Israel Resource Review 1st June, 2005


Outgoing IDF Commander in Chief Ya'alon: After pullout, Israel will face another war of terror
Ari Shavit, Haaretz Correspondent 1 June 2005

[IMRA: COS Ya'alon's descriptions of post retreat Israel and what transpires after the formation of a Palestinian state serve as a warning against the simplistic view that either moves would improve Israel's economy. It is interesting to note that just last week more people opposed disengagement than thought that the top IDF brass opposed disengagement.

Does the senior level of the IDF support or oppose disengagement? Supports 46% Opposes 21% Other 33% Telephone poll carried out by "Brain Base" ["Maagar Mochot"] of a representative sample of 505 adult Israelis (including Israeli Arabs) under the direction of Prof.Y.Katz for Israel Radio's "Another Matter" program the week of 25 May 2005.]

Unless Israel commits to further withdrawals after this summer's disengagement from Gaza, the pullout will be followed by an outbreak of renewed violence, outgoing Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon warned in an interview with Haaretz.

"If there is an Israeli commitment to another move, we will gain another period of quiet," he said. "If not, there will be an eruption . . . Terrorist attacks of all types: shooting, bombs, suicide bombers, mortars, Qassam rockets." Without an additional withdrawal, "there is a high probability of a second war of terror," which will begin in the West Bank.

Asked whether he intended to say that, following the disengagement, Kfar Sava's situation will be like Sderot's today, he responded: "And Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, too. There will be suicide bombings wherever they can perpetrate them."

Ya'alon said that recent statements by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas show that Abbas "has not given up the right of return. And this is not a symbolic right of return, but the right of return as a claim to be realized. To return to the houses, to return to the villages. The implication of this is that there will not be a Jewish state here."

Therefore, he said, the establishment of a Palestinian state will lead to war "at some stage," and such a war could be dangerous for Israel. The idea that a Palestinian state can be established by 2008, and will then produce stability, is "divorced from reality" and "dangerous," as any such state "will be a state that will try to undermine Israel."

Asked about the current situation in the PA, Ya'alon responded: "For the Palestinians it is still convenient to maintain a gang-based reality rather than a state foundation.

"When [the PA] permits Hamas to take part in the elections without abandoning its firearms, is that democracy? It's gangs. Armed gangs playing at pretend democracy," he said. "If Fatah continues to behave as it does now, Hamas will eventually take over the Gaza Strip," he added.

Regarding the IDF's plans for implementing the disengagement from Gaza, Ya'alon said that the army is preparing for the possibility of entering Khan Yunis "if there is shooting from there" during the withdrawal. The disengagement, he continued, will not create a "situation of stability." Therefore, "I do not rule out" the possibility that the army will return to the Gaza Strip at some point.

Ya'alon said it is impossible to know how long the disengagement will take. "The question is whether we evacuate 8,000 residents or 20,000 Israeli citizens or maybe 50,000. If you evacuate 8,000, it could last three weeks. If you have to evacuate more, it could take longer." In other words, he said, it is too soon to talk about the withdrawal as a fait accompli. "If and when we complete the move, we will talk about a fait accompli."

Asked for his views on the general concept of two states for two peoples, he said: "In the present reality, I see difficulty in producing a stable situation of end-of-conflict within that paradigm." A two-state solution, he continued, is simply "not relevant. It is a story that the Western world tells with Western eyes. And that story does not comprehend the scale of the gap and the scale of the problem. We, too, are sweeping it under the carpet."

Asked whether he fears for Israel's existence, Ya'alon responded: "A combination of terrorism and demography, with question marks among us about the rightness of our way, are a recipe for a situation in which there will not be a Jewish state here in the end."

Regarding the army that he leaves behind, Ya'alon said he was concerned about the existence of a "criminal subculture" in the army that has even reached senior officers and become a "malignant disease."

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Questioning Whether the Palestinian Authority Police Force Acted to Close a Weapons Smuggling Tunner⊂=1

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Yesterday it was reported in the news [From IDF sources - DB] that Palestinian policemen in Khan Yunis discovered a tunnel leading into Gush Katif and blocked it.

We in Gush Katif can only express our astonishment at such perverted reporting. We know full well that the IDF has been monitoring the progress of the terrorists digging this tunnel for some time now; clearly the intention was to use it for a terrorist attack against a settlement or one of the IDF bases in the area. IDF commanders told the terrorists in police uniforms a number of times that if they will not block up the tunnel the IDF would go in and do it, in order to prevent a murderous attack on Gush Katif.

Yesterday morning the IDF decided to flex its muscles and moved forces into the area where the tunnel is located. The terrorists apparently had good intelligence, and in view of the IDF's apparent determination to destroy the tunnel the Palestinian Authority announced that it would block it up.

We can only wonder why the spokesmen who reported this insist on praising the very enemy that is doing its best every day to attack Gush Katif, instead of telling the public the truth.

On the other hand, we in Gush Katif are grateful to the IDF which succeeded in bringing about the blocking up of the tunnel and wish it as much success in also stopping the constant mortar fire on the settlements of Gush Katif.

