Israel Resource Review 25th November, 2006


The Death of Yaakov Yaakobov - Killed in Sderot by an Arab Missile - and rthe plea of his son, Chanan, age 11
David Bedein

An Israeli civilian, the second in a single week, was killed on Wednesday yesterday during an Arab missile attack on Sderot.

Yaakov Yaakobov, a 40-year-old resident of this southern Israeli border town who worked at a local meat packing plant, was killed when one of the six missiles that was fired at Sderot yesterday scored a direct hit on the factory.

"A few guys were sitting around during their break, and just as I arrived, the warning was sounded," said Sergei Efraimov, Yaakobov's good friend. "Everyone ran inside, and then we heard a loud explosion and everything became full of black smoke and fire, but Yaakov did not manage to run. We found him on the floor, full of blood. I hurt so much for him." Yaakobov, 40, worked at the factory in Sderot for four years. "He was happy here. A short while ago he bought a new car and was so proud of it," said one employee.

The workers at the Of Kor plant had a litany of complaints yesterday. "We did not hear the warning," said Larissa Elbaum, who was in the factory building. "The roofs of the factory are made of metal and do not protect us…"

Yaakov's eleven year old orphaned son, Chanan, was interviewed on the Channel One Israel Television news.

Chanan explained that every time that the siren went off in Sderot, he would call his father toward him, since the siren could not be heard in the factory. Chanan commented that his father had used the fifteen seconds from the time that the siren rang out after he got the call from Chanan to gather all the workers into the factory shelter. Indeed, the factory's internal television showed Yaakov waving his arms to alert the other workers to run into the shelter and how the missile, when it hit, exploded next to Yaakov, who did not make it into the shelter.

Chanan went on to say that his father noted that since the Israeli army had killed a prominent Hamas commander, he had asked the children not to go to school since Sderot could indeed expect to be hit hard by Hamas the next day.

Chanan sobbed that his father was right and that his children are alive and that his father is dead.

Staring at his father's freshly dug grave, Chanan said, matter of factly, that everyone cares and cries when the Arabs who fire at us are killed and no one cares about Jews being murdered.

When one lists the clichés, slogans and promises spouted by politicians in recent weeks about the Kassam rockets landing in Sderot, against the statements made by the children in this city, the politicians have no chance.

No child is supposed to grow up with scenes of wounded and dead and vast destruction of property because the leaders of his country do not know how to provide him with security.

Fifteen seconds is the average time the grade school children of Sderot have from the moment the warning system is sounded and the Kassam rockets land.

There are 4,000 pupils every morning in the city's schools, which include seven elementary schools, two high schools, and two junior high schools. Close to 2,000 pupils from Sderot have recently approached the psychological services for help. Four and a half psychologists serve the entire school system and school officials report that the service is on the verge of collapse. Two symptoms appear again and again among most of those asking for help: difficulty in concentrating and anxiety about the future.


The Hamas movement has issued a statement in which it has offered to end missile fire against the Israeli city

of Sderot if its residents agree to leave the city.

In the first offer to halt the daily Kassam-class, short-range missile strikes, the military wing

of Hamas has demanded the end of Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip and the evacuation of the southern city of Sderot.

Sderot has been the target of daily missile strikes by Hamas, which has incurred casualties.

Sderot has a particular interest to the Palestinian Arabs who are descended from the the Arab village of Najd. Why? Because Sderot lies on the precise spot where Najd stood until the 1948 war. Najd's former residents fled the town in the wake of the 1948 war and their descendents have been wallowing in the squalor of the

UNRWA refugee camp of Jabalya in northern Gaza, under the premise and promise of the

"right of return" to Najd, as promised in UN resolution #194. The new books of the Palestinian educational system

issued during the summer of 2000, focus the attention of all Palestinian children on their right to return to the

homes and villages that were abandoned inside Israel after the 1948 war. These school books, taught in the UNRWA camps,

provide precise maps for every Palestinian child to know where his grandparents fled from in 1948, in order to prepare

himself to take back those villages in the future.

Palestinian school books can be perused in translation at, while a state of the art computer program to help

Palestinian school children view the villages that they wish to "return to" can be seen at

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Alex Fishman, the top military intelligence analyst for Israel's leading newspaper,

Yediot Aharonot, has provided the public with documentation that Hamas's military industry in the Gaza Strip is

preparing to independently manufacture a rocket modeled after the Katyusha, with a diameter of 122 millimeters, and a range of up to 20 kilometers. From Beit Hanoun, such Katyusha rockets would be able to reach the outskirts of Kiryat Gat and would cover the entire area of Ashkelon.

The Israeli security establishment has accumulated information indicating that Hamas engineers are engaged in intensive learning for building a production line of rockets in the Gaza Strip. Among others, the Hamas engineers are making use of the Grad rockets smuggled into the Gaza Strip. These rockets were disassembled, and their mechanisms were studied and duplicated. In addition, knowledge has reached the Gaza Strip for manufacturing standard-issue rockets similar to the Katyusha. According to the plans, the new rockets would replace the Kassam rockets being manufactured today by Hamas.

