Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 2, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

The Target: A Cyanide Attack with Hundreds Killed - Dorit Gabai (Maariv-Hebrew, 2Nov05)
    The terrorist responsible for the attack on the Park Hotel in Netanya in 2002 planned a mass destruction attack using cyanide poison, according to information revealed Tuesday at his trial in a Tel Aviv District court.
    Abbas as-Sayid, head of Hamas' military wing in Tulkarm, was convicted recently for the murder of 35 people and other security crimes.
    In February 2002 Sayyid asked his brother-in-law to obtain the cyanide. The brother-in-law actually bought the cyanide in Jordan and smuggled it to Tulkarm.

U.S. Provides $4.4M for PA to Absorb Fatah Terrorists (Middle East Newsline)
    The U.S. has provided $4.4 million for the absorption of hundreds of Fatah insurgents into the PA security forces, Palestinian sources said.
    "The U.S. money was meant to pay salaries for Al Aqsa [Brigade] people who join the PA," a senior Palestinian source said.
    Al Aqsa has a force of between 500 and 700 fighters, and they were to receive $400 per month.
    While most of the fighters have agreed to join the PA security forces, the sources said at least 100 would continue attacks against Israel in operations financed by Iran and Hizballah.

Sharon: No Meeting with Abbas While Rockets Are Falling - Ronny Sofer (Ynet News)
    Visiting Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini was told Tuesday by a source in Sharon's office:
    "A Kassam rocket was launched again at Sderot last night. We are at war, and are fighting terror. A meeting with Abbas cannot be held in such a situation."

U.S. Designates New Qualifying Industrial Zone in Egypt - Shmuel Rosner (Ha'aretz)
    U.S. trade representative Rob Portman designated on Monday a new Qualifying Industrial Zone (QIZ) in the Central Delta in Egypt and approved the expansion of two existing zones in Greater Cairo and at the Suez Canal.
    QIZs give Egypt and Jordan the right to export products to the U.S. duty-free if the products contain inputs from Israel.

