Israel Resource Review 4th April, 2002


The Real War has Begun
Alex Fishman
Military Correspondent, Yediot Aharonot

What we saw up until now was just the preface, with a strong opening chord in Ramallah. This war even has a new name, albeit not officially. "This war should be called the 'war for the home," the chief of staff told regular paratrooper soldiers before they left for the battle to conquer the capital of Palestinian terror, the city of Nablus. And they sat facing him in tense silence, with the knowledge that they were about to see fighting that very few armies, including the IDF, had experienced: combat inside a large, crowded city with tall buildings, with a casbah, with the radical A-Najah University, which gave birth to a large number of the suicide bombers, with the largest concentration of wanted men who know that the IDF is on the way, and who have had enough time to prepare for it. "This is a very crucial time," Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz told them, "and the minister of history has summoned you to be participants in the battle for our home. Each one of you understands the great responsibility on your young shoulders."

As of last night, the preliminary military operations were undertaken to enable the reservists to get ready, put the units in order, complete the battle orders and began the mission of completing the occupation of the territories. Control over these areas is mainly by means of the regular army units, who go from one sub-section to another. In the less problematic places, the reservists are the ones who take control or help to do so. The sub-sections in the West Bank, which until the most recent operation were handled by brigades, are now being handled by three divisions. The West Bank is saturated with army troops on a scale never seen before.

The IDF decided to work, in the first days of fighting, from the outside inwards. First it entered Ramallah, Tulkarm, Kalkilya, Bethlehem. These are cities that the IDF entered and exited recently, and they are already a pretty squeezed lemon as far as combating terror infrastructure goes. The addition of isolating Arafat is a political act, and the more time that passes, its damage outweighs its benefits. The world is busy today dealing with the question of how many pitas Arafat's besieged office ordered, and not with the question of how many terror attacks this man is responsible for.

On Tuesday, we went up a grade. The reserve troops, meant both for combat or as backup in case of military deterioration, became ready, and the army began to deal thoroughly with Samaria, the heart of Palestinian terror. On Tuesday the incursion into Jenin began. And last night was the climax: the incursion into Nablus.

However, this climax may also signal the countdown of the diplomatic clock. If this were just a conflict between ourselves and the Palestinians, Israel could conquer the area and cleanse it, an act that could last even several weeks without any real diplomatic pressure. However, there was a change in the last 24 hours. The Egyptian announcement of cutting diplomatic ties, which will most likely lead to a similar Jordanian announcement, is a very worrisome signal, and it is still unclear how it will develop. The heating up of the northern border and the danger of this border burning within a few days may halt the military operations in the territories.

The pressure from Europe and the UN on Israel is secondary. But with the Americans worried about the rift with Egypt and a possible flare with Syria, the IDF operations in the territories could be shortened to a week. Israel needs more time to achieve its central goal of reducing the volume of terror.

So far, the operation has produced 1,000 Palestinians who were arrested. Around 70 armed Palestinians were killed. Among those arrested are only a few dozen major terror activists. At Jibril Rajoub's headquarters, for example, while around 200 people did give themselves up, only 13 of them were mid-level terror activists. The intelligence aspect and the confiscation of weapons is important, but the thing that will put a stop to the wave of suicide bombers and the reduction of terror is the number of wanted men who are neutralized. We need a few dozen of such high-level people and a few hundred mid-level ones to achieve this. And for that, the IDF needs time.

This time can be obtained if there is no deterioration in the north, if we don't do anything stupid in the territories, and if we are able to show the Americans that we are getting direct results in the war on terror. One result of the present war is already evident: The Palestinian Authority, as we knew it, does not function and apparently no longer exists. The big unknown is what sort of political creature Israel will face the day after, in the hope that all the chilling predictions of a fundamentalist mutation do not come true.

This article ran in Yediot Aharonot on April 4th, 2002

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PA Funded Terror - Documents Seized from the Office of Yassir Arafat
Itamar Eichner and Roni Shaked
Senior Correspondents, Yediot Aharonot

This week, Israel revealed a document seized early this week from the office of Fuad Shubaki, in charge of PA money matters, proving that the PA funded terror attacks against Israel. A detailed request for money appears in the document sent by the El-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, the Tanzim operational arm, for carrying out terror attacks, including suicide attacks.

"This is a shopping list for terror," said Col. Miri Eisen, from IDF Intelligence, who showed the document together with Dr. Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the UN. Shubaki, who was behind the Karine A weapons ship, is now believed to be in Arafat's besieged office.

In the first four sections of the document, sent on October 16, 2001, the El-Aksa Martyrs Brigades ask for NIS 2,000 for printing posters in memory of shahids (martyrs), NIS 1,250 for funding mourners' tents in their memory, NIS 1,000 for preparing wooden boards and NIS 6,000 for funding memorial ceremonies.

The fifth section asks for NIS 20,000 for preparing bombs. "Various electronic components and chemical material for making bombs and mines -- this is our biggest expense," the authors of the document write, and ask for money to fund from five to nine bombs a week at an average of NIS 700 per bomb.

The last two sections deal with funding for buying ammunition for Kalashnikovs and M-16s. The authors explain that that the price of one Kalashnikov bullet is NIS 7-8, NIS 2-2.5 for a Kalashnikov bullet and "we need this ammunition on a daily basis." The authors come up with a "price proposal": 3,000 Kalashnikov bullets for NIS 22,500 and 30,000 M-16 bullets for NIS 60,000. Military sources believe that these are "inflated" prices, because the authors assumed that the PA would not give them as much as they asked for.

