Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 18, 2004

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In-Depth Issue:

Sharon's Home Within Rocket Range After Gaza Withdrawal - Amir Rappaport (Maariv-Hebrew, 15 Oct 04)
    Detailed IDF planning documents list 13 possible security threats that may arise after the disengagement from Gaza.
    Palestinians currently fire rockets from deep within Gaza, but after the withdrawal they will be able to shoot from just inside the security fence, sending rockets deeper inside Israel - even to reach the prime minister's home, located just beyond Sderot.
    Additional threats listed include Palestinian snipers targeting Israeli farmers beyond the fence; rocket fire at western Negev kibbutzim; attacks against IDF patrols along the fence; and kidnapping and holding soldiers inside Gaza.
    Further possible dangers include entry of terrorists into Israel via underground tunnels or ladders, by sea, or using gliders.
    The greatest threats are seen to be Palestinian acquisition of anti-aircraft missiles and long-range rockets.
    The IDF disengagement plan states the need to prepare for the possibility that the Gaza Strip will become "a terrorist entity where anarchy prevails."
    Thus, in parallel to withdrawal plans, the IDF is also preparing for the possibility that it may be required to re-enter Gaza.

Iran to Launch First Spy Satellite by Spring - Amnon Barzilai (Ha'aretz)
    Iran will launch its first spy satellite in March or April 2005, Uzi Rubin, head of the Defense Ministry department responsible for ballistic missile defense, predicts.
    The launcher will be based on Russian ballistic missiles adapted by expatriate Russian experts who have significantly advanced Iran's ballistic capabilities.

France Mends Fences with Israel (BBC News)
    French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier, on a state visit to Israel, has said France will do all it can to fight growing anti-Semitism in his country.
    Barnier's visit is expected to strengthen ties between the two countries.

Useful Reference:

Indoctrination of Palestinian Children (Palestinian Media Watch)
    View short indoctrination videos for children that promote violence as an ideal - as are broadcast several hours a day on Palestinian TV.
    Videos include frenzied "war dances," instructions to children to attack soldiers, teenagers calling for the killing of Jews, and children with weapons.


Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Brussels Says No Plan to Suspend EU-Israel Pact
    The EU does not intend to suspend its association agreement with Israel, a spokeswoman for the EU's executive commission, Emma Udwin, said Friday after the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, called in Geneva Thursday for the EU accord with Israel to be suspended. (AFP/EUBusiness-UK)
  • Israeli Cleared of Shooting Teen
    An Israeli army commander has been cleared in the killing of a 13-year-old Palestinian girl, the IDF said. (CNN)
        See also The IDF Investigation Report
    On October 5, 2004, an IDF force stationed at a post on the Israeli-Egyptian border near Rafah, far from Palestinian neighborhoods, spotted a suspicious figure approaching the post, which was under a concrete security alert. Several hours earlier, Palestinian gunmen had opened fire at the post, which comes under daily attack. Following serious allegations regarding the company commander's functioning, his behavior and action were investigated closely. The investigation did not find that the company or the company commander had acted unethically during the incident.
        The chief of staff acknowledged the gravity of the incident, and emphasized that the presence of the girl in a prohibited area was suspect. Children have been used by terrorist organizations to expose soldiers to fire by Palestinian gunmen or to test possible ways to infiltrate IDF outposts. The circumstances of the event combined with the fact that the outpost had come under fire during the night strongly indicates such a scenario. (IDF)
  • Zarqawi Pledges Allegiance to Bin Laden
    A group led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden and said it was in contact with al-Qaeda over operations in Iraq, according to an Internet statement posted Sunday. "With the advent of the month of Ramadan and the need for Muslims to unify ranks in the face of the enemy...we announce that the Tawhid and Jihad Group, its prince and soldiers, have pledged allegiance to the sheikh of the mujahideen (holy fighters) Osama bin Laden," said the statement. Washington says Zarqawi is al-Qaeda's link to Iraq, but the statement was the first by the group to announce its allegiance to bin Laden's group. (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • Five Christian Churches Bombed in Iraq
    Predawn explosions Saturday ripped through five empty Christian churches in Baghdad, the day after the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. "They want us to leave Iraq; that is the message," said Odet Abdul, 48, who attends one of the churches. The Catholic Church of St. George was left a shell, barely standing, and a fire had consumed the carpets, pews, and icons. (Cox/Washington Times)
  • Several Lessons Learned as Disputed Conference Ends
    A gathering that riled Duke University alumni, tested free speech, and cost the school more than $50,000 for security ended Sunday in peace as about 60 attendees of the Palestine Solidarity Movement conference shouted support for Palestinians while about 17 protesters chanted in rebuttal, "Condemn terror now." More than 90,000 people signed an online petition in opposition to the event.
        While Duke President Richard Brodhead decided to let organizers proceed, saying that denying the conference would stymie free speech, the university facilitated several other happenings during the week, including the display of a burned-out bus from a suicide bomb in Israel and a pro-Israel teach-in Saturday at Duke's Freeman Center for Jewish Life. (Raleigh [NC] News & Observer)
        See also U.S. Campus Group Refuses to Condemn Palestinian Terror - Nathan Guttman (Ha'aretz)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Two Palestinian Terrorists Killed After Crossing Gaza Fence - Margot Dudkevitch
    Two armed terrorists were shot and killed by IDF soldiers Monday after the two succeeded in infiltrating the security fence between Gaza and Israel. Both were killed about 100 meters inside the security fence. (Jerusalem Post/Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)
  • Defense Minister: IDF Deployed to Combat Rockets - Herb Keinon
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the cabinet Sunday that the IDF's three-week operation in northern Gaza has not ended, and that the army is redeploying after its military goals were met. Mofaz said the operation "succeeded" in significantly reducing the number of rocket attacks on Sderot, in damaging Hamas's ability to fire rockets, and in improving the IDF's ability to control the area.
        Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom also briefed the cabinet, saying: "We have recently witnessed a number of positive statements coming from Syria, which are being carefully analyzed. However, like we have said in the past, Israel will be ready to return to the negotiating table without any preconditions only when Syria abandons the way of terror." (Jerusalem Post)
        See also IDF Ready to Block Missile Launchings - Arieh O'Sullivan
    The IDF isn't really pulling out of the northern Gaza Strip. It believes it can maintain a smaller, yet lethal presence on the ground and in the air, ready to intercept any detected attempts by the Palestinians to launch Kassam rockets. "We are still controlling the territory. They won't have any rest," said a military source. (Jerusalem Post)
        IDF soldiers remained about a kilometer west of the border in northern Gaza on hills overlooking Beit Hanun, Jabalya, and the Sajiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City, to watch for attempts to launch Kassam rockets into Israel and attack any launch crews they spot. In addition, IDF helicopters maintain aerial surveillance over the towns from which the ground forces withdrew. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Israel "Redeploys" in Gaza, But Who Won? - Ben Lynfield
    Israel's redeployment in northern Gaza was accompanied by warnings that the troops would be back if the rocket attacks resume - which analysts on both sides say is likely. IDF spokesman Capt. Jacob Dallal said the operation in Gaza was a success. "We really impaired the ability to shoot Kassams from Jabalya. We engaged many cells and now there are fewer Hamas members to shoot rockets....We dealt a hard blow to the whole Hamas infrastructure in Jabalya." However, Avi Issacharoff, author of The Seventh War, a history of the intifada, said, "In a few days, a week, or two weeks, the rockets will resume and we will be back soon in Jabalya."
        Hassan Kashif, editor of Al-Daar magazine in Gaza City, says of the planned Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, "Sharon wants to pull out while declaring a victory, while the Palestinian resistance in general and Hamas in particular want to make it appear that he is pulling out because of the resistance."  (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Al-Qaeda's Mideast Linkage - Herbert London
    Immediately after September 11, 2001, not only Hamas approached al-Qaeda, but Arafat's own forces, Al Aqsa Brigades, did so too. Although rarely reported in the West, al-Qaeda now operates in the West Bank and Gaza at Arafat's expressed invitation, and with substantial logistical support. According to authoritative Israeli intelligence sources, Arafat assembled under his wing Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hizballah, Jibril's Popular Front, Iraqi military intelligence units (Palestinian terrorists were always close to Saddam, even sending Palestine Liberation Army units to help torture Kuwaitis in 1991), the pro-Iraqi Arab liberation Front, and, since April 2002, al-Qaeda. The same Israeli sources believe the same crosscut of Islamic terrorist groups exists in the U.S. - though at the moment "only" as sleeper cells. The writer is president of the Hudson Institute. (Washington Times)
  • Observations:

    Israel Will Not Tolerate Rocket Attacks - Zeev Schiff (Ha'aretz)

    • It would be a mistake to think the IDF operation in Gaza ended because of diplomatic pressure on Israel. It ended because the IDF thought that it had exhausted its usefulness.
    • The IDF withdrawal is expected to prompt a renewed Palestinian debate over the logic of firing rockets at Israel and whether the price, in Palestinian lives and property, is not too high. According to IDF statistics, 138 Palestinians were killed during the operation, of whom about 80 were armed men involved in the fighting. Of these, about 50 belonged to Hamas.
    • The message to the Palestinians was that there are some things, like rockets being fired at its towns, that a state cannot tolerate. On this issue, there were no arguments from either Cairo or Washington.
    • But since deterrence is unlikely to provide a complete solution in Gaza, the IDF will continue surgical operations to destroy both the infrastructure for making Kassam rockets and the cells that launch them.
    • If this infrastructure is not destroyed, the launches will resume - and eventually spread to the West Bank.

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