Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 26, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Shin Bet: Hamas to "Heat Up" West Bank - Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)
    Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday he believed that Hamas would have an interest in calming tensions in the Gaza Strip following the disengagement, but would escalate its terror activities in the West Bank in order to "heat up" the area.
    Diskin also said that arms smuggling along the Gaza-Egypt border has been considerably reduced, but not completely stopped.

Egypt Terror Probe Widens (AP/CNN)
    Egyptian police said Monday they were searching for five Pakistani men in their widening investigation into Saturday's deadly terror attack in Sharm el-Sheikh.
    Egypt sacked its two security chiefs for the Sinai peninsula after the bombings in their region.

Israel Campus Beat
- July 25, 2005

Point Counter-Point:
    Two Views on the Gaza Disengagement

Another Protestant Church Joins Chorus of Israel Critics - Sam Ser (Jerusalem Post)
    The Disciples of Christ church is to discuss a resolution at its annual general assembly meeting in Portland, Oregon, Tuesday calling on Israel to dismantle its West Bank security barrier.
    The resolution "calls upon the Israeli government to cease the project to construct the barrier, tear down the segments that have already been constructed, and pay reparations" to those affected.
    "In the wake of the terrorist outrages in London and [the recent] suicide bombing at a shopping mall in Israel, this resolution sends the wrong message, at the wrong time, to the wrong people," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Free Speech in Egypt - Ahmed H. Al-Rahim (Wall Street Journal, 26Jul05)
    Liberal scholar Sayyid Mahmud al-Qimany, an outspoken critic of Islamism whose many writings have been banned by al-Azhar University (Sunni Islam's most revered institution of higher education), recently received a death threat declaring him an apostate.
    If Qimany did not retract his statements and writings against the Islamists, his fate was death.
    Despite the Egyptian government assigning bodyguards to protect him, he knew that the state could do little to prevent the Islamists from assassinating him.
    So to spare his family, Qimany recanted all his writings, promising never to write again.

    See also Saudi Court Upholds Reformers' Jail Terms - Dominic Evans (Reuters)
    A Saudi court has upheld jail terms of six to nine years for three prominent campaigners who called for political reforms in the absolute monarchy, their lawyer said on Sunday.
    A Riyadh court rejected appeals by the three - two university lecturers and a poet - who had petitioned for Saudi Arabia to move toward a constitutional monarchy.


