Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference: click here
Al-Qaeda-London Bomb Link Confirmed -
Daniel McGrory and Michael Evans (Times-UK)
See also British Seek Egyptian-Born Chemist in Connection with London Attacks - Glenn Frankel
- July 14, 2005
Issue of the Week:
The 17th Maccabiah Opens in Israel
PA TV: "Annihilate the Infidels" - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook (Palestinian Media Watch)
Three Jewish Victims of London Bombings Named (JTA/Jerusalem Post)
Reassessing Control of the Gaza-Egypt Border - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)
Israel on Cutting Edge of Stopping Bombers - Gavin Rabinowitz (AP/Washington Post)
Israeli Settlers Demolish Greenhouses and Gaza Jobs - Steven Erlanger (New York Times)
British Keep Out of Basra's Lethal Islamic Takeover - Oliver Poole (Telegraph-UK)
Italy Convicts Two North Africans on Terror Charges - Marta Falconi (AP/Washington Post)
3 Palestinians Nabbed for Antiquities Theft - Etgar Lefkovits (Jerusalem Post)
Israel to Pass U.S. as Largest Jewish Community - Matthew Tostevin (Reuters)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
A rocket fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza killed an Israeli woman at her home on Thursday in the first lethal rocket attack over the border from Gaza since February. Four rockets crashed into Netiv Haasara in southern Israel near Gaza. At least one struck a house, killing Dana Glakowitz, 22, who was sitting on her porch. Three mortars fired from Gaza landed in nearby Nahal Oz soon afterwards, injuring three people. (Reuters)
David Baker, an official in the Prime Minister's Office, said, "the Palestinian Authority is responsible for this fatal attack because it continues to refuse to take the necessary steps to fight terror. Israel has lost six people this past week to terror. If the PA does not take the necessary steps to end terror, Israel will." (Ha'aretz)
See also Palestinian Rocket Barrage into Israel Continues - Hanan Greenberg and Shmulik Haddad
Palestinian terrorists fired seven Kassam rockets at the southern Israeli town of Sderot on Friday. One rocket landed in a residential neighborhood, damaging a house. Another rocket landed near a school. Meanwhile, Palestinians fired 15 mortar shells at Gaza Strip communities Friday. (Ynet News)
Two Palestinian bystanders were killed and more than a dozen people wounded on Friday in gun battles between Palestinian security forces and militant factions, hospital sources said. The internal conflict erupted Thursday after militants fired rockets into Israel and Palestinian police confronted them in an effort to prevent further barrages. Fighting raged in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza, a known Hamas stronghold, pitting Palestinian security forces in armored vehicles against militants firing anti-tank missiles, witnesses said. Hospital sources said six of the wounded were members of the security forces and the rest were civilians. Families of the casualties were outraged by the violence and armed relatives fired shots inside Shifa hospital before Palestinian police moved in to restore order. (Reuters)
32 people, most of them children, were killed Wednesday when a suicide bomber exploded his car beside a convoy of American soldiers handing out sweets in a Baghdad suburb. 31 people were wounded in the explosion, many of them also children, and an American soldier was among the dead. (Telegraph-UK)
Nearly four years after the Sept. 11 attacks, and with terrorist attacks continuing around the world, a growing number of Muslims say that violence against civilian targets is never justified, a survey conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project has found. That figure is highest in Morocco, followed by Indonesia and Turkey, with big majorities rejecting suicide bombing as an acceptable means of defending Islam. A belief that democratic governance would work for the Muslim world has risen sharply. But at the same time, in many Muslim countries, support is strong for a greater Islamic role in national governments.
In almost every European country with a Muslim minority, a majority of respondents said they viewed Muslim immigrants as slow to accept and take on local values and customs, and they overwhelmingly viewed a growing sense of Islamic identity among Muslims in their countries as "a bad thing." Still, in Canada, the U.S., and Russia, majorities said they had very or somewhat favorable views of Muslims, as they did in France. Only in the Netherlands did a bare majority hold unfavorable views, as did nearly half of Germans.
