Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 28, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

London Bomb Plot May Have Been Much Larger (ABC News)
    The plot for the July 7 transit bombings in London, which killed 56 people, may have been much larger.
    Sources familiar with the investigation say an additional 12 bombs and four improvised detonators were found in the trunk of a car believed to be rented by suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer.
    "I believe that the explosives left in that car were left there for a second strike," said Bob Ayers, a London-based terrorism consultant.
    See also Exclusive Photos: London Terror Investigation (ABC News)
    View pictures of unexploded bombs used by the London attackers on July 7.
    See also British Request Fails to Stop ABC Report on Bomb Investigation (New York Times)

    See also British Arrest Man Wanted in Transit Attacks - Glenn Frankel (Washington Post)
    British police Wednesday captured Yasin Hassan Omar, 24, in a predominantly Muslim section of Birmingham.
    Investigators say Omar tried to blow up a subway train near the Warren Street station in north London last Thursday.

Hamas Uses Radio Station to Instruct Missile Crews - Aaron Klein (WorldNetDaily)
    Hamas has been using its official radio station, the Voice of Al Aqsa, to relay instructions regarding coordinates and trajectories to terrorists firing rockets and mortars at Gush Katif from Gaza City, security sources said.
    "The radio station is not only broadcasting incitement, but, incredibly, broadcasting military instructions to carry out attacks against Israel," said a security source.
    The station, which broadcasts in Arabic, is available to the general Gaza public at 106.7 FM.

Top Syrian Officials Conned UN - Niles Lathem (New York Post)
    Top Syrian officials, including former defense minister Mustapha Tlas and two cousins of President Bashar Assad, earned millions helping Saddam Hussein evade sanctions and scam the UN oil-for-food program, according to documents released Tuesday.
    The House International Relations Committee released bombshell investigative reports from a Treasury Department probe of Saddam's hidden financial assets that detail mass corruption reaching the highest levels of the Syrian regime.

Israeli Appointed Deputy Chair of UN Disarmament Commission - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
    Meir Itzchaki, the Israeli Foreign Ministry's deputy director for arms control, was tapped Tuesday as deputy chair of the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) and to be part of the Commission's eight-member presidency.
    The UNDC is a General Assembly subcommittee that meets each year for a three-week session.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran to Resume Nuclear Work - Nazila Fathi
    Iran's departing president Mohammad Khatami said Wednesday that the country's senior officials had decided to resume activities at one nuclear site no matter what incentives were in a European proposal expected next week. "We will definitely resume work in Isfahan," the site of a uranium processing plant, Khatami said. (New York Times)
        See also Iran Achieves Solid Fuel Missile Breakthrough
    Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said for the first time Wednesday that the Islamic Republic has fully developed solid-fuel technology in producing missiles, a major breakthrough that increases the accuracy of missiles hitting targets. Iranian missiles like the Shahab-3, with a range of 800-1,200 miles, are capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching Israel and U.S. forces in the Middle East. (AP/FOX News)
  • U.S. Envoy to Israel Pledges to Speak Out Against Terror - Barry Schweid
    The newly named U.S. ambassador to Israel, veteran diplomat Richard H. Jones, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday that the Bush administration did not approve of PA Chairman Abbas's strategy of "trying to co-opt" violent groups and bring them over to his side instead of challenging them head-on. Jones, who speaks Arabic and has served in four Arab countries, said, "I am not shy about taking on terrorists. When I was ambassador to Lebanon I had no problem in condemning terror, including Hizballah." (AP/San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Mubarak Heads for 5th Term - Anthony Shadid
    Hosni Mubarak, 77, Egypt's president for 24 years, will announce his candidacy for a fifth six-year term Thursday. There's a popular joke these days in Cairo. Mubarak's aide asks the president, "Isn't it time you write a farewell speech to the Egyptian people?" The president looks at him, confused. "Where are they going?" he asks. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinians Fire Three More Rockets at Israel from Gaza - Amos Harel and Arnon Regular
    Palestinians near Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip fired three Kassam rockets at the southern Israeli town of Sderot and the western Negev Thursday morning, Army Radio reported. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Rocket Warning System to be Installed in Ashkelon
    The “Red Dawn” rocket warning system, currently in operation in Sderot, is being installed in Ashkelon (population 116,000) as well, amid speculations that the threat of Palestinian Kassam rocket fire toward the city would rise following the upcoming pullout from Gaza. (Ynet News)
  • Chirac Blasts Syria's Destabilizing Role - Aluf Benn
    Meeting with Prime Minister Sharon in Paris Wednesday, French President Chirac called Syria a "threat to the stability of the region" and said he had "great concerns about the Syrians. Their psychology cannot be comprehended." However, Chirac disagreed with Sharon's approach to Hizballah, saying it plays "a stabilizing role" in Lebanon today.
        Chirac also asked that Israel allow France to supply the Palestinian forces with ammunition. Sharon, who had heard the request from U.S. Secretary of State Rice last Friday, responded to Chirac: "On Saturday an Israeli couple was murdered and one of the assailants was a uniformed Palestinian policeman. Why should we give him ammunition? They have ample ammunition." Sharon said that Abbas has 60,000 arms-bearing men, "but most of them are disloyal and do not obey him." (Ha'aretz)
  • PA Prime Minister: "Today Gaza, Tomorrow Jerusalem" - Ali Waked
    PA Prime Minister Qurei said Wednesday while reviewing Palestinian forces in Gaza: "We are telling the entire world, today Gaza and tomorrow Jerusalem. Today Gaza and tomorrow an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital....A state will not arise without our achieving all the rights of our Palestinian nation and the right of return." (Ynet News)
        See also Hamas: Israeli Withdrawal "First Step Towards Liberation of the Rest of Palestine"
    A senior Hamas leader announced Thursday that the upcoming Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank is "a Palestinian national achievement." Isma'el Haneya said the withdrawal came as a result of "the armed resistance," adding that "it is the first step towards the liberation of the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories."  (Xinhuanet-China)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Call Them What They Are: Those Who Murder Iraqi Civilians Are Terrorists - Editorial
    Today, this editorial board resolves to sacrifice another word - "insurgent" - on the altar of precise language. No longer will we refer to suicide bombers or anyone else in Iraq who targets and kills children and other innocent civilians as "insurgents." The notion that these murderers in any way are nobly rising up against a sitting government in a principled fight for freedom has become, on its face, absurd. To call them "insurgents" insults every legitimate insurgency in modern history. They are terrorists. Teenagers who strap bombs to their chests and detonate them in an Israeli cafe? Terrorists. (Dallas Morning News)
  • The Intra-Palestinian Dimension of Renewed Violence - Anat Kurz
    The outburst of Fatah-Hamas violence earlier this month reflected the intensification of the intra-Palestinian power struggle. Both Hamas and Fatah have been preoccupied in recent months with improving their respective positions in advance of the approaching Israeli disengagement, with Hamas aiming to reinforce its claim of having driven Israel out of Gaza by force. Fatah's dilemma stems from the PA's inability to employ its security organs for maximum effect, because vigorous law enforcement measures are likely to further undermine its domestic standing. Even if Hamas does now restrain itself, it has already asserted its decisive role in setting the agenda through the calculated use of violence. (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • A Betrayal of Sacrifice - Editorial
    Hamas, along with other Palestinian factions, hasn't attempted to cooperate with the PA. In refusing to be part of the pre-withdrawal arrangements, by rejecting a national unity government, and by opting for violence, Hamas, in particular, has undermined the PA. Islamic Jihad, for its part, attacked Netanya last week in an operation that harmed, more than helped, the Palestinian cause.
        The Palestinians need to prove to the world they can run their own show and resolve their own differences. The Palestinian people must have a single authority, one capable of honoring legal and security commitments. The Palestinians must act to discredit those who claim the PA is too weak to assume control of areas evacuated by Israel. Israeli withdrawal represents a chance for the Palestinian leadership and Arab countries to turn Gaza and the northern West Bank into a model of human and economic development. (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
  • The West is Ready to Take On Islam - Youssef M. Ibrahim
    On average, 33 Iraqis die every day, executed by Iraqis and foreign jihadis and suicide bombers, not by U.S. or British soldiers. If this is jihad, someone got his religious education completely upside down. Do the cowardly jihadis really think they will force U.S. and British troops out of Iraq by killing hundreds of innocent Iraqis?
        The only accomplishment of jihadis is that now they have aroused the great "Western Tiger." In this new war, car bombs and suicide bombers here and there will be no match for the arsenal that those Westerners are putting together - an arsenal of laws, intelligence pooling, surveillance by satellites, armies of special forces, and, indeed, allies inside the Arab world who are tired of having their lives disrupted by demented so-called jihadis, those who know little about Islam and nothing about humanity. The writer is a former Middle East correspondent for the New York Times. (Middle East Times-Cyprus)
  • Observations:

    How Arafat Destroyed Palestine - David Samuels (Atlantic Monthly)

    • The amounts of money stolen from the PA and the Palestinian people through the corrupt practices of Arafat's inner circle are so staggeringly large that they may exceed one half of the total of $7 billion in foreign aid. The biggest thief was Arafat himself. Arafat hid his personal stash, estimated at $1 billion to $3 billion, in more than 200 separate bank accounts around the world. What followed Arafat's return [to the territories] was a decade-long thieves' banquet at which Fatah's old guard divided up the spoils of Oslo and treated ordinary Palestinians as conquered subjects. Palestinians were subjected to the extortion and violence of Arafat's overlapping security services, which competed for payoffs, arbitrarily arrested people, and seized their land.
    • In the cafes and apartments in Ramallah where we met, some of the leading members of Fatah's young guard spoke openly of their anger and disappointment at what had happened in Palestine since Oslo. They reserved their bitterest denunciations not for the Israelis but for Arafat's cronies, who had used state jobs to get rich, and showed little interest in their revolutionary progeny.
    • Dennis Ross: "The first time I went to complain to [Arafat] about the bombing - the first set of bombings were, I guess, in April '94, in Hadera and Afula - and I'm with him, and he leans over like this and he whispers, 'You know, it's Barak. He's got this group, the OSS, in the Israeli military, and they're doing this.' And I said to him, 'Don't be ridiculous.' I said, 'You know the Israelis are not killing themselves.' This was classic Arafat, never wanting to be responsible."
    • Terje Roed-Larsen, the most visible representative of the UN in the Middle East, met weekly with Arafat for more than a decade:
      Q: "What was it like when he lied to you?"
      A: "He lied all the time. And he knew it. I'd say, 'Abu Ammar, cut the crap. Let's talk serious.' And then he could either talk serious or not talk serious. He'd say nonsense....'It's not me - it's al-Qaeda.' 'It's the Iranians.'...'It's the Syrians.'...Of course everybody around him knew he was behind it."
    • Iyad Sarraj, a human-rights activist and director of a mental health organization in Gaza, concluded: "Palestinians have lost the battle because of their lack of organization and because they have been captives of rhetoric and sloganeering rather than actual work....I believe that the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians in one way or the other is between development and underdevelopment, civilization and backwardness. Israel was established on the rule of law, on democratization, and certain principles that would advance Israel, while the Arabs and the Palestinians were waiting always for the prophet, for the rescuer, for the savior."

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