Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 27, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

Fatah Militia, Islamic Jihad Are Working Together - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Many militiamen belonging to Abbas's ruling Fatah party are operating openly together with Islamic Jihad in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
    Islamic Jihad operative Luai Sa'di, who was killed in an IDF operation in Tulkarm earlier this week, had been working closely with Fatah gunmen.
    Sa'di's cohort, Majed al-Ashkar, a leader in Fatah's Aksa Martyrs Brigades, was killed in the same IDF raid.
    Sources in Tulkarm said the two had formed a joint Fatah-Islamic Jihad cell responsible for a series of attacks on Israel over the past 18 months.
    In Jenin and Nablus as well, Fatah and Islamic Jihad members are often seen roaming the streets together.
    On Wednesday, masked gunmen belonging to Fatah and Islamic Jihad held a joint press conference in Gaza City to claim responsibility for the Hadera attack.
    According to an Abbas aide, dozens of Fatah gunmen have "defected" to Islamic Jihad in protest against the PA's failure to pay them salaries and give them high ranks in the security forces.
    "It's not a matter of ideology, but money," he explained. "And the money is coming from Damascus and Hizballah."

Palestinian Trio Jailed by German Court (DPA/Khaleej Times-Dubai)
    A trio of Palestinians who plotted terrorist bombings in Germany under the leadership of Iraq’s terror kingpin Abu Musab al-Zarqawi were jailed for up to eight years on Wednesday by a German court.
    They surveyed a Jewish-owned nightclub in Duesseldorf and a Berlin synagogue as potential targets.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates Visits Israel (Globes)
    Bill Gates told a group of Israeli business leaders in Tel Aviv Wednesday, "For Microsoft, having an R&D center in Israel has been a great experience for us. The quality of the people here is quite fantastic."

Ethiopian Israelis Raise $9M to Protect Graves - Ayanawu Farada Sanbetu (Ha'aretz)
    In recent years, Israel's Ethiopian community has raised more than $9 million from its members to protect the 200 Jewish cemeteries in Ethiopia.
    Over the past six years, 32 cemeteries have been desecrated by locals.
    "The local residents believe that Jews' bones can heal medical ailments and bring good luck, so they even trade them," said Warteo Shai Sisa, chair of the forum of Ethiopian Jews for cemetery preservation.


