Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Training tomorrow's terrorists

Dear friends,
It's now out that the American security coordinator in the territories, General Keith Dayton, has been giving secret training to the Palestinian Presidential Guard.  It's part of his program to provide "support" to the Palestinian Fatah faction in its internal struggle with Hamas. 

The initial training was conducted by American military instructors in a military camp near Jericho, for some 400 men.  And now Dayton has asked the Quartet to put in place a program that will have Egyptian, British and perhaps even Jordanian instructors to train the force loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, helping it to grow to some 6,000 men.

Dayton seems to have managed to help his masters to forget the history of the Presidential Guard and its elite Force 17 unit, and is probably hoping that the Quartet will also have a spot of amnesia.

He has also sidestepped the conclusions of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank that, before the addition of more than 35,000 troops in the last 3 years, the Palestinian Security Services were overstaffed, out of control, and an insurmountable burden on the Palestinian economy. Of greater concern, though, is that Force 17 is well known for its involvement in terror activities.  

In this context, the experience of previous US training efforts is of interest.  Journalist Mathew Kalman revealed in the San Francisco Chronicle in early 2005 that as far back as 1998, the CIA spent tens of millions of dollars, contracting secret training for hundreds of Palestinian Security Service personnel, including members of Force 17.  Kalman managed to get hold of this "graduation picture" of one of those courses.  Look at the fellow kneeling fourth from the left in the front row.  Kalman identified him as Raafat Bajali – a member of the terrorist Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, who was killed in a "work accident", while making a bomb.  Fortunately, he took fellow Al-Aksa terrorist Nedal Zedok with him

And standing in the back row, second from the left, is Khaled Abu Nijmeh. He was one of Bethlehem's most-wanted Palestinian militants in the city, suspected of involvement in a string of suicide bombings and shooting attacks against Israelis. In May 2002, he was one of 13 gunmen escorted from the Church of the Nativity siege in Bethlehem, flown to Cyprus and then to exile in Europe. Several of his fellow deportees received their salaries from the Palestinian Security Service payroll. Nijmeh proudly told Kalman of his membership in Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades alongside his job as first sergeant in Palestinian General Intelligence.  He was very pleased with the CIA training that helped him learn the trade.   "I was not alone. Many Palestinian security people were trained by the Americans. We hope they will continue helping us."

Well, now that our memories have faded a little, it seems that Nijmeh's prayers are being answered.  The Americans are once again training tomorrow's terrorists.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

What makes you understand that you have the right to think that way?

Dear Friends,

Israel's security fence has dropped from the news lately.  French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy's recent declaration somewhat explains the loss of interest.  “I have significantly evolved on the matter of the separation fence. Although the wall was a moral and ethical problem for me, when I realised terror attacks were reduced by 80 percent in the areas where the wall was erected, I understood I didn’t have the right to think that way,” said Douste-Blazy.

How does it work?  By making it harder to cross from the Palestinian Authority areas into Israel, smuggling is reduced, with traffic channelled through monitored border crossing points.  Before the fence was erected, Israeli security managed to prevent around 30% of attempted terrorist attacks.  Today, the number is closer to 95%.  A case study is young 20 year old Israeli Arab Warud Qasem (pictured).  Qasem worked in our local Ra'anana supermarket as a cashier.  Her cousin was an illegal Palestinian worker in Ra'anana's Spaghettim restaurant. Three months ago, she was joined Fatah's Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades.  [You will recall that Al-Aksa is an official organ of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, and that many of its active terrorists received salaries and benefits from internationally funded Palestinian Authority budgets.] Qasem was able to use her citizenship and familiarity with Israel to help weapons smuggling and to pinpoint terror targets.  She recruited her cousin in a plan to plant a bomb in the Spaghettim Restaurant.  But, asked to smuggle the 7 kilogram bomb into Israel in her car (which has Israeli license plates) she demurred, because the border police were likely to catch her.  The bomb was driven around the West Bank, searching for a way around the fence into Israel, when Qasem was arrested with it in her possession.  She is now facing charges - our town's citizens having been saved from attack by the security fence and the ever alert Israeli security services.

Of course, the intrepid Kofi Anan has never been one to let facts, public opinion or the potential saving of the lives of innocent civilians stand in the way of demonizing Israel. In his fading days as UN Secretary General, the ever intrepid crusader for the rights of Palestinians to murder Jews has found yet another way to divert even more UN resources to the Palestinian international propaganda campaign.  He is initiating an office to collect data and testimonies on damages caused by the separation fence to Palestinians in the West Bank.  This "Register of Damage" is to be set up in Vienna, and is intended to serve possible future international adjudication.  The office would simply collect and register claims, without any an evaluation or assessment of the loss or damage claimed. "The office of the Register of Damage would not be a compensation commission nor a claims-resolution facility, nor would it be a judicial or quasi-judicial body," said Anan, adding that "Israel also has an obligation to compensate, in accordance with the applicable rules of international law, all natural or legal persons having suffered any form of material damage as a result of the wall's construction."

It would be naïve to ask what data collection Anan is undertaking to create a "Register of Damage" caused by Palestinian terror against Israeli civilians.  It would be laughable to expect the UN to prepare a mechanism for potential compensation from the international funders and institutions (including the UN) who underwrote that terror for years.

Needless to say, if the Palestinians stopped the violent and criminal attacks against Israeli civilians, there would be no data to collect. There would be no damage to record.  There would be no fence.  Instead, there would be a basis for the peace that every Israeli yearns for.  If only Anan would use UN influence and resources to resolve the Middle East dispute, instead of perpetuating it. 

I guess, if confronted, the Secretary General might just paraphrase Douste-Blazy.


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