Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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April 5, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

58 Terror Alerts - Margot Dudkevitch (Jerusalem Post)
    58 terror alerts were recorded by the security establishment, officials said, with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah Tanzim intent on carrying out large-scale attacks over the holidays.

Hamas Considers Joining PLO - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    There are growing signs that Hamas is seriously contemplating joining the PLO.
    Hamas official Said Siam said his movement also wants to discuss the possibility of joining the Palestinian National Council.
    Meanwhile, during a rally in Jabalya in Gaza on Friday, thousands of Hamas supporters heard speakers threaten to burn the Knesset "and make it collapse on the heads of these Zionist pigs," as activists burned a cardboard model of the Knesset and the crowd chanted slogans calling for suicide attacks in Tel Aviv.

    See also Hamas Demands Change in Charter - Bassem Shehadi (Jerusalem Times/IMRA)
    According to Said Siam, a Hamas leader in Gaza, the most important and nonnegotiable condition for Hamas joining the PLO is to reinstitute the canceled articles of the PLO "National Charter" that were removed as part of the commitments to the 1993 Oslo accord.

New Questions About Saudi Money - and Bandar - Michael Isikoff (Newsweek)
    A federal investigation into the bank accounts of the Saudi Embassy in Washington has identified more than $27 million in "suspicious" transactions - including hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to Muslim charities, and to clerics and Saudi students who are being scrutinized for possible links to terrorist activity, according to government documents.
    The probe also has uncovered large wire transfers overseas by the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar bin Sultan.
    The transactions recently prompted the Saudi Embassy's longtime bank, the Riggs Bank of Washington, D.C., to drop the Saudis as a client.

Useful Reference:

