Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 17, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

IDF Intelligence: "Al-Qaeda Already Operating in Gaza" (Maariv-Hebrew, 17Oct05)
    Maj.-Gen. Aharon Zeevi (Farkash), the head of Israeli Military Intelligence, said in an interview:
    "We are not a high priority [for al-Qaeda], but our prioritization for them is increasing. From al-Qaeda's standpoint we are dividing the Muslim world."
    "Look at the circle that is tightening around us. Attacks in Turkey, Taba, Sharm el-Sheikh, Katyushas in Jordan."
    "We know that activists from the global jihad, about ten, infiltrated Gaza from Sinai during the story we had with Philadelphi. They will link up with those who are in the uprising in Gaza. It is a real threat."
    "They came from the group hiding out in Jabal Halal [in Sinai] and were involved with others in the attacks in Sinai. In Jabal Halal a military-grade weapons base has been created, that Egypt has been unable to eliminate."

Israel Campus Beat
- October 16, 2005

Point Counter-Point:
    What Abu Mazen and Sharon Should Talk About

Israelis Say They Contributed Enough with the Disengagement - Uri Rosen (Maariv-Hebrew, 14Oct05)
    In a Maariv/Teleseker poll last week, 532 adult Israelis were asked:
    "Now, after the disengagement, how do you relate to it?"
    Support - 59%; Oppose - 34%.
    "Do you think that in the near future Israel needs to continue to remove additional settlements in Judea and Samaria, or make do with the disengagement that just occurred, and not remove any more settlements until there is a permanent (peace) agreement?"
    Continue removals - 28%
    No more removals - 68%

Israel Does Not Want Assad Replaced - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel is not interested in seeing Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime fall, a senior diplomatic official said Saturday.
    Israel was concerned that if Assad were to be toppled as a result of international isolation and pressure, this could unleash a civil war and the type of chaos similar to that now taking place in Iraq, which could spill over to Israel's northern border.
    Israel was interested in Syria changing its behavior, but not necessarily its regime, the official said.

Unexploded Kassam Rocket Found Near Sharon's Ranch, Fired Three Weeks Ago - Hanan Greenberg (Ynet News)
    A Kassam rocket which failed to detonate upon landing was found south of Prime Minister Sharon's Negev ranch on Saturday, 250 meters from his wife's gravesite.
    IDF sappers said the rocket was fired by Palestinians three weeks ago during the last round of rocket fire at southern Israel from Gaza.

