in-Chief, Ma'ariv

The time has come to instate order and the time has come to restore to Israel its power of deterrence. We are a country with enormous power, yet almost every day its weak enemies make a mockery of it without its might coming to the fore in a response, in deterrence and in prevention. We unsuccessfully try to defend ourselves and, in the meantime, terror dictates the tempo of our lives and their contents. A cloud of paralyzing gloom and fear hovers upon us. National morale is at a low, the economy is wavering on the verge of collapse and the streets and places of entertainment are deserted.

Terror has been defeating us for a year and a half. Today we wonder what we could have done a year ago, half a year ago, that perhaps might have prevented so many awful events, but we were wary and now we need to take much firmer steps to help -- and again we are wary. What will we do in another year?

There are moments in which a country must place its differences and internal rifts behind it and unite to fight for its life. On the blood-filled Passover eve in Netanya, we reached such a moment. Before we renew the arguments over accepting or rejecting the Saudi initiative, a separating fence, over withdrawal from the territories or holding onto them, we must gather together for a war for the defense for our souls, for our safety, for our lives, which have become truly impossible.

Even humane people, full of good will and with moderate outlooks, must realize that if we don't now teach the Palestinians a lesson they will not forget, if we don't teach them that they have something to lose and give them a live example of such a stinging loss, and if we don't restore our power of deterrence, we will decline into even worse situations.

We must not be deterred by what is said about us. Great praise was heaped on us when we signed the Oslo agreement and brought Arafat and his armed men here, and look what happened. The world praises us when we are restrained, but immediately afterwards, like in the last poll in Newsweek -- it poses big question marks on the very chances of our existence. We will not win this war in television broadcasts and newspaper columns all over the world, but based on what we do in practice, on the ground, in the heart of the Palestinian darkness.

Once we had pretensions of being a world spearhead, a guiding light, in the war against terror. Today we are displaying weakness and hesitation in this war. We must not continue this way.

Even we in the media must think seriously about what we do and ask: Do we not, with a cloak of arguments over the public's right to know and the press's right to be everywhere and expose everything, in fact in many cases, try to bring, under a guise of the facts, one dominant political view, one that is supported by many of the journalists and editors? Are we not thus causing the knees to shake and the hearts to be filled with trepidation of the political and military echelons and the fighters in the field? Do we indeed have nothing to learn from the glorious democratic press in the United States and the UK, which are able to bring strength in times when they must not weaken, to encourage in times when we must not be idle. True, in times like this we must not be a press of boiling blood and preaching for hatred and for going all the way, but we are allowed to demand comprehensive and firm action to protect our lives and we are allowed to unite to encourage those who must decide this and those who have the task of carrying it out.

This ran as a front page editorial in Ma'ariv on March 29, 2002

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The End of the Game??
Binyamin Netanyahu

From that Yom Kippur (1973) to this Passover, we have not had such Arab savagery mixed with such deep contempt for our people and our heritage.

What the Palestinian terrorists are saying to us is: We will murder you at every opportunity. At any place at any time, even on your holiest of days. The continuous acts of slaughter, in which the elderly and children are mowed down along with anyone within the reach of the terrorist, teach us the degree of the murderous ambitions and the depth of the hatred toward us. If the Arab terrorists had more lethal weapons, they would destroy us, down to the last of our children.

That is the first real goal of Arafat's terror regime -- not to establish a state, but to destroy a state. That was and remains the heart of the conflict. In 1948, the Arabs rejected an international proposal to establish an Arab state and tried to destroy the Jewish state immediately after it was born. 52 years later, Arafat again rejected a similar proposal and insisted on realizing the "right of return," which means the destruction of Israel.

With such a regime, whose goal is to get rid of our state and which does not find the most barbarous means of mass murder repugnant, there is no room for negotiations, and no arrangement of existing in peace is possible.

