Tuesday, November 20, 2007

20-Nov-07: A worrying escalation

There's deepening concern here that the approach of the international conference in Annapolis is serving as a trigger for serious trouble.

More and more there's evidence that the Pal-Arab terror groups are seeking to showcase their desperation, their determination, their refusal to sit down with the hated Zionists etc. etc. by doing what they know best to do - bring chaos and death into their own lives and into the lives of us Israelis.

In the past twelve hours, we've seen three disturbing events (among others), each one pointing to a deliberate escalation in Palestinian terror actions. And both of them confirming the comments we made last week about the murderous involvements of the Mahmoud Abbas faction of the Pal-Arab Terror Industry (16-Nov-07: Cars burn as terror continues to rain down).

Last night, Ido Zoldan, 29, of Shavei Shomron was shot dead in his vehicle in a drive-by shooting. He was 29, the father of two young children: three-year-old Aharon and one-year-old Rachel. The IDF was combing the area during the night in search of the gunmen but past experience suggests this will be a fruitless search. The Palestinian establishment has far less difficulty in figuring out the identity of the heros who did this - they have openly claimed credit. Once again, it's the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the Fatah branch that owes its alliegance to Mahmoud Abbas. Putting the matter beyond doubt, their press release said the killing was "an act of protest against the Annapolis conference and a response to Israeli crimes".

YNet says the Defense Ministry has five current specific warnings on attempts to carry out terrorist attacks, in addition to the usual several dozen ongoing general warnings of terrorist threats. This is very rarely reported in the general media outside Israel. But it's an inescapable fact of life confronting Israel's civil society. Israelis have learned to take seriously the warnings that issue from the security establishment here.

The Abbas/Fatah/Al-Aqsa people had a busy night; they also grabbed credit for a Monday night attack on beleagured Netiv Ha'asara, one of several Israeli communities (never occupied, never disputed, with no military significance - just a farming town) guilty of being unfortunately located within firing range of the vipers in Gaza. This time, the attack ended in failure. IDF soldiers patrolling in the vicinity last night identified three Palestinians climbing the security fence under cover of darkness, and opened fire, hitting some of the would-be attackers. There were no reports of injuries among the soldiers. Two of the terrorists were eliminated, and others fled back to where they came from, leaving their ladder perched against the community's periphery fence. Meanwhile, Netiv Ha'asarah residents were ordered to remain inside their homes. YNet quotes Netiv Ha'asara's security coordinator saying "It's a shame the government is not giving the IDF permission to act freely."

Also Monday, two Pal-Arab Gazans approached the security fence between their world and ours in a suspicious way (the military has long and bitter experience of identifying these people and their intentions) and were shot and killed. JPost quotes the military saying the two were likely trying to plant explosive devices on the patrol road used by army jeeps.

The Abbas regime issued its own warnings to Israel yesterday. One was a series of unexpected, new pre-conditions to the PA's participation in Annapolis (see Khaled Abu-Toameh's report in JPost). The other, issued by a spokesman for Abbas's Fatah faction, spoke of failure at Annapolis leading to "disaster" and "confrontations" in the region. "Failure of efforts to achieve peace will lead to a catastrophe, confrontation and political suicide for Israel," said Nayef Ishtawi, spokesman for the Shabiba Fatah youth movement. "Israeli intransigence will sabotage the conference and Israel will be fully and historically responsible for wasting a chance to achieve peace and security." (As happens so often, the plain-speaking Abu-Toameh is the only journalist anywhere to report this story.)

Meanwhile for its part, Israel's major contribution in the past 24 hours to the war against the terrorists was that "the Israeli cabinet approved the release of up to 500 Palestinian prisoners - out of the some 11,000 held by Israel - as a goodwill gesture to Abbas, a senior official told AFP."

Could this be what people mean when they speak of an asynchronous war?


UPDATE 3-Dec-07: Three Palestinian Arabs have confessed to the murder. The details are here. It's important to know that the killers, gang-members in the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah's military wing, which owes its alliegance to Mahmoud Abbas, have day jobs as salaried policemen in the PA's official police force. Only the very naive, and people who rely entirely on non-Israeli sources for their news about what happens in this country, will be surprised. Quiet acts of murder and terror by uniformed representatives of the Palestinian 'establishment' are a fixture of life in this part of the world. To be kept in mind when 'painful compromises' are again on the discussion table.

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