Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference: click here
Palestinian Textbooks Still Deny Israel's Existence (CMIP/IMRA)
- July 7, 2005
Issue of the Week:
Israel Introduces Hi-Tech Checkpoint (AP/Aljazeera-Qatar)
Europe's Angry Muslims -
Robert S. Leiken (Foreign Affairs)
North Africa Spawns Fearsome Terrorists - Eric Margolis (Toronto Sun)
Moroccan Preacher Said to Have Met With 9/11 Plotters
- Terry McDermott (Los Angeles Times)
Zanzibaris Adopting Stricter Form of Islam - Rodrique Ngowi (AP/Washington Post)
West Turns Blind Eye as
Iraqi Police Put Saddam's Torturers Back to Work - James Hider (Times-UK)
Oil Discovered in Northern Egypt (People's Daily-China)
Israel Moves Up in Economic Freedom Index - Motti Bassok (Ha'aretz)
IDF Turning Bases into Safari Parks - Arieh O'Sullivan (Jerusalem Post)
"Jewish Olympics" Open - The 17th Maccabiah Games (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
See also American Team to "Jewish Olympics" Grows with Drop in Mideast Violence (AP)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Britain stood united in defiance of the bomb attacks Thursday which killed at least 52 people and left 700 injured as the reality of the War on Terror came to London. (Times-UK)
Bomb explosions tore through three subway trains and a double-decker bus in a coordinated terror attack during London's morning rush hour as Prime Minister Blair was hosting a Group of 8 summit meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland. The attacks were the worst in British memory since World War II. President Bush said, "The contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill, those who've got such evil in their hearts that they will take the lives of innocent folks....The war on terror goes on." (New York Times)
Investigators said Thursday that the three bombs used in the subway apparently were detonated by timers, not suicide bombers, and that a fourth device may have been intended for a target other than the city bus that it destroyed. Officials immediately drew parallels between the London bombings and the ones that struck commuter trains in Madrid 16 months ago, which were carried out by a Qaeda-inspired cell. (New York Times)
See also Sharon: Israel Shares Britain's Pain Over Attacks
Israeli Prime Minister Sharon said he was shocked by the "awful crime that was committed against innocent Britons." "All of Israel expresses solidarity with the residents of Great Britain, feels their pain, and sends condolences to the families of those killed and best wishes for a quick recovery to those who were injured," a statement from his office said. "The entire world must unite in the war against terrorism," Sharon stressed. (AFP/Yahoo)
See also Israeli Embassy Denies Report It Received Early Warning of Attacks - Yossi Melman
A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in London strongly denied Associated Press reports indicating British intelligence services informed embassy security officers of terrorists' intentions minutes before the terror attacks in London. (Ha'aretz)
See also Taliban Say Britons Pay Price for Rulers' Deeds (Reuters/Arab Times-Kuwait)
Al-Qaeda's Iraq wing has killed Egypt's envoy to Iraq, Ihab el-Sherif, who was kidnapped five days ago, Egypt confirmed Thursday. (Reuters)
See also Egypt Closes Baghdad Diplomatic Mission - Salah Nasrawi
Egypt will temporarily shut its diplomatic mission in Iraq and has recalled its staff to Cairo, an official said Thursday after a militant group killed Egypt's top envoy in Baghdad. (AP/Guardian-UK)
See also Jordan Reconsiders Sending Envoy to Iraq - Orly Halpern (Jerusalem Post)
A growing movement among Syria's 1.5 million Kurds is demanding recognition and representation in Syria's government. Emboldened by their brethren in Iraq and inspired by Lebanon's opposition movement, which helped force Syria out of that country, some are even calling for Kurdish administration of Kurdish areas. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired a Kassam rocket Thursday that hit an open area between Sderot's Sapir College and Kibbutz Gavim in the western Negev region. (Ha'aretz)
IDF troops shot dead one Palestinian Fatah-Tanzim gunman, Khaled Mseimi, and seriously wounded another Wednesday night when they repeatedly opened fire on soldiers escorting Jewish worshipers to Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, the army said. (Jerusalem Post)
Palestinian legislators are calling for the resignation of PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, accusing him and his cabinet of failing to end lawlessness and anarchy. "The gap between the people and the Palestinian Authority is growing," Palestinian Legislative Council deputy speaker Hassan Khraisheh said Thursday. "There is no sense of security...and now Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Qurei bear the responsibility."
