Israel Resource Review 2nd May, 2005


Incoming IDF Chief:
100,000 Could Send Disengagement Back to Knesset

Tuesday, April 26, 2005 / 17 Nisan 5765

Incoming IDF Chief of Staff Major-General Dan Halutz met in Gush Katif last week with community leaders. reports that during his exchange of comments with Avner Shimoni, the Gaza Coast Regional Council head, the incoming commander stated if disengagement forces are met by 100,000 opponents, they would turn around and take the decision back to the Knesset. Halutz indicate such opposition would be too great for the soldiers and a decision as how to proceed would be left to the legislators.

Gush Katif leaders and residents see Halutz's remarks as a clear sign to supporters of the continued Jewish presence in Gaza to join the growing number of disengagement opponents and make a clear statement against the planned uprooting of the area's Jewish communities.

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Incoming IDF Chief:
100,000 Could Send Disengagement Back to Knesset
In Other Words, the IDF Chief Spelled out the Formula to Stop the Implementation of the Sharon Plan

Incoming IDF Chief of Staff Major-General Dan Halutz met in Gush Katif last week with community leaders. reports that during his exchange of comments with Avner Shimoni, the Gaza Coast Regional Council head, the incoming commander stated if disengagement forces are met by 100,000 opponents, they would turn around and take the decision back to the Knesset. Halutz indicate such opposition would be too great for the soldiers and a decision as how to proceed would be left to the legislators.

Gush Katif leaders and residents see Halutz's remarks as a clear sign to supporters of the continued Jewish presence in Gaza to join the growing number of disengagement opponents and make a clear statement against the planned uprooting of the area's Jewish communities.

This item appeared on the Katif Internet site and the Israel National News site on April 26, 2005

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Egypt Smuggles 600 Kalashnikov rifles to Terrorists
Amir Rappaport
Correspondent, Maariv

The Palestinians are making do without us. Current intelligence indicates that at least 600 Kalashnikov rifles were smuggled into Judea and Samaria in the past two weeks.

The IDF and Border Police succeeded in partially preventing a large arms smuggling effort from Egypt two weeks ago. Fifty-seven Kalashnikov rifles were captured, but information received recently indicates that a much greater quantity was smuggled in without interference. The smuggling was done by Bedouins near Nitzana, and the weapons were brought to the West Bank from there. In addition to the rifles, RPG anti-tank rockets were also smuggled in. It is believed the rifles made their way to various terrorist groups, and perhaps even into the hands of people connected to the Palestinian police.

The IDF believes that these are some of the preparations by the terrorist organizations to resume the conflict immediately after disengagement, in September or October. As Ma'ariv revealed last week, the IDF is preparing for the possibility of renewed conflict by improving armoring for soldiers and vehicles by the target date of what the IDF believes will be the next round of fighting.

Meanwhile, it was learned that intelligence regarding the enormous amount of weaponry smuggled into the territories this month was also discussed in the situation assessment that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz held over the weekend, arousing much concern. Israel has asked Palestinian officials to seize the smuggled weapons and confiscate them, as yet without results.

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Proposal for Palestinian Security Forces to Move Into Evacuated Homes
Amir Rappaport
Correspondent, Maariv

[At a time when the PLO remains in a state of war to liberate all of Palestine, the IDF considers a proposal to convert Jewish communities into PLO army bases - db]

Settlements in northern Samaria that are to be evacuated would become camps for the Palestinian police, according to a proposal the IDF considered recently in light of the dilemma of what to do with the settlers' homes.

The question of what to do with the buildings in the settlements of northern Samaria has given rise to a great deal of deliberation. Unlike the settlements in the Gaza Strip about which it has been decided that they will be handed over to the Palestinians intact after Israel withdraws fully from Gaza, northern Samaria will remain under Israel's security responsibility even after evacuation.

