Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
The Perils of American Micro-management - Ben Caspit (Maariv-Hebrew, 25 May 04)
Palestinian Terrorists Exploit UN Vehicles (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center/Center for Special Studies)
Waking Up to the Terror Threat in Thailand - John R. Bradley (Straits Times-Singapore)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Attorney General John Ashcroft said Wednesday, "Credible intelligence from multiple sources indicates that al-Qaeda plans to attempt an attack on the United States in the next few months. This disturbing intelligence indicates al-Qaeda's specific intention to hit the United States hard."
The FBI has released the names of seven individuals accused of links to al-Qaeda, including a U.S. convert to Islam, a Pakistani woman known as an al-Qaeda operative who studied in the U.S., and two Africans indicted in the 1998 terrorist bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. "They all pose a clear and present danger to America. They all should be considered armed and dangerous," said Ashcroft. (VOA News)
See also U.S. Official: Nonconventional Attacks Possible
One U.S. official said there is a danger that the next major attack will involve chemical, biological, or radiological weapons. "A WMD attack remains on the table for the bad guys," the official said, in reference to weapons of mass destruction. (Washington Times)
See also Al-Qaeda Has 18,000 Militants Ready to Strike
Al-Qaeda has more than 18,000 militants ready to strike, the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said Tuesday. "Al-Qaeda remains a viable and effective network of networks," it said. IISS said 2,000 al-Qaeda members and more than half of the group's 30 leaders had been killed or captured, and that the 1,000 al-Qaeda militants in Iraq were a minute fraction of its potential strength. The IISS said the Madrid train bombings in March suggested al-Qaeda had now fully reconstituted and had set its sights firmly on the U.S. and its closest allies in Europe. (Reuters/Yahoo)
Hamas never could have developed such a strong terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip without the help of Egypt, Dr. Yuval Steinitz, head of Israel's Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said Tuesday. "Until now the Egyptian policy enabled Israelis and Palestinians to bleed together. They did almost nothing to prevent smuggling into Gaza," said Steinitz. "They actually enabled Hamas to transfer [weapons and make Gaza] a strategic and logistical base." Steinitz compared Egypt's relationship to Hamas to that of Syria and Hizballah, where Syria enables and provides for Hizballah to continue to operate in southern Lebanon. (CNSNews)
India’s close defense ties with Israel could continue, Indian Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Wednesday. Asked about India’s ties with Israel, he said: “Running a coalition government is a problem....But whatever is for the safety and security of the country will be done." (Statesman-India)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israeli police have uncovered a network that smuggled PA officers, including members of Arafat's elite Force 17 personal protection unit, into Israel in fake ambulances, and may also have smuggled terrorists into Israel using the same method. Police recently arrested an Arab with Israeli citizenship suspected of posing as an ambulance driver and illegally bringing into Israel dozens of Palestinians disguised as sick patients. The "patients" were hooked up to medical devices inside the ambulances and presented forged documents at Israeli checkpoints. Police recently raided a warehouse near Jerusalem in which commercial vehicles were transformed into ambulances. (Ha'aretz)
Nearly four years of terrorism have failed to break the morale or undermine the resilience of the Israeli public, according to a survey by the University of Haifa's National Security Studies Center. The level of patriotism among Jews remains very high, with 87% saying in April that they love and are proud of their country. Some 88% of Israeli Jews said they viewed Israel as their home and had no intention of leaving. According to the head of the center, Prof. Gabriel Ben-Dor, these findings show that despite the fear and anxiety over the terror threat, the vast majority of the Jewish public is extremely patriotic, and the aim of the terrorists in trying to undermine morale and force people to leave has not succeeded.
The survey also showed that a relatively large minority of Israeli Arab Muslims, some 37%, said they love and are proud of Israel, while 68% said they would never consider leaving the country. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The name Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, listed with the rank of Lt.-Col., appears on three captured rosters of officers in Saddam Fedayeen, the elite paramilitary group run by Saddam's son Uday and entrusted with doing much of the regime's dirty work. If Shakir was an officer in the Fedayeen, it would establish a direct link between Iraq and the al-Qaeda operatives who planned 9/11. Shakir was present at the January 2000 al-Qaeda "summit" in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at which the 9/11 attacks were planned. (Wall Street Journal)
U.S. officials are investigating reports that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad is playing a major role in fomenting the terrorist insurgency in Iraq. Assad's government has collaborated with the terrorist network run by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, responsible for coordinating many of the suicide bombings and other attacks in Iraq over the past year. It is difficult to believe that Syria will be allowed to continue this behavior indefinitely without a much more forceful response from the U.S. (Washington Times)
More than a dozen Palestinian reporters have been attacked since September 2003. The three major PLO-controlled dailies - Al Quds, Al Hayam, and Al Hayat al Jadeeda - are Palestinian versions of the Soviet-era Pravda. Since Israel's Operation Defensive Shield in March 2002 that reduced Arafat's control in West Bank cities, Palestinian journalists and reformers have become more outspoken. However, direct criticism of Arafat in the local press is not tolerated and there is widespread self-censorship by most Palestinian journalists. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
In both the case of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the demonization of Israeli policy, without including the context of the Israeli actions, highlights the continued political exploitation of the rhetoric of human rights and the terminology of international law. It is also consistent with the active role of these groups at the 2001 Durban conference, and in other cases since then.
In the case of Gaza, as before, the NGOs fail to offer realistic alternatives to respond to the intelligence information regarding a shipment of Katyusha rockets and shoulder-launched missiles being prepared on the Egyptian side for smuggling into the tunnels. Should Israel tolerate the shipment of weapons to terrorist groups that are used to kill innocent Israeli civilians as well as Israeli soldiers? If so, HRW and Amnesty would be denying Israelis the most basic of human rights - the right to life. (NGO Monitor)
Planning for Gaza in a Post-Disengagement Environment - Gerald M. Steinberg (Jerusalem Post)
Today's issue of the Daily Alert was prepared in Israel on Isru Chag.
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