Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

June 19, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

China-Hamas Links - Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough (Washington Times)
    A Chinese intelligence officer is engaged in covertly aiding the ruling Palestinian Hamas terrorist group, according to a Paris-based intelligence newsletter.
    Gong Xiaosheng was identified as a Ministry of State Security (MSS) official who has worked out of Ramallah since November 2002, Intelligence Online reported on June 9.
    In the past, Gong was constantly seen in the company of Yasser Arafat, but has since begun helping Hamas.
    He arranged an invitation to China for Mahmud al-Zahar, the Hamas foreign minister, to take part in a China-Arab Cooperation Forum in Beijing last month.


Israel Campus Beat
- June 18, 2006

Point Counter-Point:
    Is Realignment a Good Idea?

How an Al-Qaeda Cell Planned a Poison-Gas Attack on the NY Subway - Ron Suskind (TIME)
    Al-Qaeda terrorists came within 45 days of attacking the New York subway system with a lethal gas similar to that used in Nazi death camps, but were stopped by an order from bin Laden's deputy, Ayman Zawahiri.
    U.S. intelligence learned of the plot from a laptop computer belonging to a Bahraini jihadist captured in Saudi Arabia in 2003.
    It contained plans for a gas-dispersal system to effectively distribute hydrogen-cyanide gas, which is deadly when inhaled.
    Read excerpt from The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11 - Ron Suskind (TIME)


Israeli-Made Technology Helped U.S. Target Zarqawi - Amnon Barzilai (Globes)
    Israel's Rafael Armament Development Authority supplies Litening advanced airborne infrared target acquisition and navigation pods to Northrop Grumman, which installs them on U.S. Air Force F-16 combat jets.
    According to USAF commander in Iraq, Lt.-Gen. Gary North, Zarqawi was killed by a pair of USAF F-16s that carried the Litening pod.


PA to Import Power from Egypt, Bypass Israeli Grid (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
    The Palestinian government plans to build an electrical facility 5km inside Egypt, weaning itself off Israeli electricity, Palestinian energy official Suleiman Abu Samhadana said Sunday.
    He said Egypt had approved the project, which would cost €15 million, to be paid for by the Kuwait Development Fund.


