Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 25, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Witness: Palestinian Islamic Jihad Planned Strike in U.S. - Michael Fechter (Tampa Tribune)
    The Palestinian Islamic Jihad planned an attack inside the U.S., FBI agent Kerry Myers testified Tuesday at the terror-support trial of former University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian.
    Islamic Jihad leaders threatened to attack the U.S. three times, Myers said.
    "I can tell you there was a plot to commit terrorist acts in the U.S.,'' he said. "It was interdicted, I believe.''

Gaza Terror Group Said to Have Rocket That Could Hit Ashkelon (Ha'aretz)
    The Popular Resistance Committees militant network says it has developed a rocket capable of striking targets 15 kilometers away - able to hit the Israeli city of Ashkelon, Army Radio reported Wednesday.
    The PRC is believed responsible for the October 2003 bombing of a U.S. diplomatic convoy in Gaza which killed three security guards and severely wounded a diplomat.

    See also Increased Concern over Rocket Attack on Sharon's Farm - Amir Rappaport (Maariv-Hebrew)
    In the wake of the Gaza withdrawal, concern is increasing that more of southern Israel will fall within range of Palestinian rockets, including Prime Minister Sharon's farm east of Sderot.
    Defensive preparations against Kassam rockets were recently made at Sharon's home by the Shin Bet security service, which is responsible for protecting Israel's leaders.
    Defense officials fear that Israel's withdrawal from Gaza will allow Hamas to bring its rocket launchers right up to the security fence to enable them to reach more distant targets within Israel.

Bank Says Saudi's Top Oilfield in Decline - Adam Porter (Al Jazeera)
    The Bank of Montreal says Saudi Arabia's - and the world's - biggest oil field, Gharwar, is in irreversible decline.
    According to analyst Don Coxe, "The combination of the news that there's no new Saudi Light coming on stream for the next seven years plus the 27% projected decline from existing fields means that Saudi Arabia's oil has peaked."
    "The kingdom's decline rate will be among the world's fastest as this decade wanes," predicts Coxe.