The PA is under heavy pressure to rein in armed gangs that are running wild in various parts of the West Bank and Gaza. Most of the gunmen belong to the ruling Fatah party and different branches of the PA security forces.
In Gaza City, Sgt. Abdullah al-Louh of the Palestinian General Intelligence Force was kidnapped and murdered by unidentified gunmen. His bullet-riddled body was discovered Thursday. Also in the Gaza Strip, the most listened to private radio station, Sawt al Hurriya (Voice of Freedom), has been shut down following threats from unidentified gunmen. (Jerusalem Post)
A group of 21 children from terror-stricken Israeli families were in London on a one-week tour organized by One Family Fund, a victims' support group, when terrorists struck. The trip was meant to take the children's minds off of what they had endured, but on the last day of their vacation, terror found them. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Terror Attack in Britain
Counterterrorism specialists have been warning of such a strike on European soil for much of this year. The British venue, the soft targets with economic importance, the timing during the Group of 8 summit, and the relatively simple operational techniques conformed almost precisely to the methods of an evolving al-Qaeda movement. The British bombings "seem to be very much consistent with a Sunni jihadist movement that is overall as strong as ever but more decentralized, in which attacks are being instigated and carried out in more places than just the core leadership hiding in their caves in South Asia," said a former senior U.S. intelligence official.
"According to Osama bin Laden's thinking, there are no dormant cells," Abu Jandal, one of bin Laden's former bodyguards in Afghanistan, said in a recent interview in the Arabic-language newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi. "Every element of al-Qaeda is self-activated. Whoever finds a chance to attack just goes ahead."
"I do not really believe there is such a thing as al-Qaeda, the organization; there is al-Qaeda, the mindset," said Yosri Fouda, a reporter in London for al-Jazeera who interviewed Sept. 11 planners Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh. "This is what I find much scarier. Your ability to predict is reduced to a minimal level." Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at the Rand Corp., said the State Department asserts that 4,000 terrorism suspects have been arrested worldwide since Sept. 11, 2001. "But they are being replaced as fast as we can kill or capture them," he said. (Washington Post)
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Ya'akov Amidror, a former chief of IDF intelligence assessment, told Army Radio from London, where he was touring, that the attack was probably linked with al-Qaeda and should serve as a catalyst for setting up a global counter-terrorism headquarters.
Moti Cristal, a fellow at the Institute for Counterterrorism at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center, explained that British attempts to enact antiterrorism measures following the attacks of September 11 were "bashed by the House of Lords and the liberal nature of the British people. Now this attack will provide a very important backing for their government to do what they know they should do and this is to take much more countermeasures and surgical operations without breaking the very delicate relationship with Britain's Muslims." (Jerusalem Post)
In April 2004, Sayful Islam, head of the Luton branch of Al-Muhajiroun (Arabic: "the immigrants"), an Islamist British group, announced that he supports Osama Bin Laden "100 percent" in the quest to achieve "the worldwide domination of Islam." "When a bomb attack happens here, I won't be against it, even if it kills my own children....But it is against Islam for me to engage personally in acts of terrorism in the UK because I live here."
In an August 2004 story in the New Statesman, "Why Terrorists Love Britain," Jamie Campbell cited Mohamed Sifaoui, author of Inside Al Qaeda, that it has long been recognized by the British Islamists, by the British government, and by UK intelligence agencies that as long as Britain guarantees a degree of freedom to the likes of Hassan Butt [an overtly pro-terrorist Islamist], the terrorist strikes will continue to be planned within the borders of the UK but will not occur there.
