Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

May 11, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Israel Defense Forces Soldiers Receive Citations for Valor - Margot Dudkevitch (Jerusalem Post)
    Head of Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Dan Harel on Tuesday presented citations to IDF soldiers in recognition of their courage.
    Lt. Fahed Abu Hani of the Beduin Desert Battalion, who was wounded in the leg, shot and killed one of the terrorists responsible for blowing up an IDF post near the Rafah terminal last December.
    Sgt. Gal Toledo, a combat medic who suffered serious wounds to his ears and eyes in the attack, searched for his wounded comrades buried under the rubble and saved the life of one of them.
    Staff-Sgt. Amishav Pilai was shot as he led troops into a house to arrest a fugitive in Nusseirat. In the ensuing gun battle he killed the fugitive.
    A posthumous citation was awarded to the family of Staff-Sgt. Avihu Keinan, who was killed during an operation in El-Bureij to arrest a fugitive.
    A posthumous citation went to the family of Staff-Sgt. Victor Ariel. In September 2003, Ariel, a combat medic, went to the site of a terrorist ambush to assist Shulamit Batito, who had been shot while jogging near Elei Sinai in the northern Gaza Strip. Ariel was shot and killed by the terrorists while treating her.


Israel HighWay
- May 10, 2005

Issue of the Week:
    Remember. Don't Forget. Then Celebrate


PA Has Not Disarmed Terrorists (Jerusalem Post)
    The PA has not disarmed terrorist groups from Tulkarm and Jericho, despite prior claims by the PA that it had rounded up their weapons, Israel Radio reported Wednesday.
    PA chairman Abbas had reportedly ordered his security forces to round up the weapons, but those orders were not carried out.


PA to Sound Siren to Protest Establishment of Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    The Palestinians are planning to mark Israel's Independence Day by sounding a siren on Sunday to protest the establishment of Israel.
    "We will sound a siren for one minute in all our areas to express our grief on this painful occasion," Zakariya al-Agha, head of the PLO's refugee department, said Tuesday.


