Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 10, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Turkey Terrorists Nabbed (JTA)
    An Israeli official said Turkish authorities have cracked an al-Qaeda cell that planned to hit an Israeli tourist target on the southern Turkish coast.
    "People, weapons, means of transport, and communication equipment were nabbed there belonging to a cell linked to al-Qaeda. It intended to carry out an attack at sea and, apparently, on land in foreign tourist centers," Danny Arditi, director of Israel's Counter-Terrorism Headquarters, said Tuesday.

French Intelligence Predicted July 7 Attacks in Britain - Adam Sage (Times-UK)
    French intelligence predicted an al-Qaeda attack in Britain using terrorists of Pakistani origin less than a month before the 7/7 bombings.
    The June report said: "The UK remains threatened by plans decided at the highest level of al-Qaeda. They are likely to be carried out by agents who will take advantage of the pro-jihad sympathies within the large Pakistani community in the UK."
    "But France is not safe from these sort of violent groups, considering the close links (family, business) between the Pakistani community in Britain and many of their compatriots living in France."

Top Egyptian Professor: Muslims Had Nothing to Do with 9/11 (MEMRI)
    Egyptian professor Abd al-Sabour Shahin, head of the Shari'a faculty at Al-Ahzar University in Cairo, told Saudi Channel 1 TV on 8 Aug. 2005:
    "One day, we awoke to the crime of 9/11, which hit the tallest buildings in New York....There is no doubt that not a single Arab or Muslim had anything to do with these events. The incident was fabricated as a pretext to attack Islam and Muslims.... Allah knows that the Arabs and Muslims are innocent of it."
    "All of a sudden, we were framed for an international crime, on the basis of lies. I believe a dirty Zionist hand carried out this act."

Two Plead Guilty to Hizballah Aid Attempt - David Hammer (AP/Guardian-UK)
    Two shipping company employees, one Arab and one Israeli, have pleaded guilty in connection with a planned shipment of night-vision goggles to the Lebanese terrorist organization Hizballah, authorities said.
    Naji Antoine Abi Khalil, 40, of Montreal and originally from Lebanon, pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempting to provide material support for Hizballah, while Tomer Grinberg pleaded guilty July 28 to conspiracy to export sensitive military equipment without proper licenses.

Useful Reference:

History of the Israeli Settlements to be Dismantled (AP/Newsday)


