Israel Resource Review 18th August, 1998


The Timing of Terror
by David Bedein
Media Research Analyst

In the wee hours of the morning of August 5, 1998, an Israeli patrol jeep was fired on near the Israeli west bank community of Yitzhar. It was a well planned ambush. The two young civilians, only one of whom was armed, were dragged from the jeep, and each shot in the nape of the neck, to ensure their death.

The tracks of the attacking vehicles led to Nablus, a city under the control of the Palestine Authority and the Palestine Liberation Army.

The background to the timing killings provides some insight into why the attack took place when it did.

On August 4, a discrete gathering took place in an East Jerusalem hotel, where members of the Palestine Authority Legislative Council met with Palestinian Arab human rights activists to prepare for the special PLC that was planned for the next day. On the PLC agenda: allegations of massive fraud.

Three Palestinian citizens groups have presented documented evidence that armed tax collectors of the Palestine Authority have been systematically embezzling funds from the health, education and welfare funds of the Palestine Authority.

Allegations of fraud are not new to the Palestine Authority, whose official Bank Leumi account on Hashmonaim street in Tel Aviv is nothing other than the Palestine Authority Yassir Arafat's personal account, which can only be drawn on with Arafat's personal signature.

That was the arrangement made between Arafat and Israel's late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, and such a "funding procedure" appears in writing in the Palestine Authority-Israel economic agreement that was signed in April, 1994.

The previous time that the Palestine Legislative Council had scheduled to deal with wide allegations of corruption in the Palestine Authority was on July 30, 1997, at a special session of the PLC that gathered for that purpose on that date at 4PM. However, at 1:30 PM, some Palestinian Arabs planted bombs at the crowded Machaneh Yehudah open market in Jerusalem, killing sixteen people.

Needless to say, as an American consular official reported to me, the subject of corruption was obfuscated by matters of security at the July 30, 1997 meeting of the PLC.

And so it is with the PLC session for August 5th. The corruption issue is off the agenda. Israel's demands for security take its place.

Meanwhile, the Palestine Authority educational system has formally incorporated the Palestine National Covenant into its official school curriculum.

That means that Palestinian Arab school children learn that their role in life is to engage the state and people of Israel in a state of war.

Palestine Television airs daily scenes of little Palestinian Arab children who begin their daily classes in the Palestine Authority schools with the call to kill the Jews and to liberate Palestine.

That will most certainly divert the education for Palestinian nationalism from the civics of nation-building to an instinct to terror.

The focus of the PA curriculum remains the million Arabs who continue to dwell in the 1949 "temporary shelters" of the Palestinian Arab refugee camps, operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, on the premise and the promise of the "inalienable right of return" for Palestinian Arabs to reclaim the lands where hundreds of Israeli kibbutzim and cities have sprung up since the genesis of the Jewish state.

The Palestine Legislative Council could have devoted its August 5th session to take a major step towards housecleaning. After the murders of two Jews, the matter was deemed irrelevant. That is especially because the Hamas has been officially incorporated into the Palestine Authority. Advocates of the peace process had assumed that Hamas would be crushed by the PA, not welcomed as Arafat's partner in the direction of the new Palestine Authority.

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Yitzhar's Neighbours
by Nachum Barnea
Yediot Ahronot

The following was culled from the August 7, 1998 column of Nachum Barnea, one of Israel's outstanding correspondents and political observers, published in Yediot Ahronot, the country's largest daily.

Barnea describes a visit to the Shehadeh Family in Burin, an Arab village near the Jewish community of Yitzhar, on Wednesday, the day two young Jews, killed by Arab terrorists, were being buried.

"Is there a difference between the residents of Bracha [another nearby Jewish village] and those of Yitzhar", we asked.

Um-Basem, with the authority of the head of the house, her gray hair peeping out from her scarf, volunteered to reply. "A big difference", she said. "Those of Bracha are better".

"How", we asked.

"In the beginning, they were the same. Afterwards, we killed one of Bracha's head residents, and now they are okay".

The room filled with smiles of approval. The sons smiled, and the daughters-in-law smiled and the grandchildren acted most joyfully, they who had previously acted nonplused in the face of the non-invited Jewish guests [Barnea here refers to himself]. who suddenly entered into their home.

