Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 16, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

The Next Mohamed Atta - Elaine Shannon and Tim McGirk (TIME)
    A gathering of terrorism's elite slipped into Pakistan for a March 2004 terrorist summit, as described by Pakistani President Musharraf and expounded on by U.S. officials, that exposed the "second string" leadership of al-Qaeda.
    From England came Abu Issa al-Hindi, an Indian convert to radical Islam who specializes in surveillance.
    From an unknown hideout came Adnan el-Shukrijumah, an accomplished Arab Guyanese bombmaker and commercial pilot.
    El-Shukrijumah, 29, was reared in Miramar, Fla., where his father, a Saudi-Yemeni cleric now deceased, preached hard-line Wahhabism at a small mosque.
    FBI agents call el-Shukrijumah the next Atta - after Mohamed Atta, the Egyptian ringleader of the 9/11 attacks.

Arab Terrorists "Getting into U.S. Over Mexican Border" - Julian Coman (Telegraph-UK)
    Over the past month, U.S. border agents in Arizona and Texas have reported encounters with dozens of Arab men who have made their way across the 2,000-mile Mexican border.
    Patrol agents told one Arizona newspaper that 77 males "of Middle Eastern descent" were apprehended in June in two separate incidents.
    According to Congressman Solomon Ortiz of Corpus Christi, Texas, similar incidents are "happening all over the place. It's very, very scary."
    There are growing fears that terrorists may be using Mexico as a base camp before heading to Arizona, Texas, and California.