The "diplomatic option" so often talked about, was exhausted to the finish two years ago at the Camp David meeting and utterly failed. Arafat refused the Israeli proposal for Palestinian sovereignty in Judea, Samaria and Gaza and half of Jerusalem, and chose the present terror onslaught.

Only one path remains -- military victory in the war on terror forced on us. What we have to do now is not continue with our willingness to tolerate this horrible blood-spilling, which is meant to weaken our endurance, but the absolute military defeat of the enemy which forced this war on us. Such a defeat means eradicating Arafat's regime, besieging the Palestinian population centers, purging them of fighters and arms and terror means, and then setting up security separation lines that allow us to enter the Palestinian areas but prevent the Palestinians from coming into ours.

What we need, therefore, is not to choose between military victory and security separation, but a combination of the two. Only such a comprehensive operation can stop the terror, restore the Israeli deterrence that has been so eroded this past year, and enable more realistic and moderate elements among the Palestinians to reach a position of leadership, with whom, when the time comes, we can conduct negotiations on an agreement.

Any partial action, of the kind the government has carried out so far, any local actions, from restraint to a limited and short "response," forceful as it may be, has not achieved anything and will not achieve anything. It is like taking a quarter dose of antibiotics, not enough to make the patient well.

The hyper-consciousness of "what the goyim will say" does not elicit any consideration or sympathy from them. On the contrary -- it only generates growing doubt among them as to the justification of our position, and it also encourages the Arabs to increase their blood shedding. The only way to obtain understanding in the international arena, particularly in the United States, is to win quickly and stop the awful acts of slaughter of our citizens, explaining firmly and clearly our natural right to protect our people and our country.

The argument that we've exhausted all the military options to eradicate terror is groundless. We have still not used even a small part of our might, and the might we did use was not directed at the right target: Arafat's regime. It is unbelievable, but a fact, that even today, the government continues to act under the illusion that we can stop terror while accepting the existence of this regime.

What is clear is that we must not, even one more day, continue in this hesitating manner, without a goal and without a policy. We must do what any normal people would do in our situation: stop the internal arguments, return war and defeat the enemy threatening our existence.

This also ran as a front page editorial in Maariv on March 29, 2002

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Saudi Arabia's Secret Missile City in the Middle of the Desert
Ronen Bergman
Senior Investigative Journalist, Yediot Aharonot

The computer at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia chooses random names for topics and operations it deals with. "Deep Blue" is the name given to an aggregate of troubling information received by the agency at the beginning of 1988. The source of most of the reports is the NSA's monitoring of communications by the Chinese administration and military. According to these, Saudi Arabia was conducting advanced negotiations with China about the acquisition of dozens of surface-to-surface missiles built to carry nuclear weapons.

The intelligence communities of both the US and Israel were totally stunned, as until then they did not know anything about this. Officials from the CIA and the research department of IDF Intelligence sat with a compass and drew the ranges. The missiles that the Saudis planned to buy, CSS-2 as they are called in professional terminology, or Dong-Feng 3 in the Chinese version, have a range of between 2,500 to 3,500 kilometers. Such a range encompasses all of the Middle East, including parts of what was once the USSR, and, of course, all of Israel.

Officials in Israel and the US did not understand why the Saudis, who in public take a moderate and pragmatic diplomatic line, had to buy the missiles, which at the time constituted China's central nuclear attack force. Concern increased when these reports were added to reports of the great financial support given by Saudi Arabia to the development of the "first Islamic bomb," as Pakistan's atomic enterprise was called.

Israeli and American intelligence began a wide-scale campaign with a double purpose: To gather details about the deal, and an attempt to learn what the Saudis were really planning to do with the missiles. The campaign was partially successful. It turned out that 120 missiles were to be acquired, as well as 12 launchers. The Americans were especially surprised when it turned out that the person conducting the dialogue on the part of the Saudis was none other than the State Department favorite, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, the charming ambassador to Washington.

