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Torpedoing Annapolis

IDF Chief of Staff Ashkenazi: 'Palestinian terrorists launching fresh attacks to torpedo Annapolis conference'

Terrorists kill one Israeli on West-Bank and step up raids in Gaza Strip

IDF Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi

Palestinian terrorists are stepping up their attacks with a goal of sabotaging the upcoming Annapolis conference. This was the assessment of IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi when he briefed the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee. IsraCast says Israeli security forces have gone on alert to foil the terrorists drive to torpedo Annapolis.

Palestinian terror organizations have launched a new round of violence aimed at torpedoing the Annapolis peace conference slated for next week. That was the assessment of IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi after the Palestinian drive-by killing of an Israeli settler on the West-Bank last night. The Palestinian goal would be to carry out a mega terror attack that would derail Annapolis. In the Gaza Strip Israeli forces also foiled more Palestinian raids killing several terrorists. Israeli troops are now operating freely inside a buffer zone separating Israel and Gaza. Their mission is to intercept terrorists before they launch Qassam rockets at Sderot and other Israeli towns and villages. However, the terrorists still manage to launch a number of Qassam rockets at Israeli civilians every day.

Palestinian terrorists launching Qassam rockets

During his briefing, one Knesset Member told the Chief of Staff that it was intolerable that Israeli civilians were being bombarded on a daily basis. Israel's top soldier agreed. He said: 'although we are operating to reduce the rocketing this is still not a satisfactory answer. While we are restricting the rockets, we cannot continue like this indefinitely.' The Chief of Staff went on to say that the IDF is preparing to implement every contingency decided upon by the Israeli government.

Meanwhile in the run-up to Annapolis, Israel is making more gestures to the Palestinians. In the West-Bank town of Nablus 300 more Palestinian policemen were allowed to join the 1,000 already operating there. However, at night IDF forces are continuing their nocturnal operations to round up terrorists. The Chief of Staff said there is 'coordination between his forces and the Palestinian police'. The IDF has also removed 24 unmanned blockages of Palestinian roads on the West Bank as well as taking down one manned check point. Israel has agreed to release more Palestinian prisoners, but the Chief of Staff opposed the release of Palestinian prisoners from Gaza. General Ashkenazi said he was not against releasing Palestinian terrorists to the West-Bank but not to Gaza where Hamas is still holding corporal Gilad Shalit.
 
As for Annapolis, the Chief of Staff said the Palestinian attitude has moderated over the past months. At first the Palestinians demanded that all the conflict's core-issues be on the table for negotiation. Now they realize this was impossible and understood that Annapolis would be a ceremonial event to launch full-scaled negotiations down the road. In the General's view Annapolis would not trigger a third Palestinian Intifada. He said the Palestinian street was now preoccupied, coping with their daily needs.

David Essing

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