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May 25, 2002
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Arafat is the problem, not the solution

The Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com) reports that Israeli intelligence feels that the Palestinian terrorist groups, such as the Islamic Jihad, the Hamas, and Arafat's Tanzim are much weaker then they were before Israel's Operation Defensive Shield. Therefore, they conclude, "We are very, very far away from the terrorist waves of the pastí.

Unfortunately, Palestinian chairman Yasser Arafat continues to organize, finance and support terrorism:

"Despite the drastic decline in attacks since then, "[Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser] Arafat is not willing to dismantle the Tanzim, or place real pressure on the militant organizations especially Hamas in order to stop terrorism. And the significance of this is that the terrorism will continue," he said.

One of Israel's main strategic gains from the operation, Ze'evi said, was the gradual realization among many in the region and the world that Arafat is the problem, not the solution. "This undeclared statement is now agreed upon quietly in the US, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and also it is beginning to be agreed upon on the Palestinian street," Ze'evi said.

"Arafat has begun to be perceived by Arab regimes, firstly by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as a real danger to regional stability and their regimes," he said. "As a result, they are trying to increase their influence on what is happening in the Palestinian street in an unprecedented manner, even going over Arafat's head to the militant elements in the Palestinian Authority."

I copy the full article below.

We are very, very far away from the terrorist waves of the past
By HERB KEINON - May. 24, 2002
http://www.jpost.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/Full&cid=1021813237507

Despite yesterday's bombing at Pi Glilot, and the attack the night before in Rishon Lezion, Israel is "far, far away" from the level of terrorism it faced in March, the head of military intelligence said yesterday.

OC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi (Farkash), discussing the results of Operation Defensive Shield at a symposium sponsored by Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, said the operation put "the brakes on the destructive wave of terrorism in which all the terrorist organizations were involved in an unprecedented manner. We know what is developing, and we can say that we are very, very far away from the terrorist waves of the past."

During the month of March, which preceded Operation Defensive Shield, 129 Israelis were killed, or about a fourth of all the Israelis killed since the beginning of the violence in September 2000, Ze'evi said.

Despite the drastic decline in attacks since then, "[Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser] Arafat is not willing to dismantle the Tanzim, or place real pressure on the militant organizations especially Hamas in order to stop terrorism. And the significance of this is that the terrorism will continue," he said.

Ze'evi said the Palestinians have failed to achieve their primary goal of the last 20 months of violence, which he defined as trying to weaken Israeli society through a chain of deadly attacks, leading to a deterioration of the security situation and eventually to an internationalization of the conflict.

"What was not achieved around the negotiation table at Camp David, would be imposed by a international force," Ze'evi said, describing the Palestinians overall aims.

Ze'evi said Israel learned from Operation Defensive Shield that even this type of military action has time limits. "We learned that there is a diplomatic hourglass for this type of operation and warfare," he said.

He also said neighboring Arab states were compelled by their own population "onto a dangerous track of threats and acts of punishment against Israel. We saw this in Egypt, Jordan, Syria and elsewhere."

One of Israel's main strategic gains from the operation, Ze'evi said, was the gradual realization among many in the region and the world that Arafat is the problem, not the solution.

"This undeclared statement is now agreed upon quietly in the US, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and also it is beginning to be agreed upon on the Palestinian street," Ze'evi said.

"Arafat has begun to be perceived by Arab regimes, firstly by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as a real danger to regional stability and their regimes," he said. "As a result, they are trying to increase their influence on what is happening in the Palestinian street in an unprecedented manner, even going over Arafat's head to the militant elements in the Palestinian Authority."

In addition, Ze'evi said, Israel is for the first time seeing genuine rifts between Arafat and those surrounding him. He said reliable polls among the Palestinians show that some 90 percent of the population agree with the need to change the government, which is perceived as badly corrupt and ineffective.

"Despite the militant spirit in the street against Israel," Ze'evi said, "there is also a desire to rebuild the ruins and go back to normal life. People are saying they are sick of this war. Yet, Ze'evi said, "the Palestinian public still views Arafat as their symbol, and the only option as a leader. No other leader is on the horizon, and they cannot point to one."

Ze'evi said the Palestinians realize the difficult position they are in, and are slowly blaming Arafat and not only Israel. Ze'evi said this trend is bound to become stronger with time.

Regarding the situation in the North, Ze'evi said in the last few months Syria and Iran "have increased their cooperation and stepped up the transfer of arms to Hizbullah, continuing to build the capability for a startling threat on Israel's northern border."

Posted by David Melle at May 25, 2002 11:14 AM
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