Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

March 4, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Cellphone Chips Helped Track Global Terror Web - Don Van Natta Jr. and Desmond Butler (New York Times)
    For two years, investigators were able to track the conversations and movements of several al-Qaeda leaders and dozens of operatives after determining that the suspects favored a particular brand of cellphone chip.
    Swisscom once sold Subscriber Identity Module cards that connect cellphones to networks without asking buyers for identification, making its cards a favorite with terrorists.
    But investigators were able to match the numbers with terror suspects and track some down in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and several European countries.
    In 2002, German authorities monitored calls by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who has been linked to al-Qaeda, in which he could be heard ordering attacks on Jewish targets in Germany.
    Terrorists have now largely abandoned cellphones and instead use e-mail, Internet phone calls, and hand-delivered messages.


Muslim Group Opposes Arafat's Burial on Temple Mount - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Leaflets distributed in Jerusalem on Wednesday by the Muslim Liberation Party called for thwarting Arafat's plan to be buried on the Temple Mount.
    Referring to Arafat, the leaflet said: "We warn this wicked infidel, who married a Christian infidel, against contemplating desecrating the holy Aksa Mosque."
    The last Palestinian to be buried on the Temple Mount was Faisal Husseini, the former PLO representative in Jerusalem, who was buried at the site in 2001, despite fierce opposition from some Palestinians who said the privilege should be reserved only for devout Muslim figures.


China Province to Extend Agricultural Cooperation with Israel (Xinhua-China)
    Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province will extend its agricultural cooperation with Israel, exchanging experiences in agricultural production and boosting the application of modern technologies.
    Moshe Vered, president of Israeli Matan World Ltd., foresaw cooperation in organic food production, irrigation systems, greenhouse equipment, and related technology.


