Israel Resource Review 22nd June, 2003


What We can Learn from the Koranic Tradition
Hardly a Ceasefire

Truly a "Hudna Civic"?

Yedioth Aharonot (June 19, 2003)(p. 2) by Sever Plotzker -- The hudna means a temporary cessation of hostile actions among Moslem communities and/or between them and the outside world. The hudna has the compelling validity of a word of honor and a religious oath. In an Islamic tradition that has lasted for centuries, there are not many known cases of a unilateral violation of a "hudna".

When the idea of the "hudna" was first raised by non-governmental elements in Israel, its objective was clear: To mobilize and encourage Palestinian civil society to act towards a prolonged and complete cessation of terror attacks against Israel. In conjunction, Israel was supposed to undertake a commitment to refrain from initiating targeted killings. During the period of the hudna, so hoped the initiators of the idea, the representatives of Israel and PA would sit down at the negotiating table and try to resolve their differences without the use of arms. The hudna was presented as the opposite of the Intifada: A dialogue between statesmen and civilians, rather than a discourse of terrorists and soldiers.

But such a civil hudna, this "hudna civic," was not implemented.

Instead, the idea became something else: A dialogue between two extremist Islamic terror organizations on one hand (Hamas and Islamic Jihad), and the PA on the other. An absurd situation was thereby created in which the Palestinian Authority represents the Israeli government versus the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, while they-satisfied with their new exalted position-are once again reluctant to cease the terror attacks. They are bargaining and accepting with reserved approval the Palestinian Authority's willingness to make them part of the national leadership,meaning the Palestinian leadership, an honor that was granted only to the al-Qaida terror organization in the Afghan Taliban administration. Until the Americans destroyed it.

The Israeli government, headed by Ariel Sharon, therefore finds itself in negotiations, indirect but clear to all, with terror organizations that in other countries, including Arab and Moslem countries, have been outlawed and pursued relentlessly. Had the gentlemen from Hamas operated in neighboring Egypt, for example, their bodies would have long ago been disposed of in a mass grave in a desert hideaway.

If our government believes that our national interest requires initiating a dialogue with Hamas, the decision on this should be clear, and considered versus Israeli public opinion and taking into account its implications for the global war on terror. But there is no point in hiding behind a "hudna" that is currently being concocted in Gaza, Ramallah and Cairo. This false "hudna" does not include a renunciation of violence, recognition of the other side's rights and a return to civilian dialogue, but rather constitutes giving a prize and legitimacy to organizations whose sole reason for existence is murderous violence against civilians.

And what could the practical result be of a non-belligerence arrangement between the Palestinian Authority and the Islamic terror organizations? Like the result of any non-belligerence arrangement between murders and clerks: In time, the number of clerks drops and the number of murderers rises.

The Pitfall of the Hudna

Yedioth Aharonot (June 19,2003) (p. B5) by Guy Bechor (op-ed) -- It is doubtful whether assent will be achieved between the different Palestinian factions for a temporary cease-fire with Israel. First of all, this is because they are talking about Israel and the terror attacks, but are referring to themselves,to the question as to who among them has grown stronger and who has become weaker as a result of two and a half years of a heightened violent effort.

Israeli society yearns for a cease-fire with the Palestinians, and therefore the talk about a hudna has fallen on attentive ears on our side. However, this initiative might actually lead Israel into a number of traps that it will find it difficult to extricate itself from.

The concept of the "hudna", which was actually introduced into the Israeli-Arab discourse by Israelis, is drawn from the ancient warfare rules of the jihad, the Moslem war against the infidels. Its main thrust consists of a cease-fire, at the order of the imam, until the strength is renewed for continuing the battle. The aforesaid rules are all-encompassing and based on a passionate faith in the supremacy of the Moslems. Therefore, any recognition of a "hudna" by Israel would not only be confirmation of its being inferior and heretical, but also an acceptance of an Islamic vocabulary of eternal religious wars in which only its temporary existence can be tolerated. Moreover, an Israeli assent to a "hudna" is also, by definition, an assent to a date for the Hamas to renew its fire and to the justification of this renewal. Would it not be preferable to remain in the national-modern world of concepts, which refers to borders, peace accords and agreements between people that are not subject to Koranic injunctions?

