Israel Resource Review 8th July, 2005


From London to Gaza
July 7th, 2005:
A day in which London suffered the indignity of terror

David Bedein

In recent weeks, American, British and Israeli intelligence sources have revealed that al-Qaida units now operate in the southern section of Gaza, and are positioned to take over the area that Israel Defense Forces would vacate, if the proposed retreat plan is indeed carried out by the Israeli government.

Called Jundallah (Allah's Brigades), this lethal group consists mostly of scores of disgruntled former Hamas and Islamic Jihad members who say that their former organizations have become too "pragmatic" and "moderate."

Jundallah's spokesman, Abu Abdallah al-Khattab, talks about the targeting of U.S. interests in the region: "Our people will not remain idle in the face of American crimes in Muslim countries . . . it is our duty to respond . . . the blood of Muslims is not cheap . . . "

The emergence of Al-Quaida in Gaza comes on the heels of a formal statement issued by US Presidential envoy, General William Ward, that the Palestinian Authority has no intent whatsoever of crushing terrorism.

Since there is a clear policy directive of the U.S., as outlined by the president in numerous policy statements, that terrorists must be defeated before they can inflict harm on U.S. personnel and U.S. interests, the question remains: Should the US support and encourage the pullout of Israeli forces from the Gaza and Northern Samarian region, where al-Qaida and other groups such as Hamas are currently positioned.

The time has come for the U.S. Congress to examine clear and straightforward information regarding all of the security issues involved in the proposed pull-out of Israeli troops and civilians from regions that would most certainly become terror bases that could threaten Western interests and not only US security concerns.

Carefully documented information is critical if the fight is to be well fought, and if U.S. interests are to be protected.

It would be most appropriate for the U.S. Congress to reconsider support for Israel's proposed hand-over of Gaza and the Northern Samaria to organizations defined by the American government as terrorists . . . before Israel is mistakenly encouraged by America to facilitate the creation of a PLO Islamic State, which would represent a threat not only to Israel, but to all US and Western interests as well.

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Arab Knesset Members Warned Pullout Serves as Legal Basis for Future Expulsion of Arabs
Roee Nahmias, Correspondent,

TEL AVIV - Researcher and journalist David Bedein came up with an original argument to help Arab-Israeli Knesset members reconside their support of disengagement plan - a letter he sent the parliamentarians warns that the pullout could serve as the legal basis for the future expulsion of Arabs from Israel.

In letter which Bedein dispatched to the Members of the Knesset, he wrote that "the government of Israel has created, in recent months, the legal basis for the implementation of the transfer (of Arabs,) including the banishment of residents from their land, their exile, the demolition of their homes, and the nationalization of their private property."

Bedein also warned that "the compensation to be offered for the expulsion is meager and inadequate."

Later in the letter, he noted that "currently, these transfer laws deal with the hundreds of Israeli residents in the Gaza Strip. Despite this, the transfer law precedent and its implementation for political-security objectives may be applied in the future to Arab residents in the territories and in the State of Israel too."

Knesset member dismisses argument

However, it appears the creative attempt left no impression on the Arab-Knesset members it aimed to convince.

Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi sarcastically told Ynet he was glad to see "the concern and compassion expressed by far right people regarding the future of Arab residents in the country."

Tibi dismissed the warnings and said the argument was empty of any substance.

"I reject out of hand any attempt to compare the status of Arab citizens of the State of Israel, who are native residents, to lawbreakers and settlers who took over the land of another people through the use of force."

Tibi added that he has no empathy for the settlers despite the upcoming pullout.

"Returning them from the area of occupation is not a transfer by any means," he said. "Transfer is the removal of native citizens from their land and country."

However, Bedein told Ynet his intention was to prevent human rights from being undermined, and added his warning does not stem from a right-wing ideology, but rather, from mere logic.

This piece ran on Y-Net, the Yediot Aharonot internet site, on July 2nd, 2005

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Was There Advance Warning of a Planned Terror Offensive in London?
Shimon Shiffer and Ronen Bergman
Writers, Yediot Ahronot

It depends whom you ask: political sources denied yesterday the various reports according to which Israel or the Israeli embassy in London had received warning from British security services before the terror attack; but sources in the Israeli embassy in London say that immediate warnings were already received on Wednesday.

Sources close to Sharon and Israeli intelligence sources said last night that no warning was received about the intention of terror organizations to stage a series of terror attacks in London. The terror attacks in London also came up in the weekly situation assessment meeting held yesterday by the defense minister. Mofaz inquired whether security officials had received any warnings of an expected terror attack in London-and the answer was negative.

