ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | A Lull in the Action?

A Lull in the Action?

26 December 2002

By Yisrael Ne’eman

Supposedly ‘nothing’ is happening, a sort of lull has settled in on Israel.  There are no major terror attacks by the Palestinians and no serious retaliations.  Yet a Katif Bloc resident was killed by a Palestinian sniper and the IDF cut the Gaza Strip into three sections limiting Palestinian movement, but international outcries were not heard.  Last night a Tanzim leader was killed in a shoot out and four soldiers injured.

Yasir Arafat did not show up at Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem for the second year running even though PM Ariel Sharon said he was allowed to go.  The Palestinian Authority chairman realized the IDF would move into his Mukata headquarters and arrest 30 suspected terrorists should he leave.  Only his presence and international immunity has stopped Israel from taking such action until now.

This past week Prof. Sari Nussiebah who held the Jerusalem portfolio in the PA was relieved of his job by the chairman.  He had come to an unofficial agreement with Israeli security expert General Ami Ayalon on a peace agreement with Israel, where there would be no Palestinian refugee return, Israel would withdraw from all territories (or swap some) and worst of all he admitted the Jews do have an historical claim to the Land of Israel or “Palestine”.  Such an admission put him on Arafat’s black list.

The PA is no longer on the way to collapse, it is finished.  There is no law and order, no medical services, no legal tax collection and no Palestinian leader who is really doing anything about it.  The Israeli army is everywhere, stretched to its limits in searching for terrorists (dozens of suspects were arrested this week) and bomb factories where one of the largest and most sophisticated was just discovered in Nablus this week, a month and a half after the military entered the city.  A semblance of law and order are provided by the IDF, unfortunately including a lot of curfews, while food and medical services are supplied by both the medical corps and the Israeli civilian sector.

Having cancelled the January 20th elections Arafat and his PA straw ministers enjoy job security and are uninterested in relieving the humanitarian disaster they caused, actually they much prefer it as a stick to beat Israel in the media and international community.  Today there are comments in the west about the disastrous daily life of the average Palestinian, but very few condemnations of any substance directed at Israel.  In the main, forbidden from criticizing Arafat, most today sit fairly silent.

So what happened?  Arafat consolidated his control over the “nothing” he holds, ‘moderates’ like Nussiebah, Jabril Rajoub and Abu Mazen have lost influence and the IDF is rooting out terrorism in a quiet and efficient manner, step by step.

The quieter it is, the more the IDF is doing its job and the more Arafat sinks into his lot of ‘irrelevance’ as promised last year by PM Sharon should he continue to support terrorism.