Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

November 29, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

IDF: 70% Decline in Palestinian Attacks in the Territories Since Arafat's Death - Amir Rappaport, Amit Cohen, and Osnot Shostack (Maariv-Hebrew, 26Nov04)
    IDF data shows that during the past two weeks, the number of attacks and shootings in the territories has declined by 70%.
    "In practice, this is practically a hudna (ceasefire)," said one senior IDF source.
    However, security sources emphasize that it is too early to announce the death of the intifada.
    There are still 40 warnings of impending attacks, and there are many parties interested in carrying out attacks against Israel.
    Senior political sources explained Thursday that "Israel is also restraining itself and acting as if there was a 'semi-hudna.'"
    They emphasized Israel's efforts to limit offensive operations that would heat up the atmosphere among Palestinians and complicate the upcoming PA elections.
    Due to the many warnings of impending terrorist attacks, it was decided to continue the hunt for terrorists.


Hamas Developing Surface-to-Air Missiles (IMRA/Geostrategy-Direct.com)
    Developing surface-to-air missiles to down Israeli attack helicopters and unmanned air vehicles operating over Gaza is a Hamas priority, said Hamas leader Nizar Rayan.
    Palestinian sources said the project is based on expertise and training acquired from Iran and Hizballah, with Hamas seeking to develop and produce a variant of the Soviet-origin SA-7, deployed by Hizballah in southern Lebanon.
    Hamas has also reported the development of an enhanced Kassam-class missile.


America's Secret War - Frank Devine (The Australian)
    In America's Secret War, George Friedman, founder of Stratfor, a private, subscription-financed global intelligence service, writes that al-Qaeda pressed its grand design for an Islamist world federation, a new caliphate, which would ultimately match, if not dominate, other superpowers.
    The Bush administration identified the jihadist campaign as "a Saudi problem." Most of the September 11 suicide attackers had been Saudis. Bin Laden was a Saudi. Saudi money trails were everywhere.
    Friedman believes the measured actions of the U.S. during the past three years, including its strong military presence in the Middle East, have caused significant moderation of the position on global jihad of Saudi Arabia and other Muslim regimes, and that the strategy of the jihadists has stalled.


