Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 5, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Kidnap French Citizens in Iraq, Algerian Salafi Leader Urges Zarqawi - Bu Allam Ghemrasah (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
    French diplomats in Algeria said the French government is concerned about a possible alliance between the Algerian fundamentalist organization, "Salafist Group for Call and Combat," and Al-Qaeda in Iraq led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
    According to the sources, the alliance will target French citizens in Iraq and French interests all over the world.
    The diplomats expressed the concerns of their intelligence services that the Algerian group seeks to integrate with global Jihad.

PA Arrests Academic for Voicing Criticism - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Prof. Riad al-Agha, president of the Gaza-based National Institute of Strategic Studies, who spoke on Sunday on Palestinian TV about the growing state of lawlessness and anarchy in PA-controlled areas, was arrested immediately after the program by members of the PA's Preventative Security Force on charges of "incitement."
    Agha had criticized the Preventative Security Force for refusing to obey orders issued by the PA Interior Ministry, which is in charge of all Palestinian security forces.
    He was released from prison after he agreed to apologize for making "offensive remarks" against the security forces.

Fatah Gunmen Raid Government Offices in Gaza to Demand Jobs (Reuters)
    About 40 armed militants linked to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah group stormed the Palestinian Legislative Council building in Rafah in Gaza on Saturday, demanding he recruit them into the Palestinian security forces.
    See also Fatah Gunmen Go on Shooting Spree in West Bank Town - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Despite the PA's claim that it has struck a deal with most of the fugitives, many disgruntled Fatah gunmen in the West Bank and Gaza Strip insist that they still haven't received money and jobs.
    In Tulkarm on Monday, 20 Fatah gunmen went on a shooting spree in the center of the city, accusing the PA leadership of failing to fulfill its promise to pay them salaries.
    "If they don't pay us, we will resume our armed attacks [against Israel]," said one of the gunmen.

Israel Supplies Key Comet Crash Data - Judy Siegel-Itzkovich (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli astronomers at the Wise Observatory in Mitzpe Ramon supplied the U.S. Monday with useful data on Deep Impact, the first-ever man-made comet collision.
    Observatory director Dr. Noah Brosch noted that very few places on Earth were positioned to view the collision and Israel's was the only observatory from Australia to Western Europe to supply the U.S. with quality data.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Hamas Won't Join Abbas Government - Ibrahim Barzak
    Hamas rejected an invitation from Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to join his government, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Monday. (AP/Guardian-UK)
  • Jordan Frees Spiritual Mentor of Qaeda's Zarqawi - Suleiman al-Khalidi
    A Muslim cleric who molded the militant Islamic views of al-Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, sworn foe of U.S. forces in Iraq, has been freed from prison in Jordan, Islamist and security sources said Monday. Issam al-Barqawi, better known as Sheikh Abu Mohammad al-Maqdisi, 43, was released on June 28 after a six-month detention following his acquittal at a trial of Jordanian and Saudi sympathizers of al-Qaeda. "Maqdisi now has an ability to move more freely and reach out to his followers. This could pose a security risk and galvanize fundamentalists, especially since Zarqawi remains at large," said one official. Both Maqdisi and Zarqawi were freed by the Jordanians in 1999 under a general amnesty issued by King Abdullah. (Reuters)
        See also "The Sheikh of the Slaughterers": Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the al-Qaeda Connection - Nimrod Raphaeli
    Following the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, the Kuwaiti government expelled 250,000 Palestinians who had Jordanian citizenship, many of them teachers and other professionals. Among the returnees were also some who belonged to the Jihad movement, headed by Issam al-Barqawi, who acquired the name of Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and became the spiritual teacher of this movement in Jordan.
        One of the most prominent clandestine organizations established in Jordan was Tawheed (Monotheism), later renamed Bay'at al-Imam. It was founded by al-Maqdisi in 1992 and joined by al-Zarqawi in 1993. In 1994, Jordanian security services uncovered weapons in the possession of these two men. Al-Zarqawi adheres to the strictest version of Islam - Saudi Arabia's Wahhabism. (MEMRI)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Kassam Rockets to Bypass West Bank Security Fence - Ben Caspit
    After the security services identified Hamas efforts to transfer the infrastructure for Kassam rockets from Gaza to the West Bank, an official verification of this trend has arrived. An article on the Hamas website warns: "The Kassam in the West Bank will be the main deterrent weapon in the next phase....The entire distance from Netanya to Tulkarm is no more than 4 kilometers. Ramallah and Bethlehem are adjacent to Jerusalem; the entire distance between Kalkilya and occupied Tel Aviv is no more than 7 kilometers." The article explained that intense efforts have been underway for the last two years in Jenin and Nablus to develop this capability. (Maariv-Hebrew, 5Jul05)
        See also Hamas Website Article - in Arabic with Hebrew translation and illustrations (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center - Center for Special Studies)
        See also Map of the Range of Kassam Rockets Deployed in West Bank Against Israeli Cities (Defensible Borders for a Lasting Peace)
  • Israel, PA Agree on Gaza-West Bank "Safe Passage" Convoys - Aluf Benn
    Israel and the PA have reached an agreement on the creation of an overland connection between Gaza and the West Bank following the disengagement, Israel Radio reported on Tuesday. At a first stage, Israeli security forces will escort convoys of Palestinian vehicles traveling between the two areas. (Ha'aretz)
  • Another Boy Bomber Nabbed at Nablus Checkpoint - Margot Dudkevitch
    Israel Defense Forces soldiers caught a 16-year-old Palestinian at the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus on Monday attempting to smuggle a bomb and a handgun. In recent months, security forces have thwarted 15 attempts by Palestinian teens to smuggle weapons and bombs through IDF checkpoints in the West Bank. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Terror and the Bomb: Dangerous Cocktail - Amir Mir
    Islamabad-based diplomatic circles believe Pakistani President Musharraf's unscheduled June 25-26 trip to Saudi Arabia was to seek the assistance of the kingdom to circumvent the ongoing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) investigations into reports that the Saudis might have purchased nuclear technology from Pakistan. In May 1999, a Saudi Arabian defense team, headed by Defense Minister Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, visited Pakistan's highly restricted uranium enrichment and missile assembly factory with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and was briefed by Dr. A.Q. Khan. In 2005, the U.S. claims to have acquired fresh evidence that suggests a broader government-to-government Pak-Saudi atomic collaboration.
        A major strategic goal of the al-Qaeda's terror attacks within Saudi Arabia in recent years has been to escalate the pressure on what are regarded as Westernized corrupt elements of the Saudi royal house, with the aim of replacing them with fanatical feudal Wahhabi elements - a kind of Talibanization of the Saudi kingdom.
        The first indications of the presence of pro-jihadi scientists in Pakistan's nuclear establishment came to notice during U.S.-led military operations in Afghanistan against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, when captured documents spoke of the visits of Pakistani nuclear scientist Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood to Kandahar when Osama was operating from there before 9/11. Bashiruddin was the first head of the Kahuta Uranium Enrichment project in the 1970s before Dr. A.Q. Khan. The writer is a senior Pakistani journalist affiliated with Karachi-based monthly, Newsline. (International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism)
  • Don't Talk to Hamas, Ross Tells EU - Hilary Leila Krieger
    Former U.S. Mideast envoy Dennis Ross on Monday attacked EU officials who have met recently with Hamas members. "If you're dealing with them, I think you're undercutting the Palestinian Authority. I wouldn't undercut the Palestinian Authority. The U.S. administration is not dealing with them and I wouldn't. And for those who say, 'Well, they're [officials] in municipalities where I have projects,' then I say, direct your projects elsewhere."
        He also criticized Europeans who had failed to make good on their suggestion that they would buy the Gush Katif hothouses and give them to the Palestinians rather than see them dismantled or ruined during disengagement. "They [now] seem reluctant to do that on the grounds that they don't want to be 'benefiting settlers,' but the truth is this is actually investing in Palestinians, because this could produce anywhere from 10,000-15,000 jobs for the Palestinians," Ross said.
        Ross urged the U.S. to state very clearly before the Palestinian legislative elections that they won't deal with Hamas candidates should they win. He responded to the charge that the Americans wouldn't be "respecting the rule of the people" with, "The Palestinians can choose whomever they want, but we also have the right to choose whom we will deal with." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Bush Faces Uphill Battle Prodding EU on Hizballah
    The Bush administration faces growing resistance within the EU to a crackdown on Hizballah following gains by the group in Lebanon's elections and the withdrawal of Syrian troops, diplomats and analysts said. After the U.S. and Europe presented a united front in pressing for Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon before elections and for all militias including Hizballah to be disarmed, differences have emerged over how to respond to Hizballah's big win at the ballot box in southern Lebanon and its possible role in a new government. (Reuters)
  • Observations:

