Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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September 6, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Aid to Hurricane Katrina Victims (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    The Israel Foreign Ministry has called on Israeli companies and organizations to donate vital goods and equipment for hurricane victims in the southern U.S.
    By request of the American authorities, the items needed are: plastic sheeting, water, baby food, disposable diapers, cleaning agents, large tents, medical equipment (excluding medicines), and food.
    At this stage, private or small contributions cannot be accepted.

    See also Israeli Divers Volunteer to Recover Bodies in New Orleans - Arieh O'Sullivan (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli volunteer divers are heading to New Orleans to help look for bodies in flooded homes.
    Coordinated by IsraAID (the Israel Forum for International Aid), the Israeli volunteers have extensive experience in rescues and complex emergencies garnered from work around the world.
    Some 20 to 25 volunteers, including four doctors, expect to depart Tuesday.

Al-Qaeda: "The Vision of the Conquest of Rome Will be Realized by This Generation" - Jonathan D. Halevy (News First Class-Hebrew)
    Al-Qaeda distributed a film on the Internet which presents its vision for the coming years - an uncompromising struggle to defeat the Christians by means of conquering Europe and, above all, Rome.
    The film, called "Actions to Defeat the Cross," describes al-Qaeda taking over a position in Afghanistan that was abandoned by the U.S.
    The website is hosted on a Dutch server.
    See also Hizb ut-Tahrir Calls from London for the Re-establishment of the Caliphate - Jonathan D. Halevy (NewsFirstClass-Hebrew)
    Hizb ut-Tahrir published a call from London to all Muslims to exploit the mess in Afghanistan and in Iraq as well as the struggle for Palestine in order to establish a caliphate that will combat the West.
    The call came on the date commemorating the 82nd year since the fall of the Ottoman caliphate.
    Hizb ut-Tahir calls for defeating the West, and maintains its website from London.

Egypt Suicide Bombers Were Bedouin Islamists (AFP/Yahoo)
    The three suicide bombers who carried out the deadly July attacks at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh were Bedouin members of an Islamist cell from Al-Arish in northern Egypt.
    The bombers were identified through DNA tests and the confessions of 29 arrested suspects.
    During searches in Al-Arish and Ismailiya, security forces discovered arms caches and ammunition as well as leaflets calling for jihad.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Hamas Weapons Factory Explosion Kills Four as Riots Continue in Gaza - Greg Myre
    Four Palestinians were killed and 27 wounded when an explosion destroyed the home of Nidal Farhat, a senior member of Hamas' military wing, on Monday in Gaza City. Neighborhood residents said the blast was apparently caused by explosives that detonated accidentally inside the home. PA Prime Minister Qurei said Monday that the blast was not caused by Israel.
        Also, in the southern city of Khan Yunis, hundreds of unemployed Palestinians demanding jobs clashed for a second day with Palestinian security forces. More than a dozen were injured, including demonstrators and policemen. The crowd, joined by schoolchildren, began pelting riot police with rocks. Police responded by firing tear gas and bullets into the air. Protesters began throwing firebombs at the forces, and police fired heavy bursts of gunfire randomly in a futile attempt to control the crowd. (Ha'aretz/AP-Jerusalem Post/New York Times)
  • Palestinian Ambassador to Iran: Gaza Pullout a Great Victory
    The Palestinian ambassador to Iran Salah Zawawi said in Tehran on Monday, "Beyond doubt, Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip was a big step, and a great victory for the Palestinian nation." Speaking at a conference sponsored by the Iranian Society for Defense of the Palestinian Nation, titled, "Zionists' Defeat in Gaza, Reasons, and Future Developments," Zawawi added, "The Palestinian nation is happy today having achieved this great victory, that is the fruit of thousands of martyrs' pure blood throughout the holy occupied land of Palestine." Zawawi reiterated, "This is just the beginning of the way for the Palestinian nation and we will not rest at peace until the full liberation of occupied Palestine." (IRIB News-Iran)
  • Iraqi Insurgents Assert Control Over Town Near Syrian Border - Ellen Knickmeyer and Jonathan Finer
    Fighters loyal to militant leader Abu Musab Zarqawi asserted control over the key Iraqi border town of Qaim on Monday, killing U.S. collaborators and enforcing strict Islamic law. A sign posted at an entrance to the town declared, "Welcome to the Islamic Republic of Qaim." U.S. forces have described border towns in the area as a funnel for foreign fighters, arms, and money into Iraq from Syria. (Washington Post)
  • Collected "Charity" Went Elsewhere, FBI Agent Testifies at Al-Arian Trial - Michael Fechter
    Money collected in the name of needy Palestinian women and children helped underwrite a charity and think tank suspected of supporting terrorists, FBI agent Michael Wysocki, a certified public accountant, testified Thursday. And thousands of dollars went to pay credit card bills and other personal items, he said. More than $1.5 million flowed into Tampa accounts between 1990 and 1992 through wire transfers from the Middle East. Some of it went to salaries for Islamic Jihad members working with former University of South Florida Professor Sami Al-Arian in the U.S., prosecutors say. (Tampa Tribune)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinians Fire Rocket at Israel
    Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired a Kassam rocket towards Israel on Monday. The rocket landed between Kibbutz Alumim and Nahal Oz. (Jerusalem Post)
  • PA Rejects Request to Protect Gaza Strip Synagogues - Yuval Yoaz and Amiram Barkat
    The Palestinian Authority rejected Israel's request Sunday that it assume responsibility for protecting synagogues in Gush Katif and other evacuated Gaza settlements after completion of the disengagement. The request was made by an American mediator to a PA minister, who then urged Israeli officials not to resubmit the request formally to the PA. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Supreme Court: Ask PA to Guard Gaza Synagogues - Yuval Yoaz
    Israel's High Court Tuesday ordered Prime Minister Sharon "to determine whether there is room" to formally appeal to the PA with a request that it safeguard the synagogues in Gush Katif after the final withdrawal of Israel Defense Forces troops later this month. On Tuesday Palestinian Prime Minister Qurei said the PA prefers that Israel demolish the Gaza synagogues. (Ha'aretz)
  • PA Officials Tour Razed Gaza Settlements - Margot Dudkevitch
    Palestinian security forces got a first glimpse at the demolished settlements in Gaza on Monday in a joint tour of Gush Katif by Palestinian commanders and IDF officers. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz said on Sunday that he expects to complete the Gaza pullout around Sept. 15. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel to Build 117 Homes in Ariel - Matthew Gutman
    The government has approved the construction of 117 homes in Ariel, one of the West Bank's largest settlements with 17,500 residents, officials said Tuesday. The construction is part of a master plan that envisions the eventual construction of some 3,000 more apartments in Ariel, according to senior defense officials. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Dispatch from the Front Line - Martin Peretz
    The decline in terrorist acts can be traced to the checkpoints, the fence, and the information provided by collaborators. The checkpoints inside the territories impede the movement of terrorists. The fence precludes them from entering Israeli territory. The collaborators provide information on who is planning what and when. The number of suicide bombings prevented by the Shin Bet, the Israeli domestic security service, or the IDF thanks to information provided by paid or afraid collaborators goes into the hundreds. Thousands of Israeli lives have thus been saved. From the standpoint of Israel's security, any piece of territory awarded to the PA is a forfeiture of significant military intelligence about the planned death of Israelis. (New Republic)
  • Gaza is Now Sovereign Palestine - Caroline Glick
    Gaza has all the ingredients required by international law to be treated as a sovereign state. It has a government, territory, a population, and the capacity to conduct foreign relations. It is a state. While it is true that the Palestinians continue to deny that they are a state, these arguments are both ridiculous and irrelevant. The statements to the effect that they still live under the so-called occupation elsewhere, or even somehow in Gaza, have neither legal nor rational grounding. They have a state. And now it is their turn to act like a state and build something constructive for their citizens.
        If they choose not to act like a state but rather, as was the case with the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq, they decide to use their sovereign territory as a base for terrorism and war against Israel or any other state, then their inevitable and well-deserved fate will be that of the Taliban and Saddam. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    The Nativ Ha'asara Intifada - Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)

