Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Palestinians Prepare Flags to Fly Over Gaza Settlements - Nidal al-Mughrabi (Reuters)
- July 28, 2005
Issue of the Week:
On the Move in Israel
A Crash Course from Veteran of Another War on Terror - Robin Finn (New York Times)
CAIR Founded by "Islamic Terrorists"? - Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha (FrontPageMagazine)
Yemeni Muslim Cleric Sentenced in Terror Conspiracy (CNN)
See also Millennium Bomber Sentenced to 22 Years - Sarah Kershaw (New York Times)
Armed Group Abducts Palestinian Security Official in Gaza
Palestinian Terrorist Injured in "Work Accident" in West Bank (Jerusalem Post)
Dubai's Ceaseless Pursuit of Excess - Mike Davis (San Francisco Chronicle)
Economist: Israeli Economy Growing at 4.1% - Zeev Klein (Globes)
Resort Offers Reward for Return of Snake - David Rudge (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Iranian cadres are training Hizballah fighters in Lebanon, Assistant Secretary of State David Welch told the House International Relations Committee Thursday. Welch also testified there was "a continuing covert Syrian presence there" despite the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, and there are armed Palestinian groups in Lebanon, as well. Welch said the Lebanese army should extend its authority to southern Lebanon and the militia groups should be disarmed. (AP/San Francisco Chronicle)
Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres on Thursday urged the international community to donate tens of millions of dollars to upgrade border crossings in the Gaza Strip - a move he said is critical for boosting the Palestinian economy after Israel withdraws from the area. Peres said $120 million is needed for new technology that would allow goods to move quickly in and out of Gaza, and to reduce the wait times for Palestinian laborers entering Israel. "We don't want to leave Gaza and keep Gaza closed. We want to facilitate movement of people and movement of goods,'' Peres said. "We think the better the people in Gaza have it, the better neighbors we will have. It's in our interest.'' (AP/Guardian-UK)
The Vatican has rejected Israel's criticism that Pope Benedict XVI failed to condemn Palestinian militant attacks against Israel in recent remarks when he deplored the attacks in Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, and Britain. Earlier this week, the Israeli foreign ministry criticized the pope for failing to mention a 12 July suicide bombing in Netanya that killed five Israelis, saying the pontiff's speech would be interpreted as "granting legitimacy to...terrorist attacks against Jews." A Vatican statement said: "It's not always possible to immediately follow every attack against Israel with a public statement of condemnation." It said this was mainly because "the attacks against Israel sometimes were followed by immediate Israeli reactions not always compatible with the rules of international law." (BBC News)
A Western diplomat said a variety of analysts had concluded that hundreds of Jordanians had gone to Iraq to fight since the beginning of the war. A common route, they say, is overland through Syria. After seeing television images of the Americans' toppling of a Sunni Arab-led government, "we were in the mosque and we all said, 'Lets go do jihad,'" recalled Abdul Kareem Saraqoush, 39. The group drove to Damascus, where they boarded buses that were lined up in a central square and ready to take them to Baghdad. (New York Times)
See also Five Suspected Syrian Guerrillas Killed in Iraq
U.S. and Iraqi forces killed nine guerrillas, five of whom were reported to be Syrians, in a village northwest of Baghdad, after they had fired rocket-propelled grenades and small arms at a U.S. and Iraqi patrol, the U.S. military said Friday. (Reuters/ABC News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
The IDF believes fighting with the Palestinians will continue after the Gaza pullout, a senior officer in the Southern Command said Thursday, and the army is constructing a new barrier to block terrorist infiltrators consisting of three fences, security roads, and a range of state-of-the-art weapons systems. The officer explained that each element was designed to slow the progress of attackers and increase the amount of time soldiers have to react to an infiltration attempt.
