Monday, April 17, 2006

[imra] Daily digest - Volume: 2 Issue: 1372 (11 messages)

imra Mon Apr 17 00:23:52 2006 Volume 2 : Issue 1372

In this issue of the imra daily Digest:

Qassam lands near kibbutz dining hall
Ari Shavit: Election of Olmert "result of massive spin
...Had the Israeli media done its job faithfully,
you would not have been elected"
Olmert asked to push for Jonathan Pollard's release
Caroline Glick: Time for U.S. to deal with Itran challenge
The Military Battle against Terrorism:
Direct Contact vs. Standoff Warfare
Peres: Open Gaza Airport for Palestinian Export
- Derides Need For Inspection
How to Lose Your Job at a Saudi Newspaper
Petition: Reducing "Safety Zone" in Shelling
of Gaza Strip is Manifestly Illegal Order
4 Reports: Palestinian Security Chaos
and Proliferation of Small Arms
Sever Plocker: Flawed pullout predictions
should make Olmert rethink his plan


Subject: Qassam lands near kibbutz dining hall

Qassam lands near kibbutz dining hall,7340,L-3239856,00.html

Rocket launched from northern Gaza lands near Yad Mordechai's dining room
while members were dining at the place. No injuries reported in incident,
but building sustains damages. Palestinian sources say al-Quds Brigades
behind strike. IDF shells northern Gaza in response
Tova Dadon YNET 14 April 2006

A Qassam rocket that was launched from the northern Gaza Strip landed near
the dining hall in kibbutz Yad Mordechai south of Ashkelon, while kibbutz
members were dining at the place.

No injuries were reported, but some damage was caused to the building.

Palestinian sources reported that the al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad's
military wing, are behind the strike.

In response to the attack, IDF forces began firing artillery shells at the
area in northern Gaza from which the rocket was launched.

'Terrible explosion'

The kibbutz's dining hall was crowded Friday evening, when kibbutz members
were having their Shabbat dinner with guests and relatives.

The rocket landed shortly after 8:30 p.m. in the area between the dining
hall and the community's gymnasium, causing a loud explosion and shattering
glasses in the vicinity.

Nehama Man, a kibbutz member, said that "Qassams usually fell in orchards or
near the kibbutz, so we didn't really feel them. This evening it happened at
the heart of the kibbutz on a Shabbat evening. The dinner was already over
and people were calmly sitting and talking to each other when we heard a
terrible explosion. Everybody ran outside to see what happened and then we
saw the remnants of Qassam in the yard."

Other kibbutz members said that while they were accustomed to hearing
explosions and firing from both sides on a daily basis, during the holiday
things were quiet. "Guests residing in central Israel who came to visit said
they came to experience what they were told about, but all they could hear
was silence. Only this morning did the loud explosions resume, and this
evening we saw the response," a resident of the place said.

The community's security chief Haim Madar said that the damage caused to the
dining hall will be fixed by Sunday.

Yad Mordechai is not equipped with security rooms, and the residents
received no instructions on how they should act should more rockets land in
the kibbutz.

Army escalates war on Qassams

On Friday the IDF shelled areas in the Strip from which terror cells have
been firing rockets at Israel. Four Qassams were launched at the western
Negev region from Gaza Thursday, but all rockets landed in Palestinian

The army has recently escalated its operations against Qassam launchers. An
IDF shell landed this week on a house in the town of Beit Lahiya in northern
Gaza, killing a Palestinian girl and wounding 12 of her family members,
including her eight-month pregnant mother who was critically injured.

In wake of the deadly strike, army sources said they regretted hurting
civilians, but stated it was the terror organizations who were forcing
Israel to fire near populated areas.

Hanan Greenberg contributed to the report

First Published: 04.14.06, 22:01
Latest Update: 04.14.06, 22:16


Subject: Ari Shavit: Election of Olmert "result of massive spin
...Had the Israeli media done its job faithfully,
you would not have been elected"

A fresh count
By Ari Shavit Haaretz 15 April 2006

Good morning, Ehud Olmert. This morning is no ordinary morning. This morning
is this morning. From this day forth you, Ehud Ben Mordechai and Bella
Olmert, are the prime minister of Israel.

You know full well, Mr. Prime Minister, that your selection was the result
of massive spin. The one elected in the 2006 elections is not Ehud Olmert
but rather the one carrying on Sharon's path. But you are not the one
carrying on Sharon's path. You are another. In every way and matter, you are
another. Had you stood before the voter without the Adler-mask of the one
carrying on Sharon's path, you would not have been elected. You would have
received less votes than the head of the Pensioners Party. Rafi Eitan is far
closer to the spirit of Sharon and the temper of Sharon than you.

You know full well, Mr. Prime Minister, that your selection was to a great
extent unfair. Had the Israeli media done its job faithfully, you would not
have been elected. Your arrogance, your colorful lifestyle, your
appointments, the affairs connected with you and your failure as mayor of
Jerusalem would have prevented your election. But you are after all the most
networked politician in Israel. You have at your disposal a safety net of
several of the newspaper owners, and you have at your disposal a safety net
of several of the newspaper editors, and you have at your disposal a safety
net of many of the senior journalists. These nets did their part. They
caused part of the Israeli media outlets to operate in the election campaign
not as your critics, but as your security guards. If Sharon was a precious
citron in cotton wool, you were a diamond in a safe. From every quarter,
your well-being and comfort were looked after. You were led to the prime
minister's bureau in an investigation-proof limousine.

You know full well that your selection was to a great extent arbitrary. You
are intelligent, you are sharp and you are a quick decision-maker. But
nothing in your past has prepared you properly for the high office. You
haven't in your possession a single real action that attests to your being
worthy to be the leader of a nation. And you are fearless. Not just arrogant
but fearless. The combination of leaderly inexperience and leaderly
frivolity render you a captain destined for disaster.

But all that is behind us. The votes have been counted, the Knesset members
elected, the decision determined. And as prime minister of Israel, you are
entitled to turn over a new leaf. You are entitled to a fresh count. You are
entitled to a hundred days' grace period. Grace requires it, the new title
also requires it. In the past hundred days, you made countless mistakes. You
declared victory prematurely and publicized a baseless withdrawal plan and
commited yourself to an impossible timetable. You thereby demonstrated that
you are more Ehud Barak than Ariel Sharon. If you do not want the length of
your term to equal the length of Barak's term, you must learn to listen to
criticism, draw lessons and reach conclusions. For your own good, and ours,
you must change.

Behave more modestly, Mr. Prime Minister. Be not in haste. Do not go out for
grand measures. Converge your convergence plan into reasonable and sane
proportions. Give it the political dimensions it lacks. Be very careful on
your trips to Washington. Do not give George Bush everything before you've
received anything. Do not commit to a unilateral withdrawal prior to the
toppling of Hamas. Conduct negotiations with the international community
centered on Israeli demands, not Israeli concessions. Remember Sharon. Do it
in the spirit of Sharon. You were elected in his name.

Ehud Olmert, you are there at a fateful moment. You are there when Iran has
to be stood up to. You are there when the land has to be divided. You are
there in the face of a gigantic mission. You are the not-Ben-Gurion tasked
with a Ben-Gurion mission. So on this morning every thinking Israeli must
hope for your success. Every thinking Israeli must pray that you find your
way. Go forth in strength, Mr. Prime Minister.


