Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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PA Police Planned to Assist Thwarted Bombing at Border Crossing (Jerusalem Post)
- December 15, 2005
Issue of the Week:
Car-Bomb Attempt Foiled Near Jerusalem Tunnels - Efrat Weiss (Ynet News)
Iran Tests Missiles, Conducts War Exercises (AP/Jerusalem Post)
Lebanon's Largest Government University Hosts Hizballah Symposium Calling to Wipe Israel Off the Map (MEMRI)
Top Al-Qaeda Agent Killed in Russia (MosNews-Russia)
Islamic Militants Will Try to Hit Scandinavia (Reuters/Aftenposten-Norway)
IDF Trains Foreigners in Crisis Management - Arieh O'Sullivan (Jerusalem Post)
Jan-Sep Israeli Exports to Arab Countries Up 26% - Shay Pauzner (Globes)
73% Rise in First-Time Visitors to Israel (Globes)
See also Canadian Physician Returns from Pilgrimage to Israel - Faye Bayko (Ponoka News-Alberta, Canada)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Sunni Arabs turned out in force to build a new Iraq Thursday in national elections. The Sunni outpouring was a long-hoped-for victory for the Bush administration, concluding a U.S.-planned timeline aimed at establishing a government that will hold together after U.S. troops withdraw. (Washington Post)
Iraqi security forces last year caught the most wanted man in the country, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - the al-Qaeda in Iraq leader who has a $25 million bounty on his head - but released him because they didn't know who he was, Iraqi deputy minister of interior Hussain Kamal confirmed Thursday. (CNN)
See also Jordanian Terror War to Include Reforms - Jamal Halaby
Jordan's new prime minister vowed Wednesday to wage a "preemptive" war against Islamic extremists, saying his government planned to fight terrorism by reforming religious teaching and granting greater freedom. Speaking to Parliament, Marouf al-Bakhit said the suicide bombers who killed 60 people in three hotels on Nov. 9 "only made us more determined to move forward in our preemptive war against terrorism and the 'takfiri' culture." "Takfiri" is the ideology of militants who regard their Muslim opponents as infidels. When King Abdullah chose al-Bakhit to be prime minister last month, he instructed him to launch an all-out war against Islamic militancy while vigorously pursuing political and economic reforms. (AP/NorthJersey)
See also Zarqawi and Israel: Is There a New Jihadi Threat Destabilizing the Eastern Front? - Dore Gold and Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi (ICA/JCPA)
See also Assessing Iraq's Sunni Arab Insurgency - Michael Eisenstadt and Jeffrey White (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Saddam Hussein moved his chemical weapons to Syria six weeks before the war started, Israel's top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom says. Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon asserted that Saddam spirited his chemical weapons out of the country on the eve of the war. "He transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria," Gen. Yaalon told the New York Sun on Tuesday. "No one went to Syria to find it." An official at the Iraqi embassy in Washington, Entifadh Qanbar, said he believed the Israeli general's account.