At the same time, the adoption of the Islamic term could stimulate a return of Arab leaders to an absolute perception of Moslems against all the rest of the Christians or Jews. The Egyptian lesson teaches us that those who make frequent use of Islamic terminology, for any purpose, ultimately find that their society becomes an Islamic society.

Furthermore, the meaning of a "hudna" with Hamas is that not only is the PA speaking to it as an equal, but so are Egypt and other Arab countries, and indirectly Israel as well. This will make Hamas the key Palestinian speaker. Its leaders are those who will determine whether the flames will drop, what the dimensions of the hudna will be and when it will be violated.

Finally, there is concern that Israel could enter into a new-old pitfall. The understandings of Operation Accountability and Operation Grapes of Wrath in Lebanon turned IDF soldiers into ducks on a shooting range. In these understandings, Israel committed itself not to harm Lebanese civilians, while Hizbullah committed itself not to fire Katyusha rockets at Israel, whereas nothing was said about attacking our soldiers.

This time, Hamas is committing itself not to carry out terror attacks in Israel, while Israel is supposed to commit itself not to kill the organization's activists, but nothing is being said about settlers and IDF soldiers in the territories. It is true that Israel is insisting on eliminating "ticking bombs," but world pressure on Israel will portray it as breaking the cease-fire with each such targeted killing.

Israel must remember and remind others of the original road map, which seems to have been forgotten. This road map does not mention a "hudna", a truce or mutual kisses between the different Palestinian factions. If the Palestinian Authority wishes to have international achievements, it must do what it has never done before: Dismantle the opposition organizations, put a halt to incitement, prevent violence and create a new Palestinian climate. This is one of the lessons that the Intifada of the Palestinians themselves has taught us.

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Killing KAWASME:
The Ramifications

Responsible for the Murder of 52 Israelis

Yedioth Aharonot (June 22, 2003)(p. 2) by Roni Shaked -- Israel settled an open account yesterday with Abdullah Abed Elkader Kawasme, 35, the number one Hamas wanted man in the West Bank, who was responsible for the murder of 52 Israelis and the injury of dozens more. Border Police SWAT troops shot him dead yesterday evening in central Hebron.

Kawasme served as the commander of Hamas's military wing in Hebron in the past two years and was directly responsible for the death of dozens of Israelis, including the passengers aboard bus no. 14 in Jerusalem on June 11, this year.

At around 10:00 in the evening Kawasme finished his night prayers at the al-Ansar mosque and began to drive down al-Salam (Peace) street in downtown Hebron. SWAT team members who were waiting on the side of the street for him, identified Kawasme and opened fire on him from a number of guns, killing him with automatic gunfire on the spot. Large numbers of back-up troops quickly arrived on the scene after the shooting and began to scour the area for Kawasme's fellow terror cell members, who were suspected of being in the area at the same time.

Sources in Hebron said that the SWAT team members arrived in the vicinity of the mosque in three vehicles, and Kawasme was identified once the worshipers began to disperse, whereupon he was shot and killed. The sources said that the IDF immediately shut down the mosque to search for additional suspects. They noted that Kawasme's central ability was bomb-building. "He was a classic example of a ticking bomb. This is the targeted killing of a ticking bomb," said security officials who were pleased by the elimination of the arch-terrorist who threatened to produce additional bombing attacks. A terrorist that the security forces have been pursuing for over two years.

Kawasme, married and the father of six, began his terrorist activities in the early 1990s. He was deported along with the other 415 Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists to Lebanon in late December 1992. In Lebanon he underwent military training at the hands of Iranian Republican Guardsmen and was trained to serve as a "munitions expert" with Hamas. Upon his return, Kawasme was arrested by Israel and was released in 1998. After news was received that he was planning bombing attacks he was arrested by the Palestinian Authority, but was released from prison with the eruption of the Intifada.

IDF sources said last night that the object of the mission was not to kill Kawasme, but to arrest him. He was shot dead while trying to evade arrest. The troops had no choice but to open fire, and he was killed while resisting arrest.