Subject: Olmert asked to push for Jonathan Pollard's release

Olmert asked to push for Jonathan Pollard's release

By Nadav Shragai - Haaretz - April 14, 2006

A committee working for the release of jailed spy Jonathan Pollard asked
interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the leaders of other Knesset parties
on the eve of Pesach to submit an additional formal request asking the
United States government to grant Pollard clemency.

The Committee to Free Jonathan Pollard, with the cooperation of Pollard's
wife Esther, said that a source close to Bush told the group that if Israel
submits another request, it will be accepted under humanitarian
considerations and as a gesture to the new Israeli government.

Pollard has served 21 years for spying for Israel while serving as a U.S.
Navy intelligence analyst. The group issued a letter written by Pollard a
few days ago, calling on the Israeli public to act on behalf. Pollard also
blasts his former recruiter and handler, incoming Knesset member Rafi Eitan,
the chairman of the Pensioners' Party. Pollard blames his capture on Eitan,
who was then head of a covert department dedicated to scientific and
technological espionage.

Pollard's letter, however, is mostly an account of his weakening health, due
to high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic arthritis, symptoms of glaucoma
and problems with his gall bladder and sinuses. He notes that he lacks the
basic necessities to hold a Passover seder, like matza and wine.

He also describes his extreme loneliness and concern for his wife, who lives
in Jerusalem and works tirelessly for his release, despite what he calls the
Israeli government's lack of support. -30-


Subject: Caroline Glick: Time for U.S. to deal with Itran challenge

Column One: The fateful hour has arrived

Caroline Glick, THE JERUSALEM POST Apr. 13, 2006

This week Iran presented the US with the ultimate challenge and Washington
must now make a decision. Is it fighting to win?
Since the September 11 jihadist attacks on the US mainland, President George
W. Bush has stated repeatedly that the greatest threat to global security is
the specter of rogue regimes and terror groups acquiring weapons of mass
destruction. At his January 2002 State of the Union address, the president
declared that the regimes of Iran, North Korea and Iraq comprised an axis of
evil and a central goal - indeed the most crucial goal - of the US-led war
was to prevent them from acquiring or maintaining arsenals of weapons of
mass destruction.

If we accept Bush's definition of the aims of the war, then five years on,
the inescapable conclusion is that the US and its allies, such as they are,
are losing this war and losing it badly. Iraq's arsenal of weapons of mass
destruction was not captured by US forces who heroically brought down Saddam
Hussein's regime three years ago this week. It vanished before they arrived.
Israeli intelligence reported before the US-led invasion that starting in
late summer 2002 Saddam's WMD arsenal was shipped by truck convoy to Syria.
Recently, documents seized from Iraq after the fall of the regime were
released to the public. Those documents revealed that under the direct
command of former Russian prime minister and KGB boss Yevgeny Primakov,
Russian Spetnaz forces oversaw the transfer of Iraq's WMD to Syria ahead of
the US-led invasion. These reports have been corroborated by Saddam's Air
Vice Marshall General Georges Sada.

So rather than being destroyed or secured, Saddam's WMD arsenal was simply
moved from one rogue regime with intimate ties to terror organizations to
another rogue regime with intimate ties to terror organizations.

As for North Korea, 10 months after Bush labeled the Stalinist regime in
Pyongyang a member of the axis of evil, North Korea announced that it had
systematically breached its 1994 agreement with the US not to develop a
nuclear arsenal and had harvested plutonium from some 8,000 spent fuel rods
at its Russian-built Yangbon reactor. Immediately after the North Koreans
admitted their duplicity, the US acknowledged that China, Russia and
Pakistan had all actively assisted North Korea in developing its nuclear
weapons program behind America's back.

So Bush was being played for a fool. A year after the September 11 attacks,
America learned that neither its enemies nor its purported allies took
Washington's war goals seriously. North Korea thumbed its nose at Bush, and
Pakistan, China and Russia willfully betrayed him.

The Bush administration reacted to the ruin of its Asian strategy by
pretending that it hadn't failed. Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and other
top administration officials lauded Pakistan for its commitment to
preventing North Korea from acquiring nuclear capabilities even as it became
public knowledge that Islamabad had transferred centrifuges for uranium
enrichment to the North Koreans. They said that China and Russia both knew
that a nuclear-armed North Korea was inimical to their national interests
and to global security even as neither Beijing nor Moscow expressed the
slightest regret for their assistance to North Korea's nuclear program and
gave no pledge to cease that assistance.

The Bush administration continued to negotiate with the North Koreans
through the six-party framework with South Korea, Japan, China and Russia
with the aim of convincing North Korea to stop developing nuclear weapons.
Last February, this continued attempt to maintain a failed policy was
exposed in all its preposterousness when North Korea announced that it had
nuclear weapons. Again the US refused to acknowledge that its policy was a

Last September, the US agreed to a South Korean proposal to offer North
Korea aid and security guarantees in exchange for a commitment by Pyongyang
to turn back the clock on its nuclear program. Pyongyang responded in
November by cutting off all talks in the six-party forum.

This week, the US tried again to engage North Korea at a symposium in Tokyo.
Pyongyang reacted by threatening America with destruction. North Korea's
Defense Minister Kim Il Chol said last Saturday that in the event of a US
strike on the country, North Korea, "will mobilize its political-ideological
might and military potentials built up generation after generation and
mercilessly wipe out the enemies and thus viciously conclude the stand-off
with the US."

The US chief negotiator, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill,
responded to Pyongyang's call to obliterate America by saying, "We've got
the right format, the right deal on the table - the September deal - so we
have to be a little patient and realize that this is the right approach."

But the right approach to what? It may be the right approach for allowing
North Korea to humiliate the US while expanding its nuclear arsenal and
selling missile technology to Iran, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia and
anyone else who wants it. It is the right approach for placing Washington at
the mercy of Beijing, which Washington believes is the only country capable
of forcing North Korea to improve its behavior. It is also the right
approach for ensuring that Russia, China and Pakistan believe that they can
betray the trust of the US whenever it suits their purposes. It is the right
approach to take, that is, if the US wishes to fail in its mission of
preventing rogue regimes from acquiring and maintaining weapons of mass

It is not, however the right approach for ending North Korea's nuclear
adventure. It is not the right approach for forcing North Korea to stop
selling ballistic missiles to anyone who wants them. And it is not the right
approach for destroying Pyongyang's ability to threaten the US and its
allies with nuclear attack.

North Korea is a frightful place. It is led by a fanatical regime that
carries out a systematic, monstrous genocide of its own people. It is fully
capable of acting with deliberate malice and devastating depravity on an
international level.

But it is alone. It has no vital natural resources that make it an
attractive trading partner to states throughout the world. It does not lead,
nor does it purport to lead a global movement of Stalinist millenarianism.

It is not like Iran.

IRAN ANNOUNCED this week that it is a member of the nuclear club. Over the
past five years this new member of the nuclear club has become the
undisputed leader of the global jihad. It controls Hizbullah and Islamic
Jihad. It has open and warm ties with al-Qaida. It has transformed Hamas and
Fatah into its clients. Syria has become its vassal. It controls the
majority of Iraq's Shi'ite politicians and militias. It is feared by Saudi
Arabia and Egypt. It is respected and revered by European Muslims.

With the largest proven reserves of natural gas in the world and huge
deposits of crude oil, Teheran is flushed with oil and gas profits and has
recently signed multi-billion dollar oil and gas deals with China. It has
close business relations with Europe and Russia. It is a member of OPEC. And
it is led by men who believe that they are living in a messianic age which
demands apocalyptic behavior on the road to divine victory on earth.