On the one hand, Israel is not interested in destroying the many buildings on the settlements, something that would cause Israel a great deal of public-relations damage in the world media. On the other hand, it is also not interested in letting the Palestinians move into the evacuated villas and forming their own communities.

Because of this dilemma, the possibility was raised for the buildings on the settlements to be evacuated in northern Samaria-Ganim, Kadim, Homesh and Sa-Nur-to be handed over to the Palestinians and not destroyed, but only on condition that the Palestinians promise to use them as camps for police and not establish their own communities there. According to this plan, the Palestinian police would be able to live in the settlers' villas, but without their families.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who have not yet made an official decision on what to do with the homes in northern Samaria, will consider the IDF's proposal. Incidentally, even if Israel should decide finally on this, it is not yet clear whether the Palestinians will want to turn the settlements into camps.

Another option is that not all the settlements be handed over to the Palestinians. In such a case they would not be destroyed and the buildings could become ghost towns, which would lead to attempts by settlers to "reconquer" them. Therefore, the IDF would have to post a heavy guard there for a long time, and the IDF is not at all interested in doing that.

Uri Binder adds: Meanwhile, residents of Pe'at Sadeh in Gush Katif ignored the approaching disengagement last weekend, planting thousands of melon seedlings that will be harvested in the summer. "I am planting 18,000 seedlings to parallel the planned disengagement in the middle of the summer," said Shai Hamo, who also explained the timing. "As we see here, the government is not prepared to absorb a stream of refugees. The country is not ready for disengagement, and therefore they are making noises about postponing it. The disengagement will not be carried out at the planned time, and I am convinced that I will be able to harvest these melons. I will send a box to the prime minister since we will begin harvesting in July, and the harvest will continue for three months."

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Retreat from Gaza?
Daniel Mandel
Associate Director of the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia

Since December 2003, Ariel Sharon has astonished friend and foe alike, embracing the very idea he opposed in the elections that confirmed him in power in January 2003.

The idea is "unilateral disengagement," whereby Israel, without a peace agreement, withdraws its military and civilians from the territories administered by Israel since the 1967 war -- in this case, the Gaza Strip. The Labor opposition's Amram Mitzna lost badly campaigning on this very platform, coming in for incisive criticism from not a few figures, not just among the governing Likud, but from a bevy of informed Israeli observers. To cite just two:

Historian Michael Oren: "The minute you pull out of Gaza you signal to the Arabs that you're in retreat. It's a huge victory for the Palestinians. Palestinians will have huge celebrations in Gaza. You think they'll sit down and talk after that?"

Respected centrist journalist, Yossi Klein Halevi: "If unilateral withdrawal could happen in a void, it would be the right decision But it is not happening in a void . . . The psychological implications are to reinforce the post-Lebanon withdrawal perception in the Arab world that we are a defeatist society and with enough pressure we'll simply withdraw."

Indeed, Ariel Sharon himself could not have been clearer at the time: "A unilateral withdrawal is not a recipe for peace. It is a recipe for war."

If these criticisms are correct, then unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza is a victory for terrorism; bloodshed is likely to flow from it, and Sharon of all people must know it.

What, then, is Sharon's rationale? According to his supporters, both right and left, the withdrawal represents Israel seizing the initiative, setting its own lines of defense, and preempting noxious diplomatic initiatives from Israel's ill-wishers. But all this looks doubtful. True, the Israel Defense Forces will be relieved of the onerous duty of defending isolated Jewish communities in a sea of enemies, but its absence from Gaza will also afford Palestinian terrorist groups a freer hand for mounting further attacks. And an initiative that stimulates the aggression of terrorists will not be altered by its originating in Jerusalem, as the terrorists themselves make clear.

Thus, Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, has opined, "all the Israeli statements about a withdrawal from Gaza Strip are due to the Palestinian resistance operations. We are completely confident that as the Hezbollah Organization managed to kick the Israeli forces out of Lebanon, the Palestinian resistance will kick them out of the Palestinian territories, and we will continue our resistance."