Al-Hayat Washington Bureau Chief: Some Arab Regimes Support Terrorism in Iraq to Thwart Democracy (MEMRI)
    The Washington, D.C., bureau chief of the London Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat, Salama Na'mat, accused some Arab regimes of supporting terrorism in Iraq in order to thwart the emergence of democracy in the Arab world.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Defiant Iran Plans Nuclear Revival - Ewen MacAskill and Robert Tait
    The Iranian government Tuesday confirmed that it is to resume its suspended nuclear program. A British Foreign Office spokesman said such a move would automatically halt two years of negotiations between Tehran and the European trio - Britain, France, and Germany - and see immediate referral to the UN Security Council. The U.S., in a view shared by Europe and Israel, suspects Iran is covertly trying to secure a nuclear weapon. (Guardian-UK)
  • Clashes Near Syria Begin to Wane - Jonathan Finer
    Intense fighting along the Syrian border in northwestern Iraq subsided Tuesday, as U.S. forces wound down an assault on foreign insurgents. Col. Bob Chase, operations chief for the 2nd Marine Division, said, "We are getting a lot of information from the locals in the area and a very positive reception." Three Marines had been killed and fewer than 20 wounded in the campaign. (Washington Post)
        See also "They Came Here to Die" - Ellen Knickmeyer
    Screaming "Allahu Akbar'' to the end, the foreign fighters lay on their backs in a narrow crawl space under a house and blasted their machine guns up through the concrete floor with bullets designed to penetrate tanks. "They came here to die," Sgt. Chuck Hurley said Tuesday. "All they wanted was to take us with them.''
        U.S. Marines turned up weapons cache after weapons cache: bombs made to be dropped from airplanes, a bicycle with a seat made of explosives and an antenna for remote-control triggering, a vest rigged with explosives, a car rigged with bombs, mortar tubes, rocket launchers with new backpacks full of rockets, artillery shells. The costly equipment, as well as body armor later recovered from the bodies of dead insurgents, suggested that the fighters were foreigners. (Washington Post)
  • "Terror is On Hold" - Joshua Brilliant
    "I don't think they [the PA] have the motivation or the legitimacy to move against Palestinian militants," an Israeli military official said Tuesday. He noted Israel had given the Palestinian security forces the names of militants involved in February's suicide bombing of a Tel Aviv nightclub in which five people were killed. The Palestinians arrested the men, locked them up in Tulkarm, but after several days "they had enough and got out." If the Palestinians take a terrorist who killed an Israeli and who has not renounced terror, make him a postal worker and let him keep his gun, "this is not what we call taking a person off the wanted list," the military source insisted.
        He estimated a third of the 400 people on the "wanted list" are now "on hold," having received jobs with the Palestinian security forces. Another third are negotiating an arrangement. "Terror is on hold," though militants are preparing for a resumption of attacks, the military source said. According to the army, there were 80 roadblocks and checkpoints in the West Bank on April 1, compared with 180 in January 2004. (UPI/Washington Times)
  • Little Common Ground at Arab-South American Summit Talks - Larry Rohter
    Leaders of South America and the Arab world, two regions that have long chafed at American dominance, gathered in Brasilia on Tuesday to air their list of grievances. But the two blocs almost immediately voiced profoundly different priorities, with Arabs focusing their criticisms on Israel and the U.S. and calling for greater solidarity with the Palestinians. South American leaders, however, sought to keep the emphasis on economic issues.
        Attendance fell short of Brazil's initial expectations. While the majority of South America's 12 presidents are participating, only 7 of 22 Arab nations are represented by heads of state or government. (New York Times)
        See also South Americans Attack U.S. Sanctions Against Syria - Raymond Colitt
    Leaders from 33 South American and Arab nations on Tuesday moved to criticize U.S. economic sanctions against Syria and question Britain's claim to the Falkland Islands. (Financial Times-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Eyes Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hizballah - Arieh O'Sullivan
    The exit of the Syrian army from Lebanon has led to a rush of arms and equipment into the country, with Iranian Revolutionary Guards filling the vacuum by channeling money, weapons, and directives to Hizballah, a senior military source said Tuesday. "The Syrians pulled out, but the Revolutionary Guard didn't. They are laying low but continuing to fund, arm, and direct Hizballah," said the senior officer, adding that Hizballah was passing some of this on to operatives in the PA areas.
        With more than 13,000 Hizballah rockets aimed at Israel, the air force has no intention of halting its intelligence-gathering overflights, despite calls from the UN to do so, he said. The assessment in the IDF is that the uniformed Syrian army has physically pulled out of Lebanon and is in the midst of installing mechanisms to continue monitoring events there. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Election Gains Upset Fatah - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The ruling Fatah faction is having difficulty coming to terms with the gains made by Hamas in last week's local elections. The PA has decided to postpone the announcement of the final results pending an investigation into allegations of irregularities and fraud. This has worried Hamas leaders, who fear that Fatah will try to change the results of the elections in its favor. Political analyst Talal Okal noted that it was absurd that a ruling party should accuse the opposition of fixing the elections. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel's Population Hits 6.9 Million
    On the eve of Israel's 57th Independence Day, the country's population is estimated at 6.9 million residents, says the Central Bureau of Statistics. Some 5,260,000 Jews currently live in Israel, 76% of the total population, alongside 1,350,000 Arabs, who comprise 20% of the population. Since last Independence Day, 149,000 babies were born and 26,000 new immigrants arrived, including 9,500 from Russia and former Soviet states, and 4,400 from Ethiopia. 65% of Jews were born in Israel, 950,000 were born in the former Soviet Union, while 77,000 were born in North America. (Ynetnews)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Let's Join Our Israeli Cousins in Their Mourning - Gil Troy
    On Tuesday evening, May 10, and all day on Wednesday, May 11, the entire Jewish world should come to a standstill. In honor of Yom Hazikaron, Israel's Memorial Day, every Jew should light memorial candles at home and contemplate the many lives extinguished by decades of Arab assaults against Israel. Jews throughout the world should mob our often under-attended memorial services. This year - and in all subsequent years - Jewish community calendars should frame those 24 hours in black, marking this as a time when no galas are held, no fundraising takes place, no Jewish sports teams play, and theaters go dark. It's the least we can do to honor the many Israeli sacrifices for the Jewish people.
        This year, Yom Hazikaron is particularly important, because, while it is not politic to shout it out loud, Israel won this ugly war. The Palestinians miscalculated. Israelis rallied when attacked, demonstrating unexpected unity, discipline, and grit. (Canadian Jewish News)
  • "The Hell of Israel Is Better than the Paradise of Arafat" - Daniel Pipes
    A substantial record of statements and actions suggests that, despite their anti-Zionist swagger, Israel's most fervid enemies do perceive its political virtues. Pro-Israel expressions by Palestinians fall into two main categories: preferring to remain under Israel rule and praising Israel as better than Arab regimes. In mid-2000, when it appeared that some Arab-majority parts of Jerusalem would be transferred to PA control, Fadal Tahabub, a member of the Palestinian National Council, estimated that 70% of the 200,000 Arab residents of Jerusalem preferred to remain under Israeli sovereignty. Na'im Salama, a lawyer living in Gaza, was arrested for slander by the PA when he wrote that Palestinians should adopt Israeli standards of democracy. (Middle East Forum)
  • Observations:

    Whereabouts of Bin Laden Are Known - Interview with Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon - Amnon Dankner and Ron Leshem (Maariv-Hebrew, 11May05)

    • Q: Oslo was a huge deception exercise by Arafat?
      A: I didn't see any indication with Arafat - either at Oslo or after Oslo - of any readiness to recognize our right to exist as a Jewish state. All I saw was the exact opposite. Also, the clauses in the PLO Charter were never cancelled. Already in 1995, as head of Israeli military intelligence, I began to ask a number of questions. How did Faisal al-Husseini say it?: "Oslo was a Trojan horse." I accept that that was their intention.
    • Q: What will happen the day after disengagement?
      A: It is not yet clear, it cannot be decided if it is worth it for us or not worth it.
    • Q: What about Iran?
      A: If Iran achieves a nuclear umbrella that will hover like a cloud over the entire region, then it will be more brazen and it could be that there will be regimes that will be swept along with it. Already today, Iran wants to export revolution, it wants Islamic states according to Sharia law. It is undermining the Jordanian regime, the Egyptian regime, the regimes in the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia.
    • Q: Are the Iranians far from reaching a bomb?
      A: My assessment is that they are a year away, a year and a half away, from the point at which they can produce nuclear fuel by themselves. Just recently, it became clear to us that they received 12 cruise missiles - with a range of 3,000 kilometers - from the previous regime in Ukraine.
    • Q: What do we know about the murder of [former Lebanese prime minister] Hariri?
      A: All the indications point to Syrian responsibility.
    • Q: What about Osama bin Laden? How is it possible that intelligence organizations don't know where he is?
      A: No, that is not true. I don't think that they don't know where he is. There is an operational difficulty to grab him for many reasons. But it is not true that they don't know where he is.


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