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
Suicide Bomber's Hometown Celebrates Attack - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
See also Suicide Bomber Expressed Desire to be Martyr (AP/Ha'aretz)
- October 27, 2005
Issue of the Week:
How Are the Palestinians Handling Gaza?
Iran Harboring 25 Al-Qaeda Bigs - Gersh Kuntzman and Niles Lathem (New York Post)
Four Danish Muslims Arrested in Terror Plot (AP/Newsday)
Inner Circle in Syria Holds Power - Anthony Shadid and Robin Wright (Washington Post)
Report on Oil-for-Food Scheme Gives Details of Bribes to Iraq - Doreen Carvajal and Andrew Kramer (New York Times)
Jordan Bans Anti-Semitic Miniseries - Orly Halpern (Jerusalem Post)
More Hispanic Women Converting to Islam - Alexandra Alter (Miami Herald)
Record Foreign Investment in Real Estate - Zeev Klein (Globes)
The Seventh-Century Christian Obsession with the Jews:
A Historical Parallel for the Present? - Rivkah Duker Fishman (Jewish Political Studies Review)
Palestinian Public Perceptions of Security Sector Governance (Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces and
the Graduate Institute of Development Studies-Switzerland)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The U.S. strongly urged Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday to rein in militants after a suicide bombing in Israel and said the Jewish state had the right to defend itself from such attacks. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned Abbas and told him to act against militants after a bombing on Wednesday in Hadera, Israel. (Reuters)
Europe strongly condemned Iran's president on Thursday for saying Israel should be wiped out and said the call raised concerns about the aims of a country the West suspects is planning to build an atomic bomb. EU leaders and Russia joined the U.S. and Canada in roundly condemning the comments attributed to Ahmadinejad, and Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, and Italy all sent strong messages of condemnation on Thursday to Iranian envoys in their countries. "Calls for violence, and for the destruction of any state, are manifestly inconsistent with any claim to be a mature and responsible member of the international community," EU leaders said in a statement. (Reuters)
See also Arab States Mum on Iran's Israel Remarks - Arthur Max
Arab governments remained silent Thursday as international condemnation grew over a call by Iran's new president for Israel to be destroyed. (AP/Newsday)
See also Turkish Prime Minister Urges Iran to "Political Sobriety"
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, whose country is Israel's main regional ally, urged Iran to apply "political sobriety" after Iran's hardline president called for the annihilation of the Jewish state. Erdogan urged Tehran not to meddle in other countries' ties with Israel. (AFP/Iran News)
See also Iranian President Stands by Anti-Israel Remark
Iranian President Ahmadinejad on Friday dismissed widespread international condemnation of his call for Israel to be "wiped off the map," saying his remark was "right and just." (AFP/Khaleej Times-Dubai)
Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Gillerman, on Thursday wrote to the UN Secretary General: "The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad...declared, 'Israel must be wiped off the map of the world...and God willing...we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism.'"
"It is appalling that a leader of a UN member state would call for the destruction of another member state....This malicious statement warrants a resolute and strong response from the international community. No member state that calls for violence, death, and destruction...deserves a seat in this civilized body, the United Nations." (Israeli UN Mission)
See also American Jewish Leaders: Iranian Regime Not Worthy of UN Membership
"The Iranian threat is not only to Israel, but to the West, and to the entire world. Iran is developing missiles that can reach Europe and the United States. Their ideology of Islamic theocratic rule and their efforts to export it must be resisted by all democracies. That Iran's president could call for the destruction of another state and for 'a world without the United States' demonstrates that, under such a regime, it is not worthy to be a member of the community of nations," Conference of Presidents Chairman Harold Tanner and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein said in a statement Thursday. "We do not believe that Ahmadinejad's statements represent the views of the Iranian people," they added. (Conference of Presidents, 27Oct05)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz criticized Mahmoud Abbas in an interview in Friday's Yediot Ahronot daily. "Abu Mazen [Abbas] is a one-man show, and there is nothing backing him," Mofaz said. "We will not reach peace with the current Palestinian leadership - we have to wait until the next generation." For the time being, the best that could be expected was another round of interim agreements between the sides rather than any final peace agreement, he said. (Jerusalem Post)
An Israel Air Force aircraft fired missiles at the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing the Islamic Jihad field commander in northern Gaza, Shadi Mohanna, and his deputy, Mohammed Ghazaineh. Mohanna was directly responsible for operating cells that launched Kassam rockets and mortar shells at Israel from the vicinity of Beit Hanun. Mohanna - like many other Islamic Jihad activists - ignored the cease-fire declared between Israel and the Palestinians. The missiles, apparently fired from an unmanned aerial vehicle, hit the car in which the Jihad men were traveling. According to the Israel Defense Forces, four Islamic Jihad militants who were in the car were killed, as well as three civilians. (Ha'aretz)
Fourteen Palestinians were reported wounded in the attack. IDF sources claimed that the high number of casualties was a result of explosives Mohanna carried in his car, which detonated following the missile strike. (Ynet News)
Members of the defense establishment said the army would be performing "root canal against Islamic Jihad" in the territories following Wednesday's suicide bombing in Hadera, in which five people were killed. Prime Minister Sharon and Defense Minister Mofaz have ordered a policy of deterrence without crushing the PA, along with responding to rocket and mortar attacks. In any case, the PA is insignificant, and its role in the current conflict is limited to issuing condemnations.
