Israel Resource Review 16th May, 2003


Israel Security Establishment:
Skeptical About Abu Mazen

Svecurity Establishment: "Sharon, Abu Mazen Meet, Arafat Sponsors Terror"

Ma'ariv (p. 2) by Ben Caspit et al. -- On Sunday Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is to depart for the United States, where he will meet with President Bush and leading officials in the US administration. Prior to that, on Saturday night, Sharon will meet with Abu Mazen for a "meeting of mutual demands."

Sharon is expected to say to Bush that Israel is prepared to begin implementing the first stage of the road map. By taking this course of action, he will attempt to dissolve the criticism of the fact that Israel is the only that has not yet adopted the Bush plan.

Sharon's strategy in Washington will conform to Colin Powell's strategy during his visit in Jerusalem: "Let's begin to move forward, then we'll see." Officials in Jerusalem were encouraged yesterday by the results of the preparatory visit that was made by Prime Minister's Bureau Chief Dov Weissglass to Washington on Wednesday. However, it is clear that the American president is going to demand explanations from Sharon about the continued Israeli settlement activity and the failure to dismantle the illegal settlement outposts in the territories. Sharon also is going to have to explain the multiple contradictions between his recent statements on the issue of settlement evacuation. Sharon intends to show Bush evidence that the Palestinian reforms have not been implemented in full and that Yasser Arafat still controls a substantial part of the Palestinian security and intelligence organizations and a substantial portion of the money. Until Arafat disappears and stops being an influencing factor, no progress will be possible, Sharon will tell Bush.

On Saturday night Sharon is scheduled to meet in the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem with the new Palestinian prime minister, Abu Mazen. Attending on the Palestinian side will be the new security minister, Mohammed Dahlan and the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Abu Ala. Sharon, as far as can be ascertained, does not intend to ask any ministers to join the meeting (even though Mofaz might still be asked). Rather, Sharon wants only his closest aides in attendance, first and foremost Dov Weissglass.

Abu Mazen is expected to demand that Sharon accept the road map unconditionally, halt the military operation in Beit Hanoun and stop the targeted killing operations. Sharon intends to tell Abu Mazen: The time has come for deeds, not more talk and promises. Israel will not be able to proceed with the process until you honor your commitment to engage in a real war on terror, with all of the repercussions inherent in that.

Meanwhile, a high-ranking IDF officer said yesterday that "Arafat has been giving explicit instructions to execute terror attacks and to escalate the situation on the ground." He made that statement in response to the heightened Kassam rocket and mortar fire in the Gaza Strip ever since Abu Mazen was appointed.

"The man in the mukataa is interested in interfering with the process," explained the high-ranking officer. "He still controls the sources of power and has been giving explicit instructions to escalate the situation on the ground. The chairman has active channels of control over the General Intelligence service and the National Security service, and he has issued instructions via Fatah bodies, such as the resistance committees and the El-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, which cooperate with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Arafat gave instructions and funding to his people and they have been passing on the message to escalate." IDF officials are convinced that this is why the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad have refused to accept Abu Mazen's seniority.

According to data that was presented yesterday by OC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Doron Almog, there has been a sharp increase in the number of Palestinian attempts to attack Israeli civilians and soldiers in the Gaza Strip since April 29, the day Abu Mazen was appointed prime minister. Almog said that in the past two and a half weeks the Palestinians have fired 50 mortar shells, 12 Kassam rockets and three rocket propelled grenades. In this same period the Palestinians also detonated a car bomb, threw 25 hand grenades at IDF troops and were involved in 50 "shooting incidents."

Beit Hanoun Operation

IDF: Arafat Responsible for Kassam Rockets

Yedioth Ahronoth (p. 4) by Itzik Saban et al. -- "IDF forces will remain in Beit Hanoun for at least a few days in order to stop the launch of Kassam rockets at Sderot," OC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Doron Almog said yesterday.

At the same time, senior officers predicted that the IDF operation in the Gaza Strip, during which five Palestinians have been killed so far-would not completely stop the missile fire. Indeed, yesterday evening another missile was launched at Sderot. The missile fell on open ground and caused no damage.

Sixteen projectiles have been fired in Gaza since the beginning of the month, wounding 14 civilians and soldiers. More than 20 Kassam rockets have been fired at Sderot-some six kilometers away from Beit Hanoun-since the beginning of the month, wounding around ten other civilians.

At midnight yesterday Givati Brigade Patrol Battalion troops, along with armored and engineering forces, took over several sites on the outskirts of Beit Hanoun, sites from which missiles were launched. The soldiers demolished the homes of four terrorists and uprooted orchards. The troops were attacked with anti-tank missiles, grenades, and bombs during the operation. Searches revealed three Kassam launchers ready for use and one anti-tank missile. The Palestinians reported five dead (including two youths) and more than 30 wounded.