An article in the Fall 2005 Middle East Quarterly reports that in an appearance on Israel's Channel 2 on December 23, 2002, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon stated, "Chemical and biological weapons which Saddam is endeavoring to conceal have been moved from Iraq to Syria." Syria is one of only eight countries that has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention. (New York Sun)
"I declared that we will not recognize Israel which is an alien entity in the region. And we expect the demise of this cancer soon," Mohammed Mehdi Akef, the leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, told the state-owned Ahram Weekly in an interview published Thursday. "The Muslim Brothers do not recognize Israel....70 million Egyptians, 300 million citizens in the Arab world, and 1.5 billion Muslims across the world do not recognize Israel," Akef told the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat on Sunday. (AFP/Yahoo)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Palestinian terror organizations fired six rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel on Thursday, including one that hit a Carlsberg beer warehouse on the southern outskirts of the city of Ashkelon, the army and witnesses said. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Palestinians Launching Rockets from Abandoned Israeli Communities on Northern Gaza Border
Israel Radio reported Friday that Palestinians are exploiting the abandoned Israeli communities on the northern border of the Gaza Strip as rocket launching sites that are considerably closer to such strategic Israeli targets as a power plant and a large fuel storage area located south of Ashkelon. (IMRA)
Hamas swept 73% of the vote in the West Bank's largest city, Nablus, one of three major towns in which it won local elections, winning 13 seats on the 15-member city council, according to preliminary results released Friday. In Jenin, Hamas won eight seats, while a coalition between Fatah and the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine garnered seven. In Al-Bireh, a large suburb on the outskirts of Ramallah, Hamas won 72% of the vote, grabbing nine seats to Fatah's four. (Ha'aretz)
Despite intense American pressure, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has decided not to allow the passage of Palestinian bus convoys between Gaza and the West Bank next week. Following an assessment of the current security situation held Thursday, it was decided Israel would not allow the convoys at this time. Meanwhile, the defense establishment continues to make preparations for the convoys. Buses carrying Gaza residents to the West Bank will be escorted by Israeli security personnel and will run along predetermined routes. (Ha'aretz)
Hamas chief Khaled Meshal, in Tehran for three days of talks with top political and security officials, Thursday praised Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for recent comments in which he called the Holocaust a myth and said Israel should be moved to Europe or North America. "Those were brave and true remarks and it is what the Islamic nations say, especially the Palestinians," he said. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Holocaust denial and calls for Israel's destruction are commonplace in the Middle East. They can be seen every day on Hizballah TV, in Syrian media, in Egyptian editorials appearing in semiofficial newspapers. But none of these aspiring mass murderers are on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons that could do in one afternoon what it took Hitler six years to do: destroy an entire Jewish civilization and extinguish 6 million souls. Everyone knows where Iran's nuclear weapons will be aimed. And everyone knows that if the button is ever pushed, it will be the end of Israel. (Washington Post)
Iran's mullahs have created five major agencies to carry out their global ambitions, the most important of which is the "Qods"(Jerusalem Force), whose headquarters are on the former site of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. All of Iran's intelligence and extraterritorial agencies number some 21,000 personnel. In addition to terrorist operations, the "Qods" trains non-Iranian terrorists, including groups of 40-50 from Pakistan, Morocco, Lebanon, Iraq, and the PA. The great irony is that the West finances Iran's terrorist attacks in Iraq and elsewhere by buying its oil. The writer is a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. (Washington Times)
Washington should back European efforts to pressure Iran diplomatically to give up its nuclear weapons ambitions. However, if Iran resumes uranium enrichment, the U.S. should mobilize an international coalition to isolate the Ahmadinejad regime, weaken it through targeted economic sanctions, contain Iran's military power, and encourage democratic regime change. Tehran is playing a double game in Iraq, using the young firebrand al-Sadr to undermine Sistani and keep pressure on the U.S. military to withdraw, while still maintaining good relations with Shi'a political parties who revere Sistani and need continued American support.
In addition to trying to destabilize Iraq, Iran continues to be the world's leading sponsor of terrorism. It has close ties to the Lebanon-based Hizballah terrorist group, which it organized and continues to finance, arm, and train. Tehran has supported a wide variety of Palestinian terrorist groups and Afghan extremists, such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Iran was involved in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, which killed 19 American military personnel deployed in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, Iran continues to give sanctuary to elements of al-Qaeda, including at least one son of Osama bin Laden. (Heritage Foundation)
The whole world should pull together to ensure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons. It is not much of a leap from denying that the Holocaust happened to wishing for another one. The notion of allowing a militant regime led by an unabashed anti-Semite to obtain the most deadly form of weaponry is simply unthinkable. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
A coalition of nationalist guerrillas in the Anbar region have released a joint statement urging fellow Sunnis to vote Thursday and warning al-Qaeda militants not to attack voters. Zarqawi's indiscriminate slaughter of civilian Shiites reportedly pushed many Iraqis who had fought under his banner to join the Islamic Army, a local resistance faction. Sheikh Mahmoud Mehdi al-Sumaydai, a member of the Association of Muslim Scholars, Iraq's highest Sunni religious authority with links to the rebellion, called on Iraqis to resist not just foreign occupation but also Zarqawi's "masked terrorism." Now more and more Sunnis say Zarqawi is impeding their ability to regain a measure of political influence in the new Iraq.
