Israel Resource Review 22nd June, 2005


Reassessing Abbas
Guy Bechor
Intelligence Analyst, Yediot Ahronot

Even the security establishment now realizes that what we had during Yasser Arafat's time is repeating itself: the Palestinian Authority makes deals and surrenders to the most murderous of the terror organizations and proudly declares it will never fight these organizations or constrict their steps in any meaningful way. Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser el-Kidwa, Yasser Arafat's nephew, even admitted recently that as he sees it, Palestinian weapons are a " strategic option," even though these weapons should be organized. The Palestinian Authority does not look out for the safety of its own citizens, and in the raging state of anarchy, murderous gangs walk the streets openly, sometimes in defiance of top PA officials. The method chosen by Abbas to silence terror was to buy it and to include the terrorists and the strong in the PA's army.

Those of us who thought that after his election, Mahmoud Abbas would start taking care of his citizens, would rehabilitate the refugee camps and make their lives better-was again proved wrong. This refers not only to security establishment officials, who plaited wreaths for Abbas's head when he was elected, but also to those fantasizers and partner-seekers in the Israeli political establishment. With the perspective of years, it turns out that the problem is more substantive than just Yasser Arafat or Abu Mazen: this Palestinian Authority is not about to solve the problem of the Palestinians, but rather the Palestinian problem, and the gulf between the two is enormous.

Thus it happens that Israel, which established this Palestinian Authority in the framework of the Oslo accords, now faces a political body that has no intention of reaching a political arrangement with it, but rather intends to continue to undermine Israel with temporary "hudnas" in order to prepare militarily. In this regard, the PA resembles the PLO after 1967, until Yasser Arafat seized control of it a year later: the PLO was established by the Arab states to undercut Arafat's Fatah, but after Arafat seized control, it was Arafat who used the PLO to undercut the Arab states. In the same way, the PA established by Israel for purposes of peace is liable to come under control of Hamas, for completely other purposes.

Even the methods of action by the current top Palestinian leaders, Qurei and Abbas, very much resemble those of Yasser Arafat at the time: Dissatisfaction as a strategic policy, zero self-responsibility, Israel is always to blame and outward weakness behind which lies an aspiration for power. Help me, Abu Mazen asked the prime minister this week, as if he did not have thousands of troops under his authority. In this too, Abbas continues the his predecessor's policy of the powerful moaning over their fate.

The time has come to remove the veil enveloping our region, the time has come to declare that from now on there will be no more steps of "coordination" with the Palestinian Authority or various "relief measures," and that Israel will carry out disengagement exactly as it planned from the outset: unilaterally, with no phony coordination.

This appeared in Yediot Ahronot on June 22nd, 2005

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Official PA website blames Israel for those murdered by Documentation: Official PA website blames Israel for those murdered by Palestinian mortars
Investigative Analysis from IMRA

#1 PA now blames Israel

PA website on 21 June 2005:
"Israel's officially adopted policy of extra-judicial killings claimed the lives of six Palestinians, including two laborers, and a Chinese worker early in June." [full text below]

#2 PA then admitted truth

PA website on 8 June 2005:
"As for the Gaza Strip, medical sources in the southern city of Khan Younis said that two Palestinian workers died today after a mortar shell fell on the warehouse they were working in at the illegal Israeli settlement of "Ganei Tal".

The sources asserted that one of the workers died instantly when the mortar fell, while the others died shortly after being transferred to the hospital.

A Chinese worker was also killed in the shelling.

PNA Warns Against Palestinian Violence

PNA Interior Ministry Says Will Act Against Those Who Undermine Truce

Palestine Media Center - PMC

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) reiterated on Monday its commitment to the truce with Israel, condemned the recent violence, saying violations by either side "do not serve the Palestinian interest," and warned Palestinian anti-occupation activists against a further escalation of violence.

A statement by the PNA Interior Ministry on Monday warned that it "will not allow any body to extort the Palestinian Authority and prevent the realization of the achievements of [Israel's] withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank."

"The ministry will act against all those who work to undermine the declared period of calm," the statement threatened.

"We call on everyone to abide by the truce and refrain from violating it," Palestinian Interior Ministry spokesman Tawfiq Abu Khoussa said.

"We are in the process of achieving national goals and we will not allow any party to waste this opportunity, no matter what the reasons," Abu Khoussa aded.

Separately earlier Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser Al-Qidwa asserted Palestinian commitment to the truce with Israel, condemned the recent violence, saying violations by either side "do not serve the Palestinian interest."

Abbas Pledges Calm, Rejects 'Civil War'

On Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking to Israel TV, said he was committed to preserving the calm during the Israeli planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and a tiny part of the northern West Bank, which is scheduled to begin in mid-August.

"We will do all that we can to ensure that the disengagement is carried out quietly," he told Israel TV.

He said the Palestinians already have thwarted "dozens" of attacks with Israeli co-operation. But he said his forces "can't control everything" because of limited resources.

Meanwhile Israel manipulated the resurging violence to continue its incitement for a crack down on the anti-occupation activists, which both the Palestinian officials and non-officials reject as a recipe for civil war.