Australian Fugitive Linked to Zarqawi - Martin Chulov (The Australian)
    Sydney (Australia) fugitive Saleh Jamal, awaiting a terrorism trial in Lebanon next month, has been linked to Iraq's most wanted man, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
    Court documents allege he was sent overseas by an Australian Islamist to stage jihad attacks against U.S. and Israeli interests.
    Much of the evidence against Jamal depends on confessions of people convicted of conspiring with him to travel to Syria.
    Among them are two Palestinian clerics who allegedly provided weapons training in southern Lebanon.
    Jamal is believed to have forged links in a Palestinian refugee camp with Asbat al-Ansar, an outlawed group linked to Zarqawi's network.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Damascus Continues to Host Palestinian Terror Factions - Michael Slackman
    Syrian officials have been saying for years that they have closed down all the offices of Palestinian factions working in Damascus, as the U.S. and the Europeans have insisted. They are all gone, they say: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. But last month, President Bashar al-Assad held a meeting of the leaders of all the factions. He called for unity among Palestinians and, according to people at the meeting, said he would remove some of the restrictions he had placed on their political work from Damascus. For decades, Syrian leaders have played a double game, assuring the world that the Palestinian offices were closed while letting them set up shop in "apartments." (New York Times)
  • A Ruling Sect Adrift in Time of Strife - Anthony Shadid
    These are difficult days for Syria's Alawites. There is deep anxiety that in a time of strife, Alawites will bear the brunt of vendettas dating to the decades when they provided the leadership of the government, military, and feared security services. The Alawites, some 12% of Syria's 18 million people, have ruled the Baath Party and the military for 35 years. (Washington Post)
        See also Hizballah Vows to Stand By Syria - Ayat Basma
    Lebanon's Hizballah guerrilla group said on Friday it would stand by Syria, blasting the UN for what it said was political incitement against Damascus over the killing of a Lebanese ex-premier. Tens of thousands of Lebanese attended an anti-Israel Hizballah parade in Beirut in a show of force. Some 6,000 Hizballah fighters in military fatigues marched in formation in front of cheering crowds, chanting "Death to Israel, Death to America" and "Oh, Jerusalem, we are coming."  (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Airstrike Kills Top Palestinian Fugitive - Arnon Regular and Amos Harel
    Fatah commander Hassan Al-Madhoun, 32, and Hamas operative Fawzi Abu al-Qarea, 37, were killed in an Israel Air Force missile strike Tuesday in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip. Madhoun was a top fugitive whom Israel has accused of planning deadly bombings at Ashdod port and the Karni crossing between Gaza and Israel. Ten Israelis were killed in the Ashdod attack in 2004. He was also responsible for attempting to send a female suicide bomber from Gaza to Beersheba's Soroka Medical Center.
        The two men were traveling in a car with a red PA security license plate, witnesses said. Ra'anan Gissin, a spokesman for Prime Minister Sharon, said Madhoun and Qarea "were about to go out and prepare a terrorist attack....When there will be a let-up in terrorist attacks, when the Palestinian Authority decides finally to take action against these groups, to disarm them...then we will not have to bring justice to them." (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Soldier Killed in Gun Battle with Palestinians - Amos Harel
    Sgt. Yonatan Evron, 20, was killed Wednesday in a shootout with armed Palestinians in the northern West Bank village of Kfar Mirka, near Jenin. (Ha'aretz)
  • Ministers Approve Plan for EU to Inspect Rafah Border Traffic
    Israel's Security Cabinet Tuesday approved a plan calling for EU officials to inspect travelers entering the Gaza Strip from Egypt through the Rafah border crossing. If the plan is realized, it will mark the first time Israel will allow the EU to play a major role in Israeli-Palestinian relations. One of the problems hampering Israeli-Palestinian talks over Rafah is a disagreement over how much authority the European inspectors would wield. The cabinet decided that Israel wants the Europeans to have greater authority than observers and be able to intervene in dangerous security situations.
        The Rafah crossing is to be limited to use by Palestinians. Other travelers will be compelled to use the Kerem Shalom crossing, controlled by Israel. The Israelis want all goods to go through the Kerem Shalom terminal.
        The EU has not yet discussed the request. However, inspecting the Rafah terminal could pose a danger to the EU, which may make it think twice about agreeing. European diplomatic officials said the EU has informed Israel and the Palestinians that it is demanding a time limit be placed on its activity in Rafah. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Iran's Bluster Isn't a Bluff - Martin Indyk
    There is plenty of International Atomic Energy Agency evidence to indicate that Iran is bent on acquiring a nuclear weapons capability and that this goal is broadly supported by all of Iran's political factions. Four years ago, the supposedly moderate Hashemi Rafsanjani explained that in a nuclear exchange, Iran could withstand a second strike, whereas "the use of a nuclear bomb against Israel will leave nothing on the ground."
        Iran has been waging an ongoing war against Israel by proxy for more than a decade. The Iranian intelligence service trains, funds, arms and directs both Hizballah, which operates out of southern Lebanon, and Palestine Islamic Jihad, which carries out terrorist operations against Israeli civilians. Even now, when more than 80% of Palestinians want the current calm to continue, Iran is pushing Islamic Jihad to provoke violence. Ahmadinejad's declaration, therefore, was just one of those moments when the world could no longer avoid noticing Iran's decades-long aggression toward Israel. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Free Muhamad Mugraby: Syria's Puppets in Beirut Continue Persecuting a Lebanese Dissident - Claudia Rosett
    Syria still casts a long shadow across Lebanon - a nation on the front lines of the struggle to shed despotism in the Middle East. Months after the Cedar Revolution and Syria's official pullout, one of Lebanon's leading human rights lawyers, Muhamad Mugraby, is facing prosecution in a Beirut military court for his criticism two years ago, in Brussels, of the Syrian-backed Lebanese regime. Mr. Mugraby's alleged offense is that two years ago, in testimony to the European Parliament, he dared to defend the rights of Lebanese - and Arabs generally - to liberty and rule of law.
        During the years of blatant Syrian occupation, knowing that the main Beirut secret police offices and torture chambers were just around the corner from his family home, Mr. Mugraby repeatedly put himself in jeopardy by taking on cases of Lebanese citizens persecuted by the Syrian regime. He represented the families of people disappeared into the dungeons of Syria for what the Damascus-backed authorities deemed the offense of any contact with neighboring democratic Israel. Is Syrian hegemony really over? The test is not only whether Syria allows the UN investigation to proceed, but even more importantly whether Lebanese patriots themselves, such as Mr. Mugraby, will remain free to do their part for liberty and law in the Middle East. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Warrior Behind the Plow - Richard Cohen
    Israel is more or less at war. A suicide bomber had killed five people in the northern Israeli town of Hadera and Israel, as usual, had retaliated, killing in the Gaza Strip an important leader of the terrorist organization Islamic Jihad, which had claimed credit for the attack. For Sharon, the principle is simple: No one gets away with killing Israelis. It is the essence of his foreign policy, which is his domestic policy, which is his military policy, which is the guiding principle of his life - what he calls his "red line." Whatever he does, however he manages the so-called peace process, he will not risk "the blood of a single Israeli citizen."  (Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    Iran Says It Wants to Destroy Israel. Why Is Everyone Shocked?
    - Efraim Karsh and Rory Miller (New Republic)