    • Is there a border that will satisfy the Palestinians sufficiently for them to agree to live in peace side by side with Israel? The Palestinian Authority has not yet taken control of the territories being evacuated by Israel in the Gaza Strip, and it is already asking for more.
    • PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has adopted the argument that Israel is continuing to occupy Palestinian lands in the northern and eastern Gaza Strip. When PA Civil Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan first made this claim to Vice Premier Shimon Peres a few weeks ago, the Israelis were surprised, but tried to ignore it. When Abu Mazen speaks about it, the demand becomes the official Palestinian position.
    • The Palestinians are refusing to discuss upgrading the Erez crossing on the grounds that it is located in occupied territory. Tomorrow, someone will shell Moshav Nativ Ha'asara, which lies within the disputed area, and claim the action is part of a just war of liberation - "the Nativ Ha'asara Intifada."
    • The 1949 cease-fire line, according to the Rhodes agreement between Egypt and Israel, was different from the current border of the Gaza Strip. However, a territorial exchange agreement was signed a year after Rhodes. Israel received the area in the northern Gaza Strip, where Erez and Nativ Ha'asarah are located today, in exchange for a larger parcel in the eastern Strip (which on maps looks like a hump). This altered border remained in effect until 1967, and United Nations soldiers were deployed along it. It appeared in the maps that were part of the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, without any complaints from the Palestinians.
    • Now Abbas wants to return to the original 1949 boundary. He has ignored the fact that all of the peace agreements and UN decisions were based on the status that existed on the ground before the 1967 War and not on the Rhodes agreement. For him, the point is that he can show that the Israeli occupation in Gaza is not ending with the completion of the disengagement.
    • The Palestinian recalcitrance over this groundless claim reinforces the claim that there is no Palestinian partner for peace, that the Palestinians are incurably greedy extortionists, that all they want is to hurt Israel, to nibble away at its territory and its international standing.

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