In discussions with the Palestinians on operating the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, Israel wants to prevent the entry of terror suspects and insists on the presence of European inspectors at the crossing, along with cameras. The PA has agreed only to European "instructors" and is only prepared to transfer footage from the crossing once a day, without a direct broadcast to the Shin Bet. (Ha'aretz)
Three Kassam rockets fired by Islamic Jihad terrorists towards Israel landed in Palestinian areas, Palestinian sources said Friday. (Ynet News)
The world may have thought otherwise, but in the warrens of Gaza's refugee camps the war against Israel is very much still on. The PA announced on Sunday that it planned to disarm the Fatah-linked Aksa Martyrs Brigades and absorb its members into the PA security forces, but Brigades gunmen seem anything but ready to disarm. A brainchild of jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and others, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades were Fatah's answer to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. One Gaza Brigades commander, Hassan Abu Ali, said more of his men have been hospitalized unleashing the erratic rockets than Israelis on the receiving end. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Israel's government is sure to be criticized for the way it protects its citizens. At times like this, there is always a chorus that pops up to lecture our leaders with the kind of advice that has proven, time and again, to be fatal. First they mourn the "regrettable loss of life" and bemoan the fact that "calm has been shattered." Then comes the familiar call for Israeli restraint, as if such restraint will prevent, rather than invite, the next attack.
It will be stated that Israel roused the anger of the terrorists by rounding up them up and targeting their commanders. The chorus overlooks the fact that Islamic Jihad commander Sa'adi had directed the murders of several Israelis and was planning new attacks when the IDF killed him. And they fail to grasp that it was precisely PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's failure to lift a finger to control groups like Islamic Jihad that made Israel's arrest raids in the West Bank and the neutralization of men such as Sa'adi an absolute imperative. (Jerusalem Post)
The Islamic Jihad, which assumed responsibility for the Hadera attack, was behind this year's suicide bombings in Tel Aviv and Netanya, and the planning of more attacks. The Islamic Jihad's raison d'etre is the fight against Israel and the aim to eradicate it. Not just push it out of the West Bank, but kick it out of the entire land. According to Israeli military and foreign assessments, its armed wing, the al-Quds Brigades, has a "few hundred" members.
The attack underlines also the PA's weakness. Abbas genuinely opposes terror, but his hopes for "one gun" in the PA are, so far, just dreams. Since the Islamic Jihad is adamant on liquidating Israel, there is no room for a compromise with it. Fighting will continue until Israel, or the Palestinians, put an end to that movement. (UPI)
Off the record, many Christians in Bethlehem who were interviewed last week expressed deep concern over increased attacks by Muslims on members of their community. "The Christians here are perceived as easy prey," says a prominent Christian businessman. "After the Palestinian Authority arrived here in 1995, many Muslim families from Hebron and other parts of the West Bank have moved to Beit Jala," said a local physician. "Some of them have illegally seized privately-owned lands."
Fatah gunmen in Beit Jala who fired into the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo in the first years of the intifada are also responsible for the rape and murder of two Christian teenage sisters from the Amr family. "Some of the murderers were later killed by the Israeli army, but others are now living in Europe after they had sought refuge in the Church of Nativity. It's absurd that Muslim men who rape and murder Christian girls are given political asylum in Christian countries like Ireland, Spain, and Italy," said a family member.
Samir Qumsiyeh, a journalist from Beit Sahur who heads a local TV station, has drawn up a list of 93 cases of anti-Christian violence between 2000 and 2004. "Almost all 140 cases of expropriation of land in the last three years were committed by militant Islamic groups and members of the Palestinian police," Qumsiyeh said. "In 1950 the Christian population in Bethlehem was 75%. Today we have hardly more than 12% Christians." (Jerusalem Post)
A UN report has found strong evidence of Syrian complicity in the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February. None but a dedicated apologist for tyranny should demur at a strategy of confrontation. Under its dynastic despotism, Syria supports terrorists and grants them sanctuary. Islamic Jihad has its headquarters in Damascus, and Syria is known to have channeled arms from Iran to Hizballah in Lebanon. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, Syria also has "an active chemical weapons program, including significant reserves of the deadly nerve agent sarin."
