Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 11, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Woman Part of Sinai Terror Attack - Inigo Gilmore and David Harrison (London Sunday Telegraph)
    A female suicide bomber is believed to have taken part in the terrorist attack on the Red Sea hotel in which 32 persons died, Israeli and Egyptian military officials said Saturday.
    A woman, whose decapitated body was found at the back of the Hilton, is thought to have been acting with two other terrorists who rammed explosives-laden cars into the front of the Hilton Hotel in the Sinai resort town of Taba on Thursday.
    Egyptian investigators said they suspected eight to 10 terrorists targeting Israeli tourists carried out the attacks, possibly slipping in from Saudi Arabia or Jordan on speedboats.

Mossad Investigates al-Qaeda Links to Sinai Bombings - Uzi Mahnaimi (Times-UK)
    Prime Minister Sharon has ordered the Mossad, the foreign intelligence service, to make the hunt for al-Qaeda terrorists its main priority after last week's Red Sea attacks.
    "This time al-Qaeda hit our back yard," said a security source.
    Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the car bombing in November 2002 of an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya that killed 14 people, including three Israelis.

Anti-Zionist Arab Books Criticized at Fair - Edward Wyatt (New York Times)
    At the Frankfurt Book Fair, several Arab publishers have attracted criticism and charges of anti-Semitism for their display of at least a dozen books with strong anti-Zionist themes.
    One book by the Dar Tlass publishing house of Damascus displayed a photograph of the World Trade Center exploding in flames, overlaid with a Star of David and a fingerprint.
    Another showed a Star of David covering the Statue of Liberty, which held a sword that dripped blood.
    After complaints from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Frankfurt prosecutor's office said on Friday that it did not have sufficient information to open a formal investigation, in part because the texts of the books were in Arabic and had not yet been translated.

Useful Reference:

Palestinian Authority Support of Hamas Suicide Terrorism (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies)
    Two weeks after the suicide bombing attack on the Dolphinarium discotheque in Tel Aviv on June 1, 2001, that killed 21 Israelis and wounded 83, mostly teenagers, the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Social Affairs granted the bomber's father $2,000.
    A German television channel reported that Arafat sent the father a letter commending his son's act and stating that it was a "wonderful model of heroism, manhood, and willingness for self-sacrifice."