Israel Helps Palestinians Fight Locusts (UPI/Washington Times)
    Israel Friday provided the PA with insecticides to kill swarms of locusts that have entered the Gaza Strip from Egypt, an army spokesman reported.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran "Has Secret Nuclear Lab"
    Iran is working on a secret nuclear program for military purposes despite its promise to halt all uranium enrichment activities, the German news magazine Der Spiegel claimed Saturday, citing documents from an unnamed intelligence agency. Iran has set up a laboratory in a secret tunnel near a nuclear facility in Isfahan. This would be able to produce large amounts of uranium hexafluoride gas which could, in turn, be used to enrich uranium - a vital component for a nuclear bomb. Orders to build the tunnel were given last month by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader. (Sunday Times-UK)
  • Iran Signs Up Suicide Volunteers
    The 300 men filling out forms in the offices of an Iranian aid group - in a room decorated with photos of Israeli soldiers' funerals - were offered three choices: Train for suicide attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq, for suicide attacks against Israelis, or to assassinate British author Salman Rushdie. The presence of a prominent Iranian lawmaker and a member of the country's elite Revolutionary Guards lent more legitimacy to the meeting. On Nov. 12, a spokesman for the Headquarters for Commemorating Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement said the movement signed up at least 4,000 new volunteers. (AP/Newsday)
  • Militants Still Holed Up in Arafat's Compound
    Khaled Shaweesh, a Palestinian militant who is among the most wanted men by Israel in the West Bank, has been inside Arafat's Ramallah headquarters for two years. Arafat sheltered him along with perhaps 20 other militants. Israeli officials say he's a senior figure in Arafat's personal security force who planned ambushes, developed explosives, and personally killed at least six Israelis. Shaweesh brags that he was among those who came up with the idea of using female suicide bombers. Israel, to date, has refrained from storming the Ramallah compound as both sides take steps to ease tension. (NBC News)
        See also below Observations: Sharon, Abu Mazen Ready to Meet After Jan. 9 PA Elections
  • Israel Presses France to Change Arafat's Death Certificate
    Israel has sent three letters to the French government demanding it prove Arafat was born in Jerusalem as printed on his death certificate, an Israeli diplomat in Paris said. Numerous biographers agree that he was, in fact, born in Cairo. Israel's ambassador to France, Nissim Zvili, on Thursday told journalists: "I cannot understand how the French government agreed to issue a death certificate based on false information." (AFP/Yahoo)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinians Fire Rockets into Israel
    Two Kassam rockets fired by Palestinians landed in the western Negev on Monday. No damage or injuries were reported. Palestinians also fired mortars at an Israeli settlement in the northern Gaza Strip, damaging a house. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hizballah Stirring Up Territories - Herb Keinon
    Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom is expected to place Hizballah's increasing role in organizing and funding Palestinian terror on the international agenda at a meeting of EU and Mediterranean basin foreign ministers in The Hague on Monday. Israel is pushing the EU to place Hizballah on its list of terror organizations. "The EU has an interest in moving the diplomatic process forward and must be made fully aware that Hizballah can undermine it," one senior official said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Report: PA Instructs Media to Cease Airing Incitement - Haim Isrovitch
    The PA has instructed all media to cease broadcasting remarks that could be interpreted as incitement against Israel, the London-based Arab daily al-Sharq al-Awsat reported Monday. The order came 24 hours after Prime Minister Sharon said the battle against incitement was a precondition to Israel's acceptance of the PA as a partner in the implementation of the Roadmap. The PA also intends to offer the resumption of work by the joint committee against incitement. (Maariv International)
        See also Abbas: Only Palestinian Security Forces Should Carry Arms
    "We want to control the Palestinian security scene so that we end the phenomenon of arms being carried around everywhere," PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday in Cairo. (AFP/Yahoo)
        See also Abbas Rules Out Interim Deal with Israel - Arnon Regular
    The Palestinians will not accept an interim settlement with Israel, Abbas said Sunday. "We will not accept a temporary solution....It's a waste of time," he said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Barghouti Backs Abbas as Next Head of PA - Arnon Regular, Aluf Benn, and Jonathan Lis
    Imprisoned West Bank Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti announced Friday that he will not run for chairman of the PA and called for support of Mahmoud Abbas. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Peace is Nowhere in Sight - Zev Chafets
    After the death of Arafat, a reasonable Palestinian leadership, led by the moderate Mahmoud Abbas, seemed briefly to arise. Then Abbas went to Gaza where gunmen tried to assassinate him. So Abbas went back to the West Bank, announced that he would follow in Arafat's footsteps, and declared himself an unshakable champion of the Palestinian "right of return" that demands that Israel agree to absorb millions of Arabs. A great majority of mainstream Palestinians reject any possible peace deal that relinquishes this "right."
        For Israel, the Palestinian "right of return" means annihilation. Millions of hostile Arabs (or even friendly ones) flooding in would quickly put an end to the world's only Jewish state. Today, most Israelis agree that the Palestinians can have a country next to Israel - borders to be negotiated - but not on top of it. Survival trumps everything else. If Abbas lives long enough to reach the elections scheduled for Jan. 9, it will be as a weakened, frightened man, unable - or unwilling - to put down terror and deeply committed to the goal of dismantling Israel through demography. (New York Daily News)
  • The Fear Born of a Much Too Personal Look at Jihad - Richard Bernstein
    About a month ago, Doris Gluck (a pseudonym) published a book in Germany, I Was Married to a Holy Warrior, in which she described how she fell in love with an Egyptian, married him, and then watched, appalled, as he became progressively more militant and, finally, fully engaged in jihad. (New York Times)
        See also A Young Saudi Jihadist's Journey - Mohamad Bazzi
    The story of the transformation of Fahd - the 24-year-old son of a Saudi middle-class family, from a quiet seminary student to a jihadist willing to die in a country he had never even visited - highlights how Iraq has become a magnet for Islamic militants. "We cannot be separated from Iraq. The victory of religious extremism in Iraq would mean the victory of extremism in Saudi Arabia," said Abdulaziz al-Qasim, a former Saudi religious judge who is now one of the kingdom's leading moderate Islamic activists. "The victory of democracy in Iraq would mean the victory of democracy in Saudi Arabia." "The entrenchment of militant Islamic groups in Iraq is a great danger to all countries in the Gulf," al-Qasim said. (Newsday)
  • Observations:

    Sharon, Abu Mazen Ready to Meet After Jan. 9 PA Elections - Lally Weymouth (Newsweek)

    Prime Minister Sharon said in an interview:

    • I have met Abu Mazen many times and he was against terror, because he did not think it would bring a solution to the Palestinians. Now it depends on whether the [new Palestinian leadership] can bring an end to terror and incitement. Then there might be a window of opportunity.
    • I am going to make every effort to coordinate our disengagement plan with the new Palestinian government - one that can assume control over areas we evacuate.
    • There are things they can do immediately - stopping incitement in the Palestinian broadcasting and the press. But that did not replace my demand for a cessation of terror.
    • We will take all the necessary steps to enable them to conduct their elections with as little interference as possible - by opening the roads and taking our forces out of their towns.
    • Close to 80 percent of all terrorist activity in Samaria [the northern West Bank] was directed and financed either by Hizballah or the Iranians. Iran continues to increase its involvement in terror attacks inside Israel, particularly through a small but radical minority of Israeli Arabs which Iran supports and directs.

          See also Interview with Abu Mazen - Lally Weymouth (Newsweek)
      Abu Mazen: Our goal is to cool down the whole situation, to stop all kinds of violence and terror.


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