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Iran Claims Missile with 2,000-km Range (Reuters/Financial Times)
Iran can launch a missile as far as 2,000 km (1,250 miles), former President Rafsanjani said Tuesday, substantially increasing the announced range of the Islamic state's military capabilities.
Such a missile would be capable of hitting Israel or parts of southeastern Europe.
Abu Mazen: The Whole Intifada Was a Mistake (MEMRI)
Former PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) told the Jordanian daily Al-Rai on 27 Sep 04:
"I think now that that the intifada in its entirety was a mistake and it should not have continued, and in particular what is called 'the militarization of the intifada.'"
It was thought "that after the killing of 1,000 Israelis in the intifada, Israel would collapse, as would Sharon....[But] Sharon did not fall. On the contrary, he has become the most popular [leader] in the history of Israel...[and] we damaged our relations with the Americans and with Israeli public opinion."
U.S.-Israel Panel Discusses U.S. Weapon Sales to Arab States - Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)
The joint security forum of the U.S. Congress and the Knesset has just concluded a week-long series of meetings in Washington.
Discussions included the Iranian nuclear threat, as well as Israel's concern about the sale of various weapon systems to Arab countries, particularly Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
At issue are anti-missile systems, sophisticated fighter pilot electronic control systems, and missile-bearing ships and tanks.
Christians Visit Israel in Solidarity - Laurie Copans (AP/Washington Post)
Led by American evangelist Pat Robertson, thousands of Christian pilgrims gathered in the Holy Land this week to express support for Israel.
More than 4,000 people joined this year's annual pilgrimage, about 25% higher than the past three years, according to organizers with the International Christian Embassy.
Indians and Eskimos Cheer Wounded Israeli Children
A delegation of Indians and Eskimos from northern Canada visited wounded Israeli children at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem in order to show their solidarity. (See photo)
Four Years of Conflict: Israel's War Against Terrorism (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
A detailed report by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) describes and analyzes various aspects of the conflict since September 29, 2000.
The report looks at involvement in terrorism by Hizballah, Israeli Arabs, eastern Jerusalem residents, women, children and teenagers, the family unification program, illegal residents, prisoners, and Palestinian security forces.
It also looks at the effect of the separation barrier, confiscation of terrorism funds, Kassam rockets, and smuggling tunnels.
Quantities of weapons brought in from Egypt, through tunnels and by smuggling through the Negev (based on catches and intelligence) - January to September 2004:
2,000 kg shrapnel explosive,
580,000 light arms ammunition,
6,700 assault rifles,
750 anti-tank launchers,
18 machine guns and sniper arms,
33 mortars, and
5 anti-aircraft missiles.
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
U.S. Vetoes Anti-Israel UN Resolution
The U.S. Tuesday vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning Israel for its incursion into the Gaza Strip, calling the resolution "lopsided and unbalanced" because it failed to mention Palestinian rocket attacks against Israeli civilians that triggered the action.
There were 11 votes in favor, while Britain, Germany, and Romania abstained, but the U.S. veto, the seventh cast by the Bush administration on a resolution that condemned Israeli actions, blocked its adoption.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Danforth said, "The resolution today encourages the terrorists."
Palestinian representative Nasser Kidwa said after the vote that he is considering calling for an emergency session of the UN General Assembly to press for Israel's condemnation. (Washington Post)
IDF: Indictments to be Filed Against 13 UN Employees
Israel has arrested 13 UN employees in the Gaza Strip and plans to indict them for "suspected links to terrorism,"
IDF chief of operations Maj.-Gen. Yisrael Ziv said Tuesday. (Reuters)
See also Israel Insists Terrorists Exploit UNRWA (Jerusalem Post)
In Jabalya, "The Truth Does Not Help Us" - Donald Macintyre
The message blared through the loudspeakers of many Gaza mosques: "We send congratulations to the people and to Hamas, who tonight killed seven Israeli soldiers in Jabalya. Give thanks to God for this successful operation, which destroyed an Israeli tank, killing all the soldiers inside."
