Israel Resource Review 27th November, 2006


Palestinian-Israeli "Ceasefire" Already A Dud
dr. Michael Widlanski

Israel and the Palestinian Authority began a "ceasefire" Sunday morning that was highly unusual in several ways:

• The Hamas terror organization promised immediately that it would use the respite to continue weapons smuggling and rocket manufacture in Gaza;

• The Israeli army command, which was kept in the dark about the negotiations, is angry at the agreement which it feels will fail—an agreement handled personally by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas;

• Minutes after the "ceasefire" went into effect Sunday morning, ten Qassam rockets hit towns in Israel

"We will show restraint," declared Prime Minister Olmert in an appearance before Mif'al Ha-Payis, the government-run gambling concession, apparently unaware of the irony.

"This is going to turn into another Lebanon," several Israeli officers told Israeli Channel Two, and other media outlets here reported widespread consternation at Prime Minister Olmert's decision.

"Didn't we learn anything from six years of leaving Hizballah alone in Lebanon?" asked another staff command officer quoted by Channel 10 television.

As if to buttress the fears of the Israeli Army (IDF), a spokesman for Hamas racketeers declared that the ceasefire was to Hamas's advantage.

"We expect a total stop to Israeli aggression against Palestinian citizens," declared Hamas spokesman Mushir Al-Masri, in an Arabic language interview with this reporter and IMRA news service.

The Hamas spokesman reiterated several times that the ceasefire did not include the cessation of Qassam rocket construction and the massive smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza.

More than 1,000 rockets—with a range of six to 13 kilometers—have struck Israeli towns and kibbutz farms in the last year, murdering several Israelis in the last month and wounding scores of others.

Israel's counter-terror authorities say that more than 33 tons of explosives have been smuggled into Gaza from Egyptian-controlled Sinai in the last year since Israel evacuated Gaza, evicting almost 9,000 of its own citizens from advanced agricultural settlements there.

The perceived failure of the Gaza withdrawal to produce peace, as well as the perceived strategic failure in recent combat in Lebanon, has left the Olmert Government looking desperately for ways to combat its own popularity.

For the last two months most of the public polls show less than 20-percent approval for Olmert and his defense minister Amir Peretz, while huge majorities favor the resignation of both men, along with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz.

Olmert, Peretz and Halutz have each tried to delay investigations of the Lebanon fighting, hoping that public disapproval will fade.

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PA press release: Insist on Right of Retrurn and Jerusalerm
(WAFA - PLO news agency)

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: This illustrates the "genius" of the Road Map. the Palestinians could have a sovereign state covering every last square centimeter Israel is willing to give up and still not agree to giving up on the right of return of refugees to inside Israel. Israel then would face world pressure to "make sacrifices for peace" when it has no chips left on the table.]

Spokesperson of Presidency: We Need Serious Negotiations and Actions not only Words

GAZA, November 27, 2006 - Spokesperson of the Presidency, Nabil abu Rdaina, said Monday that any political negotiation with Israel must depend on international legitimacy.

Commenting of Israeli Primer Ehud Olmert's remarks, abu Rdaina said that "what we need is a serious negotiations and actions not only words", referring that the we want negotiations based on international legitimacy through implementing Road Map peace plan and Arab peace initiative.

He affirmed that the only way to peace and stability is through establishing a Palestinian independent state with Jerusalem as its capital, implementing the Arab peace initiative and reaching a just solution to the refugees issue based on resolution No.194.

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Background: In absence of continuous rocket fire . . .
Dr. Aaron Lerner Date

In the absence of continuous rocket fire, it should be fairly easy for Prime Minister Olmert's team to adopt the "three monkey mode" (hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil) towards large scale Palestinian arms build ups exploiting the ceasefire.

If there is only sporadic rocket fire, Mr. Olmert can be expected to agree to extend the ceasefire to the West Bank (thus enabling the Palestinians to accelerate their rocket program there as well) with an eye towards negotiating more Israeli withdrawals without requiring the Palestinians to ever actually collect weapons.

