Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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September 27, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Special Forces Kill No. 2 Terrorist in Iraq (FOX News)
    U.S. Special Forces killed al-Qaeda's No. 2 terror mastermind in Iraq, Defense Department officials said.
    Abu Azzam, thought to be the top deputy to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and who was believed to have been in charge of the financing of terrorist cells, was killed during a raid in Baghdad Monday.
    U.S. military officials credit much of the success in dismantling Zarqawi's operations to the increasing number of tips coming from Iraqi civilians.

French Police Seize Nine in Anti-Terrorist Swoop - Thierry Leveque (Reuters)
    Armed French anti-terrorist police detained nine Islamic militants on Monday suspected of plotting attacks in France.
    Police believe the suspects are linked to Algeria's radical GSPC group. The head of the French national police said in July the group had contacted al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, about carrying out attacks in France.
    Judicial officials said that among those detained on Monday was a 35-year-old Algerian recently freed after a 10-year jail term for his role in the 1995 attacks in France by Algeria's Armed Islamic Group, which killed 10 people.
    The domestic intelligence agency DST says six Frenchmen have died fighting on the side of insurgents in Iraq.
    Ten other French nationals believed to be still fighting with the rebels could pose an acute threat if they return to France, security chiefs say.

18 Al-Qaeda Suspects Convicted in Spain - Tracy Wilkinson and Cristina Mateo-Yanguas (Los Angeles Times)
    A Spanish tribunal Monday convicted 18 Muslim immigrants of terrorism-related charges, among them a purported ringleader found guilty of conspiring to plan the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S.
    Among those convicted was the Al Jazeera television correspondent in Spain, who was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Bomb Injures Anti-Syria Journalist in Lebanon (AP/Los Angeles Times)
    A bomb rigged to the car of a prominent journalist for an anti-Syrian television station exploded Sunday, severing an arm and leg of May Chidiac, a political talk-show host with the private Lebanese Broadcasting Corp.

