Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Via Smartphone
  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
May 4, 2011

Daily Alert Needs Your Support

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Second Israeli Active Armor System Stops Tank Round in Field Trial (People's Daily-China)
    An Israeli armor defense system successfully hit and destroyed a tank shell in a live-fire trial held in the U.S. last week, Israel Defense magazine reported on Tuesday.
    Developed by Israel Military Industries (IMI), the Porcupine Dart active armor system intercepted several Matisse anti-tank missiles and a tank round fired at an unmanned armored personnel carrier, the first time in history that a tank round was intercepted and destroyed in mid-flight.
    The system is slated to join the Trophy system, a smaller kinetic armor defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Systems Ltd. and installed earlier this year on Israeli Merkava tanks patrolling the border with Gaza. In March, Trophy successfully intercepted rocket propelled grenades (RPGs).

Palestinian Imam Threatens Obama - Elior Levy (Ynet News)
    An imam from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem vowed to take revenge over "the Western dogs" for killing al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan on Sunday.
    In a YouTube video he refers to President Barack Obama, saying: "You personally instructed to kill Muslims. You should know that soon you'll hang together with Bush Junior."
    "We are a nation of billions, a good nation. We'll teach you about politics and military ways very soon, with God's help," he vowed.

Bin Laden Largely Discredited Among Muslim Publics in Recent Years (Pew Research Center)
    Among the six predominantly Muslim nations recently surveyed by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project, bin Laden received his highest level of support among Muslims in the Palestinian territories (34%).
    Minorities of Muslims in Indonesia (26%), Egypt (22%) and Jordan (13%) expressed confidence in bin Laden, while he has almost no support among Turkish (3%) or Lebanese Muslims (1%).

Iran TV: Israeli Aircraft Massing at U.S. Base in Iraq for Strike on Iran (Reuters)
    Iranian state television reported Monday that Israeli military aircraft were massing at a U.S. air base in Iraq for a strike on Iran.
    See also Pentagon Dismisses Iran Report on Israeli Build-Up in Iraq (Reuters)

Bin Laden Lessons for Israel - Rafi Israeli (Ynet News)
    Israel was condemned when it eliminated Hamas' Ahmad Yassin and the Iraqi reactor.
    The Americans assassinated bin Laden and also hunted and eliminated Saddam Hussein, yet nobody said a word.
    For every targeted elimination carried out by Israel, it was hit with numerous condemnations and protests, yet the daily U.S. surgical strikes in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and Iraq are met with silence.
    Every time Israel unintentionally harms civilians, the world raises a hue and cry, yet if it happens in Libya, Iraq, Serbia or Kosovo, nobody protests.
    The writer is a professor of Islam and the Middle East at Hebrew University.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use/Privacy 

