Israel Resource Review 17th March, 2002


Have Jews from Around the World Abandoned Israel
Steve Rosenberg
Special to the Boston Globe

Down the Winding streets of this storied capital city, they sit in cafes and restaurants, talking and sipping coffee and trying to escape the angel of death that is just around the corner. Seething with rage, and stalking the innocent, he has packed a Koran, and underneath an overstuffed jacket there are enough explosives to shatter the lives and spirit of a city of peace.

Such is the existence these days in Jerusalem, when a Saturday evening dinner means pondering what it's like to be blown to pieces. My Israeli friends had arrived at 9 p.m., and had informed me that our plans for dinner had been canceled. We had thought about going to the trendy Shanty or Moment restaurants. "I have a bad feeling about tonight," Tzvya said, before driving off into the night.

I ventured out anyway, walking up the Ben Yehudah pedestrian mall which looked like a ghost town at 9 p.m. After my dinner in an empty restaurant, the owner thanked me for being brave enough to come to Israel. I told him he was the brave one, and that it was an honor for me to visit his country.

Our conversation was cut short. His friend drove up to the sidewalk and told us that Israeli radio had announced that there was a suicide bomber on his way to Jerusalem. An odd report, I thought, but still, I started to walk back to my hotel, down Ben Yehudah, looking at the faces of young soldiers, and beggars and teens and con men playing three-card monte. They didn't look worried, they'd heard this before.

I pushed on down Jaffa Street, across from the Mayor Ehud Olmert's office, where a suicide bomber sent Bus 18 into the heavens in the '90s. The stillness of the night lulled me into a state of meditation. I looked at the stars for a few moments, and inexplicably, turned, and entered the bar that I had been leaning against.

As I looked at the menu, I heard an ambulance. A waitress peeked through the window, and cell phones began to ring. And then, from the direction of the Old City came a dozen ambulances, and inside the bar there was that uncomfortable moment that Israelis have long shared publicly.

A man placed his hand on his wife's shoulder as tears rolled down her cheeks. One by one people began to leave, and I followed them out the door. The ambulances were on their way to the Moment restaurant, which had been one of the restaurants on my agenda just 90 minutes earlier. Five minutes from where I stood, 10 souls lay scattered on the Jerusalem street. They had ended the Sabbath with a renewed hope that their neighbors would not place bombs on their bodies. They guessed wrong.

From our homes in America it seems so awful and horrible and distant, and after we see the pictures of the carnage we drink our coffee and go to work. Here, life stops, and people hold vigil as they watch the live coverage on TV, and anxiously write down the numbers of the hospitals where the injured are brought.

I came to Jerusalem to ask people about life during the latest intifada. It's a subject they talk about all day long. Everyone seems to know someone here who was killed or injured in a terrorist attack. They talk about world opinion and an inevitable full-scale war against the Palestinians.

They also, quietly, inquire about American Jews. "Why have they deserted us?" they ask. I can't give them any answers. I can't tell them that most Americans Jews think I'm crazy to come to the Jewish homeland. I can't tell them that most young Jews can't even find Israel on the map.

I could never explain it to them.

Steven Rosenberg is a journalist based in Boston.
This article ran in the Boston Globe on March 16, 2002

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Al Qaeda Attack on Israel in the North? Is the US Restraining an Israeli response?
David Bedein

At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 12, 2002, Israeli intelligence dropped an accidental bombshell during a routine briefing provided by the IDF for the foreign press at the Beit Agron International Press Center.

The IDF official who conducted the briefing mentioned matter-of-factly that Al Qaeda Arab terrorists are now being openly and publicly trained to attack Israel at the Ein Hilwe UNRWA refugee camp in Lebanon.

The US covers 20% of the budget of UNRWA.

At 12:30 p.m. on that same day, March 12, the IDF confirms that Arab terrorists clmbed over the fence on Israel's northern border and conducted a raid on vehicles that travelled on israel's Northern road, killing six motorists.

