Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

July 21, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Top al-Qaeda Briton Called Tube Bombers Before Attack - Zahid Hussain, Daniel McGrory, and Sean O'Neill (Times-UK)
    Scotland Yard is hunting for Haroon Rashid Aswat, 30, who arrived in Britain a fortnight before the attacks to orchestrate final planning.
    Intelligence sources said Aswat visited the home towns of the bombers as well as selecting targets in London, and spoke to the suicide team on his mobile phone hours before the four men blew themselves up.
    Aswat has a ten-year association with militant groups and met Osama bin Laden while attending an al-Qaeda training camp at Khalden in Afghanistan.
    FBI documents reveal how a London-based cleric sent Aswat to America in 1999 to set up camps in Oregon for U.S.-born recruits.


Blood Libel: Palestinian Boy Stabbed to Death in West Bank Clan Feud, Israelis Blamed - Arnon Regular (Ha'aretz)
    A Palestinian boy was stabbed to death Wednesday in a Palestinian village near the settlement of Shilo in the West Bank in a brawl between rival clans, senior Palestinian figures said.
    Palestinians initially claimed the boy was stabbed during a clash with Israeli settlers, a story widely reported in the media.
    See also Israeli Settlers Kill Palestinian Boy - Witnesses (Reuters)


Leading Saudi Imam: Liberate Al-Aqsa, Punish Zionists and Infidels (MEMRI)
    Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudayyis, imam of Islam's most holy mosque, Al-Haram in Mecca, holds one of the most prestigious posts in Sunni Islam.
    In his Friday sermon of July 15, 2005, Sheikh Al-Sudayyis said: "Oh Allah, liberate our Al-Aqsa Mosque from the defilement of the occupying and brutal Zionists....Oh Allah, punish the occupying Zionists and their supporters from among the corrupt infidels. Oh Allah, scatter and disperse them, and make an example of them for those who take heed."