If the current verbal understanding (it is based in part on what Mr. Olmert claims he heard on the telephone from PA head Mahmoud Abbas) required the collection of weapons there might have been something a third party could readily point to as an indication that the agreement was not being honored: the failure of the PA to show piles of confiscated weapons. But without a requirement to confiscate weapons, it will be next to impossible to demonstrate that the understanding has been violated:

If a reporter manages to photograph a warehouse stocked with rockets, apologists can claim that they were produced before the ceasefire was declared. If he photographs rockets being assembled, they can argue that the components were produced before the ceasefire.

If smugglers are trapped in a collapsed tunnel, they can argue that they were "importing" highly taxed products rather than weapons.

If tons of explosives are photographed next to a smuggling tunnel they can explain that it was smuggled in before the ceasefire.

This evening Israel Television Channel Two military affairs correspondent Ronnie Daniel reported that the IDF is extremely concerned that Hamas, with assistance from Iran, will exploit the ceasefire to built and equip its army in the Gaza Strip and prepare a network of bunkers following the same strategy as in Lebanon. Israel Television Channel One Arab Affairs Correspondent Oded Granot noted that the ceasefire can be expected to last only a limited time as Hamas leader Mashaal says they will launch war against Israel in six months if their demands are not met.

Until that war, Mr. Olmert can hope for improved polls and the opportunity to make Washington-pleasing (and perhaps more importantly, Attorney General Mazuz-pleasing) concessions to the Palestinians as he enjoys a respite from clashes with Defense Minister Peretz who can be expected to focus his efforts during the pre-war "window" on preparing for the fight of his personal political life in the upcoming Labor Party primaries.

And what better way to run in the Labor Party primaries than appearing in photo ops marking various Israeli concessions to the Palestinians?

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis) (Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava) Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730 INTERNET ADDRESS: Website:

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Israel Foreign Ministry Blasts Head of UNRWA

Israel blasts UNRWA head's Kassam remark

23 November 2006 The commissioner-general's words do not contribute to the cessation of terrorism, which is the key to improving the living conditions of the Palestinian population.

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman's Bureau)

The following is the response of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the announcement by United Nations Relief and Works Agency Commissioner-General Karen Koning Abu Zayd on 21 November 2006 regarding the activities of the Israel Defense Forces in the Gaza Strip, in which she commented on the firing of "homemade rockets" from Gaza at Israel:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs utterly rejects the use of such unfortunate and misleading terminology, whose purpose is to dwarf the danger and threat faced by Israeli civilians by the daily firing of Kassam rockets and mortar shells from the Gaza Strip.

At the very hour when the UNRWA commissioner-general found it appropriate to employ such an ostensibly naive concept as "homemade rockets" -- a concept that reflects a forgiving attitude toward the firing of Kassams -- an Israeli civilian was killed by such a rocket in Sderot.

The commissioner-general would do well to remember to insist that the Palestinian Authority honor the demands of the international community, which are anchored in a decision of the UN Security Council: to renounce terrorism, to recognize Israel, and to honor agreements signed with Israel.

The commissioner-general's words do not contribute to the cessation of terrorism, which is the key to improving the living conditions of the Palestinian population.

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THANK YOU, KAREN ABU ZAYD - Palestinian response to UNRWA Head
Yahya Rabah (op-ed) -- [November 26]
Al-Hayat al-Jadida Official Palestinian Authority publication

There is so much in our Palestinian reality that requires writing about, particularly the political behavior-which can only be understood through the science of psychology and not the science of politics-relating to the formation of the national unity government.

What we see with our own eyes and touch with our own fingers and hear with our ears about the dialogue and the rounds of dialogue and the art of dialogue, the maneuvers, games and the difficulty of dialogue, appears to be a semi-state of illness which is an addiction; addiction to dialogue and addiction to failure. We hear nothing but accusations. We clearly see how the interpretation is more important than text and how the smile covers up a dagger and how lies are covered up with pious.

