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March 28, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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PAGE 36 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 28, : -91r By Matthew Gutman TEL AVIV (JTA)--In addi- tion to the profit, being in the world's technological vanguard can also yield dan- ger. According to senior Israeli military officers, the threat to Israel ratcheted up a few levels last week when Iraq's foreign minister, Nadji Sabri, declared that "Israel is taking part in this aggres- sion against Iraq. It's send- ing missiles. We found a missile, an Israeli missile, in Baghdad." Sabri offered no proof to back up the alle- gation, but media have broadcast pictures of mis- sile fragments printed with the words "Made in Jerusa- lem." The development raised anxiety levels in the Israel Defense Force that had been lowered since U.S. forces seized airfields in western Iraq in the early days of the war, minimizing the chance that Iraq would be able to fire missiles into Is- rael. "Israel is now fully in the center of this war picture," one military source told JTA. For all Saddam Hussein's posturing, the Israeli intel- ligence community views him as a man of his word and a rational actor. When Saddam vowed to attack Israel before the 1991 Persian Gulf War, intelli- gence officials believed him - and he followed through. When he seemed to omit Israel from bellicose speeches this winter, Israel reacted by predicting a"very, By Gil Sedan JERUSALEM (JTA)-- Hardly a day passed since the outbreak of the new Gulf War before the Palestinians had their first war hero. Ahmad Baz, 33, a bus driver from the West Bank city of Jenin, reportedly was hit March 20 by an Ameri- can missile just as he was about to cross the border with his bus from Iraq into Jordan. Mourners who gathered at the family's mourning tent noted how symbolic it was that a Palestinian should be one of the first casualties of the war: Of all Arab peoples, the Palestinians are prob- ably the closest supporters of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Thousands have poured into the streets just as in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, chanting the familiar slo- gans "Darling Saddam, send your rockets to Tel Aviv." Saddam has been among the most generous underwriters of the intifada, dispersing payments of $10,000 to $25,000 to the families of those killed fighting Israel. Special premiums are paid to the families of suicide bombers. In addition, Palestinians value his willingness to stand up to the United States, which is seen here as the patron of Israel. The war finds the Pales- tinians at a delicate cross- roads, and they are rather confused. The man in the street hates the United very low probability of an Iraqi attack." With American missiles wrecking buildings in Baghdad with the fre- quency and regularity of a metronome, it is likely that Iraq will dig out many more Israeli parts from the debris. Israel is, after all, the world's third largest exporter of arms, earning $3.5 billion a year in arms sales, according to Jane's Defense Weekly. What's more, Israeli tech- nology is spread through- out the American army. Is- raeli high-tech material pur- chased by America ranges from Popeye air-to-surface missiles to Hunter and Pio- neer unmanned drones, to computer systems on Brad- ley mechanized vehicles. Israeli defense officials cringed when Joel Johnson, a spokesman for the Aero- space Industries Associa- tion, a Washington-based in- dustry lobby, proclaimed last week that "we'll be shooting down some" French-built "Mirage s, I think, if the Ira- qis ever come up. We may shoot them with an Israeli missile, from a U.S. war- plane." Officials at Israel Military Industries and Is- rael Aircraft Industries are proud that the United States chooses Israeli components, but wary of explicit mention of their use in Iraq. "All we know is that the Hunter and Pioneer" un- manned aerial vehicles "were co-developed with and now utilized by the Ameri- can Army," one cautious IAI official said on condition of anonymity. States for its support of Is- rael, but the recent appoint- ment of Mahmoud Abbas as the new Palestinian Author- ity premier, following heavy pressure on P.A. President Yasser Arafat from the coun- tries that drafted the "road map" toward Israeli-Pales- tinian peace, shows the Pal- estinians' dependence on American goodwill. Indeed, British Prime Minister Tony Blair pushed President Bush in mid- March to commit to imple- mentation of the road map, while French President Jacques Chirac proposed a French initiative for a post- war conference on the Middle East to discuss implementation of the road map. Even though they know the road map's path to an independent state is long and bumpy, the Palestinians realize it is the only formula now on the table for an inde- pendent state. Many Palestinians hope the American attempt to re- construct after Iraq the war ends up as a nasty, failed entanglement. That might weaken U.S. standing in the world, while strengthening those players -- the United Nations, Europe and Russia -- that opposed the war and are seen as more sympa- thetic to Palestinian inter- ests in the road map. On the other hand, as the Israeli daily Ha'aretz notes, a suc- cessful war could result in the weakening of the United Nations and Europe. Last Friday, Jerusalem po- Israel is trying to keep a low profile in the current conflict, according to re- serve Col. Shimon Byorski, former chief of the Iraq de- partment at military intelli- gence. Tying Israel to the U.S. campaign on Iraq "gives Iraq options in case Saddam wishes to change his strat- egy in the future and attack Israel," Byorski said. In that case, Saddam might try to describe such aggression as retribution for "Israeli mis- siles fired at Iraq." Accord- ing to Byorski, Saddam's only strategy is survival. While it might not serve his purposes to attack Israel now - it would show that he still has Scud missiles and could cost him international sup- port - using the myth of "Is- raeli aggression" might serve Saddam once the coalition's noose is closing around his neck. Still, Byorski said, "Right now, Saddam has no inten- tion of spoiling the anti-war rallies in the U.S. and Eu- rope by showing the world that he possesses the very weapons he claims he doesn't" have. No missiles have been fired from Israel at Iraq. But one would be hard-pressed to separate the Israeli