Monday, December 20th, 2010
IAF strikes 7 targets in Gaza Strip following mortars
By JPOST.COM STAFF
IDF spokesperson: "Terror tunnels" in northern and southern Strip are hit; Palestinians say 2 Izzadin Kassam Brigades terrorists injured.
The IAF stuck seven terror targets early Tuesday morning following 10 mortar attacks into Israeli territory on Monday.
The IDF spokesperson's office said that the Air Force hit three terror tunnels in the northern Strip and a terror tunnel in southern Gaza.
10 mortar shells fired at Eshkol regional council from Gaza
'Fatah asked Israel to attack Hamas before Gaza takeover'
Palestinians claimed the IAF struck several targets in the Gaza strip late Monday or early Tuesday, AFP reported.
Palestinians claimed that three raids targeted the towns of Khan Younis and Beit Lahiya, AFP reported. Two terrorists from the Izzadin Kassam Brigades were reportedly injured in the Khan Younis strike.
Ten mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip into the Eshkol regional council Monday.
No injuries were reported and no damage was caused.
Two weeks ago, in a similar incident, four to five mortar shells were fired into the same area and hit a residential area. One man suffered light wounds to his upper body.
The wounded man was airlifted by the IDF to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba while fully conscious.
Earlier this month, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi had warned that the security situation at the Gaza Strip border is very fragile and may deteriorate rapidly.
PA Shows Solidarity for Jihad Terrorists
Showing solidarity with terrorists, the Palestinian Authority has charged Israel with “attacking our people” by targeting five Gaza Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committees terrorists who were preparing to fire missiles on southern Israel over the weekend.
The PRC was also involved with the 2006 attack on a western Negev checkpoint at a Gaza crossing in which terrorists kidnapped IDF soldier Gilat Shalit. Shalit is thought to be alive, but his fate and condition are not known.
Although the de facto Hamas government in Gaza is sworn to the destruction of Israel while the Palestinian Authority ostensibly refutes terror and is pledged to halt incitement, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Al-Maliki condemned the strike on the terrorists as an “attack against our people.”
Speaking on the Voice of Palestine radio station, he said that Israeli counterterrorist maneuvers are intended to show Israel’s ability to operate in Judea and Samaria as well as Gaza.
Al-Maliki, who is part of the Fatah movement that was ousted from Gaza by Hamas nearly four years ago, stated that the Palestinian Authority will ask the United Nations Security Council to condemn the Israeli strike on the rocket-launching terrorists. He added that the request will be accompanied by a demand to condemn Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria.
The PA foreign minister also emphasized its diplomatic attempts to circumvent previous commitments to negotiate with Israel on establishing the PA as a new Arab state within Israel’s current borders.
“Palestinian efforts are currently focusing on rallying recognition of their state from the largest number possible of states across the globe, in preparation for seeking recognition from the United Nations,” he said. A handful of South American countries already have officially recognized the PA, and Al-Maliki said that the Palestinian Authority will turn to African and Asian states for similar recognition.
Bat Yam: Hundreds Protest 'Arab Takeover'
by Gil Ronen
Hundreds of people demonstrated in Bat Yam's Yoseftal Street on Monday evening. The demonstration, entitled "We Want a Jewish Bat Yam", was initiated by the city's residents and the Lehava organization. They were backed by activists from all over Israel who came out to protest what was termed "the Arab takeover of mixed cities."
Posters that accompanied the protest called to "keep Bat Yam Jewish," proclaimed "Jewish girls are for the Jewish people" and stated "Jews - let's win!". According to the posters, Arabs have been buying and renting apartments from Jews in Bat Yam, and taking Jewish girlfriends.
In recent years, thousands of Jewish girls have married Arab men who take them to their villages where they are then usually abused, activists claimed.
One demonstrator said that when Jews organized and acted, they recently succeeded in stopping a similar trend in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Ze'ev.
The demonstration included residents of Bat Yam and participants from all over Israel, including MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) and ubiquitous nationalist activists Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel.
Leftists and Arabs held a counter-demonstration opposite the nationalists. They held signs accusing the nationalists of racism.
Israel asks its embassies to thwart PA unilateralism
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH AND TOVAH LAZAROFF
Foreign Ministry asks its diplomats to prevent Palestinian moves seeking recognition; tensions mount between Fayyad and PA over statehood.
The Foreign Ministry on Monday sent a cable to its embassies abroad instructing its diplomats to thwart Palestinian moves to seek unilateral recognition of statehood particularly at the UN, according to diplomatic sources.
“There is no substitute for direct negotiations,” said Foreign Ministry Hebrew spokesman Yossi Levy.
Fayyad says Palestinian state possible by 2011
'We want a state, not unilateral declaration,' Fayyad says
Erekat: 10 EU states will upgrade their PLO missions
Establishing a Palestinian state is not like asking people to mark a favorite page on Facebook, he said.
He added that it was in the Palestinians best interest to talk with Israel instead of “trying to inflame” the international arena.