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • In Taba, Freeze Frames of Horror - Molly Moore
    In the space of a few horrific minutes Thursday night at the Taba Hilton, a woman fell eight stories in a bathtub. The charred and twisted skeleton of a car flew from the front driveway into a banquet hall. Every window in the hotel blew out. Everything is black and smells of acrid, burned metal. At the front of the hotel, guest rooms had plunged into the lobby. Three receptionists died there. So did the secretary, the tourist policeman, the hotel security officer, and the rental car man. A month ago, the same hotel provided me and my family with an escape from the daily fears of living in Israel. (Washington Post)
  • Egypt: Bedouin Admits Explosives Sale
    A Bedouin tribesman has confessed to selling explosives that might have been used in three car bombings targeting Israeli tourists, Egyptian security officials said Sunday. "The explosives were sold on the assumption that they were going to the Palestinians," an official said. (AP/ABC News)
  • British Hostage Escaped Briefly Before His Killing in Iraq
    British hostage Kenneth Bigley escaped briefly from his captors in Iraq on Thursday shortly before they beheaded him, insurgent sources said Saturday. They said Bigley managed to get away for about half an hour with the help of one of his captors before he was caught. (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Ends Taba Rescue; Bodies of Missing Israelis Located - Matthew Gutman
    Israeli rescue workers at the site of the Taba Hilton ended their search operation Sunday. Security sources said that the bodies of all the Israelis missing since the blast had been located. Homefront Command officers say that despite early assessments, most of those killed were not Israelis but foreign tourists. 13 Israelis were among the 32 people killed last Thursday: 29 in Taba - including at least 14 Russians, 6 Egyptians, and 2 Italians, and 3 - all Israelis - in Ras al-Satan 50km away. (Ha'aretz/Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Voiced Support for Sinai Bombings - Khaled Abu Toameh
    In Ramallah, many Palestinians on Saturday expressed support for the attacks in Sinai. Maha Odeh, a secretary for a local law firm, said she was "delighted" when she heard about the bombings. "I don't know any Palestinian who is sad on a day like this." Fayez Ibrahim, a student at Bir Zeit University, said, "We want to see such attacks in the heart of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv." At a Hamas rally in Nablus on Friday, hundreds of Palestinians expressed support for the bombings and called for stepping up Kassam rocket attacks on Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Bombing Attacks a Turning Point for Egypt - Megan K. Stack
    "This is the most important attack we've seen - not only for Egypt but for the whole region - from the point of view of the war on terror and the stability of the region," said Diaa Rashwan, an expert on militant Islam at Egypt's Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. "Egypt is now damaged on many levels." Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco all have suffered recent devastating strikes by Islamic militants, direct challenges to governments that have forged ties with the U.S. The attacks in Egypt, the most populous Arab country, have wounded the psychological epicenter of the Arab world.
        Analysts say the attacks also undermine Egyptian offers to control Palestinian militants in Gaza in the event of an Israeli withdrawal. "How can you protect the Israelis from Gaza when the Israelis were victims on Egyptian soil?" Rashwan said. "The Egyptians can't speak of any role in Gaza when they can't even protect themselves."
        For many Egyptians, any government cooperation with the Jewish state is baffling and unacceptable. "Everywhere there are those pushing the government to end the peace treaty and cancel the peace," said Egyptian government spokesman Taha Abdel Aleem. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Terrorists' Act Will Backfire - Frida Ghitis
    For the terrorists who massacred dozens of tourists and workers in the Egyptian resort of Taba, weakening a government like Mubarak's, one that maintains relations with both the U.S. and Israel, had to stand near the top of their list of objectives. Killing Israelis is not exactly an unpopular activity in today's Middle East. Stopping potential killers brings much more scorn. Yet despite the political cost, there is little doubt that the Egyptian government will work to prevent another night of devastation. The Islamist ideology that fuels today's Muslim extremism was born from Muslim intellectuals in Egypt. Their ideological offspring assassinated Mubarak's predecessor, Anwar Sadat, and have tried to kill the current president more than once. (Miami Herald)
  • A Formative Attack - Dan Rabinowitz
    I lived in Sinai from 1975 to 1979 as a guide in the local field school of the Society for the Protection of Nature. For me, as for many others, the peninsula, with its magical landscapes and its hospitable inhabitants, was for years a window of hope in a hostile Middle East. Sinai was a sanctuary for an entire generation - my generation. The very existence of a calm Arab space as the direct land continuation of Israel was both significant and reassuring. The association that will define Sinai for most of us in the near future was last Thursday. Cut off from magical sunrises, it is now associated to a nightmare. Even those whose resumes don't include the sunrise at Jebel Umm-Shumar or bathing in the Wishwashi cisterns lost the Sinai paradise this week. And at a time of crisis, when every minute determines life or death, the Egyptians were preoccupied with the question of sovereignty. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Mourning a Paradise Lost along Sinai's Coast - Daniel Ben-Tal (Jerusalem Post)
  • Who Needs a Jewish State? - Editorial
    Some Palestinian leaders are abandoning the two-state solution - Israel and Palestine, side by side - in favor of a one-state solution: a single, secular state in which Jews and Arabs would live in democratic harmony. This idea is percolating through the Western intelligentsia and even into left-wing circles in Israel. The problem is that such a state would not be Jewish. The premise of Zionism - the premise of Israel - is that Jews need and deserve their own state. Israel must remain a Jewish state, and to do that and be a democracy as well, it must always have a Jewish majority.
        It took the Israelis decades to accept the idea of a Palestinian state next door. They saw it as a staging ground for conquest and elimination of the Jewish state. The "single-state" solution would achieve that same illegitimate goal by more decorous means. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also An Answer to the New Anti-Zionists: The Right of the Jewish People to a Sovereign State in Their Historic Homeland - Dore Gold and Jeff Helmreich (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Islamic Europe? - Christopher Caldwell
    On July 28, Princeton historian Bernard Lewis told the conservative Hamburg-based daily Die Welt that Europe would be Islamic by the end of this century "at the very latest." In the same interview, Lewis described the EU's break with the U.S. in terms of a "community of envy." ("Understandably, Europeans harbor some reservations about an America that has outstripped them. That's why Europeans can well understand the Muslims, who have similar feelings.") Asked whether the EU could serve as a global counterweight to the U.S., Lewis replied: "No." He saw only three countries as potential "global" players: definitely China and India, and possibly a revivified Russia. "Europe," he said, "will be part of the Arabic west, of the Maghreb."
        Bassam Tibi, a Syrian immigrant who is the most prominent moderate Muslim in Germany, wrote in Welt am Sonntag, "Either Islam gets Europeanized, or Europe gets Islamized." Tibi seemed to warn that Europe did not have the ability to reject Islam, or the opportunity to steer it. "The problem is not whether the majority of Europeans is Islamic," he added, "but rather which Islam - sharia Islam or Euro-Islam - is to dominate in Europe." (Weekly Standard)
  • Observations:

    The New Anti-Semitism - Clifford D. May (Washington Times)

    • Last week, the New York Times gave Michael Tarazi, an American lawyer who advises the Palestine Liberation Organization, space on its Op-Ed Page ("Two Peoples, One State") to make this audacious argument: Having failed to eradicate Israel with tanks and terrorism, Palestinian leaders are now "being forced to consider a one-state solution."
    • And if Israelis refuse to willingly become a despised minority in their own country, ruled by people who have waged genocidal campaigns against them, that will demonstrate, Tarazi declares, "Christians and Muslims, the millions of Palestinians under occupation are not welcome in the Jewish state." "Not welcome." Imagine that. The nerve. The chutzpah.
    • As Tarazi well knows but neglects to mention, there is only one Jewish state on the planet. It's about the size of New Jersey. By contrast, there are 22 Arab nations and more than 50 predominantly Muslim countries, covering an area larger than the U.S. and Europe combined.
    • In these lands, Jews are, to varying degrees, conspicuously unwelcome. In Jordan, a relatively liberal country that has diplomatic relations with Israel, Jews are denied citizenship. In Saudi Arabia, no synagogue or church may be built.
    • Nor does Tarazi appear to recall that almost 15% of Israel's citizens are Muslims. They enjoy more rights and freedoms than Muslims elsewhere in the Middle East - including the right to free speech, to vote, and to worship as they choose.
    • But Tarazi believes he can convince "the international community" that if Israelis are unwilling to open their doors to millions of people who have been indoctrinated to believe butchering Jews is a form of "martyrdom," it is the Israelis who are the bigots and oppressors.
    • Tarazi is not sincere. He wants Gaza and the West Bank judenrein. And eventually he wants what is now Israel to become "jew-free" as well - by whatever means. He really isn't choosy.
    • In 2004, this is the form genocidal anti-Semitism takes. In the long run, anti-Semites seek a world free of Jews. In the short run, a world free of a Jewish state will do.
    • If they can disguise such extremism as a fight against bigotry, a "struggle for equal citizenship" and against "apartheid," and if they can push such boldly Orwellian propaganda on the pages of the New York Times, they would be crazy not to.

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