Translated by: S. Michael Guggenheimer

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Bush gave Abbas the impression he didn't have to fight terror now
Aluf Benn Haaretz
31 May 2005

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon yesterday voiced disappointment with the result of last Thursday's meeting between President George Bush and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Washington.

"The Palestinians came out feeling no pressure to fight terror, and that they don't have to take immediate action," Sharon told members of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee visiting Jerusalem.

"The protest and objection to the disengagement in Israel is increasing, while public support for it is diminishing, because of the feeling that the terror is increasing, and that no action is being taken against it," he said.

"Questions are being asked - what happened to Bush's promises? - and people say the whole disengagement plan is a bluff. I need calm to carry out the disengagement, and this is causing me difficulties."

Sharon said, "If I have to run for election while terror continues, obviously I wouldn't be able to get the disengagement plan passed, and there is nobody else who can do it."

Sharon told the congressmen that he had no complaints for Bush, who made his objection to terror clear to Abbas.

However, "the Palestinians understood that there is no serious pressure now to act against terror, and they can act slowly and carry out reforms. But democratic reforms cannot be a substitute for war on terror. They also understand that they can proceed with the understandings and agreements [with the terror organizations] and not fight them. The result is an increase of terror."

A Jerusalem source said yesterday that Abbas got an extension to deal with the terror organizations until after the elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council.

The source said that Bush spoke out sharply against terror in the private conversation with Abbas and conveyed to him that after the elections, the PA would have to fulfill its commitments, including dismantling the terror organizations.

Sharon promised that the disengagement plan would be carried out in any case, on schedule, and that the evacuation would not be carried out under fire. "I don't intend to stop the disengagement, but I will stop the fire," he said.

Israel rejected the American administration's suggestion to use U.S. Security Coordinator Lt.-Gen. William Ward as a facilitator in security coordination of the disengagement.

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Will the PLO Terrorists Change Their Tactics of Insurgency
A Middle East News Line Report

Palestinian insurgents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip could change their operations over the next few months.

Israeli officials said military and security agencies have been preparing for the prospect that Palestinian combatants could escalate operations or launch new forms of attacks against the Jewish state. They said such a campaign could take place in wake of Israel's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank in August 2005.

"It's not certain that the behavior of the terrorists in the near future would be the behavior that we have seen over the last few years," Israel Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Eliezer Shkedy said on Tuesday.

Officials said among the scenarios envisioned by the military was Kassam-class short-range missile strikes from the West Bank against nearby Israeli cities. Other scenarios included the use of suicide car bombs similar to attacks that take place nearly daily in Iraq and the suicide hijacking of civilian aircraft such as that employed by Al Qaida against the United States in 2001.

Addressing a conference on air power and counter-terrorism, Shkedy said insurgency groups have been significantly damaged by air strikes in 2003 and 2004. The general said that at one point most of the political leadership of Hamas was decimated by air missile strikes in the Gaza Strip.

But Shkedy told the international conference, entitled "Air Power Role in Counter-Terrorism and Guerrilla Warfare, that the military could encounter surprises from a Palestinian insurgency movement that has recovered over the last few months.

He and other officials asserted that Hamas has exploited the current lull in Israeli military operations to develop a weapons industry in the Gaza Strip that produces mortars, missiles and rockets.

"Despite our achievements, this does not mean that the solutions developed in the past will be relevant for the future," Shkedy said.

The general said the air force achieved tremendous gains in precision firepower. He said that in 2001, for insurgent slain in an Israeli air strike, an innocent bystander was also killed. In 2004, a bystander was killed for every 12 insurgents successfully targeted.

"If you hit innocents, the military could be forced to stop the operation and give the other side time to reorganize," Shkedy said.

The air force has also significantly improved cooperation with the ground forces, military intelligence and the Israel Security Agency. Shkedy said these units participate in a joint command and control center meant to quickly process intelligence and determine targets.

Shkedy said the air force must focus on intelligence, planning and control and precision firepower. He said the military has invested significant resources to close the sensor-to-shooter loop, which currently amounts to several minutes.

The air force has vastly increased its role in the war against the Palestinians. Shkedy said Palestinian insurgents killed in air strikes in proportion to total insurgency casualties rose from 10 percent in 2001 to 60 percent in 2005.

Still, Shkedy said, the air force was not capable of stopping Palestinian missile strikes from the Gaza Strip. He said the military required upgraded intelligence that could track Palestinian weapons development and production.

"We need better intelligence -- that is research intelligence that goes beyond finding the Kassam launcher at the last minute," Shkedy said.

Outgoing Israel Security Agency director Avi Dichter said the use of air power has hampered insurgency operations. Dichter said his agency has worked well with the air force in processing intelligence and determining insurgency targets.

At the same time, Dichter said Hamas has succeeded in building a weapons infrastructure throughout the Gaza Strip that contains the elements of a formal industry. He said intelligence-gathering assets deployed on air and other platforms could not replace the information obtained from detained insurgents.

"The capability of the Palestinians to produce Kassams [missiles] is clear," Dichter said. "We are talking of a complete and orderly industry, with a hierarchy that extends to the actual gunner."

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