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DAILY ALERT

February 2, 2005

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In-Depth Issue:

Palestinian Arrested for Girl's Death that Was Blamed on Israel - Margot Dudkevitch (Jerusalem Post)
    The Palestinians on Tuesday arrested a suspect in Monday's murder of 10-year-old Nuran Deab in Rafah.
    The man reportedly fired shots into the air; one of those shots hit the girl.
    Palestinians and UN officials had originally claimed that the girl was killed by Israel.
    Hamas used the killing as a pretext to resume firing mortars at Gaza Strip settlements.
    See also PA Prime Minister Qurei Condemns Israel for "War Crime" (Palestine Media Center)


Egyptian Police Kill Suspect in Sinai Bombing (AP/San Francisco Chronicle)
    Egyptian security forces clashed with Islamic militants in the mountains of Sinai on Tuesday, killing a suspect in last October's bombings at Sinai resorts which killed 34 people and destroyed a wing of the Taba Hilton Hotel.
    The suspect, Mohammed Abdel Rahman Badawi, and a policeman were killed in the shootout near Ras el-Sudr, a Red Sea town 25 miles south of Suez.


Alert in Britain Over Islamic Terrorists - Philip Johnston (Telegraph-UK)
    An Islamic terrorist organization considered more extreme than al-Qaeda has taken root in Britain because of lax asylum procedures, security experts claim.
    The movement, Al-Takfir wa al-Hijra (excommunication and exile), has gradually built its presence in Europe in recent years through loose networks of imams and supporters, according to Jane's Intelligence Review.
    Al-Takfir originated in Egypt in the early 1970s but turned to violence and was implicated in killing two government ministers. It "exists as a web incorporating scattered groups of militants, separated by geography, connected only by radical ideology."
    After a crackdown by the authorities, some Takfiri mujahideen settled in Europe "where they have been able to propagate their radical form of militant Islam to new generations of followers with little impediment,'' the report claims.
    Jane's says 16 mosques have been linked to the Takfiri network in France, and the movement has a known presence in Germany, Italy, and Britain.
    Takfiri call for the restoration of the Islamic "Caliphate" as the only legitimate leadership in Arab and Islamic countries.