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

  • Iran Rejects Halt in Atom Activity, But Likely to Continue Talks - Thomas Fuller
    Iran on Tuesday rejected calls by European leaders to halt its renewed nuclear activities, but indicated a willingness to continue negotiations over its program. "There is no reason to suspend this activity," Sirus Naser, Iran's chief delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said after an emergency meeting of the agency in Vienna. Diplomats from 35 countries sought consensus on a resolution condemning Iran's move to restart the conversion of uranium on Monday. But the developing nations, represented by Malaysia, issued a joint statement affirming the "basic and inalienable right of all member states to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes."
        President Bush said that if Iran did not cooperate, UN sanctions were "a potential consequence." In Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry also issued a toughly worded statement that called on Iran to "stop work that has begun on uranium conversion without delay." (New York Times )
        See also Report: Tehran Has 4,000 Centrifuges
    Iran has manufactured about 4,000 centrifuges capable of enriching uranium to weapons grade, Alireza Jafarzadeh, an exiled Iranian dissident who helped uncover nearly two decades of covert nuclear activity in 2002, said Tuesday. He said the centrifuges are ready to be installed at Iran's nuclear facility in Natanz. The UN nuclear watchdog agency IAEA previously said it was aware of the existence of 164 centrifuges at Natanz. "The [Iranian] regime has kept the production of these machines hidden from the inspectors while the negotiations with the EU have been going on over the past 21 months," Jafarzadeh said. (AP/USA Today)
        See also Iran Must be Forced to Give Up Nuclear Weapons - Editorial (Telegraph-UK)
  • Abbas Calls for Calm Ahead of Gaza Pullout
    Palestinian Chairman Abbas told the Palestinian Legislative Council Tuesday, "We want the Israelis to leave [Gaza]....They want to leave - so let us let them leave." According to Abbas, Palestinians are responsible for maintaining security during the transition. "This will be a prerequisite to ensure that the withdrawal will take place in a civilized manner," he said. Abbas called the pullout "only the first withdrawal" and warned Palestinians not to celebrate too much. (CNN)
  • UN Official Plays Down Palestinian "Return" Quest - Dan Williams
    Few Palestinian refugees want to return to lands lost in the 1948 war of Israel's creation. Karen Koning AbuZayd, who became commissioner of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in June, said Tuesday, "I am really convinced that most of the people would not want to return. Perhaps there are a few old people who dream about going back to their houses, but no more than that." "Most refugees do not think about it at all. The right to return to their homes is much more important to them than the act of returning," she said.
        Asked about AbuZayd's remarks, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said, "I think everyone in the international community understands that the so-called right of return is diametrically opposed to the principles of a two-state solution in which both peoples have national self-determination." (ABC News/Reuters)
  • Pakistani Imam Accused of Planning Terror Training in California - Carolyn Marshall
    FBI agent Gary Schaaf told an immigration judge on Tuesday that Pakistani imam Shabbir Ahmed, 39, planned to set up a religious school in Lodi, California, where recruits could be trained to kill Americans. Ahmed is one of five men being held in connection with a federal investigation that the authorities say ties him and perhaps the others to the Taliban and al-Qaeda. (New York Times)
        See also Briton Accused of Planning Terrorist Camp in Oregon - Jerry Seper
    Haroon Rashid Aswat, 30, a British-born resident of Indian descent detained in the London bombings, was accused Monday by U.S. authorities of conspiring to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon for Islamic extremists to "fight jihad in Afghanistan." (Washington Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Intelligence: "Quiet Withdrawal Expected" - Roi Nahmias
    The upcoming withdrawal from Gaza would not take place under fire, as all Palestinian terror groups, aside from marginal factions, are committed to ensuring the pullout is completed quietly, a senior IDF intelligence official said Tuesday. "There are groups, such as those who were behind Sunday's shooting attack north of Jerusalem, which are not committed to a peaceful pullout, so it cannot be guaranteed, but all the major players understand this is what the public wants," the official said. "No group will want to be depicted as being responsible for delaying the pullout."
        "Hamas believes that following the pullout the Palestinian public will be disappointed in such a way that will renew the support for the organization and the resumption of the armed resistance," the official said. (Ynet News)
  • IDF to Remain in Northern Samaria After Pullout - Herb Keinon
    Israel will retain overall security responsibility in northern Samaria after disengagement, a senior diplomatic official said Tuesday. "We reserve the option to go into those areas and conduct searches," the official said. "This area is within jogging distance of Afula, and is a major stronghold for renegade groups, such as the Aksa Martyrs Brigades. No one can expect us to leave completely. Overall security responsibility will remain in our hands." He said the situation would be reevaluated if the PA proved able to control northern Samaria. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Abbas Pledges Palestinian Legislative Elections in January
    Palestinian Chairman Abbas pledged on Tuesday to hold parliamentary elections in January 2006. (Palestine Media Center-PA)
  • Global Commentary: Disengagement