On the document, which also mentions a "debt" of NIS 38,888 for terror attacks already committed, there are handwritten scribbles, apparently written by Shubaki himself.

Col. Eisen said that IDF Intelligence does not know whether the money was indeed transferred, but after the letter was sent, eight suicide bombers from the El-Aksa Martyrs Brigades blew up in Israel. "The document proves the direct involvement of the Palestinian Authority and of Arafat in terror," Eisen said.

Other documents which were seized attest that Shubaki funded the salaries of El-Aksa Martyrs Brigades operatives in Bethlehem and was involved in funding the acquisition of weapons that were stolen from IDF soldiers. "We managed to put our hands on a long list of documents that the Palestinians were about to destroy, for good reason," said Eisen. Government sources said that some of these will be revealed in he next few days, and some of them are "hair-raising."

Many weapons, including RPGs, and counterfeit Israeli currency were also seized in Shubaki's office and in Tawfik Tirawi's office next door.

This article ran in Yediot Aharonot on April 2nd, 2002

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An Open Letter to The Age in Australia: Double Standard of Reporting
Arnold Roth
Father of Malka Chana, murdered last August by PLO terrorists

I would appreciate you passing the following note along for me to the Labor Party of Australia, as mentioned in the Age news report below.

My daughter Malka Chana was born in Melbourne in November 1985 and murdered in Jerusalem in August 2001. To the best of my knowledge, her violent and ugly death at the hands of Arab "resistance forces" did not merit any protest -- or indeed any attention -- from you.

Like Kate Edwards (or Kate Irving), she was an Australian energetically in favour of peace. Entirely unlike Ms Edwards-Irving, Malki engaged in meaningful actions which brought good to the world, chiefly by working with teenagers and children suffering from profound disabilities. Ms Irving-Edwards, in contrast to my sweet daughter, chose to make her grand contribution in the one place which, more than any other, outstandingly exemplifies the hypocrisy and shallowness of logic of Israel's enemies.

Beit Jala is a hamlet on the edge of Jerusalem. It's the place from which Arafat's forces have directed deadly fire into the suburbs of Israel's capital on a daily and nightly basis for eighteen months. There's no strategic point to it whatever. Their agenda is pure terrorism. The Israeli army is well equipped and professional, but also civilized and restrained. Had Israel chosen to do to Beit Jala what Arafat's thugs have done to the Park Hotel in Netanya, to the Matza restaurant in Haifa or to the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem -- the place where Malki and fifteen other innocents were viciously robbed of the remainder of their lives -- it could have solved the problem by making it completely and permanently go away.

But there is no moral equivalence between our side and their side. I don't know of any actions taken by other governments which compare with Israel's restraint in the face of the evil emanating from Beit Jala and places like it.

The dangers we face here are real, as my wife and children and I can explain in detail to you, if you're in any doubt about the issue. Thanks to Arafat, we find ourselves on the battlefront when we're sitting in our living room, traveling to work, or going out for a coffee. Israelis are entitled to the fullest protection that the government can provide. No "peace" protestor like Kate should ever be allowed to compromise that protection in any way.

I realize the Middle East seems far away to you. But the terrorist evil against which Israel's citizen army is engaged in these difficult days deserves a healthy degree of respect. The dangers of that evil are real, concrete and international. You may even see them in Australia. If not now, then perhaps in the future.

The foolishness and woolly thinking typified by Ms Edwards-Irving's presence in suburban Jerusalem, and its political echoes in Australia, bring no credit to her, to her colleagues or to those who confuse right from wrong in the name of partisan politics. With terror on the agenda, you have to pick your side, which is what Kate did.


Arnold Roth

Labor urges protest over shooting
April 2 2002

The Labor Party is urging the federal government to complain to Israel following the shooting of an Australian peace protester in the West Bank today.

The woman, identified by news outlets today as Kate Edwards or Kate Irving, 26, was hit by shrapnel when Israeli troops fired on a West Bank protest in the township of Beit Jala.

The woman said she was one of six foreigners from the peace group Solidarity International hit when they approached an Israeli armoured personnel carrier while taking part in the demonstration.

Mr Downer today refused to say if he would lodge an official complaint with Israel over the use of live ammunition on peaceful demonstrators. But Mr Rudd said the issue should be raised with Israeli diplomats.

"This is an extremely dangerous war zone where Australians and other internationals are ill-advised to travel," he said.

"However given this incident has occurred and it has involved an Australia citizen for whom we have consular responsibility, it would be appropriate for Mr Downer to raise this matter with the Israeli Embassy in Canberra."

Mr Rudd said the use of live ammunition against an international peace group was unacceptable, regardless of who they supported. He also expressed concern at the spiralling violence in the region, warning it had broader implications for international security.

"For this reason, concerted international action is needed now before the current situation spirals completely out of control," he said. Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has stepped up its travel warning for Australians planning to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories.

As the Middle East conflict intensified, the department said Australians should defer all travel to Israel until further notice. It also called for all Australian travellers to stay out of the Palestinian territories.

The department also said checkpoint closures were preventing many Australian-Palestinian dual citizens from obtaining travel permits through Israeli territory to the international airport outside Tel Aviv.

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