Al-Qaeda lacks the military capability or the broad power base for a permanent foothold in Iraq. In fact, thought prevails within the country that once U.S. troops have withdrawn, Zarqawi would be chased out. Once Sunni Iraqis are fully brought into the new political order in Baghdad, they will find it in their own interests to defeat the terrorists in their midst. The writer is a professor of Middle Eastern studies and international affairs at Sarah Lawrence College and author of The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global. (Christian Science Monitor)
Because Abu Ali pursued religious studies in Saudi Arabia - after graduating as valedictorian from the Saudi Academy in Northern Virginia - his case has not been considered one of homegrown terrorism. Yet the seeds of his poisonous beliefs were likely sown in the U.S., not overseas. Found in the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., just miles from the Saudi Academy, was the following: "To be dissociated from the infidels is to hate them for their religion, to leave them, never to rely on them for support, not to admire them, to be on one's guard against them, never to imitate them and always to oppose them in every way according to Islamic law." If Saudi vitriol is allowed to fester or even spread, how many more Abu Alis will there be? (Washington Times)
See also Saudi Stories: Peeling Back the Slick Western Imaging - Nina Shea
Since 9/11, the Saudi embassy has been staging a lavish public-relations campaign directed at American audiences. (The December 12, 2005, edition of The New Republic, for example, contains seven full pages of Saudi advertising.) But if it wants to score points with the West, why isn't the House of Saud in full-throated protest against the Tehran madman? Why the insistence that Saudi condemnations be unofficial and "off the record"?
The Saudis are coy for a reason. An open and unequivocal condemnation of Ahmadinejad's outbursts by the Saudis would make them look like hypocrites to home audiences. As is well known, what the Saudis say in English differs greatly from their statements in Arabic. Wiping Israel off the map is exactly what Saudi authorities have been avowing for years to Arabic-speaking audiences. Saudi publications collected from American mosques that were translated from Arabic this year by Freedom House are replete with such statements. (National Review)
A ground-breaking television series in which repentant radical Islamists reveal what they call the "deceit of jihad" is captivating Saudi Arabia, the kingdom that produced 15 of the September 11 plane hijackers. The five-part series "Deceit in the Name of Jihad," being aired in prime time on Saudi state television and the Al Arabiya satellite channel, includes interviews with Saudis who claim to have fought alongside Muslim fanatics in Afghanistan and Iraq before realizing they had been "brainwashed" by al-Qaeda recruiters. (Telegraph-UK)
Elections for Egypt's parliament, the People's Assembly, were shadowed by a high level of violence and by low levels of participation. With less than 25% of eligible voters taking part, they did not reflect the will of the Egyptian people. Only serious reform can lead to free and fair elections that would attract the silent majority of Egyptians. Opening up the political environment by allowing parties and civil society organizations to be created more easily, by creating true impartiality in the state media, by restricting the unlimited use of state resources by the ruling party, by abolishing the emergency laws, and above all by reforming the constitution will contribute to greater political participation. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
See also Egypt Islamists Adopt Step-by-Step Strategy toward Power
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is seeking to avoid a confrontation with President Mubarak's regime after its step-by-step approach scored big in parliamentary elections, analysts said. Winning 88 seats despite fielding candidates for only a third of those contested, the banned Islamist movement achieved a success rate topping 50% and sent a clear message about its potential future strength. "The Muslim Brothers refrained from fielding candidates against ministers and key men in the regime in order not to provoke it," said Amr Shubaki, an analyst from the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. (AFP/Yahoo)
U.S. policymakers grossly miscalculated the importance of tribal mentality, sectarian belonging, and clan loyalty in the Middle East - concepts that are hard to fully fathom in most of the West. Both Jordan and Saudi Arabia feel they owe loyalty to their fellow Sunnis over any pact they may have entered with Washington. Jordan and Saudi Arabia see the expansionist ideals of Shiism as a direct threat to their national security. An Arab intelligence source based in Paris confirmed that he had seen documents proving that money and weapons were being sent to Iraq's Sunni rebels from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
The overthrow of Saddam by the U.S. military accomplished in a matter of months what the ayatollahs in Tehran have been unsuccessfully attempting to do for more than two decades, and has for the first time in history given the Shiites control over an Arab country. Considering that a few centuries have passed since the death of sacred Shiite imams at the hands of the Sunnis, the scars appear as fresh as though the killings took place last week. (UPI)
Why could there not have been four symbols recognized by the International Red Cross: a cross, crescent, crystal, and the Star of David? Or alternatively, why were the cross and crescent not - like our star will be - forced inside the crystal when operating internationally? Evidently even a humanitarian movement which prides itself on neutrality and impartiality can baldly discriminate against the Jewish state for decades, and then adopt a "solution" that continues to discriminate against the symbol of the Jewish people.