The killing was committed while discussions are still underway to achieve a hudna (a cease-fire). The Palestinian factions have insisted that Israel desist from targeted killing operations as a precondition for a hudna. That is also a fundamental demand that has been made by the Palestinian Authority and its prime minister, Abu Mazen. PA officials responded angrily to the death of Kawasme, saying: "the goal of the assassination was to destroy any possibility of reaching a Palestinian agreement about a hudna."

[Ma'ariv quoted security sources who said that Kawasme pulled a gun and as a result was shot dead.]

A "Kosher" Operation

Yediot Aharonot (June 22,2003) (p. 2) by Alex Fishman (news analysis) -- Israel's patience is wearing thin. While the killing of Kawasme yesterday in Hebron was a legitimate attempt to cope with a "ticking bomb," beyond that it also served as a direct message to the Palestinian Authority: Israel has no intention of sitting and waiting for someone in the PA to decide to stop selling everyone excuses and to begin taking responsibility for security in PA territory.

Even by the definitions of the US administration, Kawasme was, by all opinions, a "kosher target." In his case there was no room to wax philosophical over the question of whether this was a "targeted killing operation," which the Americans find unacceptable, or the necessary treatment of a "ticking bomb." The man was responsible for a Hamas terror cell in Hebron that produced dozens of Israeli dead and injured in the past few months, including the bus no. 14 suicide bombing attack in Jerusalem. Moreover, his elimination was secured with "surgical" precision. It caused no collateral damage, just the way Uncle Sam lets us kill.

Two weeks before the Akaba summit Palestinian Authority officials said they needed two weeks to assume security responsibility. After Akaba they asked for another two weeks. On Friday they asked US Secretary of State Colin Powell for another few weeks. It is beginning to look like a snow job.

The shooting attacks on road 60 in the Beit El and Ofra area, which in just the past week have resulted in the death of two Israelis, are carried out by a terror cell that is comprised jointly of Fatah-Tanzim and Hamas members. In Gaza, Fatah is trying to engage Hamas in dialogue about a cease-fire and on road 60 they are engaged in productive cooperation and shoot at Israelis together. It is no wonder that the Israelis' patience is wearing thin. And that is exactly what Hamas is waiting for. For that very same Israeli outburst that will allow them to break free and to evade reaching a cease-fire agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

The security talks underway between Israel and the PA about the transfer of security responsibility are at the same point as the dialogue between the PA and Hamas: they are both on a flight to nowhere. Hamas is dragging its feet in its dealings with Abu Mazen, and Mohammed Dahlan is dragging his feet in his dealings with Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad, so that no agreement is reached and nothing happens.

Last Tuesday,Israel presented the PA with three conditions for transferring security responsibility for specific areas to the PA. 1) Israel will provide the PA with the names of wanted men, and the PA will undertake to arrest them within 24 hours. 2) The road that runs along the length of the Gaza Strip will remain under Israel security responsibility. 3) The Palestinian demand for security responsibility over Netzarim junction and Gush Katif junction is unacceptable. Dahlan pounced on these conditions as if they were a valuable treasure and turned them into his excuse for doing nothing. On Thursday the new American envoy, John Wolf, had to drag Dahlan by the ear to get him to the talks with Israel. Talks that ultimately produced nothing.

In the course of his visit to the region, Secretary of State Colin Powell demanded that the Palestinian Authority assume security responsibility not merely over a few areas but over the entire Gaza Strip and Bethlehem, and that they do so immediately. But the Abu Mazen government is doing its utmost to bypass, to buy time, until Hamas agrees to a cease-fire . . . .

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The Drive-by Murder of Noam, a Seven Year Girl

Bereaved Mother: "Noam Was a Gift"

Yediot Aharonot (June 19,2003) (p. 1) by Rivka Freilich -- "Every time I shut my eyes, I see my little girl," says Galit Leibowitz, her eyes moist from tears. So Galit remains awake. She does not close her eyes.

Yesterday she tended to little Shira at the operating room, traveled to Noam's funeral and returned to the hospital. In the moments between one action and another she remembers-and intense pain strikes her. "Noam was a gift," she says in a broken voice. "We received her for a limited period of time and now we have to return her."