A senior IDF officer accused Arafat of giving explicit instructions to Hamas to continue firing missiles at Israel in order to "disrupt" the attempt to bring about calm in wake of Abu Mazen's appointment: "As a result of Arafat's instructions, Abu Mazen's government is not getting stronger. Mohammed Dahlan, who is in charge of the Palestinian security services, is not doing anything to stop terrorism."

Arafat adviser Nabil Abu Rudeineh condemned the IDF operation, saying that it was an escalation designed to destroy the road map and to prove that Israel has no intention of achieving calm.

These articles ran on Friday, May 16th

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Why does US Sec'y of State Powell Describe the PA Islamic State Constitution as a "Positive" Development?
David Bedein

Following the meeting that took place between US Sec'y of State Colin Powell and PLO leader Abu Mazen, senior AP diplomatic correspondent Barry Schweid reported that US Sec'y of State Colin Powell remarked that the PA constitution was a "positive" development. (See his AP May 12th dispatch from Jericho)

Following his praise of the PA State Constitution, Powell announced the US was allocating an additional $50 million in aid to Palestinian agencies to support Palestinian "civil reform", including the Palestinian Legislative Council , which is supposed to implement the PA State Constitution. According to a US state department official, this allocation is in accordance with a US policy which funds "non-governmental organizations in the West Bank and Gaza for specifically identified projects and initiatives . . . "

The question remains: Did the US sec'y of State examine the PA State Constitution which he says is a "positive" development? If he did peruse it and praise it, that is worrisome. If he did not peruse it and praised it, this is even more worrisome.

Our agency received the PA State Constitution from the Vatican, following a briefing that Church officials in Jerusalem provided for a visiting US Congressional delegation. Church officials did peruse the constitution, and were quite upset at what they discovered . . .

The PA State Constitution places Church schools and all religious institutions under the authority of absolute Islamic regime, with no religious freedom, no civil liberties, no human rights and mandates the "right of return" for all Palestinian Arabs to go back to Arab villages that were abandoned in 1948 and which have been replaced by Israeli cities, collective farms and woodlands. (None of these lands lie in the west bank or Gaza.)

The author of the constitution, Palestinian cabinet official Nabil Sha'ath confirmed that this was indeed the final draft of the constitution.

The "right of return" which is mandated by the PA State Constitution has become the zeitgeist of the Palestinian Authority since the inception of the PA ten years ago.

Needless to say, the "right of return" clause negates the two state solution proposed by President Bush as a formula for peace in the middle east

Our translations of the Arabic language PA constitution, which was ratified by the PLC, can be perused at, in Hebrew, English and Russian.

We discussed the seriousness of the PA state constitution with the US Consular press attache in Jerusalem and also with the press office in the State Department and press office in the White House

Yet we have not received any reaction or response from either the White House press office nor from the US State Department press office to the PA PA state constitution.

The question remains: Did Powell examine that constitution ?

Either way, Powell's characterization of the PA state constitution as a "positive" development is most worrisome. And his allocation of funds to implement that constitution is even more worrisome.

Where is the US government concern for democracy, human rights, and coexistence in the middle east?

Does Foggy Bottom wish to impose Teheran in Ramallah??

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Islamic Movement Targeted

Ma'ariv (p. 2) by Ami Ben-David, Ben Caspit and Amir Gilat -- Israeli officials have become concerned lately about the escalation in the activity of the Islamic Movement's northern chapter and its increasingly close ties with terror organizations.

A number of discussions on the subject have been held in recently weeks by the prime minister and the internal security minister in which officials raised the problem of terror organizations infiltrating certain sectors of the Israeli Arab community. Mostly at issue are members of the Islamic Movement's northern chapter, which is headed by Sheikh Raed Salah.

"The northern chapter of the Islamic Movement is very dangerous to the security and future of the State of Israel. If they persevere with their current course of incitement there will be no choice but to outlaw them and to deal with them the way any organization that rejects the very existence of the State of Israel is dealt with," said MK Ehud Yatom (Likud), the deputy chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Former internal security minister, Uzi Landau, currently a minister without portfolio, said: "Outlawing the Islamic Movement is an inseparable part of the war on terror." Landau said yesterday that the decision about the necessary action against the Islamic Movement was reached in the course of his term as internal security minister. Landau: "No government in the past wanted to touch the issue, but today the atmosphere has changed both in the world and here. The State of Israel cannot tolerate anyone who, under protection of the law, undermines the foundations of law. We need to praise the security services that have been dealing with this issue, which, for some time now, hasn't been one of errant weeds but entire plots of grass."

The Islamic Movement has been in the sights of the GSS and the Israel Police for a number of years, but generally it manages to tread the tightrope between the legal and illegal. The Islamic Movement made its first political gains in the 1989 municipal elections, when its representatives were elected mayors of a number of Arab communities, including Umm el-Fahm, which to this day is considered to be a bastion of the movement.

The leaders of the Islamic Movement do not conceal their aspiration to establish a strict Islamic state on all of Israel, but they argue that they know that this is merely an ideal and that they are loyal citizens of the State of Israel. That fact has not stopped a few members of the Islamic Movement from taking part in terror attacks and from getting blood on their hands as a result.