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  • Palestinian Suicide Bombing Kills at Least Five in Israel - Greg Myre and Dina Kraft
    A Palestinian suicide bomber detonated his explosives at an outdoor market in the Israeli coastal town of Hadera, killing at least five people and wounding more than two dozen, Israeli police said. The powerful blast left the street littered with body parts and blood. The Palestinian faction Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility. Israel said the Palestinian leadership bore responsibility because it has refused to use its security forces to break up the factions. "In those places where the Palestinian Authority fails to deal with terrorists, we will have to do it - and we can't wait," said Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Prime Minister Sharon. Media reports identified the bomber as Hassan Abu Zeid, 20, and Israel Radio said he had been released from an Israeli prison about a month ago. (New York Times)
  • Wipe Israel from Map, Says Iran's President - Gareth Smyth
    Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, Iran's fundamentalist president, on Wednesday declared that Israel should be "wiped off the map" and warned Arab countries against developing economic ties with Israel in response to its withdrawal from Gaza. His remarks, delivered at a conference in Tehran entitled "A World without Zionism," led to diplomatic protests by the UK, France and Spain, while Shimon Peres, Israel's deputy prime minister, said Iran should be expelled from the UN. Ahmadi-Nejad, who took office in August, was departing from the moderate line of his reformist predecessor, Mohammad Khatami, who argued Iran should be no more radical about Israel than the Palestinians themselves. (Financial Times-UK)
  • State Department: PA Has Assets to Fight Terrorism, "So Let's Not Pretend That They Don't"
    State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said Wednesday: "The Palestinian Authority needs to do more to prevent these attacks. They need to act against terrorism....They need also to dismantle those terrorist networks, which are responsible for these attacks....The Palestinian security forces...have capabilities and they do have assets, so let's not pretend that they don't."  (State Department)
  • UN Says Arms Still Flowing to Lebanon from Syria - Evelyn Leopold
    Arms are still flowing across the Syrian border to Palestinians in Lebanon, a UN report said on Wednesday. Secretary General Kofi Annan reported to the UN Security Council that the "illegal transfer of arms and people" over the Syrian-Lebanese border undermined Beirut's efforts to control its territory. (Reuters)
        See also Lebanese Troops Deploy Near Two Palestinian Positions
    The Lebanese military increased pressure against pro-Syrian groups in Lebanon on Wednesday, surrounding a mountain base linked to weapons smugglers and deploying hundreds of soldiers to another following the killing of a Lebanese contractor. Dozens of soldiers took up positions around a base of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) in Sultan Yacoub, a village some five km from the Syrian border, witnesses said. (AP/Jordan Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Casualties of Terror
    Sabiha Nissim, 66, arrived at the Hadera market with her husband as she did nearly every other day. Her husband, Aharon, said: "Suddenly I heard a huge explosion and I immediately felt that she had been killed. I found her lying on the ground and I hugged her." Jamil Qa'adan, 48, was a Hebrew teacher from the Israeli-Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiya. Farhiya Machlouf, 53, worked at Bank Leumi in Hadera for 30 years. Michael Keufman, 68, came to Israel in 1993 with his wife and two children. Yaakov Rachmani, 68, of Hadera was also killed in the attack. (Ynet News)
        See also The Return of Terrorism to Hadera - Daniel Ben-Tal (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hadera Attack Planned Prior to Islamic Jihad Leader's Death - Hanan Greenberg
    Israeli security officials claim the Hadera attack was not carried out in response to the recent killing of Islamic Jihad leader Luai Sa'di, but was rather planned prior to it. "Such an attack requires more than two days worth of preparations," one official said. "They constantly try to carry out attacks, and today they succeeded, so they are calling it a revenge attack." (Ynet News)
  • Palestinians Fire Rocket at Israeli Community - Nir Hasson
    Prior to the Hadera attack on Wednesday, Palestinans fired Kassam rockets and mortars at Israel. A Kassam rocket landed in the soccer field of Netiv Ha'asara, an Israeli community north of the Gaza Strip. A mortar fired from the southern Gaza Strip landed near the security fence. Nearby, Palestinians opened fire at an IDF position. In addition, two Palestinians trying to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza by sea on a raft were turned back by Israeli forces. (Ha'aretz-Hebrew, 27Oct05)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Uprooting Terror - Alex Fishman
    The suicide bombing in Hadera reminded us there are no remote-controlled solutions. In order to successfully fight terror, we must come in close contact with it. We must be, physically, where terror infrastructures are being organized and dismantle them before they produce a "ticking bomb." Indeed, this is what will be happening from now on. Israel built an impressive fence, invested millions, but also built no less than 30 crossings. There's no need to look for breaches in the fence - one can just take the main road. (Ynet News)
  • Why Doesn't Abbas Disarm the Militias? - Danny Rubinstein
    During the period of Israeli military presence and settlements in Gaza, the Palestinian street accepted with understanding the existence of militias and armed cells that attacked Israeli targets, and even revered their members. But after the withdrawal, the public wishes to distance itself from these militias. "No one needs you to walk around with weapons in the streets," is the message contained in a series of public statements regarding those whom the Palestinian media term "resistance fighters."
        During the five years of the intifada, the various militias became an inseparable part of everyday life in the Strip. This is true not only of groups affiliated with Hamas and other political movements, but also of gangs that do not accept any external authority. Often these are local gangs, or even the militias of large extended families. Thus Abu Mazen cannot make do with issuing an order to dismantle the terror infrastructure. He has to alter the way of life that has taken root in the Gaza Strip over several years. (Ha'aretz)
  • Why the UN Can't Fix Syria - Amir Taheri
    Political murder has been routinely practiced under the Ba'ath regime since its inception in the 1960s. Thus the trouble with Syria is not this single case of political assassination, but a whole edifice built on violence, terror and repression. As long as that edifice is unchanged, we cannot be sure that there will be no more political killings of this kind.
        Even if Hariri's killers are brought to justice, the basic situation that led to his murder wouldn't change. The thousands of Syrian secret agents in Lebanon, along with dozens of Lebanese politicians who have worked for Syria, sometimes for generations, would stick around until things cool down. Syria would continue ferrying guns to Hizballah and keep its borders open for terrorists to go to Iraq as they please.
        Suppose the UN imposes sanctions on Syria. The Islamic Republic in Iran has lived with sanctions since 1979, as has Cuba since 1960. Saddam wasn't toppled by sanctions but by a military juggernaut. The Mehlis mission is a side-show that could help fudge the real issue - the urgent need for changes in the nature of the Syrian regime. (New York Post)
  • Observations:

    Opportunity Knocks in Syria's Unraveling - Jim Hoagland (Washington Post)

    • Defeat in two wars with Israel taught the late Syrian leader Hafez Assad to minimize to survive. He did not overlook details or leave things to chance. And he did not antagonize others unnecessarily. While Saddam Hussein killed foes just to stay in practice, Hafez Assad killed them after efforts to buy, cajole, or intimidate them had failed - and then he moved with efficient, overwhelming ruthlessness. Bashar Assad seems to have learned or inherited little from his austere, shrewd father.
    • Larger principles are involved for Chirac - who is intent on upholding Lebanon's sovereignty and historical ties to France - and for Annan, who has offered unprecedented support by a secretary general for the investigation and incrimination of the leaders of a UN member state.
    • The Syrians seem to have gone too far even for their fellow Arabs in eliminating the popular Hariri.
    • At the UN, in Arab capitals, and not least in Washington, there seems to be a fresh willingness to try to find a better way to deal with an unsavory regime that hopes to hide its crimes behind an antiquated shield of sovereignty.

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