|Israel Resource Review
||24th May, 2002
The PA Condemnation Scam
Correspondent, The Media Line
Israeli television and radio reported Thursday morning that the Palestinian
Authority had strongly condemned the terror attack on sidewalk mall in the
Israeli city of Rishon Le-Tziyyon, killing two and wounding more than 40.
But in fact, the Palestinian Authority once again used a familiar
combination of tactics to give the impression to the Western world that it
had condemned the attack, while signaling a more mild form of disapproval to
"The Leadership considers such actions harmful to the Palestinians and their
cause, especially at a time when the Israelis are escalating their attacks
and aggression, re-occupying our populated places and imposing curfews,
isolating our cities, towns, villages and refugee camps, justifying their
crimes with the alleged reason of fighting the terror that targets the
That was the only part of the of the Palestinian "condemnation" of the
Rishon terror attack that Voice of Palestine radio anchorman Khaled
Al-Qassem read to his Palestinian radio audience.
"Six new martyrs in assassination by occupation forces," declared anchorman
Al-Qassem, describing all the Israeli actions as "jara'im"-crimes, in
The attack in Rishon was not called a "crime" or "terror," but only
"harmful" during the radio report.
It was also not accidental that the news of the Rishon bombing, with the
accompanying tepid rebuke about "harmful actions," was offered as the
seventh item in the morning news line-up.
The morning news was full of harsh Palestinian leadership condemnations, but
they all concerned Israeli attacks on Palestinian terrorists and bomb
factories in Nablus, which were described as "cowardly assassinations."
"Israeli tanks assassinated three of the cadres of the Brigades of the
martyrs of Al-Aqsa," declared number-two announcer Muhammad Sanouri.
The Voice of Palestine coverage, which is determined by Yasser Arafat and
his appointees, has previously used the tactic of reading only part of a
"condemnation statement," using only the most moderate language for internal
The harsher text-in English, Arabic and Hebrew-sent abroad on the internet
by the Palestinian news agency WAFA, is meant for Western and Israeli
"The Palestinian Leadership furiously condemned the operation in Rishon
Letsiyon," read the headline of the official statement as it appeared on the
The lead paragraph, which was also not read on radio, said, "The Palestinian
Leadership strongly condemns the operation in the Israeli City of Rishon
Letsiyon targeting Israeli civilians."
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The Right of Return:
Through Conjugal Negotiatons
Correspondent, Yediot Ahronot
Ibrahim Idris was born in 1967, the year the
city of his birth, Nablus, was conquered. In 1994, when the
Palestinian Authority returned to the territories, Idris made a
significant change in his life: in March of that year, he
received the status of permanent resident in Israel and was
given an Israeli ID card.
Thanks to his marriage to an Israeli Arab woman, a resident of Umm el-Fahm,
Idris enjoyed a bureaucratic-humanitarian process known as "family
unification." In his case, like in thousands of other cases, the wife did
not follow her husband to his home in territories, as customary in Moslem
tradition, but rather the husband followed his wife to her home in Israel.
In the first year of the current Intifada, which the Palestinians call a
"war of independence," Idris closed a circle. For him, this was an entirely
natural closing. His blue ID card had never made him part of Israeli
society. Israel had given him economic security, but his eyes, his heart
and his ties remained in Nablus.
Ibrahim's brother, Isama Idris, a senior activist in the Hamas military
wing, who was eventually killed by the IDF in Nablus, recruited him to a
cell that he set up. Ibrahim Idris's blue ID card ensured him freedom of
movement inside Israel and between Israel and the West Bank. His long
residence inside Israel made it easy for him to recruit, so it is
suspected, other activists from among Israeli Arabs to the same cell. The
plan was for Idris to place bombs in various places. When questioned by
the GSS, he admitted to these activities.
Idris is not alone. This phenomenon of bearers of blue ID cards, who
have merged into Israeli Arab society thanks to family unification and who
opted to deal in terror, is well known to the GSS and to the Israel police.
Already back in ' 98, the GSS arrested Ibrahim Ugabi, an Israeli citizen
and a resident of Lod thanks to family unification, who admitted to
recruiting Israeli Arabs into the Hamas military wing. Ugabi was handled
by the leader of the Hamas military wing in Gaza, Mohammed Deif, and was to
have led a group of suicide bombers from the Gaza Strip into Israel, give
them shelter and lead them to the sites of attacks.
For long years Israeli security officials have cried out against this,
and warned of a process of Palestinian-ization in Arab villages and of
nationalist radicalization among the Negev Bedouin sector as a result of
family unification -- but the political echelons, the establishment, opted
to ignore this, was scared to deal with it.
The public became aware of this issue only after the terror attack at
the Matza restaurant in Haifa. The mother of the suicide bomber, Shadi
Tubasi, is an Israeli citizen from the village of Mukabla. In 1973 she
married a Jenin resident and moved to live in Jenin, but did not give up
her Israeli ID card. In 1994, she returned to Mukabla and registered her
son Shadi, born in Jenin, as an Israeli citizen. Shadi had absolutely no
connection to Israel, except for the technical fact that he was eligible to
receive an Israeli ID cards thanks to his mother. Jenin continued to be
the Tubasi family's life center and that is also where the terror attack in
the Matza restaurant was planned.