weap- ons development industry from America's tools of war. Even one of the venerable symbols of American hege- mony, the B-52 bomber, uses Israeli-engineered Popeye air-to-surface missiles against ground targets. Developed by Rafael, a lice had to disperse by force a demonstration of Palestin- ians coming out of weekly prayers on the Temple Mount. The protestors chanted slogans against Israel, the United States and Arab coun- tries which were accused of standing idle in the face of an attack against another Arab nation. Protestors burned Israeli and American flags and raised Iraqi flags instead, as well as Saddam posters -- along with posters of yet another Arab hero, Osama bin Laden. The demonstrations car- ried a clear message: The war in Iraq and the ongoing confrontation between Is- rael and the Palestinians are part and parcel of the same Western offensive against the Arabs. That line was stressed by Abdul Aziz Rantisi, the Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip. Some members of Humus and Arafat's Fatah move- ment have called for suicide bombers to attack American targets. But Rantisi said Humus would not attack American citizens "because we limit our fight to the Palestinian arena and the struggle against the Zionist enemy." But Humus declared Mon- day to be a day of fasting in support of Saddam Hussein. In contrast, the Palestin- ian Authority has main- tained a low profile since war broke out. Palestinian po- licemen did not try to dis- A decoy missile like this ITALD (Improved TacticalAir Launched Decoy), Military Industries, may have been found in Baghdad after an American airstrike. company affiliated with Israel's Defense Ministry, the Popeye is among dozens of products designed or de- veloped jointly by U.S. and Israeli labs. It's even possible that the Israeli-designed Hunte~ drones are currently being used against tanks firing on American troops in Iraq. Ac- cording to sources, U.S. Ma- rines are using the Pioneer, which is of a similar design genealogy to the Hunter, to scout Iraqi defenses. Both are closely related to the Predator drone that U.S. troops used to kill six Al- Qaida operatives last Novem- ber in Yemen. Rafael also is the de- signer of the Litening Tar- geting Pods used to fire precision weapons from the Marines' AV-8B Harrier jet, as well as F-15s and F-16s flown by the Air Force Re- serves and Army National Guard, Lova Drori, Rafael's director of international marketing, told The Asso- ciated Press. Israeli technology contin- ues to focus on its strengths: automation and miniatur- ization. IAI is cooperating in the development of a credit-card sized drone de- signed to transmit real-time battlefield images. The lightweight drone is to be fitted with sensi lightweight cameras will transmit the ima highly mobile computers. The drone was one erai space-age and designs unveiled Februaq ebration. The of the miniature comes as the demand unmanned a is skyrocketing. It's unfortunate Israel's technology is 1 used as the West," Byorski said.' as we have seen useful to use the Israel against the West." am rupt the pro-Saddam dem- onstrations, as they did the pro-bin Laden demonstra- tions after the Sept. 11 ter- ror attacks. But Palestinian officials refrained from mak- ing strong anti-American statements. By contrast, the AI-Aksa Martyrs Brigade called for attacks on U.S British and Israeli targets around the world because of the war in Iraq. The group, which is affili- ated with Palestinian Au- thority President Yasser Arafat's Fatah Party, said the three countries are attempt- ing to take control of Arab and Muslim resources through "terror and massa- cres." P.A. officials said the statement does not reflect official Fatah policy. They realize that if they hope to gain anything from the war it will be thanks to American and European ef- forts to appease the Arab world by pushing toward an Israeli-Palestinian settle- ment. Bush's road map speech on the eve of war elicited positive reactions from influentials in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Arab League and even the Central Commit- tee of the PLO. But Palestinian leaders -- even within the Palestinian Authority -- arc at odds among themselves regard- ing the plan, which was drafted by the diplomatic "Quartet" of the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia. The PLO's Central Corn- mittee issued a statement ex- pressing gratitude to Bush for "his special vision re- garding the solution which would lead to the establish- ment of an independent and democratic Palestinian state." But the statement added that the road map should not be opened to sentiment. Hassan Kashef, dil general of the P.A.'s mation Ministry, the Palestinian Hayat al-Jadida that did not deserve "The Arabs will not Bush's upcoming amendments -- as Bush- againstIraqj hinted and as the Israelis would like --- but should be implemented immediately as is. That, at least, was the view of Palestinian figures such as Ararat adviser Nabil Abu- Rudeineh; Saeb Erekat, the P.A.'s minister for munici- pal affairs; and Ahmed Karia, chairman of the Palestinian legislative council. Desperate for a way to climb down from the tree of the intifada without surren- dering or losing face, the Palestinian leadership is backing the road map be- cause of its call for an end to the negotiations by 2005 with the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Palestinian position is that it is necessary to set a precise timeline for imple- mentation of the plan as is, and not to be drawn into endless procrastination due to changes and corrections as demanded by the Israeli government. However, other senior P.A. officials such as Nabil Sha'ath, minister of plan- ning and international co- operation, expressed disap- pointment with Bush's speech, describing it as a hollow attempt to address promised to road map," Kashef "The facts are that the "will only serve Israe deed, Israelis gener gard Saddarn a positive deveio could contribute to )ilit) The difference in Jerusalem. part of the capital, were walking the carrying their gas cheering the reP progress of coalition in Iraq and credibility of reports Saddam was hurt. Just a few streetS Arab residents of Jerusalem were der ing in favor of weren't carrying were expressing that even if he wouldn't touch city of Jerusalem d, Arab residents di food, medicine, and water, unlike lis, however, they for fear of a missile attack, but fear that Israel war to take securitY J that impose ful on them.