Atta's Father Praises London Bombs (CNN)
    The father of Mohamed Atta, one of the hijackers who commandeered the first plane that crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, praised the recent terror attacks in London and said many more would follow.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • UN Urged to Strengthen Counter-Terrorism Efforts - Peter Heinlein
    U.S. and British representatives told the UN Security Council Wednesday that many nations are not doing enough to fight the terrorist threat. Nicholas Rostow, general counsel to the U.S. mission at the UN, argued that the fight against terrorism must be the top priority for all states. Rostow deplored resistance among some countries to outlawing terrorism in all circumstances. "States and would-be states have to decide," Rostow said. "Are they going to take seriously the call to put an end to terrorism? Are they going to drain the swamp in which terrorists swim by arresting and prosecuting anyone who commits a terrorist act or supports it?" (VOA News)
  • U.S. Warns of Saudi Attacks, Saudi Bomb Factory Found - Dominic Evans
    The U.S. embassy in Riyadh warned its citizens in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday that "it has received indications of operational planning for a terrorist attack or attacks in the kingdom." Saudi security forces Tuesday uncovered a hideout 40 miles southeast of Riyadh where militants had stored more than two tons of bomb-making equipment. The cache included chemicals used to make bombs, as well as pipe bombs, acid, and electrical equipment. Militants have killed 91 foreign nationals and Saudi civilians in the last two years, Saudi officials say. (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • Insurance Firms Frown on Travel to Israel - Jim DeFede
    Earlier this year, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz wanted to increase her life insurance. Her husband, Steve, received a phone call from their insurance agent, asking if his wife was planning any trips. ''There is a possibility she might go to Israel,'' he said. Two weeks later she received a letter from the American General Life Insurance Company: "We were unable to approve the policy because of potential travel to Israel."
        Wasserman Schultz said she was dumbfounded. ''To put Israel in the same category as Iraq is nothing short of discrimination,'' she said. ''Their death rate through intentional injury is actually lower than the U.S.,'' she said, citing a recent Business Week article that noted there were 17 homicides per 100,000 people in the U.S. in 2002, compared with just 11 in Israel. (Miami Herald)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Rice Arrives in Israel Thursday - Aluf Benn
    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is due to arrive Thursday for a two-day visit to Israel and the PA. Rice's visit is designed to give backing to the disengagement process. She will also discuss the Israeli request for another $2.1 billion in aid. (Ha'aretz)
  • Dahlan: Hamas Seeks Military Coup Against PA - Gideon Levy
    PA Civil Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan said this week that Hamas is trying to carry out a military coup against the PA. "When someone tries to take over a police station by means of a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, that is an attempted military coup," he said. Dahlan admits that Hamas is stronger today in Gaza than the PA. "I'm surprised that the PA hasn't collapsed yet," he said. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Hamas' Challenge to the PA - Alan Johnston
    Israel has demanded that the Palestinian leadership move to break Hamas - to disarm it and jail its leaders. But events on the streets of Gaza have made it clear how very unlikely that is to happen. In almost every encounter, the security forces came off worst. In Beit Lahiya and the Zietoun area of Gaza City, security forces' vehicles were burnt and their outposts set ablaze. Over the past few days Hamas showed that it is a match for the armed forces that Fatah has at its disposal. (BBC News)
        See also Palestinians Fear Widening Rift After Rival Groups Clash - Anne Barnard
    In Gaza City Tuesday, Adel Sweilem saw dozens of Hamas fighters in green headbands who fired AK-47s at a Palestinian police van and then hit it with a rocket-propelled grenade. Three Hamas gunmen then surrounded the policemen, shouting, ''Spies! Collaborators!" and shot one of them at close range in the leg, the latest incident in a weeklong burst of clashes that Palestinians say have been the worst violence between Fatah and Hamas in years. (Boston Globe)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Double or Nothing: The G8's Unhelpful Generosity - Patrick Clawson
    Last week's G8 summit produced a decision to double international aid to the Palestinian Authority - to $2 billion per year. While the announcement has been widely lauded, in fact, it will not help - and it may very well hurt. The West Bank and Gaza simply cannot absorb this much money effectively. Much of it will end up going to waste; and worse, it may be used for corrupt purposes, feeding cynicism among ordinary Palestinians and thereby undermining the shaky legitimacy of the PA. The writer is deputy director of the Washington Institute. (New Republic/Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • A Unilateral Gaza Pullout Helps Hamas - Trudy Rubin
    If Secretary of State Rice wants to understand the dangers posed by the Gaza pullback, she should visit southern Lebanon. I was there last week. Israel withdrew unilaterally from southern Lebanon in 2000 for its own security reasons. But most Lebanese credit Hizballah with driving Israel out. Hizballah now controls the south and is viewed throughout the region as the one armed Arab group that has defeated Israel - by suicide bombers and guns. The unsettling model for what Gaza could become is visible today in southern Lebanon. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Within the Gates - Fouad Ajami
    "The whole Arab world was dangerous for me; I went to London," said Egyptian Islamist Yasser Sirri. An opponent of President Mubarak, Sirri found refuge in London, where he runs an "Islamic observation center" and carries on with the "holy struggle" against "ungodly" Arab regimes and their supporters in the West. The geography of Islam has altered. A religion of Afro-Asia has migrated westward. The Islamists are now within the gates.
        Omar Bakri Muhammad fled his native Syria in the 1980s and turned up in England in 1996. Since then, he has been calling openly for "holy war" against the West, exhorting young Muslims of Britain to join the insurgency in Iraq. He hailed the death pilots of 9/11 as the "magnificent 19 who changed the world," and he called on Muslims to give the "infidels a 9/11 day after day after day."
        Liberty is not a suicide pact. We should be done with the search for "explanations" that dignify the hatreds, that attribute them to Western deeds and policies. We should see the new hatred dressed in religious garb for what it is: a war against the very order of contemporary life. (US News)
  • Saudi Arabian Ambassador Prince Bandar is Out, Prince Turki is In - Stephen Schwartz
    Saudi Arabia's long-serving ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz, is leaving, to be replaced by Prince Turki al Faisal. Turki recently served as Saudi ambassador in London, but before that was the kingdom's intelligence chief until August 2001. He has never denied his association with Osama bin Laden in the 1980s.
        Bandar is the son of defense minister Prince Sultan, who has made millions doing business with the U.S., and whose adherence to Wahhabism, the extremist Saudi brand of Islam, is said to be nominal. However, Bandar's uncle, Prince Nayef, the Saudi interior minister, is the most extreme Wahhabi at the top of the heap and is considered the Darth Vader of global Islam. (Weekly Standard)
  • Observations:

    The UN, the ICJ, and the Separation Barrier - War By Other Means
    - Gerald M. Steinberg (Israel Law Review)

    • Due to the power of the Arab lobby, Israel is uniquely subject to discrimination in the UN and is not a full member of any of the constituent regional groupings from which the ICJ members are elected. (In recent years, Israel has "enjoyed" second class status in the WEOG - Western Europe and Others Group.)
    • On this basis, Alan Dershowitz compared the ICJ to "a Mississippi court in the 1930s. The all-white Mississippi court, which excluded blacks from serving on it, could do justice in disputes between whites, but it was incapable of doing justice in cases between a white and a black. It would always favor white litigents. So, too, the International Court."
    • "Israel is the excluded black when it comes to that court - indeed when it comes to most United Nations organs. A judicial decision can have no legitimacy when rendered against a nation that is willfully excluded from the court's membership by bigotry."

      The writer is a Fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Director of the Program on Conflict Management and Negotiation at Bar-Ilan University, and Editor of NGO Monitor.


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