Polling in most Muslim countries found falling levels of confidence in Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda. But in Jordan, confidence rose from 55% two years ago to 60%, and in Pakistan it rose from 45% to 51%. There was near-universal antipathy in the Muslim countries toward Jews. (International Herald Tribune)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israel Air Force helicopters fired missiles at targets in the Gaza Strip Friday in retaliation for a rocket attack on a Negev moshav that killed a young Israeli woman. The targets included a pro-Hamas Islamic charity in Gaza City and a cemetery in Khan Yunis used as a launching pad to fire mortars at an adjacent Jewish settlement. The army said it struck a Hamas ammunition depot in Khan Yunis. (Ha'aretz)
The toll from Tuesday's Netanya bombing rose to five Thursday when IDF soldier Moshe Maor Jan died after being taken off life support. Jan's wife, Moriah, is eight months pregnant. (Ynet News)
Sources in the Prime Minister's Office clarified Thursday that Prime Minister Sharon is opposed to building a sunken road connecting the Gaza Strip and West Bank. If there were an agreement to build such a crossing between the disconnected Palestinian territories, he would only back the construction of a train route, which would be under Israel's full control, Israel Radio quoted. (Jerusalem Post)
Two days after a Palestinian suicide bombing in Netanya, German Foreign Minister Fischer sharply rebuked the Palestinian leadership Thursday, saying the Palestinians will never have an independent state until "violence and terrorism" end. "Terrorism will have no positive results, and there will be no chance to establish an independent Palestinian state as long as violence and terrorism continue," Fischer said after meeting Palestinian Prime Minister Qurei. On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Rice phoned PA Chairman Abbas and said he must take immediate action to find and prosecute those responsible for the Netanya bombing. (AP/Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Israel and the Palestinians
Abbas is widely perceived as a transitional figure, and many among the younger generation already want to replace the veteran leadership still dominated by "outsiders" who came to the West Bank and Gaza with Arafat. Most recent terrorist acts have actually been carried out by marginal Fatah elements as a way of asserting their individual or collective demands, or by splinter groups financed by Iran or Hizballah. But even Islamic Jihad, whose political weight among Palestinians is minimal, recognizes that it will eventually have to accept the parameters dictated by the mainstream forces in Palestinian politics or else risk being repressed.
Predictions that another round of large-scale violence is inevitable do not realistically reflect either the strategic balance between Israel and the Palestinians or the interests of the two sides as perceived by their respective mainstreams. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies)
According to the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, democracy exists more in theory than in practice in the Palestinian territories. The Palestinian legislative council elections originally scheduled for this month have been postponed indefinitely. The emergence of a truly pluralist party structure has been hindered by the dominance of the so-called "old guard" of Fatah and the religious extremism of Hamas. The judiciary branch has been virtually nonexistent, resulting in a lack of ability to enforce laws. Security services under Arafat came to be associated with authoritarianism, corruption, and human rights violations against fellow Palestinians, including illegal detentions, improper trials, torture, and executions. (Palestine Media Center-Ramallah)
The War on Terror
The fact that native-born Muslim Europeans are committing terrorist acts in their own countries shows that this Islamist malignancy long predates Iraq, long predates Afghanistan, and long predates Sept. 11, 2001. News reports of the London bombings mentioned that police found no suspects among known Islamist cells in Britain. Come again? Why in God's name is a country letting known Islamist cells thrive, instead of just rolling them up?
The problem is essentially a civil war within a rival civilization in which the most primitive elements are seeking to gain the upper hand. Sept. 11 forced us to intervene massively in this civil war. The vast majority of European Muslims who are peace-loving and not engaged in terror must also join the fight. They must actively denounce not just the terrorist attacks, but their source: Islamist ideology and its practitioners. Decadence is defined not by a civilization's art or music but ultimately by its willingness to simply defend itself. (Washington Post)
It seems quite delusional, if not suicidal, to count on the Muslim Brotherhood to fight Muslim extremism. But the British government continues to support the Muslim Brotherhood in the Muslim Council of Britain, thus destroying any chance of seeing an enlightened and tolerant Islam emerge in Europe. In France, Nicolas Sarkozy is following exactly the same policy ever since he allowed the Muslim Brothers of the Union of French Islamic Organizations, or UOIF, to enter the French council for the Muslim faith. In the U.S., several thinktanks are advising the Bush administration to build closer ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, so as to anticipate a regime change in Egypt, and maybe conclude a pact that would allow to reshape the political map without launching military operations.
If the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood promises us a radical and fundamentalist Islamization that could destabilize the world, how could it possibly serve as an antidote to terrorism? Are not the London terror attacks evidence enough that this approach is doomed to failure? Those leaders who wish to go down this path should consider this warning from Churchill to Chamberlain: "You were given the choice between war and dishonor...you chose dishonor and you will have war." (Wall Street Journal, 15Jul05)
Of course, not all Muslims are suicide bombers, but virtually all suicide bombers, of late, have been Sunni Muslims. There are a lot of angry people in the world, but the only ones who seem to feel entitled and motivated to kill themselves and totally innocent people, including other Muslims, over their anger are young Sunni radicals. Islam has a long tradition of tolerating other religions, but only on the basis of the supremacy of Islam, not equality with Islam.
