Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 23, 2008

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In-Depth Issues:

German Intelligence: Bombed Syrian Reactor Was for Iranian A-Bomb Development (AFP)
    According to German intelligence reports, a joint plan by Syria, North Korea and Iran for a nuclear reactor for military use was to have been developed at the Al-Kibar site in Syria, which was destroyed by Israel last September, Der Spiegel reported.
    The reports claimed that Al-Kibar was to have been used as a temporary site for Iran to develop a nuclear bomb until it was able to do so on its own territory.
    The plan was discussed during a visit by Iranian President Mamhoud Ahmadinejad to Syria in 2006.
    Syria, North Korea and Iran also cooperated in the production of chemical weapons. At the time of an explosion at a chemical site in July 2007, 15 Syrian soldiers, 12 Iranian engineers and three North Koreans were among the victims.

Hamas Acquires Secure Radio Technology (IMRA)
    Jane's Defense Weekly reported on 17 June 2008 that Hamas has acquired new wireless technology to improve stealth communications in Gaza.
    Israel Radio reported this on Sunday, noting that the cost per unit of these 51-km.-range Taiwanese-made scrambled cellular phones is $2,000, and that the Hamas force is being transformed into a regular army.

Europeans Trained in Terror Camps in Pakistan - Pierre Thomas and Jack Date (ABC News)
    Dozens of white Europeans have trained in terrorist camps in Pakistan's tribal regions in recent months, U.S. intelligence sources said.
    Government officials suspect the terrorists, recruited in Europe, have been dispatched to plan attacks against Europe and possibly the U.S.
    The terrorists hail from Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Romania and Estonia, sources said.
    There is growing evidence that some European recruits may have already gone operational. Two of the suspects arrested in a September 2007 plot to kill American soldiers in Germany were native Germans.