"Now", said of the daughters-in-law, "we are initiating Yitzhar".

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Israel's Spy Was Right About Saddam
by Angelo M. Codevilla
The Wall Street Journal

Former naval intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard confessed to passing classified documents to Israel without authorization between 1981 and 1985. For this, he was rightly sent to prison for espionage. People who spy for allied countries and who spare the U.S. government the revelations of a trial usually get sentences averaging four years. What extraordinary things, then, must Pollard have done to draw a life sentence?

Prison sentences are supposed to be proportional to the harm done. The preface to the still-secret memorandum filed with the court by then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger states that "it is difficult to conceive of a greater harm to national security than that caused by [Pollard]." But while Pollard's espionage subverted US policy in the Middle East, it barely hurt Washington's intelligence operations.

Pollard gave the Israelis a roomful of analysts' reports and satellite photographs -- bread-and-butter intelligence products. He is not accused of giving away operating manuals or descriptions of the functioning of the satellites or of any other collection systems.

The kind of documents Pollard passed are written carefully to disguise the communications and agents on which they may be based. No U.S.communication intercept system was taken out of service or had its budget affected because of the Pollard case. Nor was any U.S. agent forced "out of the cold."

Pollard's damage to these sources and methods was theoretical.

The U.S. had given -- and was continuing to give -- Israel photos taken by the very same satellites from which came the secrets Pollard passed. There were no technical differences between the pictures Pollard was passing illegally and the ones the U.S. government was passing legally. These photos did not help the Israelis learn more about the satellites than they already knew. In fact, the U.S. government had briefed them and other U.S. allies on the capability of the satellites -- especially after CIA officer William Kampiles sold the KH-11 satellite operating manual to the Soviets in 1978.

The difference between the pictures the U.S. government was giving to Israel and the ones that it was withholding lay not in sources or methods, but in the subject. Some senior officials of the U.S. government had decided that Israel should not have certain information about Iraq and other Arab countries because the officials did not like what Israel was doing with it. By passing precisely that information, Pollard damaged U.S. foreign policy. The fact that U.S. policy toward Iraq during the 1980s was bad did not give Pollard any right to subvert it.

Some senior U.S. officials were angry at Israel for getting in the way of their Middle East policy. In 1981, shortly after Israel had bombed the Osirak reactor that had been the centerpiece of Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program, Deputy Central Intelligence Agency Director Bobby Ray Inman went to Capitol Hill to criticize the Israelis, who had used U.S. satellite pictures to plan the bombing. Mr. Inman said they had harmed sophisticated U.S. efforts to build an important relationship with Saddam.

Therefore he personally had just cut Israel off from satellite information about Iraq and later began to send satellite pictures to Saddam.

Mr. Inman was acting on behalf of many of the principal makers of U.S. foreign policy, including Mr. Weinberger and later Secretary of State George Shultz, who during the 1980s sacrificed much for their vision of a fruitful relationship with Saddam. Mr.Inman reported to incredulous senators in 1982 that U.S.intelligence no longer supported the conclusion that Iraq was a major sponsor of terrorism. High-level officials dismissed concerns about Baghdad's purchase of a chemical facility that became the centerpiece of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons program and during the 1980s these officials provided Saddam with U.S. weapons and intelligence. These officials also knew about -- and failed to hinder -- the transfer of German technology to the Saad 16 missile factory in northern Iraq.

This policy, vigorously pursued by Washington until the very eve of the Gulf War, turned Iraq into a danger to mankind. This policy helped supply the technologies that killed U.S. soldiers in the Gulf War -- the technologies for which inspectors now are searching fruitlessly and that may well kill other Americans in the future. Pollard's sin is blowing the whistle on an embarrassing policy -- a sin for which he is serving a life sentence instead of four years.

Messrs. Weinberger, Shultz and Inman had every right to be wrong about foreign policy; Pollard had no right to express his disagreement through espionage. Nevertheless, it is wrong to criminalize differences over policy, and to use the justice system for personal vengeance. In the U.S., the penalty for subverting policy is being fired. For espionage on behalf of allies,the usual penalty is four years. Pollard has more than paid his debt.

Mr. Codevilla, a professor of International Relations at Boston University, served on the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee between 1977 and 1985.

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