Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 5, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

UK Police Search for Chemical Bomb - Michael Holden and Katherine Baldwin (Reuters)
    British anti-terrorist officers searched a house and two workplaces on Saturday for evidence of a possible chemical bomb plot, acting on intelligence that the house may have been used to make bombs or chemical weapons.
    On Friday more than 250 officers, some wearing chemical, biological, and radiological protection suits, shot one man and arrested another during a dawn raid in east London.
    "We're 100 percent certain that an attack was being planned. If we haven't stopped it, it could take place very soon," the Daily Mirror quoted a police source as saying.
    See also Terror Cell "Was Planning Nerve Gas Attack on London" - Andrew Alderson, Sean Rayment and Patrick Hennessy (Telegraph-UK)
    See also Nervous Informant Describes Chemical Vest - Daniel McGrory (Times-UK)

England Afraid to Fly Its Own Flag - Modi Kreitman (Ynet News)
    Following warnings by the extremist Islamic group al-Muhajiroun, which said that the red cross in the flag of England symbolizes the "bloodthirsty crusaders" and the occupation of Muslims, some of the largest companies in England have ordered their workers not to wave the flags.
    The NTL cable company, Heathrow airport in London, and even the Drivers and Vehicles Licensing Agency have banned the flag in every form due to fears from reactions of Muslims.

Palestinian Goods Begin Steady Flow into Israel - Thanassis Cambanis (Boston Globe)
    Palettes of fresh produce, seafood, and office furniture rolled into Israel from the Gaza Strip last week, marking the first substantial flow of goods from the economically battered Palestinian territory since February.
    The shipments were made possible by tentatively loosened Israeli security closures at the heavily guarded crossing points into Gaza.
    In the last two weeks there has been a steady flow of imports into Gaza, and during the last nine days of May about 20 truckloads of exports a day out of Gaza.

Al-Qaeda Chief Urges Sunni War on Shi'ites - Lee Keath (AP/Boston Globe)
    The leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq railed against Shi'ites in a four-hour-long audiotaped harangue posted on the Internet Friday, saying militias are raping women and killing Sunnis and the community must fight back.
    The tape by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was intended to enflame rising Shi'ite-Sunni tensions across the Arab world.
    "Sunnis, wake up, pay attention, and prepare to confront the poisons of the Shi'ite snakes," Zarqawi said. "Forget about those advocating the end of sectarianism and calling for national unity."
    He pointed to two Shi'ite militias with links to parties in the Shi'ite-dominated Iraqi government, accused by Sunnis in Iraq of running death squads in a recent wave of sectarian violence.

