Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 1, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Third Terror Cell on Loose in Britain - David Leppard and John Follain (Times-UK)
    A third Islamist terror cell is planning multiple suicide bomb attacks against Tube trains and other "soft" targets in central London, security sources have revealed.     Details of a "third wave" terror plot to carry out multiple suicide attacks were disclosed to senior police commanders last Wednesday.
    Members of the third cell are independent of the July 7 and July 21 terrorists but have "associations" with some of them.
    Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of the anti-terrorist branch, said that despite capturing the four suspected July 21 bombers and a fifth man linked to the cell, "the threat remains and is very real."
    A member of the Scotland Yard unit which captured three of the suspected suicide bombers said: "What we did on Friday was just the tip of the iceberg. There is some big stuff coming in the next few months. There's a big network that's got to be cracked."

New Israeli Estimates on Iranian Nukes - Orly Halpern (Jerusalem Post)
    "We no longer think that a secret [Iranian nuclear] military track runs independent of the civilian one," said a high-ranking IDF commander on Sunday.
    "If it were, then they [the Iranians] could acquire weapons in 2007."
    According to the new estimates, Iran will probably have a nuclear bomb by 2012, but could have the capability as early as 2008 "if all goes well for it," said the officer.
    Israel does not believe that Iran has yet enriched uranium required to build a nuclear bomb, a step that has been described as the "point of no return."
    The source believes that point could occur within a few months to a year.

Pro-Reform Activists Beaten in Cairo - Nadia Abou El-Magd (AP/Guardian-UK)
    Egyptian riot police and government supporters beat dozens of pro-reform activists with clubs Saturday during a protest in Cairo against President Hosni Mubarak.
    An Associated Press reporter saw at least 15 protesters being beaten, as plainclothes officers wielding police batons and black-uniformed police joined in the assaults.
    Most major opposition groups are boycotting the September election, calling Mubarak's move to open the vote to multiple candidates a sham.

Palestinian "Fighters" in Lebanon May Be Sent to Gaza - Mohammed Zaatari (Daily Star-Lebanon)
    Rumors are circulating within Palestinian communities in Lebanon that preparations are underway to transfer Palestinian fighters from Lebanon to the Palestinian territories following the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.
    Fatah's general supervisor in Lebanon, Col. Mounir Maqdah, said after contacts with the Palestinian command in the territories, "We were informed we will be with them soon."