But in January 2005, Omar Bakri Mohammed, a Syrian immigrant to the UK who headed Al-Muhajiroun, determined that the covenant of security had ended for British Muslims because of post-9/11 anti-terrorist legislation that meant "the whole of Britain has become Dar ul-Harb [the Abode of War, the territory open for Muslim conquest]." Therefore, "the kuffar [unbelievers] has no sanctity for their own life or property." Thursday's explosions mark the end of the "covenant of security."
Let's hope they also mark the end of an era of innocence, and that British authorities now begin to preempt terrorism rather than wait to become its victims. (FrontPageMagazine)
The multiple, simultaneous explosions that took place on the London transportation system were the work of perpetrators who had an operational capacity of considerable scope. There was careful planning, intelligence gathering, and a sophisticated choice of timing as well as near-perfect execution. We are faced with a deadly and determined adversary who will stop at nothing and will persevere as long as he exists as a fighting terrorist force. We are in the throes of a world war, raging over the entire globe. We are in for the long haul and we must brace ourselves for more that will follow.
The executives must be empowered to act resolutely and to take every measure necessary to protect the citizens of their country and to carry the combat into whatever territory the perpetrators and their temporal and spiritual leaders are inhabiting. The rules of combat must be rapidly adjusted and international law must be rewritten to permit civilization to defend itself. There is no doubt that international cooperation is essential. Yet this cannot replace the requirement that each and every country effectively declare itself at war with international Islamist terror and recruit the public to involve itself actively in the battle. The writer, who heads the Center for Strategic and Policy Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is a former head of the Mossad. (Jerusalem Post)
Anybody who tells you these bombers are fighting for the rights of Muslims in Iraq, Palestine, or Chechnya should look at the places they chose to bomb. Aldgate? The poorest and most Muslim part of the country. Edgware Road? The center of Muslim and Arab life in London and, arguably, Europe. Does anybody need greater evidence that these Islamic fundamentalists despise Muslims who choose to live in free societies, and they would enslave Muslims everywhere if they were given the opportunity? Nor is this tit-for-tat revenge for deaths in Iraq: very similar jihadist plots have been foiled in France and Germany, countries that opposed the invasion. Anybody who doubted that the fight against Islamic fundamentalism - a murderous totalitarian ideology - was always our fight should know better now. (Independent-UK)
According to witnesses, Theo van Gogh, the Dutch film-maker, who was shot by an Islamist assassin on his way to work in Amsterdam last November, tried to reason with his assailant. "Surely we can discuss this," he kept saying as the shots kept coming. Van Gogh was reacting like BBC reporters did Thursday, assuming that the man who was killing him may have some reasonable demands which could be discussed in a calm, democratic atmosphere. But sorry, old chaps, you are dealing with an enemy that does not want anything specific, and cannot be talked back into reason through anger management or round-table discussions. Or, rather, this enemy does want something specific: to take full control of your lives, dictate every single move you make round the clock and, if you dare resist, he will feel it his divine duty to kill you. (Times-UK)
When jihadist-style bombings happen in Riyadh, that is a Muslim-Muslim problem. That is a police problem for Saudi Arabia. But when al-Qaeda-like bombings come to the London Underground, that becomes a civilizational problem. Every Muslim living in a Western society suddenly becomes a suspect, becomes a potential walking bomb. Either the Muslim world begins to really restrain, inhibit, and denounce its own extremists, or the West is going to do it for them.
