Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

April 4, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Al-Qaeda Cell in Gaza Planning Terrorist Attacks (Jerusalem Post)
    Al-Hayat, an Arabic newspaper published in London, reported that an al-Qaeda-affiliated group operating in Gaza is planning terrorist attacks against sensitive targets in the area.
    Jordanian intelligence sources told the paper that the group has about 10 members.


Report: Saudi Arabia Working on Secret Nuclear Program with Pakistani Help (AFX News/Forbes)
    Saudi Arabia is working secretly on a nuclear program, with help from Pakistani experts, the German magazine Cicero reported, citing Western security sources.
    U.S. military analyst John Pike is quoted as saying that Saudi bar codes can be found on half of Pakistan's nuclear weapons "because it is Saudi Arabia which ultimately co-financed the Pakistani atomic nuclear program."
    Satellite images reportedly indicate that Saudi Arabia has set up a program in Al-Sulaiyil, south of Riyadh, a secret underground city, and dozens of underground silos for missiles.
    According to some Western security services, long-range Ghauri-type missiles of Pakistani-origin are housed inside the silos.

    See also Saudi Arabia Denies Nuke Report (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)


NYC's Terror Bank - Niles Lathem (New York Post)
    Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau has shut down a massive terror-finance pipeline in which a whopping $3 billion in profits from drug deals and other crimes flowed through a major New York bank to terror groups Hamas, al-Qaeda, and Hizballah.
    The money then flowed into bank accounts in the Middle East locations including Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Beirut, Lebanon; and Ramallah in the Palestinian territories.
    A three-year probe has already resulted in charges against other New York-based financial institutions.


Danish TV Seeks Forgiveness with Veiled Anchor Woman - Hasan Cucuk (Zaman-Turkey)
    Danish state channel DR2 will employ a Muslim woman who wears a headscarf to present a TV program to show "respect towards different thoughts and beliefs."
    Palestinian-origin Esma Abdulhamid will co-host the eight-week "Adam and Esma" program with Danish journalist Adam Holm.