According to the assessment from informed security sources, the Katyusha-like rockets are expected to appear on the scene in the Gaza Strip within a few months. This refers to a rocket with a range twice that of the Kassam rocket. The rocket's warhead could hold four to five kilograms of explosives, as opposed to one kilogram currently found in Kassam rocket warheads.

In the past, several Grad rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, but the fire was not effective, since the Palestinians did not know how to launch them.

Katyusha rocket production is part of Hamas's plan for gaining strength and building up its forces in the Gaza Strip. Security sources say that Hamas's success in the past two weeks in causing damage and taking a toll of victims by means of Kassam rocket fire attests to the constant improvement in this primitive rocket.

The average range of a Kassam rocket is 10-11 kilometers, in comparison with a range of 7-8 kilometers in the previous model. The accuracy of the improved rocket is greater, as a result of advanced launching techniques and use of standard-issue explosives. The warhead of the improved Kassam rocket is deadlier than the previous model. In the past three weeks, an average number of six to eight Kassam rockets per day have been fired at Israel. This is in contrast with two-three rockets a month ago.

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Why the cease-fire will allow the Palestinians to re-arm

Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: Mr. Ehud Olmert's decision to allow "Karine A Gaza" to grow - to be joined by "Karine A West Bank" - in return for a chance that the rockets won't be fired for a short period serves as proof that his planning horizon can be measured, at most, in days. Until now tons of explosives were flowing daily from Egypt to Gaza. But under a cease fire the Palestinians won't even have to waste time and resources concealing their operations.

Here's the calculation:

#1 Security officials unanimously warn that the Palestinians are acquiring and building weapons that will dramatically change their potential to attack Israel.

#2 These same officials warn that war is very possible in the North in '07.

#3 Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal made it clear that if a peace agreement to his satisfaction isn't reached in 6 months the Palestinians will also go to war against Israel.

On the other hand:

#1 Olmert is doing poorly in the polls now and the rocket attacks are contributing to this.

So Mr. Olmert opts for the obvious: a cease fire now can help him in the polls today.

If and when war breaks out in a few months and Tel Aviv, Raanana, Netanya, Ben Gurion Airport, Ashdod etc. are all hit by rockets the Palestinians assemble thanks to the cease-fire he will deal with that problem when it comes up.

After all. That's a problem that will come up in a few months. What really matters are the Dahaf and Teleseker polls that will be published in the Friday papers.] =======

Olmert to Abbas: We'll end raids if rocket fire stops By Avi Issacharoff and Mijal Grinberg, Haaretz Correspondents, and Agencies Last update - 23:39 25/11/2006

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Saturday told Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that the Israel Defense Forces would end military operations if Palestinian militants uphold a pledge made earlier in the day to halt Qassam rocket fire.

Olmert made the remarks to Abbas during a telephone call in which the PA chairman informed the prime minister of the offer to end rocket strikes in return for a cessation of military activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

On Saturday evening, the Palestinian factions announced that they had agreed that, as of Sunday morning, they would halt the rocket fire on Israel. In return, the representatives of the factions demanded that Israel end its operations in Gaza.

One of the spokesmen for the factions, Abu Abir of the Popular Resistance Committees, said that the Palestinians expect Israel to stop its operations in the West Bank as well. Nevertheless, when asked by Haaretz if the Qassam attacks would resume if Palestinians were arrested in the West Bank, Abu Abir said that Israel must first end the targeted killings and its invasion of Gaza.

"After that we can talk about what we would view as a violation of the cease-fire," he said.

The offer comes after a weekend of Qassam fire on southern Israel from the Gaza Strip and IDF operations in Gaza that killed at least five Palestinians.

On Saturday evening, a Hamas militant was killed and four other people were wounded in an Israel Air Force strike on a vehicle in Gaza City's Zeitun quarter.

The militant was identified as Mahmoud Housh. A second strike near Al-Zahar University caused no injuries.

Palestinian sources said that two militants were killed in separate incidents, including one who belonged to Islamic Jihad.

The military said it ordered an airstrike that hit a vehicle carrying Hamas militants involved in weapons production. It had no further details, and said it was checking into the report about a second blast.

A Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip Saturday scored a direct hit on a house in Sderot, penetrating the roof and causing damage inside. No injuries were reported.

IDF tank crews subsequently located and fired on the launch site from which the rocket was fired.

Later Saturday, a tunnel under the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt collapsed, trapping several people, but Palestinian security officials weren't immediately able to say whether it served to smuggle contraband or weapons to Palestinian militants.

In the afternoon, the IDF and Shin Bet security service discovered a weapons laboratory in the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian security official said one man was dug out from the rubble and an undetermined number of others were trapped in the debris.

The official, Col. Hussein Abu Omar, said the tunnel was dug from inside a Gaza house some 100 meters from the border with Egypt. It was not clear how far it extended into Egypt.