Unofficial sources from Israeli intelligence report that these killers were organized and trained by Al Quaeda terrorists.

Questions for the US:

  1. Will the US examine the assertion that UNRWA, hosts an Al Qaeda training base?
  2. At a time when the US is bombing Al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan, is the US restraining Israel from demolishing the AL Qaeda bases in the UNRWA camps in Lebanon?

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Arafat: "Camps De Jure are Under the Sovereignty of the UN and Operated by the UNRWA"

[IMRA: Arafat's assertion that the terrorist centers within the refugee camps "camps de jure are under the sovereignty of the UN and operated by the UNRWA" raises many important questions regarding the failure of UNRWA to make any effort to prevent the camps from developing into major terror operations centers. UNRWA's approach has been to claim that they are only providers of social-welfare assistance - so much so that they assert they have no responsibility for the hate education served up daily in UNRWA financed schools. That is not to say that UNRWA forces are required - rather that they have an obligation to protest vociferously the use of the camps as terror centers.]

Ramallah, 15th March, 2002
In a joint press conference with the Secretary of State for Development Aid Eddy Bountmans, President Arafat reiterated the necessity of implementing all signed agreements by Israel.

Commenting on a question related to Zinni's mission and whether Sharon's suggestion will succeed without political negotiations, the President Said: "We have stances and we will not permit any person to manipulate with us. There are agreements that should be implemented including Tenet understandings and Mitchell's report in addition to the immediate withdrawal to the territories prior to 8/9/2000.

Mr. President referred to the Israeli crimes against our cities, villages, camps, hospitals, schools, and Christian and Islamic sites, giving an instance of what happened to the statue of Mary.

Mr. President clarified that these camps de jure are under the sovereignty of the UN and operated by the UNRWA, despite that the crimes, which have been committed in it are unacceptable from any body.

On his part, the Belgian Minister expressed concern over the dangerous situations in the Palestinian territories and affirmed his country's cooperation and support to the Palestinian people despite all circumstances.

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Ramallah as a Center of Terror: Background Information
IDF Spokesman

Ramallah is located on a major crossroads in the West Bank, with a commanding view of its surroundings, ensuring a continuity of population from the city of Jerusalem northwards.

The Ramallah area is composed of two main sectors: the lower city of Ramallah and the city of el-Bira (a separate municipality) to the east. South of the city is the el-'Amari refugee camp and to its north is the town of Bir Zeit (known for its university, the largest on the West Bank), and the Jalazoun refugee camp.

Ramallah is one of the two major Palestinian seats of power. The central Palestinian governing institutions are located within Ramallah, including: offices of the Legislative Council, the executive branch and a large number of Palestinian West Bank security forces' headquarters.

Arafat, until recently, had divided his time between Gaza and Ramallah, due to the presence of central governing institutions presence in both cities.

Ramallah is a relatively modern city with Jerusalem-style high-rise buildings. In the past, Ramallah constituted a tourism and entertainment center. The Ramallah district contains 220,000 residents. Of these some 57,000 are located in the cities of Ramallah and el-Bira.

Ramallah Axis of Terrorism

Since the beginning of the current conflict, Ramallah has stood out as a major center of terrorist activity against Israeli civilians and security personnel. The terrorist infrastructure in the city, and at times in the entire West Bank, are dependant on senior Fatah leadership and senior commanders of the Palestinian security apparatus.

Since the death of Raed Karmi on January 14, 2002, the city has become the capital of Palestinian terrorism, from which many terrorist attacks have emanated. Among those we may count the suicide attack in Tel Aviv's Sea Food Market restaurant, the terrorist infiltration of 'Ayn 'Arik, and the attack on civilians and IDF soldiers at the British Police roadblock.

Palestinian Security Forces

Due to the fact that Ramallah constituted an administrative and governmental center, the Palestinian Authority security forces established their headquarters in the city. The National Security headqarters is located in Ramallah's Mukt'ah as are the headquarters of Force-17, Preventive Security and Civil Police.