Seven-year old Noam and her little sister Shira had a special connection. "Noam watched over Shira. She would bathe her, comb her hair, tell her stories, dance with her and take her to kindergarten," relates the mother. "Shira and Noam have a bunk bed. I don't know what Shira will do now. I don't know how she will react when she enters the room and doesn't see Noam. What will I tell her?"

"Noam charmed everyone, she was a darling. An energetic and brilliant girl who was always smiling. They prepared a wishing tree at school made of balloons, and each child put a note with his wish inside a balloon.

When Noam's balloon burst, they found that she had written in her note 'I want to reach 12th grade and take my matriculation exam.' She did not even finish second grade. She recently began to write the invitations for her birthday, which will be soon. But she did not manage to write them all."

On Tuesday, on the morning of the terror attack, they celebrated Shira's third birthday. "Everyone was happy and playing," Galit reconstructs quietly. "Then we went to a bar mitzva. Noam ran around and played with everyone, and taught them songs. She did not sit still for a moment."

"Before we got into the car on the way back, we dressed Noam and Shira in pajamas. Noam sang to us the whole way, and then fell asleep. In a momentary decision we decided to take the Trans-Israel Highway. We almost missed the turnoff." Galit pauses for a moment, returning to that random decision. "We came back especially to enter the death trap. Why? Perhaps it was meant to happen."

"Suddenly the shooting began. My husband and I took Noam out of the car and began to resuscitate her. At the time, we did not know that Shira had been severely wounded. Apparently the bullet that passed through Noam's body continued on to Shira and stopped. It is possible that Noam saved Shira with her body. She always looked after her."

Galit asks to be alone in the room with her wounded little daughter. During the night, in the corridor of Schneider Hospital, she tells the many supportive relatives: "I need to be alone for a while."

"Every family that experiences such an event is devastated," says Galit.

"It is a great loss. But we are now part of a number. Another statistical figure. We have to remember that there is a world behind each one. My Noam was an entire world. She is not just another number."

A Birthday Without Noam

Ma'ariv (June 19, 2003) (p. 4) by Moran Katz et al. --

Yesterday, in a broken voice, Shlomo Leibowitz said kadish on the grave of Noam, his seven year old daughter.

Embracing and supporting each other, the family stood round the freshly dug grave, and looked at the mounds of earth as they slowly covered her. "Noam always watched over Shira," wept the mother, Galit. "Who will watch over Noam now?"

Noam Leibowitz was murdered on Tuesday by terrorist gunfire at the car she was riding in with her family. Shira, her little sister, who yesterday had her third birthday, was seriously wounded and is at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva. Her 11-year old brother and grandfather were lightly wounded and released yesterday from the hospital.

For the last three years the Leibowitz family lived in the Yemin Orde Youth Village on the Karmel mountains. The father of the family, Shlomo, is the vice principal and the mother Galit is a teacher. Yesterday the village was to celebrate its jubilee year, however the day of joy turned into a day of grief. And instead of celebrations, the funeral of a seven year old smiling and bubbly girl took place.

At the elementary school where Noam was a pupil, the children and teachers had a hard time taking in the news. "They told us that Noam is in heaven, and that it is better there than here," said Adi Levy, 8, Noam's friend. "But despite the fact that she is happy, I will miss her, and I hope that when the Messiah comes, we will be able to talk to her."

The school principal said that several days ago all the pupils were asked to write their wishes down. "I want to finish my studies and reach grade 12," wrote Noam. At the time of her death, she was still a pupil in grade one.

At the youth village of Yemin Orde as well, talks were held with the pupils. "The pupils were supposed to celebrate their graduation day," related Dotan Levy, the education coordinator of the village. "We were in the midst of general rehearsals when we received the news." The pupils asked that the ceremony and party not be held, and the teachers agreed and delayed the event.

At the home of the Eliad family, Noam's grandfather and grandmother described the journey which ended in tragedy over and over again. "My son-in-law suggested that we use the Trans-Israel Highway instead of on the old road," related the grandmother, Miriam. "The trip was quiet. My granddaughters went to sleep, and suddenly we heard a volley of gunfire. At first my husband was hurt and then Noam as well, as she slept."

At 1:30 p.m. many of the residents of the youth village, both friends and family, gathered in front of the village's synagogue for prayers and eulogies. From there the grieving convoy continued on to the cemetery of the nearby community Nir Etzion. "Slowly, slowly, gently, look how small she is," Galit bade those bearing the body of her daughter.