"There is no replacement for strategic depth, so we have to create depth" by increasing the number of obstacles between Gaza and nearby Israeli towns and kibbutzim, he said. All elements of the NIS 1 billion security apparatus, including unmanned vehicles, remote-controlled guns, and fiber optic surveillance systems, should be in place by the end of 2006, he said. The IDF is also preparing a series of measures to increase security for 45 Israeli towns and kibbutzim near the Gaza border. (Jerusalem Post)
Aware of the fact his security forces will never be able to block tens of thousands of jubilant Palestinians from marching toward Gush Katif to celebrate "victory" over Israel, PA Chairman Abbas is nevertheless hoping that most Palestinian factions will refrain from opening fire at soldiers and settlers during disengagement.
Abbas's major fear is that failure to control Gaza after disengagement will undermine the Palestinians' efforts to persuade the international community to pressure Israel to make further concessions. "The third intifada will be over the West Bank, while the fourth will be over Jerusalem. It will take time, but Israel will eventually have to withdraw to the pre-1967 borders," said a Palestinian cabinet minister in Ramallah. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Condoleezza Rice's sudden presence in Jerusalem and Ramallah was certainly needed, if only to prop up the designated receiving end of the disengagement equation. After all, Palestinians were shooting one another on the streets of Gaza, where Hamas has staggering gun-toting superiority. But it is doubtful that her supportive appearance in Ramallah will do the trick for Mahmoud Abbas for long. In any case, no one could possibly believe that Rice's pleasing appraisal of the behavior of the Palestinian Authority was anything other than fantasy. Jews within and just beyond Gaza are targeted by rockets, mortar shells, and simple bullets every day. Sometimes these kill, sometimes they only maim or injure.
Nothing in the experience of Gaza or the West Bank should have permitted her to move blithely into talking about the U.S. commitment to "the connectivity" of the two areas. Under any design at the present moment, this would inevitably be a link between two lively centers of terrorism. Rice hopes that Gaza "cannot be a sealed or isolated area, with the Palestinian people closed in." So the demand has grown already - supported by the secretary - that a modern port be built in Gaza and the Gaza airport reopened. But who will guarantee that these facelifts will not quickly turn out to be transfer points for deadly weapons? Rice's vision is ingenuous and premature. The Palestinians have a history as true pioneers in the great terrorist bane of our times, and they are still stars in the terrorist firmament. There is only one way they can earn their sovereign independence, and it is by ceasing to imperil their neighbor. (New Republic)
The U.S. would be well advised to increase the pace of Palestinian security reform so as to produce a core force loyal to Abbas and effective in combating terrorism and lawlessness. A capable force would provide Abbas with both the muscle and self-confidence to curb Hamas and other militant groups. There are already sufficient personnel and weapons to field such a force - what is now required are political will, organizational skills, and resources.
The G8 recently allocated substantial economic aid to the PA ($9 billion over the next three years). In light of this windfall, the international community, in conjunction with the PA, should emphasize to the Palestinian public the concrete quality-of-life improvements (jobs, construction, infrastructure) that lie ahead following the Israeli disengagement and pending a terror-free environment. This could help turn Palestinian sentiment against violence, boosting Abbas in the upcoming elections and giving him enhanced domestic legitimacy to crack down on Hamas if it attempts to destabilize the situation and challenge his authority. IDF Brig.-Gen. Michael Herzog is a visiting military fellow at The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
If the PA's current reluctance to reform continues, its ability to enforce law and order at the Palestinian street level may diminish and clashes might take place among the armed groups. The militias cannot be tolerated and cannot be given a free hand on the streets of Gaza if law and order is to prevail. This will be essential in proving the legitimacy and the capability of the PA to the international community. It is imperative that the soft approach to gun crime and terrorization of neighborhoods by armed gangs ends and that criminals be put behind bars, not incorporated into the security forces and the police as is currently being done. The writer is the founder and director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. (Palestinian Press Center)
In the wake of last week's announcement that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the longtime Saudi ambassador to the U.S., will be replaced by Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence and the monarchy's current ambassador to London, Riyadh's supporters have begun spinning the idea that the prince could be America's salvation in the war on terror. A central problem with this thesis is that the Saudis remain heavily involved in financing radical jihadism. In July 13 testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Stuart Levey, Treasury undersecretary in the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said that while Saudi Arabia has become much more cooperative since the May 2003 Riyadh bombings, "even today, we believe that Saudi donors may still be a significant source of terrorist financing, including for the insurgency in Iraq." Mr. Levey singled out several Saudi charities whose support for terrorism "continue to cause us concern."