Whereas Western leaders have invested faith in Syria to support a Middle East peace settlement, those hopes have never been repaid. Syria's fiercely anti-Semitic leadership is clearly determined to sabotage territorial compromise. (Times-UK)
The next decision on Syria's fate will be taken in the White House and by the UN Security Council, Syria expert and Tel Aviv University professor Eyal Zisser said. "The rope is getting closer to President Bashar Assad, but he still has room for maneuver," Zisser says. The evidence gathered so far is insufficient in order to bring Assad before an international tribunal, he says. The UN investigative team cast a dark shadow on officials who are very close to President Assad, including his brother Maher and his right-hand man and brother-in-law, General Asef Shawkat. Investigators suspect the two, as well as other senior Syrian and Lebanese figures, are behind the Hariri assassination. "Shawkat is the number one man in the Syrian security establishment," said Zisser.
"The Americans have to make a strategic decision - whether they are in favor of bringing Bashar down or in favor of cutting a deal with him. Then there's a tactical decision - whether to suffice with the existing report or wait for the final report. A final report could indeed uncover direct Syrian involvement and satisfy Russia and China," Zisser says. (Ynet News)
Israel is subject to a clear and present Iranian danger, and the Iranian president's belief that he can threaten Israel with destruction while continuing to consort with other heads of state and speak at the UN General Assembly is particularly worrisome. Iran supports Hizballah and Palestinian organizations that operate against Israel, but the real problem with the open hatred in Ahmadinejad's remarks is the legitimacy and encouragement that they could grant to all those who choose to fight Israel instead of talking with it. (Ha'aretz)
The loud international boos that greeted the Iranian president's inflammatory remarks are likely to be echoed in Tehran, where opponents are already describing his speech as a spectacular own goal. Ahmadinejad's critics will seize on his "wipe Israel off the map" gibe as further evidence of his dangerous amateurism that is harming Iran's relations with the outside world. His belligerent tone will certainly heighten international concerns over Iran's nuclear program, stoke Washington's hostility, alienate a Europe already frustrated over the nuclear stalemate, and enable Israel better to portray Iran as its gravest threat. Slogans denouncing Israel are a common sight at all rallies organized by the regime, but it was the first time in many years that such a high-ranking Iranian official has openly called for the country's eradication. (Times-UK)
UK Minister for the Middle East Dr. Kim Howells told the UK House of Commons on Wednesday: "It distressed many of us to see how the greenhouses were looted at disengagement....That was an act of incredible stupidity, because perhaps as many as 10,000 people were employed in those greenhouses. I was glad to hear over the past couple of weeks that the Saudis and Israelis, among others, have put money into replacing the components of the greenhouses that were looted and sold off, presumably on the streets of Gaza."
"I was in Ramallah three weeks ago. I had not been there for 13 years, and I did not recognize it. It was full of flashy apartments. Where did the money come from? A prominent Palestinian told me, 'Well, we've had a decade and a half of chronic, corrosive corruption.' That is where the money has come from. Year after year, the donor countries gave money to the Palestine Liberation Organization, and what happened to it? It was used to pay off Arafat's cronies, and a lot of it ended up in bank accounts in Zurich and in property. It is a disgrace." (House of Commons)
At least two groundbreaking television series focus on the damage that extremism is wreaking on the Muslim world. "It is the first time in Arab drama that you see people who believe in the Koran and faith doing bad," said Ali al-Ahmed, director of Abu Dhabi TV. "The Rough Road," tells the story of a fictional television correspondent producing a documentary about mujahedeen in Afghanistan, only to discover corruption and opportunism in their cause. "The Beautiful Virgins," produced in Syria, traces the lives of victims and attackers in a militant attack on an expatriate compound in Saudi Arabia in 2004 that left 17 people dead, emphasizing the viciousness and corruption of al-Qaeda. (New York Times)
"Ushpizin" tells the story of an impoverished and childless couple, Moshe and Malli, who wait for a miracle during the Sukkot festival when observant Jews eat outside in huts. When a pair of career criminals show up on their doorstep, the couple take in the freeloaders as welcome guests - the ancient Aramaic word is "ushpizin" - and view them as a test of their faith by God. (New York Times)
We Are Not Prepared to Countenance Continued Terrorism
At the start of a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday, Prime Minister Sharon said:
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