The Palestinian security forces, and especially Force-17, have played an active role in major terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF troops perpetrated within in the Ramallah area, in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel. The mutual relationship existing between the Fatah in Ramallah and members of the security forces (often on a personal basis, due to the fact many security force personnel were originally from the Fatah) has blurred the distinction between the Palestinian security forces and the Fatah. The former participate actively in terror operations, either as individuals or on an organizational level (e.g. Force-17).

Terrorist Organizations

The major terrorist organization operating out of Ramallah is the Fatah, headed by Arafat. Marwan Barghouti, Secretary General of the Fatah, who is also head of the Tanzim, serves directly under him. Many senior Fatah leaders have established themselves in Ramallah. Fatah is responsible for a long list of deadly terrorist attacks (suicide operations, shooting attacks, kidnappings and bombings) which took the lives of many dozens of Israelis. Following the death of local Tanzim leader Raed Karmi on January 14, 2002, the Fatah changed its modus operandi from shooting attacks on roads to suicide bombings in Israeli cities, and terrorist attacks against IDF checkpoints.

Other terrorist organizations operate from the city, among them the Hamas which had carried out the major suicide bombings in Jerusalem (e.g. the Sbarro pizzeria bombing, the Jerusalem pedestrian mall double-suicide bombing and the recent Cafe Moment attack which claimed the lives of 11 Israelis). Their operatives enjoy protection of the security forces who do not stop the activities in the city. Even though Ramallah is not the primary site of Hamas activity on the West Bank, Ramallah does constitute a "relay station" for suicide attacks in Jerusalem.

An additional terrorist organization that operates in and from the city is the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. This organization, even though it is relatively small, has chosen Ramallah as the main focal point for its military and political operations. The leadership of the terrorist organization within the territories are situated in Ramallah. It has carried out a large number of spectacular attacks which have claimed the lives of many victims. Among these: the bombings in the Ariel hotel and the Karnei Shalom mall, and the assassination of the late Minister of Tourism Rechavam Ze'evy, whose murderers departed from and returned to Ramallah. The organization now specializes in suicide bombings.

The remaining Palestinian terrorist organizations, such as the Islamic Jihad, maintain "representatives" in Ramallah. They cooperate together and with the official security forces of the Palestinian Authority.

List of Major Terrorist Attacks Emanating from Ramallah

  • 12 October 2000 - Lynching of two IDF reserve soldiers who entered the city by mistake. The incident took place in the Ramallah Police Station.

  • 30 October 2000 - A shooting attack in which Eish-Kodesh Gilmor, a guard at the East Jerusalem National Insurance branch was killed.

  • 13 November 2000 - A shooting attack near Neveh Tzuf, in which Sarah Leisha and two Israeli soldiers were killed.

  • 24 November 2000 - A shooting attack at the Tapuah Junction, in which an Israeli civilian Ariel Jeraffi was killed.

  • 21 December 2000 - A shooting attack on the Modi'in-Jerusalem highway (Route 443), in which an Israeli civilian, Eliahu Cohen, was killed.

  • 31 December 2000 - A shooting attack near Ofra, in which Binyamin Zeev Kahane and his wife Talia were killed.

  • 18 January 2001 - Ofir Rahum, a high school student, was seduced by a female terrorist who he met in an Internet chat room and was murdered in Ramallah.

  • 8 February 2001 - A car bomb was detonated in Jerusalem, wounding five.

  • 27 February 2001 - A shooting attack near Ofer Camp. Three civilians were wounded, one severely.

  • 21 March 2001 - A car bomb in Jerusalem's Mea Sharim district.

  • 23 April 2001 - A car bomb was detonated in Or Yehuda.

  • 1 May 2001 - A shooting attack at an Israeli car in Beth El in which an civilian, Assaf Hershkowitz, was killed.

  • 8 May 2001 - Initiation and direction of a shooting attack in Itamar, in which an Israeli civilian, Arnaldo Agranionic, was killed.

  • 27 May 2001 - A car bomb in Jerusalem's Russian Compound.