Palestinians Rise In Sunni Insurgency (Middle East Newsline)
    The U.S. military has determined that Palestinians have become senior operatives in the Sunni insurgency in Iraq.
    Officials said more than 100 Palestinians entered Baghdad from Syria and Jordan over the last 18 months and helped plan suicide car bombings.
    On May 30, Iraqi and U.S. troops captured three Palestinians identified as leaders of insurgency cells in Baghdad.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • 17 Held in Plot to Bomb Sites in Ontario - Ian Austen and David Johnston
    Seventeen Canadian residents were arrested and charged with plotting to attack targets in southern Ontario with crude but powerful fertilizer bombs, Canadian authorities said Saturday. The 17 men were mainly of South Asian descent. The Toronto Star said the group had a list that included the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa as well as the Toronto branch office of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). (New York Times)
        See also Plotters Caught in Police Sting - Michelle Shephard and Isabel Teotonio
    The delivery of three tons of ammonium nitrate to a group suspected of plotting terrorist attacks in southern Ontario was part of an undercover police sting operation. "If I can put this in context for you, the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people was completed with only one ton of ammonium nitrate," said RCMP assistant commissioner Mike McDonell.
        "They appear to have become adherents of a violent ideology inspired by al-Qaeda," said Luc Portelance of CSIS. Recruiters, or "ideological conditioners," for homegrown terrorists and what he dubbed the "jihad generation" have been actively seeking members in Toronto-area mosques, community centers, and schools since 2002, said John Thompson of the Mackenzie Institute. (Toronto Star)
        See also Multinational Inquiry Led to Canada Terror Arrests - Josh Meyer and Jason Chow
    The arrest of 17 terrorism suspects in Canada is part of a continuing, multinational inquiry into suspected terrorist cells in at least seven countries, a U.S. counter-terrorism official confirmed Sunday. "In this case, law enforcement and intelligence services from half a dozen places coordinated daily during a very complex investigation," a senior U.S. law enforcement official said. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Hamas Rejects Abbas' Plan for Recognizing Israel
    Hamas rejected an ultimatum from PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to sign on to a referendum plan that would implicitly recognize Israel. Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas rejected Abbas' Tuesday deadline and called the referendum proposal illegal, setting up a head-on political confrontation between Hamas and Fatah after days of tension on the streets that have set off some armed clashes. "The local basic law and the advice which we got from experts in international law say that referendums are not permitted on the Palestinian land," Haniyeh said. Much of the Hamas leadership in Gaza as well as leaders living in Lebanon and Syria believe that accepting the plan would weaken the movement by abandoning its founding principles. (AP/Fox News)
        See also Five Dead in Hamas-Fatah Clashes - Avi Issacharoff and Gideon Alon
    Gun battles between Hamas and Fatah raged in the Gaza Strip Sunday night, leaving at least five Palestinians dead. (Ha'aretz)
  • Syrian Police Battle Islamic Militants in Damascus; Five People Killed - Albert Aji
    Syrian antiterrorism police fought Islamic militants near the Defense Ministry Friday in a gunbattle that killed five people and wounded four, the government said. The official Syrian Arab News Agency said all 10 militants were members of a "takfiri" group, with a Sunni Muslim extremist ideology followed by groups such as al-Qaeda.
        In previous clashes, security forces have confronted Islamic militants from "Jund al-Sham," or Soldiers of Syria, formed in Afghanistan by Syrian, Palestinian, and Jordanian militants with links to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In March, Syrian security forces killed top Jund al-Sham militant Mohammed Ali Nasif. In December, Syrian anti-terrorist forces clashed with Islamic militants in Idlib, killing five. Three others, wearing explosives' belts, blew themselves up. Also in December, Syria announced it had uncovered a bomb-making factory in Aleppo, discovering plans for attacks on public buildings and security headquarters in Syria. (AP/Forbes)
        See also Syria Blames U.S., Israel for Attack - Samar Kassabli
    Syria's state-run media has implicitly blamed the U.S. and Israel for what Syrian authorities described as a failed attack in Damascus. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Exiles Plot to Overthrow Syria's Baathist Regime - Richard Beeston
    Leading Syrian opposition figures, led by the country's former vice-president, gathered in London Sunday for a two-day conference to plot the overthrow of the Baathist regime of President Assad. (Times-UK)
  • Iran Threatens to Disrupt Gulf Oil Shipments - Alec Russell
    Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, warned Sunday that Iran would disrupt oil shipments in the Gulf if the U.S. makes a wrong move in its dealings with Teheran. "You will never be able to protect energy supply in this region," he said. "If you make any mistake, definitely shipments of energy from this region will be seriously jeopardized." Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. Secretary of State, told Fox News, "We shouldn't place too much emphasis on a threat of this kind. After all, Iran is also very dependent on oil revenue; something like 80% of its budget comes from its oil revenue. Obviously it would be a very serious problem for Iran if oil were disrupted." (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Iran May Unleash Hizballah If Cornered - Katherine Shrader
    If cornered by the West over its nuclear program, Iran could direct Hizballah to enlist its widespread international support network to aid in terrorist attacks, intelligence officials say. Several Western intelligence officials said they have seen signs that Hizballah's fundraisers, recruiters, and criminal elements could be adapted to provide logistical help to terrorist operatives. Before 9/11, Hizballah was responsible for more American deaths than any other single terrorist organization. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Thousands Salute Israel in New York - Amy Sacks
    Thousands of costumed marchers danced and sang on Fifth Ave. in the Salute to Israel parade Sunday, celebrating the Jewish state's 58th anniversary with a festive show of solidarity. "It's important to show support for Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people, but also for a country who has been on the front lines in the war on terror," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who marched alongside Mayor Bloomberg. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) noted that the recent election of Hamas, a known terrorist group, to lead the Palestinian government raises the stakes for the region. (New York Daily News)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Prime Minister Meets Egyptian President - Ronny Sofer
    Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Sunday in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. Olmert said, "I see in you Mr. President a real partner to bring peace to our region...[and] I am pleased with the cooperation between the countries on global terror." Mubarak replied, "The goal is to change the situation in the Middle East and direct it toward peace and security through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians." (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues
    Palestinians in Gaza fired two Kassam rockets that landed in the western Negev town of Sderot on Saturday, damaging two parked cars. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Kassam Rocket Hits Greenhouse
    A greenhouse near Mivtahim in the Negev was damaged on Sunday by one of two Kassam rockets that were fired from Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Two Egyptian Policemen Killed Who Opened Fire at IDF Troops - Amos Harel
    Israeli troops on Friday killed two Egyptian policemen who had crossed the border in the southern Negev and opened fire at them. According to IDF officers, the Egyptians had crossed the barbed wire marking the border and were about 100-150 meters inside Israel. The Egyptians were the first to open fire and they began running toward the Israeli soldiers. Military sources said the policemen appeared to be intent on carrying out a terrorist attack, and that they apparently were acting on their own initiative. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Canada's Crime? - Editorial
    The terrorists aren't simply reacting against the American-led war in Iraq or against America's support for Israel. Canada sent no troops to liberate Iraq. At the UN on key votes it's likely to abstain rather than vote with Israel. What the Islamic extremists oppose in Canada is the mere fact that it is not a country governed by Islamic law. Canada, along with America, Britain, Spain, and Australia, was listed by Osama Bin Laden as a "Christian" nation that should be a target for terrorism. Nothing short of dropping Christianity and converting to Islam will satisfy the Islamist terrorists. Concessions short of surrender won't satisfy the enemy, as the example of Canada demonstrates. (New York Sun)
  • How to Deal with the Iran Problem - Nancy De Wolf Smith
    Reza Pahlavi (son of the deposed shah of Iran) brought up the alternative strategy which Iranians, at home and abroad, have been urging deaf Western policy makers to adopt for years now: "That can only be internal pressure on the for proponents of democracy and human rights in Iran. There is no other answer." "There is no incentive that we can give the Islamic Republic to stand down....They need to do what they're doing, first and foremost because this is a totalitarian system. It has to keep the mood on the streets in its favor by continuing this process. If they are using the slogan of enrichment as a tool to keep these people mobilized, the minute they concede, they will lose their entire praetorian guard. Therefore, there's no way that they are going to concede on that point."
        The threat of sanctions or the promise of aid won't budge the regime either, he says. "There is no economic incentive that you can throw at them, because you are not dealing with a conventional state, in the sense that it is ultimately accountable and responsible and cares about the citizens living in that boundary." Pahlavi says "there is only one thing that the outside world can do, and that is to tell the regime: 'We are serious about supporting the people who are inside Iran who are against you.' That is the only thing that will make Mr. Khamenei [Iran's supreme leader] and everybody stand down. Because nothing else ruffles them. The only thing they are really scared of are the people themselves." (Wall Street Journal)
  • Observations:

    Prince Hassan's Alarm - Arnaud de Borchgrave (Washington Times)

    • Jordan's Prince Hassan bin Talal, the former crown prince and King Abdullah's uncle, warned in an exclusive UPI interview about "the increasing control by Islamist fundamentalists of the masses of poor people."
    • In Washington last week, Prince Hassan also rang the alarm to warn about Jordan's increasingly perilous situation in the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plans for the West Bank. "If Jordan sits back and accepted developments as they are and does not play a proactive role, it is conceivable that far from breaking the deadlock in West Bank terms, what is an ideological movement [called Hamas] could spread to Jordan and the rest of the region," he explained.
    • Prince Hassan thinks it's time to revisit the International Trusteeship Council to replace the now defunct two-state Palestine-Israel solution. He notes the Israeli-occupied territories were occupied from Jordan, which "invokes a great deal of residual sovereignty."
    • "It is Jordan's responsibility," he said, "to address the question of free and fair elections whereby all Jordanians of Palestinian origin are invited to be included - inclusion, not assimilation - in Jordan....We can then turn to the Palestinians and say, 'You have found your safe haven and contributed to it. We have not put to rest your hopes and dreams about a right to return [to what is now Israel] - though this remains a pipedream - and we are not an alternative to Palestine.'"
    • Prince Hassan recalled the late Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban advocated the Benelux concept for Israel, Palestine, and Jordan, or independence within a larger economic union.

          See also The Islamist Threat to Jordan - Nibras Kazimi (ICA/JCPA); Are There Signs of a Jordanian-Palestinian Reengagement? - Dan Diker and Pinchas Inbari (ICA/JCPA)

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