Abu Omar had no details about the owner of the house or further information about the tunnel.

Security forces dug out one person from the rubble, and bulldozers were removing debris so rescuers could look for others.

"What we know right now is that a tunnel collapsed and there are people inside," Abu Omar said. It was not clear how many people were inside, he said.

The man who was pulled out of the debris was taken to a hospital, then left without being questioned by police, hospital and security officials said.

Stuffed animals were found in the Nablus raid containing explosive charges, as well as belts intended for use as explosive devices and batteries.

The laboratory was detonated in a controlled explosion by a sapper crew.

Meanwhile, IDF troops and Shin Bet officers arrested Khaled Salim - a senior member of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades military wing, who had been on the wanted list for four years - in Ramllah's Qalandiyah refugee camp.

Security forces surrounded the house in which Salim was located and called on him to turn himself in.

Salim attempted to flee and was fired on by troops. He was then administered medical treatment.

The army says Salim, 27, of the village of Jius near Qalqilyah, was involved in in planning an ambush somewhere in the northern West Bank.

In 2004, he recruited a cell of the Fatah-affiliated Tanzim militant group, promising to provide them with arms in exchange for the kidnapping of an Israeli taxi driver. Members of the cell were arrested on their way into Israel.

Palestinian hospital doctors on Saturday said two Palestinians were killed Saturday by IDF fire in two separate incidents in Gaza.

In the morning, IDF tanks fired from mounted machine guns toward a group of men near a housing project outside of the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahia, critically wounding three people, doctors said.

One of the men later died of his wounds and was identified as an Islamic Jihad militant.

Later Saturday, a Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in Sderot, penetrating the roof of a building and causing damage inside. No injuries were reported.

In the same area as the earlier incidents, Hamas-run Al Aqsa TV reported that tank fire hit between its office and an adjacent kindergarten, sending employees and children running for cover.

Sami Ayoub, an employee at the kindergarten, said no one was hurt and the 45 children were taken to safety. Gunfire could be heard on the Al Aqsa broadcast.

IDF soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man near the Karni border crossing between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday, Palestinian medical officials said.

It was not immediately clear whether the man was armed.

An army spokeswoman said soldiers fired at three people as they approached the border area and identified hitting one.

Two IDF soldiers wounded in Gaza, three Palestinians killed on Friday Three Palestinians were killed and two IDF soldiers were lightly wounded in two separate incidents in the Gaza Strip on Friday.

Palestinian sources said a Hamas camerman who filmed attacks against Israel for the Islamic militant organiztaion was killed by IDF gunfire in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya, Israel Radio reported.

The soldiers were lightly wounded when their armored vehicle drove over an explosive device in the Strip. They were evacauted to a hospital by helicopter.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired five Qassam rockets at the western Negev on Friday. Two rockets landed in the Negev on Thursday night, damaging a building. There were no injuries in any of the incidents.

Two Palestinians were killed - one of them a ten-year-old boy - while trying to fire Qassams at Israel.

In the wake of ongoing rocket fire on Sderot, IDF troops will be escorting children to school in the Negev town on Friday, Israel Radio reported.

In the West Bank cities of Nablus and Tul Karm, militants threw several explosive devices at IDF troops, causing no injuries.

Security forces arrested seven wanted Palestinians in the West Bank overnight Friday.

On Thursday, a 57-year-old woman became the first grandmother suicide bomber, blowing herself up near IDF troops operating in northern Gaza, lightly wounding three soldiers. Also in northern Gaza on Thursday, an Israel Air Force strike killed the commander of the Popular Resistance Committees, along with his deputy.

Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Fatah said Thursday night that they are willing to stop launching Qassam rockets at Israel if the IDF ceases its operations in the Gaza Strip. Government spokeswoman Miri Eisin responded to the proposal by saying Israel would only stop its actions after militants laid down their weapons.

PM Olmert Speaks With PA Chairman Abbas (Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke a short while ago last night (Saturday), 25.11.06, with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who telephoned in order to inform him that he had reached agreements with all Palestinian factions to halt all violent actions from the Gaza Strip including rocket fire, the digging of tunnels and the dispatch of suicide terrorists. The comprehensive ceasefire will enter into force at 06:00 today (Sunday), 26.11.06. PA Chairman Abbas told Prime Minister Olmert that all Palestinian organizations have committed to the foregoing and said that he expects that Israel will halt its military activity in the Gaza Strip in response and will withdraw its forces from the Strip. Prime Minister Olmert consulted with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and other ministers, and with senior security establishment commanders, and informed PA Chairman Abbas that since Israel has been active in the Gaza Strip in response to terrorist actions, in light of the ceasefire, Israel would halt its military actions and withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip in the hope that the cessation of violent activity will last and serve both sides. The two men agreed to continue to discuss the expansion of the cessation of violent activity to Judea and Samaria in the future. They also agreed to speak again soon in order to continue these measures.

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