Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 8, 2004

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In-Depth Issues:

Poll: 68% of Palestinians in Gaza Favor Suicide Bombings, 54% Say Palestinians Are Winning (Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research)
    According to a poll conducted in June 2004 in the West Bank and Gaza, 68% of Gazans and 53% of Palestinians in the West Bank favor continued suicide bombings inside Israel if an opportunity arises.
    After the implementation of Israel's Gaza disengagement plan, 59% of Palestinians in Gaza and 53% in the West Bank would support continued armed attacks against Israeli targets.
    When asked who was the winner so far in the armed conflict that started in September 2000, 54% of Palestinians in Gaza said it was the Palestinians, while 12% said Israel. In the West Bank, 32% said the Palestinians were winning, while 16% said Israel.
    In the next local elections, 32% in Gaza would vote for Hamas/Islamic Jihad candidates compared to 23% for Fatah candidates.

    See also Poll: Palestinians Skeptical of Egypt Role in Gaza - Mark Heinrich (Reuters)

American Families Pull Out of Bahrain - Anton La Guardia (Telegraph-UK)
    The families of hundreds of U.S. servicemen and diplomats will begin leaving Bahrain soon amid intelligence warnings that Islamic extremists are planning a big attack.
    There are growing fears that the violent campaign by bin Laden's supporters in neighboring Saudi Arabia could spread.
    The British and American missions in Pakistan have also closed to forestall a possible attack.

Useful Reference:

The Recruitment and Training of Palestinian Suicide Bombers (MEMRI)
    Al-Majd TV, broadcast from the United Arab Emirates, hosted Gaza Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, and Faraj Shalhoub, an expert on Palestinian affairs, to discuss the recruitment and training of Palestinian suicide bombers.
    Shalhoub: "Hundreds of martyrdom bombers [are] waiting in line to commit martyrdom operations. The factions' inability to supply enough operations for all of them is the only obstacle preventing them all from committing martyrdom operations."
    Abu Zuhri: "There are hundreds of female martyrdom bombers, who stream en masse and insist on participating in martyrdom operations. This is a unique phenomenon, reflecting the live spirit of Jihad among this people."
    "The Palestinian resistance, at times, purposely uses women in some operations that men cannot carry out, especially in high security areas, which male Palestinian Mujaheedin cannot easily reach."

Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Quartet Tells Palestinians to Reform or Lose Aid
    The quartet of Middle East mediators are "sick and tired" of Palestinians failing to carry out reforms and told them on Wednesday to act soon or risk losing international support and aid, diplomats said. Envoys from the quartet told Palestinian Prime Minister Qurie that the world had run out of patience with Arafat's "empty promises" of reform. "If security reforms are not done, there will be no (more) international support and no funding from the international community," said a senior diplomat. "Arafat has done nothing or very little....There is total disillusion with the Palestinian Authority." (Reuters)
  • Iranian Intelligence Officers Captured in Iraq
    American and Iraqi joint patrols captured two men with explosives in Baghdad on Monday who identified themselves as Iranian intelligence officers. Defense officials also confirmed that in recent days there has been significant success in tracking down "known bad guys" based on information from local citizens. (FOX News)
  • Muslim Cleric Visiting UK Hails Bombers as "Martyrs"
    Dr. Yussuf al-Qaradawi, who is banned from the U.S., has arrived in London where he told British television that suicide bombers are "martyrs for God."  (Scotsman-UK)
        See also UK Jews Protest Radical Sheikh's Visit - Douglas Davis
    Britain's Jewish community has called on the government to ban radical Islamic cleric Sheikh Yussuf al-Qaradawi. The Egyptian-born Qaradawi, now based in Qatar, has encouraged Palestinian terrorism and called for the killing of Jews. Neville Nagler, director-general of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said Qaradawi's "abhorrent views make him an unacceptable visitor to this country."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Qaradawi Justifies Suicide Bombings
    Q: Does Islam justify suicide bombings in Israel?
    Dr. Yussuf al-Qaradawi: "It is not suicide, it is martyrdom in the name of God."
    Q: What about innocent women and children who are the victims?
    Qaradawi: Israeli women are not like women in our society because Israeli women are militarized. Secondly...through his infinite wisdom [Allah] has given the weak what the strong do not possess and that is the ability to turn their bodies into bombs like the Palestinians do. (BBC)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Nine Terrorists Killed in Gaza - Amir Buhbut
    Nine terrorists were killed during IDF operations Thursday in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, while an IDF soldier sustained serious injuries in the fighting. One of those killed was reportedly the al-Qassam Brigades commander in the northern Gaza Strip, while another three were al-Aqsa Brigades activists. Earlier, two IDF soldiers were lightly injured by an anti-tank rocket fired by Palestinians near Khan Yunis in southern Gaza. (Maariv International)
  • Jordan Seizes Heavy Weapons Near Syrian Border - Joseph Nasr
    Jordanian border guards seized a truck laden with heavy artillery, anti-tank missiles, high explosives, and cannon shells near one of its border crossings with Syria, the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat reported Wednesday. It remains unclear whether the weapons were to be delivered to extremist Islamic elements in Jordan or to Palestinian groups in the West Bank. (Jerusalem Post)
  • ElBaradei: Pakistani Gave Nuclear Know-How to 20 Nations, Firms - Ze'ev Schiff
    During his visit to Israel, Mohammed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said there is a very strong sense of existential threat in Israel. He said there are worrying signs that the nonproliferation regime is coming undone, and that other countries or terrorist organizations could get nuclear weapons. He also said Pakistani nuclear scientist A.K. Khan had commercial contacts with at least 20 different countries and large companies. (Ha'aretz)
        See also The International Atomic Energy Agency and Israel: A Realistic Agenda - Gerald M. Steinberg (ICA/JCPA)
  • "Collaborator" Executed in Jenin - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Four gunmen belonging to Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, on Friday publicly executed Muhammad Daraghmeh, 45, a resident of Tubas in the Jenin area, on suspicion of collaborating with Israel. The execution took place in the main square of the nearby town of Kabatiya and was witnessed by hundreds of Palestinians. A number of journalists were invited to cover the event. The gunmen forced Daraghmeh to his knees before riddling him with automatic fire. His body lay in a pool of blood for more than half an hour, surrounded by the cheering crowd. Since the beginning of the year, at least 15 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and Gaza for collaborating with Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Mubarak's Egypt: Going Nowhere - David Remnick
    Rather than take the democratizing cue from Bush, Mubarak's regime has offered itself as an example to the U.S.: Spare us the pretense of an open society, its leaders imply. For twenty-three years, power and its maintenance has been Mubarak's obsession. Over the years, tens of thousands of Islamists and other political opponents have passed through the jails, usually without trial or charge. Mubarak has always proved himself ready to employ maximum force to quell protest or unrest, and in time, Mubarak wore down the Islamist movement in Egypt. (New Yorker)
  • Silence on the Arab Street - Kamel Labidi
    The present cycle of horror and devastation in Sudan continues to prompt more concern in Western countries than in the Arab world. The victims of this new African tragedy of ethnic slaughter are hundreds of thousands of civilians of the Muslim faith. Though Muslim, they are not of the same ethnic origin as their Arab oppressors in Sudan and the majority of their neighbors in North Africa and the Middle East. The atrocious campaign of ethnic cleansing in Sudan today would have prompted deafening official and popular protests in Arab capitals had the victims been of Arab descent and the perpetrators non-Arabs. The writer is former Amnesty International Human Rights Education Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Islamist Extremism, Nukes, and the Stans - Stephen Schwartz
    The Republic of Kazakhstan is a territory scattered with radioactive materials left over from the Soviet era. While the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, an ally of al-Qaeda, has been effectively defeated, the Islamic Liberation Party continues to recruit among a minority population of Uzbeks in southern Kazakhstan. An Uzbek diaspora outside the borders of Uzbekistan is a source of ethnic grievances that skillful extremist recruiters can exploit. Kazakh Muslims are completely indifferent to the appeal of Wahhabism, and Kazakhstan has diplomatic relations with Israel. Nevertheless, vigilance will be required to prevent terrorists from using Kazakhstan as a source of nuclear materials for "dirty bombs" - conventional explosives wrapped in contaminating materials. (Tech Central Station)
  • Observations:

    A Friend of Israel in the Islamic World - Micha Odenheimer (Ha'aretz)

    Abdurrahman Wahid, who served as Indonesia's president from 1999 until 2001, has visited Israel six times and is known for his outspoken and courageous advocacy of Islamic moderation.

    • Wahid: "I think there is a wrong perception that Islam is in disagreement with Israel. This is caused by Arab propaganda. We have to distinguish between Arabs and Islam."
    • "China and the Soviet Union have or had atheism as part of their constitution, but we have long-term relationships with both these countries....Israel has a reputation as a nation with a high regard for God and religion - there is then no reason we have to be against Israel."
    • "Indonesian Muslims respond to moderation, not fundamentalism. And even the majority of the Arabs are against what is being broadcast or printed in the news. When you think that the Palestinians are ruled by the so-called suicidal bombers, you are wrong. The problem is how to cope with the militant minority. What is needed is moral courage, which Yasser Arafat has not shown."
    • Q: Does the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East pose a problem for Islam?
      Wahid: "Only if you think Islam dictates that we have an Islamic state. All the states that claim to be Islamic are in trouble. Muslims everywhere, if they could vote, would reject an Islamic state. Not because they are against Islam. I am for Islam. But I am against an Islamic state."

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