The Fighting Family
The family unification process, which was the result of natural
humanitarian needs, has become forfeit. The supervision over the process
is inefficient and can be described as being purely a formality. The "gate
keepers" of Israel have neglected their job throughout the years. The
numbers the Interior Ministry provides are official numbers that do not
reflect the real thing. The number of illegal residents who have come to
Israel thanks to family unification is unknown to the Interior Ministry.
From 1967 until 1993, there was no precise registration of requests and
of implementation of family unification. A cautious estimate by security
officials is that since 1967 to this today, about a quarter of a million
people have entered Israel thanks to Palestinian family unification.
Since 1993 and until a month ago, around 22,000 requests for family
unification were submitted, of which around 16,000 were given a positive
reply (the others are not deported, but rather continue to live here). The
number of people who came here from the territories since 1993, officially
and legally, is around 97,000 people. How many illegal relatives came
along with them, live here, and are waiting for permits and certificates in
the future? We can only guess.
There is nobody practicing any enforcement in this matter. Not only
that, the study of the requests for family unification is one big farce.
Ostensibly, the moment an Israeli citizen invites their Palestinian spouse
to live with them, a complicated bureaucratic practice is meant to begin,
but in practice, no thorough checks are made and only the clerks and
bureaucratic red tape made the process lengthy.
The Palestinian comes here with a permit to visit. Then begins the
handling of a temporary or permanent permit. At this stage, the Interior
Ministry begins to check out the permits: is he really getting married,
with who and where. The Palestinians have learned that they don't have to
tell the truth because rarely does anybody check these forms. Who will
bother checking, for example, if he is not already married, how many wives
and how many children he has. Those whose requests are not answered, can,
after a few months, submit their request again. There are also some
petitions to the High Court of Justice.
At the same time, the request is passed on to be checked by the police:
does the person have a criminal record or any reservation expressed about
him by police intelligence. The GSS also checks if it has security
information about the person. Since 1996 the GSS has checked 11,000
requests, out of which it rejected only some 5%. If the person's name does
not appear in GSS computers, if he has not been questioned in the past for
security reasons, there is no chance that an in-depth investigation will be
carried out to discover who the new citizen is whom we are about to absorb.
The GSS does not have the manpower for these checks and they are not
high on its list of priorities. This kind of treatment has results on the
ground: of the dozens of Arab Israelis who were arrested in the past year
and who admitted to terrorist activity, one of five received his Israeli
citizenship thanks to family unification.
The police also only check in the files that they have at present, and
the police do not know all of the thieves and certainly not all those
involved in terrorism. Officially, the police are supposed to deal with
illegals. Every day the Border Police rounds up from 300 to 500 illegals
in the Galilee and the north, takes them in trucks to an area between
Megiddo and Jenin, and from there sends them back to the territories. An
hour later, in theory and in practice, they are all back here.
"Every security organization in Israel depends on the check being
carried out by the other organizations, and so there is not even one
serious check," says one security source.
Indeed, no one bothers to take fingerprints, photograph them, not to
mention put them on trial; they prefer not to deal with them. The result
is that when an illegal requests family unification, nobody has any record
of him. He can live in Israel as an illegal resident for years, be
involved in crime, and the police will have no clue. He will not appear in
any archive, not even in the medical records of an HMO. In effect, the
illegal resident is a person who does not exist. They exist only in one
place, the category of police statistics for unsolved crimes. A large
percentage of crimes in Israel were committed by "ghosts." And so, when a
Palestinian requests family unification, he needs to be a really big thief
for the police to know of him and the Interior Ministry would turn him down.
After receiving the approval of the Interior Ministry, the Palestinian
lives here as a temporary resident. Afterwards he renews his request to
become a permanent resident. Once again, the triple check is carried out
-- Interior Ministry, police, and GSS -- and five years after the beginning
of the process, he becomes a full citizen. [ . . . ]
Police estimate that there are between 50-80,000 Palestinians and Arabs
in Israel illegally, including more than 15,000 citizens of neighboring
Arab countries, like Jordan and Egypt, who have settled here. [ . . . ]
During 1999 police caught some 122,000 illegals. How many were tried?
Only 350 of them. In 2000, 90,000 illegals were caught, and only 291 were
put on trial. The ratio between the number of arrests and the number of
people tried has not changed despite the dramatic shift in the security
situation. [ . . . ]
Last week the government decided to freeze treatment of family
unification requests until the Knesset ratifies the bill relating to
illegals and the family unification policy. The bill involves stricter
inspection, yearly quotas, turning down those who had already stayed in
Israel illegally etc. But it is clear to all: this will not be enough. If
the number of illegals is not cut by tens of percentage points within a
reasonable period of time, as a national project on the part of the
security forces, then every shekel spent invested in the establishment of a
separation fence will be wasted.
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