Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 4, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Arrow Good Against Scud But Requires Upgrade to Counter Iranian Shihab - Nina Gilbert (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel's Arrow-2 anti-missile missile has a "very good ability" to shoot down Scud missiles but "needs some improvement" to face the challenge of the Iranian-made Shihab-3, Air Force anti-missile chief Brig.-Gen. Ilan Biton told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday.

A Pillar of the U.S. Muslim Community - Daniel Pipes (Jerusalem Post)
    The founder and long-time chief of the American Muslim Council, Abdurahman Alamoudi, had many meetings with both Clintons in the White House, joined George W. Bush at a prayer service, and arranged a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner for congressional leaders as head of "the premier, mainstream Muslim group in Washington."
    Last week Alamoudi signed a plea agreement with the U.S. government admitting multiple crimes in return for a reduced sentence.
    Alamoudi's Palm Pilot, seized at the time of his arrest, contained contact information for seven men designated as global terrorists by U.S. authorities.

Palestinian Attackers Get Wrong Target (AP/Toronto Globe and Mail)
    Palestinian militants attacking an Israeli armored bulldozer inadvertently killed three other Palestinians Tuesday.
    The roadside bomb in Rafah went off a few meters from the bulldozer, and three Palestinian men 200 meters away were hit by shrapnel.
    Moments before the explosion, the masked militants were filmed putting a detonator in an alley near the road.