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom also rejected the various publications regarding a warning received by the Israeli embassy. Shalom added further that the Counter-Terrorism Bureau had not recommended to refrain from traveling to London.

British officials also said that they had no advance information. We had no warning, said yesterday Brian Paddick, a spokesman for the London police.

But the denials issued yesterday in Jerusalem and London came as a surprise to a number of sources in the Israeli embassy in Britain. According to knowledgeable sources in the embassy in London, a report was received on Wednesday afternoon from the British internal intelligence service MI5 (the counterpart of the GSS) and the Special Branch in charge of VIP security, stating that there were immediate warnings of impending terror attacks by al-Qaida. The sources emphasized that these were not specific warnings but rather general warnings, of a type that has already been received in the past.

According to the ranking of the British Special Branch, Israeli Ambassador to Britain Zvi Hefetz is considered third on the list of the most highly guarded figures in the UK-after the queen and the prime minister. Hefetz receives particularly close protection in light of the threats and numerous past attempts to attack Israeli diplomats in Europe, and particularly in light of the severe attack on ambassador Shlomo Argov in June 1982

This piece ran in Yediot Ahronot on July 8th, 2005

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Visiting and Writing from Shomron Jewish Communities Slated for Eviction
Rafi Farber
Special to Israel Resource News Agency

It doesn't boast to be the home of some 9,000 people, and half of them are bowing their heads to the disengagement authorities, taking their checks and moving on. The civilian outcry is much less, proportional to the media coverage it receives as compared to Gush Katif.

Even so, the northern Shomron area slated for evacuation this coming August still has some serious concerns attached to it not as brought by the public outcry, but from the small yet formidable security apparatus both there, and in the surrounding areas.

Two of the four slated for evacuation, Kanim and Gadim, have stopped watering their gardens and have begun to move out, but Chomesh and Tzanur have decided to fight to the end-passively of course, but still a thorn in the eye of the Sharon administration.

They are only a few hundred people, not able to galvanize nearly as much support as the Gush Katif wing. But as small as they are population-wise, Chomesh and Tzanur boast from on high-literally, and Chomesh adds to that a crystal clear view of the Mediterranean coast. Both settlements are situated over two thousand feet above sea level, laying claim to one of the most high-lying areas in all of Israel.

From Chomesh specifically, one can sport an enviable view of the coastal cities of Netanya, Hadera, and of course, Tel Aviv.

Even on a misty day, three columns can be made out on the Chomesh horizon.

The Hadera power plant juts out conspicuously, Chomesh looking on as one third of Israel's electricity is generated right before their eyes. Incidentally, the same is true for the northern Gaza settlement of Elei Sinai, with the Ashkelon power plant standing in plain view right outside the window of the beachfront houses there, churning out another third.

Determined as the Shomron settlers are, and threatening to gather 15,000 people by their side during the disengagement, their stubbornness is somewhat of a background noise to what the heads of security all throughout settlements in the Shomron are fearing.

At that height, mortars and kassams have a long way to go before they hit ground level, which is what Marc, the Shiloh security head warning about. "Maybe I'll bomb your capital," he said, mimicking what he saw as the terrorist thought process. "I have children here and I'll be damned if they get shot at. I will not have my children ask me if I'll die today." His job as dangerous as it is, his children, he said, ask him that question frequently.

Articulate the strategic threat of handing over such a high-lying area to the PA they did, but their fears were still overshadowed by what may be called a kind of yearning for the past. As security heads, both Marc from Shiloh and security head of Alfei Menashe Aryeh Zisman, also in the Shomron, had and have close relationships with their surrounding villages, both Israeli and Arab. Indeed, as heads of security, their jobs require such interaction.

Zisman spoke of the days when he would venture into the neighboring Palestinian city of Kalkilya to do business, or even send in an ambulance to help those in need. Now, "every night we can hear the shooting in Kalkilya," as gangs take over the streets and Alfei Menashe lay in wait. "Now they even take the traffic poles to make the kassams," he said.

Marc also spoke of his relationships in the past, and how they are all but gone now. Those that were my friends are still my friends," he said, hopefully. "I try to help them, clandestinely." But since the Intifadah began in 2000, he has been singing a different tune. "Since the Intifadah, this place has been like Bosnia," he said.

Though Shiloh itself is not included under the Disengagement Plan, He nevertheless warned that with the handover of the elevated areas of the northern Shomron, a third Intifadah was on its way. He went even further to say that, as the terrorists will perceive it as a victory, terrorism will spread faster worldwide. "Your governments better get ready," he remarked.

And for both Zisman and Marc, men with former close relations with their Arab neighbors, a third Intifadah will have a further personal effect. It may be that hope of regaining what they had may be lost.

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