Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 25, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

"We'll Turn the White House into a Mosque" - Jonathan D. Halevi (News First Class-Hebrew)
    What is al-Qaeda saying after the attacks in London and on the eve of the attack in Sharm el-Sheikh?
    Sheikh Hussein bin-Mahmud wrote on the al-Qaeda website on 19 July 2005 that the goal is to "raise the flag of Jihad over Rome, turn the White House into a mosque, lead the worshippers at the Kremlin, and bring the muezzin to call the faithful to prayer from the top of the Parliament building in London."
    The successive string of attacks reflects a mood of success, hope, and faith among al-Qaeda and its supporters.
    They are seen as signs of a reawakening of Islam in the 21st century that heralds a return of Islam as a dominant force in the world.
    After the attacks in London, al-Qaeda's message is clear: The target - the conquest of Europe and Islamic rule of the world through the power of the sword.

Egyptian TV "Experts" Blame Israel for Sharm el-Sheikh Bombings - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Several Egyptian "security experts" and "political analysts" interviewed by Arab TV stations after the Sharm el-Sheikh bombings on Saturday claimed that Israel and Jews were behind the carnage, despite a claim of responsibility by a group tied to al-Qaeda.
    Similar charges were made against Israel after the suicide attack at the Taba Hilton Hotel in October 2004 and after the 9/11 attacks in the U.S.

Terrorist Link Between Egypt and Pakistan - Editorial (Daily Times-Pakistan)
    In many ways Egypt and Pakistan form two poles of the same movement. The former produces the guides, the latter provides the training grounds and shelter.
    The blind orator Omar Abdur Rehman of Gama'a Islamiyya caused the greatest stir when he planned the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center through Ramzi Yusuf who was of Pakistani origin.
    Indeed, if Pakistan had been Arabic-speaking, the power of the blind men of Saudi Arabia (Bin Baz) and Egypt (Kishk, Omar Abdur Rehman) would have doomed its population forever.
    However, money worked almost equal wonders, when Khalid Sheikh Muhammad sat in Karachi and guided all sorts of killer operations through Pakistani operatives - while Omar Abdur Rehman's son was ensconced comfortably in Quetta organizing the murder of Hazara Shias there on behalf of Osama Bin Laden.
    Egypt's salafist Islam of the Ikhwan has mixed well with Saudi Wahhabism to create the explosive chemistry unleashed by al-Qaeda on the world.
    Mosques all over the U.S., too, are using hate literature penned by the late blind chief mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Bin Baz, and have attracted all sorts of middle class Muslims to suicide bombing.

Another Palestinian Rocket Explodes Near Palestinians in Gaza (AP/Jerusalem Post)
    A Palestinian rocket exploded near Khan Yunis in Gaza on Sunday.
    Palestinian security officials said the explosion was caused by a rocket fired by terrorists.
    On Thursday, a Palestinian rocket killed a 13-year-old Palestinian boy and critically wounded his younger brother near Khan Yunis. (Reuters)