Today, I want to write again about a brave woman who occupies an important international position. It is Karen Abu Zayd, the UNRWA commissioner general, who is currently under severe attack from the Israeli Foreign Ministry. The reason behind this attack is that Karen Abu Zayd, due to her position and the responsibility that she bears, pays attention to the minute details of the reality of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, which is a tragic reality as everyone agrees.

To show how tragic the situation is, those refugees were turned into refugees several times as a result of the Israeli military actions. She visits them in the schools in which they sought refuge in after their homes were demolished over their heads.

She, who knows the details of their suffering and needs, the misery of their days and the torture of their children and due to her position, her honesty and her live humane conscience, cannot turn her face away and act as if she cannot see a disaster.

But the stronger reason for the attack of the Israeli Foreign Ministry on Karen Abu Zayd, is that she vehemently rejects joining the miserable and lying choir that glorifies the Palestinian rockets that Karen Abu Zayd precisely describes as "homemade rockets."

This is a true, realistic, scientific and unbiased description. The whole world says that the destructive Israeli response is disproportionate to these homemade rockets. Therefore, why this excessive Israeli attack on Karen Abu Zayd, who courageously bears her responsibility and goes about daily among the people she is assigned to care for, i.e. the Palestinian refugees, who knows about the death, misery and destruction they are subjected to?

The position of the Israeli foreign minister reminds us, the Palestinians, that Israel wants us to drown deeper in this dark game, the game of exaggerating the rockets. Israel, according to the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, wants to continue the exaggerated propaganda of the rockets and attacks anyone who describes these rockets in their true dimensions. Do we learn a lesson or do we continue in our game and in our addiction to our failed dialogues?

Once again, we thank Karen Abu Zayd for her honesty in carrying her responsibility and for her great courage.

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Commentary: Ceasefire as a Parody
Arlene Kushner

News article of the day: The headline, from the Post, reads "IDF not happy with agreement, Suspects it could be cover-up for increased weapons smuggling." How about that! Is this major news, or what? The text reads, "The IDF is suspicious of the terrorist organizations' true intent for accepting the ceasefire . . . " Suspicious? Couldn't it have been put a bit more forcefully than that? "Despite the ceasefire, the Shin Bet and Southern Command plan to keep a close eye on the Egyptian border . . . " Would we expect less?

The nature of affairs currently is such that this stuff generates its own parody.

As to the "ceasefire": It was breached again today, with two Kassams, for which the Popular Resistance Committees took responsibility. How many times will it be breached before the IDF says that's enough?

Yesterday I mentioned that the "ceasefire" does not include weapons smuggling. Aaron Lerner, Director of IMRA, today points out that it apparently doesn't include rocket production either.

Several terrorist groups are really annoyed that they are being asked to hold fire in Gaza while their people are being targeted in Judea-Samaria. They insist there is no "ceasefire" unless both areas are included.

A word here about the major differences between the two areas. IDF presence in Judea-Samaria is what has kept it from being the terrorist stronghold that Gaza is. The various actions that take place are significant in terms of protecting the Israeli populace -- discovery of weapons storage and manufacturing facilities, capture of those planning attacks, etc. A "ceasefire" in Judea-Samaria would be a disaster. What is more, it should be noted that in Judea-Samaria Arab areas are far more enmeshed with Jewish areas -- there is no "border."


Today Olmert gave a speech at Kibbutz Sde Boker, in the Negev, the home of Israeli founding father David Ben Gurion, in commemoration of his passing 33 years ago.

Now, of late I've made fun more than a little. It is a way for me to maintain my equilibrium in these difficult times: to laugh instead of crying. But about Olmert's speech I can say nothing remotely humorous. It makes me sick deep inside myself.

