Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
If your email program has difficulty viewing this page, see web version.


November 17, 2005

To contact the Presidents Conference: click here

In-Depth Issues:

Al-Qaeda Plans to Abduct Israelis - Smadar Perry (Ynet News)
    Senior al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is planning to abduct and murder Israeli nationals in Jordan, according to intelligence information revealed following the terror attacks on three Amman hotels.
    Zarqawi's initial plan was to kidnap Israeli diplomats in Amman, but he gave up due to the tight security arrangements around them.
    A senior Arab intelligence official has warned Israeli businesspeople and tourists to be very cautious during planned visits to Jordan.
    "Zarqawi has already begun following foreign visitors to Jordan in order to kidnap and murder them, exactly as he is doing in Iraq," the official said.
    New intelligence information reveals that Zarqawi offered his services to Syria and Iran's intelligence organizations.

500,000 Bullets on Way to Gaza - Ali Waked (Ynet News)
    A delivery of 500,000 rifle bullets is expected to reach Gaza from Egypt as soon as Thursday, through the Rafah border crossing, according to Palestinian sources.
    The bullets are intended for use by the Palestinian police.
    Egyptian security personal currently in Gaza will supervise the shipment's storage and the distribution of bullets.

Muslim Brotherhood Gains in Egyptian Poll - William Wallis (Financial Times-UK)
    The Muslim Brotherhood has reaffirmed its position as Egypt's main opposition force, more than doubling its seats in parliament in the early stages of legislative elections.
    ""We won 34 seats and we could have won even more had there not been wrongdoing," Mohamed Habib, the Brotherhood's deputy leader, said following first round run-offs Wednesday.

India Fences Off Bangladesh to Keep Out Muslim Terror - Dean Nelson (Times-UK)
    India is accelerating the construction of a 2,500-mile fence to seal its border with Bangladesh amid growing fears that its Muslim neighbor could become "a new Afghanistan."
    Indian officials and Western diplomats have been alarmed by an increase in terrorist attacks by militant groups linked to al-Qaeda and by the Dhaka government's failure to crack down on them.

Terrorism: Blood Feuds - Josh Schollmeyer (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)
    Of all her wounds, the bone fragments lodged in the body of a 31-year-old woman hurt in a May 2001 suicide attack in Israel seemed the least serious.
    But the bone fragments, once removed, tested positive for hepatitis B virus, raising the possibility of the transmission of a blood-borne pathogen via an infected suicide bomber.


