Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 8, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

UK Terrorists Got Cash from Saudi Arabia Before 7/7 - Toby Harnden and Andrew Alderson (Telegraph-UK)
    Two senior al-Qaeda operatives in Saudi Arabia made money transfers and used coded text messages to communicate with suspected terrorists in Britain before last month's attacks in London, according to Saudi officials.
    The two men, of Moroccan descent, have since been shot dead. Younis Mohammed Ibrahim al-Hayari, allegedly al-Qaeda's leader in Saudi Arabia, was killed in Riyadh three weeks ago, and Abdel Karim al-Mejati died in a shoot-out in April.
    Huge amounts of chemicals and other bomb-making materials were found at al-Hayari's hideout. Al-Mejati is said to have planned the train bombings in Madrid in March last year.
    Scotland Yard is investigating evidence that the two waves of terrorist attacks in London were also planned in Saudi Arabia.

Israel Campus Beat
- August 7, 2005

Point Counter-Point:
    More Views on the Gaza Disengagement

Undercover in the Academy of Hatred (Sunday Times-UK)
    During a two-month undercover investigation, the Sunday Times has amassed hours of taped evidence and pages of transcripts which show how Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed and his acolytes promote hatred of "non-believers" and "egg" their followers on to commit acts of violence, including suicide bombings.
    The evidence details how his group, the Savior Sect, preaches a racist creed of Muslim supremacy which, in the words of Bakri, aims at one day "flying the Islamic flag over Downing Street."
    Our reporter witnessed a gang of Bakri's followers brutally beating up a Muslim who challenged their views, and discovered a group of 40 young men, many of Bangladeshi origin.
    Bakri was taped saying he had been "very happy" since the July 7 London bombings, and he described the bombers in the second attacks as the "fantastic four."
    See also Deportation Not Fair, Says Extremist (on Welfare) - Graeme Wilson (Daily Mail-UK)

Top PA Judge Resigns After House Attacked - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    The chairman of the PA's Higher Judicial Council, Zuheir Sorani, announced his resignation on Saturday, less than a week after his house was attacked with an explosive device.
    Sorani revealed that armed gangs in the Gaza Strip managed to free the attackers shortly after they had been arrested by the PA security forces.
    At an emergency meeting in Ramallah to discuss the growing anarchy, Hamas leader Hassan Youssef charged that the PA security forces were mostly responsible for the security deterioration.