"This Is History" - Israeli Basketball Team Maccabi Tel Aviv Beats NBA's Toronto Raptors (AP/Sports Illustrated)
    Maccabi Tel Aviv beat an NBA team for the first time in 27 years, topping the Toronto Raptors 105-103 on Sunday.
    Toronto's loss was just the second by an NBA team in the 28 games held since the NBA sanctioned international competitions in 1987.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Palestinians Kill Three Israelis in West Bank Shooting
    Palestinian gunmen killed three Israelis at a hitchhiking post at the Gush Etzion junction and wounded five others in two separate shootings Sunday in the West Bank. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for both shootings. The group is a military offshoot of Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority. (CNN)
        In addition to the three fatally shot, another four were wounded. Less than an hour later, passengers in a car opened fire at two residents of the settlement of Eli north of Jerusalem, wounding one.
        David Baker, an official in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office, said: "Israel removed roadblocks and made a number of humanitarian gestures to ease up on the Palestinians. It's unfortunate that the Palestinians have exploited these measures to carry out these murderous attacks." (Jerusalem Post)
        See also In the Prime of Their Lives - Efrat Weiss
    Yisrael Adler will bury his wife of two months, Matat Rosenfeld-Adler, 21, on Monday. She was murdered by Palestinians in a drive-by terror attack, together with her cousin, Kinneret Mandel, 23. Both were residents of Carmel in the south Hebron hills. Oz Ben-Meir, 15, was from nearby Maon. (Ynet News)
        See also Palestinian Media Says Abbas's Own Fatah Killed "Settlers" - Michael Widlanski
    Voice of Palestine Radio, the official voice of Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority, declared Sunday that both shooting attacks that day on Israelis were carried out by members of the Fatah organization headed by PLO leader Abbas. "Both armed attacks were carried out by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades which are part of the Fatah Movement," asserted Voice of Palestine, which, along with the other Palestinian media, stressed that the attacks were on "mustawtaneen" - the Arabic word for settlers. (IMRA)
  • Secretary Rice Reiterates American Warnings to Syria
    U.S. Secretary of State Rice said on Meet the Press Sunday: "We have focused on getting the Syrian regime to change its behavior. The Syrian regime is out of step with what is going on in the region....Are they fully living up to their obligations under Resolution 1559, which we co-sponsored with the French, to not destabilize Lebanon, to not sanction assassinations in that region? They are stirring up difficulties in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon, which is a problem for the Palestinian territories and the work that Mahmoud Abbas is trying to do in bringing a Palestinian state to bear. And they are permitting the use of Syrian territory for terrorists to cross Syrian territory. And by the way, in many cases they're coming through Damascus airport. This isn't crawling across the border." (State Department)
        See also G.I.'s and Syrians in Tense Clashes on Iraqi Border - James Risen and David E. Sanger
    A series of clashes in the last year between American and Syrian troops, including a prolonged firefight this summer that killed several Syrians, has raised the prospect that cross-border military operations may become a dangerous new front in the Iraq war. Some officials say the U.S. military is considering special operations inside Syria for intelligence gathering. Increasingly, officials say, Syria is to the Iraq war what Cambodia was in the Vietnam War: a sanctuary for fighters, money, and supplies to flow over the border and, ultimately, a place for a shadow struggle. (New York Times)
  • America Offers "Gaddafi Deal" to Bring Syria in from the Cold - Richard Beeston
    The Bush Administration has offered Syria's beleaguered President Assad a "Gaddafi deal" to end his regime's isolation if Damascus agrees to a long list of painful concessions. The American proposal is very specific. Syria must cooperate fully and adhere to any demands by the UN inquiry into the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister. The Syrians would have to stop any interference in Lebanon. Washington wants Syria to halt the recruiting, funding, and training of volunteers for the Iraqi insurgency. Syria must cease its support for militant Islamic organizations such as Lebanon's Hizballah and the Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
        In return America would establish full and friendly relations with Damascus, opening the way for foreign aid and investment and ensuring the regime's survival. (Times-UK)
        See also Syria Denies Deal with U.S. (Syrian News Agency)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Defense Minister Mofaz: PA Must Act Against Terror Groups - Diana Bahur-Nir
    "We demand that the Palestinian Authority move from the talking phase and actively work against the terror organizations," Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said following Sunday's terror attacks in the West Bank. "As long as the terror attacks persist Israel will not be able to continue the diplomatic process with the Palestinians," he added. "Abbas' meek approach allowed this attack. He is not doing what is necessary," said a diplomatic source in Jerusalem. (Ynet News)
        See also Israel Will Respond to West Bank Terrorism - Matthew Gutman and Herb Keinon
    Israel will respond to West Bank terrorism the same way it responds to terrorism emanating from Gaza, a senior official in the Prime Minister's Office said. "The terrorists are trying to establish new rules," the official said. "They are trying to turn the focus on Judea and Samaria, and maintain a semblance of quiet in Gaza. But it won't work. Our policy is that there will be no geographical difference in our response to terror." The official said the terrorist organizations were being assisted by outside forces such as Hizballah, Iran, and Syria.
        An official in the Prime Minister's Office said the terrorists who carried out the attack in Gush Etzion were believed to have come from Bethlehem, a city already under PA control. The official said that Israel had hoped the PA would assert its control after Israel removed some roadblocks in the West Bank, but this did not happen. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Terror Groups Seek to Reignite the Fighting - Ze'ev Schiff
    Sunday's attack in Gush Etzion was the most serious attack in the West Bank since the disengagement, and it should be viewed as proof that some of the terror organizations want to reignite the fighting. The Israel Defense Forces will take the steps to prevent other such attacks, such as the erection of additional checkpoints. In addition, Israel is now unlikely to give the PA responsibility for additional West Bank cities. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Officer Dies from Wounds in January Terrorist Attack
    2nd Lt. Ariel Buda, 21, of Tel Aviv, died on Saturday. Buda was severely wounded in a shooting attack near the Israeli community of Migdalim, southeast of Nablus, on 7 January 2005. During the shooting attack, two armed terrorists opened fire at a civilian vehicle in which several soldiers were traveling. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Cornered in Damascus - Editorial
    Three and a half decades of regional troublemaking and domestic misrule finally seem to be catching up with the Assad family dictatorship in Syria. Domestic discontent is seething, and deadly power struggles have already broken out in the dictatorship's inner circles. President Bashar al-Assad is discovering that he has thoroughly alienated other Arab rulers as he faces mounting pressure from the United States and France. The international community must stand united in its determination to get to the bottom of the Hariri murder and to put as much diplomatic pressure as necessary on Syria to change its ways and end its destructive regional meddling. (New York Times)
  • UN Gets Manners; It Finally Treats Israel with Respect - Editorial
    After half a century of being treated as an international pariah at the UN, in the past year and a half, Israel has benefited from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's successful efforts to reverse the demonization of Israel. Yet the reasons are related far more to self-serving pragmatism than to a sudden urge for fair play. Why this sudden sea-change? Much of it has to do with Annan's desire to garner more U.S. support for his own job security after the humiliating scandal in the oil-for-food program. What better way to ingratiate himself with the Bush administration and a hostile Congress than to extend a gracious hand of friendship to Israel, whose supporters carry a lot of weight in U.S. politics. Whatever the motive, the result is a welcome better deal for Israel at the UN. (Newsday)
  • Observations:

    A Hang-Tough Nation - Mortimer B. Zuckerman (U.S. News)

    • The fact is there are radicals out there who want to kill us all - any American, men, women, and children. This culture of death was not created by intervention in Iraq. Iraq may have sharpened the resentments of some radical Islamists and given them a new excuse, but there was no Iraq war in 1993, when they first tried to blow up the World Trade Center, nor before 9/11, when they did blow it up. The attack on the USS Cole took place after U.S. forces contributed to the NATO-led operation in Kosovo that saved the lives of many, many Muslims.
    • The exploding torrent of Muslim energy, something not seen in 500 years, is being fueled by billions of petrodollars coming out of Saudi Arabia in support of an aggressive anti-Western religious teaching called Wahhabism. And it's spreading not just to other Muslim countries but also to the disaffected among the Muslim communities in Europe who can be trained on the Internet in almost every aspect of terrorism.
    • The Senate Foreign Relations Committee suggests that there is a very high probability (70%) of a successful terrorist attack within the next ten years with weapons of mass destruction, and the very sober former secretary of defense, William Perry, puts the odds of a nuclear attack in the next five years at 50%.
    • The president spoke none too soon in his recent speech emphasizing that Iraq has now become the central front in the war on terrorism and restating our larger purposes there. His assertion that we cannot afford to falter, as we have faltered in previous conflicts when the going got tough, is dead-on. Pulling U.S. forces out of Iraq too soon would be the equivalent of rocket fuel for the Islamofascists. Iraq would become the new Afghanistan, a safe base from which to launch attacks on us and wage a war against nonradical Muslim governments.

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