He was, he said, extending his hand to the Arabs in peace. Ben Gurion, he explained, did this, but his hand returned empty. (Empty? After Ben Gurion's plea for peace at the founding of the State, the whole Arab League attacked.) Now, he, Olmert, is extending it again and hoping that it will be taken. He is inviting the Palestinians to accept peace.

If they will stop violence, accept our right to live in security, and abandon the "right of return," he will be ready to offer a great deal, including withdrawal from most of Judea-Samaria and establishment of a Palestinian state with territorial contiguity and full sovereignty.

In the shortrun, if they will sustain a true ceasefire, he will reduce roadblocks, cooperate on economic projects, etc. etc. And, for the return of Shalit, he'll release lots of prisoners.

This is out of touch with reality . . . To whom is Olmert addressing this plea? To the controlling party of the PA -- Hamas -- which is pledged to destroying us, and is bringing in weaponry and training an army? To Abbas, who is himself intimately aligned with terrorism, and whose party, Fatah, is also pledged to destroying us?

There is an essential principle in negotiations: You don't appear too eager, too hungry. This just ups the ante, in the best of circumstances. You don't go to those with whom you presumably will bargain and say, "Please, please . . . " And you don't in advance tell them everything you might be ready to give. That's in the best of circumstances, when there is really a party on the other side with whom to negotiate. But here, any suggestion of negotiation cannot be serious. Here, by revealing eagerness you give to the enemy an impression of weakness. It is not just foolish, it's dangerous.

It's hard for us to keep defending ourselves, Olmert is saying -- and he has said this before. Give it up, guys, and let's all make nice. This speech smacks of appeasement: Be good and look at all I'll give you.

And then there is this question: Who is Olmert to say what he would give, without Cabinet or Knesset sanction? Who is he to offer most of Judea-Samaria, even though this is clearly what he WANTS to do (can't wait to give it away), but the nation has not signed off on this and might well not? Who the hell is he?

A proper speech in commemorating Ben Gurion would have had a theme such as this: Back in 1948, with the founding of our State, David Ben Gurion offered peace to the Arab nations. Unfortunately, they didn't accept this, as they had some notion of destroying us. They learned then that they could not, and have learned that lesson again and again over the years. They couldn't destroy us because we've stayed strong, and we will continue to focus on staying strong until the Arabs understand, finally, that they cannot destroy us. When that day truly comes, then we will be prepared to consider the ways to achieve a genuine peace with our neighbors. For a genuine peace is the only kind we will accept.

The message should have been one of absolute determination and strength: Hamas, we're going to knock your heads off if you don't abandon your intentions towards us. This is all Hamas (and Fatah) understand.


MK Yuval Steinitz, who was chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said this:

Olmert "buries Israel's determination to combat terrorism . . . The prime minister is offering mountains so-to-speak to the Hamas government and parliament which has violated every agreement and ceasefire to date."

Others in the opposition echoed similar sentiments. Uri Ariel (National Union/NRP) said that Olmert "is once against handing out gifts to terror organizations that are growing stronger." MK Tzvi Hendel (NU/NRP) said he had "no expectations from a man devoid of morals who, during a time of war . . . is not ashamed to promise the enemy the settlers' inheritance in exchange for the establishment of a terror state."

What I would like to know is how this disgusted opposition will bring down Olmert's government.


This is just great: European Union Foreign Policy chief Javier Solana wants to see an international mechanism established for overseeing the "ceasefire." International supervision invariably means blocking legitimate Israeli self-defense while making excuses for/looking the other way at the breaches by the other side.


Meanwhile, the Palestinians -- except perhaps for Saeb Erekat, speaking for Abbas -- tended to be extremely unenthusiastic about what Olmert said. They want it all, or they are not playing: back to the pre-'67 borders and "return" of refugees. A Hamas spokesman said it was a "conspiracy," to get refugees to relinquish their right to return, which is at the core of the battle.

You think Olmert gets the message yet?

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