Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 19, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Training Our Enemies - Patrick Devenny (FrontPageMagazine)
    Last month, NBC News correspondent Lisa Myers tracked down Jihad Jaara, a veteran Palestinian militant who currently resides in Ireland.
    As a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Jaara supervised and planned dozens of assassinations and bombings against a wide-range of American and Israeli targets while simultaneously serving as an officer in the Palestinian Preventive Security Service.
    When asked what single factor had most contributed to his transformation into a successful terrorist, Jaara immediately replied: small-arms training supervised by officers of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
    For two years (1996-98), Palestinian units were brought to the U.S. for advanced small-arms training on firing ranges normally used by the U.S. Army and special forces units.
    More than half of the class of 18 Palestinians brought to a top-secret location near CIA headquarters in 1998 went on to become fighters in the Al-Aqsa Brigades.

MI5 Unmasks Covert Arms Programs - Ian Cobain and Ewen MacAskill (Guardian-UK)
    A secret British intelligence (MI5) document entitled "Companies and Organizations of Proliferation Concern" has been compiled in an attempt to prevent British companies inadvertently exporting sensitive goods or expertise to organizations covertly involved in WMD programs.
    The document identifies 95 Pakistani organizations and government bodies, as well as 114 Iranian organizations.
    A private chemical company in Egypt is identified as having procured technology for use in a nuclear weapons program, while the Syrian atomic energy commission faces a similar charge.

Lebanon Clamps Down on Palestinian Weapons - Zeina Karam (AP/Washington Post)
    Syria's pullout from Lebanon has prompted armed Palestinian factions there to negotiate with Lebanon over giving up some weapons - a key UN and American demand that would have been unthinkable just a year ago.
    Lebanon's new prime minister has met with Palestinian factions to arrange for the eventual removal of Palestinian weapons outside refugee camps and for their regulation inside camps.
    See also Abbas to Lebanese Palestinians: Disarm (Ynet News)
    PA Chairman Abbas and Lebanese Prime Minister Saniora agreed at a UN-sponsored meeting in Paris on Tuesday that unrestricted movements of weapons and terrorists in Palestinian refugee camps are harmful to Lebanon.

