Sunday, November 25, 2007

25-Nov-07: Heightened anxiety

The focus, as usual, is on the big events as the Annapolis conference starts to take shape. But here in Jerusalem, at street level, we have police sirens whoop-whooping in all directions these past few hours. From our window overlooking one of the major arterial roads, we see traffic backed up because of upgraded police activity throughout the city.

Heightened security warnings have been in effect all day, particularly affecting northern Jerusalem where we live. There are no fewer than ten specific terror alerts in effect today, plus dozens of general warnings. The police have thrown up roadblocks in numerous locations and are checking all incoming vehicle traffic. Haaretz is reporting ("Two terrorists believed on their way to Jerusalem") that Jerusalem police are on high alert this afternoon. They have gotten a tip about two Pal-Arab terrorists en route to Jerusalem to carry out an attack in the city sometime between now and Tuesday. For what it's worth, the police say they don't believe the terrorists have managed to enter the city. But we hear police helicopters over our roof as we write this. And there are reports that the Police Special Anti-Terror Unit is currently being deployed in various parts of northern Jerusalem.

It's almost not newsworthy that
Border Police at a checkpoint near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron arrested yet another two Palestinians this morning armed with knives and bullets. They are now in custody and being questioned. And at the Beit Iba checkpoint west of Nablus, a young Pal-Arab man was arrested with a homemade grenade on his body. The explosive was neutralized by sappers and that suspect is also being interrogated.

Making its peace-loving contribution to the atmosphere, Hamas let it be known yesterday that
the time is not right for talks with Israel and that Pal-Arab president Mahmoud Abbas lacks a mandate to negotiate. To emphasize the point, Ahmed Yousef, one of the inner circle of advisers and speechifiers around Hamas strongman Ismail Haniyeh went on the record yesterday saying that Hamas (which for months has been absurdly painted by mainstream media reporters as cracking down on terror attacks on Israelis from Gaza) can increase the explosive power of its rockets into Israel.
The Islamic militant group (says the Malaysia Sun) has threatened to pack warheads with the type of explosives that could prove extremely dangerous, were they to land in populated areas. Ahmed Yousef, an adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, presented the threat prior to Monday's Middle-East peace conference, to be hosted by the U.S in Annapolis, Maryland. Hamas does not want the talks to be held due to Palestinian political parties being so divided. Israeli officials said they were taking the threats seriously and have cautioned that Hamas may attempt to interrupt the U.S. conference by sending more rockets into Israel.
The foreign ministry's spokesman here said "We take these threats very seriously" and we agree. Experience teaches that the threats of the terrorists are the one truly reliable aspect of their fraudulent, self-serving arguments and existence.

Hamas' warheads currently don't reach as far as Jerusalem. But their walking-and-driving human bombs can and do. For the sake of their children and ours, pray that their satanic ambitions are thwarted this time.

UPDATE 4pm: Traffic is moving again. JPost says the state of 'red alert' was lowered in the last few minutes, but there's no word about whether any suspects were caught.

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