  • 12 June 2001 - A shooting attack in Ma'aleh Adumim, in which a Greek Orthodox monk was killed.

  • 18 June 2001 - An explosive device (which did not explode) on a motor scooter in Haifa.

  • 2 July 2001 - Two car bombs exploded in Yahud.

  • 24 July 2001 - An 18-year-old boy, Yuri Gushchin, was murdered. His body was found in Ramallah.

  • 9 August 2001 - The Sbarro pizzeria suicide bombing, in which 15 people were killed and 100 wounded.

  • 4 September 2001 - Suicide attack on Jerusalem's Nevi'im Street, in which 12 were wounded, three seriously.

  • 17 October 2001 - Assassination of the former Israeli Minister of Tourism, Rechavam Ze'evy.

  • 11 December 2001 - Terrorist attack on the Jerusalem pedestrian mall, which claimed the lives of 11 civilians.

  • 22 January 2002 - Shooting attack on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem in which Sarah Hamburger and Svetlana Sandler were killed and 33 injured.

  • 27 January 2002 - Suicide attack on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem, by a female terrorist, in which one person, Pinhas Tokatli, was killed and 101 wounded.

  • 19 February 2002 - Shooting attack in 'Ayn 'Arik, in which six Israelis were killed and one wounded.

  • 22 February 2002 - Shooting attack on a car near Atarot, in which Valery Ahmir was killed.

  • 25 February 2002 - A shooting attack in Neveh Ya'akov, in which Galit Arbiv was killed.

  • 27 February 2002 - Gad Rejwan killed by a Palestinian worker in the Atarot industrial zone.

  • 27 February 2002 - A female suicide bomber blew herself up in the Maccabim checkpoint, injuring two people.

  • 3 March 2002 - Shooting attack at the British Police roadblock near Ofra, in which 10 were killed in six injured.

  • 5 March 2002 - A shooting and grenade attack in the Sea Food Market restaurant in Tel Aviv, in which three people were killed.

  • 9 March 2002 - Suicide bombing in Jerusalem's Cafe Moment, in which 11 people were killed and 50 wounded.

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Israeli-Palestinian Ceasefire and Security plan, Proposed by CIA Director George Tenet, Which Took Effect on 13 June 2001

The US Embassy in Tel Aviv has written to Israel Resource that the US has never published the Tenet plan, which has been widely discussed as the basis of current negotiations between Israel and the PLO/PA. The US government has never even shared the Tenet plan with the US Congress, let alone with the American people.

The Israeli government has stated to Israel Resource that it will not publicize the contents of the Tenet plan, since it is a confidential US government document.

Here is the Tenet Plan, as revealed by the Avalon project of the Yale University Law School:

The security organizations of the Government of Israel (GOI) and of the Palestinian Authority (PA) reaffirm their commitment to the security agreements forged at Sharm el-Sheikh in October 2000, embedded in the Mitchell Report of April 2001.

The operational premise of the work plan is that the two sides are committed to a mutual, comprehensive cease-fire, applying to all violent activities, in accordance with the public declaration of both leaders. In addition, the joint security committee referenced in this work plan will resolve issues that may arise during the implementation of this work plan.

The security organizations of the GOI and PA agree to initiate the following specific, concrete, and realistic security steps immediately to reestablish security cooperation and the situation on the ground that existed prior to 28 September.

1. The GOI and the PA will immediately resume security cooperation.

A senior-level meeting of Israeli, Palestinian, and U.S. security officials will be held immediately and will reconvene at least once a week, with mandatory participation by designated senior officials.

Israeli-Palestinian District Coordination Offices (DCOs) will be reinvigorated. They will carry out their daily activities, to the maximum extent possible, according to the standards established prior to September 28, 2000. As soon as the security situation permits, barriers to effective cooperation - which include the erection of walls between the Israeli and Palestinian sides - will be eliminated and join Israeli-Palestinian patrols will be reinitiated.

U.S.-supplied video conferencing systems will be provided to senior-level Israeli and Palestinian officials to facilitate frequent dialogue and security cooperation.

