Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 18, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Planners of Netanya Bombing Protected by PA (Jerusalem Post)
    The masterminds behind last week's Palestinian suicide bombing in Netanya are being protected by the Palestinian Authority at a government compound in Tulkarm, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, Army Radio reported.

Was Attack on Israeli Consulate in LA Thwarted? - Greg Krikorian (Los Angeles Times)
    Counterterrorism officials are investigating two men recently arrested in a string of robberies who may have been part of a local group of extremists with ties to prison or street gangs, law enforcement authorities said Thursday.
    Materials recovered at the South Los Angeles apartment of Levar Haney Washington, 25, suggest that an attack might have been planned at any of nearly two dozen addresses, including National Guard recruiting facilities, two synagogues, and a building believed to be the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles.
    Washington converted to Islam in prison, and his alleged accomplice, Gregory Vernon Patterson, 21, is believed to be a recent convert.

Miracle in Gaza: Mortar Hits Israeli Car, Fails to Explode - Efrat Weiss (Ynet News)
    Sheila Mashriki, 18, and her boyfriend were sitting in a car outside her home in the Gaza Strip settlement of Neve Dekalim Friday when a mortar shell tore through the front of the car but failed to explode.
    See photo.

Extremist Sketched Israeli Embassy Floor Plan in Ireland - Jim Cusack (Independent-Ireland)
    A member of an extremist group based in Ireland which supports suicide bombing and is suspected of having links with al-Qaeda members in Britain visited the Israeli Embassy in Ballsbridge over a year ago and then drew up plans of the ground floor reception area, it has been learned.
    Last year the member of the suspected al-Qaeda support group, based at the time in Galway, came to the Israeli Embassy on the pretext of being a student looking to get a visa for a year's work on a kibbutz.
    A key figure in this group is Jihad Jaara, who arrived in Ireland after the siege at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem three years ago.
    Jaara openly admits to being a leading figure in al-Aqsa which has carried out suicide and other attacks in Israel.