Sunni Islamic civilization is supposed to be superior, yet its decision to ban the reform and reinterpretation of Islam since the 12th century has choked the spirit of innovation out of Muslim lands, and left the Islamic world less powerful, less economically developed, and less technically advanced. When a British Muslim citizen, nurtured by that society, just indiscriminately blows up his neighbors and leaves behind a baby and pregnant wife, to me he has to be in the grip of a dangerous cult or preacher - dangerous to his faith community and to the world. (New York Times)
Mercifully, the U.S. doesn't have the security problems of either the Israelis or the Europeans - yet. Which is to say, the time to act is now. We need a defensible perimeter, perhaps a physical wall, to protect our northern as well as southern borders. U.S. authorities should be able to identify everyone coming into this country. Terrorists may already be in our midst, but we can at least cut off the pipeline of new ones. The wall is working for the Israelis, albeit after hundreds of fatalities that might have been prevented if it had been built earlier. As for America, a wall could prevent an unfathomable number of fatalities here on our own soil. (Newsday)
See also Sharon Protects His People While Abbas Fiddles - James Klurfeld
PA chairman Abbas has either been unwilling or unable to control the Palestinian radicals. But if he can't do anything about the violence, then the Israeli government will act to protect its people. During the past five months of seeming quiet, Israeli officials have often said they feared that the radicals had agreed to a cease-fire not because they have had a change of heart, but because they needed a prolonged period to regroup and reorganize to create more terror. No organization that wants to call itself a government can allow so many groups to have their own arms. Sooner or later, Abbas, for all his good intentions, must either control the security forces or not be taken seriously as a leader. Sharon is building a barrier. Abbas is not in control. Two stories. One story. (Newsday)
The U.S. is reassessing its strategy for fighting terrorists with a view to targeting middle and lower levels of terrorist networks. Such reevaluation is routine in wars and represents a flexibility needed now more than ever. But the new strategy discussed would not lead to victory. It will not dry up the manpower reserve from which terrorist leaders draw followers. It is the low- and mid-level people, not the leaders, who volunteer for suicide/martyrdom operations. Death is unlikely to dampen their zeal. Any strategy is doomed from the outset that does not directly engage and discredit the Wahhabi, Deobandi (Taliban), and Khomeini schools of Islamicism, which share many characteristics and are the fountainheads of Islamic terrorism and ideology. (Washington Times)
No sooner was the tragic news out concerning the carnage in London than the old refrain surfaced once again that if only the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were resolved, the world would not be facing the huge threat of Islamist terrorism. In fact, however, the "root cause" of Islamist terrorism is simply that there are murderers out there who will stop at nothing to extirpate and terrorize anyone whom they don't like (which includes Christians, Jews, Muslims, and a lot of other folk). All kinds of reasons, motives, and goals are attached to this behavior, but in the end one is left with brutal action by people who want to maim and murder innocents.
Islamist terrorism itself is the ultimate "root cause" of the Middle East conflict because absent its violence and ideology of hatred, Israelis and Palestinians would likely be able to work out the issues between them in a way where both parties could live in peace and security. (Ynet News)
There can be no real negotiation with the groups who organized the London campaign. It is now the role of the British security authorities to hunt down the men behind the attackers, to disrupt their networks, and to assassinate their leaders wherever they can find them. In this pitiless war the British security authorities must endeavor to use all means to stop further terrorist outrages - even if it means hunting down and killing those responsible without a trial or a jury. (Mirror-UK)
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, successive British governments adopted an astonishingly myopic policy of tolerance toward the ideologues and activists of radical Islam. Britain's liberal asylum laws allowed the entry of radical ideologues of global Islamism, many wanted by the authorities in their own countries. These individuals set about organizing and proselytizing deep in the heart of Britain's urban Muslim communities. A recent British government report estimates between 10,000 and 15,000 supporters of radical Islamist groups resident in Britain by the end of the 1990s. The writer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya. (Ha'aretz)
"It is a war," one Cabinet minister said to me. "People didn't believe that till last Thursday. But they do now." We face three, inextricably linked threats: from Islamist fanatics, from the rogue states that harbor them, and from the deadly weapons which they seek to acquire.
Ironically, it has taken a local event to remind us of the global nature of this conflict, its pervasiveness, and our consequent inability to escape its consequences simply by blaming this or that head of government. Does anyone seriously believe that 52 more Londoners would be alive today if Gordon Brown were prime minister, and John Kerry were president?