The Islamic Movement leaders organize a mass rally every year under the slogan, "el-Aksa is in danger," in the course of which severe accusations are made against the state.

Some of the movement's leaders refused on ideological grounds to run in the 1996 Knesset elections, arguing that they should not be party to the symbols of the Zionist state. As a result, the Islamic Movement split into two chapters: the southern chapter, which is more moderate and which was headed by the movement's founder, Sheikh Abdullah Nimr Darwish (who was replaced a few years ago by Sheikh Ibrahim Sarsur), and the northern chapter, which is more radical, that is headed by Sheikh Raed Salah.

The northern chapter of the Islamic Movement has drawn the attention of the security forces repeatedly in the past number of years. Security officials alleged that northern chapter activists published inflammatory material and incitement in the Islamic Movement's mouthpiece and helped terror activists from the territories by supporting their families under the cover of humanitarian assistance.

The leader of the northern chapter, Sheikh Raed Salah, who until recently served as mayor of Umm el-Fahm, is still in the sights of the GSS. Last year a court order was issued barring Salah from leaving Israel because of suspicion that he was about to meet in Qatar with Sheikh Yousef Kardawi, the spiritual father of the Islamic terror organizations. He was also barred from leaving Israel to take part in the Omara ceremony in Mecca after the GSS submitted a detailed report to the internal security minister that warned: "His departure from Israel will be exploited for meetings with hostile elements." In response to a petition Salah filed to the High Court of Justice, a panel of judges determined, after having looked at the material, that Salah's departure was liable to jeopardize national security "with near certainty." Salah was summoned four months ago to be questioned on suspicion of incitement.

In the past the Islamic Movement's non-profit organization for prisoners' welfare and for orphans' welfare were shut at the order of an IDF general after they were suspected of serving as conduits to transfer funds to the families of terror activists.

In all of the above cases, say Islamic Movement leaders, no one ultimately was indicted and the charges were part of the political persecution of the movement.

The Foothold of Evil

Ma'ariv (p. 3) by Amit Cohen (news analysis) -- That which began as the occasional fingerprints of radical Israeli Arab Islamic charities has quickly and disturbingly developed and evolved into a bold foothold of all the strains of evil in the community beating in the heart of Israel. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah, Iran and even al-Qaida-all try to influence the Islamic Movement and aspire to exploit it as a fifth column, as an infrastructure that can provide intelligence and, in quite a number of cases in the past, to have it take part in terror attacks.

The Islamic Movement's northern chapter is one of the most sensitive organizations about which the GSS and the Israel Police try to gain intelligence. A delicate balance is maintained in the way in which this northern chapter is dealt with: on the one hand, security officials try to thwart the seditious activity carried out by some members of the Islamic Movement; on the other, officials try to refrain from taking action that will inflame the passions of Israeli Arabs.

The most disturbing point is the cooperation between the Islamic Movement and Hamas. Most of that activity is focused, apparently, in collecting contributions for Hamas's charities and parochial schools, which ultimately are used to fund terror as well. Early in 2003 officials discovered that funds were being transferred from charities overseas directly into the Palestinian territories, transfers that were facilitated by the Islamic Movement's northern chapter.

But in addition to logistical-financial aid, say security establishment officials, Islamic Movement activists are also actively involved in terrorist activity. Six months ago a terror cell comprised of three Israeli Arabs from Ramle, all members of the Islamic Movement, was caught. The three had been recruited by Hamas's military wing and had even met with Mohammed Deif in Gaza. The three had planned to build a bomb lab for terrorist purposes and to kidnap and murder Israeli soldiers.

Officials are also afraid that the radicalization of Israeli Arabs will help hostile foreign elements, such as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Hizbullah or al-Qaida, to infiltrate. A year ago Prime Minister Sharon said that the Iranians were active within the Israeli Arab community by means of the Islamic Movement.

Legal measures against the Islamic Movement were accelerated after the annual rally in Umm el-Fahm last September that was organized by the northern chapter's leader, Sheikh Raed Salah. Thousands thronged to the rally, which was titled, "el-Aksa is in danger" and listened to speeches that incited [against Israel] and donated money to the Palestinians. In the wake of the rally, Salah was investigated on suspicion of incitement and breaching national security. In tandem, discussions about outlawing the Islamic Movement were held.

Last December then interior minister, Eli Yishai, decided to shut Saut al-Hak Waal-Huriya, the Islamic Movement's mouthpiece, arguing that it provided a platform to Hamas's position in support of suicide bombing attacks. The relationship between the Islamic Movement and Hamas is reciprocal. One can find articles by Sheikh Raed Salah on Hamas's internet site alongside of articles by Abdel Aziz Rantisi, one of the leading Hamas officials in Gaza, or Ibrahim Makadme, one of the commanders of Hamas's military wing and one of the movement's leading ideologues, who was killed by Israel.

These pieces can on May 13th

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