Given Saudi Arabia's longstanding role as a financier of the Wahhabi terrorist network that brought us everything from the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center to the September 11 attacks, many Americans might think that the U.S. needs to demand that the Saudi government crack down on Saudis inside and outside of government who continue to fund jihadists. (Washington Times)
For a contrasting view, see Ambassador With Portfolio - Flynt Leverett (New York Times)
Suicide charges are usually built to be set off with the flick of the bomber's finger. The terrorist can be disabled, flat on the ground, and surrounded by heavily armed men and still blow up everything around him. The officer who killed Mr. Menezes in London did a horrible thing, but he also did the right thing. One of the tragedies of this age of suicide bombers is that the right thing to do is sometimes a horrible thing. Remember: there's an essential distinction between us and the suicide bombers. The suicide bombers perpetrate gratuitous horrors. We do terrible things only when it is necessary to prevent something even worse from happening. (New York Times)
Last week, London Mayor Ken Livingstone was asked about his public embrace of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who has repeatedly praised suicide bombers in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Qaradawi's argument is that there is no such thing as an Israeli civilian. Israeli women can be called to national service; Israeli children will grow up to be soldiers. Even the unborn Israeli child in the womb is a legitimate target for death, because one day he will wear a uniform. This ceases to be a political stance; this becomes the demonization of a people. Only one nation on the planet has no civilians; only one nation must recognize that its children can legitimately be torn apart by nail bombs on buses. Only the Israelis are less than human, denied the protections afforded to all other human beings. (Guardian-UK)
Under the protection of Damascus, the radical Lebanese Shi'ite Hizballah movement has developed the best-trained and equipped guerrilla combat force in the world, stockpiled roughly 12,000 rockets capable of hitting Israeli population centers, and assumed a direct role in training and equipping Palestinian terrorist cells. It is unlikely that Lebanon's central government will have sufficient military and political clout to confront the organization for several years.
If Hizballah's price for endorsing the current political system is state recognition of its armed presence, Lebanon's political elites will pay it if they can. Having inherited stewardship of the developing world's most indebted government, however, they can be swayed if the international community makes it clear that much-needed economic aid will not be forthcoming as long as Hizballah remains armed. (Jerusalem Post)
According to Pakistani scholar Ahmed Rashid, Pakistan remains the global center for terrorism and for the remnants of al-Qaeda, which is still very strong. The militant groups have not been crushed and if the madrassas they control are not shut down, we're not going to see an end to militancy. When crackdowns do occur, they aren't effective. Hundreds or even thousands of people are picked up, held for 90 days, and then they are freed as soon as the attention and pressure from the West has stopped. But you don't need to come to Pakistan to become a fanatic. You can become a fanatic anywhere in England because there's enough extremism there too.
