Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

August 9, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Urgent Terror Warning for Southern Turkey - Diana Bahur-Nir (Ynet News)
    Israeli Anti-Terrorism Bureau chief Danny Arditi has called upon Israeli tourists to cut short trips in southern Turkey, where there is a severe terror warning.
    "If someone has only one or two days left in these areas, I'd suggest they cut short their trip and come home. If someone has plans to stay there longer, I suggest a similar spot in another part of Turkey."
    "The threat is for the entire beachfront region, including cities such as Alania, Anatolia, and Kamar," popular destinations for Israeli travelers.
    "The threat comes from worldwide jihad organizations and is not directed specifically at Israelis, but rather at foreign tourists, including Israelis."
    Earlier this week, four Israeli ships were diverted from Turkish ports following "concrete" intelligence about a potential strike.


Western Missions Issue Saudi Terror Warning - Guy Dinmore (Financial Times-UK)
    The U.S. closed all of its diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia on Monday for two days and the UK and Australia warned they had "credible reports" that terrorists would soon strike the kingdom again.


Watch for Women and Child Bombers, Says London Police - David Leppard (Times-UK)
    Terrorists could be preparing to use women and children as suicide bombers in further attacks on trains and other soft targets in London, internal Scotland Yard documents have warned.


Preacher of Hate Flees Britain - Catriona Davies and Brendan Carlin (Telegraph-UK)
    Omar Bakri Mohammed, one of several British-based Islamist clerics facing possible terrorist incitement charges, has fled to Lebanon.


Hamas Seeks "Victory" Paintings, Poems (Palestine Chronicle)
    Hamas has launched a competition for the best painting to show Israel's withdrawal from Gaza as a victory for Palestinians.
    The group also urged poets to write lyrics "glorifying the victory of the resistance."


