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IDF Intelligence: ‘Palestinian Security Making Genuine Effort To Prevent Terror Attacks On Israel; However, Not Dismantling Terror Infrastructure’

Palestinian Street Has Influenced Hamas To Accept A Time-Out In Attacks, Hamas Has Yet To Agree To Cease-fire’

Israeli Sources: ‘Former Lebanese Leader Hariri Apparently Assassinated By Damascus For Calling On Syria To Get Out Of Lebanon’

Mahmoud Abbas

Brigadier Yossi Kupperwasser, a senior IDF intelligence officer, says there has been a dramatic drop in Palestinian terror attacks against Israel. Briefing the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the officer said the new situation reflects the changes carried out by new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. At the same time, the Palestinian Security apparatus was not dismantling the terror infrastructure and Hamas has agreed to a lull in attacks but not a cease-fire.

The Israeli view is that Syria is responsible for the huge car bomb that murdered former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and many others in Beirut. Hariri recently criticized Syria’s refusal to end its occupation of Lebanon.

IDF intelligence says the new situation reflects the changes made by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the Palestinian Authority. The number and seriousness of Palestinian attacks had dwindled. However, Hamas has accepted only a time -out, not a cease-fire. At the same time, Hamas and other terror groups were regrouping for the time the current lull expires. Hamas reserved the right to react as it saw fit to any Israeli steps. However, the terrorists were being swayed by the Palestinian Street, which wants a halt to the fighting.


The Brigadier described the situation on the ground as complex; although Abbas speaks of 'One Authority, one gun' the reality is quite different. For example last week's shelling of Gaza settlements and the take-over of a Gaza jail by Hamas. Israel's concern was of a situation resembling that in south Lebanon where Hizballah ignores the Beirut government and exercises freedom of action. At present, Mahmoud Abbas acquiesces in Hamas not being under his control and that it has not accepted a cease-fire. Although Palestinian security was not dismantling the terror infrastructure it was acting to prevent attacks when it uncovered them in advance. It had also uncovered and blocked seven tunnels used for smuggling in weapons and explosives by the terrorists. The smuggling had tailed off lately.

Also on the up side, Israel's decision to release 900 Palestinian security prisoners has made its impact on Palestinian public opinion. Palestinians see it as a sign that Israel keeps her promises.

Another IDF officer presented the casualty toll of the Al Aksa intifada launched by the Palestinians on September 2000 and until February 12th 2005.

At the committee hearing, right-wingers pressed Sharon about a report that he had discussed the future of Jerusalem during his recent meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Jerusalem. Sharon replied that Jerusalem was not discussed with the Secretary. Anyway the Prime Minister added that Jerusalem was not on the table, it had become Israel's capital over 3,000 years ago and would remain so, undivided for all eternity.


Beirut Bombing

Syria's finger-prints are all over the murder of former Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri in Beirut, that's the Israeli 'take'. Hariri had recently called on Syria to get out of Lebanon, more than enough to provoke Damascus into plotting the murder. The Syrians are known for their tactic of blowing up political opponents in Lebanon. Druze leader Jumblatt suffered a similar fate for opposing Syrian rule and Bashir Jumayel was also blown to smithereens when he dared sign a peace accord with none other than Ariel Sharon back in 1982. Other less known Lebanese personalities have also been murdered for crossing Damascus.

Aside from running their own intelligence service in Lebanon, the Syrians could count on Hizballah: ready, willing and able to do their bidding. (The latest IDF intelligence assessment is that Hizballah funds 55 Palestinian terror groups and is now paying $100,00 for a successful Palestinian suicide bombing attack against Israel). Even Palestinian President Abbas is reportedly worried that Hizballah will try and assassinate him. After the Beirut car bombing, Abbas has good reason to worry. The latest turn of events should give intelligence experts at the European Union's Council something more to think about this week when they recommend whether Hizballah should be added to the E.U's terror list.

David Essing

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