Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 11, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Reporter Killed in Iraq "Because He Was to Marry a Muslim" - Fraser Nelson (Scotsman-UK)
    American journalist Steven Vincent, who was shot dead in Basra, Iraq, last week, was executed by Shiite extremists who knew he was intending to marry his Muslim interpreter, it has emerged.
    Vincent was shot a week before his planned wedding to Nouriya Itais, and had already delivered a $2,500 dowry to her family.

Pentagon Team Spotted 9/11 Leader a Year Before Attacks - Douglas Jehl (New York Times)
    More than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, a military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of al-Qaeda operating in the U.S., according to a former defense intelligence official.
    In the summer of 2000, the military team, known as Able Danger, prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended that the information be shared with the FBI, the former official said Monday.
    The team had been established by the Special Operations Command in 1999, under a classified directive issued by Gen. Hugh Shelton, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to assemble information about al-Qaeda networks around the world.
    "Ultimately, Able Danger was going to give decision-makers options for taking out al-Qaeda targets," the former official said.

8 Out of 10 Australian Islamic Leaders Won't Condemn Bin Laden - Liam Houlihan (Herald Sun-Australia)
    Responding to a survey, 8 out of 10 Islamic spiritual leaders who preach to hundreds of Muslims in Victoria each day refuse to accept that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the September 11 attacks - ignoring his own confession.