2. Both sides will take immediate measures to enforce strict adherence to the declared cease-fire and to stabilize the security environment.

Specific procedures will be developed by the senior-level security committee to ensure the secure movement of GOI and PA security personnel traveling in areas outside their respective control, in accordance with existing agreements.

Israel will not conduct attacks of any kind against the Palestinian Authority Ra'is facilities: the headquarters of Palestinian security, intelligence, and police organization; or prisons in the West Bank and Gaza.

The PA will move immediately to apprehend, question, and incarcerate terrorists in the West Bank and Gaza and will provide the security committee the names of those arrested as soon as they are apprehended, as well as a readout of actions taken.

Israel will release all Palestinians arrested in security sweeps who have no association with terrorist activities.

In keeping with its unilateral cease-fire declaration, the PA will stop any Palestinian security officials from inciting, aiding, abetting, or conducting attacks against Israeli targets, including settlers.

In keeping with Israel's unilateral cease-fire declaration, Israeli forces will not conduct "proactive" security operations in areas under the control of the PA or attack innocent civilian targets.

The GOI will re-institute military police investigations into Palestinian deaths resulting from Israel Defense Forces actions in the West Bank and Gaza in incidents not involving terrorism.

3. Palestinian and Israeli security officials will use the security committee to provide each other, as well as designated U.S. officials, information on terrorist threats, including information on known or suspected terrorist operation in - or moving to - areas under the other's control.

Legitimate terrorist and terror threat information will be acted upon immediately, with follow-up actions and results reported to the security committee.

The PA will undertake preemptive operations against terrorists, terrorist safe houses, arms depots, and mortar factories. The PA will provide regular progress reports of these actions to the security committee.

Israeli authorities will take action against Israeli citizens inciting, carrying out, or planning to carry out violence against Palestinians, with progress reports on these activities provided to the security committee.

4. The PA and GOI will move aggressively to prevent individuals and groups from using areas under their respective control to carry out acts of violence. In addition, both sides will take steps to ensure that areas under their control will not be used to launch attacks against the other side nor be used as refuge after attacks are staged.

The security committee will identify key flash points, and each side will inform the other of the names of senior security personnel responsible for each flash point.

Joint Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) will be developed for each flash point. These SOP's will address how the two sides handle and respond to security incidents; the mechanisms for emergency contact; and the procedures to deescalate security crises.

Palestinian and Israeli security officials will identify and agree to the practical measures needed to enforce "no demonstration zones" and "buffer zones" around flash points to reduce opportunities for confrontation. Both sides will adopt all necessary measures to prevent riots and to control demonstration, particularly in flash-point areas.

Palestinian and Israeli security officials will make a concerted effort to locate and confiscate illegal weapons, including mortars, rockets, and explosives, in areas under their respective control In addition, intensive efforts will be made to prevent smuggling and illegal production of weapons. Each side will inform the security committee of the status and success of these efforts.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) will adopt additional non-lethal measures to deal with Palestinian crowds and demonstrators, and more generally, seek to minimize the danger to lives and property of Palestinian civilians in responding to violence.

5. The GOI and the PA, through the auspices of the senior-level security committee, will forge - within one week of the commencement of security committee meetings and resumption of security cooperation - an agreed-upon schedule to implement the complete redeployment of IDF forces to positions held before September 28, 2000.

Demonstrable on-the-ground redeployment will be initiated within the first 48 hours of this one-week period and will continue while the schedule is being forged.

6. Within one week of the commencement of security committee meetings and resumption of security cooperation, a specific timeline will be developed for the lifting of internal closures as well as for the reopening of internal roads, the Allenby Bridge, Gaza Airport, the Port of Gaza, and border crossings. Security checkpoints will be minimized according to legitimate security requirements and following consultation between the two sides.

Demonstrable on-the-ground actions on the lifting of the closures will be initiated within the first 48 hours of this one-week period and will continue while the timeline is being developed.

