Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
March 22, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

Police Warned Two Years Ago about Radical Islamist in Toulouse - Raphael Ahren (Times of Israel)
    The French Telegramme newspaper reported Wednesday that a woman twice complained to police about Mohammed Merah, the suspect in the shooting attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse, after he tried to indoctrinate her son.
    "All these people had to die before they finally arrest Mohammed Merah. What an enormous waste," she said. "The police knew this individual was dangerous and radicalized. I complained to the police twice about Mohammed Merah and tried to follow up several times."
    Merah took her son to his home, where several sabers hung on the wall. He made him watch al-Qaeda videos of women being shot in the head and men being strangled to death, the mother recalled.

Hizbullah Donors, Agents Operating in U.S. - Alana Goodman (Commentary)
    According to House Homeland Security Committee chairman Peter King, Hizbullah is thought to have thousands of sympathetic donors and hundreds of operatives across the U.S. - many of them with military training.
    See also Iran, Hizbullah and the Threat to the Homeland (House Committee on Homeland Security)

    See also Expert: Iran More Willing to Approve Attacks in the U.S. - Natasha Mozgovaya (Ha'aretz)
    Dr. Matthew Levitt, former deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, told the House Committee on Homeland Security Wednesday that Iranian leaders appear to be more willing to approve attacks in the U.S.
    Text of Matthew Levitt's Testimony (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

    See also NYPD: Iran Has Conducted Surveillance in NYC - Eileen Sullivan (AP)
    Authorities have interviewed at least 13 people since 2005 with ties to Iran's government who were seen taking pictures of New York City landmarks, a senior New York Police Department official said Wednesday, bolstering concerns that Iran or its proxy terrorist group could be prepared to strike inside the U.S.
    Mitchell Silber, the NYPD's director of intelligence analysis, told Congress that New York's international significance as a terror target and its large Jewish population make the city a likely place for Iran and Hizbullah to strike.

Saudi Wahhabism Expands into Libya - Jacques Neriah (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    The tension between the traditional Sufis and the Salafis, influenced by Saudi Wahhabis and other ultra-conservative foreign Islamists, has become a key divide in Libyan politics, with the Sufis on the defensive.
    Gaddafi's fall has emboldened Salafis, who were formerly persecuted but have now increased their public presence, taking over mosques.
    The military commanders of Libya are part and parcel of the Salafi-Wahhabi school of Islam.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • French Gunman Dead After Police Raid
    Mohammed Merah, suspected in seven murders in and around Toulouse, died Thursday morning after a police raid. French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said police entered the apartment Thursday, only to be ambushed by Merah who "came out of the bathroom shooting madly at everybody....At the end, Mohammed Merah jumped out of the window with a weapon in his hand, continuing to shoot. He was found dead on the ground."  (AP-CBS News)
        See also Toulouse Shooter Affiliated with French Al-Qaeda Group Fursan Al-'Izza
    Mohammed Merah, the terrorist who opened fire on a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, on March 19, appears to be a member of the French al-Qaeda branch Fursan Al-'Izza. The group is ideologically aligned with the worldwide shari'a movement calling to Islamize Western states and societies by "implementing shari'a law," "exalting the word of Allah," "abolishing democratic states," and "replacing them with Islamic regimes."
        A recent Fursan Al-'Izza video calls on "all Arab countries to boycott France and its products" until it repeals its laws banning the niqab and hijab headcovering. The video opens with the slogan "Restore the Caliphate," and ends with the slogan "Disavow the idol of democracy."  (MEMRI)
  • UN Security Council Backs Plan for Ending Syria Conflict - Rick Gladstone
    The UN Security Council on Wednesday unanimously embraced efforts by Kofi Annan, the former secretary general, to negotiate a cease-fire in the year-old Syrian conflict, funnel aid to victims and begin a political transition. The council statement, supported by Russia and China, expressed its "gravest concern at the deteriorating situation in Syria, which has resulted in a serious human rights crisis and a deplorable humanitarian situation."
        The plan, which closely resembles an Arab League proposal that Syrian President Assad has rejected, calls for all combatants to immediately stop fighting, for the military to withdraw from populated areas, for a UN-supervised truce, and for the provision of humanitarian assistance. (New York Times)
  • Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood May Nominate Presidential Candidate - Leila Fadel
    Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said Wednesday that it is considering reversing a year-old pledge not to put forward a candidate for president in the election, set to begin May 23. Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan said the group's governing body has found none of the declared candidates worthy of its support. The Brotherhood had also pledged to compete for only about a third of the seats in parliament but now holds about half the seats. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Gazans Lash Out at Egypt for Shutting Off Gasoline Supply - Elhanan Miller
    Gaza residents are blaming Egypt for shutting down the smuggling of gasoline and diesel through tunnels across the border, bringing life to a near standstill. Ahmad Abadleh, an official in Gaza's petrol authority, told Al-Quds Al-Arabi Wednesday that 80% of Gaza's gas stations have shut down. Gaza taxi drivers have begun using cooking oil to fuel their cars. (Times of Israel)
        See also Standoff between Egypt, Hamas Leads to Gaza Energy Crisis
    A dispute between Egypt and Gaza's Hamas government has produced the worst energy crisis in years: Gazans are enduring 18-hour-a-day blackouts, fuel is running low for hospital backup generators, and raw sewage pours into the Mediterranean Sea for lack of treatment pumps.
        More than a year ago, Hamas decided to use smuggled fuel to run the territory's only power plant instead of paying for more expensive fuel coming from Israel. Several weeks ago, the flow of smuggled Egyptian fuel began to slow: Egypt was itself suffering shortages, and it grew annoyed that Hamas was profiting by imposing tariffs on subsidized fuel meant for Egyptians. In recent days, Hamas has sent dozens of supporters to demonstrate near the Egyptian border to demand that Cairo start sending fuel. (AP-Washington Post)
        See also Fuel Crisis Cripples Traffic in Egypt (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
  • Travel Warning to Israelis for Upcoming Passover Holiday - Herb Keinon
    Israel's counterterrorism bureau released a travel advisory Wednesday saying Hizbullah and Iran still want to kill or kidnap Israelis abroad. Israelis are warned to refrain from going to Jordan and Egypt because of concrete terrorist threats, and Israelis in Sinai should leave there immediately. It also advised Israelis not to go to the Tunisian island of Djerba. Israelis are also advised to refrain from visiting countries where there is a "concrete high threat," including Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Ivory Coast, Togo, Burkina Faso and Mali. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Time to Stop Incitement to Murder - Again - David Pollock
    This month marks the first anniversary of the Fogel murders, for which two Palestinians were convicted of killing a family of five in the West Bank settlement of Itamar. At the time, PA president Mahmoud Abbas condemned this attack, but within a few days, official PA television broadcast a new song lauding the "heroism" of the killers at Itamar.
        In the past few months, the PA's record about glorifying violence against civilians has generally taken a turn for the worse. And Abbas himself delivered a highly inflammatory address to a conference on Jerusalem held in Doha last month that falsely accused Israel of planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Worst of all, tributes to terrorists convicted of mass murder have become almost routine in official PA media and ceremonies. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Tolerating Hamas Invites a Mideast War - Ron Prosor
    This month, a strike by the Israel Defense Forces targeted arch-terrorist Zuhair al-Qaisi as he aimed to launch another mass murder of innocent Israelis from Sinai. In the five days that followed, terrorists in Gaza stepped up their attacks on Israeli cities to 60 rockets per day (up from an average of "only" two to four a day). Israel's Air Force hit Palestinian rocket squads with minimal civilian casualties, even though they had been intentionally using neighborhoods and schools as launching pads.
        Instead of sending a clear message that terrorism in Gaza is a grave danger, much of the international community continues to point fingers at Israel for its legal and legitimate efforts to stop the flood of arms into the area. The writer is Israel's ambassador to the UN. (Wall Street Journal Europe)
  • French Dis-connection - Michael Widlanski
    French police's dramatic pursuit of Mohammed Merah, an Islamic radical, for Monday's terror murder of a rabbi and three Jewish schoolchildren should remind us that Islamic terror hasn't taken a holiday. One of the most damning elements of the French terror spree is that the terrorist was able to carry out his murderous attacks even though he was under some form of French government surveillance. Merah had contacted jihadist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and yet he was not apprehended, nor were his weapons confiscated. The writer, formerly strategic-affairs adviser for Israel's Ministry of Public Security, is the author of the new book Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat. (New York Post)

