Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 25, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Al-Qaeda Target No. 1 - Anthony Glees (Wall Street Journal, 23Oct06)
    UK intelligence officials say Britain has become "al-Qaeda target No. 1," and judge Britain's "home grown" terrorists to be organized, trained, and controlled either directly from Pakistan or via Pakistani networks in Britain.
    Until now, intelligence services thought British Islamist terrorists had no hard links to al-Qaeda and were believed to have acted alone or in self-constructed cells.
    Senior military intelligence officers now believe the July 7 bombers received crucial weapons training in Pakistan.
    MI5 also believes the number of extremists is rising. It keeps very close tabs on more than 1,000 extremists, and 14,000 British Muslims are considered potential terrorist threats.
    A significant number get radicalized and recruited on university campuses. At least 13 convicted Islamist terrorists and four suicide bombers have been students at British universities.
    Radical Islamist student societies operate websites, hosted by university servers, which direct visitors to organizations that glorify jihad and terror.
    Academic institutions should surely help protect Britain from those who clearly do not believe in democracy, are not civilized, and who try to harm us.
    The writer is director for the Brunel Center for Intelligence and Security Studies.

Probe of Rep. Harman's AIPAC Ties Confirmed - Dan Eggen (Washington Post)
    Federal law enforcement sources confirmed Tuesday that the FBI opened an investigation in 2005 into whether Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) improperly enlisted the aid of a pro-Israel lobbying group, but they cautioned that no evidence of wrongdoing was found.
    The inquiry focused on whether Harman had made promises to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in exchange for its support of her desire to become chairman of the House intelligence committee if Democrats take control of the House, several law enforcement sources said.
    Although the case is still considered open, officials said, the allegations have not been substantiated, and there has been no significant investigative activity on the issue in recent months.

Kidnapped AP Photographer Freed in Gaza - Karin Laub (AP/Washington Post)
    Associated Press photographer Emilio Morenatti, 37, was freed unharmed Tuesday after a harrowing day in the hands of Palestinians who abducted him at gunpoint and dressed him in women's clothes to spirit him from one secret location to another.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran, Syria Rebuild Hizballah - David R. Sands
    Iran and Syria are rapidly rearming Hizballah in southern Lebanon as an international peacekeeping force has failed to carry out a UN mandate to disarm the Shi'ite militia group, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said Tuesday in an interview in Washington. Mofaz expressed frustration that the Lebanese army and an enhanced UN peacekeeping force had not disarmed Hizballah or sealed the border to prevent Syria and Iran from rearming their "proxy." "Arms smuggling across the border from Syria has continued after the war," he said.
        Mofaz added that the bloody internal standoff in the Palestinian territories between Hamas and Fatah leaves Israel with no effective negotiating partner. (Washington Times)
        See also Rival Factions Showering Aid Dollars on Lebanon - Mark MacKinnon
    Two months after the war ended in Lebanon, a second battle for Bint Jbeil is well underway. This time, it's a struggle to win the hearts and minds of the predominantly Shia residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed. Hizballah launched a massive campaign to rebuild the south, handing out wads of cash provided by Iran. Lebanon's own government announced last week that owners of destroyed homes would each be given $40,000. Meanwhile, the rich Sunni regimes of the Persian Gulf, anxious about Iran's growing influence in the region, are also pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the reconstruction. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
  • Israel Fights Rocket Attacks Inside Gaza - Richard Boudreaux
    Israeli forces trying to disrupt rocket attacks from Gaza killed Atta Shimbari, local commander of the Popular Resistance Committees, and six others and wounded 17 on Monday in Beit Hanoun. An army reconnaissance unit had hidden in a house waiting for one of the Palestinian squads that have been launching rockets into southern Israel almost daily. The Israeli unit opened fire after armed militants detected them and moved toward the house. Maj. Tal Lev-Ram, an Israeli officer in northern Gaza, said the army would continue to go after militants who launch rockets there. "We are moving the battle to their area," he said. (Los Angeles Times)
  • French Police Face "Permanent Intifada" - Jamey Keaten
    On a routine call, three unwitting police officers fell into a trap. A car darted out to block their path, and dozens of hooded youths attacked them with stones, bats, and tear gas before fleeing. The ambush was emblematic of what some officers say has become a near-perpetual and increasingly violent conflict between police and gangs in tough, largely immigrant French neighborhoods that were the scene of three weeks of rioting last year. One police union claims officers are facing a "permanent intifada." Michel Thooris, head of the small Action Police union, claims that the new violence is taking on an Islamic fundamentalist tinge. "Many youths, many arsonists, many vandals behind the violence do it to cries of 'Allah Akbar' (God is Great) when our police cars are stoned," he said in an interview. (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF: Hundreds of Arms-Smuggling Tunnels Being Dug in Gaza - Amos Harel
    Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday that IDF troops had in recent days pinpointed at least 100 tunnel entrances dug by Palestinians in the Rafah area in southern Gaza. He said militants have been continuously smuggling anti-tank missiles and large amounts of light weaponry in recent months. In that regard, Halutz said a military presence in the Philadelphi route would be preferable to the absence of IDF forces in the area, Army Radio reported. "We are close to the decision point regarding our presence along the Philadelphi Route, if the present reality of arms-smuggling doesn't stop," Halutz said.
        Defense Minister Amir Peretz said earlier Tuesday, "We will not allow Gaza to turn into southern Lebanon." (Ha'aretz)
  • Fatah Preparing Showdown with Hamas - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Fatah is preparing for a major showdown with Hamas in Gaza after the Muslim feast of Id al-Fitr, Palestinian sources said on Tuesday. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has instructed his loyalists in Fatah and the PA security forces to be prepared for a "major security operation" in Gaza in the coming days, in the wake of the killing of five Fatah activists and security officers over the past few days. "Thousands of Palestinian policemen and Fatah gunmen will be deployed in the streets of the Gaza Strip after the feast," the sources said. Syria-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal was reported to have warned this week that Hamas would foil any attempt by Abbas to replace the Hamas government. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues
    Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired two Kassam rockets at Israel Tuesday night. One landed near the Sderot industrial zone. Meanwhile, the IDF destroyed a rocket launcher on the outskirts of Beit Hanun in northern Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Three Ways to War in Gaza - Bret Stephens
    Following Israel's full withdrawal in August 2005, Gaza is being consolidated into a terrorist fortress. In private, Egyptians admit that they condone and perhaps even participate in the arms smuggling to Gaza, but only to arm and strengthen Fatah. The war for Gaza is coming. Whoever stays out of it wins. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Time for Realpolitik - Barry Rubin
    The era of democracy promotion as the main theme of U.S. Middle East policy is over, for all practical purposes. Having found constructive forces in the region to be close to non-existent, America is back to the strategy of a more traditional realpolitik. The local political cultures and societies are too resistant; the dictatorships too strong and clever; extremists too able to take advantage of any openings offered, for example, by elections.
        PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is incapable of organizing a bake sale, much less delivering on any serious diplomatic bargaining. The U.S. is now funding Fatah - which includes a large majority of hard-liners and a major terrorist group - to build up Abbas' "bodyguard" and to learn how to campaign better in elections. But Fatah is not going to stop terrorism, end incitement, or be more moderate. Fatah is far more comfortable competing with Hamas in bragging about how militant it is, how many martyrs it has produced and how intently it will carry on the struggle to total victory. The group is not about to prove its superiority to Hamas by building roads and producing better schools. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Jihad in Cyberspace - Arnaud de Borchgrave
    Below the radar screen of Western intelligence and security services, there is a global re-education process on the Internet to proselytize on the true meaning of an Islamic state. Salafist ideologues are reinventing Islam, firing the imagination of Internet-savvy Muslim youth from Morocco to Mindanao and from Sweden to Spain. The successor generation to Mohamed Atta now meets in an Open University of Jihad on the worldwide web. The mosque is receding as a place of subversion as jihadi Imams are now fully aware they are under counterterrorist observation. The virtual jihad mosque has taken its place. (UPI)
  • Observations:

    Israel Will Survive, But What About Europe? - Gerald M. Steinberg (Canadian Jewish News)

    • Israel became a sovereign state because Jews realized that there was no alternative in the fight for national survival. And the same drive will preserve Israel as a sovereign Jewish state, equal in status to Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and other nations.
    • In Egypt, the price of war and the fear of total destruction led to mutual deterrence (what some call "peace"), and eventually the same will happen in Syria, Lebanon, and even Iran. The leaders of these countries are violent, but they're not suicidal.
    • It's important to counter the misleading pessimism about Israel's future that grew out of images from Lebanon, and the conclusions that Israel met its match in the form of Hizballah fighters armed by Iran. Despite some operational errors (found in every military force) and the current leadership crisis, Israel ended the war with far fewer casualties than were expected, and with a more favorable strategic relationship with Hizballah.
    • Will there be an Israel in 2020? This question about survival should be pointed elsewhere - toward Europe. Will London, Paris, Brussels, Rotterdam, etc. become satellites orbiting around a dominant Muslim empire - in other words, part of Eurabia?
    • Bin Laden and the wider global jihad movement proclaim their goal of rebuilding the Islamic empire up to Spain (Andalusia) and beyond. The terror attacks of 9/11 and the terror attacks in London, Madrid, Paris, and elsewhere were not motivated by events in Israel or the plight of the Palestinians.
    • After 2000 years of stateless exile, persecution, and mass murder, the Jewish people have no options other than to use force in self-defense - and the Arabs generally understand this. Occasionally, they need to be reminded that Israel is prepared to use what has been called "disproportionate power."
    • The dominant Western response to Islamic terror is compromise, dialogue, apology, and calls for understanding. This form of political correctness won't work against the violence of mass terror and calls for global jihad. The question is whether the West will recognize the need for a more ferocious response in time for it to survive.

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