80 Al-Qaeda Suspects in Britain - Kate Foster (Scotland on Sunday)
    The British security services MI5 and Special Branch have compiled a "hit-list" of more than 80 alleged extremists across Britain - including 20 Muslim al-Qaeda terrorist suspects in Scotland - who are said to be connected with a plot to unleash mass murder on the streets of the UK using the deadly poison ricin.
    See also Muslim Alert on British 9/11 Threat - Nicholas Rufford and Abul Taher (London Times)
    In an acknowledgment of the imminent danger of an al-Qaeda atrocity, 13 leading British Muslim clerics held secret, emergency consultations over the summer organized by the Muslim Council of Britain to prepare their communities for the aftermath of a September 11-style terrorist attack.
    According to an associate of al-Qaeda in Pakistan, attacks on Britain have twice been postponed after representations from British Islamic terrorist-linked groups.
    The man said Bin Laden's organization had received a specific request "not to disturb London or any other British cities."
    He added: "They feel any such attack would greatly hamper their ideological work."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel Suspects Palestinians on Missiles
    Israel must widen the "buffer zone" between the Gaza Strip and Egypt to prevent Palestinians from digging tunnels for arms smuggling, said Col. Shuki Rynski, the commander of Israel's Southern Brigade. Israel also has "grave suspicions" that militants are smuggling ground-to-ground and anti-aircraft missiles into Gaza from Egypt. The army is proposing an 80-foot-deep trench along the border to stop tunnels once Israel withdraws from the Gaza Strip next year. Israel has found 90 smuggling tunnels near the Egyptian border during the past four years, and 14 this year alone. (AP/Washington Post)
  • For Gaza Workers, Pullout Already Fact
    Fewer than 25 of what six months ago were 150 manufacturing plants employing 4,000 Palestinian workers at the Erez Industrial Zone along the border with Israel even bother to open their doors. The 30-year-old site, hailed as a model of Palestinian-Israeli cooperation, is another casualty of the conflict. The Islamic resistance movement Hamas, which wants to portray Israel's disengagement as a panicky flight under fire, has shot rockets into the terminal and tunneled around its perimeter to launch attacks. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
        See also 90 Palestinian Businesses at Erez to Close
    "It will be like Lebanon here. One day we'll wake up and the Israelis will be gone, then everyone will come and loot the factories," said one Palestinian factory owner. (Ha'aretz)
  • Iran Faces Sanctions for Olympic Boycott of Israel
    Officials of the sport's ruling body debated the possibility of sanctions against the entire Iranian judo team at an emergency meeting Sunday, after an Iranian world champion forfeited his match against an Israeli, apparently because of his country's refusal to compete against the Jewish state. (Guardian-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Targets Palestinian Rocket Crew
    Israeli air force helicopter gunships fired four missiles Monday at a group of Palestinians preparing to fire Kassam rockets into Israel from a cemetery near Beit Hanun in Gaza. Palestinian sources said two were killed.
        On Sunday, IDF troops stopped a 14-year-old Palestinian at the Anabta roadblock east of Tulkarm in the West Bank with a bag containing 900 rifle bullets. The boy told soldiers a man had paid him NIS10 ($2.20) to take the bag into Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Stabs Border Policeman in Jerusalem - Jonathan Lis
    A Border Policeman was stabbed in Jerusalem on Sunday and shot his Palestinian attacker to death. The Border Policeman was in moderate-to-serious condition after being stabbed in the neck. The attacker apparently spent five years in an Israeli prison for stabbing a Jewish man in Jerusalem in 1994. (Ha'aretz)
  • Friday Attack in Itamar Was By PA Security Operative
    The Palestinian terrorist responsible for the murder of Shlomo Miller in a shooting attack near Itamar in the northern West Bank on Friday served in the operations branch of the Palestinian preventive intelligence service in Ramallah, responsible for preventing terror attacks. Yusuf Hanany, 29, arrived at the entrance gate of the community armed with a Kalashnikov rifle and opened fire at Israeli civilian vehicles. (IDF)
        See also Palestinian Infiltrator Kills Itamar Security Chief - Amos Harel, Arnon Regular, and Nadav Shragai
    Shlomo Miller, 50, the security coordinator of Itamar, was killed when he answered a call from other security personnel saying they had been fired on. Miller, father of seven, came to Israel from South Africa and was the 13th victim from Itamar. In 2002 he replaced the previous security coordinator, Yosef Tuito, who was killed with his wife and three children by a terrorist who infiltrated the settlement. (Ha'aretz)
  • Bomb at West Bank Checkpoint Was Meant for Haifa - Amos Harel
    Haifa was the original target of the bomb that exploded Wednesday at a checkpoint north of Jerusalem, killing two Palestinians and wounding six Israeli Border Policemen, interrogation of the three-member terrorist cell has revealed. The bomb was smuggled inside a baby carriage. Three members of Fatah's armed wing in the Jenin region were arrested following the attack. In an attempt to bypass the West Bank separation fence, the three were sent south toward Jerusalem, from where they were to make their way to Haifa - where they planned to detonate the bomb at an outdoor market. (Ha'aretz)
  • The EU Builds Its Own Security Fence - Felix Frisch
    After European representatives launched a campaign against Israel's separation fence, and voted against Israel at the UN General Assembly, the EU is planning a separation fence of its own. The EU plans to build a fence to separate its new members - Poland and Hungary - from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine to prevent the free movement of migrants seeking to enter the EU. Israeli companies that specialize in the construction of warning fences and security systems will participate in tenders to build hundreds of kilometers of fences along the EU's new eastern border. (Globes)
  • Tanzim Militants Take Control of Rafah Border Crossing - Arnon Regular
    Several dozen armed militants belonging to Fatah's Tanzim wing in the Gaza Strip took control Saturday of the Rafah border crossing on the Palestinian side, where thousands of Palestinians in transit to Egypt have recently been forced to spend days and sometimes weeks waiting. The takeover was aimed at putting a stop to the long delays because many people can't afford the bribes to the transit clerks and can't fight off the hundreds of other residents trying to get their transit papers. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Mr. Nader's Baiting - Editorial
    According to independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader, "The days when the chief Israeli puppeteer comes to the United States and meets with the puppet in the White House and then proceeds to Capitol Hill, where he meets with hundreds of other puppets, should be replaced." This plays on the age-old anti-Semitic stereotype of powerful Jews dominating politics and manipulating hapless non-Jewish puppets for their own ends. This is poisonous stuff. And if Mr. Nader doesn't understand what such words actually mean, the less savory elements of American society certainly know how to read such code. (Washington Post)
  • What New Order? - Ehud Ya'ari
    The PA government under Prime Minister Qurei (Abu Ala), the Palestinian Legislative Council dominated by the critics of Arafat's one-man rule, and the party hierarchy of Fatah are now due to be granted chunks of power and influence that were previously theirs only in theory. There is no automatic correlation between the demand for reform and moderation toward Israel.
        True, many of the Palestinian reformists are disgusted with the intifada and would be happy to resume sensible negotiations toward a settlement with Israel. However, the Palestinians now most prominently at the vanguard of the reform offensive are demanding the reinvigoration of the PA so it can better manage the violent campaign against Israel. In many cases, the calls for change in the Palestinian regime are accompanied by lethal criticism of the very concept of compromise and reconciliation on which the Oslo Accords were built. (Jerusalem Report)
  • Sudan and Arab Paranoia - Leon De Winter
    Last week the Sudanese foreign minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said his government possessed "information that confirms media reports of Israeli support (for the rebels in Darfur)." What Ismail said, and the eagerness with which the Arab Islamic press publicized it, highlights the hopeless position of the forces for modernization in North Africa and the Middle East. Within the existing cultural context it is practically impossible to subject the widespread abuses in Arab countries to reflection and objective analysis. There is no need to analyze causes since the causes are always the diabolical forces of Jews and Christian crusaders, a central dogma even among Arabs and Muslims who have not yet joined the queue to blow up some Iraqi police station for al-Qaeda.
        Last Sunday, Arab League foreign ministers rejected "any threats of coercive military intervention in the region or imposing any sanctions on Sudan." Darfur shows once again, and more tragically than ever, that the Arab-Islamic world is a hostage of its own delusions and will not lift a finger to prevent the deaths of countless fellow Muslims. The writer is a Dutch novelist and adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute. (Wall Street Journal, 16 Aug 04)
  • Observations:

