I would like to return just briefly to the matter of the two terrorists who murdered our soldiers outside of Hevron. I wrote yesterday that they had surrendered to PA security services (with which they were connected) to avoid capture by the IDF, and that the PA didn’t tell us right away. Well, it’s worse than that. If you go back to my Monday posting that talked about this, you will find that the PA said that they believed the murders were "criminally motivated" — they said there was "no evidence" of any reason for the murders other than an "arms dispute" — implying that the soldiers were involved in a weapons deal.
Now, we knew this was a bunch of garbage , a pathetic excuse. But what we didn’t know then was that the PA security services had the murderers in custody as they delivered this excuse: they were covering for their guys.
Does it get much more incredible?
I’m happy to report that the Israeli government intends to raise the issue of the involvement of PA security personnel in terror attacks with Bush when he comes.
Less encouraging is the report that Israel intends to seek Bush’s understanding of Israel’s security interests in a final status agreement. We need Bush’s permission to stand for our own security?
There’s only one rational response to what’s going on: We should halt all negotiations because there’s no one credible on the other side.
Tensions with Egypt are increasing considerably.
There has been tension for some time because we know full well that they allow the smuggling of weapons from the Sinai to Gaza; and things got hotter when we produced a video of Egyptians soldiers assisting terrorists crossing the border.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit , angry about Israeli protests, countered with a threat: "If they [Israelis] continue to push and affect US-Egyptian relations and harm Egyptian interests, Egypt will certainly retaliate and will harm their interests. We have claws capable of retaliating in all directions and through diplomacy."
But what it turns out is that Egypt has been attempting to harm our diplomatic interests for years.
Now there is a new issue as pilgrims from Gaza who had done the hajj to Mecca were permitted to return to Gaza via the Sinai, without passing through inspection, which was a violation of agreements between Egypt and Israel. The pilgrims were supposed to return via the Keren Shalom crossing (through Israel) so that Israel could do inspections. Instead, Egypt allowed them through Rafah, from the Sinai, without inspection.
Hamas had insisted that their people shouldn’t have to undergo inspections because Israel demanded it, and Egypt caved to them. Right now Hamas is celebrating a "victory over Israel." It is understood that both Hamas gunmen and funds raised abroad were brought in with the "pilgrims."
Of particular note here is the fact that the "moderate" Saudis are seen as behind this — promoting Hamas interests and pushing Egypt to do the same.
The annual Shin Bet report, which has just been released notes a marked decline in suicide bombings but warns of a substantial increase in rocket attacks. Anyone who follows the news has already figured this out, in general terms. There were 1,200 rockets fired at Israel in 2007. There has also been an increase in the number of smaller attacks against Israelis, such as with Molotov cocktails.
What is significant is that the range and power of the rockets is increasing.
Today a rocket landed on a beach near an Ashkelon hotel. It is speculated that this may have been a Katyusha, as this was out of Kassam range. Ten Kassams were also fired today.
This means, of course , that the brief operations and targeted killings in Gaza aren’t stopping the rockets.
While most of the rocket action originates in Gaza, terrorist groups there are working to strengthen their counterparts in Judea and Samaria.
Yesterday Al Aksa Brigades (that’s the group that no longer exists because PA security put them out of business) announced that from Samaria they fired a "Bashaar 1" rocket into Israel. There is no evidence of that rocket. But the announced intention is clear.
A spokesman for the group said they intend to continue to manufacture rockets in Judea and Samaria:
"We are obligated to the path of the (armed struggle), the Fatah movement’s path. We won’t put our guns down and we’ll continue resisting the occupation. Our weapons will continue to be steadfastly pointed towards the Zionist enemy."
Some 4,000 terrorists were arrested by Israel in Judea and Samaria between January and October 2007.