Israeli Security Guards Lose Jobs - David Regev and Yehudit Yahav (Globes)
    The number of security guards has fallen 8.5%, from 47,000 to 43,000, in recent months because of the calmer security situation.
    If the security calm persists, 15,000 security guards are projected to lose their jobs, according to Benny Pfeffermann of the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Rice: U.S. Could Help Train, Equip Palestinian Forces
    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday held out the possibility of U.S. support to train and equip Palestinian forces. "Obviously the Palestinians are going to need help in terms of training and equipping their new security forces and I am sure that there will be ways that we might be involved in that,'' she said. (Reuters/New York Times)
        See also Full Text of Interview with Secretary of State Rice (State Department)
  • German President Arrives in Israel to Mark 40 Years of Relations between Countries
    German President Horst Koehler arrived in Israel Tuesday to commemorate the 40th anniversary of ties between the two countries. Germany has become Israel's no. 1 trading partner in Europe, and stands out as a vocal supporter even when European neighbors are critical. Koehler is the fourth German president to visit Israel. (AP/San Francisco Chronicle)
        See also Germany and Israel Far From Normality (Deutsche Welle)
  • Israel Labels Exports by City to Fulfill EU Deal - Steven Scheer
    Israel met a promise on Tuesday to label its exports to the EU by city of origin, ceding tariff advantages on exports from the West Bank and Gaza to boost its growing trade with the bloc. Under a deal reached last August, goods exported by Israel to the EU will be labeled with a town of origin as well as nationality. Customs authorities within the EU will now be able to charge duty on goods from settlements.
        In 2004, Israeli exports to Europe, many of them high-tech products, totaled a record $10 billion compared with $7.3 billion the previous year. Just 1%, or $120 million, of Israeli exports a year come from the territories, mostly agricultural products. (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Intelligence: PA Not Dismantling Terrorist Infrastructure - Gideon Alon
    IDF Intelligence chief Major General Aharon Ze'evi (Farkash) told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday that "the preparations for terror acts continue." Abbas is acting to reach a "calm," but not a cease-fire, he said. (Ha'aretz)
        Ze'evi told the committee that Hamas is being allowed to keep its weapons and that Abbas is not taking action to disarm the organization. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Fire Mortars at Gush Katif
    Six mortar shells were fired at Gaza settlements on Tuesday. Two Israeli civilians were treated for shock and cars were damaged. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel, Palestinians to Set Up Panel on Wanted Men - Amos Harel
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Mohammed Dahlan agreed Monday to set up a joint committee to deal with the cases of wanted men after a cease-fire is formally announced. The Shin Bet, which has frozen its hunt for wanted men, is recommending not to include Palestinians "with blood on their hands." According to the emerging arrangements, in both Gaza and the West Bank, Israel will agree not to harm wanted men who hand in their weapons to the PA, sign a commitment not to get involved in any more terror, remain in their home towns, and agree to monitoring by the PA security apparatus. If there is a deterioration in the security situation and agreements are violated, Israel will feel free to resume the hunt for the wanted men. (Ha'aretz)
  • Abbas, Qurei Dispute New PA Cabinet - Khaled Abu Toameh
    A sharp dispute between PA Chairman Abbas and PA Prime Minister Qurei is preventing the formation of a new cabinet, senior PA officials in Ramallah disclosed Tuesday. Abbas intends to replace at least six ministers, while Qurei reportedly does not want to change more than three.
        Abbas argues that as an elected leader he is entitled to carry out real changes in all fields.Abbas is seeking to appoint Maj.-Gen. Nasser Youssef as interior minister in charge of all the security forces. He also wants to replace Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath with Nasser al-Kidwa, the PLO envoy to the UN and a nephew of Arafat. Abbas is also seeking to bring into the cabinet three of his loyalists - Muhammad Dahlan, who will hold a key security position, Nabil Amr, slated to become information minister, and Muhammad Shtayyeh, who will replace Maher al-Masri as minister of economy. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • An Israeli Proposition, A New Strategic Order - Shahid Alam
    Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres has called for an open dialogue between Pakistan and Israel, rather than secretive meetings between functionaries of the two countries. And he underpinned his proposition with the remark that if India and Pakistan can have open dialogue, there is no reason why Tel Aviv and Islamabad cannot. Given the state of non-relation between the two for over half a century, that is a solicitation for normalizing relations carrying profound significance. And since, as of this writing, there has been no comment, crucially none negative, from Islamabad, Peres' proposal gets weightier.
        So how realistic will Peres' proposal turn out to be in practice? The chances will not be that dim, especially if Sharon and Abbas come to an understanding that an independent Palestine acceptable to the Palestinians is in the offing. Then Pakistan can have no problem in conducting official state-to-state relations with Tel Aviv, since it stands to also gain economically as well as strategically, not the least of which will be to balance India's ties with Israel. (New Nation-Bangladesh)
        See also Shalom Meeting a Small Step toward Pakistan Ties - Herb Keinon
    Israel doesn't see Pakistan as an enemy, but rather as an important country in the Muslim world with which it is interested in normalizing ties, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Sunday. Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom met with Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Saturday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Pakistan, Israel Put Out Feelers - Anwar Iqbal (UPI/Washington Times)
  • EU Hypocrisy - Turks vs. Palestinians - Eli E. Hertz
    Turkey is a peaceful democracy and already a strategic partner in NATO. European yardsticks for Turkey to join the EU include demands for far-reaching political and social reform "on the ground," and 10 to 15 years of negotiations while Turks prove democratic change is "irreversible." European yardsticks for Palestinians - a society with a history of hostility - to join the family of nations amount to praise for fabricated non-existent reforms and calls to drop the required incremental progress from the Road Map. Democratic reform and an end to violence, that the Palestinians haven't even begun, is ignored - all in order to forge the way for immediate establishment of a Palestinian state, one which will endanger the very survival of a free and democratic Israel. (MythsandFacts.org)
  • New Kind of Awe in the Mideast - Youssef M. Ibrahim
    Iraq's first free election in half a century has given quite a boost to a liberation process underway in the greater Middle East, sending tremors through both ruled and rulers. Iraqis today stand like a phoenix amid the rubble of mediocre governance and corrupt autocracies.
        The Lebanese, with French and U.S. support, are openly shouting for an end to nearly two decades of Syrian occupation. Egyptians are loudly protesting a perennial presidency by one man, Hosni Mubarak, sitting atop power since 1981. Moroccans are aghast at the cost of their royal family, $272 million per year, when many live on $2 a day. The nightmarish ruling family of 5,000 greedy royal Saudi princes is under the worst pressure it has ever faced from Islamic terrorists and homegrown liberals. (USA Today)
  • Observations:

  • For Iraq's Insurgents, What Next? - Scott Peterson
        (Christian Science Monitor)
    • While no one expects the violence to end, Iraqis say a new political dynamic is at play: with government more firmly in Iraqi hands, future attacks may no longer be viewed as against American occupation, but against Iraqis themselves. "The vote will give some legitimacy to the new government," says one Iraqi doctor.
    • After the Fallujah offensive last November, and especially in recent weeks, experts say, U.S. military intelligence has improved, leading to the arrest of several top aides to insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as well as of a key car bomb builder. U.S. Army Col. Mike Murray says recent explosions have involved "lower quality" car bombs and attacks with fewer explosives, which are taking less of a toll than months past.
    • However, Toby Dodge, an Iraq expert at Queen Mary, University of London, warns that the insurgency itself is made up of 60 different, mostly autonomous, groups, and that Zarqawi - with just 200 loyalists, who have claimed some of the worst atrocities in Iraq in the past year - is a "fringe player."
    • "The problem is that for every [insurgent] captured or killed, five are coming along the assembly line," suggests Sajjan Gohel, a terrorism expert who heads the Asia Pacific Foundation in London. "They are different groups, but bounded by the common ideology of forcing the Americans out. They won't give up. They will come back again and try to do as much damage as possible."


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