Palestinian Refugees Feel Vulnerable Without Saddam's Protection - Nafia Abdul Jabbar and Ahmad Faddam (AFP/Daily Star-Lebanon)
    "Palestinians are traitors and partisans of Saddam Hussein," reads the flyer signed by the Brigades of Judgment Day, giving Palestinians ten days to leave the Al-Hurriyya neighborhood in western Baghdad or face death.
    The pamphlet was the latest warning to the 34,000 Palestinians living in Iraq, many of whom fear for their safety.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • AIPAC Case: First Amendment Issues Raised About Espionage Act - Walter Pincus
    The federal judge overseeing prosecution of two former lobbyists charged with receiving and transmitting national defense information under the 1917 Espionage Act gave the government until Friday to respond to defense claims that the statute is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad and may violate the First Amendment. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III ordered the government to provide the additional support for the charges filed last August against Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, former lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). At a hearing on the defendants' motion to dismiss the indictments, Ellis directed a series of questions to Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin DiGregory expressing concern that the government had not dealt with constitutional issues raised by the defense.
        Floyd Abrams, a New York attorney who has represented the New York Times in a variety of high-profile cases, said in an interview last week that the AIPAC case "is the single most dangerous case for free speech and free press." Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy, wrote on his website last week: "Anything other than a dismissal of the charges would mark a dramatic shift in national security law and a significant reduction in First Amendment protections." (Washington Post)
  • Zarqawi May Have Been Replaced as Al-Qaeda in Iraq Leader - Richard Beeston
    Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most feared commander in the Iraqi insurgency, may have been forced to surrender his leadership by rival groups, angered by his bloody tactics and the interference of foreign fighters in Iraq. According to Huthayfah Azzam, the son of Abdullah Azzam, al-Zarqawi's former mentor, Zarqawi was stripped of his political duties at a meeting two weeks ago. "The Iraqi resistance high command asked al-Zarqawi to give up his political role and replaced him with an Iraqi because of several mistakes," Azzam told al-Arabiya television. "Al-Zarqawi's role has been limited to military action," he said. The al-Qaeda leader has a $25 million American bounty on his head. (Times-UK)
  • Iran Sets Up Intelligence Network to Spy on Israel - Con Coughlin
    Iran has set up a sophisticated intelligence gathering operation in southern Lebanon to identify targets in northern Israel in the event of a military confrontation over its nuclear program. Senior Israeli military commanders say Iran has spent tens of millions of pounds helping its close ally, Hizballah, to set up a network of control towers and monitoring stations along the entire length of Israel's border with southern Lebanon. "This is now Iran's front line with Israel," a senior Israeli military commander said. "The Iranians are using Hizballah to spy on us so that they can collect information for future attacks." Teams of Iran's Revolutionary Guards travel regularly to the area to help train local Hizballah fighters in terrorist tactics. (Telegraph-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Banks End PA Ties - Sever Plocker
    Bank Hapoalim has cut off all connections with the Palestinian financial and banking system, in wake of the swearing-in of a Hamas-led government that has transformed the PA into a terror entity. The bank will cease to honor PA banks' checks and suspended the transfer of funds to the Palestinian banking system, Yediot Ahronot reported Tuesday.
        Bank Hapoalim has been the main, and recently almost the only, banking institution through which Israel and the PA conducted routine financial transactions. The move in effect brings to an end any remaining banking ties between Israel and the PA. International legislation prohibits banks from doing business with organizations and institutions suspected of sponsoring terror activity. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Forces Kill Wanted Terrorist in Bethlehem - Yaakov Katz
    An undercover IDF unit killed senior Fatah Tanzim gunman Raed Abayat, 31, in Bethlehem on Monday while trying to arrest him. He had been on the most wanted list since 2002 for his involvement in the murder of at least two Israelis, and was armed with an M-16 rifle. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues
    Palestinians in Gaza fired two Kassam rockets at Israel Monday night from the ruins of Dugit, a northern Gaza Strip settlement that was evacuated in last year's disengagement. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Palestinian Fires at Israeli Car in West Bank
    A Palestinian gunman opened fire at an Israeli car traveling in western Samaria on Monday evening. IDF trackers said the attacker's tracks led toward the nearby town of Shukba. No one was wounded in the attack, Army Radio reported. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • While UN Security Council Waffles, Iran's Nuclear Program Proceeds - Editorial
    Last week's statement by the UN Security Council on Iran's nuclear program offered another example of the weakness of multilateral diplomacy against this threat. It took more than three weeks of concentrated effort by Secretary of State Rice and other senior officials to produce a nonbinding declaration that omits any hint of more serious action. Its issuance was accompanied by public statements from the Russian and Chinese foreign ministers explicitly opposing sanctions.
        The bottom line is that another month will pass during which Iran will continue to build a bombmaking capacity without suffering any serious pressure from the outside world. If diplomacy is going to be effective, considerably greater pressure will have to be placed on a regime that has been riding a wave of radicalism. Two years of negotiations by European governments with Iran, backed by the U.S., led only to more uranium enrichment. The objective now must be to induce Iran to stop that activity - not to talk more about it. (Washington Post)
  • Islam's Imperial Dreams - Efraim Karsh
    The last great Muslim empire may have been destroyed and the caliphate left vacant, but the dream of regional and world domination has remained very much alive. Even the ostensibly secular doctrine of pan-Arabism has been effectively Islamic in its ethos, worldview, and imperialist vision. In the words of Nuri Said, longtime prime minister of Iraq: "Although Arabs are naturally attached to their native land, their nationalism is not confined by boundaries. It is an aspiration to restore the great tolerant civilization of the early caliphate."
        Like the leaders of al-Qaeda, many Muslims and Arabs unabashedly pine for the reconquest of Spain and consider their 1492 expulsion from the country a grave historical injustice waiting to be undone. As the late Zaki Badawi, a doyen of interfaith dialogue in the UK, put it, "Islam is a universal religion. It aims to bring its message to all corners of the earth. It hopes that one day the whole of humanity will be one Muslim community." The writer is head of Mediterranean Studies at King's College, University of London. (Commentary)
  • Terror TV - Editorial
    On any given night of the week, between 10 and 15 million Arabic speakers in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East tune into Al-Manar (the Beacon), the television channel produced by the terrorist group Hizballah. The station's purpose, an Al-Manar official told researcher Avi Jorisch of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is to "help people on the way to committing what you call in the West a suicide mission."
        In its heyday, Al-Manar was transmitted via French Telecom's Globecast satellite, and for a while could be seen in the U.S. thanks to Barbados-based Intelsat and Brazil's Hispamar. But a concerted lobbying effort by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies succeeded in persuading most of the carriers to drop Al-Manar. Today, only Saudi Arabia's Arabsat and Egypt's Nilesat carry the station. The Bush administration might consider barring Arabsat and Nilesat executives from entering the U.S. until Al-Manar is taken off the air. (Wall Street Journal, 4Apr06)
  • Observations:

    The Thread of Anti-Semitism - James Carroll (Boston Globe)

    • Is criticism of the State of Israel anti-Semitic? Recent developments, including European critiques of Zionism as mere colonialism, American talk of a "lobby" that carries echoes of "cabal" (a word derived from kabbalah), and the return among Arabs of rhetoric calling for the outright elimination of Israel, suggest that contempt for Jews and the Jewish state can involve more than meets the eye.
    • Hostility to the very presence of Jews in the region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean goes deep into the unconscious of Western civilization, and it is only recently that pins of that antagonism are being removed. One way to understand this is to review the history of a Christian theology that required the exile of Jews from the Holy Land precisely as a proof of religious claims. Antagonism toward Jewish presence in Palestine dominated the Western imagination for 1,500 years.
    • Now the dark energy of this tradition has been efficiently tapped by many Muslims, even though its underlying theology is irrelevant to Islam. Any appropriation, including by Palestinians, of what has proven across centuries to be perhaps the most lethal impulse to which humans have ever succumbed must be roundly condemned.
    • Anti-Semitism, with its racial overtones, is a modern phenomenon. Contempt for Jews and Judaism is ancient. Such impossible threads weave invisibly through attempts to reckon with Israel's dilemma, forming a rope that trips up the well-intentioned and the unaware, even as others use it, as so often before, to fashion a noose.


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