The greatest restraint on human behavior is what a culture and a religion deem shameful. The Muslim village has been derelict in condemning the madness of jihadist attacks. To this day, no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden. (New York Times)
Israel has always been on the top of al-Qaeda's hit list. The lesson in Thursday's bombings in London is that one should always be prepared for it to make a surprise move. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizballah are terror threats for Israel, but al-Qaeda, too, is a constant threat that cannot be ignored. Israel is a major al-Qaeda target as a Jewish state in conflict with Muslim states and organizations and because of the war with the Palestinians. Striking Israel is important to al-Qaeda for ideological religious reasons. Al-Qaeda has hit Jewish targets in Tunisia, Morocco, and Turkey. Strela missiles fired at a passenger-laden Israeli plane in Kenya missed, but attackers also hit a hotel in which many Israelis resided, killing three of them. (Ha'aretz)
For years, Britain's top security officials have been saying that an attack on London was inevitable and that the capital's public transportation system was the city's soft underbelly, but it took time for the authorities to confirm what seemed blindingly obvious to anyone with prior experience of a terror attack. Still, once confirmed, the drills that had been practiced by the emergency services over the past few years swung into action, and the calmness under pressure, for which the British like to pride themselves, soon took over.
The media, too, played its part: There were no close-up shots of the blown-up bus, no cameramen following the wounded into hospital emergency rooms. And there was no hysterical speculation as to what the final casualty toll might be. The writer, a former editor of the Jerusalem Post, is the managing editor of the Jewish Chronicle in London. (Jerusalem Post)
The new Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, ran as the representative of the downtrodden who would fight corruption. He scattered Robin Hood-style promises to take from the rich and give to the poor and was supported by the conservative establishment (including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei) and the security organs. But it was mainly his emphasis on Islamic justice and morality, on fairness and modesty, that won him widespread public support. The elections exposed the weakness of the reformist camp, but the support for Ahmajinejad also betrays a certain disillusionment with the revolution. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies-Tel Aviv University)
Washington's chief concern is not that Iran would use nuclear weapons - although Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president who lost the run-off election to Ahmadinejad but who remains the second most powerful man in Tehran, threatened to do just that on December 14, 2001. Rather, the administration's worry is that with a nuclear deterrent, Iranian hardliners might feel themselves immune from the consequences of their actions.
The White House has a number of policies that could empower Iranians to the point where they win the same rights for themselves that Georgians, Ukrainians, Lebanese, and even Bhutanese have in the past year. A democratic Iran might not abandon its nuclear program, but neither would it sponsor anti-American terrorism, undercut the Middle East peace process, or deny Israel's right to exist. Democratization, therefore, can take the edge off the Iranian threat. Iranians are increasingly bold in their demands for democracy. Washington should spare no effort to support them, cynical and counterproductive European resistance to democratization notwithstanding. (Forward)
If Iran is to be believed, then the world has nothing to fear from its nuclear program. But neither the U.S. nor Europe nor the UN is ready simply to believe Iran, at least not easily, and not without verification. Its record of concealment and deceit about its nuclear program goes back at least 20 years. Its extensive uranium-enrichment program was uncovered in detail only two years ago; its promise of "full disclosure" and "transparency" since then has been something considerably less. (Newsweek)
With the start of disengagement of Israel from Gaza less than six weeks away, the differences between the Israeli and Palestinian Authority approaches could hardly be any greater. On the Israeli side, the government of Prime Minister Sharon is carefully preparing for Aug. 15 - the day it will begin to remove 8,500 men, women, and children from 21 settlements in Gaza and more than 500 from four settlements in the northern West Bank. On the Palestinian side, for all of Mahmoud Abbas' stated good intentions about making peace with Israel, he hasn't done much. Palestinian security forces remain in disarray. One reason the security forces have failed so badly, Palestinian Interior Minister Nasser Youssef candidly told the Palestinian Legislative Council recently, is that they include terrorists and gangsters responsible for creating the lawlessness that has enveloped the West Bank and Gaza. (Washington Times)
Despite 30 years of talk about Islamist takeovers and five years of debate about liberal democracy, every Arab state remains basically an Arab nationalist regime. Nationalism and the battle against the West and Israel - held to be the true culprits in all Arab problems - transcend differences over political reform or economic modernization. No Islamist or liberal force is even close to overthrowing any existing Arab regime. (Jerusalem Post)
In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the Saudi royal family took a religious approach to the ensuing domestic crisis. By appealing to the kingdom's hardcore Wahhabi constituency - specifically, by arguing that the royal family endorsed a "truer" version of Islam than the terrorist organizations - the regime tightened its grip on the population. This agenda became clearer as subsequent developments unfolded, including the ouster of Muhammad al-Rashid, a reform-minded education minister; an increase in mass arrests of Christian Saudis; and a drastic increase in the number of beheadings.