Bin Laden is certainly in Pakistan because Pakistan has traditionally had the best infrastructure for al-Qaeda. I don't think the Pakistani military knows where he is, but they aren't looking very hard either because they fear the military support they get from the U.S. would disappear as soon as he is caught. (Der Spiegel-Germany)
See also We Need Pakistan in the War on Terror, But Does It Fuel Islamist Passions? - Alyssa Ayres
The Pakistani military has adopted Islamic ideology to fashion itself as the guardian of the nation and its core beliefs. In doing so it has repeatedly co-opted Islamist organizations - notably the Jamaat-e-Islami - for cover and support. The military has also followed a policy of divide and rule, patronizing existing Islamist groups while seeding new ones that might rival them. A 1990 report by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence agency on the future of U.S.-Pakistan relations concluded: "It was important to maintain the impression of widespread anti-U.S. sentiment in Pakistani society, which could be assured by periodic demonstrations by Islamists. This would create sympathy for Pakistani military and intelligence officials among their U.S. counterparts." (Wall Street Journal)
How do you fight an enemy who is not only prepared to sacrifice his own life, but who positively wants to die? There is no debate to be had here. We are in the territory of outright madness. Those who pretend that there could be some accommodation with the aims of this movement - who see it as a new power balance in the world that must be addressed in foreign policy terms - are criminally irresponsible. There is nothing short of the extinction of democratic, secular society that would appease this enemy. (Sunday Times-UK)
It is true that the vast majority of Muslims abhor violence and terrorism, and that the Qur'an and various schools of Islamic law forbid the killing of innocent civilians. It is true, as the vast majority of Muslims believe, that the main message of Islam is peace.
Nevertheless, it is false to assume the Qur'an or Islamic law cannot be used to justify barbaric acts. The terrorists are a product of a specific mindset that has deep roots in Islamic history. They are nourished by an Islamic tradition that is intrinsically inhuman and violent in its rhetoric, thought, and practice. They are provided solace and spiritual comfort by scholars who use the Qur'an and Islamic law to justify their actions and fan the hatred. (New Statesman-UK/Toronto Star)
Suicide bombing cannot be explained by poverty and disadvantage. The London bombers were not the wretched of the earth. They came from working-class but comfortable backgrounds, living in one of the world's most prosperous countries. If anyone had cause for rage, it was not the bombers but their parents. Muslim migrants from Pakistan, they were dirt-poor and probably ostracized. Yet they did not become murderers; they started fish-and-chips shops. Like all ideologies, radical Islam is a phenomenon of the educated class. The good news is that in the heart of the Muslim world, this ideology is not doing so well. Arabs are finally denouncing terrorism and also the ideologies that feed it. (Newsweek)
The kids at Camp Koby are not your average elementary and middle schoolers. They are more mature, more family oriented, and they don't fight over mundane things, enabling them to form strong and meaningful bonds with each other. After all they've been through, the little things just don't matter.
Many of the American counselors expected Camp Koby to have a melancholy atmosphere, but found exactly the opposite. The camp rages with spirit and a love of life that people in the outside world seemed to have forgotten. Camp Koby is a project of the Koby Mandell Foundation, started by Rabbi Seth and Sherri Mandell, whose son Koby was murdered by terrorists in 2001 near Tekoa. (Ynet News)
Judaism and Christianity provide a foundation of thought which effectively supports the proposition that democracy is for all. Islamic adversaries of democratic universality reject man-made law, see democracy as foreign to the Arab tradition and part of the "immorality of the West," and view it as belonging to the "Crusaders" [Christians] and Jews.
The prevailing idea in majority American culture is that the foundations of modern democratic thought are predominantly, if not exclusively, Christian. In addition, the State Department and the EU have propagated the fiction that the Palestinian war against Israel is totally separate from the greater Islamic jihad against the West. If we reverse these propositions, stating instead that the idea of equality represents an original Jewish contribution to world culture, fully or even partially, and that the militant Islamic assault against the West, America, and Israel are one and the same, the facts begin to make sense. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Although the study of the Holocaust and its historical lessons has traditionally been regarded in the Western world as one of the most effective means of combating anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia, in post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe, Holocaust-related issues have been a major cause of anti-Semitic incidents and growing animus toward Jews. In these societies, which are being forced for the first time to confront the complicity of their own nationals in the crimes of the Holocaust, practical issues such as the acknowledgment of the crimes, commemoration of the victims, prosecution of the perpetrators, and documentation of the events are proving to be a major source of tension and conflict between Jews and non-Jews. (Jewish Political Studies Review)
Gaza Disengagement is about Defensible Borders for Israel - Ike Seamans (Miami Herald)
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