Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 3, 2005

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In-Depth Issues:

PA Unable to Prevent Gaza Land Theft - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    The PA seems to have failed in preventing many land thieves from laying their hands on the former area of Gush Katif.
    PA officials pointed out that some of the thieves belong to the PA security forces.
    While the PA announced plans to build thousands of housing units in the former settlements with the help of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, some of the projects may now be postponed because of the land theft.
    During a surprise visit to Khan Yunis and Rafah Wednesday, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was shocked to see large areas fenced off by local families, gangs, and individuals.
    See also The Murder of Musa Arafat and the Battle for the Spoils of Gaza - Pinhas Inbari and Dan Diker (ICA/JCPA)

Syrian Media Glorify Hadera Suicide Bombing (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies)
    The Syrian news media glorified the suicide bombing attack carried out on October 26 in Hadera by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization directed from Damascus and supported by Syria and Iran.
    Radio Damascus reported: "On October 26 the Palestinian people, through martyr Hassan Abu Zayid, dealt a crushing blow to the Israeli terrorists and war criminals in Hadera, the Jewish-Zionist settlement city."

Iranian Cartoon for Children Promotes Suicide Attacks (MEMRI)
    Abd al-Rahman, waiting for an Israeli military convoy to pass, ties a string of grenades around his waist.
    He pulls the grenade pins and leaps onto one of the trucks - when the smoke clears the Israeli soldiers and al-Rahman lie dead.
    A young Palestinian boy approaches al-Rahman's body, takes his bloody kaffiyeh, places it on his own shoulders, and walks off into the sunset.

