Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 6, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Palestinian Reinforcements for Al-Qaeda in Iraq - Jonathan D. Halevi (News First Class-Hebrew)
    Tens of Palestinian activists from the Isbat al-Ansar Islamist terror group have recently left the Ein el-Hilwe camp in Lebanon, crossed into Iraq via Syria, and joined up with al-Qaeda forces led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
    While individual activists had made the journey previously, this time the group's leadership made a decision to join the jihad against the U.S. in response to a formal request by al-Qaeda.
    The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai Al-Aam reported that the group's leader, Ahmed Abdel-Karim al-Saadi, accompanied his men to Iraq.
    An al-Qaeda website reported Tuesday that an Isbat al-Ansar member was killed in battle with U.S. forces.

Iran Blamed for Attacks on British Troops (Telegraph-UK)
    A senior British Foreign Office official said it was believed that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had been responsible for supplying the explosives technology used in a series of deadly attacks on British troops over the summer.
    "We think it has come from Lebanese Hizballah via Iran," he said.

Human Rights Group: 116 Murders in Palestinian Territories This Year (UPI/Space Daily)
    A Palestinian human rights group, the Independent Organization for Human Rights, said Wednesday that 116 people were homicide victims so far this year.
    "Insecurity and chaos increased alarmingly this year, including assaults on public and private property, kidnapping of Palestinians and foreigners in areas controlled by the Palestinian authorities, and attacks on judicial figures," the group said.