Key Links

Media Contact Information

Back Issues

Related Publications:
Israel Campus Beat
Israel HighWay
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran Says Satellite Can Spy on Israel - Ali Akbar Dareini
    Iran said its satellite would be purely scientific. But a month after its launch - and only weeks after the president said Israel should be wiped off the map - the head of Tehran's space program now says the Sina-1 is capable of spying on the Jewish state. The launch of the Russian-made satellite into orbit aboard a Russian rocket last month marked the beginning of Iran's space program. As it orbits the Earth 14 times a day, with controllers able to point its cameras as they wish, Sina-1 gives Iran a limited space reconnaissance capability over the entire Middle East, including Israel.
        "We know that they spy on us. What they are trying to do is look for places where a mega-terror attack can take place," said Efraim Sneh, a former Israeli deputy defense minister. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Iran Ignores Pleas to Halt Uranium Work - Dafna Linzer
    Iran began converting a new batch of uranium at a key nuclear facility Wednesday, rejecting international pleas to suspend such work and dismissing a new offer - sponsored by Russia - designed to ease tensions over the country's nuclear ambitions, U.S. and European officials said. The Iranian moves threatened to derail efforts to set up a meeting next week between European and Iranian officials to reinvigorate negotiations. Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, canceled a planned trip to Tehran. The IAEA board meets in Vienna on Nov. 24 to discuss Iran's program.
        For more than two years, the Bush administration has been unable to persuade allies to send the Iranian nuclear case to the UN Security Council, where the country could face economic sanctions for failing to disclose a nuclear energy program built in secret over 18 years. David Albright, a nuclear expert and the president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, said Iran's move was "mostly symbolic," but the Iranians will "end up with a larger stock" of converted uranium that they can store away for the day when their own enrichment facility is completed. If that happens, Iran could wind up with enough bomb-grade uranium for as many as eight weapons, he said. (Washington Post)
  • Jordanians Refuse to Believe Zarqawi Behind Bombings - Michael Slackman and Mona El-Naggar
    By every measure, it would seem that Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and its leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, should be roundly vilified in Jordan after having taken responsibility for sending suicide bombers into three hotels in Amman last week, killing 58 people. But it is not that way - according to interviews over the past week with dozens of people throughout this city. Over and over people said they simply did not believe Zarqawi was behind the bombings. Or if he was, they condemned him for that, while still holding out support for his anti-American activities.
        Officials said they hoped this marked a turning point in Jordan, and throughout the Muslim world, where the so-called silent majority would rise up against Islamic extremism. But King Abdullah II said in an interview on Tuesday that he expected it would take years to overcome the extremist ideology that has infiltrated Islamic societies. (New York Times)
        See also Tragedy as Impetus in Jordan - David Ignatius (Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Arrests Palestinian Carrying Explosive Belt at Nablus Checkpoint - Nir Hasson
    Israel Defense Forces soldiers arrested a Palestinian carrying an explosive belt at the Hawara checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday, Israel Radio reported. (Ha'aretz)
        In an attempt to fool security officials, the Palestinian at first insisted he was 16 years old, but further checks revealed his real age - 28, security officials said. In the past two months, security forces have thwarted over 15 attempts by Palestinians to smuggle bombs, weapons, and ammunition through the checkpoint. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Fire Rocket at Israel from Gaza
    Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket toward the Israeli town of Sderot in the western Negev on Wednesday night. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Defense Minister Mofaz: Strengthen Settlement Blocs - Efrat Weiss
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Wednesday during a tour of the Gush Etzion region that Israel must continue to strengthen the settlement blocs in Beitar Ilit, Efrat, Gush Etzion, Ma'ale Adumim, Beit Arye, Ariel, and the Jordan Valley. (Ynet News)
        Mofaz added that it would be these settlements that determine the eastern front of the State of Israel. He also said that as soon as the plans were approved, building would begin in the E1 area, connecting Ma'ale Adumim to Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • What Palestinians? - David Brooks
    The dream of peace has been replaced by another dream, the dream of disengagement. Until I spoke to people in Israel, I thought the Gaza disengagement might lead back to the peace process, but now I realize it's a replacement for that process. It's a step toward a new (and even more illusory) dream: the dream of disengaging Israel from its geographic and historical situation. The security barrier has not only reduced suicide bombings; it has also helped change the nation's psychology. On the Israeli side of the barrier, there is increasing safety, prosperity, and normalcy. Jerusalem's streets are crowded again. People no longer choose restaurants by how good their security arrangements are and no longer avoid tables by the windows. (New York Times, 17Nov05)
  • A World Without Israel - Amnon Rubinstein
    On bookshelves in the West, you can see quite a number of books which wipe Israel off the map. These books attack the very idea of a Jewish state. It is significant that nobody writes about "A World without Syria" or without Iran. Why shouldn't the Jewish people enjoy the right to self-determination? Why should this right be granted to the Sudanese people and not to the Jews? Why is it so preposterous that there should be one state in which Hebrew is the official language and Jewish holidays are official days of rest?
        Israel-bashers use a style which is very similar to the language used by anti-Semites: Israel is inferior and should not enjoy the rights accorded to other peoples. The Nazi refrain was "the Jews are our disaster"; now, the Jewish state is being portrayed as the world's disaster. The writer, a former cabinet minister and professor of law, is currently dean of the law college in Netanya. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The "Second Islamic Revolution" in Iran: Power Struggle at the Top - A. Savyon
    Ahmadinejad's win in Iran's presidential elections signaled the coming of the "Second Islamic Revolution." The reformist camp has disappeared from the Iranian political scene, and the regime's center of gravity has shifted to the fundamentalist militaristic conservative group, which centers on clerics such as Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-e Yazdi, and on members of the security establishment, particularly the Revolutionary Guards, the Basij, and the intelligence apparatuses.
        Unlike his predecessors, Ahmadinejad does not fear conflict with Europe and the international community, even at a high price to Iran. His statements, along with those of other senior Iranian officials, have made it clear that Iran is headed in the direction of conflict. According to the London daily Al-Hayat, former Iranian President Khatami said that Iran's extremists aspired "to imitate bin Laden" and were "giving the best justification for enemies to attack Islam and Iran." He added, "They are competing with the Taliban in calling for violence and in carrying out extremist crimes that are counter to the religion."  (MEMRI)
  • The Rafah Border Crossing Deal - Editorial
    How committed are the Palestinians themselves to preventing weapons from being smuggled from Egypt into the Gaza Strip, or from the Gaza Strip into Israel? Only Israeli military actions against terrorism, and not signed documents, have ever consistently provided a disincentive for the PA's cooperation with, and tolerance of, terrorist groups.
        Among the lessons from the failure of the Oslo Accords is that, no matter how detailed an agreement is, it is worthless if it is not backed by international support for holding the parties accountable. In simple terms: A deal without consequences is an inconsequential deal. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    Israel's Search for Peace and Security: The Challenges Ahead - Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

    Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, addressed the Washington Institute on November 4, 2005.

    • Opposition to democratization remains formidable, not only on the part of radical elements whose existence is threatened by it - such as Palestinian terrorist organizations, Hizballah, or the regimes in Iran and in Syria - but also by moderate regimes close to the U.S., who see democratization as a threat to their survival.
    • The democratization process needs to be followed with a high sensitivity to the possibility of extreme elements, especially Islamic extremists, using democratic processes to gain control of countries, as seen in Algeria and Iran, or as might happen in the PA if Hamas wins elections and establishes a radical Islamist regime.
    • The process must include education for values not offered by the present regimes. In this regard, it is essential to condition aid to Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority on educational reforms and the cessation of anti-Western incitement.
    • There is a need to deal with the roots of extremism, particularly among young Palestinians. Without a concerted effort at reforming Palestinian education and removing textbooks from classrooms that discourage reconciliation, there will only be a continued need to fight in the future.
    • Progress in the peace process has been stalled by Palestinian chairman Abbas's refusal to enact his own decree of "one law, one rule, one gun," and by the persistence of gang logic in the PA. Abbas has permitted this situation by insisting on the inclusion of Hamas in the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections without disarming it, and by further taking no action to isolate terrorist groups.
    • Abbas has undermined the peace process by keeping terrorists in power as a means of controlling them, and has aided their rhetoric by calling for the most expansive definition of the right of return. Abbas is not weak, but he has used weakness as an excuse to the benefit of Palestinian terror groups.
    • Israel's disengagement for the first time bestows upon Palestinians the responsibility for contiguous territory and makes the Palestinian issue a significant one for Egypt and, to some extent, Jordan.
    • The Gaza disengagement created several unfortunate precedents: unilateral action without receiving anything in return; relinquishing the demilitarization of the territories by giving up control of the boundaries; removal of settlers outside the context of a bilateral agreement; and the deployment of Egyptian troops in the Sinai as a revision to the Camp David Accords.

    To subscribe to the Daily Alert, send a blank email message to:
    [email protected]
    To unsubscribe, send a blank email message to:
    [email protected]