The Bomb and the Bomber - Ari Shavit (New York Times)

  • An Iranian atom bomb will force Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt to acquire their own atom bombs. Sooner or later, this unprecedented development will produce a nuclear event.
  • An Iranian atom bomb will give radical Islam overwhelming influence. Once nuclear, the rising Shiite power will dominate Iraq, the Gulf and international oil prices. It will spread terror, provoke conventional wars and destabilize moderate Arab nations.
  • As Iranian nuclear warheads will jeopardize Israel, they will imperil Europe. For the first time, hundreds of millions of citizens of free societies will live under the shadow of the nuclear might of religious fanatics.
  • For years the West made every possible mistake. The economic sanctions that should have been activated 10 years ago were activated only last year. The crippling sanctions that should have been imposed back in 2005 are yet to be imposed.
  • Within nine months the Iranians will be immune to an Israeli air strike and Israel will lose the military capability to stop the Shiite bomb. As it will be existentially threatened, the Jewish state will feel obliged to take action.
  • If the West doesn't get its act together at this very last moment, it might soon face the dire consequences of its own impotence.

        See also 2012 Is the Critical Year to Stop Iran - Ari Shavit
    A week ago, a senior Israeli official told an American guest that by 2013, even if Israel does strike, Tehran's nuclear program will survive. While America could act against Iran next year, Israel can act only this year. It's unrealistic to expect the U.S. president to promise the Israeli prime minister that he will stop Iran via a military operation at some point in the future. Thus, Israel must be prepared to accept the fact that on this fateful issue, it must act alone.
        The Israeli official said he sees Iran as a paper tiger. Its ability to carry out a direct strike on Israel's home front is limited. Its control over Hizbullah and Hamas is not total. If Lebanon allows Hizbullah to attack Israel from its territory, it will end up with no power stations and no airports. Since Iran's supreme concern is to avoid drawing America into a war, it will have no interest in attacking American targets.
        True, oil prices are likely to soar dramatically. But Saudi Arabia will quickly increase its output and in a few weeks the market will calm down. Looking back, everyone will thank Israel and recognize that it solved a problem that the world was unable to solve. Everyone must understand that the Jewish state cannot leave its fate in the hands of others. (Ha'aretz)

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