Iran, the single greatest enemy of the US and everything it stands for,
which has repeatedly stated its goal of destroying America and erasing
Israel from the map of the world, is now on the verge of acquiring a nuclear
arsenal. It already has delivery systems capable of launching nuclear
strikes against Israel and most of Western Europe. Through its own
Revolutionary Guards units, Hizbullah and its other terror clients, it has
been actively warring against the US for 27 years.
Iran made its fastest leaps towards nuclear capabilities since the September
11 attacks. When in late 2002 Iran's secret nuclear facilities in Natanz,
Arak and Isfahan were revealed to the world, the US reacted not by moving to
destroy this emerging threat which it acknowledged to be the greatest threat
to its own national security and to the security of the world. It reacted by
backing Britain, Germany and France's attempts to appease the mullahs into
giving up their nuclear weapons program.

The Europeans' diplomacy never had any chance of ending the Iranian program.
Iran did not embark on it nuclear weapons program in order to be bought off
but in order to have a nuclear arsenal. Yet Washington complemented the
Europeans' worthless summitry by clearly signaling that Iran had no reason
to worry about US military intervention. This it did by studiously ignoring
the fact that Iran was actively warring against US forces in Iraq and
flooding Iraq with its agents, spies and weapons.

To date, the US's official policy for contending with Iran is to seek
redress in the UN Security Council. That is, the US has placed the
responsibility for meeting what it has itself admitted is the greatest
threat to global security in the hands of nations that do not share its
assessment of Iran. By seeking Security Council action on Iran, the US has
delegated the power for contending with the Iranian nuclear threat to China
and Russia which have both assisted Iran in developing its nuclear and
ballistic missile programs.

Like its policy towards North Korea, the US's policy towards Iran serves not
to thwart Teheran's nuclear aspirations but to facilitate them. It serves
not to expand America's options for contending with this grave and gathering
threat to its national security and global interests, but to limit them.

After the September 11 attacks, George W. Bush was revered by Americans and
lovers of liberty around the world. His
soaring rhetoric and stated determination to fight for all that is good and
sacred in this world won the hearts of millions and instilled in them the
hope that the great battle for civilization had been joined by a force
capable of defending it.

America is the greatest nation on Earth and it does have the ability to
defend the world against regimes like Iran and its allies. It can prevent
Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It can take those weapons out of North
Korea's hands. It can bring Damascus to its knees and force it to cough up
Iraq's arsenal of pathogens. And no, military might is not the only way for
it to accomplish these tasks.

But America cannot, and it will not accomplish any of these goals if it
continues to abide by strategies and frameworks that serve only to
strengthen its enemies and permit its "allies" to behave perfidiously. It
cannot and will not defend the world from evil, demonic regimes like Iran's
if it continues to allow the likes of the EU, Russia, Egypt and China to
undercut its will at every turn.

This week Teheran threw down the gauntlet. The greatest battle of this war -
the battle to prevent the world's most dangerous regime from attaining the
most dangerous weapons known to man - has begun. The moment has arrived for
President George W. Bush to make clear if he is, in the final analysis, the
leader of the free world or its undertaker.



APRIL 15, 2006


Family and childhood friend sue Damascus leadership for the unlawful holding
of Brooklyn-born MIA

WASHINGTON - The family of a Brooklyn-born man who went missing in battle
almost 24 years ago has filed a lawsuit against top members of the Syrian
government for imprisoning their son and keeping him incommunicado for
nearly a quarter of a century.

Zachary Baumel was captured on June 11, 1982 while serving in the
Israeli army during the Battle of Sultan Yakoub. According to eyewitness
accounts, he was taken prisoner with two other Israeli soldiers - the three
later become known the Israeli MIAs -- and paraded through the streets of
Damascus on top of their disabled tank. Photographic evidence showed that
tank later being transported to Damascus on a flat bed truck.

To the best of anyone's knowledge, Zachary has been held by Syria ever

"Over the years, a wealth of information has accrued that the Syrian
Government is directly responsible in this case," said Yona Baumel, Zack's
father. "Our aim is not to obtain a financial judgment, but to get access
to the MIAs. By hitting the Syrians were it hurts, in their pocketbooks, we
hope to obtain positive results where all other methods have failed.

The government of Syria has repeatedly refused to cooperate with a
wide array of intermediaries for the United States and international
intermediaries trying to ascertain his whereabouts and his condition.

In addition to naming Syria, the lawsuit also names the current
President of Syria Bashaar Assad, the foreign minister Farouq al-Shaara,
former Syrian defense minister Moustapha Tlaas as well as other unknown
participants in the continued imprisonment of Zachary.

"The message that we are sending the Syrians is that this case will not
fade away with time," said Dr. Stuart Ditchek, Zack's friend when the two
grew up together in Brooklyn. "We will see an end to this illegal behavior
through cooperation or by force. Civil litigation is only the beginning.
Once Assad is out of office, we will resolve Zack's case and go after all
the participants criminally as well in this 23-year cover-up." Dr. Ditchek
is prosecuting the lawsuit as Zachary Baumel's "next friend" in the United

The lawsuit has been filed in Washington, DC Federal District Court
under a provision in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act which allows
foreign states designated by the United States as state sponsors of
terrorism to be sued in U.S. Courts for harm caused to United States
citizens by the instrumentalities of those countries supporting terrorism.
The lawsuit seeks a judgment against Syria, which would be collectable
against its assets in the U.S. This is the first time that the Syrian
government is being sued under this statute.

The provisions of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act have been used
to successfully reach Iranian assets in terror cases. The attorneys for
Zachary and the Baumels are Daniel J. Scher of Scher & Scher, P.C. in Great
Neck, New York and Thomas J. Luz of Pearce & Luz in New York, New York.
# # #
For further information:


Subject: The Military Battle against Terrorism:
Direct Contact vs. Standoff Warfare

Strategic Assessment Volume 9, No. 1 April 2006

The Military Battle against Terrorism: Direct Contact vs. Standoff Warfare

Gabriel Siboni [IDF Col. (res.). Military researcher and doctoral
candidate in information systems]

The processes of force building in the IDF are long-term processes based on
the array of operational needs that will address the challenges of the
future. The technological advances in long-distance precision strike
abilities led the IDF to develop and exercise a range of abilities in the
latest conflict against Palestinian terrorist elements in Judea and Samaria
and the Gaza Strip. The voices of those who argue that this approach
(standoff warfare) should be the vanguard in the military battle against
terrorism are sounded with increasing intensity, reinforcing the school that
advocates focusing on development of standoff capabilities. These voices
occasionally presume that in the future it will be possible to place most of
the burden of the battle on the aerial forces, with the ground forces
serving only in support capacity. The growing popularity of this school may
substantially influence the IDF as it envisions and plans the future trends
of its force buildup.

In his article "Can Modern War be Decided by Aerial Force Alone,"1 Maj. Gen.
(ret.) David Ivri analyzes the aerial ability to decide the outcome in a
limited conflict as well as in the battle against terrorism. Most of his
arguments relate to the technological and technical aspects of this type of
warfare, such as: control and monitoring systems, strike capability,
reaction speed, continued presence, and the like. He concludes that "the
victory in the limited conflict also requires the achievement of strategic
political goals and not just the destruction of targets . . . . The aerial
force does not have the practical ability to achieve the stage of civil
procedures, and ground forces are needed for that." Gen. Ivry further notes
that aerial combat is limited in the war against terror because of the
circumscribed ability to obtain the tactical intelligence required
specifically for air combat, and therefore it is not possible to win the war
against terrorism from the air.