Israeli Cruise Ships Diverted After Terror Warnings - Diana Bahur-Nir and Yigal Walt (Ynet News)
    Four Israeli cruise ships carrying about 3,500 Israelis en route to Turkey were instructed to head for ports in Greece and Cyprus Friday after warnings of threats by international Islamic terrorists.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Presses Israel to Smooth the Path to a Palestinian Gaza - Steven Erlanger
    The Bush administration has increased pressure on the Israeli government in recent days to do more to make a Palestinian Gaza successful after Israeli settlers are pulled out later this month. Secretary of State Rice in particular has been forceful and even abrupt in her dealings with senior Israeli officials, including the foreign and defense ministers.
        Rice was initially considering a return trip to Israel next week to monitor the Gaza pullout, but has since decided against it. "She'll get credit if it works, and she doesn't want to be here if it doesn't," one American official in the region said. In Washington, a senior American official said that American involvement had increased sharply after Rice, in June, told reporters she wanted to avoid mediating the details of Gaza coordination. But since then her aides have been doing precisely that. (New York Times)
  • Bombs Used in Iraq Are Made in Iran, U.S. Says - Eric Schmitt
    Many of the new, more sophisticated roadside bombs used to attack American and government forces in Iraq have been designed in Iran and shipped in from there, suggesting a new area of cooperation between Iranian Shiites and Iraqi Sunnis to drive American forces out, U.S. military and intelligence officials said Friday. One senior military officer said "tens" of the devices had been smuggled in and used against allied forces in the past several weeks.
        Some shipments have contained both components and fully manufactured devices, and may have been spirited into Iraq along the porous Iranian border by the Iranian-backed, anti-Israeli terrorist group Hizballah, or by Iran's Revolutionary Guard. American commanders say these bombs closely matched those that Hizballah has used against Israel. (New York Times)
  • Iran Seeks Syrian Help to Counter Western Pressure
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday called for closer cooperation with Syria in the face of "common threats," during a visit to Tehran by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Both governments remain on a U.S. list of countries supporting terrorism, and Washington accuses both countries of failing to stop Islamic insurgents from crossing their borders into Iraq. (VOA News)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Cabinet Reaffirms Disengagement, Netanyahu Resigns - Herb Keinon
    By a 16-5 vote, the Israeli cabinet gave final approval Sunday for the removal of the Gaza settlements of Morag, Netzarim, and Kfar Darom. Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who voted with the minority, resigned. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Prime Minister's Office: Netanyahu Resignation Won't Affect Disengagement - Herb Keinon and Gil Hoffman
    Sources in the Prime Minister's Office stressed Monday that Netanyahu's resignation would not delay the implementation of the disengagement plan. Prime Minister Sharon appointed Ehud Olmert as interim finance minister. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Fatah Gunmen Shoot at Israeli Car, Seriously Wound Ten-Year-Old Boy - Matthew Gutman and Margot Dudkevitch
    A 10-year-old child was critically wounded after being shot in the head by Palestinian gunmen in a drive-by shooting north of Ramallah on Sunday. The Fatah's military wing, the Al-Aksa Brigades, claimed responsibility. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Shots Fired at Israeli Vehicles East of Kalkilya - Margot Dudkevitch
    Palestinian gunmen fired shots toward two Israeli vehicles driving near Azoun, east of Kalkilya, in the West Bank on Sunday evening. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Gaza Militias Moving to West Bank - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Jamal Abu Samhadana, commander of the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza, announced Sunday, "We will move our cells to the West Bank," where they would start operating immediately after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. The Popular Resistance Committees, which consists of gunmen belonging to the ruling Fatah party and dissident members of the PA security forces, had claimed responsibility for the October 2003 attack on a U.S. diplomatic convoy in Gaza in which three American security officers were killed. Abu Samhadana, wanted by Israel for a series of terror attacks, revealed that the PA recently offered him a senior position in its Military Intelligence Force and that he was positively weighing the offer.
        Abu Samhadana and his cohorts viewed the disengagement as an Israeli "surrender" to the will, determination, and resistance of the Palestinians. He said his group would continue to launch attacks on Israel after the disengagement "to liberate the remaining Palestinian lands." He disclosed that at least 500 members of his group have been recruited to the PA security forces since January. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Militias in the Pay of the PA - Danny Rubinstein
    In al-Bureij in Gaza, Mahmoud Nashbat has been active in the Palestinian preventive security forces for a long time. Two years ago, he founded a militia called the Jenin Martyrs' Brigade, which numbers dozens (some say hundreds) of soldiers. The vast majority are former members of Palestinian security forces who have carried out acts of terror. More important, most of them continue to receive salaries from these organizations. In other words, in Gaza it is possible to receive a salary from the Palestinian Authority and to engage in acts of terror.
        How many gangs and bullies with Robin Hood-style pretensions exist in Gaza? Some say dozens: Abu Amra Bedouin tribal gangs in southern Gaza; "death squads" in central refugee camps; the Abu Rish Brigade in Khan Yunis; and Abu-Samhadana supporters in Rafah - all connected with Fatah. Hamas has its own groups, and there are other groups and political movements associated with senior Palestinians with some clout. Murder, kidnapping, and extortion, like those surrounding Nashbat, have become part of everyday life in Gaza. Mahmoud Abbas has not succeeded in coping with this phenomenon and some say he is not even trying. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Devil You Think You Know - Robert Baer
    Ten days ago, in Damascus, I sat down with a Syrian official I've known for years and asked: What's with the jihadists crossing Syria's border into Iraq? There is no way anyone can control a long border like that, he said, sounding the official line. Then he dropped a bombshell. Of 1,200 suspected suicide bombers arrested by Syrian authorities since the beginning of the war in 2003, 85% have been Saudis. During the last few months, the Iraqi resistance has been firing at Saudi and Kuwaiti border posts. So far it's nothing serious - but it could be a harbinger of Iraq's chaos spilling into the kingdom.
        Iran is no less a problem. Two months ago, in Qum, I spoke with Grand Ayatollah Saanei about the phenomenon of suicide bombings. I expected the usual diatribe against the U.S., but instead his real anger was directed at the "Wahhabi" suicide bombers, almost all of them Saudis, killing Iraqi Shia. "They are wolves without pity," he said. "Sooner rather than later, Iran will have to put them down." The writer is a former veteran CIA officer. (Newsweek)
        See also The Deadly Virus of Suicide Bombings - Robert Baer
    The only sure way of stopping the bombers is to have agents in their cells. You have to intercept them in the planning stage. You cannot rely on telephone taps but only on old-fashioned spies and informers, sources that in the intelligence world we call human intelligence. You can also crack down hard on those who feed the cult by inciting other young men on the path of jihad. But the only real solution lies within Islam itself. It is only when the vast majority of law-abiding Muslim societies reject the cultural virus of suicide bombing and cease to glorify it that this plague will burn itself out. (Observer-UK)
  • The Right Time for an Islamic Reformation - Salman Rushdie
    When Sir Iqbal Sacranie, head of the Muslim Council of Britain, admitted that "our own children" had perpetrated the July 7 London bombings, it was the first time in my memory that a British Muslim had accepted his community's responsibility for outrages committed by its members. However, this is the same Sacranie who, in 1989, said that "Death is perhaps too easy" for the author of The Satanic Verses [Salman Rushdie].
        Tony Blair's decision to knight him and treat him as the acceptable face of "moderate," "traditional" Islam is either a sign of his government's penchant for religious appeasement or a demonstration of how limited Blair's options really are. Sacranie is a strong advocate of Blair's new religious-hatred bill, which he expects to outlaw references to Islamic terrorism. If Sir Iqbal Sacranie is the best Blair can offer in the way of a good Muslim, we have a problem. (Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    Alone at the Dance - Mortimer B. Zuckerman (U.S. News)