Egypt Building Fence to Protect Red Sea Resort (BBC News)
    Egypt has started to build a 20km security fence around the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to try to stop terrorist attacks on the town, security officials say.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Assad's Brother-in-Law Named in Hariri Assassination
    Five high-ranking Syrian officers are to be named by UN investigator Detlev Mehlis in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, including Bashar Assad's brother-in-law Asef Shawkat, currently head of Syrian military intelligence, and Gen. Roustom Ghazale, head of Syrian military intelligence in Lebanon, Germany's Stern magazine says. A senior Stern editor said $20 million was discovered in Ghazale's bank account. (UPI)
        See also Lebanon Charges Syrian with Murder in Hariri Probe - Lin Noueihed
    Lebanon has charged with murder a key Syrian witness detained in France over the assassination of Hariri. French police detained Mohammed Zuhair al-Siddiq on Sunday. Lebanese judicial sources believe Siddiq had an indirect role in Hariri's killing and had misled international investigators. (Reuters)
        See also U.S., France to Introduce UN Resolutions Against Syria - Robin Wright
    The U.S. and France are planning to introduce two UN resolutions next week aimed at holding Syria to account for meddling in Lebanon and for its alleged links to the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Hariri. Assad's government is facing bleak prospects even in the Arab world. Last month, Assad visited Cairo where President Hosni Mubarak told him to comply fully with the UN investigator - and not to expect help if Syrian officials are implicated. (Washington Post)
  • West Bank Killings Lead to Restrictions - Scott Wilson
    A day after Palestinian gunmen killed three young Israelis and wounded several others in a pair of drive-by shootings, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz banned private Palestinian cars from major West Bank roads. "We want to send a very clear and unequivocal message that after attacks like this it's not business as usual," said Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry. "We expect them to follow through on their promises - that these armed gangs be disarmed. Our entire ability to move forward is based on that promise."
        "Israel took unilateral measures, such as the removal of roadblocks to ease up on the Palestinian population, and typically the al-Aqsa Brigades exploited this to kill Israeli civilians," said Dore Gold, an adviser to Prime Minister Sharon. (Washington Post)
        See also State Dept. Gives Mixed Message to Israel After Terror Attack - Barry Schweid
    While affirming an Israeli right to self-defense, the State Department on Monday chided Israel for imposing travel restrictions on West Bank Palestinians after Palestinian gunmen killed three Israelis and wounded five in drive-by attacks. In a message delivered privately by Lt. Gen. William Ward, the U.S. security envoy in the region, the State Department said it continued to ask the Israeli government "to take steps to ease the daily plight of the Palestinian people." Palestinian fighters, convinced their attacks succeeded in driving Israel to relinquish Gaza to the Palestinians last month, now appear to be shifting that strategy to the West Bank, according to Israeli intelligence. (AP/Washington Post)
  • White House: Palestinian Leadership Can Do More to End Violence and Dismantle Terrorist Organizations
    White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said Tuesday: "There is more that the Palestinian leadership can do to end violence and dismantle terrorist organizations. It is important that the Palestinian leadership continue to take steps to put in place law and order in Gaza."  (White House)
  • U.S. Pressing Palestinians to Bar Extremist Candidates - Steven R. Weisman
    The Bush administration, worried that Palestinian militants will gain a foothold in legislative elections in January, is pressing Mahmoud Abbas to require that candidates renounce violence and "unlawful or nondemocratic" methods, administration and Palestinian representatives say. A senior State Department official said that with Abbas scheduled to meet President Bush on Thursday, the administration had held talks with the Palestinian leadership on ways to "tighten up the rules" to make it clear that candidates, even those backed by Hamas, do not incite violence or keep ties with militias. (New York Times)
  • Saddam Hussein Faces Mass Murder Trial - Scott Bobb
    Saddam Hussein is to go on trial Wednesday for mass murder, the first of what is expected to be several indictments of the deposed Iraqi president and senior officials of his regime. (VOA News)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Slain Cousins Buried Side-by-Side - Tovah Lazaroff
    Standing by his wife's shroud-covered corpse, Yisrael Adler sang the same melody he had sung to her at their wedding only three months earlier. Matat Rosenfeld Adler, 21, and her cousin Kineret Mandel, 23, were among the three victims of a terrorist attack at the hitchhiking post at the Gush Etzion junction on Sunday. Friends since childhood, the two were buried side-by-side Monday in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also The Attack in Gush Etzion - Alex Fishman
    The IDF checkpoint near the site of Sunday's shooting was not permanently manned. The murderers carried out their deed about 100 meters from the Etzion Brigade headquarters, they moved freely around in an Israeli car, waited unfettered near the hitchhiking post, opened fire from the back window, killed three kids, and escaped in the direction of Hebron. The attack in Gush Etzion was very reminiscent of a similar attack near Beit Hagai three months ago. Then, too, an Israeli car waited near a hitching post and opened fire: Two killed, three wounded, and the killers got away. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Authority Has No Intention of Disarming Terror Groups - Khaled Abu Toameh
    On the eve of Mahmoud Abbas's visit to Washington, the PA announced that it has no intention of disarming Hamas or other armed groups. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Abbas is Overseas and the Anarchy Spreads - Roni Shaked
    While Abbas shuttles between Europe and the U.S., the anarchy in the Gaza Strip is spreading. On Tuesday, a Fatah splinter group kidnapped two Palestinians in Khan Yunis. On Monday, hundreds of unemployed Palestinians demonstrated in front of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza demanding jobs and an improvement in economic conditions. In parallel, 244 Fatah activists announced they were quitting the movement, protesting "the lack of credibility and democracy in the party." (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew, 19Oct05)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Defeating Hamas - Ephraim Sneh
    The possibility of a legislative election victory for the extremist militia Hamas - the Islamic Resistance Movement - or any significant success by Hamas candidates is a cause of worry. This is not a result yearned for by advocates of democracy and peace. It would be ironic, indeed, if the ideal of democracy were to empower the terrorists of Hamas, who murder innocent civilian to prevent the achievement of such a peace. The aim of Hamas is not the end of Israeli occupation, nor is it the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Hamas's aim is to take over Palestinian society and impose Islamist rule. For this reason, Hamas poses a greater threat to Palestinian secular parties than it does to Israel.
        Even if Hamas does win many seats in the Palestinian parliament, it will not cease to be a terrorist organization. We must not delude ourselves into thinking that government responsibility will lead to Hamas's self-moderation. With this type of radical Islamist movement, there is no distinction between armed and political actions, which serve the same goal. At the core of this movement is a terrorist ideology that denies the rights of another people and coerces an entire society into a fundamentalist Muslim lifestyle. Whenever it serves its cause, Hamas will use terrorism against Israel and the Palestinian government. Hamas must be defeated politically, militarily, economically, and culturally.
        The writer, a retired Israeli general who served as military governor of the West Bank, is chairman of the Labor faction in the Knesset. (Washington Post)
  • Suspect in Syria - Editorial
    Whatever the UN report reveals when it is released on Oct. 25, it is clear that Damascus still exercises undue influence in Lebanon and condones terrorists who organize in Syria to launch attacks in Israel and Iraq. The U.S. and the international community cannot let up on the heavy sanctions against Syria unless it offers sweeping policy changes. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also High Noon for Syria - David Ignatius (Washington Post)
  • The Whole Arab World Needs to Watch This Trial - Amir Taheri
    Saddam is enjoying what he denied his victims: a public trial with defense lawyers of his choice and the rule of evidence taking into account the principle of reasonable doubt. Here a new Iraq, based on the rule of law, will be trying the old Iraq of cruelty and corruption. The Arabs will watch and decide which they would rather live under. The rest of the world should also watch to decide which side to support in the struggle for Iraq's future. (Times-UK)
  • Observations:

    Freedom of Action in Gaza - Yaron London (Ynet News)

    • The price of firing rockets into Israel from Gaza has gone up dramatically. The message that we will respond to fire with fire has been delivered with action, not words. This change in our behavior stems from an approach that sees the Gaza Strip as a quasi-country now.
    • Like any country, the Palestinian Authority is responsible for the behavior of its residents. The world understands this approach. All countries would respond to rocket fire without worrying too much about pinpointing the actual mortar crews, as opposed to the civilian population that gives them cover.
    • Now, because we are not occupiers, we have freedom of action. If we are attacked, everyone on this side of the border is one of us, and everyone on the other side is one of them. If innocent people are harmed, we might well be sorry, but we will bear no responsibility.
    • The Palestinian civilian population understands this, as does Hamas.

    Today's issue of the Daily Alert was prepared in Israel during Hol Hamoed Sukkot.

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