The Palestinian Authority reaffirmed on Monday its determination to unilaterally seek recognition by the international community for a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders despite statements to the contrary by PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
The announcement came amid talks in Ramallah of mounting tensions between Fayyad and the PA leadership over whether the Palestinians should proceed with plans to unilaterally declare a state without agreement with Israel.
Fayyad declared over the past few days his opposition to the PA's intention to seek unilateral statehood. He explained that the Palestinians do not want a "Mickey Mouse" state that has no sovereignty.
"We are looking for a state of Palestine, not a unilateral declaration of statehood," Fayyad said.
His statements drew criticism from some PA and Fatah officials in the West Bank.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior PLO official and close advisor to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, announced that the Palestinian leadership would pursue its efforts with the UN Security Council and General Assembly to win backing for a unilateral declaration of statehood.
"We are working to ensure the backing of as many countries as possible before the next session of the UN General Assembly," Abed Rabbo said. He also criticized the US Administration for opposing the idea.
A top aide to Abbas said in response to Fayyad's remarks: "The prime minister expressed his personal opinion. The Palestinian leadership has a different view."
Fatah sources told the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Fayad's statements were "unacceptable, incomprehensible and surprising." The sources said that the statement contradicted efforts made by Fatah and Abbas to gain international recognition for an independent Palestinian state. PA negotiator Saeb Erekat contacted Fayyad to reprimand him and ask him to explain his comments, the sources added.
Another negotiator, Nabil Sha'ath, said in response to Fayyad's statements: "The Palestinian people do not need the permission of anyone to declare their independence."
Palestinians have intensified their focus on unilateral statehood after briefly holding direct talks with Israel in September.
The Palestinians have refused to negotiate with Israel until it halts settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Israel has asked the Palestinians to negotiate without pre-conditions, even though it did agree to partially cede to the Palestinian demands by halting new Jewish West Bank construction for ten months. It has, however, refused to renew that moratorium which expired on September 26.
An Israel official told The Jerusalem Post that the best way for the Palestinians to achieve statehood is to return to the negotiating table.
“The Palestinians have to make a clear choice between meaningless declarative statements or meaningful negotiations with Israel,” said an Israeli government official.
“One choice, the former, is cosmetic and offers only a dead end,” the official said. “The latter offers a two-state solution,” the official added.
The current impasse in the peace process stems directly from the Palestinian refusal to negotiate directly with Israel, said the official. “Everything else is a result of that,” the official added.
On one hand the Palestinians are saying that they do not want to negotiate with Israel and on the other hand they are saying that they have to go to the international community because negotiations are going nowhere , said the official.
“It is a logically inconsistent position,” the official said.
In 1988 the Palestinians declared an independent state that was recognized by dozens of countries, but that did not change the status of the Palestinians.
“The idea that there is some outside imposed solution is a myth,” said the official.
Analysis: A New Kind of Intifada
by Chana Ya'ar
On Sunday, a group of Arab youths attacked a group of Jewish tourists walking along the Ramparts on the Old City Walls, about 15 minutes past the Lion’s Gate. The attackers hurled melon-sized rocks at the tourists, who fled in panic. No one was reported physically injured in the attack.
There has been an upswing in Arab terrorist attacks on Jews over the past month, according to the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet).
According to the latest statistics, there were a total of 52 attacks last month, compared to 44 in October. This included 10 attacks in the Jerusalem area, as opposed to six attacks a month earlier, in October. There were 20 attacks in Judea and Samaria last month and the same number in October.
Of the 30 attacks in November, only one was due to a rock attack; the rest were firebombs that were hurled at their victims. In the Gaza Belt area, there were 22 attacks, compared with 18 in October. Four of the attacks were rocket launchings, 12 were mortar shellings, four were small arms shootings and two were anti-tank missile launchings. One Israeli citizen was wounded on November 18, when a rock was hurled at him in Judea. An Israeli officer was likewise injured in October when he was targeted in a firebomb attack in Jerusalem.
In addition to the above, throughout November, five rockets and 28 mortar shells were fired at Israel in 16 different attacks, compared with three rockets and 20 mortar shells fired in 13 attacks in the month prior. Moreover, for the first time since the end of Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s counter terrorist war against the Hamas rulers of Gaza, a long-range Grad Katyusha rocket was fired from the region at Ofakim.
PFLP Announces Intent to Start Third Intifada
A senior official with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) meanwhile announced Sunday that terrorists groups based in the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority have formally decided to launch a third intifada - an Arab word for "uprising."
Khalida Jarrar, a senior member of the Palestinian Legislative Council did not, however, specify which terrorist organizations had agreed to participate. She also noted there is still much that the groups disagree on.
“The decision to return to the popular intifada has been taken and at present the problem is the method of practice,” Jarrar commented to the Iranian Fars News Agency. “Ending all internal differences and reviving unity and integrity in Palestine is the solution to all problems of the Palestinians,” she added. It was not clear why Jarrar, who is based in Ramallah, was speaking with FNA.
On Friday, Jarrar was quoted by the Ma’an news agency as saying that all PA factions should “formulate a unified stance against” Israel.