Gaza Political Figure Now a Scapegoat - Steven Erlanger (New York Times)
    Not long ago, Muhammad Dahlan, former head of the PA Preventive Security force, was the most powerful figure in Gaza.
    Today, Dahlan, 44, remains Fatah's most powerful figure in Gaza, but that makes him the man the new ruling party, Hamas, most likes to despise.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Abbas Urges Arabs to Block Israel's Plan - Jamal Halaby
    PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday he was rallying Arab nations to block Israel's plan to unilaterally redraw its borders. "We are working now and consolidating our contacts with Arab countries to distance Olmert's plan from the table and solidify the Roadmap as a basis for negotiations and dialogue," Abbas said after meeting Jordanian King Abdullah.
        Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Sunday that Israel's leaders wanted to meet Abbas to discuss how to move forward, "but it must be remembered that the Palestinian government is run by Hamas, which has said in no uncertain terms that it rejects the Roadmap."  (AP/Forbes)
  • U.S. Agrees to Stipends for Poorest Palestinians - Steven R. Weisman
    The Bush administration said Friday that it would go along with a European proposal to transfer funds through the World Bank to pay stipends of $200 a month to the poorest Palestinians. The European plan would also pay "emergency allowances," but not salaries, to some nurses, doctors, and others in health care. Because the Palestinian Authority is now run by Hamas, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization, the administration had opposed payment of salaries as a violation of American laws barring bank transfers to terrorists. A senior State Department official said the payments would be "based on need" and not on who had been employed by the Palestinian government. But he said some government employees might qualify. (New York Times)
  • U.S. Muslims Discussed Strategic Targets "Suitable for a Terrorist Strike" - Harry R. Weber
    Syed Ahmed and Ehsanul Islam Sadequee are accused of traveling to Canada to meet with Islamic extremists to discuss "strategic locations in the United States suitable for a terrorist strike," federal prosecutors said. Ahmed and Sadequee, U.S. citizens who grew up in the Atlanta area, met with at least three other targets of ongoing FBI terrorism investigations during a trip to Canada in March 2005, prosecutors contend. They say the men discussed attacks against oil refineries and military bases and planned to travel to Pakistan to get military training at a terrorist camp.
        Defense lawyer Jack Martin says investigators preyed on Ahmed's devotion to Islam during a terrorism probe and then reneged on a promise not to arrest him if he told the truth. Ahmed has been charged with providing material support to terrorists. (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Rocket Disrupts Electricity in Israeli Town - Avi Issacharoff and Yuval Azoulay
    Palestinians fired Kassam rockets at Israel on Sunday, hitting several electricity poles and disrupting the electricity supply in the southern town of Sderot. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Palestinian Rocket Hits Sderot School (Ynet News)
        See also Palestinian Rocket Lands Near Sderot Library - Shmulik Hadad (Ynet News)
  • Hamas and Fatah Are Preparing for War - Avi Issacharoff
    Hamas and Fatah are preparing for war. Militants are gathering intelligence ahead of an operation against each other, rather than Israel. Both sides are monitoring the movements of rival senior officials with roadblocks on the routes taken by military commanders. The recruitment, training, and arming of more than 4,000 Palestinians in forces associated with Fatah are meant to send a message to Hamas. "For every one of our men who is hit by Hamas fire, we will hit two of yours," a senior Fatah official told Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh last week.
        The Hamas leadership abroad and the Hamas government in Gaza are not on the same page. Hamas' Damascus-based political bureau leader Khaled Mashal, his Gaza spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, Mushir al-Masri, Adnan Asfour, and most of the Hamas foreign leadership are not interested in the survival of the Hamas-led government. They believe the government is at the end of the line and that it will be easier for Hamas to return to terror if it is not in power. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Hamas: Probe Arms Transfer to Abbas - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Hamas on Saturday called on the Palestinian Legislative Council to investigate the transfer of rifles and ammunition to forces loyal to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. About 1,000 M-16 rifles and large amounts of ammunition were transferred last week from Jordan to Abbas' security forces, a move that Israel authorized to help Abbas and his Fatah party in their confrontation with Hamas. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Hamas Death Squads Target Senior Fatah Men - Avi Issacharoff
    Last Wednesday, Rifat al-Kulab, commander of the Preventive Security forces in Khan Yunis, in the Gaza Strip, was ambushed and shot in the leg on his way to work. Al-Kulab, 41, is now at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, where he gave an insight into the daily fighting between Preventive Security and Hamas members. "While I lay in hospital, Hamas men went to my house, threw my wife and daughters out and burned it down. They wouldn't allow anyone to go near the house to put out the fire," he says. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Abbas "Peace" Proposal - Zalman Shoval
    Mahmoud Abbas has called for a referendum on a document drafted by terrorist leaders of both Hamas and Fatah that gives the go-ahead to armed violence against Israeli civilians - though only in the territories - and also pretends implicitly to recognize the State of Israel. The precondition would be a full Israeli withdrawal to the vulnerable pre-1967 armistice lines, including eastern Jerusalem and all the Jewish neighborhoods surrounding the city, as well as relinquishing the strategically vital major population centers on the West Bank, referred to in President Bush's famous letter to former Israeli Prime Minister Sharon. The document also requires Israel to allow millions of Palestinian "refugees" to enter the Jewish state.
        Whenever the occasion arises, Abbas will also talk about the international Quartet's Roadmap, conveniently forgetting that the PA under his leadership had consistently refrained from complying with even the first phase of the Roadmap, which called for an absolute end to terror and for breaking up the terrorist infrastructure. Abbas claims that peace could be achieved "within weeks," cavalierly overlooking his own history of noncompliance with previous commitments. Different Israeli governments over the last 13 years conducted ongoing negotiations with the Palestinian leadership, the only result being terror and more terror and growing intransigence on the Palestinian side. (Washington Times)
  • Bracing for the Final Battle - Olivia Ward
    The jihadists are gaining an edge with apocalyptic warnings that a "final battle" between the Muslim world and the West is now inevitable. "I've met Arab teenagers who were trying to raise $100 for a bus ticket to the Iraqi border to join the fight against the Americans," says Middle Eastern scholar Fawaz Gerges, author of Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy. "They weren't even religiously educated Islamists. It's shocking how radicalized large segments of the Muslim population have become, worldwide."
        "There is a sense of apocalypse now," says Reuven Paz, director of the Project for the Research of Islamist Movements at the Israel-based GLORIA Center. "Not just youngsters, but people with families, in their 30s, are willing to go to Iraq and blow themselves up. That is something new. About 700 people a year are killing themselves there. They feel that they are living on the eve of the end of history, and the great victory of Islam is coming." (Toronto Star)
  • Mideast Analysis, Fast and Furious - Robert F. Worth
    When an Iraqi insurgent group releases a new videotape or claims responsibility for an attack, Western reporters often get the news by e-mail from a terrorism monitor on the East Coast. Within hours, a constellation of other Middle East analysts has sent out interpretations - some of them conflicting - and a wealth of contextual material. Terrorists have been using the Internet so heavily that the monitors often know as much or more about their communications as military or intelligence officers do. The new array of online expertise has become an essential tip sheet for journalists. A whole new mini-industry of instantaneous translation and analysis has arisen, and it often erodes the traditional distinctions between credentialed foreign policy experts and mere amateurs. (New York Times)
  • Observations:

    Hamas Must Accept Minimal International Ground Rules - Editorial (New York Times)

    • There is something very important that the outside world, particularly the Arab and Islamic world, can do to help the steadily deteriorating Israeli-Palestinian situation. It can make plain to the Hamas-led government of the Palestinian Authority that if it means to become the legitimate international voice of the Palestinian people, and a true government in the community of nations, it will have to accept the minimal international ground rules already in place.
    • These include renouncing terrorism, acknowledging Israel's existence as a sovereign nation, and abiding by formal agreements previously signed by lawful Palestinian negotiators.
    • Those ground rules need to be accepted by Hamas, but not as some kind of ideological concession. Hamas must see them as an admission ticket to the real world, a necessary rite of passage in the progression from a lawless opposition to a lawful government.
    • True friends of the Palestinian people need to start using their leverage to talk straight with Hamas.


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