In light of this presumption, this article analyzes and compares two
alternate approaches. The first is standoff warfare - fighting that is
conducted by striking at terrorist elements with a massive exercising of
remotely operated technological devices. The second is the more
"traditional" approach, direct contact warfare - fighting that utilizes
ground forces to strike at terrorist forces while aiming to achieve direct
and unmediated contact with these elements. In order to focus the analysis,
the concept of outcome or victory in the context of a conflict against
terrorism should be set aside, so that the effectiveness of each combat
approach can be reviewed comprehensively. Particular attention is directed
here to the question: to what extent does standoff warfare serve the overall
needs of the fight against terrorism? The analysis that follows includes
three sections: the first presents what is required of warfare, both on the
strategic and operational-tactical level. The second considers the two
operational alternatives, and the third details the proposed operational
response. An analysis of these two alternatives prompted the IDF's Judea and
Samaria division, from 2003 to 2005, to implement a fighting concept based
on the drive for direct and ongoing contact with terrorist elements
throughout the entire area of operations.

The Requirement

As a first step, it is important to consider the IDF's various strategic
alternatives in the current conflict with the Palestinians:

* The strategy of attrition - a strategy that seeks to wear out the
Palestinian side2 in order to achieve medium-term objectives. For example:
the use of the term "illustrating the cost of losing" is in effect one way
of realizing this strategy.

* The strategy of overpowering - a strategy that seeks to overpower the
Palestinian side3 and cause it to accept Israel's position. The use of the
term overpowering in a strategic context is highly problematic, primarily
because of the inability to eliminate the desire (and ability) to continue
to exercise terrorism in varying intensities.

* Conflict management - contrary to the desire to wear out or overpower,
this strategy seeks to establish a reasonable security reality.

An analysis of these three strategic options (also in light of the attempt
to implement some of them, even if it was not planned in advance and
resulted from the circumstances), makes it possible to identify the latter
strategy as the preferred option, namely, a strategy that aims to manage the
conflict out of a drive to provide the political echelon with as much room
to maneuver as possible. Given this, efforts by the military echelons toward
a strategy of overpowering should stop.

Embracing the strategy of conflict management directly affects the
military's operational concept, the concept and purpose of exercising force,
and the tactical fighting methods. From here it is possible to continue
reviewing the relevant tactical achievements while distinguishing between
their different types: a tactical achievement that contributes to a
strategic failure (and from the Palestinian side, contributes to a strategic
achievement); or a tactical achievement that contributes to the attainment
of long-term strategic achievements. The optimal operational alternative
should identify and implement an approach that will enable the realization
only of those tactical achievements that contribute to long-term strategic
achievements. Therefore, it is always appropriate to characterize and define
tactical-operational missions while considering whether they contribute to
the attainment of long-term strategic achievements.

Operational Alternatives

The first alternative is standoff warfare, an approach that strives to
utilize standoff weapons with the drive to achieve remote control in an
absolute (or close to absolute) fashion in the operational expanse, while
devising solutions for maximum strike at terrorist elements from a distance,
using advanced technological means. This approach has a substantial
advantage when it comes to the ability to operate in areas where it is not
possible to engage in large-scale ground operations. Standoff warfare is an
approach that strives to achieve the maximum tactical objectives from a
distance in the most sterile way possible. The components of this
operational approach include: long-distance strikes in a built-up or other
area in order to prevent the movement of hostile elements in and out;
prevention of high trajectory weapons fire; selective strikes against any
chosen target in the expanse, with maximum fatalities and minimal
surrounding damage; and the use of forces in the air or on the ground
(outside the expanse) to reach inside the expanse while minimizing direct
contact with terrorist elements. The operational concept underlying this
approach aims to achieve long-distance control through technological means.
The designated task of the ground forces is to support standoff operations
in order to enable the interception of suspects and terrorist elements, and
to use clandestine patrols in order to obtain intelligence.

The use of this warfare approach ensures tactical operational achievements
in a substantial number of events, yet harbors several drawbacks. The first
is the duration of the technological edge. While the technological advantage
over the Palestinians is substantial, after a period of adjustment following
the introduction of any new and sophisticated weapon system into the
battlefield, the Palestinian side identifies weaknesses that enable it to
reduce, even if only minimally, the effectiveness of the system. This
process of identifying weaknesses and the occasional success in thwarting
the potential of precise weaponry (for example, the use of household
blankets in the Jabaliya refugee camp to foil sophisticated precision
technologies) is perceived as an impressive victory and generates much
motivation to continue the opposition. The second drawback is glorifying the
opposition. The use of sophisticated weapons systems in such massive
quantities spawns a David and Goliath syndrome, creating a platform to
glorify the stone in the hands of children against the helicopter and the
improvised device against the fighter plane. It is necessary to ask whether
such massive use of technology that wins in most tactical encounters also
leads to long-term strategic achievements. Third, although many terrorist
elements are hit, in many cases it is at the cost of surrounding damage that
entails injury to passersby. Fourth, there is limited operational use of
non-lethal means. It is necessary to establish a large standing supply of
operational measures that deal with various echelons of terrorist elements
(not all groups are "senior" and should have a standoff operation launched
against them). There is an ongoing need to obtain intelligence from lower
operational echelons in the hierarchy of a terrorist organization, for
example, the need to arrest wanted suspects for questioning. Clearly, it is
not possible to open fire on those wanted for questioning. Concentrating
efforts on exercising counter-means will impede obtaining such intelligence.
Finally, there is the incomplete familiarity with the terrain. Familiarity
with the terrain is a vital tool for dealing with terrorists and guerillas.
Relying on familiarity with the terrain based on a network of sensors, as
sophisticated and sensitive as they may be, will not make it possible to be
acquainted intimately with the area of operation.

The second alternative strives for direct and unmediated contact - an
approach that is built on direct combat contact with terrorist elements
while utilizing the technological superiority as a component in achieving
precise intelligence and maximizing the surprise element. The use of
standoff fighting will be limited to the support of direct fighting and will
be exercised only in the event necessary. The components of this approach
include: maintaining constant operational superiority in the operational
expanse in order to obtain unmediated knowledge of the area; making an
efficient effort to gather combat intelligence as a decisively influential
factor of operational effectiveness; using close-range precision shooting
while maintaining unmediated contact with the terrain; conducting a series
of operations and detentions to strike at terrorist elements while utilizing
clandestine activity, creating an element of surprise, and minimizing
collateral damage. The use of technological means enables precise
intelligence to be obtained and increases the forces' operational
efficiency. The use of counter-fire will occur when there is no other
operational alternative to a genuine and immediate threat. The role of the
aerial forces will be to support the ground combat operations.

The concept underlying this approach touches on three operational

* Upsetting the rival's equilibrium in its operational expanse is a most
powerful move. Attaining unmediated contact with terrorist elements in the
expanse where they operate is of considerable importance in this context.
The ability to operate silently, reach any point, carry out an arrest,
strike at terrorists in a surprise attack and with "a knife between the
teeth" is an ability that scores influential results: both in the immediate
tactical success and in the overall continuum, which contributes to the
attainment of the long-term strategic goal. Achieving this operational
ability requires the use of a wide range of technologies in order to obtain
intelligence superiority and the ability to achieve a surprise in every
encounter. While clearly there may be scenarios where there will be no
option other than the use of precise counter-fire, they are to be considered
the exception. The management of the operations is unequivocally ground

* Striving for an acknowledged symmetric arrangement - the desire to
minimize as much as possible the rival's ability to establish a lack of
symmetry, i.e., to prevent it from gaining the achievement of being the
"weaker" element lacking technology and advanced capabilities. Creating the
sense of an operation on equal turf will contribute in the long term to
reducing the power of the Palestinian myth of the few and the weak (the
Palestinians) against the many and powerful (the Israelis).