On Monday, Mr. Blair warned: "Just using the normal processes of law will not be enough," thus opening the necessary debate on the proper balance between security and liberty. That debate will now be carried out in the proper context. This is not about party politics, Mr. Blair's future, or the Iraq war. It is about what a civilized society does to confront those who will do anything to themselves, and to others, in the name of a murderous mission that knows no limit. (Telegraph-UK)
Administration officials argue that Syrian President Bashar Assad has been supporting violent extremists in Lebanon, in the Palestinian territories, and most of all in Iraq. That's "unacceptable," says a senior administration official, and Assad must show he's serious about change. "We are not trying to destabilize Syria, but we are trying to change the conduct of the regime," he says.
A second senior administration official notes: "Assad needs to make a strategic choice for change. That's the only way he saves himself. Otherwise he's isolated." The officials say they're unimpressed by arguments that a post-Assad Syria could be as bloody and chaotic as post-Saddam Hussein Iraq has become. As for Assad's claims that he's fostering internal reform, administration officials say the regime's pressure on dissidents has actually increased in recent weeks. (Washington Post)
See also The Enigma of Damascus - James Bennet
To the Bush administration, Bashar al-Assad is a murderous proxy warrior, permitting or even encouraging jihadists to stream eastward into Iraq, and allowing Iranian weapons to stream westward to the guerrilla group Hizballah in Lebanon. The Bush administration accuses him also of encouraging terrorism to the south, against Israel, by permitting militant Palestinian leaders to operate in Damascus. It sees him as a dictator interrupting a new expansion of democracy from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. (New York Times Magazine)
The divestment campaign has become the latest political instrument of the drive designed to progressively delegitimize Israel in international frameworks based on the 2001 "Durban strategy." This campaign is being conducted by Protestant church groups, such as the World Council of Churches, the Presbyterians, the Anglican Church, and the United Church of Christ. Funding for the political NGOs spear-heading the anti-Israel divestment campaign comes from church groups in Europe and North America (including the Mennonite Central Committee and Christian Aid), government aid agencies (including Canada, Norway, Switzerland, and the EU), and foundations (such as the New Israel Fund and the Ford Foundation). (NGO Monitor)
Covering the recent controversy over building and demolition orders in the Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem, New York Times reporter Christine Hauser (July 9, 2005) credulously repeated false allegations that Palestinians in Jerusalem were "discriminated against when applying for building permits," reported as fact groundless claims that Israel has attempted to "change the city's demography," and accepted without challenge charges that Israeli construction on the outskirts of the city threatened to cut it off from Palestinian cities in the West Bank. Hauser is apparently unaware that Arabs in Jerusalem have actually built new housing units at a faster rate than have Jews.
According to a detailed report by Justus Weiner, Illegal Construction in Jerusalem, the city "has authorized more than 36,000 permits for new housing units in the Arab sector, more than enough to meet the needs of Arab residents through legal construction until 2020"; and that "Both Arabs and Jews typically wait 4-6 weeks for permit approval, enjoy a similar rate of application approvals, and pay an identical fee ($3,600) for water and sewage hook-ups on the same size living unit." (CAMERA)
The tragedy of academy is that it has become home to countless people whose mission is to prove the lie that Zionism is colonialism. Thus research is undertaken, books are written, and lectures delivered to establish a falsehood. The investigation at Columbia University has shown that in some cases students are more credible than professors, even in the eyes of the university itself. Middle Eastern studies is an academic field where scholarship has taken a backseat to advocacy, a few biases became the highest credentials, and dissenting views became thought-crimes. (Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism)
Since the election in Iran of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad under the banner of a renewed Islamic revolution, the clerical regime hanged six people and sentenced another to death in the past week alone. Far from being a "populist" son of a blacksmith who is hoisting the flag of class warfare against the "wretched rich and corrupt," Ahmadinejad's win can be attributed to his unquestioned loyalty to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the full support of the Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guards top brass. A former commander of the Qods (Jerusalem) Force in the Guard Corps - tasked with planning and execution of terrorist plots and assassination abroad - Ahmadinejad was catapulted to presidency by the ultra-conservative faction. (Washington Times)
What responsibility do Arabs have to stop genocide being committed by Arabs? Genocide in the Darfur region of western Sudan, inflicted on mostly Muslim African tribespeople by the nomadic Arab militias called janjaweed with the enthusiastic assistance of the Arab-dominated Sudanese government, has been going on for over two years now. Egypt, with a huge army, a modern air force, and more contacts within Sudan than every Western country combined, has looked on while as many as 400,000 people have been slaughtered just beyond its southern border. Canada, by itself, has pledged more aid than all the Arab countries combined. (Washington Post)
Why Blame the Terrorists? It's Britain's Fault - Gerard Baker (Times-UK)
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