Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 18, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

South Africa to Sell Uranium to Iran - Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz/Jerusalem Post)
    South African Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota and his Iranian counterpart Rear-Admiral Ali Shamkhani signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday on bilateral cooperation.
    The agreement included an arrangement for South Africa to sell uranium to Iran, Israel's Channel 1 TV reported.
    Lekota reportedly said that making peaceful use of nuclear energy is the legitimate right of the Islamic Republic.
    Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser, the head of Military Intelligence's research department, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday that Iran is expected to have full nuclear ability by early 2007.

IDF Teaches U.S. Soldiers Guerilla Response - Margot Dudkevitch (Jerusalem Post)
    U.S. Army units are undergoing training in the IDF's special anti-terror school in order to improve their skills and learn first-hand about tactics adopted by Israel for urban and guerilla warfare in the territories.
    The units will return to Iraq after completing their training in Israel.
    The U.S Army has adopted the IDF's policy of demolishing houses belonging to terrorists, set up checkpoints similar to those in the West Bank, and deployed sniffer dogs to seek out explosives.
    See also U.S. Says No Troops Training for Iraq in Israel (Reuters)

    See also IDF Creates Course in Checkpoint Control - Menachem Pritzker (Jerusalem Post)
    In the last few months, the IDF has been sending soldiers to special courses to train in checkpoint control.
    Soldiers watch videos in the field, deal with moral issues, and talk about how they can minimize discomfort to Palestinians at checkpoints.

Alternative Prayer Area Opened at Western Wall - Etgar Lefkovits (Jerusalem Post)
    A secluded section of the Western Wall set aside for women's and mixed prayer services was officially inaugurated Tuesday, located next to Robinson's Arch.
    The new NIS 2 million prayer site was constructed in response to a High Court ruling last year.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Eight Britons Charged with Terror Offenses
    Eight British men arrested two weeks ago as part of a nationwide anti-terrorist operation against suspected Muslim extremists were charged Tuesday with plotting to commit murders and to launch radiological, chemical, gas, or bomb attacks. Some members of the terrorist gang are accused of possessing "reconnaissance" plans of financial institutions in New York, New Jersey, and Washington. One of the men was charged with having "an extract of the Terrorist's Handbook containing information on the preparation of chemicals, explosive recipes, and other information about explosives." (Telegraph-UK)
  • U.S. Says Iran a Nuclear Threat
    Iran told British, French, and German officials last month that it could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear bomb within a year, Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton said Tuesday, characterizing Iran as a grave danger. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel: "No Reason for Big Drama" Over New Housing in Major Settlement Blocs - Nadav Shragai and Aluf Benn
    Israel on Tuesday published tenders for the construction of 1,000 new housing units in existing West Bank localities, after initially freezing the process at the request of the Americans in order to first check that they did not contradict previous understandings with the U.S.  Housing and Construction Minister Tzipi Livni said, "These are settlement blocs at the very heart of the consensus. This has nothing to do with the disengagement plan....There is no reason for a big drama." The tenders include 604 homes in Betar Ilit, 214 in Ariel, 141 in Ma'ale Adumim, and 42 in Karnei Shomron. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Housing Tenders Don't Contradict Promises to U.S. - Herb Keinon and Janine Zacharia
    The tenders are consistent with Israeli commitments to the U.S. on settlement construction, senior diplomatic officials said Tuesday. The new homes will be built inside built-up areas in line with understandings Israel has with the U.S. According to Israeli officials, there is an informal understanding dating back two years, drawn up between Secretary of State Powell and then Foreign Minister Peres that construction for natural growth in the settlements can continue if it takes place within the existing construction line.
        While phase one of the Road Map calls for Israel to freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth of settlements, Israel only accepted this plan with 14 reservations. According to Israel's interpretation, it is not obligated to freeze settlement construction until the Palestinians fulfill their obligation to dismantle the terror infrastructure and fight terror. The officials also said that building will take place in settlements that clearly fall within President Bush's definition of "new realities on the ground." (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Finds Kassam Rockets in West Bank - Amos Harel and Arnon Regular
    Relying on high-quality intelligence, IDF soldiers Tuesday found two unarmed Kassam rockets in Nablus, along with a training manual on manufacturing the rockets. Such rockets were previously discovered in Ramallah in January. The IDF also found two explosive belts that had not yet been loaded and four pipe bombs. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hamas Leader Escapes Death in IAF Attack - Margot Dudkevitch
    An attempt to eliminate Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari failed Tuesday when the Israel Air Force fired missiles at a Gaza City building where a meeting between Hamas heads was reportedly taking place. Five people were killed in the attack, but Jabari was reportedly only lightly wounded. Hamas said among the dead were three of its members, as well as a member of Islamic Jihad. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • World War IV - Norman Podhoretz
    We are only in the very early stages of what promises to be a very long war against a truly malignant force in radical Islamism and in the states breeding, sheltering, or financing its terrorist armory. This new enemy has already attacked us on our own soil - a feat neither Nazi Germany nor Soviet Russia ever managed to pull off - and openly announces his intention to hit us again, only this time with weapons of infinitely greater and deadlier power than those used on 9/11. His objective is not merely to murder as many of us as possible and to conquer our land. Like the Nazis and Communists before him, he is dedicated to the destruction of everything good for which America stands. (Commentary)
  • The Key to Jihadist Ideology and Strategy - Lawrence Auster
    Both the anti-war left and the pro-war right commit the same narcissistic fallacy of thinking that the Islamist holy war against the West revolves solely around ourselves, around the moral drama of our goodness or our wickedness, rather than having something to do with Islam itself. A very different perspective on the Islamist challenge comes from Mary Habeck, a military historian at Yale University, who says the various jihadist groups base their war against non-Moslems on the paradigms provided by the stages of Muhammed's political and military career. It is this internally driven logic of Islam, and not any particular provocation, real or imagined, by some outside power, that is the key to understanding why the jihadis do what they do.
        Wahhabism began in the 18th century when there was no Western colonial power in the Islamic world; it was not set off by any Western intrusion into Moslem lands. (FrontPageMagazine)
  • Parleys Won't Stop Iran's Nukes - Gerald M. Steinberg
    With time running out, the International Atomic Energy Agency is increasingly faced with the obligation of finding Iran in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and asking the UN Security Council to take action. But the IAEA leadership fears that economic sanctions or authorizing the use of force will lead Iran to renounce the NPT, and destroy what is left of this structure. In the background are some unverified reports of preparation for unilateral military action in the event that the IAEA and UN fail to act. Thus, although economic sanctions authorized by the Security Council, and with the full support of the U.S., EU, and Russia, will be difficult, the alternatives are far worse.
        IAEA head Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei is planning a conference on Nuclear Weapons-Free Zones around the world, including the Middle East. No purpose will be served by yet another forum in which Egypt and the Arab states - whose territory, populations, and resources dwarf those of Israel - again demand that Israel give up its main source of deterrence. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Show Me the Money: The 9/11 Commission and Saudi Arabia - Rachel Ehrenfeld
    The 9/11 Commission fails to identify the major sources of financing for al-Qaeda, ignoring volumes of information provided by the U.S. government and foreign nations regarding Muslim and Arab regimes that have supported al-Qaeda either financially or in kind. Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Libya, Syria, and Yemen are all totalitarian police states that - as documented evidence has shown - have actively been supporting al-Qaeda.
        The Saudi government sponsors and controls charitable organizations that funded al-Qaeda. Prince Turki al Faisal - the former longtime head of Saudi intelligence, and current ambassador to London - reportedly gave bin Laden $200 million in 1998 to move to Afghanistan. Interior Minister Prince Naif oversaw and sponsored "most of the major [Saudi] charities," according to David Aufhauser, a former general counsel of the Treasury Department, who testified before Congress that "Saudi Arabia has been an 'epicenter' of terrorist financing." (National Review)
        See also Saudis Use 9/11 Report in U.S Ad Campaign
    Saudi Arabia has launched a radio advertising campaign in 19 U.S. cities citing the Sept. 11 commission report as proof that it has been a loyal ally in the fight against al-Qaeda. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    Tunnel Vision in Gaza - Doron Almog (Middle East Quarterly)