The Saudis paid a fortune for the missiles. The Chinese got the feeling from them that money was no object, and that Prince Bandar would pay any price to get his country into the prestigious club.

They're Planting the Desert with Missiles

The first CSS-2 missiles arrived in June, 1990, and were deployed in two places south of Riyadh: Most of them in the huge complex built north of the El-Suleil desert, about 500 kilometers from the capital, and a minority of them in El-Jofer, 100 kilometers from the city. The rest of the missiles arrived during the following years.

About two weeks ago, the satellite Iconus, the best civilian photographic satellite in the world, took special photos for Yediot Aharonot over El-Suleil. The photos, which appear here for the first time, prove that over the last few years the Saudis have invested huge resources in the development of a secret military city, "King Khaled."

In comparison to previously accessible photos of the region, photographed by the French satellite Spot in 1995, the intensive construction in the region, spread over hundreds of square kilometers in the heart of the desert, is clearly recognizable. The Saudis have added missile launching pads, access roads, command headquarters, a huge residential area, a mosque for the engineers and crews, as well as a huge new area, spread over 1400 square kilometers, dotted with numerous bunkers for conventional and non-conventional weapons, with a capacity of more than 60,000 cubic meters. East of El-Suleil, outside of the photographed area, is a Saudi air force base, with two Tornado squadrons.

The huge missile base is made up of a support area and two launching areas, six kilometers apart, and are located in narrow hidden ravines.

In the support area, more than 33 buildings are visible. Eight of them are large enough to store the CSS-2 missiles, which are 24 meters long. The launching areas have a scattering of buildings, and a concrete launching pad.

In each of the two launching areas, an unidentified building can be seen, covered with dust, about 50 meters long, two underground storerooms for the missiles, two large support buildings, and garages.

In comparison to the photos from 1995, a sizable expansion can be seen in the administrative and residential areas. Command headquarters installations, residential areas, a large mosque, a soccer field, a large park, parking lots, etc., can be clearly seen. The take-off area of the local airport was increased to more than three kilometers.

The weapons storage area, spread over more than 1,400 kilometers, is too big to be connected only to a CSS-2 missile base, and apparently has other secret purposes. More than 60 fortified buildings for weapons storage can clearly be identified.

For a long time it was not clear to American intelligence where the Saudis were hiding their missiles. At first they thought that they were to be found at the El Haraj air force base complex, about 50 kilometers south of Riyadh. Only through intelligence information on the ground, and careful monitoring via satellites, led the CIA to the secret military city in El-Suleil. The photos from Iconus were received according to the coordinates located previously by American intelligence.

This updated information, which Israeli and American intelligence has had for a long time, is the cause of no little headache. All this became even more relevant after 9/11, when it became clear that anything, absolutely anything, could happen, and there are those who today regret the docile line Israel adopted towards Saudi Arabia under American pressure. Buying Up Every Adversary and All Opposition

The acquisition of missiles was part of a general Saudi military build-up, which at the beginning of the nineties turned it into the number one buyer of arms among third world countries, after Iraq.

The Washington administration felt betrayed. Only several years after the huge efforts made by President Reagan to approve the sale of AWACS warning planes to the Saudis, this deal suddenly appeared, in contrast to Riyadh's declared policy, apparently without any practical need.

The angry Americans asked for explanations. The Saudis said that they needed missiles to defend themselves from Iran (which was then considered to be the most serious regional threat), and that they had decided to acquire them from China, after the US refused to sell them F-15s in 1985. In the end they were sold 24 airplanes, but the missile project, said the Saudis, was already underway.

King Fahd made a commitment not to arm the missiles with chemical or nuclear warheads, and not to use them in an initial attack. In order to allay their concerns even more, Saudi Arabia signed a nuclear non-proliferation treaty. The king made a commitment not to take part in developing a nuclear bomb, and also promised that after the missiles were in place, all military activity would be stopped in the El-Suleil region.