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Latest News on Disengagement
  (Conference of Presidents)
Related Publications:
Israel Campus Beat
Israel HighWay
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Palestinian Security Forces Found Unfit - Steven Erlanger
    The security forces of the Palestinian Authority are divided, weak, overstaffed, badly motivated, and underarmed, and more attention must be paid to building up institutions rather than personalities, says a "Palestinian Security Assessment" prepared by the Strategic Assessments Initiative, a Washington-based group headed by Amjad Atallah, a former member of the PA's Negotiation Department. Despite recent changes by PA Chairman Abbas, centralizing most forces under Interior Minister Nasser Youssef, that formal structure does not reflect the realities of power, the report indicates. The survey was financed by the Dutch and Canadian governments. (New York Times)
        See also Shin Bet: Dahlan Blocks Abbas from Fighting Terror - Diana Bahor-Nir
    Surprisingly, Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday that it is Mohammed Dahlan, seen as "the great white hope" by Israel in coordinating the disengagement and in fighting the Palestinian terror groups, who is preventing Abbas from taking real action against Hamas. (Ynet News-Hebrew)
  • Pentagon Has Secret New Strategy for Taking on Terrorists - Linda Robinson
    On March 3, with little fanfare, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, signed a comprehensive new plan for the war on terrorism. Pentagon officials say the still-secret document outlines a strategy that examines the nature of the antiterror war in depth, lays out a detailed road map for prosecuting it, and establishes a score card to determine where and whether progress is being made.
        The terrorist threat against the U.S. is now defined as "Islamist extremism" - not just al-Qaeda. The Pentagon document identifies the "primary enemy" as "extremist Sunni and Shia movements that exploit Islam for political ends." The U.S. is now targeting some two dozen groups - a significant change from the early focus on just al-Qaeda and its leadership.
        Concluding that the conflict cannot be fought by military means alone - or by the U.S. acting alone - the plan outlines a multipronged strategy that targets eight pressure points and outlines six methods for attacking terrorist networks. (US News)
  • Bush Picks Rice Adviser as Israel Envoy
    President Bush on Monday picked Richard Jones, Secretary of State Rice's senior adviser on Iraq, to be the next U.S. ambassador to Israel. A career diplomat, Jones was second-in-command at the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, and has served as U.S. ambassador to Kuwait, Kazakhstan, and Lebanon. (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinians Fire Rocket at Israel Town, Again - Shmulik Hadad and Efrat Weiss
    A Kassam rocket fired by Palestinians in Gaza struck the southern Israeli town of Sderot again Tuesday, damaging a number of homes and vehicles. On Monday, IDF Southern Command Head Dan Harel said there were an average of ten daily terror attack attempts in Gaza, and that security forces have thwarted eight attempts by terrorists to infiltrate settlements in the area in the past two months. (Ynet News)
        See also IDF Thwarts Bomb Attempts in Gaza - Margot Dudkevitch
    IDF and Border Police sappers blew up a 50-kilogram bomb placed by Palestinians next to the Gush Katif security fence near Atzmona on Monday. Earlier, sappers blew up a 25-kg. bomb placed near the north Gaza security fence, and a bomb was detonated near an IDF patrol close to Rafah. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Rice Scolds Israel Over Abu Mazen - Yoel Marcus
    During Condoleezza Rice's visit to Israel, in public she was all smiles. But in private, she showed herself to be one tough cookie, full of demands on Israel. "She ticked us all off...the way she twisted our arm and said we had to make all kinds of concessions and gestures to strengthen Abu Mazen," said an insider. Israel, she said, must supply the PA with weapons and ammunition. It must be nice to Abu Mazen's buddies and allow them to operate. As if the missiles and the Kassam rockets fired at Israeli towns every day were our doing. As if the chairman of the PA deserves some kind of compensation.
        One participant said Rice spoke like a teacher scolding her students. She demanded that Israel exercise restraint in responding to terror and let Abu Mazen fight Hamas, lest all of Gaza fall into its clutches. As if Israel were standing in his way. Abu Mazen's 100 days of grace were over long ago, and there's still no sign of him getting a handle on things. If he is really so weak that he can't curb terror, can't discuss compromise, and can't come up with any painful concessions on his side, then he is not a worthy partner. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Rice: U.S. Committed to Connectivity between Gaza and the West Bank
    Following a meeting with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Saturday, Secretary of State Rice said: "When the Israelis withdraw from Gaza it cannot be sealed or [be an] isolated area, with the Palestinian people closed in after that withdrawal. We are committed to connectivity between Gaza and the West Bank, and we are committed to openness and freedom of movement for the Palestinian people." (State Department)
  • 330 French Immigrants Arrive in Israel - Hilary Leila Krieger
    Two planes from Paris arrived Monday bearing 330 French immigrants to Israel, who came with the financial and logistical assistance of the "AMI" program to encourage French aliya. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Israel and Arab Democracy - Aluf Benn
    Israelis fear that Bush's doctrine of promoting democracy in the Arab world might bring to power hostile, rejectionist elements (like Islamist parties) who would pose a serious threat to Israel's security once in power. The most ardent advocate of Arab political reform in Israel is Natan Sharansky who has argued for years that Israel must link any territorial concession to the Palestinians or the Syrians with their domestic political reforms. He prefers a hostile democratic neighbor to a friendly dictator as the basis for long-term security. In Israel, however, "they see me as a lunatic from a Soviet prison, disconnected from the harsh realities of the Middle East," he complained recently. (The National Interest)
  • We Cannot Hold Israel Responsible - Jihad El Khazen
    Mohammed Dahlan, the Palestinian minister responsible for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, sees no political future for suicide operations or rocket attacks, and says that Israel will respond to activities by Hamas and Islamic Jihad by hitting the PA. There is a promise by the G8 to provide $3 billion and there are other commitments. However, this assistance is tied to calm.
        The Americans want Abu Mazen to prevent "acts of violence" against Israel and disarm the Islamic factions. David Walsh, the head of the Middle East section at the U.S. State Department, added a new demand last week, namely trying in court those suspected of engaging in violence against Israel. Yet Abu Mazen remains unable to bring to trial individuals accused of corruption, and the security situation in Palestinian towns has not improved since his election. There are armed gangs that have no relation to politics. Armed individuals fire at police stations, PA centers, and the homes of senior officials. These are all matters for which we cannot hold Israel responsible. (Dar Al-Hayat-Lebanon)
  • How Would Churchill Have Answered the Islamist Threat? - Ben Macintyre
    In The River War, his account of the reconquest of the Sudan that ended in the battle of Omdurman in 1898, Winston Churchill saw the Sudan campaign as a conflict between barbarity and civilization. Of the battle of Omdurman he wrote: "Civilization - elsewhere sympathetic, merciful, tolerant, ready to discuss or argue, eager to avoid violence, to submit to law, to effect compromise - here advanced with an expression of inexorable sternness." That, undoubtedly, would have been Churchill's response to the suicide bombings in London: these are not disasters to be "tamely survived" but an immoral assault on civilized values, to be fought with "inexorable sternness." (Times-UK)
  • Observations:

    Jihad Made In Europe - Reuel Marc Gerecht (Weekly Standard)

    • The much-anticipated Muslim moderates of Europe have so far not developed with the same gusto as the Muslim activists who have dominated too many mosques in "Londonistan" and elsewhere in Europe. The secularization of the Muslims living in Europe has been, b and large, a great success. The moderates have become European. The militants are the only ones left ardently praying.
    • The French scholar Olivier Roy has written: "When we consider the [Islamic] movements that embrace violence, we can see that they are not expressions of an outburst in the West of the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict in the Middle East. Most of the young Muslims radicalize in the West: They are 'born-again Muslims.' It's here that they are Islamicized."
    • "Their dispute with the world isn't imported from the Middle East: It is truly modern, aimed against American imperialism, capitalism, etc....They exist in a militant reality abandoned by the extreme left, where the young live only to destroy the system."
    • The Saudis may pay for the mosques and the visiting Saudi and Jordanian imams, but the believers are often having very European conversations in European languages. In France, Belgium, or Holland, sitting with young male believers can feel like a time-warp, a return to the European left of the 1970s and early 1980s.
    • In the last three centuries, Europe has given birth and nourishment to most of mankind's most radical causes. It shouldn't be that surprising to imagine that Europe could nurture Islamic militancy on its own soil.
    • A wise U.S. counterterrorist policy would downplay the external causes of Islamic activism in Europe and assume that European society itself will continue to generate the most lethal holy warriors. This means that the Bush administration ought to preempt fate and suspend the visa-waiver program established in 1986 for Western Europeans.

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