Palestinians Who Help Israel - Chris McGreal (Guardian-UK)
    Mousa Rajoub was tortured, shot, and strung up from an electricity pylon in the center of Hebron in 2002 with two other Palestinians who collaborated with Israeli intelligence.
    "They cut off his fingers one by one," said his brother Abdul, who has worked for Israeli intelligence for two decades, after seeing the videotape of his brother's last few hours.
    "There were 17 people involved in those killings. We captured 12 of them and killed five," he added.
    Abdul says he has stopped at least two suicide bombings, one by a member of his extended family whom he caught at a checkpoint carrying an explosives belt.
    Abdul's cousin is Jibril Rajoub, security aide to Yasser Arafat.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Seriousness of Terror Threat Defended
    Bush administration officials acknowledged Tuesday that the latest terrorism alert was based primarily on information that is three to four years old, but they aggressively defended the decision to warn financial sectors in Washington, New York, and Newark because of the continuing threat posed by al-Qaeda. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said that al-Qaeda computer files obtained last week had been updated as recently as January. "When you see this kind of detailed planning, you have to take preemptive action," Ridge said.
        Two senior intelligence officials stressed Tuesday that the U.S. government has information from interrogations of recently captured al-Qaeda operatives and other seized documents, and that the computer files "are corroborated by other intelligence of strong credibility that is of a very, very current nature." One said the government has "very recent information showing a clear terrorist intent related to planning attacks." (Washington Post)
        See also Source: Terror Attack to be in Early September
    More financial institutions than previously disclosed may be at risk of attack, and an al-Qaeda operative has told British intelligence that the group's target date is early September, intelligence sources said Monday. (Newsday)
        See also U.S. Capitol Police Using Israeli Counterterrorism Techniques
    U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer has taken aggressive steps in recent months to heighten security around the Capitol, including intensive retraining of officers using Israeli counterterrorism techniques. (Washington Post)
  • Phantom Legions for Iraq - Jim Hoagland
    The Saudi offer to assemble 20,000 to 30,000 Muslim soldiers to help secure Iraq has greater political meaning than military or diplomatic significance. The lofting and likely slow deflation of the Saudi trial balloon should force Bush and Kerry to think through fuzzy competing promises to "internationalize" the military effort in Iraq as part of an undeclared exit strategy for U.S. troops.
        The price that even close U.S. allies will demand for taking on Iraq's burdens is likely to exceed what Washington will pay. Of greatest U.S. concern is the Saudis' unwillingness to provide the $2 billion a year that one American official estimates it would cost to deploy 20,000 foreign troops. The Saudi demand that U.S. forces be reduced by a number that exactly equals the number of Islamic troops to be deployed is another problem. (Washington Post)
  • 13 Seized in British Anti-Terror Raids
    Thirteen men of Asian origin were arrested Tuesday in one of the biggest operations against international terrorism in Britain. The men had been under observation for some time and the action was based on information provided by the security services. (Telegraph-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Arab Collected Intelligence for Hamas - Amos Harel
    Zahar Ali, a resident of the Galilee village of Kaukab, who is studying for a masters degree at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was arrested three weeks ago on suspicion of collecting intelligence for a Hamas terror cell in Hebron, the Shin Bet security service said Wednesday. Ali is suspected of having picked out the Caffit coffee shop in Jerusalem as a target for a terror attack. A suicide bomber was sent to the location on July 11, but changed his mind at the last moment and returned to Hebron. The man was killed two days later in a clash with IDF troops who attempted to arrest him. Ali recommended numerous other targets to the Hebron cell, including a coffee shop at the university and a wedding hall in the Talpiot neighborhood. He also took photographs of a security installation in the Galilee for the purpose of planning a terror attack there. (Ha'aretz)
  • Is There a Bottom to the Terror Barrel? - Amos Harel
    In the West Bank, since Operation Defensive Shield, the army's ability to enter any place to arrest wanted men has entirely changed the picture. A suitable response to terror has been found, even if it has not stopped it completely. The situation in the Gaza Strip is totally different. According to security assessments, almost 20,000 Palestinians are actively or indirectly involved in operations against Israel, the vast majority in the Gaza Strip. (Ha'aretz)
  • Deputy UN Ambassador Named as Israel's Consul General in New York - Yoav Stern
    Israel's current deputy ambassador to the UN, Aryeh Mekel, has been named as the new consul general in New York, replacing Alon Pinkas. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Arafat's Grand Strategy - Efraim Karsh
    For Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization leadership, the Oslo process has always been a strategic means not to a two-state solution - Israel and a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza - but to the substitution of a Palestinian state for the State of Israel. Arafat and his PA reinforced their strategy by indoctrinating Palestinians, and especially the youth, against Israel, Jews, and Judaism - all in flagrant violation of their obligations under Oslo. Israel is glaringly absent from Palestinian maps, which portray its territory as part of a "Greater Palestine," from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. Had Arafat been genuinely interested in peace, a Palestinian state could have been established in the early 1980s as a corollary to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of 1979, or by May 1999, as a part of the Oslo process. The writer is director of the Mediterranean Studies Program at King's College, University of London, and editor of the quarterly journal Israel Affairs. (Middle East Quarterly)
  • Wahhabism Comes to Bosnia and Kosovo - Melik Kaylan
    After the Dayton Accords in Bosnia and in postconflict Kosovo, reconstruction aid poured in from Saudi Arabia. Much of it went into Wahhabi proselytizing, bullying, converting, and bribing of destitute Muslims. An austere desert sect, Wahhabism cannot abide what it considers idolatry, frippery, or nostalgia for objects in religious places. When forced by locals to renovate rather than supplant, the Saudis obliterated all historical highlights, interior decoration, turquoise tiling and the like in local mosques, ripping out and whitewashing everywhere. They forcibly purged what they considered alien - only they did so within the precincts of their own religion. In Kosovo's cemeteries, weeping villagers often witnessed Saudi bulldozers destroying the marble headstones of their Albanian forefathers from the 14th and 15th centuries. UN observers considered it an intra-Muslim dispute beyond their ken. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Anti-Semitism: The Old Hatred Returns - Pamela Bone
    In the Arab world, hatred of Jews pours out of television, newspapers, and mosques: Israel is to blame for every wrong that besets Arab countries; the Holocaust is either a lie or didn't go far enough. And in the West, suddenly a new anti-Semitism has become widespread, acceptable, even politically correct. It is of course possible to criticize Israel without being anti-Jewish; Jews do it all the time. It's the one-sidedness that raises suspicions.
        It's a nice thing to side with the victim; but five million Jews in Israel, a country one-third the size of Tasmania, surrounded by 300 million Muslims whose governments have made clear their desire to eliminate the Jewish state, might also be seen as victims. There are many people who would never discriminate against individuals because they are Jewish, who nevertheless feel entitled to hate the Jewish state. But when the world's only Jewish state - the collective Jew - is criticized disproportionately and unreasonably, Jews cannot be blamed for fearing the old hatred is back; or that it never really went away. (The Age-Australia)
  • Observations:

    Crush or Be Crushed - Edward Bernard Glick (Jerusalem Post)

    • Events in both Israel and Iraq prove that the winning-hearts-and-minds approach to ending wars and insurrections has the same success rate as getting rain by praying for it.
    • Islam does not look kindly upon infidels who lose. So the issue confronting Israel and the U.S. is how they can defeat their foes.
    • The Ba'athists and the jihadists will not stop fighting the Great Satan because they have been made to like, respect, or fear the U.S. They will stop fighting only when they are convinced that America's Vietnam trauma is over and that America is once again willing and able to use crushing force.
    • And Israel, the Little Satan, will prevail over its existential enemies only when it realizes that in order to survive it must fight by the rules of the neighborhood in which it lives.
    • In short, America's and Israel's struggles will end favorably only if they follow Churchill's dictum: "Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."

      The writer is professor emeritus of political science at Temple University.

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