Foreign Investment in Israel at Record Levels - Zeev Klein (Globes)
    Foreign investment in Israel totaled $7.31 billion in January-August 2005, more than the $7.22 billion invested in 2004 as a whole.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S.: "We Fully Understand Israel's Right to Defend Itself
    State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said Monday: "Our views about Hamas as a terrorist organization are well known and unchanged. And I would note that before making this statement [about halting all attacks against Israelis] they launched a rocket attack, in which several missiles landed in Israel and injured a number of people." "We encourage them [the PA] to take steps to again stop terror attacks, to prevent them from happening and we urge them also to act to dismantle terrorist organizations." "We understand the situation in which Israel finds itself and we fully understand Israel's right to defend itself."  (State Department)
  • U.S.: Syria Not Doing Its Part to Fight Terrorism
    Syria is not doing enough to fight terrorist financing and support for the anti-U.S. insurrection in Iraq, Stuart Levey, U.S. Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes, said during a visit to Paris. "There remains a number of things that the Syrians are not doing that we very much expect them to do," he said. "We expect them to do much, much more to prevent the funding and support of the insurgency in Iraq. They should do what is required by the international law." Levey said that $262 million in commercial bank accounts of Syrians close to the regime of Saddam Hussein had recently been unfrozen and released to Iraqi authorities. (AFP/Yahoo)
  • U.S. Envoy Frowns on Saudi Rights Record
    U.S. Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes criticized Saudi Arabia's human rights record during a visit to that country. "We are concerned, and I am going to say it in Saudi Arabia, about human rights issues in the kingdom. They've got a long journey there and a lot of work to do," Hughes told reporters. (AFP/Yahoo)
  • Purported al-Qaeda Newscast Debuts on Internet - Daniel Williams
    An Internet video newscast called the Voice of the Caliphate was broadcast for the first time on Monday, purporting to be a production of al-Qaeda and featuring an anchorman who wore a black ski mask and an ammunition belt. The lead segment recounted Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, which the narrator proclaimed as a "great victory," while showing PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei walking and talking among celebrating compatriots. That was followed by a repeat of a pledge on Sept. 14 by Abu Musab Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, to wage all-out war on Iraq's Shiite Muslims. An image of Zarqawi remained on the screen for about half the broadcast.
        The final segment was about Hurricane Katrina. "The whole Muslim world was filled with joy" at the disaster, the anchorman said. The name of the broadcast refers to the Islamic empire that emerged following the death of the prophet Muhammad in the 7th century, eventually stretching from Turkey to Spain and creating an era of Islamic influence that bin Laden has said Muslims should reestablish. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Hamas Murders Israeli Man - Efrat Weiss
    The body of Sasson Nuriel, 55, from Pisgat Ze'ev near Jerusalem, who was abducted Wednesday by Hamas members, was found in Bitunia, southwest of Ramallah. (Ynet News)
  • Israel Seeks "New Rules" to Stop Gaza Missiles - Arieh O'Sullivan
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Tuesday that he is "not satisfied" with Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar's call for a halt to rocket attacks on Israel. "Hamas committed an unforgivable act, and we have to dictate new rules for the game," Mofaz told Army Radio. "We will not let this pass quietly. Hamas needs to know that Israel will act to protect its citizens."
        "We don't relate to Hamas mutterings and are judging everything according to reality on the ground," said Deputy Defense Minister Ze'ev Boim. "We will hit Hamas and other organizations in Gaza and not just once so they understand that the rules of the game have changed." Boim told Army Radio that the continuing IDF strikes were aimed at "searing into their conscience" that Israel was determined to create deterrence. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also IDF Aims to End Rocket Threat
    In response to the 35 Kassam rockets fired by Hamas terrorists from the northern Gaza Strip, the State of Israel launched an operation in Gaza with the aim of destroying Hamas terror cells and protect its own borders. The operation will continue as long as "this intolerable situation of shooting persists, and until the Palestinian Authority takes full responsibility for activity within its area of jurisdiction," said Maj.-Gen. Yisrael Ziv, head of the IDF's Operations Branch.
        "Our aim is to put an end to all threats of firing of Kassam rockets into Israeli territory, and for this purpose we have, according to our right, begun to use whichever arms are necessary in order to achieve this. Our current aim is to fire into those areas we know to be the source of Kassam fire. It is not our intention to hurt innocent civilians, but we are within our rights, using heavy means, in order to put an end to the threat hanging over Sderot and other areas." (Israel Defense Forces)
  • UN Criticizes Israel
    Despite Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, major violations of human rights continue, according to the UN official monitoring that situation in his latest report to the General Assembly. "The wall and settlements seriously undermine the fundamental right of self-determination of the Palestinian people upon which all other rights depend," writes John Dugard, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights.
        Israeli government sources said, "the report is detached from the new reality that has been formed following the pullout. This is the same man (John Dugard) who said the Road Map peace plan contradicts the International Court of Justice in The Hague and criticized the UN's membership in the Quartet....He is an extremist, and his reports are not taken very seriously." (Ynet News)
  • Sharon Wins Procedural Vote in Likud Party
    Prime Minister Sharon won a Likud Central Committee contest Monday by a 104-vote margin, defeating a proposal to hold an early Likud Party primary. By 1,433 to 1,329, the committee rejected a proposal to hold the primary this November instead of in April 2006. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Recognizing Hamas is Irresponsible - Yossi Beilin
    The Oslo agreement was signed in 1993 on the basis of a mutual agreement that political negotiations would replace the use of force. There was concern at the time lest parties not obligated by the Oslo principles would seek to participate in elections. The principal worry was Hamas. In order to ensure that such parties do not participate in elections and do not abuse the democratic process, it was determined that "The nomination of any candidates, parties or coalitions will be refused, and such nomination or registration will be canceled, if such candidates, parties or coalitions (1) commit or advocate racism, or (2) pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful non-democratic means."
        There can be no doubt that participation by Hamas in elections held in the PA in January 2006 is a gross violation of the Israeli-Palestinian interim agreement. Hamas is a movement that has, through its covenant, raised the banner of incitement to hate and kill Jews. That this military organization, appearing as a political party, is allowed to abuse democracy is a prize for terror and violence. (
  • An Explosion in Gaza - Editorial
    Ever since Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip last month, the terrorists of Hamas have been flexing their military muscle. On Friday, during a Hamas rally in Gaza, a truck carrying rockets exploded, killing 16 Palestinians. Hamas immediately blamed Israel for the blast, but on Sunday, Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian Authority determined that the blast was caused by one of Hamas' own shells dropping out of a vehicle laden with weapons. Nevertheless, as "retaliation," Hamas launched rocket attacks against Israeli towns.
        Abbas has big plans for Gaza, but they won't happen with Hamas lobbing shells into Israel. The Gaza Strip is a test for Abbas, and the PA, to see whether they can build this territory into a peaceful and prosperous place, a potential first step toward a national homeland. If Hamas prevails, however, it's a step into the abyss of endless chaos and violence. (Chicago Tribune)
  • Observations:

    Israel's Response to the Escalation of Gaza Terrorism
    (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

    • Some 40 Kassam rockets hit Sderot and elsewhere in the northern Negev over the weekend, wounding five persons, two moderately, and causing much damage.
    • The rocketing of Israel from Gaza is a most serious terrorist aggression. Israel is exercising its right to self-defense when it responds to attacks on its territory, as any state is required to do.
    • It is unthinkable that the children of Sderot once again cannot sleep peacefully in their beds and go to school without fear because their lives, and the lives of thousands of inhabitants of the northern Negev, are being threatened - while the Palestinians of Gaza continue to live normal lives.
    • Israel remains steadfast in its desire to further peace in the region, but at the same time will act with all necessary force and determination to halt the firing of Kassam rockets at its citizens - as it will persist in its struggle against Hamas and the other terrorist organizations that seek to destroy any chance for peace and calm in the region.
    • Because the PA and the Palestinian public have shown themselves to be totally helpless and incapable - or unwilling - to fulfill their commitments, Israel is forced to act alone.
    • The international community, including the Arab countries, must make it unequivocally clear to the Palestinians that continued terrorism means an end to the Palestinian dream.

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