    The Tragedy in Darfur: Who is Going to Stop It? - Yehudit Ronen
    (Dayan Center/Jaffee Center - Tel Aviv University )

    • In early 2003, rebels from among the non-Arab Darfurians demanded that the Arab-Muslim elite in Khartoum, which has governed Sudan since independence in 1956, halt the unceasing raids of the nomadic Arab Baqqara militias - the Janjaweed - on the non-Arab Darfurian farmers.
    • The Sudanese army, worn out by decades of fighting against rebels in the south, delegated to the Baqqara militias the mission of crushing the rebels.
    • The U.S. administration is preoccupied with Iraq and engaged in a hotly contested election campaign. This reduces Washington's margin of independent maneuver and limits it to internationally-coordinated measures, such as the recent UN resolution for which the U.S. could secure approval only by agreeing to remove any reference to sanctions.
    • The EU's capacity to act is constrained by its member states, some of which (especially France) have major political and economic interests in Sudan, particularly in Sudanese oil. Other foreign oil firms - including Talisman of Canada, the China National Petroleum Corporation, and the Qatari Gulf Petroleum Company - are also deeply involved in Sudan's oil industry and would be adversely affected by the imposition of sanctions on Sudan.
    • While Egypt and Libya, as neighboring states, could give real force to any possible international sanctions regime, any erosion of Sudanese leader 'Umar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir's political standing might pave the way for the revival of Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi's Islamist influence.
    • The conflicting interests and circumstances of members of the so-called "international community" make the practical implementation of sanctions rather improbable.

      The writer is a research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, specializing in the history and politics of Sudan, Libya, and North Africa.

    See also U.S. Investigating Possible Genocide in Sudan
    Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a group opposed to intolerance in all forms, says Washington could increase the pressure on the Sudanese government by issuing a "stern warning" that, in the U.S. view, it is "close to if not bordering on genocide." (CNN)
        Yad Vashem Calls for Immediate Action in Darfur
    Yad Vashem has been following reports from Darfur, Sudan, with growing concern and urges the world to act before it is too late. (Yad Vashem-Israel)
        Thorny Issues Underlying Carnage in Darfur Complicate World's Response (New York Times)

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