    • The Philadelphi corridor is a narrow stretch of sand, ten kilometers long and about a hundred meters wide, separating Egypt from the Gaza Strip - a zone established and defined by the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace accord.
    • The term "smuggling" does not do justice to the problem. While some smuggling, overland or by tunnel, involves contraband and drugs, in Gaza this smuggling has a strategic dimension, involving the importation of significant quantities of arms and materiel on a scale sufficient to turn Gaza into a launching pad for ever-deeper attacks against Israel proper.
    • Informally, the Egyptians have signaled that the moment the Israeli-Palestinian issue is resolved, smuggling and infiltration will be dramatically reduced. But this notion is wholly mistaken. Not only does the smuggling have a strong economic incentive, but it is also linked to ideological groups that have far-reaching objectives that reject the authority of the Egyptian government and the PA.
    • Regardless of the disengagement plan, the common goal of Israel and Egypt should be the 100% prevention of smuggling and infiltration from Egypt to Israel. The two partners to the peace treaty should tackle this problem both independently and jointly.
    • On the strategic level, the issue has to be placed in its proper context: as another front in the global war on terror. The U.S. must make clear that the present situation on the Egyptian-Israeli border is potentially as dangerous as the situation on the Afghan-Pakistani border, and that Egypt bears responsibility for bringing order to this zone, lest it become the de facto province of international terrorists. The U.S. must make it clear that the present Egyptian policy, allowing smuggling and infiltration as a release valve for public sympathy for the Palestinian armed struggle, is itself a concession to global terrorism.
    • A high level of Egyptian involvement could easily result in the export of its own problems into Gaza. In addition, were the disengagement gamble to fail, a high level of Egyptian involvement in Gaza could put Israel and Egypt on a collision course, damaging relations between the two states. Thus, Israel has no alternative but to insist on minimal Egyptian involvement in post-disengagement Gaza.
    • There is no alternative to a border regime that rests on forceful deterrence, active interdiction, and swift reprisal. And that means there is no alternative to Israel's continuing presence at this crucial point on the regional map.

      Maj. Gen. Doron Almog served as head of Israel's Southern Command from 2000 to 2003.

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