Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 7, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Sunni Islamist Websites in Iraq Claim Iran/Al-Qaeda Contacts Months Before 9/11 (MEMRI)
    In early October 2006, Sunni Islamist websites affiliated with the jihad groups in Iraq posted what they claimed was a top-secret Iranian document dated May 2001, indicating contacts between top al-Qaeda figures and the highest echelons of the Iranian intelligence apparatus, which is part of the office of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
    The document, signed by the head of Khamenei's intelligence apparatus, Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri, includes statements by Khamenei regarding the importance of the Iranian and Muslim struggle against the U.S. and Israel, which "constitutes the primary goal" of the Iranian regime. It also mentions the need to tighten Iran's cooperation with "the fighters of al-Qaeda and Hizballah."
    Contacts between the Iranian regime and top al-Qaeda operatives were exposed in a February 2003 report in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, in an interview with Hamid Reza Zakeri, a senior official in Iran's Revolutionary Guards who had defected to the West.

British Al-Qaeda Terrorist Planned to Hit Subway Stations, Hotels - Sean O'Neill and Adam Fresco (Times-UK)
    The Savoy hotel, Waterloo station, the Heathrow Express, and a Tube train under the Thames were on a hitlist of targets drawn up by a British al-Qaeda terrorist, a court was told Monday.
    Dhiren Barot admitted planning "back-to-back" attacks on London which he hoped would emulate the Madrid train bombings that killed hundreds of commuters in March 2004.
    Two projects, to build a radioactive "dirty bomb" and to pack stretch limousines with gas cylinders and explosives and detonate them in car parks beneath buildings, appeared to be close to fruition when discovered in summer 2004.

Egyptian Convicted in Madrid Bombing (AP/CNN)
    An Egyptian wanted in connection with the 2004 Madrid train bombings was convicted on Monday on international terrorism charges in Italy and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
    The court in Milan convicted Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, 35, and Yahi Ragheh, 23, who prosecutors said was preparing to be a suicide bomber.

Palestinian Women Face Rising Domestic Violence - Steven Erlanger (New York Times)
    Discriminatory laws and traditional practices combine to perpetuate violence against women by their family members and intimate partners in the Palestinian territories, according to a report issued Tuesday by Human Rights Watch.
    See also Violence Against Palestinian Women and Girls (Human Rights Watch)