Saudi King Pardons Jailed Dissidents - Steve Coll (Washington Post)
    Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Monday ordered the pardon and release of three prominent political dissidents and their attorney who had been imprisoned for holding meetings and signing petitions advocating a new constitution for the kingdom.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Lawlessness Clouds Prospects for Gaza Revival - Charles Morris
    The prospects for international aid donors hoping to foster a private sector-led recovery of the Gaza economy are clouded by uncertainty over the high level of lawlessness that currently afflicts Gazans. "There are almost daily incidents of killings and shootings, and the PA has done little to stop it," said Salah Abdel-Shafi, an economic consultant. Crimes range from carjacking to kidnapping and extortion. Most people blame the lawlessness on turf wars and family feuds involving elements of the security forces linked to rivals in the PA and Fatah, its dominant faction. Many blame Mahmoud Abbas for not using his overwhelming electoral mandate to crack down on lawless elements in his own camp. "Seventy percent of this lawlessness comes from within the PA," said Nasser Azzat. (Financial Times-UK)
        See also Infighting Threatens Palestinian Democracy - Yezid Sayigh
    A multi-faceted struggle among Palestinian groups pits Mahmoud Abbas, the PA chairman, against Ahmed Qurei, the PA prime minister; the "old guard" of Fatah against its "young guard"; and all sides against Hamas, the militant Islamist group. The Fatah old guard is seeking to block internal reform and democratization, to deny Hamas any chance of sharing meaningful power, and to retain control over massive international aid flows. (Financial Times-UK)
  • Hamas Challenge Looms with Planned Withdrawal - Tod Robberson
    A serious clash could be brewing as Hamas prepares to expand its presence on the streets of Gaza and in the settlement land it claims to be liberating from Israel. The potential is high for a repeat of the clashes that erupted over several days in mid-July when Palestinian security forces tried to clamp down on militias. Video footage from Gaza City showed Palestinian police pinned down by Hamas gunfire while civilians joined Hamas fighters in sacking and burning police equipment, including an armored vehicle. (Dallas Morning News)
        See also Abbas, Hamas Vie for Hearts of Gaza - Lara Sukhtian
    In a survey of 1,320 Palestinians last month, 72% said Israel was driven out of Gaza by militant attacks.  The PA is spending $1.7 million on withdrawal celebrations. (AP/Washington Times)
  • Atomic Activity Resumes in Iran Amid Warnings - Nazila Fathi and Joel Brinkley
    Iranian technicians at a facility outside Isfahan resumed the conversion of uranium on Monday, despite warnings from European negotiators that the move would prompt them to refer the case to the UN Security Council for punitive action. (New York Times)
        See also Iran's Nuclear Program - Editorial
    Now there is no further room for obfuscation, and no further reason to give Iranians the benefit of the doubt: The real aim of the Iranian nuclear program is nuclear weapons, not electric power. It is no longer possible to consider the Iranian nuclear threat as anything but deadly serious. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Insists on Gaza Border Presence - Herb Keinon
    Israel will insist on checking all traffic in and out of Gaza even after its withdrawal, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the Security Cabinet on Monday. The defense minister also said Israeli troops could leave the Philadelphi corridor between Egypt and Gaza by the end of 2005 if the deployment of some 750 Egyptian troops there goes smoothly. Israel has proposed moving the border crossing to Kerem Shalom from Rafah, where Israeli border inspectors would operate as well as Palestinian and Egyptian security forces. However, the Palestinians have said they would not agree to such a move. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Issues Evacuation Orders to Gaza Settlers - Amos Harel and Yair Ettinger
    Gaza Strip settlers will be required to leave their homes by midnight on August 14, at which time the presence of Israeli civilians in the Gaza Strip will be considered illegal, according to a letter distributed by the IDF to local residents six days ahead of the evacuation. (Ha'aretz)
  • International Red Cross Suspends Activity in Gaza over Security Situation - Arnon Regular
    The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Monday suspended all its field operations in the Gaza Strip in protest of the deterioration in security. The ICRC closed its offices in Khan Yunis indefinitely after gunmen fired dozens of bullets at them. A number of UN aid people have been abducted in Gaza in recent days, in events linked to rivalry among Palestinian security branches. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinians Fire Rocket from Gaza at Israeli Town
    Palestinians from Gaza fired a Kassam rocket at the southern Israeli town of Sderot on Monday. No injuries or damage was reported. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Gaza Test: Palestinians Must Ensure Peaceful Pullout - Editorial
    With its Gaza Strip withdrawal now in motion, Israel is undertaking a painful but necessary step toward peace with the Palestinians. Tragically - no, infuriatingly - terrorist hardliners in Hamas are threatening to destroy what the Sharon government is achieving at great political cost to itself and searing emotional pain for the Israeli public.
        It is in everybody's interest that the Palestinians succeed in governing Gaza. Trouble is, the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas is stronger on the ground in Gaza than the Palestinian government under Mahmoud Abbas, and there is reason to fear that Hamas, which refuses to make peace with Israel, will attempt to turn the Gaza Strip into a terrorist statelet. (Dallas Morning News)
        See also The Gaza Narrative - Editorial
    Both Israelis and Palestinians know that the narrative - who controls it, which of the two competing versions the world perceives to be more true - shapes the reality on the ground and any prospective peace deal. In the battle to write the dominant historical narrative of the Gaza exodus, how the Israeli withdrawal is perceived could set the stage for renewed peace efforts. Or it could bring a new spasm of terror and violence. If the militants of Hamas and Islamic Jihad succeed in selling their answer - that armed resistance forced the Israelis from Gaza - then that could embolden the terrorists.
        Sharon has rightly portrayed the withdrawal as an important strategic disengagement, undertaken to strengthen Israel's defensible borders and preserve the Jewish and democratic nature of Israel. In the aftermath of this painful pullout, one more question is likely to dominate the Israeli narrative: Is Israel more secure now? If not, Sharon will find little support for any renewed efforts to kindle peace talks. (Chicago Tribune)
  • Be Consistent in Identifying "Terrorists" - Kate Parry, Reader's Representative
    The July 7 bombings in London were quickly labeled terrorist attacks by the wire services in the Star Tribune. But a July 12 suicide bombing outside a Netanya, Israel, shopping mall was attributed to "Islamic Jihad militants," a group on the U.S. State Department's list of terrorist organizations. Reinforcing the tendency to treat Israel differently is an entry in the Star Tribune stylebook which says Hamas is to be referred to as "a militant Islamic group."
        To my mind, when a person intent on a cause straps explosives to his body and detonates himself to harm nearby civilians, he and his supporters become terrorists. Period. The newspaper shouldn't shy away from the truth of plain language or hide behind the policies of the wire services. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
  • Not a Single Bullet for the PA - Uri Dan
    In an interview given by Prime Minister Sharon at the end of a recent visit to Paris, he once again explained: The fact that PA leader Abbas had reached agreement with Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist organizations instead of dismantling them had made him their hostage and raised considerable doubts regarding his ability to progress toward the implementation of the road map. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz said the PA has enough arms and ammunition to dominate Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. Sharon doesn't intend to give them a single bullet. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    Europe's Cowardice in the Face of Enemy Fire - Mathias Dopfner
    (Die Welt/Times-UK)

    • The writer Henryk Broder recently issued a withering indictment: Europe, your family name is appeasement. Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as Britain and France negotiated and hesitated too long before they realized Adolf Hitler needed to be fought and defeated, because he could not be bound by toothless agreements.
    • Later, appeasement legitimized and stabilized communism in the Soviet Union, in East Germany, and then throughout the rest of Eastern Europe, where for decades inhuman, repressive, and murderous governments were glorified.
    • Europe still hasn't learned. Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European appeasement often seems to countenance suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians.
    • Today we are faced with a particularly grotesque form of appeasement. How is Germany reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in the Netherlands, Britain, and elsewhere in Europe? By suggesting that the proper response to such barbarism is to initiate a Muslim holiday in Germany.
    • We find ourselves faced with a conflict that will most likely last longer than any of the great military clashes of the last century, a conflict conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by tolerance and accommodation because it is spurred on by such gestures. Such responses have proven to be signs of weakness.

      The writer is chief executive of the German media group Axel Springer.


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