* Operational ability of countermeasures, which preserves the ground
commander's freedom of operation to use weapons and counter-fire.
Maintaining this ability enables strikes on expanses where it is not
possible to utilize forces, or strikes according to timetables that could
not otherwise be adhered to. The ground commander should establish overall
command and control capabilities that he can use in order to exercise the
range of operational capabilities that are given to him.

These two operational concepts differ in three main characteristics. The
first lies in the contrast in the operational balance. In the standoff
option, the emphasis is on utilizing counter-strike capabilities while
minimizing the friction caused as a result of direct contact, to the extent
possible. In the direct contact option, there is a preference for utilizing
forces to the extent that is possible from an operational perspective. Only
in cases where it is not possible to achieve a quality result at the cost of
a reasonable risk will use be made of countermeasures, for example, where
there is no ground operation capability in a given sector and it is possible
to prevent terrorist activity that entails an immediate risk only by using

The second difference concerns the command patterns. The command method is
the core component of every operational alternative. The command concept
behind standoff measures relates to the ability to provide commanders with a
technological platform so that they have at their disposal abundant and
quality information. The operational command takes place from a distance. In
many cases, the desire for this alternative is to transfer operational
command to long distance technology stations. The direct ground command in
this alternative is a supporting tool in the use of counter-fire. On the
other hand, the command in the direct contact warfare is direct and
unmediated command by the ground commander over the operational expanse. The
other elements involved in firing are subordinate to his command and support
his command and control processes.

Third, there is a difference in the deterrent effect. The use of
counter-fire can have less substantial deterrent capability than achieving
those same objectives through direct contact. Realizing the operational
capability to circulate in large swathes of the area while conducting
undercover and other operations enables the creation of a greater deterrent
effect than using counter-fire. Furthermore, it can be assumed that the more
time goes by in which the primary operational method is counter-fire, there
will be an adjustment process on the part of the terrorist elements in which
they adapt to this method and the deterrent effect will be weakened.

The Proposed Operational Answer

In order to find the best operational alternative, each approach's
compatibility should be reviewed against the operational objectives that
were defined. The approaches should address both the strategic and tactical
needs. The ability to implement an overall operational approach in the
expanse as well is critical. This approach must prevent a situation where
tactical achievements contribute to the strategic failure (a strategic
achievement for the Palestinian side) and instead seek tactical achievements
that contribute to the attainment of long-term strategic achievements. The
unmediated direct combat approach has greater potential than the standoff
approach, as it is possible to utilize fully a complex mix of operational
capabilities in order to attain effective results in combating terrorism and
guerrilla warfare while maintaining the advantages in the following areas:

* Command patterns - maintaining the direct and unmediated command
capabilities, knowing that the ground commander has the best understanding
of the overall operational situation

* Surrounding damage - reduction of collateral damage, out of both ethical
reasons and the value of reducing the motivation for terror caused as a
result of strikes against innocent bystanders

* Non-lethal operations - maintaining the ability to carry out arrests to
obtain intelligence and strike at minor figures involved in terrorism

* Familiarity with the terrain - maintaining an intimate familiarity of the
area of operations among a large number of commanders and units

* Upsetting the rival's equilibrium - realizing unmediated contact with
terrorist entities in the expanse where they operate while preserving the
ability to operate silently is of the utmost importance, and provides
results with a cumulative long-term effect

* Awareness of a symmetric arrangement - reducing the opponent's ability to
create a lack of symmetry and preventing him from gaining the psychological
benefits of being the weak element lacking technology and advanced

* Utilizing the deterrent effect - the operational ability to act and be
present in large swathes of territory while carrying out undercover and
other operations helps create a substantial deterrent effect

* Optimizing the technological advantage - using technologies as a
supporting element and not as a core element in combat, which will lead to
the full utilization of the technological edge over terrorist elements and
will not hasten its erosion

* The operational blend - it is desirable to preserve the operational blend
between direct contact and standoff capabilities, which enables freedom of
operation to be given to the ground commander to use weapons and
counter-fire as necessary.


The challenge of fighting terror requires constant thinking to find
operational approaches that reduce terrorism while contributing to the
state's long-term strategic goals. There may be many cases where standoff
warfare will be the primary operational alternative (for example,
post-disengagement Gaza or Lebanon). In such cases analysis shows that the
ability to attain significant achievements is very limited. In order to
enable the realization of operational capabilities based on direct contact,
it is necessary to have a range of command and control capabilities, arms
development, and training for operational units and their commanders. A
vital condition is the construction of an integrated fighting platform of
all the branches of the military, while engaging in a shared operational
dialogue. These conditions can be achieved through a broad vision, enjoying
the support of a technological effort for the operational approach without
becoming indebted to it. The main principles of a targeted fighting approach

* Striving for direct contact in the fighting expanse with the terrorist
elements, while building and maintaining the operational capabilities of
direct contact via specially trained units and levels of freedom of
operation that enable the undertaking of special missions with very short

* Using ongoing offensive effort in every expanse at the same time as
preserving the IDF's degree of freedom in every expanse, while implementing
many non-lethal operations

* Focusing intelligence capabilities around the requirements of direct
contact operations and striving to improve combat intelligence with elements
operating in direct contact in the understanding that it is quality
intelligence that enables a platform for refined operational capability.

Fighting methods that focus on the ability to strike at targets from a
distance do not in and of themselves serve the overall operational needs.
The standoff method should not be expected to provide a complete answer to
the challenges of terrorism, even if it is supported by assistance from the
ground forces in varying extents. The continued terrorist activity and high
trajectory weapons fire from Gaza prove this all too clearly. Consequently,
it is important to review the operational blend and avoid tipping the
resources of the IDF power structure in directions where its overall
effectiveness and contribution to the attainment of Israel's long-term
strategic objectives are left in doubt. The fighting approach presented
above is based on a desire to strive for direct contact in every place where
it is possible. It is worth considering the impact of this approach on the
processes of building the power structure in broad contexts such as:
reviewing the compatibility of the operational approach given the location
of the threat from the inner circle (terrorism and guerrilla warfare)
against the threat from other circles of conflict; and reviewing the
operational concept in light of the limitations of the national resources to
support the security effort and the need to maintain the technology gap as a
force multiplier that enables savings while preventing rapid erosion of
capabilities. Only if we are wise enough to develop balanced fighting
capabilities based on constant assessments of their operational
effectiveness will it be possible to maximize terror fighting abilities and
reduce terror to a reasonable level.


1 The Fisher Brothers Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies,
collection of articles, no. 26, 2005.
2 See Yehoshafat Harkaby, War and Strategy, p. 126.
3 Ibid.


Subject: Peres: Open Gaza Airport for Palestinian Export
- Derides Need For Inspection

Peres: Open Gaza Airport for Palestinian Export - Derides Need For

Aaron Lerner Date: 16 April 2006

Israel Radio correspondent Shmuel Tal reports this morning that Kadima MK
Shimon Peres proposes that in order to avoid delays in the export of time
sensitive agricultural produce that Israel should allow the opening of the
Gaza Airport for direct export to Europe.

"There is no point checking for a bomb in every crate of tomatoes", Peres
told Tal.