The parties pledge that even if untoward events occur, security cooperation will continue through the joint security committee.

Source: The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School

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Who Remembers That Tenet Admitted that his Mission Failed?
CIA chief conceded failure of mission
AFP Wire, June 13, 2001

TEL AVIV, June 12: A senior Israeli security official said on Tuesday that US CIA chief George Tenet had told him he considered his mission aimed at brokering a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians had failed.

"He said his mission failed because the Palestinians didn't accept his plan," the official said, adding that Tenet was expected to leave the region in a day or two. "The next stage is shrouded in a cloud of question marks because this was the only game in town," senior Israeli foreign ministry official Oded Eran said. Israel announced it had accepted the Tenet plan, but Eran said Israel wanted to be certain there were no "loopholes" to ensure a complete halt to the intifada.

The Palestinians said they gave "conditional approval" to the plan, but that they rejected certain conditions, including the arrest of hardliners accused by Israel of masterminding attacks and any delay to the lifting of a crippling closure on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In addition, they said an Israeli proposal for a buffer zone between Israel and the Palestinian territories was "unacceptable." "We are speaking about fundamental differences," West Bank preventive security chief Jibril Rajoub told Voice of Palestine radio.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the army would continue to open fire on Palestinian targets if Israeli troops are in danger, and reserved the right to carry out "deterrent defensive operations. "I want to underline clearly that no terrorist cell preparing an attack will be immune," he told an Israel chamber of commerce lunch in Tel Aviv.

The Palestinians said they had given "conditional approval" to Tenet's ceasefire plan, which is based on recommendations in the Mitchell committee report on the circumstances leading to the Palestinian uprising. According to Israeli media reports, which Washington refuses to confirm, Tenet's plan requires an immediate Israeli withdrawal of its forces to positions before the uprising broke out and a lifting of the closure. The Palestinians have to immediately enforce the ceasefire, arrest about 20 guerillas from the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements and collect all illegal weapons in areas under their control, the reports said. At the end of a six-week cooling-off period, the two sides should start implementing confidence-building measures called for by the Mitchell panel, headed by former US senator George Mitchell, they said.

The commission last month called for an immediate ceasefire, an Israeli freeze on settlement-building and full Palestinian efforts to prevent "terrorism" in order to move back to the negotiating table. US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk said there were signs of a turning point in the cycle of violence.

"It is possible, possible that we have reached a turning point in the violence," Indyk said in a lecture at Jerusalem's Hebrew University. "There are now indications, still tentative, that the Palestinian Authority may finally be trying to take action to stop the violence, including turning off hateful incitement." But Indyk said it was "critical" that Israel eases its blockade of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, if calm takes hold, to avoid the Palestinian people turning against Yasser Arafat's declaration of an unconditional ceasefire.

The leading Haaretz newspaper reported that Tenet has decided to extend his visit to the region by another day, but a US diplomatic source would not comment on the CIA director's mission. However, the source said US special Middle East envoy William Burns "will continue his meetings on the implementation of the Mitchell commission report, on the framework and timelines."

In other diplomatic moves, United Nations chief Kofi Annan is due to start Tuesday a week-long trip to the Middle East. "If Tenet has to leave empty-handed, it will mean that one of the top American officials has failed to restore calm and we are heading for an inevitable escalation," Israeli Transport Minister Ephraim Sneh told Israeli radio. He said if Arafat set conditions to his acceptance "it means he does not want a real ceasefire." >But Rajoub complained that Israel was insisting on maintaining "occupation and aggression" while demanding stability and calm.

Violence has dropped off sharply since Arafat called for a ceasefire 10 days ago following a bloody suicide attack in Tel Aviv that killed 20 people and the bomber. But an Israeli baby and a 23-year-old Palestinian both died Monday of injuries sustained last week from stones thrown by Palestinians and Israeli bullets respectively. And the Israeli army said three mortar bombs were fired Tuesday at the Jewish settlement of Morag in the southern Gaza Strip, causing no casualties or damage.-AFP

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