ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | The Post Disengagement Terror 28.9.05

The Post Disengagement Terror

28 September 2005

By Yisrael Ne'eman

Two major events happened simultaneously this week: PM Ariel Sharon barely succeeded in ensuring the Likud primaries will be held in the spring (narrowly defeating Benyamin Netanyahu and Uzi Landau by 104 votes who wanted to move the vote up to November in an effort to remove Sharon as party leader) and the Palestinians in a blatant show of force decided on massive kassam rocket attacks from Gaza into the western Negev.

The Palestinian issue is the most crucial at the moment. The Hamas and the Islamic Jihad made a conscious decision to challenge the Fatah dominated Palestinian Authority and Israel with the unwarranted aggression. Over the weekend a missile laden truck exploded during one of the Hamas victory processions celebrating Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, killing 19 and wounding 80. Hamas publicly blamed Israel for attacking the vehicle, despite the fact that no Israeli aircraft were spotted, PA President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) held the Hamas accountable and Israel, who, when responsible for demolishing Hamas targets takes full credit, denied any involvement. The Hamas, to deflect criticism for the parade accident, declared its intent to punish Israel for the “attack,” launched over forty kassam rockets into the western Negev, most hitting Sderot.

The Israeli response involves destroying Hamas and Jihad targets by the air force and targeting exercises by the artillery corps into the northern Gaza Strip. For the past two days the Hamas is insisting that for now they accept a cease-fire, a position rejected by the Jihad. The PA as usual, is completely helpless in halting the rocket attacks by the Islamists. In the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) the IDF is rounding up hundreds of Islamic activists, in the continuing attempt to break the back of the terror movements. Israeli operations are continuing.

As the average reconnaissance sergeant knew (and made clear to many) in February when a supposed cease-fire went into effect, the “lull” in the anti-terror campaign would only lead to a rebuilding of the badly battered terrorist forces who were cornered and on the ropes. While few thought the PA would halt the terror, the immediate intense outbreak of terrorism happened much quicker than expected.

The US is giving Israel full support in the “right to defend itself” and Europe is remaining silent. The EU is training the PA police to halt terror but admit their efforts will not bear fruit for a long time. It is costing millions and will amount to nothing.

Sharon, since his victory in holding off immediate primaries, is leading Netanyahu for the party leadership by 47.6% to 33.8% (Ha’aretz) with many claiming the Likud is becoming a centrist party. That remains to be seen. It is clear Sharon has every intention of battering the Hamas/Jihad, should they get in his way.

Most Israelis are willing to withdraw from the heavily populated Palestinian areas and dismantle settlements even in the face of security risks. They trust the IDF to deal with the rest. As for Sharon, he is working to reap the full diplomatic benefits for his efforts.