The Other Jihad- Ralph Peters (USA Today)
    The empty mosque in a Christian town in Kenya wasn't meant for worshippers. Funded by Saudis, it was meant to stake a claim.
    On a trip to Kenya and Tanzania last month, I saw recently built mosques wherever I went, part of "the other jihad," the slow-roll attempt by Muslim fundamentalists from the Arabian Peninsula to reclaim East Africa.
    Now, Arab money threatens to undermine the fragile unity of these struggling African states.
    We dismiss bin Laden's dream of re-establishing the caliphate as madness. But Saudis, Yemenis, Omanis, and oil-rich Gulf Arabs are every bit as determined as bin Laden to reassert Muslim domination of the lands Islam once ruled.
    The differences between the Saudi ruling family and bin Laden aren't so much about goals as about methods.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Says PA Must Disarm Hamas
    Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch said Wednesday that it is critical that the Palestinian Authority disarm Hamas and other terrorist organizations in order to take advantage of the opportunity for progress toward peace presented by the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. "In the road map, there is a requirement to take steps toward the dismantlement of the terror organizations. Hamas is for us a terror organization. I would expect that the PA would do those things. We have made those requirements clear to them," Welch said. "Security is the beginning, the middle and the end, and security cannot be had either for the people in those areas or for those who live around them if there is a variety of armed organizations that are allowed to operate." (State Department)
        See also Text of Briefing by Assistant Secretary of State David Welch (State Department)
        See also Washington: It's the Palestinians' Move Now - Shmuel Rosner
    After a stormy week of disengagement, Israel and the U.S. appear to see eye to eye on the next stage. Israel has proven its determination in carrying out the pullout from Gaza, and now the Palestinians must implement the required reforms. The message was clearly spelled out in telephone calls from Washington to Ramallah in the past days. No one in Washington is expecting real peace talks until after the elections next year in the PA and Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • British Detail New Policy on Radicals - Kevin Sullivan
    The British government will deport and ban foreign nationals who "foment, justify, or glorify terrorist violence," Home Secretary Charles Clarke, the country's top law enforcement official, announced Wednesday. Clarke said a list of "unacceptable behaviors" includes the use of Web sites, writing, preaching, publishing, or distributing materials that "seek to provoke others to terrorist acts" or "foster hatred." "Individuals who seek to create fear, distrust, and division in order to stir up terrorist activity will not be tolerated by the government or by our communities," Clarke said. (Washington Post)
        See also List of "Deportation" Acts (Times-UK)
        See also Britain's Biggest Muslim Group Faces "Extremism" Charges
    The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the voice of Britain's 1.6 million Muslims, is under fire for pandering to radicalism, just as it is being called upon to play a bridge-building role in the wake of the London bombings. But a BBC documentary last weekend, and an earlier front page report in the Observer newspaper, have pointed an accusing finger at the council for harboring militants and sympathizing with Palestinian suicide bombers. (AFP/Yahoo)
  • Rebel Fatah Factions Thorn in Palestinian Leader's Side
    Abu Alaa, 33, who heads the Rafah branch in Gaza of the Abu Rish brigades, a subset of the ruling Fatah party, vows to rebel against Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas's calls for peace. "We will take any chance to strike the Israeli army," he says. "We don't work under the Palestinian Authority. We work under our own agenda." Without a unified Fatah, marching firmly behind Abbas, it is hard to imagine him fending off Hamas and establishing an independent state through peaceful negotiations. (AFP/Yahoo)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Murders UK Yeshiva Student in Jerusalem - Jonathan Lis
    Shmuel Mat, 21, a British yeshiva student, was murdered Wednesday by a Palestinian who stabbed him in the Old City of Jerusalem, close to Jaffa Gate. His companion, a student from the U.S., was moderately wounded. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Targets Islamic Jihad Leaders in Tulkarm; 45 Current Terror Warnings - Efrat Weiss
    A special IDF force surrounded a coffee shop in the West Bank town of Tulkarm on Wednesday to arrest senior Islamic Jihad terrorists, when Palestinians began firing at the IDF troops from several directions. Soldiers returned fire, killing five Palestinians. The IDF said the Palestinians were part of the Islamic Jihad terror infrastructure responsible for the last suicide bombings in Tel Aviv and Netanya. Palestinian sources said those killed included Adal Abu Khalil, 26, a senior Islamic Jihad figure, and Majdi Atiya, 20, a member of Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades.
        The Ministry of Defense said there has been a sharp rise in the number of daily terror warnings in recent weeks, with about 45 concrete warnings per day. "The warnings include attempts to strike the heart of Israel proper, as well as the West Bank," a source said. (Ynet News)
  • Mortar Shell Fired from Lebanon Hits Northern Israeli Village - Eli Ashkenazi
    A mortar shell fired from Lebanon slammed into the northern Israeli community of Margaliot near Kiryat Shmona on Thursday, striking a chicken coop. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Begins Building New Police Station East of Jerusalem - Aluf Benn
    Israel is starting to build the headquarters of the Judea and Samaria police district in the 800-meter-wide Area E-1 joining Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim. Sharon wants territorial contiguity between Ma'ale Adumim and Jerusalem. "A police station, like military bases, is not considered to be establishing facts for the final-status agreement, but [is seen as] a security facility that can be moved," a source from Sharon's bureau said. Senior Bush administration officials told their Israeli counterparts to set aside a plan to build 3,500 housing units in the area.
        Sources in Sharon's bureau sharply rejected allegations that construction in E-1 would damage a future agreement with the Palestinians. They said most of the plan for the area was for a park and industrial zone that would include Palestinian factories. Sources said a section of the road has recently been opened to allow Palestinians freedom of movement from the Ramallah area to Abu Dis, without a need to go around Ma'ale Adumim or pass through checkpoints. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • After Gaza - Editorial
    The first response to the question of what comes after Gaza must be: Gaza. The Palestinian Authority must prove that it is capable of setting up and leading a civilized democratic state. That means disarming Islamic extremist movements even while giving those groups the opportunity to compete peacefully in elections; channeling development aid quickly into labor-intensive development projects; and using force without hesitation against any attempt to use Gaza as a base for attacks against Israel. As President Bush suggested this week, without progress in these areas it will be impossible to move toward a final settlement. (Washington Post)
  • Oslo Said It: Hamas and Elections Don't Go Together - Akiva Eldar
    The second Oslo agreement leaves no room for doubt: Hamas is not entitled to participate in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections. "The nomination of any candidates, parties or coalitions shall be refused, and such nomination or registration once made will be canceled," states Article II of Annex II, if they 1. "commit or advocate racism" or 2. "pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful or non-democratic means." In the Hamas covenant there is hardly a page free of racism.
        International law experts at the Justice Ministry have enumerated acts of terror and written incitement by Hamas, which calls for the destruction of Israel. The EU's court has disqualified way more moderate political parties from membership in the European Parliament. In recent years Spain and Turkey have disqualified parties tainted by verbal terror, and the European Court of Justice rejected the claims of these parties that their disqualification was contrary to the Treaty on European Union. (Ha'aretz)
  • Broadcast Live: A New View of Israel - Daoud Kuttab
    Something strange happened last week: Israeli settlers appeared human on Arab TV. This is not to say that Arabs have suddenly become soft on their historical enemies. But hours and hours of watching - on all stations, including Al-Jazeera - close-ups of mothers and babies, of young women and older men, visibly in anguish as they were forced out of their homes, had an emotional effect. For the most part, the language on the broadcasts has been accurate and straightforward.
        Even the largest Palestinian newspaper, Al Quds, carried an editorial on Thursday about the effects of the images of settlers crying and Israeli soldiers embracing them. The dramatic scenes from Gaza should lead us all to double our efforts to ensure that Palestinians can be free in an independent state, alongside a safe and secure Israel. The writer is director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al-Quds University in Ramallah. (International Herald Tribune)
  • Observations:

    Will Anarchy or Order Prevail in Gaza? - Yevgeny Satanovsky (Novosti-Russia)

    • For the last decade, the Palestinian Authority exercised administrative authority over the areas of the Gaza Strip outside the limits of the Israeli settlements. During that time, the standard of living of the population fell drastically; the social structure disintegrated; Palestinian businessmen, including practically all the Christians, left Gaza, and militants took their place. There is no centralized authority in Gaza and violence is rampant. Over 700 armed formations obey only their own leaders or the dictate of stronger brethren. Both the head of the PA, Abu Mazen, and the veterans of the Fatah movement, have only an ephemeral influence in Gaza.
    • Palestinian Gaza has descended into lawlessness and anarchy. Egypt is prepared to establish control over the border of the Gaza Strip in order to prevent the Islamic fundamentalists in Gaza from supporting the terrorists who have become more active on the Sinai Peninsula. However, Egypt will not interfere in the situation within Gaza.
    • Few people doubt that the additional billons of dollars given by the international community for the development of the Gaza Strip will meet the same fate as money previously given to the PA: it will vanish into thin air, without solving a single problem. The same applies to the property left by the Israelis.
    • The fight against Israel will continue even if the Israelis also leave the West Bank or eastern Jerusalem. Israel's opponents see the pullout from Gaza, just like Israel's previous withdrawal from Lebanon, not as a gesture of goodwill or a basis for talks, but as a sign of weakness, that only provokes further attacks. The leaders of Islamic terrorist organizations are certain that it is they who are defeating Israel, and seek to capitalize on Israel's perceived weakness. Gaza and indeed Palestine as a whole threaten the security of their neighbors and the rest of the world.

      The writer is president of the Institute of the Middle East in Moscow.

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