A top Hamas leader in Gaza, Mahmoud al-Zahar, concurs: "Very simply, nobody can deny that if Israel is going to leave the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank, that was because of the intifadah, because of the armed struggle, because of the big sacrifices of Hamas for this goal."

Add to this that the current cease-fire is giving terrorists a breather from ducking into bunkers and dodging Israeli drones, all the while recouping for another round.

All indications, then, are that the terrorists will be the leading beneficiaries of a unilateral Israeli withdrawal, appearing vindicated in asserting that terrorism first and foremost is the way. When the cease-fire collapses, as it must, foreign offices the world over will be clamoring for still more diplomatic motion and will take a dim view of resumed Israeli counter-terrorism measures. If setting the agenda, securing one's own, and preempting dangerous diplomacy is the idea behind the Gaza withdrawal, Israelis are likely to be disappointed.

Indeed, it could be said that Sharon is pursuing this doomed initiative as a result of diplomatic defeat. The "road map" peace plan was always going to serve as a guarantor of Palestinian malfeasance. Devised by the European Union, United Nations, the Russians, and the US State Department, the road map is to lead to a Palestinian state regardless of what Palestinians do.

Ingenious explanations can be offered for Israel's actions, but only one fits all the facts -- the Israelis are punting, grasping for a solution that is all the more enticing for looking like what in other circumstances might be sound policy. Instead, it has the savor of panic and defeat, made worse by delusive rationalization.

The Israelis are in the unpleasant position of making do with policies they opposed at the ballot box. But the United States is in no such position. Americans are fighting the same Islamist terrorist groups. The Bush administration, which looks like it's rewarding the unreconstructed Palestinian Authority with levels of aid not even contemplated by Bill Clinton in his more expansive moments, should think twice about supporting policies that weaken its best Middle Eastern ally while emboldening the terrorists it is also fighting. It is not too late for a dose of good sense.

Daniel Mandel is author of "H.V. Evatt and the Establishment of Israel: The Undercover Zionist."

This item is available on the Middle East Forum website, at

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Minister Sharansky's Letter of Resignation

[The significance of Sharansky's resignation revolves around his concern for human rights and civil liberties of the current process - issues which have not been seriously debated in Israel. DB]

May 2, 2005

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Office of the Prime Minister Jerusalem

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign as Minister of Diaspora Affairs and Jerusalem.

As you know, I have oppose the disengagement plan from the beginning on the grounds that I believe any concessions in the peace process must be linked to democratic reforms within Palestinian society. Not only does the disengagement plan ignore such reforms, it will in fact weaken the prospects for building a free Palestinian society and at the same time strengthen the forces of terror.

Will our departure from Gaza encourage building a society where freedom of speech is protected, where independent courts protect individual rights and were free market enable Palestinians to build an independent economic life beyond government control? Will our departure from Gaza end incitement in the Palestinian media or hate-filled indoctrination in Palestinian schools? Will our departure from Gaza result in the dismantling of terror groups or the dismantling of the refugee camps in which four generation of Palestinians have lived in miserable conditions?

Clearly, the answer to all these questions is no.

The guiding principle behind the disengagement plan is based on the illusion that by leaving Gaza we will leave the problems of Gaza behind us. As the familiar mantra goes "we will be here, and they will be there". Once again, we are repeating the mistakes of the past by not understanding that the key to building a stable and lasting peace with our Palestinian neighbors lies in encouraging and supporting their efforts to build a democratic society.

Obviously, these changes surely will take time, but Israel is not even linking its departure from Gaza upon the initiation of the first steps in this direction.

