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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 5, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

Islamic Militants Planned 9/11-Style Lebanon Attack (AFP/
    The Beirut newspaper An-Nahar has reported that Fatah al-Islam, whose fighters are under siege in northern Lebanon, had planned a September 11-style attack on Lebanon.
    "Fatah al-Islam planned to attack a large hotel in the capital using four suicide truck bombs at the same time as launching suicide attacks on embassies in east and west Beirut,'' with explosives that came from Syria, the paper said.
    The al-Qaeda-inspired Islamist group also "planned to launch attacks on the Shekka tunnel linking Beirut to Tripoli with the aim of cutting off the north and proclaiming an Islamic state there."
    See also Large Bombings, Assassinations Planned (Daily Star-Lebanon)
    The Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal said the operation also plotted the assassinations of Christian political and religious figures such as Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir, MP Butros Harb - a candidate for the presidency, and March 14 Forces MP Hadi Hobeish.
    The plot also included attacks on the UN headquarters in Beirut, as well as on the defense and interior ministries and the Phoenicia InterContinental Hotel.

Lebanese Army Kills Two Hizbullah Men (Daily Star-Lebanon)
    Hizbullah members Ali Noureddine and Hassan Karaky were killed by Lebanese Army soldiers when a taxi carrying the two sped through a checkpoint near Rafik Hariri International Airport last Monday, a Hizbullah statement said on Sunday.

Report: Al-Qaeda No. 3 in Iran - Eli Lake (New York Sun)
    Between 2001 and 2005, Iran harbored Saif al-Adel, al-Qaeda's third-ranking official and director of military operations, and he could still be operating there today, according to a report issued last month, "Al-Qaeda's (mis)Adventures in the Horn of Africa," by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.
    The new disclosure suggests that Iran was more complicit with al-Qaeda than previously thought.

Useful Reference:

The Six-Day War: A Defensive War (HonestReporting)
    International law makes a clear distinction between land "occupied" during a war of aggression and land taken as a result of a defensive war.
    On June 5, 1967, Jordan attacked Israel. Suburbs of Tel Aviv were shelled by artillery. Israel's largest military airfield, Ramat David, was shelled. Jordanian warplanes attacked the central Israeli towns of Netanya and Kfar Saba. Thousands of mortar shells rained down on western Jerusalem, targeting Israel's parliament building and the prime minister's office.
    Twenty Israelis died in these attacks; 1,000 were wounded; 900 buildings were damaged.
    Only after coming under fire and sustaining casualties did the Israeli military respond against Jordanian forces in the West Bank.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Plot to Blow Up JFK Airport Is "Tip of the Iceberg" - Toby Harnden
    The alleged conspiracy to blow up John F. Kennedy airport in New York, and a recent plot to kill soldiers at a nearby U.S. Army base, represent only the "tip of the iceberg" of terrorist plots against America, according to U.S. officials. "There's a lot of activity out there," a counter-terrorism official said Monday, indicating that dozens of other plots were being monitored. The JFK plot highlighted the dangers of Muslim Islamists holding American passports. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Two Suspects in JFK Airport Plot Were Shia Imams - Adrian Morgan
    Abdul Kadir, the imam of a Shia mosque in Guyana, was arrested as he was trying to board a plane to Venezuela. Kadir's wife claimed that her husband had been going to Venezuela to pick up a travel visa to attend a religious convention in Iran. Kareem Ibrahim is the imam of one of the two main Shia mosques in Trinidad. Muslims in Trinidad make up less than 10% of the population, while Guyana is about 15% Muslim. In both countries, the vast majority of Muslims are Sunnis, and Shias are few in number. (Spero News)
  • U.S. Islamic Groups Named in Hamas Funding Case - Josh Gerstein
    Federal prosecutors have named three prominent Islamic organizations in America as participants in an alleged criminal conspiracy to support the Palestinian Arab terrorist group Hamas. Prosecutors applied the label of "unindicted co-conspirator" to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, and the North American Islamic Trust in connection with a trial planned in Texas next month for five officials of a defunct charity, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. (New York Sun)
  • France, Spain Condemn Ahmadinejad's Remark on Israel
    France and Spain strongly condemned President Ahmadinejad of Iran on Monday for saying that a "countdown button" had been pressed to bring about Israel's destruction. "If these remarks were indeed made, they are unacceptable," said Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister. "I condemn them most firmly." He added that Israel's right to exist could not be called into question. Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said he had asked the ministry's political director to express to Iran's ambassador "our absolute, total rejection of those remarks."  (Reuters/New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF: Hizbullah Is Rebuilding South of Litani River - Shahar Ilan
    The head of the research division of IDF Military Intelligence, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday that Hizbullah is rebuilding its forces south of the Litani River in Lebanon, despite the presence of international peacekeepers in the area. "Hizbullah continues to rehabilitate, from a military and a social perspective. It is acquiring a large number of weapons from Iran and Syria," Baidatz said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hamas: Recognition of Israel Is Out of the Question
    Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas told the Saudi daily Aljazeera on April 2: "As far as we're concerned, the issue of recognition of Israel has been settled once and for all. It has been settled in our political literature, in our Islamic thought and in our jihadist culture, on which we base our moves. Recognition of Israel is out of the question." (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Syria Calls on Iran to "Coordinate Confrontation Against Israel" - Yaakov Lappin
    Syrian President Bashar Assad has called for "better cooperation" between Damascus and Tehran in "the confrontation with the Zionist regime and the USA," according to a report published on Sunday by Iran's official state news agency, IRNA. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