  • Why Sharon's Critics Are Clueless on Gaza - Oliver Kamm
    The dispiriting fact is that no negotiated two-state agreement is likely in the near future. The end of the conflict requires a changed relationship and mutual trust between Israelis and Palestinians. As an Israeli analyst, Dan Schueftan, says: "At this stage, it is extremely difficult to imagine how any amount of European funding or sponsorship could produce a mega-gimmick convincing enough to persuade Jews, except in the hard-core Left, to consider a refurbished version of the Oslo act of faith after that failed so miserably."
        Sharon knows that Israeli security is ill-served by the diversion of effort to protect 8,000 Jewish settlers among 1.3 million Palestinians. To the settlers' anguish, he is evicting them as part of a wider plan to create the conditions for dialogue. The wisest course for politicians outside the region is to cease attacking Mr. Sharon for not being able to create peace by fiat. The cause of confidence-building and direct negotiations has never wanted for meddlesome outsiders; it should be given a chance to flourish unaided. (Times-UK)
  • Leaving Gaza Is a Historic Mistake - Morton A. Klein
    This unilateral withdrawal from the Jewish sections of Gaza and northern Samaria, and the forced uprooting of some 10,000 Jewish men, women, and children from their homes, schools, synagogues, farms, and businesses, sends a clear message that terrorism pays and pays well, and only encourages more terrorism. The Oslo experiment made it clear that no concessions should ever be made without receiving something concrete in return. There are many vital issues still on the table - Jerusalem; the "refugees"; the future of Jewish communities and land in Judea-Samaria. At a minimum, you don't make major concessions, like uprooting whole Jewish communities, without removing at least one of these issues from the table. Furthermore, with Israeli forces out of Gaza, Palestinian terrorists will be even closer to Israeli towns like Ashdod and Ashkelon, enabling them to launch rockets capable of inflicting serious damage to these places. (Ha'aretz)
  • Privatize the Peace Process - Glenn Yago and James Prince
    While the idea goes against the grain of a long history of liberal thought, disengagement and separation are the best hope for the sort of economic development that will give Palestinians a powerful stake in an enduring peace. Development of an economic infrastructure for a Palestinian state must precede any final political status agreements. By creating such an infrastructure and delivering private investment and job creation now, we have the opportunity to transform a constituency for violence into a constituency for growth and economic viability. Goods transport, free capital flows, and access to markets for Palestinian goods and services will be necessary, but not an integration of labor markets or free movement across borders that create dependency with Israel or threaten its security. (Wall Street Journal, 10Aug05)
  • Observations: The Future of the Gaza-Egyptian Border

    • Risks and Rewards in Gaza - David Makovsky
      Sharon has declared that he wants Israeli soldiers to vacate the narrow corridor between southern Gaza and northern Egypt. To counter the smuggling of weapons, Israel is counting on Egypt's becoming more motivated and more capable in dealing with such problems.
          On the other hand, if Palestinian missiles are brought in that are capable of hitting Israeli cities, alongside the existing crude rockets that hit Israeli border towns, it will bring Israeli military retaliation and make Israelis wary of further withdrawals. Moreover, the international community's support for a two-state solution is predicated on a genuinely demilitarized Palestinian state. (Washington Post)
    • Egypt Prepares for Key Role in Gaza
      With an eye on maintaining stability in Gaza as a way of shoring up its own national security, Egypt is planning a significant military deployment along its northeast border with Gaza once the Israeli pullout ends. Egypt's main concern is preventing the formation of an Islamist stronghold, according to analyst Emad Gad, an expert on Israeli affairs at Cairo's Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. "In no way can Egypt have an Islamist state at its door," he said. "With free and democratic elections, Islamists from Hamas and Islamic Jihad could become the majority," he said, a development that could spell trouble for neighboring Egypt.
          "It is vital to avoid any Islamist contagion between Egypt and Gaza," said Mustafa Kamal el-Sayyid, political science professor at American University of Cairo. (AFP/New Straits Times-Malaysia)
    • Israel Will Continue Checking Goods and People at Gaza Border - Karin Laub
      Israeli Defense Minister Mofaz told the security cabinet Monday that Israel will insist on checking traffic in and out of Gaza after its pullout from the coastal strip, ruling out for now the possibility of foreign inspectors replacing Israeli guards. Mofaz said Israel will insist that Israeli inspectors continue to check goods and people entering and leaving the territory. (AP/Guardian-UK)

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