A Saudi's Millions in Gifts - Steven Stalinsky (New York Sun)
    Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who co-owns the ART TV network which includes the anti-American, anti-Semitic, pro-Jihad Arabic TV channel Iqra, has recently given millions to American groups.
    It was announced at the annual convention of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee on June 1 that the prince would donate $6 million to the group.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • 100 Killed in Iraqi Suicide Blast - Andy Mosher and Saad Sarhan
    On Saturday in Musayyib, a town 35 miles south of Baghdad, a suicide attacker detonated his explosive belt in a crowded marketplace just as a tanker containing cooking gas was passing, triggering an inferno that destroyed dozens of buildings, including a nearby Shiite mosque where worshipers were emerging from evening prayers. One hundred people were killed and more than 150 were wounded. (Washington Post)
  • London Bomber Helped British Tel Aviv Suicide Bombers
    One of the suspects in the London bombings visited Israel in 2003 and is believed to have helped plan a suicide bombing by two British Muslims in Tel Aviv, the Israeli newspaper Maariv said on Sunday. According to Israeli security sources, Mohammed Sidique Khan, who blew himself up at Edgware Road on July 7, traveled to Israel two years ago to help two fellow Britons of Pakistani descent, Asif Hanif and Omar Sharif, carry out a suicide bombing at a Tel Aviv beachfront bar on April 30, 2003, that killed three Israelis. (Reuters)
  • More Links Between British Bombing and al-Qaeda - Francis Elliott
    Mohammed Junaid Babar, 29, a Pakistani-American computer expert arrested on his return to the U.S. from an al-Qaeda summit in Pakistan last year, is reported to have picked out Mohammed Sidique Khan, who triggered a bomb at Edgware Road station, after being shown photographs of the four suicide bombers. (Independent-UK)
  • U.S.: Saudis Still a "Significant Source" of Funds for Islamic Terrorists
    Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey told the Senate Banking Committee that wealthy Saudi individuals remain "a significant source" of funds for Islamic terrorists around the world, despite widely-publicized efforts by the kingdom to shut down these channels. "Wealthy Saudi financiers and charities have funded terrorist organizations and causes that support terrorism and the ideology that fuels the terrorists' agenda," Levey told lawmakers on July 13. "Even today, we believe that Saudi donors may still be a significant source of terrorist financing, including for the insurgency in Iraq," he added. (AFX News/Forbes)
  • Iran, Iraq Herald "New Chapter" in Shiite-Led Alliance - Andy Mosher and Robin Wright
    Iraqi Prime Minister Jafari arrived in Tehran on Saturday for a visit signaling a new alliance that could change the religious and political balance of power in the region. Jafari, a Shiite Muslim, spent almost a decade of exile in Iran while Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq. U.S. officials and regional analysts believe Iran shared the immediate U.S. goal of stabilizing Iraq and preserving its territorial integrity.
        However, experts say differences between the two countries suggest that an Iranian-style theocracy might not be suited to Iraq. Iran is populated predominantly by Persians, an Indo-European ethnic group, while Iraq is predominantly Arab. Iraq's most powerful cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, an Iranian-born Shiite, has rejected the active political role for clerics integral to the system Khomeini built in Iran. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Rocket Barrage Continues - Amos Harel, Nir Hasson, and Arnon Regular
    Six Israelis, three of them children, were hurt by mortar fire on Gush Katif settlements Sunday. Palestinians in Gaza launched Kassam rockets at Sderot and western Negev communities for the fourth consecutive day. Two Kassam rockets and three mortar shells struck Gush Katif settlements and southern Israeli towns before dawn on Monday, Army Radio said. More than 20 mortar shells and at least four Kassam rockets have been launched at Gush Katif settlements over the past 24 hours. (Ha'aretz)
        A four-year-old girl and her 18-year-old sister were wounded Friday when a rocket fell on their Neveh Dekalim home. It was one of 40 mortars and Kassams fired by Palestinians on Friday and Saturday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Targets Hamas Terrorist in Gaza
    Sayid Isa Jabar Tziam, 31, a senior member of Hamas in Khan Yunis, was targeted and killed by IDF sniper fire Sunday. Tziam was involved in numerous infiltrations into Israeli communities, the firing of mortar shells at Israeli targets, and the detonation of tunnels and explosive devices. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Mini-Uprising Against the PA? - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Hundreds of civilians took to the streets in the Gaza neighborhoods of Sabra and Zeitun on Friday to face Palestinian policemen searching for Hamas gunmen. Hamas was not alone in the confrontation with the PA, as gunmen belonging to other local militias, including disgruntled Fatah activists, are said to have participated in the street battles.
        At least 12 groups added their voice to a Hamas leaflet calling for the dismissal of PA Interior Minister Nasr Yussef, who is trying to stop the rocket attacks on Israel. Many of the policemen involved in the clashes covered their faces with masks - a sign that they were either afraid of revenge or simply ashamed of what they were doing. Some of the Palestinian security officers in Gaza are said to have defied Youssef by refusing to take part in the crackdown on Hamas. More than six months after he entered office, Abbas has hardly been able to deliver on most of the promises he made prior to his election. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Seeks Dismissal of PA Security Minister
    The Islamist movement Hamas demanded the dismissal of Palestinian Interior Minister Nasr Yussef Friday after he ordered security agents to use force to stop militants from attacking Israeli targets. A Hamas statement said: "We are asking for the dismissal of the interior minister because keeping him in his dangerous job will be very dangerous for Palestinian unity. What is happening in Gaza is a dangerous crime against our people and was directly ordered by the interior minister....What is happening is part of Nasr Yussef's plan to destroy resistance." (AFP/Gulf Times-Qatar)
  • PA Pulls Terrorists' Flags from Streets
    The PA began taking down the flags of terror groups that decorate Gaza City streets on Sunday to try to remove all but the national colors. But the timing of the move added to tension with Hamas, whose green Islamic banner has long dominated many Gaza neighborhoods. (Reuters/Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Slaughtering Civilians is Beyond the Pale - Editorial
    Britain is currently in the chair of both the Group of Eight advanced economies and the EU. Prime Minister Tony Blair should use these positions to pursue that vital consensus on how to isolate jihadi extremism. Only the jihadis are advocating the slaughter of civilians as a legitimate tactic.
        This month, Muslim religious leaders including Sheikh Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi of Al Azhar, Sunni Islam's foremost cleric, and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the leader of Iraq's Shia, denounced the jihadi practice of declaring other Muslims "apostates" and condemned all attacks on civilians. But this will never be enough while Saudi Arabia's clerical establishment keeps spewing out poisonous bigotry against "infidels," not just at home but through the network of mosques and schools the Wahhabis endow around the world. Not only must the jihadis be isolated from mainstream Islam, but also the sort of totalitarian preaching that feeds and succors them. (Financial Times-UK)
  • Grim Saudi Export - Suicide Bombers - Mia Bloom
    Most of the suicide bombers in Iraq are coming from Saudi Arabia. The rise in Saudi bombers stems from a split within the Saudi jihadist movement, according to some al-Qaeda experts. One faction wants to attack the al-Saud monarchy directly, while another contends that U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq should be the prime target. Because al-Qaeda views Saudi Arabia as its primary source of money for global jihad, it has concentrated on striking in Iraq.
        Reuven Paz, an Israeli expert on terrorism, concluded that of the 154 foreign fighters killed in Iraq over a six-month period, 61% were Saudis, with Syrians and Kuwaitis together accounting for another 25%. But the jihadist websites claim that 70% of the suicide bombers in Iraq are Saudi nationals. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Observations:

    Will Hamas Torpedo Israeli Disengagement? - Danny Rubinstein (Ha'aretz)

    • The leaders of Hamas had an agreement with PA Chair Mahmoud Abbas, reached at the beginning of the year in Cairo, that Hamas would join the cease-fire and the PA would hold elections for the Palestinian parliament.
    • The results of the elections, which were supposed to take place on July 17, were to set a key to the balance of political power in the Palestinian community - and according to this key they would form a government, distribute jobs, and decide how the large land assets evacuated by Israel will be divided.
    • Hamas sees itself as having kept the agreement - having held its fire. Abbas was the one who violated it when Fatah and its leadership decided to postpone the elections, without setting a new date.
    • This means that those who are currently in power - who are seen as corrupt by the Palestinian public - will do as they wish with the assets evacuated by Israel and not share with Hamas the fruits of the victory.
    • Hamas is by no means ready to accept this. This is one of the reasons for the renewal of the attacks. There does not seem to be a solution at present and Hamas is expected to continue and even intensify terror attacks and firing at Israeli targets.
    • If all the fruits of the victory in Gaza fall into the hands of corrupt PA leaders, Hamas doesn't mind making the Israeli withdrawal difficult, or even torpedoing it.

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