In my view, the disengagement plan is a tragic mistake that will exacerbate the conflict with the Palestinians, increase terrorism, and dim the prospects of forging a genuine peace. Yet what turns this tragic mistake into a missed opportunity of historic proportions is the fact that as a result of changes in the Palestinian leadership and the firm conviction of the leader of the free world that democracy is essential to stability and peace - a conviction that is guiding America's actions in other places around the world - an unprecedented window of opportunity has opened. Recent events across the globe, whether in former Soviet republics like Ukraine or Kyrgyzstan, or in Arab states like Lebanon and Egypt, prove again and again the ability of democratic forces to induce dramatic change. How absurd that Israel, the sole democracy in the Middle East, still refuses to believe in the power of freedom to transform the world.

Alongside my concerns, about the danger entailed in a unilateral disengagement from Gaza, I am even more concerned about how the government's approach to disengagement is dividing Israeli society. We are heading towards a terrible rift in the nation and to my great chagrin; I feel that the government is making no serious effort to prevent it.

As Minister I share collective responsibility for every government decision.

Now when the disengagement plan is in the beginning of its implementation stages and all government institutions are exclusively focused on this process, I no longer feel that I can faithfully serve in a government whose central policy - indeed, sole raison d'etre - has become one to which I am so adamantly opposed.

I would like to thank you for our productive cooperation over the last four years. In particular, you sensitivity toward issues of concern to the Jewish People and the strong backing you gave to my efforts to combat anti-Semitism and to strengthen Israel's connection with the Diaspora made possible for the State of Israel to forge the many successes which we achieved together in these areas.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for the central role you played in integrating Israel B'aliya into the Likud, a historic step of great national importance.

As in the past, I will continue my lifelong efforts to contribute to the unity and strength of the Jewish People both in Israel and in the Diaspora. I will also continue to advocate and promote the idea that freedom and democracy are essential to peace and security.


Natan Sharansky

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Israeli Position Renders Balfour Declaration Obsolete

Lawyers representing Israel in its bid to defend the vacuation/Compensation Law (the Disengagement Plan), negate the Balfour Declaration as a basis for Jews to settle in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.

The lawyers made their controversial legal point in a brief submitted to the High Court of Justice, which is hearing some 10 petitions submitted against the disengagement plan.

The Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917 by the British Government, which controlled the Holy Land - including Jordan - at the time. The document, which was later confirmed by the League of Nations, states, "His Majesty's Government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people . . . "

This declaration gave the Zionist movement a legal jump-start, and inspired the Jews to build their national homeland throughout the Land of Israel west of the Jordan River. Even after the UN Partition Plan gave away parts of the Land and assigned them to a new Arab state that never arose, Israel did not give up its claim on these areas. In fact, in the War of Independence, it conquered some of them and incorporated them in the emerging State. Areas included in this category include Be'er Sheva, the Beit Shemesh area, and much of the Galilee.

The State's legal team's brief of today states, "The petitioners' claim that the [Balfour Declaration] is valid for all of the Mandatory Land of Israel - even those areas that were not given to Israel or to Jordan or did not become an independent state - is not comprehensible."

By taking this position, the Government of Israel is essentially saying that Israel has no claim on anything other than the Partition Plan borders. So states Shimon HaLevi, a legal expert who is taking part in the legal battle against the disengagement plan. HaLevi says that the Government basically renders the Balfour Declaration obsolete and irrelevant, and has "thus adopted not only a leftist position, but the position of our worst enemies."

"In essence," HaLevi told Arutz-7 today, "this returns us to the 1947 Partition borders, which are three small areas in the north, west and south connected by a safe passage."

HaLevi said that legal experts around the world have determined that in light of the Balfour Declaration, the Jewish communities of Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) cannot be considered illegal. In a press conference on February 2, 1981, HaLevi said, then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan stated, "I disagreed when the previous administration referred to them [settlements] as illegal - they're not illegal."

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in the Context of the Current Policies of the Governernment of Israel

MK Prof. Arieh Eldad
Knesset Member, Israel National Union Party

Jean Jacques Rousseau, one of the leading philosophers of the 18th century, was among those who laid the foundations for modern democracy. In his book, "The Social Contract," he warned of the danger in a majority decision on behalf of particularistic interests opposed to the common good. He determined that the decision of the majority in such circumstances is liable to be wrong as well as unjust.