Young UK Muslims "Are Turning to Extremism" - Patrick Sawer (Telegraph-UK)
    A report commissioned by the Association of Chief Police Officers after last year's failed bomb attacks in London's West End and at Glasgow Airport claims that increasing numbers of Britain's young Muslims have become so alienated from mainstream society that they could even lend their support to jihadi terrorism.
    The study, entitled Hearts and Minds and Eyes and Ears: Reducing Radicalisation Risks Through Reassurance Orientated Policing, warns that "the threat to the UK from jihadist terrorism may increase in the future."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Hamas Says Smuggling to Gaza Will Continue
    Smuggling into Gaza will not stop, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya told worshippers before Friday prayers. Reacting to Haniya's remarks, Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, underlined that the Egyptian-brokered truce explicitly stated that arms smuggling must halt. "The agreement with Egypt states clearly that there must not be any contraband arms heading for Gaza and no attacks from Gaza towards Israeli territory by any of the armed groups." Israeli security sources say Hamas has smuggled more than 100 tons of explosives into Gaza, including rockets and anti-tank missiles, since the Islamists seized control in June 2007. (AFP)
        See also Hamas: Negotiations with Israel Out of the Question
    A spokesman for Hamas, Ismail Radwan, on Saturday said negotiations with Israel are out of the question and the Islamic movement will never recognize "the enemy." "We are not thinking of trying the ridiculous negotiations that the others have tried," he said. (Xinhua-China)
  • Meshaal: Syria-Israel Moves Will Not Affect Hamas Links
    Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said Sunday in Damascus, "We are not worried about the impact (of the Syrian-Israeli negotiations) on relations between Syrian and Palestinian resistance movements." As a condition for progress, Israel is demanding that Damascus break off its ties with Iran, Hamas, and Hizbullah, but Syria said it would reject any preconditions in the talks that call on it to change its relations with other countries or groups. Meshaal reiterated a Hamas pledge to observe a cease-fire with Israel in Gaza. (AFP)
  • Israel Increases Flow of Supplies to Gaza as Truce Holds - Robert Berger
    Israel is increasing the flow of supplies into Gaza as an Egyptian-mediated truce that began last Thursday holds. "If the quiet is sustainable, and I hope it will be, then in the coming days you will see the gradual easing of the sanctions on the Gaza Strip," said Israeli spokesman Mark Regev. However, "Hamas has to know that we will not get anywhere close to normalization on the crossings as long as [abducted Israeli soldier] Gilad Shalit is being held hostage," he said. (VOA News)
  • U.S.-Funded Arab TV Airs Anti-Israeli Reports - Scott Pelley
    The U.S. government spends $100 million a year on a news channel in Arabic called "Al Hurra" to explain America to the Arab world. Yet a review of what Al Hurra is putting on the air found that it has supported terrorism and denied the Holocaust. The station aired a live speech by Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hizbullah, and covered a Holocaust deniers' conference in Iran. More recently, one of the guests on a talk show said that Israel's policies toward the Palestinians amounts to, in his words, a Holocaust conducted by a racist state. The speaker was neither challenged by the host, nor balanced by another guest. (60 Minutes-CBS News)
        See also U.S. Network Falters in Mideast Mission - Craig Whitlock (Washington Post)
  • Sarkozy Proclaims Friendship During Visit to Israel - Philippe Alfroy
    French President Nicolas Sarkozy proclaimed his friendship for Israel at the start of a three-day visit on Sunday. "I have always been Israel's friend," Sarkozy said during the first visit by a French president in 12 years. (AFP)
        See also Concerns Rise in France after Jewish Teen Is Attacked
    Rudy Haddad, a 17-year-old French Jew, was attacked Saturday night in Paris by youths of African origin with iron bars. The Union of French Jewish Students said Haddad had been identified as Jewish because he was wearing a kippa, and had suffered several broken ribs, a fractured skull and was now in intensive care. (International Herald Tribune)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Terror Activity, Arms Smuggling Stepped Up in Gaza - Barak Ravid
    The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) has identified a recent increase in terrorist activity in Gaza, Yuval Diskin, the head of the intelligence agency, said Sunday. He added that arms smuggling had been stepped up, as well as training. Diskin added that major terror attacks were in the works on the eve of the cease-fire. On June 22, Hamas planned to drive two booby-trapped vehicles into Israel through a hole in the fence to have been made by an armored tractor. However, one of the booby-trapped vehicles exploded in a Hamas operative's home. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Intelligence: Syria Benefits from Peace Talks with Israel - Amnon Meranda
    IDF Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Sunday he believed Syrian President Bashar Assad was "in a win-win situation" in regards to peace talks with Jerusalem. "Alleviating the tensions (between Israel and Syria) and creating a far calmer atmosphere allows him to, on the one hand, keep building up his military and make it through the summer in peace - while, on the other hand, the world looks upon him favorably, even when he doesn't have to give anything in return." (Ynet News)
  • Three Israelis Injured in West Bank Shooting Attack - Efrat Weiss
    Three Israelis were injured Friday by Palestinians in a shooting attack in Wadi Zarka near Neve Tzuf, northwest of Ramallah in the West Bank. Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Islam's War Doctrines Ignored - Raymond Ibrahim
    The exploits and stratagems of the prophet Muhammad still serve as an example to modern-day jihadists. In 2006, former top Pentagon official William Gawthrop noted, "We still do not have an in-depth understanding of the war-fighting doctrine laid down by Muhammad, how it might be applied today by an increasing number of Islamic groups, or how it might be countered." Based on the words and deeds of Muhammad, most schools of Islamic jurisprudence agree that the following are all legitimate during war against the infidel: the indiscriminate use of missile weaponry, even if women and children are present (catapults in Muhammad's 7th century, hijacked planes or WMD by analogy today); the need to always deceive the enemy and even break formal treaties whenever possible; and that the only function of the peace treaty, or hudna, is to give the Islamic armies time to regroup for a renewed offensive, and should, in theory, last no more than ten years.
        One of Islam's more "eternal" doctrines is the Abode of War versus the Abode of Islam dichotomy, which in essence maintains that Islam must always be in a state of animosity vis-a-vis the infidel world and, whenever possible, must wage wars until all infidel territory has been brought under Islamic rule. (Middle East Strategy at Harvard)
  • Is Al-Qaeda Self-Destructing? - Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank
    Is al-Qaeda going to dissipate as a result of the criticism from its former mentors and allies? Probably not in the short term. Al-Qaeda, on the verge of defeat in 2002, has regrouped and is now able to launch significant terrorist operations in Europe.
        However, encoded in the DNA of apocalyptic jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda are the seeds of their own long-term destruction: their victims are often Muslim civilians; they don't offer a positive vision of the future (but rather the prospect of Taliban-style regimes from Morocco to Indonesia); they keep expanding their list of enemies, including any Muslim who doesn't share their precise world view; and they seem incapable of becoming politically successful because their ideology prevents them from making the real-world compromises that would allow them to engage in genuine politics. Which means that the repudiation of al-Qaeda's leaders by its former religious, military and political guides will help hasten the implosion of the jihadist terrorist movement. The writers are research fellows at New York University's Center on Law and Security. (Independent-UK)
  • Observations:

    Lessons of the Second Intifada - Sever Plocker (Ynet News)

    • The second Intifada, which started in October 2000 and ended in October 2004, disproved two commonly accepted assumptions: that economic prosperity brings peace, and that terrorism cannot be defeated by force.
    • The second Intifada broke out at the zenith of Palestinian economy prosperity after the Oslo Accords. It cost the Palestinians an economic loss of a generation. It will take at least 10 to 15 years before the Palestinian per capita income will return to its level on the eve of October 2000.
    • The welfare and future of millions of Palestinians were sacrificed on the altar of maintaining the zeal of the national and religious revolution.
    • Yasser Arafat and Ahmed Yassin wanted violence, ongoing war, blood, and fire - and that's what they got. Thousands of their countrymen paid the price of their caprice, and for nothing.
    • There is no arguing that Israel scored an overwhelming and unpredictable win in the second Intifada.

          See also Winning Counterinsurgency War: The Israeli Experience - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

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