By bowing for so long to the utter rejection of the symbol of the Jewish people, and then devising for it a second-class status, the international community legitimized a hatred that is the antithesis of the Red Cross mission and the cause of many of the casualties it treats. (Jerusalem Post)
The great pro-Israel shift is a hoax - a well-orchestrated charade that has fooled both sides. On Nov. 13, Prime Minister Paul Martin spoke at the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities in Toronto of the UN's "annual ritual of politicized anti-Israel resolutions." Of the 17 UN resolutions in this year's "annual ritual," Canada voted against Israel 11 times, down from 12 in 2004. By comparison, the U.S. voted against Israel zero times, and Australia four times. Canada believes Israel has no jurisdiction over any part of Jerusalem and earlier this year withdrew all passports that had "Jerusalem, Israel" as a place of birth. (Jerusalem Post)
One of the greatest violators of the UN Charter's equality guarantee has been the UN Commission on Human Rights. It systematically singles out Israel for discriminatory treatment. At the Commission half of all the resolutions that censure states are targeted against Israel. Meanwhile, apart from a handful of states, the world's worst violators are routinely ignored by the Commission, and are granted immunity from scrutiny. This year, for instance, the Commission did not pass a single resolution on Sudan's genocide in Darfur. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Animosity against Israel is widespread among Indian Muslims living in the northern part of the country, according to an Indian researcher from the College of Orient and African Studies of London University. At a seminar organized by the Centre for Jewish Studies on "How the Indians and Pakistanis View Israel and Zionism," Dr. Sosila Yusudian Shitroviel said Indian Muslims see Jewish immigrants to Palestine as a continuation of the British imperialism in the region, a negative stance that has its roots in opposition to Britain's colonial past in India. Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who led Pakistan to separate from India, was anti-Zionist and regarded Zionism as an integral part of British imperialism.
When the nationalist parties in India, like the BJP, came to power and gave rise to Hindu nationalist sentiment against Muslims inside and outside India, this tipped the scales in favor of an Indian alliance with Israel against Arabs and Muslims. (Khaleej Times-Dubai)
High-ranking German officers knew much more about Adolf Hitler's plans to murder millions of Jews than previously thought, according to newly revealed transcripts of conversations between captured generals. During the Second World War, British intelligence secretly bugged the cells occupied by some of the most senior German army, navy, and air force commanders who had been captured by the Allies. The transcripts have only recently been made available to researchers and show that senior Luftwaffe officers mused together at the end of 1943 that millions of Jews had already been killed.
In one conversation involving Luftwaffe general Georg Neuffer, who was captured in North Africa in 1943, in which they discussed later that year how many Jews had been killed, Neuffer said: "It must be three million by now." The transcripts, which have been published in Germany by Sonke Neitzel, professor of modern history at the University of Mainz, contradict the traditional image of senior German officers as having little or no knowledge of the mass-killings. (Scotland on Sunday)
Is There a Military Option to Halt Iran's Nuclear Program? - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)
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