Except that while an explosion did occur near an Israeli armored vehicle on Monday night, no soldiers were killed.
"It's the people that lie to themselves," said Hussam, an English-speaking Palestinian, bleakly struggling to explain the wishful thinking of many Jabalya residents, despite what looks like increasingly futile armed resistance. "The truth does not help us." (Independent-UK)
See also In Desperation, Palestinians Spin Tales to Rally Support - Michael Matza
On Tuesday, many in Jabalya believed that as many as 47 Israeli soldiers had been killed in overnight fighting in the Gaza Strip. They passed out candy to celebrate.
In truth, no Israelis died, but residents interviewed clung to the belief that "resistance fighters" had scored a big success.
The constant buzz of Israeli surveillance drones could be heard everywhere, though the small unmanned aircraft - capable of missile fire - were not visible, which only heightened the sense of apprehension. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Policy Analyst Said to Have Rejected Plea Deal
Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin, being investigated for allegedly helping pass secrets to Israel, has stopped cooperating with authorities and retained a new lawyer to fight possible espionage charges, sources familiar with the case said Tuesday.
Federal prosecutors had proposed an agreement under which Franklin would plead guilty to some of the charges. But sources said Franklin had rejected a proposed deal because he believed the terms were too onerous.
Some U.S. officials familiar with the investigation have said there was little hard evidence that Franklin intended to commit espionage and no hint that he was paid for any role he might have played.
The classified information he is suspected of sharing includes a draft version of a national security presidential directive on Iran that discussed measures the U.S. could take to help destabilize the regime in Tehran. But officials also have said that the draft contained little in the way of sensitive secrets that had not been reported by the media. (Los Angeles Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
IDF Kills Islamic Jihad Commander in Gaza - Amos Harel and Arnon Regular
An IAF helicopter fired a missile at a car in Shati near Gaza City Tuesday, killing the head of Islamic Jihad's Al-Quds Brigade, Bashir Al-Dabash, 38, and his bodyguard, Ahmed Al-Ar'er. Dabash was responsible for dozens of attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers, and was directly responsible for the deaths of eight Israelis. (Ha'aretz)
Weisglass: Gaza Plan Aims to Freeze Peace Process - Ari Shavit
Prime Minister Sharon's senior adviser Dov Weisglass, one of the initiators of the disengagement plan, said in an interview to appear Friday:
"The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process. And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders, and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress."
"What I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns. That is the significance of what we did." In addition, "out of 240,000 settlers, 190,000 will not be moved from their place." (Ha'aretz)
A Balancing Act in Jabalya - Margot Dudkevitch
Soldiers are thoroughly briefed and are extremely cautious, doing their utmost to avoid causing injury to the civilian population.
"There have been a number of occasions when we allowed cells firing anti-tank rockets at us to flee because they chose to launch the attacks from the backyards of people's homes, and we refused to shoot at them, fearing civilians would be harmed," St.-Sgt. Ori said.
Maj. Itamar said they also try to avoid demolishing local homes, doing so "only when it will grant us a better view of areas from which Kassam rockets are fired, or if terrorists launch attacks from the buildings, thereby endangering the troops." (Jerusalem Post)
Palestinian Terrorists Kill Thai Worker at Kfar Darom in Gaza - Amos Harel and Nir Hasson
Three armed Palestinian terrorists who infiltrated the hothouses of Kfar Darom in the southern Gaza Strip were killed by IDF troops on Wednesday.
A worker from Thailand was killed in the fighting. (Ha'aretz)
Berlusconi: Italy will Support Israeli EU Membership
- Hadas Manor
"Italy will support Israeli membership in the EU," Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi told Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Olmert in Rome last Wednesday. "As far as Italy is concerned, Israel is completely European in terms of its standard of living, heritage, and cultural values," Berlusconi said. He noted that he had refused to meet Arafat during a visit to Israel, and announced that Italy would include Hizballah in its list of terrorist organizations. (Globes)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Life Without UNRWA - Editorial
The UN should disband its main Palestinian aid organization, UNRWA. The agency has become intertwined with some of the most radical elements in Palestinian society and its affiliation with terrorists is bringing shame upon the UN.