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Saudi King Fahd Dies, Abdullah Becomes New King
    Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, who ruled the world's largest oil-producing nation in name only since suffering a stroke in 1995, died Monday at the age of 84, the Saudi royal court said. Crown Prince Abdullah, the king's half brother and Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, was appointed the country's new monarch. During his rule, the portly, goateed Fahd, who rose to the throne in 1982, helped fuel the rise of Islamic extremism by making multiple concessions to hard-liners, hoping to boost his Islamic credentials. But he also brought the kingdom closer to the U.S. and agreed to base U.S. troops on Saudi soil after the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. (AP/FOX News)
  • British Terror Ring May Have Saudi Connection - Duncan Gardham and Bruce Johnston
    Two of the men arrested for attempted bombings on July 21 had links with Saudi Arabia. Hussain Osman, who was caught on Friday in Rome, made a mobile phone call to Saudi Arabia shortly before his arrest. Muktar Said Ibrahim, who was captured in west London, went to the kingdom in 2003 for two or three months for a "training course."  (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Al-Qaeda Link to London Attacks Probed - Peter Finn and Glenn Frankel
    British and Saudi investigators are examining a series of phone calls, text messages, and e-mails between leaders of the al-Qaeda network in Saudi Arabia and unknown people in Britain from February to May for possible links to the recent bomb attacks in London or a still unidentified group of extremists operating in Britain, according to a Saudi official. (Washington Post)
  • UN Council Urges Lebanon to Control Its South - Evelyn Leopold
    The UN Security Council on Friday called on Lebanon to extend its military presence to the south where Hizballah and Israeli forces have been exchanging fire. As the Council renewed its peacekeeping mission in Lebanon by another six months, it voted unanimously to call upon the government of Lebanon "to fully extend and exercise its sole and effective authority throughout the south, including through the deployment of sufficient number of Lebanese armed and security forces." (Reuters)
  • France Ejects 12 Islamic "Preachers of Hate" - Colin Randall
    The gulf between British and French treatment of preachers of hatred and violence was thrown sharply into focus Friday when France announced the summary expulsion of a dozen Islamists by the end of August. A tough new anti-terrorism package unveiled by Nicolas Sarkozy, the interior minister, reflects French determination to act swiftly against extremists. Imams and their followers who fuel anti-Western feeling among impressionable young French Muslims will be rounded up and returned to their countries of origin. Those who have assumed French citizenship will not be protected from deportation.
        At least seven French nationals are now known to have been killed while fighting with anti-coalition insurgents in Iraq, in some cases as suicide bombers, Sarkozy said. A further ten are believed still to be there. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also The Dangers of Tolerance - Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank
    Three clerics residing in Britain have been particularly critical to the support of terrorism worldwide: Sheik Omar Bakri Mohammed, Abu Hamza Al Masri, and Abu Qatada. The history of these three militants in Britain demonstrates the folly of Britain's tolerance of such preachers. (New Republic)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Sharon Aide to Tell Rice "No Arms for PA" - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minister Sharon's top adviser, Dov Weisglass, in Washington for a meeting Sunday with Secretary of State Rice, will argue against supplying the PA with weapons it says it needs. Rice, who is expected to return to Israel on August 15 to "chaperone" the disengagement process, has been pressing Israel to allow the resupply of arms and ammunition to the PA. Israel has argued that an infusion of arms and ammunition won't make a difference for Abbas until he takes the strategic decision to frontally take on his extremists. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Rice Rebukes Israel's Defense Minister - Eliel Shahar
    During her recent visit, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice aggressively asked Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz that Israel permit the transfer of combat-support equipment to the Palestinian security services. According to a source who participated in the meeting, Rice gave Mofaz a timetable: "I want you to give the approved list to our ambassador, Dan Kurtzer, by tomorrow afternoon," she announced. Mofaz replied: "I need to examine the matter. It may require the approval of the Cabinet. I can't just approve this on the spot." "Then I'll give you two days," she answered. "I'm the Minister of Defense. I have other things to deal with," Mofaz replied. Rice lost her patience. "I'm the Secretary of State, and I'm telling you that this is important." (Maariv-Hebrew, 29Jul05)
        See also Israel Radio: West Bank Flooded with Weapons - PA Doesn't Need More
    Israel Radio Arab Affairs Correspondent Avi Yissakharov explained Sunday that "anyone who visits the West Bank cities can readily see that they are flooded with weapons already - what with the heavily armed security forces, paramilitary forces, and others on the streets with assault rifles." Yissakharov noted the frequent heavy exchanges of gunfire between various groups is a good indication that ammunition is readily available. (IMRA)
  • Palestinians Fire Rockets at Israeli Kibbutz
    Palestinians fired three Kassam rockets Sunday at Nahal Oz, a kibbutz in Israel's western Negev region. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Palestinians Fire Rockets at Israeli Town
    Palestinians fired three Kassam rockets Friday at the southern Israeli town of Sderot. (Ynet News)
        See also Palestinian Rockets to Threaten Tel Aviv - Ali Waked
    Palestinian terrorists have already installed the necessary infrastructure to transfer Kassam rockets to the West Bank from Gaza, according to Abu Abir, spokesman for the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees terror group. "It's clear to everyone that [the rockets] brought the victory and liberation in the Strip. And they will continue to serve us in our struggle until the liberation of all of Palestine," he said. "We have already set up the units who work to smuggle the necessary knowledge from Gaza to the West Bank for fighting techniques, especially those having to do with the rockets." (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Golden Opportunity Squandered - Jackson Diehl
    Arafat's death last November created, it was commonly said, a golden opportunity for Palestinians to arrest their society's downward spiral into squalor and suicide bombing. It also set up a test for all those who believed that Arafat himself was the principal Palestinian problem. Six months ago, Arafat was abruptly replaced, via a fair democratic election, by Mahmoud Abbas, a civilized moderate with a long record of opposing violence and a clear commitment to negotiating a peaceful settlement with Israel. Yet what difference do we see in Palestinian behavior?
        An experts' study recently concluded that Palestinian security forces remain factionalized, underarmed and undertrained, and that they are more easily commanded by local warlords than their official leaders. Corrupt hacks populate Palestinian ministries and dominate the legislature and the ruling Fatah party. It all sounds, in short, very much like Arafat's Palestine. (Washington Post)
  • Hamas Camp: Sun, Fun, Indoctrination - Matthew B. Stannard
    Prime Minister Sharon's spokesman, Ra'anan Gissin, described Hamas summer camps as "indoctrination camps" comparable to the Hitler Youth camps, and accused Hamas of taking advantage of Gaza parents' desperate economic straits by offering to care for and feed their children while concealing the organization's true motives. "This is where you create cultural hatred, so by the age of 15 or 16 you can send them out as suicide bombers. That's the whole purpose of them," he said.
        At one camp, a group of younger children - most between 10 and 12 - sat in a circle singing one of the "intifada songs" they learn at camp: "We want revenge....If it will take a thousand martyrs....Kill Zionists.... Wherever they are....In the name of God....Hamas!" Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said in a recent interview that the group will continue to attack Jewish settlements in the West Bank and that he remains devoted to the elimination of the State of Israel altogether. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Observations:

    The Human Cost of Disengagement (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

    • Against the background of more than four years of terrorist bloodshed, Israel has initiated its Disengagement Plan in the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria, both to enhance its security and to put the peace process with the Palestinians back in motion.
    • The plan requires a considerable sacrifice on the part of some 1,700 families, or about 8,000 people, who must leave the homes and livelihoods they have built over the course of several decades.
    • In the short term, it is these settlers who are paying the greatest part of the price for peace. It is they who were encouraged by previous governments to settle barren land and turn it into homes, gardens, and farms, in the same pioneering spirit that built the State of Israel. They are now being asked to relinquish these accomplishments for the greater good.
    • Descriptions of the 25 settlements included in the Disengagement Plan show what some of Israel's pioneers are giving up.
    • Removing the Jewish communities from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria means:
      • 3 high schools, 7 elementary schools, 36 kindergartens, and 42 day-care centers will be closed
      • 5,000 schoolchildren will need to find new schools
      • 38 synagogues will be dismantled
      • 166 Israeli farmers will lose their livelihoods - plus some 5,000 of their Palestinian workers
      • 48 graves in the Gush Katif Cemetery, including those of six residents murdered by terrorists, will be exhumed and moved to Israel.

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