India Building Electric Fence Along Kashmir (AP/canada.com)
    India will finish building a 550-kilometer electric fence along the Kashmir border with its nuclear-armed rival Pakistan this summer, the Indian army chief said Monday.
    Indian officials say the fence will help block infiltration by Pakistani-based separatist rebels.
    More than 65,000 people have died in the fighting since 1989.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Other Attacks Averted in Iraq, General Says
    Gen. John Abizaid, head of the military's Central Command, told the House Armed Services Committee that raids by American special forces and efforts by the Iraqi police foiled several terrorist attacks intended to accompany those that killed as many as 185 people in Iraq Tuesday. In Basra, police found a car packed with 550 pounds of explosives with a remote control detonator at a gas station near the path of a Shiite procession. In Kirkuk, police defused a large bomb planted on the side of a road where Shiites had planned to march. "Down, down America!" mourners chanted in Karbala. "No, no Israel! No, no terrorists!" (New York Times)
  • Britain Ready to Fund Palestinian Security Force
    The British government is ready to fund the unification of Palestinian security forces if the Palestinian Authority fulfils a pledge to bring them under a central command, diplomats said Wednesday. The British initiative would help the PA fulfill one of its key commitments under the international "road map." Previous attempts to bring the disparate forces under central command have foundered because of disputes within the leadership. (Financial Times-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Bomb Wounds Israeli Motorist - Margot Dudkevitch
    A female Israeli motorist was lightly wounded Wednesday by a roadside bomb near Beit Omar between Bethlehem and Hebron. Also Wednesday, an Arab assailant hurled a firebomb at a Jewish home in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. Police were able to apprehend the suspect shortly after the attack, as he was filmed by a surveillance camera. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Rocket Lands Near Netzarim Kindergarten - Ronen Greenberg
    A Kassam rocket landed near a kindergarten in Netzarim in Gaza Thursday, lightly wounding a passerby. The kindergarten was slightly damaged and was not occupied at the time of the blast. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • 3 Hamas Terrorists Killed in IAF Gaza Strike - Margot Dudkevitch
    Three Hamas terrorists were killed in an IAF missile attack on their car near Netzarim in Gaza Wednesday. Security officials said the three were involved in numerous attacks in and around the Netzarim area and were planning to launch an attack in the near future. Palestinian reports said they were on their way to fire a rocket at Netzarim when they were hit. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Gazan Terrorist Dies in "Work Accident" - Arnon Regular
    Awani Kaloub, a member of the Popular Resistance Committee, was killed Thursday in an explosion in his house in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian security officials said he was apparently preparing a bomb that exploded prematurely. Seven of his relatives in the house were injured. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel, U.S. Examining How PM's Plan Affects Arafat - Aluf Benn
    Israel and the U.S. are examining the ramifications of Prime Minister Sharon's disengagement plan on the Palestinian leadership, with the aim of exploiting a withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank in order to bring an end to Arafat's leadership. In talks this week in Washington, Israeli officials said the young generation in the Palestinian leadership welcomed the disengagement plan, while Arafat and his supporters were "outraged."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Islam's Civil War - Jim Hoagland
    The latest waves of holy murders should shake from their fantasies the Islamic political leaders and religious authorities who deny that a war for control of Islam is raging around them. The war will claim many more lives if Muslim society does not face up to the cancerous growth feeding on Islam and lead - not join, but lead - the fight against that cancer. King Abdullah of Jordan, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and their cohorts can no longer avoid dealing forthrightly with the words and bloody "religious" deeds proclaimed by al-Qaeda and its associates in terror. (Washington Post)
  • Invitation to War - Uri Dan
    The absurd idea that Israel should transfer responsibility for security for the southern Gaza Strip - the Philadelphia corridor - to Egypt arose last week. Sharon proposed his plan for disengagement from the Palestinians after he despaired, with good reason, of reaching even some kind of interim arrangement with the Palestinians in this generation. But transferring responsibility for the security of the southern Gaza-Egypt border to Cairo would endanger the cold peace with Egypt. Israel was forced to go to war against Egypt in 1956 when terrorist attacks from the Egyptian-controlled Gaza Strip against the south became unbearable. (Jerusalem Post)
  • In Gaza, the Tunnels Lead to Death - Mitch Potter
    According to IDF battalion commander Lt.-Col. Adam, the Palestinians build tunnels to maintain their weapons supply. "A few years ago they were quite crude, but now they come wired for electricity and ventilation, with tracks and winches to pull the supplies across from Egypt." One year ago, the IDF completed work on a new corrugated steel barrier that plunged at least 5 meters beneath the surface. The Palestinian response was to tunnel even deeper, to depths of as much as 30 meters below ground. "What we're finding now is that the newest tunnels don't even have an apparent opening. The tunnel is created with the entrance inside a house in Rafah, then sealed off with concrete and freshly tiled overtop," said Adam. "When they get the signal that the shipment is inside the tunnel, they break it open and transport everything in a single night. And then it is resealed." (Toronto Star)
  • Terrorism Will Stalk Long After Bin Laden's Gone - Robert Andrews
    This is not a war about Israel. Or U.S. foreign policy. Or global inequities. It is a war on Western culture. It will not end until the U.S. recognizes that the threat is rooted in an extremist religious ideology that fuels organizations such as al-Qaeda. President Bush and other leaders never have missed an opportunity to announce that we are not at war with Islam. True, we are not. But to prove this, we tiptoe around the brutal fact that an extremist portion of Islam considers itself at war with us. By ignoring this insurgency's religious mainspring, we avoid facing the monumental job of draining the radical Islamist fundamentalist swamp that will produce successors to today's bin Ladens and generations of suicide "martyrs" to continue their war against us. The writer served as deputy assistant Secretary of Defense (2001-2002). (USA Today)
  • Observations:

    Krauthammer: Security Fence is "Moral" - Shruti Mathur
    (Johns Hopkins News-Letter)

    Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer told students at Johns Hopkins University last week:

    • The Land of Israel has always been the Jewish homeland. The Jews are the only people on the planet who live the same way as they did 3,000 years ago.
    • When the Jews returned, they found a new people living in their house. And despite constant peace efforts on the side of the Israelis, partition, and compensation methods, the Arabs continued to fight them and to lose. It is a continuous story of offering and rejecting compromise.
    • In 1967, Israel ended up with territory it never meant to claim or attempted to seize. But given the circumstances of its being attacked, there was no choice.
    • The issue is that they want to eradicate the Jewish state, and a peace can never be reached if one side is not accepting of the other's claim to exist. If that had not been a central issue, the crisis would have ended in November 1947 when the borders were first being drawn up.
    • Israel is doing what anyone would do, putting up a fence as a barrier to terrorism. It is a fact that it is protecting lives, and I feel it is a scandal and disgrace that that action, a response to terrorism that has killed more than 900 Jews in the past three and a half years, and not the terrorism itself is being tried at The Hague. And the fact that it is happening in Europe is twice the disgrace. As a line of defense, there is no question it is the moral thing to do.
    • Having it on the "green line" would only encourage Hamas and distort the strategic situation. There has to be a price for rejection of peace and for terror.


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