    The 40th Anniversary of the Six-Day War

  • Remaking the World in Six Days - Michael Oren
    In six intense days of fighting that began on June 5, 1967, Israeli forces saved their country from an imminent existential threat, defeated three major Arab armies and almost quadrupled the territory under their country's control. Compare, for example, Israel's diplomatic and strategic situation on June 4, 1967: The country was surrounded by Arab states bent on its destruction, utterly isolated and outgunned. Egypt alone had five times as many soldiers as Israel, and 10 times the tanks. Beyond the Middle East, Israel faced an inimical Soviet bloc that generously armed the forces of Egypt, Syria and Iraq, as well as the animosity of China and India. Though generally friendly, the United States still refused to sell weapons to the Israelis, who remained militarily dependent on France. Worse yet, on the eve of the war, the French concluded that they had more to gain from Arab oil producers and abruptly switched sides, imposing a total arms embargo on Israel.
        Having begun the conflict with Arab guns pointed at all of its cities, Israel concluded the war with its own troops in artillery range of every neighboring Arab capital - an achievement that convinced Arab leaders of the impossibility of destroying the Jewish state by conventional means. Israel, as a result, was eventually able to reconcile with Jordan and to trade territory captured in the 1967 war for a peace agreement with Egypt. Most significantly, the U.S., which previously regarded Israel as a friendly country but one that impaired its relations with the Arab world, suddenly realized that the Jewish state was in fact a regional superpower, forging an alliance with Israel that has remained robust ever since. The writer, a senior fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center, is the author of Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also Arabs Planned to Destroy Israel in '67 - Steve Linde
    Those who call the Six-Day War a disaster or a Pyrrhic victory overlook the fact that Israel wasn't destroyed, historian Michael Oren said Monday. Oren said his research of documents in Arab countries had revealed clearly that the Arabs had planned to destroy Israel. "The biggest myth going is that somehow there was not a real and immediate Arab threat, that somehow Israel could have negotiated itself outside the crisis of 1967, and that it wasn't facing an existential threat, or facing any threat at all," said Oren. (Jerusalem Post)
  • How the Six-Day War Reshaped the Mideast - Fouad Ajami
    The great irony of the Six-Day War of 1967 was that it began with a hoax - a piece of faulty Soviet intelligence given to the Egyptians. On May 13, the Soviet ambassador to Cairo informed the Egyptians that Israel was massing "10 to 12 brigades" on the Syrian border in preparation for a big push against the radical regime in Damascus. In response to that Soviet report, Nasser mobilized his troops on May 14 and dispatched them into the Sinai. The casus belli would come on May 22, when Nasser announced the closing of the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping. Euphoria gripped the Arab world; Nasser hadn't fired a shot, but great gains had come his way. On May 30, King Hussein of Jordan rushed to Cairo to place his army under Egyptian command.
        At the remove of four decades, we should not overdo the importance of that Soviet report about the phantom Israeli brigades. At the heart of the war lay the willful Arab refusal to accept Israel's legitimacy and statehood. Israel's victory in 1967 delivered a message: that the state that had fought its way into the world in 1948 is there to stay. The writer is Majid Khadduri professor of Middle East studies at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. (U.S. News)
  • Lessons of the Six-Day War - Ariel Cohen
    Today the world will commemorate the 40th anniversary of Israel's victory in the Six-Day War. Forty years later, however, Israel's very existence is challenged again. Now more than ever, Israel is the proverbial canary in the Middle East coal mine, the litmus test of Arab and Muslim attitudes to the world beyond the Land of Islam. It is not the "Israeli occupation" but the rise of extremist Islamist forces that constitute a global threat and are central in Middle East destabilization. Israeli, European and U.S. policymakers and generals still think in terms of nation-states and conventional armies. The global jihadi movement, its political leaders, paymasters, recruiters and propagandists recognize no national borders. The writer is senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. (Washington Times)
  • Observations:

    No Pyrrhic Victory - Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal)

    • It is often said today that the Six-Day War humiliated the Arabs and propelled the region into future rounds of fighting. Yet only a few days before the outbreak of the war, Iraq's then-President Abdul Rahman Aref saw it as "our wipe Israel off the map," describing the war as the Arabs' chance "to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948."
    • It is said that the Palestinian movement was born from Israel's occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. Yet the Palestine Liberation Organization was already in its third year of operations when the war began.
    • To read some recent accounts, a more sagacious Israel could have followed up its historic victory with peace overtures. In fact, the Israeli cabinet agreed on June 19, 1967, to offer the Sinai to Egypt and the Golan to Syria in exchange for peace deals. In Khartoum that September, the Arab League declared "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it."
    • On June 5, 1967, Israel was a poor, desperately vulnerable country, which threw the dice on its own survival in the most audacious military strike of the 20th century. It is infinitely richer and more powerful today, and sure in its alliance with the U.S. If these are the fruits of Israel's "Pyrrhic victory," it needs more such of them.

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