In May, after Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip, UNRWA ambulances were caught on tape smuggling terrorists out of the area. Late that same month, an Israeli newscast broadcast footage showing armed terrorists using UNRWA ambulances to flee.
UNRWA-administered schools have been found to be teaching anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel.
Every Hamas member drawing an UNRWA salary frees up money in Hamas's budget for terror operations.
Disengagement from the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Aluf Benn
The international community has despaired of the Israeli-Palestinian bloodletting and has filed it in the drawer of chronic conflicts, like Kashmir, where it's a pity to waste one's energy. The cliche that calm in the Holy Land is important to preserve both regional stability and the price of oil has been proved false. The Israeli convention that it's important to win a war quickly, before the great powers impose a cease-fire that favors the Arabs, has also collapsed. The great powers no longer care. (Ha'aretz)
The Great Refusal - Saul Singer
Shin Bet head Avi Dichter has testified that 45% of the PA budget is composed of taxes collected by Israel from Palestinians and duly remitted. During the height of the current war, Israel suspended these payments, but they were restored in response to American pressure.
There is no reason for Europe to financially cut off Arafat before the U.S. stops pressuring Israel to maintain its money flow. As long as these funds are not cut off, the U.S. seems unready to help bring in the new Palestinian leadership it has called for.
The real source of the Arab-Israeli conflict is not settlements, and not just the Arab penchant for dictatorship. It is the almost century-old Arab attempt to deny any Jewish right to self-determination in Israel.
The first step is to address what Fouad Ajami calls "the great refusal" that "persists in that 'Arab street' of ordinary men and women, among the intellectuals and the writers, and in the professional syndicates among the secularists and the Islamists alike." The Palestinian predicament is the result, not the source of, the conflict. It is not a "conflict" in the usual sense of a fight over something to be divided. So long as there is a refusal to accept Israel in any borders, all other questions are moot.
From Terrorism to Tolerance - Jim Hoagland
The struggle that most Americans call the war on terrorism will be won by Muslims and lost by Muslims at its now-distant end.
The next administration will need to pursue a revised strategy that puts Muslim governments and institutions on the front line of a civil war within Islam that the U.S. was drawn into on Sept. 11, 2001.
The mobilizing utility of the "war on terrorism" label has run its course. To continue to use it for rhetorical or organizational purposes would obscure the moral, political, and social responsibilities that Muslim societies must now assume to cleanse themselves of fanatical fringe groups and ideologies.
The military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq - the operational definition of the "war on terrorism" - have had this clarifying effect: Muslim governments that for more than a quarter-century ignored or sought to profit from the spread of intolerance toward non-Muslims can no longer pursue those options with impunity. The intolerance they countenanced or actively encouraged has metastasized into an all-consuming ideology of religious hatred that now threatens them as well.
Keeping Kassams Out of the West Bank - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)
- The battle taking place in the northern Gaza Strip is not only about the firing of Kassam rockets at Sderot. The results of the operation will certainly affect the efforts of Hamas to advance to the next stage and turn the West Bank into a base for launching of Kassams.
- If Hamas succeeds in establishing a rocket-launching system in the West Bank, the Kassam problem will be transformed from a purely military one to one of strategic magnitude. Cities like Kfar Sava, Rosh Ha'ayin, Hadera, and Beit She'an will be within range of the rockets, as will the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
It would take no more than a "little drizzle" of Kassams toward Ben-Gurion Airport for most airlines to cease flying there.
- Five attempts at large-scale Kassam production have been foiled by the Shin Bet and the IDF. At a Hamas factory in Nablus, 60 rockets were in an advanced stage of production. Ten rockets had already been transferred to Jenin, where they were seized.
- Despite the large amount of force being employed by the IDF in Gaza, there is restraint in its use. Obviously, this will not be the case should Kassam rockets be launched from the West Bank.
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