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Says Hamas Leader's Description of Bin Laden as "Martyr" Is "Outrageous"
    Acting Deputy State Department Spokesman Mark C. Toner said Tuesday: "If Hamas wants to play a political role, or a role in the political process, then it needs to abide by the Quartet principles, and those have been quite clear. It needs to accept those principles, which are renouncing violence and terrorism, recognizing Israel's right to exist, and abiding by previous diplomatic agreements."
        The remarks by the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, about the raid that killed bin Laden, "are outrageous. And it goes without saying bin Laden was a murderer and a terrorist. He ordered the killings of thousands of innocent men, women, and children, and many of whom were Muslim. He did not die a martyr. He died hiding in a mansion or a compound far away from the violence that was carried out in his name. And his defeat is a victory for all human beings seeking to live in peace, security, and dignity."  (State Department)
  • New U.S. Account Says Bin Laden Was Unarmed During Raid - Mark Landler and Helene Cooper
    Osama bin Laden was not carrying a weapon when he was killed by American troops in Pakistan, the White House said Tuesday, as it revised its initial account of the raid. Navy Seals burst in on bin Laden and shot him in a room on an upper floor, after a fierce gun battle with other operatives on the first floor. Bin Laden's wife "rushed the U.S. assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed," said White House spokesman Jay Carney. "Bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed."
        Several experts on the rules of engagement in combat said that in a raid on a target as dangerous as bin Laden, the Navy Seals team would be justified to open fire at the slightest commotion when they burst into a room. "This is a guy who's extremely dangerous," said John B. Bellinger III, legal counsel at the National Security Council and State Department in the Bush administration. "If he's nodding at someone in the hall, or rushing to the bookcase or you think he's wearing a suicide vest, you're on solid ground to kill him."
        During Monday's briefing, the president's chief counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, said President Obama put a premium on protecting the commandos in the operation, saying that "we were not going to give bin Laden or any of his cohorts the opportunity to carry out lethal fire on our forces."  (New York Times)
  • Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Sticks with Bin Laden - Eric Trager
    Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood on Monday used the honorific term "sheikh" to refer to bin Laden, and defended "resistance" against the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as "legitimate." The Muslim Brotherhood's response to bin Laden's death may finally end the mythology that the organization is moderate or, at the very least, could moderate once in power.
        The Muslim Brotherhood's promise that its "moderation" means rejecting violence includes a gaping exception: it endorses violence against military occupations, which its leaders have told me include Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia, and Palestine. Muslim Brotherhood leaders have endorsed attacks on Israeli civilians as an exception to their no-violence-except-against-occupation exception, viewing all of Israel as an occupation. "Zionism is gangs," said Mehdi Akef, the former Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood. "It's not a country. So we will resist them until they don't have a country."  (Atlantic Monthly)
        See also Among the Palestinians, Some Sympathy for Bin Laden - Karl Vick (TIME)
  • Netanyahu to Lobby UK, France over Palestinian State - Steve Weizman
    Shortly before leaving for visits to Britain and France this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "The agreement between Abu Mazen (Abbas) and Hamas deals a hard blow to the peace process....How can we make peace with a government when half of it calls for the destruction of Israel and glorifies the murderous Osama bin Laden?" Netanyahu is seeking to head off European support for a Palestinian bid to win UN recognition for a state within the 1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital, in a move expected to take place at September's annual General Assembly. (AFP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Gaps between Hamas, Fatah Loom Large Despite Unity Deal - Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel
    The reconciliation agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is to be signed Wednesday in Cairo, but the gaps between the two groups are still large. For example, there is no agreement yet on who will be the prime minister nor on the identities of the cabinet ministers. The agreement also stipulates that Hamas and Fatah will release each others' prisoners; however, the Hamas website reported Tuesday that four of its activists were arrested near Nablus, and dozens of others were questioned. In addition, a release of Hamas prisoners in the West Bank could create a security crisis with Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Egypt: We Don't Have to Sell Gas to Israel - Doron Peskin
    Egyptian Finance Minister Samir Radwan told a Kuwaiti newspaper that the Israel-Egypt peace treaty does not obligate his country to sell natural gas to Israel. He stressed that the prices must be adjusted to the price levels of the global market, regardless of whether the exports go to Israel, Jordan, Syria or Spain. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Al-Qaeda: The Next Generation - Praveen Swami
    A decade after 9/11, the jihadist movement is more powerful than at any time in the past. Bin Laden himself, the scholar C. Christine Fair has noted, has emerged as a "kind of Che Guevara of the jihadist movement" - an inspirational icon who could fire the imagination of young recruits.
        In 2001, on the eve of 9/11, al-Qaeda had a core of just less than 200 cadre - 120 of them in a crack fighting unit. Perhaps 1,000 men had graduated from its Afghan training camps, but they were riven by ideological dissension. Now, jihadist groups that associate themselves with al-Qaeda's project are asserting influence from eastern China to North Africa. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Al-Qaeda's New Battle-Hardened, Difficult Leader
    In the wake of Osama bin Laden's demise, his likely successor is his long-time deputy and collaborator, Egyptian jihadist Ayman al-Zawahiri. Zawahiri was arrested by the Egyptian government in 1996 for forming an underground Muslim Brotherhood cell, and was among scores of militants arrested and tried in connection with Sadat's October 1981 assassination.
        He left Egypt in 1985 and went to Peshawar, Pakistan, where he treated mujahedeen fighting the Soviets. That was where he met Osama bin Laden, and the two became close - linked together as "Afghan Arabs." In 1998, he joined bin Laden in announcing the World Islamic Front's "Statement Urging Jihad Against the Jews and Crusaders." The men issued a fatwa declaring: "We with God's help, call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill Americans and plunder their money wherever they find it."  (Investigative Project on Terrorism)
  • The Legal Justification for Killing Osama bin Laden - James Downie
    Was it legal to kill bin Laden? "There are targeted killing issues where the legal background is complicated," says Brookings fellow Benjamin Wittes. But "[t]his isn't one of them." One week after the September 11 attacks, Wittes explains, President George W. Bush signed Public Law 107-40, in which Congress authorized the president "to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001." No one fit this description more closely than Osama bin Laden. (New Republic)
  • Osama Bin Laden: A Post-Mortem - Matthew Levitt
    What are the immediate implications of bin Laden's death for al-Qaeda, its franchises, and its followers? Although bin Laden played little if any operational role over the past few years, his was the face of the organization and the voice of its extremist narrative and ideology. His death is a major blow to the morale of al-Qaeda foot soldiers and leaders alike and a major morale boost to the U.S. and its allies. Bin Laden's death strips him of the mystique of the invulnerable chief successfully eluding Western intelligence while his group continues to carry out attacks worldwide.
        With the Arab Spring, large numbers of Arab protesters have shown that their agenda does not embrace al-Qaeda's nihilistic ideology and worldview. Yet, bin Laden's legacy continues to present an acute threat to the West, with al-Qaeda and its franchises and affiliates still capable of carrying out terrorist attacks. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
        See also Osama Bin Laden, Weak Horse - Fouad Ajami (Wall Street Journal)

Will Bin Laden Killing Pave Way for Similar Moves by Israel? - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)

  • The American operation against bin Laden to a large extent employed a similar format to that used previously by Israel. Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi (Farkash), former head of IDF Intelligence, explained in an interview: "We must not forget that we are not a [world] power. Not everything that is permitted to the Americans is permitted to us as well. But nevertheless, there is a gradual change in the rules of confrontation in the framework of the war on terror. A wider maneuvering space has been opened."
  • "In the past, the countries of the West were opposed to the Israeli claim that no distinction should be made between the so-called political echelon and the military echelon in the terrorist organizations. There is an important message in the Americans' decision to do away with bin Laden. It is not possible to distinguish between the leader and the operational echelon subordinate to him. The decision-makers have to be dealt a blow. Seven years ago, when we killed senior Hamas officials such as Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi, our approach was not accepted by the international community."
  • "Pinpointed assassinations are still a very important deterrent tool against senior leaders of the terrorist organizations. It is true that every terrorist leader can be replaced. Bin Laden will also have a replacement. What is important is the continuum of assassinations that is directed at the heads of the organization and indicates to them that they too have something to lose."

Unsubscribe from Daily Alert