Peres presented his proposal to Prime Minister Olmert.

Tal noted in his report that Israel's greater concern is what the planes may
bring into Gaza rather than what they send out.

PM Olmert promised Peres a leading role in his new administration.

Peres represented Israel in setting the terms for the management of the
Rafah Crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Under the terms that Peres
embraced, the Palestinians not only carry out the inspections but also have
the last word with regard to who or what may pass through.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730


Subject: How to Lose Your Job at a Saudi Newspaper

How to Lose Your Job at a Saudi Newspaper
By Fawaz Turki
The Washington Post Saturday, April 15, 2006; A15

I was unceremoniously fired this month by my Saudi newspaper, a leading
English-language daily called Arab News.

It didn't matter that I had been the senior columnist on the op-ed page for
nine years or that my work was quoted widely in the European and American
media, including this paper. What mattered was that I had committed one of
the three cardinal sins an Arab journalist must avoid when working for the
Arab press: I criticized the government.

The other two? Bringing up Islam as an issue and criticizing, by name,
political leaders in the Arab or Islamic world for their brazen excesses,
dismal failures and blatant abuses.

Never mind that a newspaper cheapens and debases the idea of the
journalistic enterprise when it enjoins its commentators against being
critical of the government that it is supposed to be a watchdog over. Never
mind the absurdity of preventing your contributors from touching on the
issue of Islam, a social ideology whose embrace by jihadists is the top news
story in the world today. And never mind that Arab society -- a society that
remains broken in body and spirit more than a half-century after
independence -- needs very much to engage in serious self-assessment and to
promote an open debate in the media among intellectuals, academics,
political analysts and others about why Arabs have failed all these years to
meet the challenges of modernity.

But those are the stringent, not to mention pathetic, rules that determine
how the Arab press conducts its business. You play by these rules or you're
cut off. The problem is that if stringing words together is the only way you
know how to make a living, you end up eating humble pie and playing the game
by whatever rules they set for you.

Sometimes all it takes is a phone call to someone high up in your paper from
a semi-literate government official who couldn't run a lunch counter, or a
fundamentalist imam who hasn't read a half-dozen decent books in his life,
or perhaps a disgruntled diplomat at a Muslim or Arab embassy in Riyadh who
didn't like what you had to say in your column about his country. The result
is the same: Your career is ruined.

Sometimes, if you're lucky, you will have an editorial page editor who likes
your work, and he'll cut you a bit of slack and lobby on your behalf behind
the scenes, often at the risk of losing his own job. But even in this case,
three strikes and you're out.

My first provocation was -- horror of horrors -- to criticize Egyptian
leader Hosni Mubarak after he cracked down on human rights activists several
years ago. My second occurred soon after the failure of the Camp David
accords when I called for the resignation of Yasser Arafat as head of the
Palestinian Authority.

My last was to write about the atrocities Indonesia had committed during its
occupation of East Timor from 1975 to 1999. For that transgression, my Saudi
paper showed no mercy. I was out the door. No questions asked, no
explanations given. You don't write about atrocities committed by an Islamic
government -- even when they're already documented in the history books --
and hope to get away with it.

But this is not just the story of an Arab journalist losing his job. It is a
story with implications for the current American administration's efforts to
"introduce" the Arab countries to democracy, of which independent, free
media are a major building block.

What Arabs, including those masquerading as their newspaper editors, have
yet to learn is that a free press, a truly free press, is a moral imperative
in society. Subvert it, and you subvert the public's sacrosanct right to
know and a newspaper's traditional role to expose. If the Western
democracies work better than many others, it is because to them the concept
of accountability, expected from the head of state on down, is a crucial
function of their national ideology.

What Arabs have yet to learn, in addition to that, is that newspapers are
not published to advance the political preferences of proprietors, or the
commentary of subservient analysts who turn a blind eye to the abuse of
power by political leaders running their failed states.

Democracy may be a political system, but it is also a social ethos. How
responsive can a country be to such an ethos when its people have, for
generations, existed with an ethic of fear -- fear of originality, fear of
innovation, fear of spontaneity, fear of life itself -- and have had
instilled in them the need to accept orthodoxy, dependence and submission?

The Arab world today, sadly, remains a collection of disparate entities
ruled for the most part by authoritarian regimes that rely on coercion,
violence and terror to rule, and that demand from their citizens submission,
obedience and conformity. And that includes those citizens who call
themselves "journalists," to whom, by now, responsibility to truth and logic
has become irrelevant.

In this atmosphere, it is regarded as an example of reportorial acumen to
write on the op-ed pages of prominent Arab journals about how the Sept. 11,
2001, attacks were the work of Israeli agents, how the death of Princess
Diana was the result of some diabolical plot by British intelligence to end
her life rather than see her married to an Arab Muslim, how Monica Lewinsky
was an agent-in-place, put in the White House by the "Jewish lobby" -- and
so on with other infantile whimsies.
For Arabs, there is still a great divide between word and world. You can
embrace conspiracy theories with impressive ease, and be accorded by your
editors the right to pontificate about any foolish thing you want, but don't
dare write about the malfeasance of political leaders in Egypt and
Palestine, or the atrocities of a fellow-Muslim government in East Timor.
The price you must pay for such offenses if you work for the Arab press is
heavy indeed.

Fawaz Turki is a journalist living in Washington and the author of several
books, including "The Disinherited: Journal of a Palestinian Exile." His
e-mail address is


Subject: Petition: Reducing "Safety Zone" in Shelling
of Gaza Strip is Manifestly Illegal Order

16 April 2006
Press Release
Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations petition the High Court:
Reducing "Safety Zone" in Shelling of Gaza Strip is Manifestly Illegal Order

The order given to Israeli forces to aim shells only 100 meters from houses
of residents injures civilians and subjects Israeli army officers and
soldiers to war crimes charges

Today, six Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations petitioned the
High Court, demanding that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Chief of Staff
Dan Halutz revoke the order recently given to soldiers that reduces the
safety zone of shells fired into the Gaza Strip to only 100 meters from
civilians, civilians' houses, or any other civilian object. Previously, the
safety zone had been 300 meters. Last week, the order resulted in the loss
of life. In light of the substantial risk of further civilian casualties
that may occur before the order is revoked, an urgent hearing on the
petition is requested, if possible, as early as tomorrow (Monday, 17 April).
The petitioners, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Al Mezan Center for
Human Rights in Gaza, Btselem, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme,
Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and the Public Committee against
Torture in Israel, are represented by attorney Micha'el Sfard.

The order given to reduce the safety zone was revealed last week by
Ha'aretz's military correspondent, Amos Harel, and was not denied by the
Israeli Army. The article quoted a "senior official" who expressly confirmed
that the Israeli Army was aware that the reduction endangers civilian lives.
The organizations argue that, given that the shell fragmentation range is
100 meters in any case, and that the weaponry is not precise and shells can
land dozens of meters from the target, reduction of the safety zone
substantially endangers civilian lives, buildings, and other civilian
objects located near the target. Last week, shelling into the reduced range
caused the death of 7-year-old Hadeel Ghaban from Beit Lahiya, when a shell
landed inside her house. The blast wounded 12 members of her family, among
them her pregnant mother and her small brothers. Dozens of shells landed
dozens of meters, and in some cases only a few meters, from houses. The
organizations emphasize that the shelling is not a defensive measure,
directed at the source of Qassam rocket fire at the time the rockets are
launched at Israel, but shelling into "the Qassam launching spaces," broad
areas from which - it is estimated - Qassam rockets had previously been
fired. Thus, the attack is Israeli army initiated, intending to punish
and/or deter, and not as self-defense.