Fahd, to put it nicely, did not exactly keep his word. The Saudis promised to allow American supervision of the site in El-Suleil, if Washington would promise that Israel would not attack them, but in the end refused to allow visits to the site.

Following the Gulf War, the Saudis became a kind of underdog, and succeeded in directing anger to other places, mainly Iran and Iraq. Even Israel, in conversations with other countries, did not raise the Saudi issue.

In 1990, when the missiles began to arrive in El-Suleil, Israel wanted to arouse a commotion, but the US was satisfied with Fahd's promises and instructed Israel to keep a low profile. Israel in turn sufficed with registering a protest, which was a drop in the ocean in contrast to the campaigns it led against countries such as Syria and Iraq.

In the case of Saudi Arabia, even when the details of its involvement in the Pakistan nuclear project became clear, even when it was obvious that it was financing terror organizations, even when it was proven without any doubt that the Saudi family was tainted to its roots with corruption and an unstoppable desire to rule, by buying up, in essence, every enemy and all opposition, the US remained silent and compelled Israel to do the same.

September 11 upset the applecart for the Saudis. Many in the US, both within and outside the administration, felt free to express what they had been keeping inside. About four months ago, chief Pentagon strategist Richard Perl said here: In my opinion, the Saudis are not part of the solution, but part of the problem… We had all the reasons to assume that they were grateful that we saved them in the Gulf War, and we were wrong.

This piece ran in Yediot Aharonot on March 27, 2002

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Explosives Found in "Red Crescent" Ambulance
Hanan Shlein
Senior Correspondent, Maariv

A surprise roadblock manned by reservists near Ramallah exposed a Tanzim attempt to smuggle a ten kilo explosives belt hidden inside a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance.

Despite sweeping denials by the head of the Red Crescent in Ramallah, who described Israel's allegation as "lies of the occupation," officials in Israel from the Red Cross -- the organization also sponsors the Red Crescent -- admitted that they were shown information corroborating Israel's allegations.

On Wednesday morning reserve soldiers at a roadblock on the road leading to the Kalandiya intersection from Nablus noticed a Red Crescent ambulance. The soldiers ordered the driver to stop, but he continued driving and was stopped only after he was pursued. The driver behaved strangely and after a short time admitted to the soldiers that an explosives belt was hidden inside the ambulance. The soldiers immediately took out a mother and her children who were also inside, and the woman was taken for questioning.

It turned out that the driver was a Tanzim activist wanted by the GSS. In his interrogation he admitted that he had agreed -- for a sum -- to bring the explosives belt in the ambulance and to bring it to Tanzim activists in Ramallah. The woman in the car was his sister-in-law and the explosives belt, comprised of 16 pipes and containing ten kilo of explosives, was hidden under the stretcher on which one of her children was lying. "The belt was ready for a terror attack. All that needed to be done was to hand it over to a suicide bomber," a senior security source said, who also praised the soldiers' conduct and their alertness.

Israeli security sources said that there has been information for several months on the use of Red Crescent workers to pass weapons and armed men in ambulances almost freely through IDF roadblocks, exploiting the fact that there are clear instructions to try not to hinder medical teams in the territories from operating.

Only a few months ago it was learned that a Red Crescent woman volunteer in Ramallah named Wafa Idris transported a very large bomb into Jerusalem in a Red Crescent ambulance. [ . . . ] At the time, the Red Cross and the Red Crescent said there was no proof to Israel's allegations. But the picture changed around on Wednesday and the Red Cross expressed great regret at the use made of the Red Crescent ambulance to smuggle an explosives belt from Ramallah.

Israeli security sources believe that Tanzim-Fatah leaders, including Marwan Barghouti, intended to give the belt to a suicide bomber from the El-Aksa Martyrs Brigades to carry out a terror attack inside Israel. This attack may have been scheduled to take place during Passover in Jerusalem.

This piece ran in Maariv
on March 29, 2002

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