The royal family must appease both its Wahhabi constituents and the U.S., even though the two parties are inherent enemies. Current U.S. policy toward the kingdom may help keep terrorists at bay in the short term. Yet, by remaining complicit with the regime, Washington is essentially allowing the kingdom to become a recruiting ground for al-Qaeda. If the U.S. does not look beyond the short-term benefits of its relationship with the regime, it can expect to face severe consequences in the future. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
See also Book Review: The Saudi Royals and Al-Qaeda - Simon Henderson
Since 9/11, opinions about Saudi Arabia fall generally into two categories: The first, and probably more widely held, is that Saudi Arabia is a continuing threat to the U.S. and we should, if possible, diminish our relationship with the kingdom. The second is that we must differentiate between our Saudi friends and Saudi Islamic extremists, and, besides, our dependence on Saudi oil is too great to allow the luxury of any realistic alternative. Saudi Arabia Exposed, by British journalist John R. Bradley, and Secrets of the Kingdom, by the American writer Gerald Posner, provide ammunition for both arguments. (Los Angeles Times)
See also Saudi Arabia: A Kingdom in Crisis - Interview with John R. Bradley by Jamie Glazov (FrontPageMagazine)
Anti-Israel bigotry is nourished by an entrenched deformation in the field of Middle Eastern studies. Not only is the academic intifada against the Jewish state thriving, the reigning terms of discussion it has introduced for understanding Middle Eastern reality have become perfectly normal, perfectly conventional, perfectly accepted in academic discourse. It will take more than a single student protest to undo the rot that has settled into the study of the Middle East and that is now quite comfortably at home in Western universities. (Commentary)
Israel has instituted procedures for preventing suicide bombings on buses after many such attacks during the past four years. Security officers search bus stops and buses for suspicious people and objects. Sometimes they use dogs to detect explosives. The security officers and Israeli bus drivers have been trained to identify suicide bombers. Central bus stations in main cities, often combined with shopping malls, are carefully guarded. People entering the stations pass through metal detectors, and their bags are examined. (AP/SecurityInfoWatch)
He talks about the glory of God and hands the microphone to a young woman in the audience, asking her to talk about her feelings. His shows are broadcast around the world on satellite channels. He's preaching Allah and he's the hottest Muslim televangelist in the Arab world. Islam a la Amr Khaled is spreading a different message: You can be hip, modern, and Muslim. Instead of preaching politics, he "focuses on personal piety." Instead of dictating the dos and don'ts of Islam, Khaled gives advice and talks about real-life situations. Among upper-class Muslim families in Cairo, his is a household name. (Jerusalem Post)
At a time when Israel has lost ground in the battle for global public opinion, vocal support from Evangelical Christians has been welcomed by many American Jews and Israelis. They advocate cooperating on issues of shared concern while agreeing to disagree on other matters, so long as Evangelicals do not target Jews for proselytization. (Jewish Political Studies Review)
Hundreds of mosques in the U.S. are run by radicals and terrorist sympathizers who came from the most oppressive and radical regimes in the Muslim world. They bring with them to America the same hate speech and incitement towards non-Muslims, thus creating a subversive subculture that is contrary to American values of tolerance and respect of other religions and races.
Most moderate Muslims choose to blend with American society and do not want to be associated with radical clerics or mosques. They regard radical clerics imported from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan as a joke imposed on American mosques by a wealthy Saudi government. The U.S. government should stop giving "religious visas" to foreign Muslim preachers from radical Muslim countries. (FrontPageMagazine)
Will the West Reunite Against Its Common Enemy? - Editorial (Wall Street Journal)
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