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THIS WEEK 12-6-05

Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa: 'We Will Not Disarm Terrorists As Long As Israeli Occupation Continues'

Deputy Premier Ehud Olmert: 'Palestinian Announcement Is Ticking Cluster Bomb On Way To Roadmap'

Palestinian Shelling Nearly Crosses Israel's Red Line Sharon Warns Abbas Officially That Attacks Must Stop Before August Disengagement

Nasser Al-Kidwa

Is it now official? A senior official of the Palestinian Authority declares the PA will not disarm the Palestinian terror organizations. This is the first clause in the Roadmap peace plan that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon demands must be implemented. The Palestinian shelling in the Gaza Strip again violated the cease-fire killing 3 people and wounding several others this week. The terrorists also launched more Qassam rockets across the border at the Israeli town of Sderot. Miraculously, no one was seriously hurt when one of the rockets smashed through the roof into the living room of an apartment. Israel did not retaliate except for pin point rocketing of terrorists planning more attacks. However, Israel has officially informed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that no attacks will be tolerated when Israel starts evacuating the Gaza Strip and 4 West Bank settlements starting in August. And the Shabak's super 'spook' Avi Dichter went public after retiring; he rejected the notion that the disengagement will trigger a new Palestinian war of terrorism.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa has declared the Palestinian Authority has no intention of disarming the terror organizations as demanded by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Israel has warned there will be no Roadmap peace negotiations unless the Palestinians keep the first clause about dismantling the terror groups. Al-Kidwa spoke of the terrorists' weapons being a strategic issue as long as the Israeli occupation continued. The Palestinian announcement is all the more startling after the terror organizations just shelled Israeli settlements and the Israeli town of Sderot killing 3 people and wounding several others. Israeli security forces have also foiled several suicide bombing attacks during the current cease-fire.The question is how reliable is the statement of al-Kidwa, a Palestinian hard liner who was close to Yasser Arafat? After the Sharm el Sheik summit in February, the Palestinians quietly told Israel that President Mahmoud Abbas would need four months to start implementing his motto of 'One Gun & One Authority!' In addition, the Palestinians have also started releasing Jihad members suspected of complicity in the bombing of the Stage night club in Tel Aviv last February. Five Israelis were murdered in the explosion and many others were injured. This recalls Arafat's 'revolving door' of arresting terrorists one week and releasing them the next.

Hamas Terrorists

'Good Guy - Bad Guy': If al-Kidwa is for real, the Palestinians will have 2 authorities - a formal body lead by 'President' Mahmoud Abbas that will spin the international community dizzy with talk about non-violence and a peaceful Palestinian state. The second authority will be headed by Hamas and the other terror groups that will launch attacks on Israel whenever they're annoyed with Abbas or when Israel does not capitulate to Palestinian demands. It's the ultimate ' good guy- bad guy' routine in international relations. It was said of Yasser Arafat that he would set the fires of terrorism and then pretended to be the fireman who rushed to the scene to extinguish the inferno. Arafat was in control because the terrorists knew he was conning Israel and everyone else with peace talk while he wielded the instrument of terror. Today the terrorists do not accept the authority of Mahmoud Abbas because they realize he opposes violence. The bottom line for Israel appears to be that behind the business suits of Palestinian officials the terrorists are still in control, unless and until Abbas gets serious about taking on the terrorists.

Min. Ehud Ulmert

Israeli Reaction: Deputy Premier Ehud Olmert calls al-Kidwa's statement ' a ticking cluster bomb' on the way to the Roadmap peace plan. Olmert says that if the PA refuses to disarm the terrorists it will torpedo prospects for a dialogue and calm. And he added ' If the PA does not have the ability or resolve to fight the terrorists, Israel will. It is out of the question that no one will combat the terrorism. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has made clear time and again that Israel will not enter Roadmap negotiations with the Palestinians until they dismantle the terror organizations. Deputy Defense Minister Zeev Boim hopes that al-Kidwa's statement does not represent the position of the Palestinian Authority. If so, it will again be another example of 'the Palestinians never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity'. Boim added that Israel will not revert to the Oslo practice of looking the other way when the Palestinians violate their commitments. Boim recommends that Sharon postpone a planned meeting with Mahmoud Abbas until it becomes clear where the PA stands on disarming the terrorists. Now that the Palestinians have brought the terrorist issue to the fore and in light of the recurring Palestinian shelling in the Gaza Strip, these will be priority issues for U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when she arrives in the area. During the recent Bush-Abbas meeting in the White House, the U.S. President glossed over these problems by highlighting Abbas opposition to terrorism. The job for Secretary Rice will not be that easy.

Sharon Warns Abbas: Israel has officially warned the PA there had better not be any attacks when Israel evacuates settlers from the Gaza Strip in August. This follows the match-up between Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas that boiled over this week - Hamas apparently vented its ire by shelling Israeli civilian targets. By attacking Israel, Hamas punishes Abbas by exposing his weakness. Prime Minister Sharon, winning the battle in the Supreme Court over the legality of the withdrawal, exhibited what many would call uncharacteristic restraint. From inside his Likud party, came demands for the IDF to launch a massive Defensive Shield operation in the Gaza Strip or at least to postpone the August withdrawal. The PM replied that he would do neither; the unilateral disengagement would be carried out on schedule. At the same time, Sharon has sent a stern warning to Abbas. Israel's decision to withdraw is not conditional on the Palestinians' co-operation. If Hamas or any of the other terror groups attack Israel civilians during the evacuation, the IDF will be ordered to take off the kid gloves. The impression is that Israel will view it as a virtual casus belli despite the rhetoric of Mahmoud Abbas against terrorism. Sharon is obviously informing the U.S. and the international community that although he is turning over backwards to give Abbas a chance to get his act together this will not be the case during or after the evacuation. (In addition to not retaliating for the repeated shelling attacks, Sharon has released 900 Palestinian security prisoners and not reacted to the regrouping of the terror groups Abbas does nothing to disarm them).

Syrian Hit List: Syria is not giving up its domination of Lebanon despite its recent military evacuation. The U.S. accuses Syria of preparing a hit list of Lebanese who oppose Syria's presence in their country. Previously, Israeli intelligence also revealed that the Syrians had left behind their intelligence apparatus. Syrian agents were reportedly seen visiting the homes of candidates in the current Lebanese elections and warning them not to oppose Syrian involvement in Lebanon. The Syrians were said to be conducting a campaign of intimidation - Druze leader Walid Jumbalat warns 'All the Lebanese opposition is now in Syria's sights.' U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan plans on sending a special team to investigate the charges of Syria's interference. Syrian agents are also believed responsible for the assassination of a journalist Samir Kasir as well as former leader Rafik Hariri both of whom spoke out against the Syrian occupation.

(see Syrian Terrorism History)

David Essing

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