Prime Minister Sharon's Passover Interview (

Two Years Ago on Passover:
Netanya Hotel Bombing
(Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    30 people were killed and 140 injured in a homicide bombing in the Park Hotel in Netanya, in the midst of the Passover holiday seder.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Madrid Bombing Suspects Blow Themselves Up
    Sarhane Ben Abdelmajid Fakhet, a Tunisian considered the mastermind of the Madrid train bombings, was among at least four men who blew themselves up during a police raid in Madrid Saturday, Spanish Interior Minister Angel Acebes said Sunday. One special forces agent was killed and 15 police officers were wounded in the explosion. The raid may have prevented other attacks. In the rubble, police found explosive devices that were fully assembled and "ready to go," Acebes said. Officers also recovered 200 detonators and 22 pounds of unexploded dynamite of the Goma 2 kind used in the train bombings. (New York Times)
  • Jews, Americans Top Targets in al-Qaeda Document
    A strategy paper in the latest issue of a guerrilla warfare manual posted on a website sympathetic to al-Qaeda lists Jews, Americans, and Britons as main targets. "The lands of the infidels should be turned into hell...cells active globally should not set themselves any geographical limits," it said. U.S. and Israeli Jews, followed by French and British Jews, were top human targets. Chief targets among Christians were Americans and Britons, followed by Spaniards, Australians, Canadians, and Italians. Entitled "Targets Inside Cities," the paper was signed by Abdulaziz al-Muqrin, whom Western intelligence agencies consider the leading al-Qaeda propagandist and financier in Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)
        See also Al-Qaeda Suspect Urges Rome's Destruction
    Tapes featuring Abu Qatada, a radical Muslim cleric named by Britain as the spiritual inspiration for the lead Sept. 11 hijacker, were found during recent raids in the northern Italian town of Cremona, the weekly news magazine Panorama reported on Friday. "We must destroy Rome," Qatada is reported as saying on the tapes. "The destruction must be carried out by sword. Those who will destroy Rome are already preparing the swords. Rome will not be conquered with the word but with the force of arms," said Qatada, who was arrested by Britain in October 2002. (Reuters/MSNBC)
        See also Al-Qaeda's Intellectual Legacy: New Radical Islamic Thinking Justifying the Genocide of Infidels - Jonathan D. Halevi (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • UN Aide Says Sudan is Tolerating Ethnic Cleansing
    Jan Egeland, the UN undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and director for UN relief in Sudan, said Friday that Arab militias were conducting a campaign of ethnic cleansing to drive black Africans out of a border region of the country with the apparent tolerance of the Sudanese government. He said the armed groups were using "scorched earth tactics," deliberately destroying food and humanitarian supplies and attacking refugee centers in a program of "systematic depopulation." (New York Times)
        See also Human Rights Group Blasts Sudan Government (AP/Guardian-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Newly-Released Palestinian Prisoner Murders Father of Six - Margot Dudkevitch
    Ya'acov (Kobi) Zaga, 40, of Avnei Hefetz in Samaria, was murdered and his daughter Hanni, 14, suffered moderate gunshot wounds when a terrorist infiltrated the community shortly before 1 a.m. on Saturday morning. Sources in the Shin Bet confirmed that the terrorist was released last week from a military prison. "The father went out the front of the house. He was armed with a gun and circled to the back of the house where he confronted the terrorist," said a security source. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also A Miracle Amid Death - Tovah Lazaroff
    Esther Zaga marvels at the miracle that saved her and her six children from death at the hand of a terrorist, even as she mourns for her husband Ya'acov. Their daughter Hanni was wounded while shielding her three-year-old sister. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Blasts Terrorist Use of Bethlehem Hospital - Judy Siegel-Itzkovich
    Health Minister Dan Naveh wrote to World Health Organization secretary-general Dr. Jong Wook Lee following the takeover by terrorists of the Bethlehem psychiatric hospital and demanded a firm denunciation of this action. "After seeing children sent as suicide bombers, we now see terrorists using medical facilities such as a psychiatric hospital as a base for action. All health ministries around the world should denounce this as a cynical and murderous act that no international treaty would approve. Taking advantage of helpless patients in a facility aimed at saving lives - no society can accept this," Naveh said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Everyone Failed to Fight Terrorism - Martin Peretz
    The obvious truth behind the current 9/11 Commission hearings is that before 9/11, both the Clinton and Bush administrations were unable or unwilling to mobilize the country against the growing terrorism threat. Our inherited models of military conflict do not encompass transnational terrorism. The Viet Cong did not plant bombs in U.S. cities.
        The first polity to become acutely conscious of international terrorism was Israel. High-profile, cross-border Palestinian terrorism began at the Munich Olympics in 1972, the beginning of dozens of such incidents. As a consequence, Zionists, and Israel's friends more generally, grasped earlier than others that a new and ugly presence had burst on the world scene. The murder of random civilians, a reversal of the progress made in the rules of war after 1945, seemed primitive. But the terrorism employed by the Palestinian movement relied on quite sophisticated economic and political underpinnings. The Palestinians had the support and assistance of governments - and not just Arab governments - and the help of a wide array of extremist movements. (New Republic)
  • Eurabia? - Niall Ferguson
    A youthful Muslim society to the south and east of the Mediterranean is poised to colonize - the term is not too strong - a senescent Europe. A creeping Islamicization of a decadent Christendom is one conceivable result: while the old Europeans get even older and their religious faith weaker, the Muslim colonies within their cities get larger and more overt in their religious observance. (New York Times)
  • A World Obsessed with Arab Anger - Craig Weiss
    The accepted worldview is that when fighting terror, one must avoid actions that are liable to enrage the Arab world, however effective and justified those actions might otherwise be. Under this principle, however, Muslim extremists have veto power over any effective counterterrorism policy.
        A serious look at the numbers shows that Israel's policy of targeted killings has had the effect of decreasing terrorism. Israel began a serious campaign of targeting terrorist leaders in early 2003, resulting in a 50% decrease in the number of Israeli victims of terror as compared with the previous year. Israel's policy has also saved Palestinian lives, as the number of Palestinian dead decreased by 30% over the same period. Without terrorist ringleaders around to send unwitting Palestinian adolescents to murder Israeli civilians, the region will become more peaceful. By catering to the murderous rage of Arab terrorists, we only promote more rage. Arab anger is an internal Arab problem that we cannot tame, and that only they can solve. (Arizona Republic)
  • Observations:

    Defense Minister: "Hamas Under Pressure" (Prime Minister's Office)

    Defense Minister Mofaz told the Israeli cabinet Sunday:

    • There continues to be a significant terrorist effort against Israel based on inter-organizational cooperation and increased input from abroad, against the background of the weakness and passivity of the PA, under the paralyzing influence of Arafat, amidst terror and anarchy.
    • It is clear to the security establishment that attempts to perpetrate attacks in every way possible will continue; it is similarly clear that Hamas, and other groups as well, will make special efforts to perpetrate large-scale attacks.
    • Hamas is under pressure and the demise of Sheikh Yassin has caused a deep upheaval in the organization; cracks have appeared in the leadership and its leaders are acting like fugitives. However, it is clear that Hamas is looking for revenge and Israel is prepared ahead of this possibility.

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