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ISRAEL DECIDES TO COMPLETE THE SECURITY FENCE AROUND JERUSALEM

Palestinian Terrorists May Try To 'Copy Cat' London Atrocity

Jerusalem Security Fence Necessary To Prevent Palestinians From Launching London-Type Mega Terrorism

President Katzav Takes Issue With Britain's Tony Blair For Linking London Attacks To Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Security Fence (Click to enlarge) Photo: Amit Shabi

The London atrocity has again focused on the vital need for international co-operation in the war against Islamic terrorism. In Israel where security is always high, security officials had to be asking themselves if everything possible was being done to prevent a mega-terror attack of the same magnitude from happening here. It's not that Palestinian terrorists have not tried in the past, the concern now is that they may try to imitate the London terrorists. The government decision on the Jerusalem security fence has aroused sharp pro and con reactions. Likud MK Uzi Landau, who opposes Sharon's withdrawal, has accused the Prime Minister of preparing to partition the capital. However Labor MK Beiga Shochat favors the move. Landau and Shochat were interviewed on IBA TV.

Will Palestinian terrorists now try to 'copy-cat' the London terror blitz? A former Israeli intelligence official says this is a real threat in light of the horrendous casualties in the British capital. Therefore, the Israeli cabinet decision to complete the security fence around Jerusalem by September 1st should come as no surprise - the London massacre is further proof, if any proof were necessary. Although more than 1,000 Israelis have been murdered in scores of Palestinian terror attacks, the number has plummeted dramatically in recent years due to the building of the security barrier. Former Shabak security chief Avi Dichter has said there can be no doubt the security fence has saved hundreds of Israeli lives. If you don't take Dichter's word, just look at the security fence on the Gaza Strip that has prevented all attempts to infiltrate; that's the reason the Palestinians have to launch Qassam rockets and home made mortars that, so far, are far less deadly.

Terror attack in Israel (archive) Photo: Amit Shabi

Mega-terror: The simultaneous bombings that murdered scores of people and injured 700 in the 'London Tube' and double-decker bus is what Israeli experts call a 'mega-terror' attack. The only reason Palestinian terrorists have never succeeded in carrying out a 'mega-terror' atrocity is also due to the counter-terror operations of the Israeli security forces. However, in the past a Palestinian plot to demolish a building with hundreds of occupants was foiled by the Shabak. The Israeli censor has banned details of this operation from being revealed. But clearly, the London bloodbath will motivate Islamic terrorists everywhere and Israeli security must be stepped up even higher to protect civilians targets.

Civil Rights vs. Civil Defense: Completing the security fence as swiftly as possible is obviously a top priority and the reason why the cabinet has decided to finish it around Jerusalem by September 1st. Some 55,000 Palestinians in the Jerusalem area will be cut off from the capital but will be able to enter and leave through 12 terminals. Another 200,000 Palestinians in east Jerusalem will be inside the barrier. Deputy Premier Ehud Olmert says new health, education and other services are to be provided for the 55,000 Palestinians left on the outside. Palestinian officials have condemned the Israeli decision... PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas declared that 'such steps will not serve peace, nor will they serve Israel's security'. There is no question that the security fence will inconvenience the 55,000 Palestinians who work and receive services in Jerusalem. Olmert estimates that 3,600 Palestinian kids will have to be bussed to school daily. But scores of Israeli school kids have not only been inconvenienced, but blown to bits by the suicide bombers who simply walked or were driven into Jerusalem. And until this very day, Mahmoud Abbas declares that he will not act to dismantle the terror organizations which send the killers. All the terror groups have exploited the easy 'drive-in' access to Jerusalem to mount their attacks. East Jerusalem Arabs also drive cars with Israeli license plates and carry Israeli identity cards that make it easier for them to collaborate in terror attacks. As for the security fence itself, the Israeli government never wanted to build it in the first place; the Palestinians have themselves only to blame. They send suicide bombers and then complain that Israel is building a security fence to stop them! In fact, the Israeli government and Sharon in particular opposed building the security barrier that is costing Israel billions of dollars at a time when welfare budgets have been slashed. (In fact, Labor's Ehud Barak has blamed Sharon for the deaths of hundreds of Israelis who could have been saved if the fence had been built earlier).

Security Fence Route: Criticized by the Palestinians and the International Court in The Hague that ruled on this issue but not on the legality of the Palestinian suicide bombing attacks. The critique is that Israel is not building the fence on the old Green Line, which separated Israel and the West Bank before the Six-Day War, but is in effect building on Palestinian soil and dictating the border of the future Palestinian state. But Sharon and other Israeli officials have declared time and again that the security fence is a security measure and not a political border. But what is Israel's track record of moving on the ground to further political goals? In case no one has noticed, Israel is about to evacuate some 9,000 settlers from the Gaza Strip area at a cost of over $2 billion dollars and great internal strife. Then there's the even monumental withdrawal from all of Sinai for the peace treaty with Egypt in 1979. Moreover, if the argument is that the fence route dictates the future border doesn't it also follow that building the fence on the Green Line would be interrupted as Israel's acquiescence in this being the future frontier? In other words, the Palestinians through the use of suicide bombers would have forced Israel to accept the '67 line as the permanent border. But this is not the case which is supported by U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 that stipulates: 'the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.' U.N. Ambassador Arthur Goldberg later said that the term 'the territories' was deliberately excluded leaving the issue to be decided in future negotiations. Resolution 242 also refers to: 'the right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats and acts of force'. Again, this terminology inherently includes a negotiation on secure and recognized boundaries. (The other option would have been of course to build no security fence at all and let the suicide bombers keep coming in.)

President Katzav

'Your Terrorism And My Terrorism': State President Moshe Katzav has taken issue with British Prime Minister Tony Blair for saying the London terror attacks were linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Katzav says there should be no differentiation between the Palestinian terror being waged against Israel and the international terror attacks in London. In the President's view, Blair's description does not accurately depict the true international state of affairs. Britain has been targeted by Al Qaeda for its participation in the Iraq war and has apparently linked the London bombings to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a rather transparent attempt to deflect some of the heat at home. Blair is not the only one to imply there is a difference between Palestinian terrorism against Israel and their own particular terrorism. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also tried to argue this case when he visited Israel and took the view that Chechnyan terrorism was simply an internal affair not comparable to the Palestinian mayhem. The danger is that this differentiation by Blair and others may signal the Palestinians that their violence may pay when it comes to the Europeans and how they view Palestinian terrorism against Israel.

David Essing

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