    • The UN Charter was introduced in 1945, and since that time Arab and Muslim leaders have expressed the desire to obliterate the Jewish state with impressive regularity. No sooner was the State of Israel proclaimed on May 14, 1948, than it was invaded by neighboring Arab states, with Arab League Secretary-General Abdel Rahman Azzam proclaiming that "this will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades."
    • Such rhetoric has been used by a long line of Arab leaders. During the 1950s and '60s it was Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, the self-styled champion of pan-Arabism, who led the call for Israel's destruction. He proclaimed in late May 1967, "Recently we felt that we are strong enough, that if we were to enter a battle with Israel, with God's help, we could triumph...our main objective will be the destruction of Israel."
    • The baton passed to a new generation of aspiring pan-Arab champions, notably Syrian president Hafez Assad and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. For his part, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini emphasized the need to destroy the Jewish state well before coming to power in 1979; and during his reign the destruction of Israel evolved into one of the most fundamental tenets of his revolutionary creed.
    • And let's not forget the PLO. Since its establishment in 1964, the organization's publicly stated objective has been the destruction of Israel. Despite their official commitment to peace with Israel within the framework of the Oslo process, Arafat and his PLO successors have never truly abandoned their commitment to Israel's destruction. Instead they have embarked on an intricate game of Jekyll-and-Hyde politics, constantly reassuring Israeli and Western audiences of their peaceful intentions while at the same time denigrating the peace accords to their Palestinian constituents as a temporary measure to be abandoned at the first available opportunity.
    • Against this backdrop of six decades of international acquiescence in the face of constant calls for Israel's destruction, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would have legitimate reasons to feel that he has been singled out a bit unfairly these last few days.
    • We all hope that the West will now take a stand against all those who call for the destruction of Israel. Otherwise, there will be only one lesson from this tawdry affair: that countries should feel free to advocate genocide against the Jewish people - as long as they aren't developing weapons that can be turned on London, Paris, or Moscow once they've finished the job in Tel Aviv.
        See also Surprise! Iran Wants the Destruction of Israel (and America, England, France, Italy...) - Michael Ledeen
    Just a month ago, on September 28, there was a monster parade in Tehran featuring the country's armed forces. One of the high points of the parade was a collection of the Shahab 3 missiles, the ones designed to carry nuclear warheads, and they were adorned with catchy slogans like "The Zionist regime must be destroyed," and "Death to America." Four military attaches walked out in protest: the French, the Italian, the Greek, and the Polish. Indeed, on September 12, Al Sharq Al Awsat reported that "officials from the Revolutionary Guard have recently met with leaders of Ansar al-Islam and the Jihad organizations near the Iran-Iraq border. They discussed the acceleration of military operations against the British forces in the south of Iraq."  (National Review)

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