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  • Death Toll Rises to at Least 90 in Bombings at Egyptian Resort - Greg Myre and Mona el-Naggar
    At least 90 people were killed at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt at 1 a.m. Saturday as a synchronized series of blasts about five minutes apart ripped through an upscale hotel, a local market, and a parking lot. The dead and injured included significant numbers of European tourists and Egyptians, with at least 240 people wounded. The worst bombing took place when a truck drove into the lobby of the Ghazala Gardens hotel and exploded. (New York Times)
        See also Israeli Couple Describe Horrors of Sinai Attack - Ali Waked (Ynet News)
        See also Egypt Bombings Strike at Heart of Mubarak Regime - Steve Negus
    Sharm el-Sheikh is not only the capital of Egypt's "Red Sea Riviera" and a big contributor to the tourism receipts that are the country's main source of foreign exchange, but it has also become the country's diplomatic capital, the president's summer home, and his favorite venue for meetings with other world leaders. (Financial Times-UK)
  • Al-Qaeda Leaders Seen in Control - Craig Whitlock
    The back-to-back nature of the deadly attacks in Egypt and London, as well as similarities in the methods used, suggests that the al-Qaeda leadership may have given the orders for both operations and is a clear sign that bin Laden and his deputies remain in control of the network, according to counterterrorism analysts and government officials in Europe and the Middle East. The analysts also said the recent attacks indicate that the nerve center of the original al-Qaeda network remains alive and well, and is fully capable of orchestrating attacks worldwide by recruiting local groups to do its bidding. Intelligence officials say there is increasing evidence that several of the deadliest bombings against civilian targets in recent years can be traced back to suspected mid-level al-Qaeda operatives acting on behalf of bin Laden and the network's leadership. (Washington Post)
        For a contrasting view, see Bombings Link Doubted - Elaine Sciolino and Don Van Natta Jr.
    Intelligence officials said that they would be surprised if the attacks in London and Egypt were operationally or directly linked. (New York Times)
  • Rice Hails "New Lebanon," Scolds Syria - Glenn Kessler
    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit to Beirut Friday to bolster the first government formed after Syrian forces departed this spring. She warned Syria to stop interfering in Lebanese politics and demanded that it end a border tightening that threatens to hurt Lebanon's fragile economy. She reiterated that the U.S. has no intention of dealing with representatives of Hizballah, the pro-Syrian Shiite Muslim terrorist group that won 14 seats in parliament. (Washington Post)
  • British Diplomats Push Annan for a "No Excuses" Definition of Terrorism - Charles Laurence
    British diplomats are putting heavy pressure on the UN finally to make good its promise to devise an unequivocal definition and condemnation of terrorism. International efforts to write a global anti-terror treaty have been at an impasse since 1996 as member states wrangle over the definition of terrorism. The legal committee will hold a fresh round of informal negotiations this week to move the pact forward. (Telegraph-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinians Murder Israeli Couple in Gaza - Margot Dudkevitch
    Dov Kol, 58, and Rachel Kol, 53, of Jerusalem were murdered and another five Israelis were wounded Saturday night when Palestinian terrorists opened fire on their vehicles as they were leaving Gush Katif in Gaza. Ami Shaked, head of security for the Gaza Coast Regional Council, was among the wounded as he killed one of the terrorists. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Suicide Bomber Caught En Route to Tel Aviv - Amos Harel
    Israel Defense Forces soldiers on Friday caught a Palestinian terrorist from Fatah's military wing in Gaza who had crossed the perimeter fence and was en route to carrying out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. IDF trackers spotted the infiltration and located the bomber in a field more than a kilometer inside Israel. The IDF sector brigade commander, Col. Avi Levy, said the terrorist was wearing a five-kilogram explosives belt which contained nails and metal scraps intended to maximize the force of impact. The terrorist said he had been instructed to blow himself up in a crowded spot in central Tel Aviv. A short while later, police arrested his guide, a Palestinian married to an Israeli Arab, who lives in Jaffa. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israeli Military Intelligence: Israel is Not in the Crosshairs of Al-Qaeda - Ben Caspit
    Israeli military intelligence has recently submitted an operational plan to decision-makers, according to which it will upgrade its capability to collect data on al-Qaeda and the global Jihad. It is the Israeli assessment that it will be possible in three years to reach a capability of thwarting 70% of attacks and to assist many countries around the world, especially in Europe. Israel remains a very low priority for the global Jihad. At the political echelon in Israel there is harsh criticism against senior British officials who blame the waves of attacks in London on the Middle East conflict. A senior source stated: "The U.S. found the strategic map of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan which shows the whole Christian world painted in Islamic green. Their war is with Christianity. Israel is not even on this map." (Maariv-Hebrew, 22Jul05)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Sharm and Philadelphi: Sinai Attack Exposes Egyptian Weakness - Nahum Barnea
    Despite the fact that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has much greater freedom to fight terror than Western countries do, he has not managed to wipe out al-Qaeda's activities. Terrorists continue to hit him where it hurts - right before Egypt's Revolution Day holiday, damaging at the same time Egypt's standing in the international community, and inflicting damage on the country's tourism industry.
        This chain of attacks happened just before Israel is to ratify a change in the peace treaty with Egypt, allowing a larger Egyptian military presence in Sinai to patrol the Philadelphi route. Prime Minister Sharon agreed to allow Egyptian soldiers along the border with Israel in hopes the Egyptians would prevent weapons smuggling from Egypt to the Gaza Strip, and would allow Israel to withdraw IDF troops from the area. The ease with which the Sinai attack was carried out raises many uncomfortable questions: if in a case of a clear Egyptian interest (preventing attacks) the government cannot prevent attacks, what about preventing weapons smuggling, a case in which it has far less of an interest? (Ynet News)
  • Hijacking the Gaza Pullout - Editorial
    Mahmoud Abbas would do well to focus more of his energy on quelling the Palestinian-on-Israeli violence that has been under way in advance of Israel's planned disengagement from Gaza. Indeed, the so-called cease-fire between Fatah and Hamas apparently just clears the decks for Hamas to refocus on Israel. This really is a textbook case in the myriad ways that extremists can hijack an entire population. Hamas appears hellbent on trying to prove to the world that it is their attacks that are driving Israel out of Gaza. So, instead of sitting back and waving goodbye peacefully as the Israelis leave, Hamas seems to prefer that the exodus be carried out under fire. (New York Times/ International Herald Tribune)
  • From London to Jerusalem - Tom Gross
    Last Friday, British police shot dead a dark-complexioned man - a Brazilian Catholic - on a train at Stockwell Tube station in south London. Witnesses said the man was already lying on the ground motionless, having tripped, when British police pumped five bullets into his head at close range. Contrary to the absolute lies told in British media in recent days, the Israel Defense Forces have not instituted a shoot-to-kill policy, or trained the British to carry out one. Had Israeli police shot dead an innocent foreigner on one of its buses or trains, confirming the kill with a barrage of bullets at close range in a mistaken effort to thwart a bombing, the UN would probably have been sitting in emergency session by late afternoon to unanimously denounce the Jewish state. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel: "We Prefer to Get Their Buddies Than Their Bodies" - Donald Macintyre (Independent-UK)
  • Observations:

    Israel Must Retain Borders It Can Defend - Dore Gold and Yaakov Amidror (Baltimore Sun)

    • In a letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on April 14, 2004, supporting the unilateral Israeli pullout from Gaza, President George W. Bush reiterated the "steadfast commitment" of the U.S. to Israel's security, including to "defensible borders."
    • Advocates of the Gaza disengagement could argue that Israel may not have obtained a quid pro quo from the Palestinians for withdrawal but rather from the U.S. As such, the Bush letter was presented as part of a package addressed to the people of Israel that linked their Gaza pullout to new U.S. commitments with respect to the West Bank.
    • From Israel's standpoint, the stakes in what happens in the West Bank, in particular, are huge. Its mountain ridge dominates the lowlands of the adjacent Israeli coastal plain, where 70% of Israel's population and 80% of its industrial capacity are situated.
    • Were Israel to withdraw from the Jordan Valley to the vulnerable 1949 armistice lines, the weaponry and insurgent forces spread today from southern Syria to western Iraq would flow directly to the hills of the West Bank that dominate Israel's most vital infrastructure.
    • The Bush administration's road map for peace provides the Palestinians with a very tangible gain - a Palestinian state. Israel equally needs its most tangible long-term goal addressed as well: the assurance that it will gain defensible borders - for the only peace that will endure is a peace that can be defended.

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