The organizations argue that reducing the safety zone gravely breaches
fundamental principles of the laws of war, and that the order is manifestly
illegal to the point that Israeli soldiers should not obey them. In carrying
out the order, Israeli army officers and soldiers risk being charged with
war crimes and with legal measures that may be taken against them by
international judicial bodies. The order flagrantly breaches at least three
fundamental principles of international humanitarian law: the requirement to
distinguish between combatants and civilians, the principle of
proportionality in the use of force, and the requirement to use caution in
carrying out attacks. Attorney Sfard argues that, in reducing the safety
zone, the Israeli Army is playing Russian roulette with the lives of Gaza's
civilians, by knowingly placing civilian homes within the area in which the
shells will fall, and whether civilians, including whole families, will be
injured depends on variables over which the army has no control.

For additional details, please contact:


Subject: 4 Reports: Palestinian Security Chaos
and Proliferation of Small Arms

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

#1 Security Chaos and Proliferation of Small Arms
Using Weapons in Personal and Clan Disputes

Field Update
16 April 2006

2 Citizens Killed in Hebron and Khan Yunis and 1 Injured in Armed Clashes

Jamal Issa El-Owei'i, a 27-year-old resident of Hebron, was killed on
Saturday, 15 April 2006, when shots were fired by a member of a city clan.
The killing took place against the backdrop of a dispute between the two

PCHR's preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 15:30 on
Saturday, 5 armed men attacked a shop in Beir El-Saba' Street in the center
of Hebron. The shop belongs to Issa El-Owei'i. The gunmen fired at the
shop owner's son, Jamal, while he was standing at the entrance of the shop.
He was hit by 2 bullets to the chest and neck. He died instantly. It is
noted that a dispute had taken place between the victim and members of a
city clan on the afternoon of the same day. These clan members had harassed
a group of girls, who then took refuge in the shop.

And on Thursday, 13 April 2006, Dina Mahmoud Abu Jomeiza (a 31-year-old
female resident of Khan Yunis) was killed when gunmen fired at her during a
dispute over finances.

PCHR's preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 23:00 on
Thursday, a group of 10 gunmen arrived in 2 cars to the house of Mahmoud
Qasem Abu Jomeiza (60) in the Abu Jomeiza neighborhood of Khan Yunis. The
gunmen attempted to kidnap Abu Jomeiza, who was with family members in a
farm near the house at the time. The motive for the attempted kidnapping
was a financial dispute. After a confrontation between both sides, the
gunmen fired at Abu Jomeiza, hitting him with a bullet to the left leg. His
daughter, Dina, was hit by 4 bullets to the chest and legs. The gunmen fled
the scene and the injured were taken to Naser Hospital in Khan Yunis. The
hospital announced Dina's death one hour after her arrival. Her father's
condition was classified as serious.

On Friday, 14 April 2006, Palestinian Police detained 2 of the gunmen. It
was later learned that 2 others involved in the attack were members of the
security forces and they had been detained in the security branches
employing them.

PCHR is gravely concerned over the increase of internal violence, including
the use of weapons in personal and clan disputes. This is a continuation of
the security chaos and misuse of weapons currently plaguing the Occupied
Palestinian Territory (OPT). The Centre reiterates its call to the
Palestinian National Authority (PNA), represented by the Attorney-General,
to investigate these crimes and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

#2 Security Chaos and Proliferation of Small Arms
Attacking Public Institutions and Officials

Field Update
16 April 2006

3 Gunmen Injured in Clashes with Palestinian Police in Rafah

Three armed members of a clan in Rafah were injured as Palestinian Police
confronted them during an attempted armed robbery in the Mawasi area of

PCHR's preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 15:00 on
Friday, 14 April 2006, gunmen from the El-Shaer clan fired at a Police and
National Security patrol that had confronted them during an attempt to steal
equipment and water pipes from an evacuated settlement in the Mawasi area,
west of Rafah. Eyewitnesses informed PCHR's fieldworker that Palestinian
resistance factions supported the Palestinian security forces in confronting
the gunmen. The clashes took place in Abu Bakr Street in the Tal El-Sultan
neighborhood of Rafah. They resulted in the injury of 2 gunmen:

1) Izzedeen Mohammad El-Shaer, 22 years old, injured by 2 bullets to the
left hand and right thigh; and
2) Mohammad Ibrahim El-Shaer, 19 years old, injured by 2 bullets to the

At approximately 18:30 on the same day, an armed group from the El-Shaer
clan attacked the house of police officer Mahdi Zanoun, the director of the
narcotics department in the Rafah Police. The house is located in the
Khirbit El-Adas neighborhood of Rafah. The assault was perpetrated under
the pretext that the officer had taken part in the clashes with the gunmen
earlier in the day. The clashes at the officer's house resulted in the
injury of Husam Mahmoud El-Shaer, 34, who sustained a shrapnel wound to the
right hand.

PCHR is very concerned over the continued number of deaths and injuries
resulting from attacks on public institutions and evacuated land, which has
become a prominent feature of the ongoing security chaos in the Occupied
Palestinian Territory (OPT). The Centre calls upon the Palestinian National
Authority (PNA), represented by the Attorney-General, to investigate these
crimes seriously and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

#3 Security Chaos and Proliferation of Small Arms
Attacking Public Institutions and Officials

Field Update
16 April 2006

Gunmen Storm the Palestinian Legislative Council Office in Khan Yunis

In a continuation of the trend of attacking international institutions,
which has become a feature of the ongoing security chaos in the Occupied
Palestinian Territory (OPT), gunmen stormed the Palestinian Legislative
Council (PLC) office in Khan Yunis. The attack, which took place on
Saturday 15 April 2006, was carried out in protest against the deteriorating
economic and political situation in the Gaza Strip, and against the
government's inability to pay the salaries of employees.

PCHR's initial investigation indicates that at approximately 7:00 on
Saturday, 15 April 2006, a group of about 50 masked gunmen closed the Bani
Suheila intersection on Salah El-Deen Road near Khan Yunis. They prevented
traffic from passing on both sides of the road. After approximately 2
hours, the gunmen, who identified themselves as members of the security
forces, stormed the Khan Yunis PLC office, located on Salah El-Deen Road.
The gunmen forced staff out of the office after firing shots in the air.
They stayed in the office until approximately 10:00.

PCHR strongly condemns this attack and expresses grave concern over the
escalating number of attacks against public institutions, which threaten the
lives of staff members. These attacks are a continuation of the prevailing
security chaos in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Centre calls upon
the Palestinian National Authority, represented by the Attorney-General, to
investigate these attacks and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

#4 Security Chaos and Proliferation of Small Arms
Misuse of Weapons by Armed Groups and Security Personnel

Field Update
13 April 2006

5 Citizens Injured, including 1 Pronounced Clinically Dead

Five citizens were injured, including two children, in the Gaza Strip and
West Bank in incidents involving the misuse or mishandling of weapons by
armed Palestinian groups. One has since been pronounced clinically dead.
These incidents are a continuation of the security chaos currently plaguing
the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

PCHR's initial investigation indicates that at approximately 18:30 on
Thursday, 13 April 2006, gunmen belonging to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
(the armed wing of Fatah) fired at officer Ahmad Mahmoud Abu Khashan, a
35-year old resident of Gaza, who is working with the Military Intelligence
Apparatus in Nablus. The incident took place on the outskirts of Kufr Qalil
village, southeast of Nablus, against the backdrop of internal disputes
within Fatah. Abu Khashan was hit by 23 bullets and was taken to an Israeli
hospital for treatment, where sources indicated that the victim was
pronounced clinically dead.