    • The Middle East's old diplomatic game of make-believe is back. The peace process is hopelessly deadlocked, but the key players pretend otherwise, hoping that wishing will make it so.
    • The Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, have, once and for all, given in to the gunmen. Abbas pledged to establish "one authority, one law, and one gun." He has failed on all counts.
    • When radicals threatened to break the cease-fire several weeks ago, he caved, freeing nine of their jailed gunmen. He caved again when the radicals threatened to kill Fatah supporters unless he released another terrorist who had been firing rockets in Gaza. When Israel gave the PA the names of militants involved in a February suicide bombing in a Tel Aviv nightclub, he caved yet again, arresting several, then releasing them.
    • Instead of living up to his promise to keep tabs on a "Most Wanted" list of 495 terrorists, he tried to slip many of them in as employees of the Palestinian security forces, to legitimize and launder their possession of arms so they could attack again. When Israel provided the names of weapon smugglers, Abbas's security chiefs tipped them off that the Israelis were on their trail.
    • The incitement of hatred is also still going on. In print and on broadcast media controlled by the PA - and subsidized by Europe and the U.S. - Israelis and Jews continue to be demonized, their murders blatantly encouraged. Palestinian kids save terrorist cards the way American kids save baseball cards.
    • Israelis rightly ask: What's the point of strengthening a leader whose popularity is plummeting, who cannot or will not exert control over terrorists, and who has proved incapable of carrying out his promises?
    • How sad that there is no leader on the other side with a vision of what a Palestinian state might be and with the courage to save the PA from being a fig leaf for an increasingly anarchic terrorist state.

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