Kuwaitis Easing Hostility Toward Israel - Hassan M. Fattah (New York Times)
    Kuwaiti newspapers in recent days have floated the idea that the country could take steps to reduce hostility toward Israel as a means of helping the Palestinians.
    "After a long time, we have finally decided to leave the Palestinian cause to Palestinians," Ahmed al-Jarallah, editor-in-chief of the English-language Arab Times, wrote in an editorial on Sept. 22.
    Referring to recent decisions by Bahrain, Qatar, and Tunisia to ease their policies toward Israel, he said, "We Arabs have also reached a unanimous agreement to make peace with Israel as our strategic choice."
    See also Turkey and Tunisia: Ties with Israel Serve Palestinians - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. "Aiming at Syria Regime Change" - Anton La Guardia
    Israel predicted Tuesday that America would impose fresh sanctions on Syria in an attempt to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. Shaul Mofaz, the defense minister, said he believed sanctions would follow publication of a UN report expected to implicate senior Syrian officials in the murder of Rafik al-Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister. On Saturday, President Bush and his national security council are to discuss America's options on Syria, ranging from tightening existing limited sanctions to military action. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also U.S. Officials Eye Possible Assad Successors in Syria - Aluf Benn
    American officials said their impression was that Israel would prefer to have a weakened Assad, vulnerable to international pressure, remain in power, and is unenthusiastic about the possibility of a regime change in Syria. (Ha'aretz)
  • Pentagon Analyst Admits Sharing Secret Data - Eric Lichtblau
    Defense Department analyst Lawrence A. Franklin admitted Wednesday that he shared secret military information with two pro-Israeli lobbyists and an Israeli official in an effort to create a "backchannel" to the Bush administration on Middle East policy regarding Iran. Franklin said in entering his guilty pleas that he had shared with the lobbyists "my frustrations with a particular policy." He said he hoped the lobbyists could help influence policy by passing on information that he knew was classified. "I asked them to use their contacts to get this information backchannels to people at the N.S.C. (National Security Council)," he said.
        Franklin also admitted meeting with an official of the Israeli Embassy and passing on classified information regarding weapons tests in the Middle East, military activities in Iraq, and other issues. Franklin said he assumed that such "tidbits" were already known to Israel, and he said that the Israeli official "gave me far more information than I gave him." (New York Times)
        See also Israel Didn't "Run" U.S. Aide Who Passed Classified Data - Shmuel Rosner
    A senior Israeli official said Thursday that Israel did not activate defense analyst Lawrence Franklin, who has pleaded guilty to discussing classified information with an Israeli embassy official and two members of an Israeli lobbying group. "The conviction doesn't accuse Israel of activating Franklin," Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Yuval Steinitz said Thursday. (Ha'aretz)
  • Senate to Probe Saudi Distribution of Hate Materials - Meghan Clyne
    The American government is demanding that Saudi Arabia account for its distribution of hate material to American mosques, as the State Department pressed Saudi officials for answers last week and as the Senate later this month plans to investigate the propagation of radical Wahhabism on American shores. The flurry of activity comes months after a report from the Center for Religious Freedom discovered that dozens of mosques in major cities were distributing documents, bearing the seal of the government of Saudi Arabia, that incite Muslims to acts of violence and promote hatred of Jews and Christians. (New York Sun)
        See also U.S. Waives Sanctions on Saudis over Religious Rights - Saul Hudson
    The U.S. has postponed punishing Saudi Arabia, its close ally and key oil supplier, for restricting religious freedom - the first time Washington has waived punishing a blacklisted country under a 1998 law targeting violators of religious rights. U.S. officials said on Friday the Bush administration had decided to delay imposing sanctions on Saudi Arabia for six months. A year ago, Washington designated Saudi Arabia as one of only eight countries worldwide that could be sanctioned. (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Fatah Gunmen Wound Senior Palestinian Official - Arnon Regular
    Fatah gunmen in the Gaza Strip Thursday shot and seriously wounded Bassam Azam, a close associate of former military intelligence commander Moussa Arafat, who Fatah gunmen kidnapped and murdered in early August. (Ha'aretz)
        See also PA Policemen Break into Parliament - Arnon Regular
    About 40 Palestinian policemen broke into the Palestinian parliament building in Gaza City on Monday, firing in the air to protest what they said was the humiliation they are facing because of attacks by Hamas militants. "We want the Palestinian Authority to take a stand on Hamas," one officer said. The legislators then voted to have PA Chairman Abbas form a new government within two weeks. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Fighting between Palestinian Police and Hamas Reflects Struggle for Control of Gaza after Disengagement (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies)
  • IDF Chief of Staff: "There Is a Military Solution to Terrorism" - David Horovitz, Arieh O'Sullivan, and Margot Dudkevitch
    Rejecting the argument that Israel must reach a political accommodation with the Palestinians to reduce terrorism to manageable proportions, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz said there is a military solution to terrorism and that Israel is well on the way to achieving it. "In contrast to the theory that the army cannot exterminate terrorism, I believe the army can reduce terrorism to the very lowest level," Halutz said in an interview. There had been a steady decline in incidents in recent years - not for lack of motivation, but rather because of the policies that the army had been following and continues to follow, he said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Shipping Company Zim Admits Hitting Japanese Boat - Uri Blau and Sharon Kedmi
    The Zim shipping company on Monday admitted one of its ships collided with a Japanese fishing boat last week, killing seven Japanese fishermen. Zim submitted a formal apology to the Japanese ambassador. Idan Ofer, the chairman of The Israel Corp. holding company that controls Zim Integrated Shipping Services, said Zim offered financial support to the families of the seven sailors who died. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Can Democracy Stop Terrorism? - F. Gregory Gause III
    Even if democracy were achieved in the Middle East, what kind of governments would it produce? Based on public opinion surveys and recent elections in the Arab world, the advent of democracy there seems likely to produce new Islamist governments that would be much less willing to cooperate with the United States than are the current authoritarian rulers. Indeed, there is no evidence that democracy reduces terrorism. The writer is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont and Director of its Middle East Studies Program. (Foreign Affairs)
  • Gaza's Deadly Turmoil - Editorial
    A month after Israel's military exit from Gaza, Palestinians are fast becoming the biggest threat to their own quest for statehood. Mahmoud Abbas is losing control of liberated Gaza's mean streets to the radical Hamas movement. Heavily armed Hamas militants are terrorizing the densely populated coastal strip. This chaos only serves those who contend Palestinians cannot be trusted to run a state of their own. Far from defending peoples' interests, Hamas undermines them. Palestinians must check this turmoil and marginalize the extremists, to realize their dream. (Toronto Star)
  • Advertising on Terror TV - Mark Dubowitz and Roberta Bonazzi
    In one episode of the 29-part Ramadan special "Al-Shatat, The Diaspora," broadcast on Hizballah's global satellite channel, al-Manar, a rabbi orders his young son to kidnap a Christian friend so that his throat can be slit and the blood drained to be used to make food for Passover. The rest of the series tells the usual anti-Semitic plot of alleged Jewish aspirations for world domination. Al-Manar routinely runs videos encouraging children to become suicide bombers, calls for terrorists to attack coalition soldiers in Iraq, and promises that "martyrs" will be rewarded in the afterlife.
        While a large part of al-Manar's operating budget comes from Iran, a significant portion is derived from ad revenue. A handful of multinational corporations still advertise on al-Manar, indirectly endorsing its message of hatred and violence. Within the past few months, al-Manar broadcast ads for products from Nissan, the Japanese car manufacturer; LG, the Korean electronics maker; Tefal, a producer of home cooking products and subsidiary of France-based Groupe SEB; Jovial, a manufacturer of Swiss watches; and Cellis-Alpha, a cellular SIM card provider owned by Fal Dete Telecommunications, a Saudi-German consortium majority-owned by Detecon, which in turn is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. European lives and values are under attack by Islamic extremists. Responsible companies should have no relationship with terrorist organizations. (Wall Street Journal Europe, 4Oct05)
  • Observations:

    Israeli Defense Minister Briefs Cabinet on "New Rules of the Game" in Gaza
    (Foreign Ministry)

    • Defense Minister Mofaz told the Israeli Cabinet Sunday that before the withdrawal Israel had set for itself rules and principles for responding to threats on "the day after," with the focus of the response being the security of Israel's citizens, especially those in the western Negev.
    • Israel decided not to allow firing from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory or to allow the terrorist organizations to dictate a reality that jibes with their interests.
    • The massive firing at the western Negev and Sderot met a vigorous Israeli response that led - at least for the time being - the terrorist organizations to the understanding that they face a new reality.
    • This deterrent policy was implemented in the context of an Israeli response based on deterrence against the production of high-trajectory rockets and supporting terrorist infrastructures. This policy will not allow Palestinian terrorist organizations to link their Gaza Strip-based actions against Israeli territory to events in Judea and Samaria.

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