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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

May 31, 2003

Rewarding terrorists

You don't have to believe me that Israel is rewarding terrorists - read it at the official site of the PM of Israel. Digesting the distilled and skewed version of journalists just doesn't cut it; it's only the complete, official version that lays out the stark reality.

Below, extracted from the official statement, are three paragraphs concerning the concessions that the Israeli government has made, is making and offers to make.
The Prime Minister repeated his offer from the previous meeting, and suggested that he would direct the security forces to redeploy immediately in the Gaza Strip and in Judea and Samaria in such a way that would make it easier for the Palestinians to take responsibility for security in these areas, and act in a genuine and real manner to stop terror. The significance of this step would be a different deployment of our troops, and in the framework of this change pulling out of city centers in Judea and Samaria, and the reduction of the Israeli military presence there would be included.

In addition, the Prime Minister announced a comprehensive review of Palestinian prisoner lists, in order to assess if there are any who could be released. The Prime Minister also announced a long list of steps, the purpose of which is to ease the living conditions of the Palestinians, foster trade and encourage the Palestinian economy.

Some of the steps the Prime Minister detailed include:
- Removing the closure of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
- Granting permanent transit permits to senior Palestinian officials according to the lists which were submitted.
- Israel would undertake a comprehensive review of prisoner lists, and would examine which prisoners could be released. Israel would release 100 administrative detainees.
Furthermore, in response to a Palestinian request, it was decided to release the prisoners Tiysar Chaled and Abu Sukar. Every prisoner would be required to sign a document, which obliges him or her from engaging in terror.
- It was decided to increase the transfers of Israeli-held Palestinian tax funds to the amount of NIS 150 million per month.
- A quota of 25 thousand workers will be allocated to work in Israel, 15,000 from Gaza and 10,000 from Judea and Samaria.
- Overnight stays will be approved for 2,000 Palestinian workers in Israel.
- The travel permits for Palestinian businesspeople travelling within Palestinian Authority areas and into Israel was increased to 8,000.
- The series of measures easing operation of humanitarian organizations operating in the territories was expanded.
I searched in vain for any concession offered by Abu Mazen - the only PM on this planet with a nom de guerre - but I was able to find not one item.

This has placed me on the horns of a dilemma.

On the one hand, Israel is a democratic country, and the concession are made by a democratically-elected government. Who am I to second guess the Israeli moves or challenge them? It would be the height of hubris if I did so, when I am neither a citizen nor a resident of Israel, nor likely to ever be either of these. To add to this "on the one hand" facet of the dilemma, a poll reported today [30 May 2003] by JPost revealed the following:
59 percent of Israelis support a freeze on settlement building in the territories, while 57 percent support establishing a temporary Palestinian state - key measures in the first and second phases, respectively, of the internationally backed "road map" to peace.

The poll also showed that 62 percent of Israelis support an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza while 32 percent opposed it.

On the other hand, I am utterly convinced that Israel is falling into a trap out of which it may never emerge. Torrents of articles alluded to in this blog and elsewhere agree with this view, and confirmation of the validity of this view is available daily. For example, today [30 May 2003], one day after the foregoing concessions were offered, one reads about a new string of terrorist acts perpetrated by the Arabs in Yesha; see, Ha'Aretz story that includes the following, among the numerous incidents listed:
Also Friday night, Palestinians fired an anti-tank rocket at an IDF position next to Rafah Yam in the southern Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported. They also fired light weapons. There were no injuries.

Palestinians also opened fire on IDF troops next to the Gaza Strip settlement of Neve Dekalim. Again, there were no injuries.

Overnight Friday, IDF troops killed an armed Palestinian overnight [sic] trying to cross into Israel from the Gaza Strip, south of the Katif crossing.
In the past, this was Sharon's article of faith: there would be no negotiations unless the terrorist acts ceased; and here he is, negotiating and offering concessions even as terrorism proceeds unhindered!

I feel like one who observes that his sibling is about to take a very, very imprudent step, but is unable to stop him. I do fear for your safety, Israel.