"What we're seeing over the last few days is very troubling," said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev. "There's no doubt that (Hamas) is using this as a period to regroup, rearm and retrain."

Abbas vowed on Monday that the PNA will not engage in a civil war.

Abbas' statement was published Monday by the Palestinian al-Hayat al-Jadida daily just one day before a summit between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

The Palestinian leader pointed out that the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), which has spearheaded over four years of violence against Israel, was moving toward moderation.

Similarly Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi said: "We know our conditions, we know our domestic realities and we know the best ways of achieving a cessation of violence. Because if you start cracking down, imprisoning, shooting and killing, then you end up with a civil war."

The PNA last week reiterated that ending the Israeli occupation is a precondition for disarming the Palestinian resistance groups.

Five More Palestinians Killed

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed more than 30 Palestinians since the truce understanding was announced by President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Mnister Ariel Sharon in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on February 8.

The Palestinian anti-occupation groups have repeatedly warned that the truce should be reciprocal and that pledged that Israeli violence will not go without retaliation.

On Monday the IOF shot dead 17-year-old Palestinian boy Eyad Saleh al-Nabahin and wounded another teenager while they hunting birds near the illegal Jewish colony of Netzarim in the Gaza Strip, claiming both were trying to infiltrate border into Israel and ignored warning by loudspeakers and shots.

Several hours later, Israel closed the main Erez crossing point allegedly after a 21-year old woman was detained there with explosives concealed in her underwear.

A day earlier Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli illegal Jewish settler in a drive-by shooting between the colony of Hermesh and the Palestinian town of Baqa al-Sharqiya in the northern West Bank.

Palestinian activist Anwar al-Atwi, 23, was shot dead Saturday in an attack at the IOF in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian anti-Israeli occupation activists Mohammad Murjan Abu Assr, 30, and Idris al-Ashwah died in the Gaza Strip Saturday of wounds sustained earlier from IOF gunfire.

Another Palestinian was shot dead, another injured and three Israelis including an IOF soldier were seriously wounded when an Israeli position along the Gaza Strip-Egyptian border was attacked Sunday.

Israel's officially adopted policy of extra-judicial killings claimed the lives of six Palestinians, including two laborers, and a Chinese worker early in June.

The latest deaths raised the Palestinian death toll to more than 3,870 since the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada (uprising) against the 38-year old Israeli occupation on September 28, 2000.

Illegal Jewish settlers living in Maoz Yam hotel at Neveh Dekalim in the colonies bloc of Gush Katif Saturday attacked Palestinian from the adjacent Moassi area, injuring at least three of them at the southern Gaza beach.

IOF said Tuesday their troops detained 52 Islamic Jihad anti-occupation activists in the West Bank overnight. On Wednesday IOF detained also 8 Palestinian activists, including 2 teenagers, in Nablus and 4 others in Ramallah in the West Bank.

Poll: Majority of Palestinians Support Ceasefire

Meanwhile, an opinion survey in the occupied Palestinian territories has shown a majority of Palestinians support the ceasefire with Israel despite occasional violations by the Israeli army and Palestinian resistance fighters.

The poll, conducted by the Bait-Sahur based Palestinian Center for Public Opinion and published on Monday, found that more than three-quarters of Palestinians supported the continuation of calm.

More than 950 Palestinian adults in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem were randomly polled between 6 and 11 June to gather the statistics.

Only 7% of respondents said they were strongly against the ceasefire and approximately 13% said they were somewhat against it.

However, Palestinians showed a conspicuous level of ambivalence towards the issue of violence as approximately 79% of respondents said they believed the al-Aqsa Intifada, which started in 2000, was still alive and continuing, although with a slower momentum.

Professor Nabil Kukali, who supervised the study, argues that many Palestinians feel insecure for two reasons: First, the persistence of repressive Israeli measures, such as the near-daily incursions by the Israeli army into Palestinian population centers and the daily harassment Palestinians face when traveling through Israeli roadblocks and checkpoints.

Second, the increasing lawlessness and chaos in the West Bank and Gaza Strip which he said stem from the failure of the PNA law-enforcement agencies to establish the rule of law.

The poll showed that up to 42% of Palestinians would support the resumption of suicide bombings against Israel if Israel decided to resume her own measures against Palestinians.

More than 13% of respondents said they were strongly against resorting to suicide bombings irrespective of Israeli tactics. A significant 40% said they more or less believed that the era of suicide bombings was over and that this style of resistance was more harmful than beneficial for the Palestinian cause.

US: Violence Aimed at Sabotaging Peace Process

The United States condemned the recent violence, saying it was aimed at sabotaging the peace process and called for immediate action by Palestinian leaders to clamp down on violence.

"This was an attempt . . . to try and derail this (Gaza withdrawal) process", US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Riyadh, referring to the killing of the Israeli settler.

"I hope the Palestinian Authority will act in any way it can to find the perpetrators", she said.

Separately, US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement: "We strongly condemn the terror actions of the last several days directed at taking the lives of Israelis and sabotaging efforts for peace".

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