"Israel Life Sciences Road Show" Opens (Washington Post)
    The Israel Life Sciences Road Show came to Herndon, VA, Monday, where 13 Israeli companies presented their pharmaceutical products and medical devices to key players in the U.S. life sciences and biotech community.
    The tour, which is also stopping in Boston, New York, and northern New Jersey this week, is aimed at forging relationships between Israeli manufacturers and U.S. venture capital investors and biomedical companies.
    The Fairfax County (VA) Economic Development Authority has opened an office in Tel Aviv.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Palestinians Protest Saddam Death Sentence, Threaten Reprisals Against Foreigners
    Carrying pictures of Saddam Hussein, about 250 schoolgirls in the West Bank town of Jenin paraded Monday in protest at the death sentence handed down by a Baghdad court which found him guilty of crimes against humanity. The children chanted, "Beloved Saddam, strike Tel Aviv," the same slogan shouted by jubilant Palestinians when Iraqi rockets slammed into Israel during the 1991 Gulf War.
        In the Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis, masked gunmen from a group calling itself Arafat's Army threatened reprisals against foreign citizens in the Palestinian territories if the sentence against Saddam is carried out: "We warn all foreigners in the Gaza Strip, especially the Americans, that they will be kidnapped and killed in front of witnesses."  (AP/International Herald Tribune)
  • U.S. Wants UN Measure to Say Iran Is Threat to Peace - Evelyn Leopold
    In an effort to toughen a European draft resolution on Iran, the U.S. wants the text to say that Tehran's nuclear ambitions posed a threat to international peace and security. Similar wording on a "threat to international peace and security" was included in an October UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea after its nuclear test. (Reuters/Washington Post)
        See also China, Russia Object to Including Military Option in Sanctions Resolution - Colum Lynch
    As the Bush administration struggles to rally international pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear program, China and Russia are working to take the most powerful diplomatic weapon off the table: the military option. Moscow and Beijing insist that a UN sanctions resolution should avoid language that could be used as a pretext for a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, and have received the tacit backing of Britain, France, and Germany.
        "What means of enforcement is credible if you start out by saying in the beginning that 'oh, by the way, we're not going to do the one thing that you're most afraid of?'" said Patrick Clawson, deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He said the council should "have the military option on the table" in the event that the government that threatened to wipe Israel off the map does develop nuclear weapons. (Washington Post)
  • Hizballah Threatens Political Crisis in Lebanon in Aftermath of War - H. Avraham
    On October 31, 2006, Hizballah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah threatened to take to the streets and topple the Lebanese government. He stated that Hizballah could instigate civil disobedience and bring about the fall of the government "by tomorrow morning." He issued an ultimatum saying that Hizballah's demand to establish a national unity government must be accepted by November 13, 2006. Hizballah spokesman Hussein Rahal said the Siniora government would fall within a few weeks. (MEMRI)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Leaves Beit Hanoun - Hanan Greenberg
    Israel Defense Forces soldiers left the Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun Tuesday, after a six-day operation to "cleanse" the town of terrorists and caches of weaponry. Upwards of 50 terrorists were killed and large stockpiles of weaponry were discovered. (Ynet News)
  • Suicide Bomber Blows Herself Up Near IDF Force in Gaza - Hanan Greenberg
    Marvat Masud, a female suicide bomber from Islamic Jihad, blew herself up Monday near IDF forces in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza. One soldier was lightly injured. (Ynet News)
  • Network of Islamic Jihad Women Exposed - Efrat Weiss
    The Shin Bet has exposed a network of women operating for the Islamic Jihad in the West Bank. Wadha Faqhaa, 24, head of the Islamic Jihad office in Ramallah, said during her interrogation that she received funds from the organization's command center in Syria. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Iran and Missiles - Bigger and Farther - Ze'ev Schiff
    Iran has recently achieved significant advances in surface-to-surface missile technologies. In addition to the Shehab-type missiles, which use liquid fuel, Tehran is rapidly developing a new solid-state fuel ballistic missile with a range of approximately 2,000 kilometers. It is also known that Iran acquired 18 BM25 missiles from North Korea that are believed to have a range of 2,500 kilometers or more. Most Iranian missiles are aimed against Israel, but also against targets in the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, and westward, toward Turkey and beyond. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Iran Ready to Share Missile Systems with Others - Parisa Hafezi
    "We are able to give our missile systems to friendly and neighboring countries," Revolutionary Guards commander-in-chief Yahya Rahim Safavi told Iran's Arabic-language Al-Alam TV on Sunday. (Reuters/Washington Post)
        See also The Global Range of Iran's Ballistic Missile Program - Uzi Rubin (ICA/JCPA)
  • Prepare for War in Gaza - Mortimer B. Zuckerman
    Israel pulled out of Gaza more than a year ago, but instead of using their independence to build a Palestinian state, the Gaza Arabs have been killing each other, as well as trying to kill Israelis. Israel cannot be expected to stand aside as it did to its cost in southern Lebanon. Sooner rather than later, the Israelis will have to retake the Philadelphia Route along the Gaza-Egypt border before the Palestinians accumulate a stockpile of armaments to bloody Israel like Hizballah did this past summer. The long-run prospect is grim, because Hamas simply isn't interested in peace; in the latest survey, two-thirds of Gazans reject peace with Israel while almost as many believe in shelling Israeli cities.
        Middle East diplomats, so enamored of process, keep hoping the right dose of concessions will somehow result in mutually reinforcing perceptions of security. This is hopelessly naive. For now and the foreseeable future, the seat on the other side of the table across from Israel is occupied only by a death's-head. (New York Daily News)
  • Shiites Against Hizballah - David Schenker
    Not all Shiites support Hizballah. Some have been voicing their opposition to the "resistance" agenda and, not surprisingly, Hizballah is attempting to strong-arm these dissidents into line. Hizballah was elected to the Lebanese parliament, but the organization is not constrained by the precepts of democratic government. Nasrallah himself feels no compunction to abide by even the bylaws of his own party. He is now serving his fifth three-year term, exceeding Hizballah's two-term limit on secretary generals.
        In addition to being the leader of the "resistance," Hizballah represents the culmination of years of Shiite effort to have a significant role in Lebanon's political system. Convincing the long-suffering Shiites in Lebanon that they can remain influential without Hizballah is going to be a tough sell. The writer is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Weekly Standard)
  • Hamas in the New York Times - Steven Emerson
    Last Wednesday, the New York Times ran an op-ed by Ahmed Yousef, titled "Pause for Peace," in which Yousef calls for a hudna (which he describes as a "long term truce") between Israel and the Palestinians. In 1998, while serving as the executive director of the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), Yousef gave an interview to the Middle East Quarterly in which he defended Hamas, suicide bombings, and encouraged attacks on Jews. Asked if he wrote, "God has promised that the Muslims will fight the Jews and defeat them," Yousef answered that he did. In his op-ed, Yousef misrepresents the concept of the hudna, and specifically the Hamas position on any "truce" with Israel. In fact, Yousef’s boss, Hamas political chief Khaled Meshal, has referred to the hudna as simply a "rest for the warrior."  (Counterterrorism Blog)
  • Observations:

    Hot for Martyrdom - Michael Coren (National Post-Canada)

    • Dr. Tawfik Hamid is a medical doctor, author, and activist who once was a member of Egypt's Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya (Arabic for "the Islamic Group"), a banned terrorist organization. He was trained under Ayman al-Zawahiri, the bearded jihadi who appears in Bin Laden's videos.
    • He's determined to tell a complacent North America what he knows about fundamentalist Muslim imperialism. "Yes, 'imperialism,'" he tells me. "The deliberate and determined expansion of militant Islam and its attempt to triumph not only in the Islamic world but in Europe and North America. Pure ideology. Muslim terrorists kill and slaughter not because of what they experience but because of what they believe."
    • He is now 45 years old, and has had many years to reflect on why he was willing to die and kill for his religion. "The first thing you have to understand is that it has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with poverty or lack of education," he says. "I was from a middle-class family and my parents were not religious. Hardly anyone in the movement at university came from a background that was different from mine. I've heard this poverty nonsense time and time again from Western apologists for Islam, most of them not Muslim by the way."
    • The extreme brand of Sunni Islam that spread from Saudi Arabia to the rest of the Islamic world is regarded not merely as one interpretation of the religion but the only genuine interpretation. The expansion of violent and regressive Islam, he continues, began in the late 1970s, and can be traced precisely to the growing financial clout of Saudi Arabia.
    • "We're not talking about a fringe cult here," he tells me. "Salafist [fundamentalist] Islam is the dominant version of the religion and is taught in almost every Islamic university in the world. It is puritanical, extreme, and does, yes, mean that women can be beaten, apostates killed, and Jews called pigs and monkeys."
    • "I can tell you what it is not about. Not about Israel, not about Iraq, not about Afghanistan. They are mere excuses. Algerian Muslim fundamentalists murdered 150,000 other Algerian Muslims, sometimes slitting the throats of children in front of their parents. Are you seriously telling me that this was because of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians or American foreign policy?"
    • "Stop asking what you have done wrong. Stop it! They're slaughtering you like sheep and you still look within. You criticize your history, your institutions, your churches. Why can't you realize that it has nothing to do with what you have done but with what they want."

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