Rumbles of Radicalism in Kurdistan - Scott Peterson (Christian Science Monitor)
    Islamist ideology first came to northern Iraq after Saudi Arabia's proselytization and mosque-building there in the 1990s, combined with the return of mujahideen veterans from the Afghan war against the Soviet Union.
    By the time the U.S. invaded Iraq a decade later, Islamist groups had targeted most Kurdish political factions.
    By 2001, Ansar al-Islam, with ties to al-Qaeda, had emerged with bases on Iraq's northeastern border with Iran.
    After fleeing to Iran, one wing of dispersed Ansar members hooked up with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al-Qaeda in Iraq, which works out of Baghdad, Fallujah, and western Anbar Province.
    After the 1991 Gulf War led to the creation of the Kurdish safe haven, Islamist Kurdish groups, working under the guise of the Saudi-based International Islamic Relief Organization and other "charities," pumped $22 million a month into Kurdish areas in 1992-93.
    In the decade starting in 1991, along with the spread of Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi teachings, Saudi charities built 1,832 new mosques - a boom that shocked Kurdish officials to the point of clamping on new restrictions in 2001.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Hamas Says It Won't Renew Truce with Israel
    The militant group Hamas said Wednesday it would not renew an informal 9-month-old truce brokered by Egypt, which expires at the end of the year. "No one should dream about the renewal of this truce," said Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri. (AP/USA Today)
  • Israeli Defense Chief Vows Non-Interference in Palestinian Elections - David Gollust
    After talks Wednesday in Washington with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz says Israel will not interfere with Palestinian parliamentary elections in January, but also does not want to see radical factions like Hamas in a new parliament. Mofaz said the PA should move to dismantle armed factions before the election, and that Israel would not have any dealings with members of terrorist groups who might be elected to the parliament and become part of a Palestinian government. (VOA News)
        See also Rice Agrees Abbas Must Fight Terror Now - Nathan Guttman
    In a meeting Tuesday with the leadership of the Israel Policy Forum, Secretary of State Rice put the onus of moving forward on the Palestinian side and said she would like to see Abbas act against terrorism even before the January PA elections. David Makovsky, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said the feeling is that now the U.S. was expecting the Palestinian leadership to "reciprocate" for the Israeli disengagement, before moving forward. "The administration believes that at some point Abbas needs to deliver," he said, adding that the U.S. had not yet gained confidence in Abbas and was not yet willing "to invest political capital" in his leadership. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Iraq Asks Return of Some Officers of Hussein Army - Edward Wong
    The Iraqi government called Wednesday for the return of junior officers up to the rank of major from the disbanded army of Saddam Hussein, in a move aimed at draining the insurgency of recruits and bolstering the Iraqi security forces. Many American commanders and military analysts have said the dissolution of the Iraqi Army in May 2003 drove many thousands of Sunni Arab soldiers and officers into the insurgency while depriving the country of a force that could help restore order. (New York Times)
  • Muslim Rioting Spreads in France - Molly Moore
    Rioting spread to 13 immigrant-dominated towns on the outskirts of Paris Wednesday as Muslim youths turned out for a seventh night of violence, setting cars on fire and throwing rocks at police. The unrest erupted last Thursday when two Muslim teenagers were electrocuted while dodging a police checkpoint. (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinians Wound Five Israelis in Mortar Attack - Amos Harel and Nir Hasson
    Five Israelis were wounded Wednesday when Palestinians fired mortar shells that hit the community of Netiv Ha'asara, north of the Gaza Strip. One rocket hit a vehicle. A house and a high-tension electrical line were also damaged in the attack and the community was plunged into darkness. During the last three years over 100 mortar shells have landed in Netiv Ha'asara. (Ha'aretz)
  • Pro-Israel Rallies Held in Front of Iran Embassies Across Europe
    Demonstrations in support of Israel were held Wednesday in front of Iranian embassies in a number of European capitals. In France a demonstration organized by the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish organizations and the Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF) gathered near the Iranian embassy in Paris. Pro-Israel rallies were also held in Vienna and Budapest, where protestors held signs that read: "Israel today, Europe tomorrow?" Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini has said he would attend Thursday's pro-Israel rally in Rome. (AP/Ha'aretz)
  • IDF: "We Need Deterrence in Gaza" - Hanan Greenberg
    "It is a fact that we did manage to establish a certain level of deterrence in Gaza," a high-ranking Israel Air Force officer says. "Fatah is inactive, as is Hamas mostly. There is a very small group that still operates there. We must not create a situation in which we respond to each Kassam launched, but do something which will deter the terrorists." The officer described the sonic booms caused during aircraft flights over Gaza as "an effective non-lethal weapon" to help create deterrence. With regard to the threat of shoulder-fired, anti-aircraft missiles, the officer noted: "Today - in light of the smuggling through the breached southern border - I can say for certain that they have such missiles....We have updated our operative concept based on this assumption." (Ynet News)
  • Terrorists in Distress - Arieh O'Sullivan
    Arrest raids combined with targeted interceptions have come pretty close to quashing Palestinian terror, Israeli security officials say. Each night, security forces fan out across Judea and Samaria and detain suspected fugitives. In the past week alone, Israeli security forces have killed two Islamic Jihad commanders in Tulkarm, another seven in Gaza, and at least five in Kabatiya. According to senior security officials, fewer and fewer people are involved in Palestinian terror.
        While not promising to bring terrorism to an "absolute zero" level, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz said last month that IDF policy has proven that there was a military answer to terrorism, and we are watching this unfold daily. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Link Ma'ale Adumim to Jerusalem - Efraim Inbar
    Ma'ale Adumim serves as the linchpin in establishing an effective line of defense along the Jordan River Valley against aggression from the east. Building a Jewish-populated corridor to Ma'ale Adumim would prevent the division of Jerusalem and secure the only safe route via which Israel could mobilize troops from the coast to the Jordan Valley in case of emergency. In addition to Jerusalem's historical and religious importance to Jews, the city also holds strategic importance in controlling the only highway from the Mediterranean coast to the Jordan River Valley along which Jews can travel with little interference from Arab population concentrations.
        Objections to a Jewish presence in the Area E-1 corridor express concern for Palestinian contiguity, which is a deceptive argument. Free travel between Samaria and Judea can be arranged quite easily by constructing overpasses or tunnels. The Palestinians suggest precisely these arrangements in response to Israeli concerns regarding the Palestinian demand for a corridor between Gaza and the West Bank that would divide Israel in two. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Will Do What It Needs to Survive - "World Opinion" Be Damned - Ed Koch
    After Iranian President Ahmadinejad told the world that Israel "must be wiped off the map," world leaders expressed dismay at these remarks. There is little substance behind this show of support for Israel. If Iran were to launch a nuclear attack against Israel, there would be little chance of any of these countries coming to Israel's defense. Given its minute size, Israel cannot afford to be attacked with nuclear weapons.
        Regrettably, it appears that world opinion does not accept the fact that the fanatic Islamists, comprised of many millions of Muslims worldwide, believe that Christians, Jews, Hindus and others are infidels - not accepting the supremacy of Islam - and therefore they should die. (Jewish World Review)
  • Anti-Israel Threat is No Iranian Joke - Editorial
    It is still unsettling to ponder this important oil-rich nation yanked about by the same fanatical tendencies that brought on the U.S. Embassy takeover and hostage crisis of 1979, during the Islamic revolution symbolized by the Ayatollah Khomeini, whom Ahmadinejad now cites as his anti-Israel inspiration. Iran is currently in a standoff with the international community over its attempt to shake off constraints on its nuclear activities. The Iranian leadership's longstanding association with Middle Eastern terrorism and obsessive animosity toward Israel and "Zionism" are also reasons for worry about the mischief Iran could continue to cause for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. (San Francisco Chronicle)
        See also Iran's Racism is Intolerable - Editorial
    The hateful racism of Ahmadinejad's remarks has no place in any civilized society. Israeli Prime Minister Sharon's demand that Iran be expelled from the UN deserves full consideration at the Security Council. (Newsday)
  • Observations:

    Remember Theo Van Gogh, and Shudder for the Future - Francis Fukuyama
    (Wall Street Journal)

    • One year ago, the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh had his throat ritually slit by Mohamed Bouyeri, a Muslim born in Holland who spoke fluent Dutch. This event has totally transformed Dutch politics, leading to stepped-up police controls that have now virtually shut off new immigration there. Together with the July 7 bombings in London (also perpetrated by second generation Muslims who were British citizens), this event should also change dramatically our view of the nature of the threat from radical Islamism. A critical source of contemporary radical Islamism lies not in the Middle East, but in Western Europe.
    • Radical Islamism is as much a product of modernization and globalization as it is a religious phenomenon; it would not be nearly as intense if Muslims could not travel or surf the Web. This means that "fixing" the Middle East by bringing modernization and democracy to countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia will not solve the terrorism problem, but may in the short run make the problem worse. Democracy and modernization in the Muslim world are desirable for their own sake, but we will continue to have a big problem with terrorism in Europe regardless of what happens there.
    • The real challenge for democracy lies in Europe, where the problem is an internal one of integrating large numbers of angry young Muslims. Countries like Holland and Britain need to reverse the counterproductive multiculturalist policies that sheltered radicalism, and crack down on extremists. But they also need to reformulate their definitions of national identity to be more accepting of people from non-Western backgrounds.
    • Many Europeans assert that the American melting pot cannot be transported to European soil. This may be true, but if so, democracy in Europe will be in big trouble in the future as Muslims become an ever larger percentage of the population.

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