The PFLP leader also criticized Arab foreign ministers at last week’s meeting in Cairo of the Arab League for directing the United States to make firm recommendations to Israel and the PA on borders for its hoped-for new Arab state.
Jarrar accused the Arab ministers of engaging in an “attempt to evade their responsibility towards the issue of Palestine,” according to Ma’an. “Arab countries must stop counting on the U.S. administration,” she said.
Arson, Ecological Damage are New Weapons
Although the raging inferno that swept through the northern Carmel area earlier this month was started by accident, at least 25 other fires followed in other forests that were not. Arsonists targeted the “Peace Forest” outside Jerusalem 18 times in the past month, but few of the fires were reported in the Israeli media.
The Hebrew-language daily Ma’ariv quoted police who said the attacks were deliberately hushed up “so as not to inspire action by more potential terrorists.” The newspaper referred to the situation as “a true intifada” and warned that leftist Israel media are soft-pedaling attacks by Arab terrorists.
In addition, a newly released report by Israel’s Environment Ministry has noted that streams in Judea and Samaria are being fouled with raw sewage discharged by PA Arabs. The report cites the lack of sewage treatment facilities in the Palestinian Authority, combined with the deliberate lack of cooperation between the PA government and Israel as causes for the pollution.
Itche Meir, chairman of the Municipal Environmental Associated of Samaria, told Arutz Sheva’s Hebrew news service last week that he believes there is also some damage being inflicted by the Arabs deliberately. “This is a type of ecological Intifada,” he said. “They found out that this hurts us so they exploit it.”
Abbas holding model of area he wants for Pal.
Abbas Speaks of Non-Violence - in English
by Hillel Fendel
PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas met with representatives of Israel’s “cede land” camp, telling them to pressure Netanyahu – in the shadow of warnings by a top PA expert that any land given to Abbas will be grabbed up by Hamas.
Abbas met on Sunday with dozens of ex-generals, Kadima and other MKs, and other pro-PA-state activists, urging them to tell the Israeli public that he opposes violence. This, just hours before PA leaders charged Israel with “attacking our people” when it targeted Islamic Jihad and other terrorists preparing to fire missiles at Israel.
Abbas’ message was that he is committed to non-violence, that he is sincere about reaching a peace agreement, and that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should be pressured to make further concessions so that direct talks can resume.
It is Abbas, however, who has refused to resume direct talks with Israel until Israel agrees to re-freeze Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria – as it did for ten months recently; even then, the PA refused to talk with Israel until the tenth month.
Lipkin: I Said No Such Thing
AFP quoted Binyamin Lipkin, editor of the hareidi-religious newspaper BaKehilah, as saying at the meeting that he would relay the message of the PA chief - whom AFP said he termed "sincere" - to his readers.
Contacted by Israel National News, Lipkin said he had said nothing of the sort. “What I said was that this was a pathetic meeting,” Lipkin related, “of all those who are frustrated and still somehow believe in some kind of peace despite all that has happened. It was sad, actually…”
Lipkin also said that he asked Abbas two questions: “Where were you for nine months when Israel froze the construction? And, when will we hear you say these nice things against violence and the like – in Arabic, to your own people, and not just in English to foreigners?”
Mitzna: Israel Has Accepted
Amram Mitzna, a former leader of Israel's Labor Party, was also present. AFP quoted him as saying he believes Israeli public opinion has become more accepting of the idea of Palestinian statehood. “The historic debate over what should be the agreement between us and the Palestinians is behind us," he said. "Therefore, this meeting is important. It gives hope, despite a difficult reality.”
Mitzna did not specify his sources for this information. Just two months ago, however, a poll conducted by the Dahaf Institute for The Peace Index found that 74.1% of adult Israeli Jews agree with this statement: "Even if a peace agreement is signed, the Palestinians will never accept Israel’s existence and would destroy it if they could.”
Asked in May of this year whether they would agree to evacuate communities or settlements in Judea and Samaria, not including Jerusalem, in return for ending the conflict with the Palestinians and full peace, only 26% of Israeli Jews living within the Green Line said they would be prepared to evacuate more than a few. (Poll by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute)
Lerner: Jerusalem is the Key
“Beware of polls that show Israeli support for a Palestinian state,” Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA (Independent Media Review and Analysis) told Israel National News. “They often do not take into account all the details that such a state would demand - such as the division of Jerusalem, which the public overwhelmingly opposes.”
Toameh: Land to Fatah Will Go to Hamas
Veteran Israeli-Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh spoke last month to a Jerusalem audience and said the Israeli-Arab conflict is not about settlements, but rather “about Israel’s very existence in this part of the world.”
Regarding Abbas, Toameh said he is “corrupt, discredited, weak and does not have much power. He is reliant on Israel, whose presence in the West Bank is ironically the only reason he has managed to stay in power. [If Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders as demanded by Abbas and the PLO,] Abbas will collapse and Hamas will take over the West Bank in less than a day. If I were Israel, I would not give Abbas one inch of land in the West Bank – not for ideological reasons, but to avoid a situation where Hamas and others would take over the area.”