    After the Gaza Disengagement: Establishing Defensible Borders for Israel
    (American Enterprise Institute)

    On June 27, 2005, Dr. Dore Gold and Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs unveiled their study of Defensible Borders for a Lasting Peace at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.

    • Dr. Dore Gold: President George W. Bush on April 14, 2004, gave a number of assurances to the State of Israel about future stages of the peace process. One of the most important is the assurance that Israel, at the end of the day, will get secure, defensible borders.
    • This assurance of President Bush has been at the heart of a consensus in U.S. foreign policy that dates back to UN Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967. There was a broad U.S. consensus that Israel wasn't going back to the '67 lines, or what is sometimes called the 1949 armistice lines.
    • Defensible borders are not borders created by U.S. security guarantees or by NATO troops. They relate to Israel's ability to defend itself by itself.
    • Gen. Yaakov Amidror: The meaning of "defensible borders" is a very technical question related to topography. The fact is that the West Bank is higher than the strategic heart of the State of Israel, which is located along the Mediterranean coast. If you lose the high ground, your capability to defend is not as good as when you have the high ground.
    • Israel cannot build its defense system on optimistic scenarios of the future. We must take into consideration some more realistic scenarios, such as the possibility that Egypt will be under the influence of radical Islam, or that Jordan will become a Palestinian state, or that Iraq will be a Shiite country hostile to Israel under an Iranian nuclear umbrella.
    • Gen. John Foss [former commander of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division]: As a soldier I would tell you that the pre-'67 borders are not defensible in the long run for Israel. They absolutely cannot live with those borders with those distances.
    • Richard Perle [former Assistant Secretary of Defense]: There has been far too little discussion of the physical realities of the State of Israel in relation to those who would destroy it. Most of the population of Israel is within artillery range of the West Bank. This is a threat that no country relying on its own defense could begin to contemplate.
    • I believe that it is fundamentally in the interests of the U.S. that we not bear responsibility for the defense of Israel. And therefore, Israel has to be able to defend itself and that means borders that can be defended.

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