And at approximately 21:30 on the same day, masked gunmen traveling in 2
cars fired at Fadi Hani Abdel Fattah El-Desht, a 28-year-old resident of
Nuseirat refugee camp. He was hit by 3 bullets to the abdomen and thighs.
He was taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir El-Balah, where his
condition was classified as moderate.

At approximately 18:00 on Friday, 14 April 2006, Suliman Hassan El-Darawsha,
a 15-year-old resident of the Al-Mawasi area of Khan Yunis, was injured by a
bullet to the abdomen. He was injured, while he was near his house, by a
stray bullet which came from a training complex for the Al-Aqsa Martyrs
Brigades, located in the evacuated settlement of Neve Dekalim. The child
was taken to Naser Hospital in Khan Yunis, where his condition was
classified as moderate to serious. After the incident, the child's
relatives held a protest on the intersection leading to their homes near the
training complex. They demanded the closure of the training ground.

And at approximately 22:00 on the same day, Mohammad Abdel Salam Odeh, a
15-year-old resident of Beit Lahya, was injured by a bullet to the neck,
while he was riding his bicycle near his home. The bullet came from gunmen,
who were firing in the air at a tent where people were gathering to mourn
the death of Mohammad Adnan El-Amoudi. The child was taken to Kamal Odwan
Hospital in Beit Lahya and was later moved to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City
due to the severity of his injury.

At approximately 19:00 on Saturday, 15 April 2006, gunmen belonging to the
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades shot Bassam Na'im Hawamda, a 40-year-old resident
of El-Ein refugee camp near Nablus, while he was on his way to work in
Nablus. The victim is a member of the general secretariat of the
Palestinian Teachers' Union. He was injured by several bullets to the legs.
The Fatah movement in Nablus issued a statement accusing the victim of
corruption. According to the statement, the victim is a member of the

PCHR is very concerned over the continued number of deaths and injuries
resulting from the misuse of weapons by armed Palestinian groups, which is
part of the ongoing security chaos currently plaguing the OPT. The Centre
calls upon the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), represented by the
Attorney-General, to investigate these crimes seriously and to bring the
perpetrators to justice.

Public Document
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8
2824776 - 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip.
E-mail:, Webpage
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and write "subscribe" in the subject line.


Subject: Sever Plocker: Flawed pullout predictions
should make Olmert rethink his plan

Disengagement lessons

Flawed pullout predictions should make Olmert rethink his plan
Sever Plocker YNET (04.16.06, 16:40),7340,L-3240374,00.html

Eight months after the withdrawal from Gaza, or what was referred to as a
"unilateral disengagement," things are not developing according to the early
scenario marketed to the public.

Almost nothing has materialized in the way pullout supporters promised us
would happen.

The Gaza Strip did not calm down and the Palestinian Authority did not take
matters there into its own hands in order to establish the Middle Eastern
Hong Kong. Gaza is a no-man's land, the country of nobody. The Strip lacks a
civilian regime, no currency, no enforcement of law and order, and most of
the system tasked with providing the population with basic services is
paralyzed, aside from the one run by the United Nations.

Armed gangs rule the narrow, derelict refugee camp streets. The only
manufacturing activity is the industry of flying iron tubes that are
launched to short distances. The point of launching them at Israel is
unclear to anyone, including the launching cells themselves.

Yet when you have nothing to do and you're young and filled with energy, and
since your birth had only known poverty, occupation, and unemployment, you
find an outlet in belonging to those ridiculous "Qassam cells."

The handing over of the border crossing with Egypt to Palestinian control
also failed to lead to the expected results. The border is rather porous,
checks are inadequate, and smuggling is rampant. There too, the Palestinians
failed to implement their sovereignty.

Egyptian Border Guard troops received one kind of order: Preventing at any
price the turning of Gaza into part of Egypt. They're carrying out this job,
but nothing beyond.

The Palestinian Authority did not use the months between Israel's withdrawal
and the general elections in order to reinforce its hold among Gaza
residents. It was busy with internal power struggles. The elections were
decided in favor of Hamas.

Fatah's armed spine was broken, some of the senior security officials left
to the Gulf, and others quickly changed their political loyalty. For a while
Gaza became Hamas land. Now, it's not even that: In fact, even the official
Hamas has given up in the face of Gaza's collapse and left it to face its

And Israel, even though it removed its army and settlements, and even though
it closed down the crossings to the movement of goods, is still stuck with
Gaza as if it was a huge bone in its throat.

Rethinking convergence

We didn't disengage: What is happening, and particularly what is not
happening, in Gaza, continues to haunt us.

The responsibly over it, in the eyes of the world and in some ways in our
own view, has not been lifted from Israel. This is complemented by the
ongoing military activity against targets in the Strip, both in response to
Qassam fire and in the form of targeted killings. In the eyes of Gaza
residents, Israel continues to control the sea, air, and land. Only the
settlers disappeared. This is good, but not enough.

Even the removal of the settlements is no longer perceived as such a huge
victory by the Palestinian people. The thousands of good jobs at the
settlements have disappeared, and instead unemployment and poverty grew. The
ruins of Israeli communities were not cleared, even though the Israeli
government pledged (or rather, was forced to) pay for the clearing. It's
unclear who the guilty party is, the PA, or Egypt, or International groups.

Did Israel gain from the disengagement? Less than what its planners hoped.
The United States didn't grant us even one cent in economic aid, even though
in various phases of preparation for the withdrawal and upon the pullout,
much was said about a special USD 2 billion grant. As of today, there's no

For a short while, Israel enjoyed international sympathy, with the pullout
perceived as the start of a large-scale unilateral withdrawal. Yet the
sympathy is slowly evaporating, particularly following Ariel Sharon's

Ehud Olmert may discover that the attitude to a Sharon-made disengagement is
very different than the world's approach to an Olmert-made one. The first
one fascinated the world because it appeared to be a personal sea change by
a hawkish leader tired of war. The second one, Olmert's pullout, would look
like - and already looks like - as an act by a centrist politician whose
party received about a quarter of the vote in the recent elections.

The Qassams, of course, do not constitute a danger to Israel, but they're
bothersome, annoying, and made the daily life of Gaza-area residents very
difficult. And dangerous. Eventually, even if only due to the laws of
probability, a rocket would land in a crowd concentration and lead to

The disengagement did not cause a rift within Israel society and didn't lead
to one kind of self-reflection or another. Eight months later, its memory is
vague and its lessons unclear. We prefer not to talk about it and not to
mention it.

Was there a disengagement? Was there a (Gaza settlement of) Netzarim? The
fact that the post-disengagement reality does not resemble the earlier
scenarios and predictions should make Ehud Olmert rethink his diplomatic

Would Israel really be able to unilaterally set its border vis-�-vis the
Palestinians, a border they or the world would not accept? Would Israel be
able to "converge" into "settlement blocs" in the West Bank and annex them?
Who would finance such a move, which would cost tens of billions of shekels
and not be perceived as a solution to anything? Who would prevent a tragic
rift among the people? And what would be left behind in Palestine following
a pretend-Israeli-withdrawal coupled with pretend-annexation?

Eight months after disengagement, the pregnancy only gave rise to question

Sever Plocker is chief economics editor and deputy editor-in chief of Yediot


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