Rousseau referred here to a situation in which the majority decision was reached in a proper way - while realizing that a forceful leader would be capable of imposing his will on the majority, to the point where it will submit to that will. In these circumstances, too, the minority is entitled to oppose the decision. All the more so, then, when we are dealing with a corrupt ruler and with a decision that was adopted by open bribery: for example, through the wholesale appointment of Government Ministers and Deputy Ministers, and through a campaign of dismissals and threats directed at those who refuse to toe the line. In circumstances like these, and when the nation's ruler does a total turnabout, carries out a policy diametrically opposed to his pre-election commitments and then refuses to put his policy to the test of a public referendum - the minority remains with no choice except civil disobedience.

Remember Gandhi and King?

When, last week, I called for non-violent civil disobedience, my words were greeted with a hysterical chorus of reactions. Some - such as those that charged I was calling for armed rebellion, or was liable to lead to bloodshed - were simply demagoguery. Others testified to a lack of comprehension, or to an astonishing ignorance of the basic rules of democracy. In any event, I would like to clarify my words.

Non-violent civil disobedience means exactly what it says. This is precisely the kind of passive protest practiced by Mahatma Gandhi in India and Martin Luther King in the USA. They deliberately violated duly legislated laws of the land that were immoral or racist. And they earned undying respect for their civil disobedience.

The laws of "disengagement" are racist laws directed against 8,000 Jews. Moreover, they are flagrantly immoral, in that they violate the fundamental rights of those to be expelled from their homes. Hence there is a supreme moral imperative to break these laws in a non-violent fashion, and in readiness to pay a personal price - like going to jail, for example.

Non-violent civil disobedience can take many different forms: refusal to take part in the execution of the decrees and orders connected with the expulsion; blocking roads and highways; shutting down seaports and airports through massive sit-down strikes; organized time-offs from work by all opponents of the disengagement plan, in order to disrupt the operations of the government agencies dealing with its implementation; drawing police and military forces to places all over the country to deal with demonstrations and other protest actions, thus preventing them from taking part in the expulsion of the villagers in Gush Katif and Samaria - and this is just a partial list. To which I might add: If it's okay for our labor federation, the Histadrut, to "shut down the country" because of the dismissal of a few hundred workers, it surely is a moral obligation to do so because of the expulsion of thousands from their homes and the destruction of everything they had built up over the years and decades.

A Badge of Honor

How would the authorities respond to such violations of the law? Well, they can arrest the lawbreakers and imprison them, possibly for extended periods of time. It stands to reason that, if the number of people arrested and jailed comes to a few dozen, these people will suffer the stigma of a criminal record, and being deprived of their freedom will constitute a significant punishment. If, however, thousands - perhaps tens of thousands - will have to be detained, the sting will in effect be removed, and their incarceration for the sake of the Land of Israel and the People of Israel will actually be a badge of honor.

What will the State do with thousands of students imprisoned with their teachers, and continuing with an intensive program of studies? Will the State fully cover the cost of their education and of the accommodation and upkeep of these students? And what will the State do with the thousands of soldiers who are going to do what Ariel Sharon has counseled them to do, and will go and tell their commanding officers that they are incapable of driving their brothers and sisters from their homes? How many prison camps will the State be prepared to set up in order to impose the "tyranny of the majority" - which actually is nothing more than the tyranny of a handful of politicians who stole the votes of those who had elected them?

Non-violent civil disobedience is a moral and democratic tool of the highest order. Blind and indiscriminate obedience to every law, even when it has passed all the tests of legal legitimacy, has at times in the past thrown peoples and regimes into the darkest periods known in history. In the absence of a public referendum, the refusal to carry out racist and immoral laws, and the disruption of the implementation of these laws in non-violent ways, remains today our country's last refuge in saving itself - from itself.

