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Labor's Shimon Peres: 'Israel Should Not Put Her Fate In Hands of Hamas Terrorists'

'U.S. Counting On Second Disengagement After Gaza Withdrawal'

'U.S. Will Likely Support No Israeli Return Of Gush Etzion Bloc and Maale Adumim'

Terror Attack in Sharm el Sheikh

Al Qaeda and Palestinian terrorists have stepped up their offensives leaving death and destruction in their wake. Meanwhile, in the Middle East, U.S. Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice has been meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders trying to keep the lid on the confrontation before and after Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and 4 West Bank settlements starting in the second half of August.

The wildfire of Islamic terror attacks is now striking at full force at all levels: local, regional and worldwide. In Israel, the Palestinian Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the other terror groups continue their raids while al Qaeda again wallops Egypt with a devastating bombing in Sharm el Sheikh and Britain, still reeling from one deadly onslaught, is staggered by a close call.

'Terrorism Is Not The Way': The pure and simple plea from the Nigerian mother of one of the London victims rings clearly through the mayhem of the current 'age of extremes'. It is the way of Islamic fanatics whether they seek to exterminate the Jewish state, topple the leading state in the Arab region or seek to spread Islam as the dominant world power. The goals may differ: Palestinian terrorism aims to physically eradicate Israel, while al Qaeda seeks to spread its fear among Arab regimes while Britain is being blitzed for supporting the U.S. in Iraq. But whatever the particular goal, the tactics are to identify holes through which the terrorists can penetrate to send suicide bombers or plant their bombs.

Explosives Vest

Israel: After four and a half years of it, Israel has devised a comprehensive network for countering the terrorism, but there are always new loopholes that must be plugged. The security fence has again proved its effectiveness - a would be suicide bomber did manage to cut his way through but Israeli security forces were alerted and arrested the terrorist less than a mile from the security fence. The Eighteen year old from the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza was later caught inside Israel strapped in a ten-pound explosives packed with the usual steel nuts and bolts to increase the deadly impact. His mission - to make his way to central Tel Aviv and blow himself up among a crowd of Israelis. Without the security fence alert, the terrorist may have made it to Tel Aviv and blown up his explosives. His accomplice was a Palestinian who married an Israeli Arab woman and as such now has Israeli citizenship with an Israel blue identity card. Without the security fence, the suicide bomber may have made it to Tel Aviv and blown up his explosives.

This apparent loophole may be soon blocked. The Knesset Interior Committee is now discussing an amendment to the law which automatically grants citizenship to Palestinian in the territories who marry Israeli Arabs and allows them to join their spouse in Israel. Shabak Security Chief Yuval Diskin revealed that 225 Israeli Arabs have been involved in terrorism since the outbreak of the al Aqsa intifada in September 2000. Twenty-five of them were Palestinians from the territories who had married Israeli Arab women received Israeli citizenship and then collaborated in blowing up other Israelis. Diskin said: 'It's possible to see their dramatic impact in 16 suicide bombing cases that murdered 19 Israelis and wounded 83 others.' Diskin went on to say: 'the confrontation continues between Israel and the Palestinians, there is great uncertainty about the future and there are flare-ups of terrorism. In light of this we must preserve our current security at maximum level'. That was the Shabak Chief's message to Israelis; it is one for Britain, Egypt and any other country that may be targeted by Islamic terrorists today.It means carefully studying all possible loopholes that might be exploited by the terrorists for as Israel has learnt, the terrorists will surely find them. As this report is being written there is news that an Israeli couple have been shot by two Palestinians near the entrance to the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the Gaza Strip. The two attackers were killed by IDF troops, two soldiers were sounded in the shootout.

Mistaken Identity Killing in London: According to Reuters: 'Police… shot dead the man at point-blank range with five shots to the head in front of shocked passengers on a packed underground train'. It is the dilemma facing security forces who must confront possible suicide bombers; if the suspect is a suicide bomber waiting an extra split second gives the terrorist time to detonate his explosives blowing apart the security officers, and in this case the passengers. Even under the best of conditions, it takes strong nerves to talk a suicide bomber into handing over his explosives belt.

Note London Mayor Ken Livingstone: A former senior Shabak official recently said there are practically no cases of Israeli security personnel shooting innocent bomber suspects. The official said that Israelis prefer to 'go through the drill' of checking out the suspect rather than killing someone who may be an innocent person.

Labor Party leader Shimon Peres was one of the cabinet members who met with U.S. Secretary Rice during her current tour. Commenting on the Palestinian terrorism, Vice Premier Peres said Israel must not put her fate in the hands of Hamas and the other terror organizations. Rice has called on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to help support Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas whose leadership is now being challenged by Hamas. Peres also told Israel Radio that Israel 'must not close in the Gaza Strip from every side after the pullout'. The Labor Party leader also felt the U.S. was expecting a second disengagement soon after next month's withdrawal; otherwise there would be a one year hiatus before next year's general election in Israel. And Peres cautioned: 'If Israel does not act to advance the peace process, others will.' When asked about Sharon's statement that U.S. President George W. Bush has committed to Israel holding on to 'settlement bloc', Peres noted that Bush later said the parties would have to agree. Peres did feel: 'There was no question that Israel would keep the Gush Etzion bloc and the U.S. would likely support Israel's retaining of Ariel and Maale Adumim on the West Bank'. The Labor party leader added that this could be part of a land exchange.

David Essing

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