"The Leibowitzes are of the old type of families who are educators of children," said the principal of the youth village, Dr. Haim Peri. "The youth village is a place where everybody knows everybody. The pupils knew Noam as a smiling child who always spoke to everyone. She was a small child with a big soul." And the father, Shlomo, was ill at ease. "You are torn inside," he said. "You don't know whether to go to the hospital with Shira or to grieve about Noam."

A short while before Noam's funeral, her three year old sister was taken out of the operating room. The mother, Galit, left her little daughter's bedside, and went to Noam's funeral. Yesterday the doctors decided that the damage caused to Shira's spine was reversible. The bullet that penetrated her hip stopped at the spine and was removed in a complicated and delicate operation. Shira's hand was also ripped apart by the bullet, and needed an extended operation.

"Shira was very lucky," said the director of the orthopedic unit at Schneider Children's Hospital, Dr. Elhanan Bar-On. He added that her condition is still moderate, and that ahead of her still lie a series of operations to reconstruct her hand. It is actually her young age, said her doctors yesterday, which will help her body recover quickly.

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Israeli Electronic Media Will Not Report That the PBC Justified the Murder of a Seven Year Old Girl
David Bedein

IMRA distributed Dr. Michael Widlanski's translations of the official Palestinian Authority's PBC Voice of Palestine Radio coverage of the murder of seven-year-old Noam Leibovitch, when the PBC described it on its Wednesday morning 7:30 a.m. morning news round-up as "the death by shooting of a female Israeli settler" [Arabic: Maqtal 'ala rasass mustawtinna isra'iliyya].

There was no Palestinian Authority condemnation of the murder nor even vague disapproval of the timing of the attack.

During the 8 a.m. Wednesday morning news bulletin, The Voice of Palestine, after detailing Israeli military actions and Palestinian diplomatic activities for seven minutes, noted "the death by shooting of a female settler . . ."

There was still no hint of condemnation nor disapproval of the shooting murder of the 7-year-old.child.

Israel Government Radio News ,Israel Government Channel One TV News, Israel Commercial Channel Two News, Israel Commercial Channel Ten News and the Israel Armed Forces Radio News would not report how the PBC justified the murder of a seven year girl.

Our agency dispatched a fax to ask Shalom Oren, the head of Israel Government Radio News , Yoram Cohen, the head of Israel Goverrnent Channel One TV News, Shalom Kital, the head of Israel Commercial Channel Two News, Ram Landes, the head of Israel Commercial Channel Ten News and Zvikah Goldberg. the head of Israel Armed Forces Radio News as to why their respective news departments refused to cover the fact that the Palestinian Authority justified the murder of a seven year girl.

No response was received from any of the five news departments.

However, we have received confirmation that the head of Ariel Sharon's bureau, Adv. Dov Weisglass, reported to the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations that the Israeli government hoped to reach a "tolerable level of terrorist attacks".

Weisglass's report comes of the heels of the reported Hamas agreement to carry out only "small scale attacks at this time".

The question remains whether the murder of a seven year old girl would fit the Weisglass criteria of a "tolerable level of terrorist attacks" and/or the Hamas criteria of "small scale attacks at this time".

Dr. Widanski also reported that the PBC radio praised the suicide murderer of Avner Mordecai on the morning of Thursday, June 19th and that the Israeli electronic media would not report the PBC praise of the murder.

Dr. Hanan Naveh, senior news editor for the Voice of Israel Radio News, said that he would not use these news items since they come from "external sources". Dr.Naveh also mentioned that the Voice of Israel had dropped its program for monitoring the Arabic media and asked if anyone would like to fund it . . .

This piece ran in Makor Rishon, June 20, 2003

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Confirmation from the IDF:
US Stops Israel from Apprehending Hamas Leaders in Gaza

Carmella Menashe, the Voice of Israel Radio military orrespondent, confirmed (on the June 22nd Sunday morning radio newsreels of 6 a.m. and 7 a.m.) from senior IDF sources that the US prevents the IDF from taking necessary action to apprehend the Hamas leadership in Gaza and to prevent the murders of Israeli citizens.

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