(Translation from the Hebrew by Moshe Aumann)

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The Mixed Messages of the Palestinian Authority Media
Dr. Michael Widlanski

The official Palestinian Authority (PA) media sent a series of mixed messages to the Palestinian audience today regarding continuing violence against Israeli targets.

PA officials and the PA endorsed the "tahdiyya" - "cooling off period" or "lull"-while also extolling as a "heroic martyr" an escaped terrorist who opposed the "lull."

"A new day at the Voice of Palestine, respected listeners, and at the start of our news is the heroic martyrdom of citizen Shafiq 'Awni Abdul-Ghani, 37, commander of the Battalions of Jerusalem of the Islamic Jihad in the village of Saida near Tulkarm during an invasion of the Israeli occupation army." (V.O.P. radio 8 a.m.)

The clash in Tulkarm between Israeli forces and members of a unit of the Islamic Jihad was treated by Voice of Palestine radio (Ramallah) and PBC Television (Gaza) as an unjustified act of Israeli aggression and an invasion of Palestinian sovereignty in an area that had been returned to PA control.

The dead Jihadi terrorist was part of a Jihad unit responsible for the recent attack on a nightclub in Tel Aviv, according to Israeli army sources, and he was the local commander of Jihad, according the PA media.

The harsh anti-Israeli and pro-Jihad tone of the PA media was evident, even though, the PA had promised to disarm or to co-opt all militias, stopping their attacks on Israeli targets, and even though the dead terrorist had "escaped" from a PA jail.

The ambivalent attitude of the highest PA officials to the continuing activities of the Islamic organizations-HAMAS and Jihad-was apparent during a morning interview on PBC Television with Deputy PA Prime Minister Nabil Sha'ath:

PBC television intervew and lead-in, deputy Palestinian prime minister Nabil Sha'ath

"There is no such thing as a Palestinian-Palestinian conflict, but it is important to enforce the law against anyone who has violated the law and broken the cooling off period (tahdiyya)."

"It is not acceptable to play with the law and to threaten national unity and national security."

Asked about the sovereignty of law, Dr. Sha'ath supported it, but he added, "we distinguish between the rifle of the soldier and the rifle the killer, and we distinguish between the rifle of the resister and the rifle of the one who threatens people's rights. We want the cooling-off to succeed. We do not want to give Israel excuses, and as you know they love excuses. (PBC Television 7:15 a.m.)

HAMAS-PLO Relations

Regarding HAMAS, V.O.P. radio, which is controlled by PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas, continued to treat the Islamic organization with great respect but also to hint that a HAMAS election victory would hurt Palestinian interests:

"In another matter Israeli sources say that it is necessary to open negotiations with the Hamas should Hamas win the legislative elections.but sources close to Sharon say that no party in Israel will deal with HAMAS if it wins the elections.

In a related matter, secret talks are taking place between the leadership of HAMAS and European and American negotiators, with positive results, according to the sources. And according to sources involved in the talks there are contacts between HAMAS and the American administration and to hold a meeting between the leadership and the Americans in a European capital." [V.O.P. RADIO 7:58 a.m.]

Dr. Michael Widlanski is a specialist in Arab politics and communication whose doctorate dealt with the Palestinian broadcast media. He is a former reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively, at The New York Times, The Cox Newspapers-Atlanta Constitution and The Jerusalem Post.

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Statement from the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel Concerning the Allegation on Official Palestinian Authority Media that IDF Soldiers Have Been Murdering Women At Check Points With Radiation Equipment

Following the Revelations on the Israel Resource Review on April 30th, 2005 and May 1st, 2005 that the official Palestinian Authority media has been alleging that Israeli soldiers have been murdering women at checkpoints with the use of radiation equipment, the office of the Israeli Prime Minister commented that "The Government of Israel rejects such charges in no uncertain terms and sees this Palestinian statement as part of an orchestrated campaign of incitement against the state and people of Israel".

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