Into the Underworld - Marie Colvin (Sunday Times-UK)
    For Gaza tunnel smugglers, the profits are huge. A Kalashnikov sells for $200 on the Egyptian side, but fetches $2,000 on the Gaza black market.
    A good night's delivery is 1,200 Kalashnikovs - a profit of more than $2m.
    Bullets - 50 cents in Egypt, $8 wholesale in Gaza - are even more profitable. A standard one-night delivery returns a profit of $750,000.
    The tunnels are financed by wealthy families who run the tunnels as businesses. They rent the passage to anyone who pays $10,000 for one night's use.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Britain and U.S. Warn Iran Over Links with Iraq Rebels - Thomas Harding and Francis Harris
    Britain formally protested to Iran Wednesday over its growing interference in Iraq's internal affairs, citing the smuggling of sophisticated explosives that threaten to send coalition casualties soaring. The move came after British and American intelligence officials said they uncovered evidence that Iran's Revolutionary Guard was providing deadly "shaped" charges to Iraq's insurgents. They are also thought to be providing training and other weapons. Britain's statement came hours after Donald Rumsfeld, the U.S. defense secretary, also accused Iran of smuggling weaponry. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Iran Removes UN's Nuclear Seals
    Iran has broken all the remaining UN seals at its nuclear plant at Isfahan, making it fully operational. (BBC News)
  • Gaza Withdrawal a Test for Palestinian Statehood - Wafa Amr
    As Palestinians prepare to celebrate Israel's pending pullout from Gaza, their leaders face the formidable challenge of proving they can run a territory peacefully. For any chance of winning statehood, they must dim the appeal of violence by bringing good government and economic hope to Gaza, officials and diplomats say. "This is a test. We need to convince the world we deserve a state that would be a stabilizing factor in the region. If we fail, history will not forgive the Palestinians," said Jibril al-Rajoub, security adviser to Mahmoud Abbas. (Reuters)
  • Presbyterians Target Companies Linked with Israel
    The Presbyterian Mission Responsibility through Investment Committee accused five companies Friday of contributing to "ongoing violence that plagues Israel and Palestine" and pledged to use the church's multimillion-dollar stock holdings in the businesses to pressure them to stop. The targeted companies are Caterpillar, Citigroup, ITT Industries, Motorola, and United Technologies. David Elcott, head of interreligious relations for the American Jewish Committee, contended the Presbyterian strategy was meant to "punish and attack" Israel. He said he was particularly upset by the timing of the announcement, two weeks before Israel prepares to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. (AP/Houston Chronicle)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Al-Qaeda Man in Turkey Says He Planned to Attack Israeli Ships
    A suspected Syrian al-Qaeda militant appeared before a Turkish court Thursday to face charges, and shouted to journalists that he was planning to attack Israeli cruise ships on Turkey's Mediterranean coast. (AP/Ha'aretz)
        See also Travel Advisory Remains Despite Reports of Arrests in Turkey - Herb Keinon
    The government's travel warning urging Israelis not to go to the southern Turkish coast remained in place Wednesday, as contradictory reports emerged regarding whether an al-Qaeda cell planning attacks against Israelis had been apprehended. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF on High Alert Along Northern Border - David Rudge
    IDF troops along the northern border have been placed on a high state of alert and preparedness in case of any attempted attacks from Lebanon prior to or during disengagement from the Gaza Strip. Reports in the Lebanese press on Tuesday said Hizballah had also increased the alert level of its forces deployed on the Lebanese side of the border. According to military assessments, Hizballah is still anxious to try and kidnap IDF soldiers to use as bargaining chips in any future prisoner exchange deals. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • No Rush for a Palestinian State - Ehud Ya'ari
    The Palestinian leadership, it may transpire, is not so keen on the independence that's being offered it. The mood in the ranks of important parts of the Fatah movement is: a state? Surely, but only under terms that leave open the option of resuming the conflict - no security barrier, no waiving of the "right of return," no agreement to Israel's retention of "settlement blocs." And, Palestinian leaders of the highest rank say in private conversations, if such a state is not immediately attainable, why, there's no reason to rush.
        In the Gaza Strip, the de facto independence that the Palestinians will achieve without paying any price will not be used to construct a model of successful sovereignty, but rather will become a base for the struggle for the West Bank and Jerusalem. They will refuse to see the withdrawal as an end either to the occupation of the Strip or to the terrorist activity emanating from it. (Jerusalem Report)
  • Why Are Jacques Chirac and Ariel Sharon Embracing Each Other? - Daniel Schwammenthal
    For a long time, France's pro-Palestinian policy seemed to have only advantages for the French, gaining them Arab sympathies and lucrative business deals, including arms contracts, in the Arab world. But their anti-Israeli policy and the near hysterical Israel-bashing in the French media also contributed to a dramatic rise in anti-Jewish attacks by French Muslims. France suddenly had to pay a price for its policy - it imported the intifada to France. Politicians and the media were genuinely outraged that French citizens of Jewish descent could no longer feel safe at home. They disliked being called Europe's most anti-Semitic country. Further inflaming the French Muslim population is also not a good idea in light of the increased threat of home-grown Islamic terrorists.
        France's traditional Arab sphere of influence outside the Maghreb - Baghdad, Beirut, and Damascus - is falling apart. Saddam Hussein is gone and Iraq is no longer a French domain. In Lebanon, the assassination of Rafik Hariri, a close friend of Mr. Chirac, pushed the French president to a much more radical approach regarding Syria. France's newfound determination to eject the Syrians from Lebanon suddenly saw Mr. Chirac aligned with the U.S. and Israel. (Wall Street Journal, 7Aug05)
  • Not a Single Bullet for the PA - Uri Dan
    In an interview given by Prime Minister Sharon at the end of a recent visit to Paris, he once again explained: The fact that PA leader Abbas had reached agreement with Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist organizations instead of dismantling them had made him their hostage and raised considerable doubts regarding his ability to progress toward the implementation of the road map.
        IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz said the PA has enough arms and ammunition to dominate Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. Sharon doesn't intend to give them a single bullet. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Why Tolerate the Hate? - Irshad Manji
    The government of Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain has proposed new laws to deport extremist religious leaders, to shut down the mosques that house them, and to ban groups with a history of supporting terrorism. As Westerners bow down before multiculturalism, we anesthetize ourselves into believing that anything goes. We see our readiness to accommodate as a strength - even a form of cultural superiority. Radical Muslims, on the other hand, see our inclusive instincts as a form of corruption that makes us soft and rudderless. They believe the weak deserve to be vanquished. (New York Times)
  • Observations:

    President of Israel to Gaza Evacuees: I'm Sorry - Shani Mizrachi
    (Ynet News)

    In a special address to the nation Wednesday, President Moshe Katsav turned to Gaza and northern West Bank would-be evacuees and apologized for removing them from their homes:

    • On behalf of the State of Israel, I ask you, the settlers, for forgiveness, over the demand that you leave after dozens of years of construction and victims.
    • We know your settling in the territories was an act of conscience that was also carried out in accordance with Israeli government decisions. You have established thriving settlements and raised generations of children and youth who glorify Israel.
    • We are in awe of how you have heroically faced the dangers - the thousands of bombs, Kassam rockets, and terror attacks. You have risked your families' and your own lives for the ideal and faith, and you have known pain and bereavement.
    • After a year of hard-fought battles and intense deliberations - the time has come. You must respect the authorities' decisions.
    • You must save your strength for the battles that are awaiting us. Even those who support the pullout realize the real fight is over the eastern border.

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