GAMLA: NEWS AND VIEWS FROM ISRAEL
Volume 3 Issue 25 Jerusalem, Israel
20 Iyar, 5762 * * May 2, 2002
1. IDF: Palestinians adding bodies from cemetery to Jenin mass grave
2. Which Way Will Arafat Choose Now? Reconstruction or Terror?
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IDF: Palestinians adding bodies from cemetery to Jenin mass grave
MARGOT DUDKEVITCH - Apr. 30, 2002 The Jerusalem Post
Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp are inflating the number of residents
killed during Operation Defensive Shield by adding bodies of residents
buried in a local cemetery to a mass grave that contains the bodies of 26
residents killed in the IDF operation, the army said yesterday.
The IDF Spokesman said that Palestinians had begun removing bodies from a
cemetery located near the government hospital in the camp to the mass grave,
bringing the total number of bodies to 50. In addition, PA officials have
instructed residents to refrain from searching for additional bodies buried
under rubble in the camp and wait and do so in the presence of the UN
fact-finding team due to arrive there.
According to the army, Palestinian officials have paid residents left
homeless to rent accommodations in Jenin, but have demanded that they return
to the camp and be present during the day when UN personnel visit. Residents
have also refrained from repairing structures damaged in the camp, at the
request of PA officials. They have been instructed to erase any militant
symbols and hide weapons, and refrain from taking any militant action while
the UN teams are present.
The army noted that 70 camp residents who were present in the camp during
the IDF operation and were unharmed have said they will refrain from going
to the camp or carrying out any militant activities until the UN team leaves
The IDF noted that since its pullout from the camp, 21 innocent residents
have been wounded by explosive devices planted by Palestinian terrorists
during the IDF operation. In addition, residents protesting US support for
Israel have refused to accept American aid packages delivered to the camp.
A senior Hamas official in the Jenin refugee camp, Jamal Abdel Salam Heija,
declared the movement would continue "resisting the Israeli occupation."
Heija told Reuters "if the Israelis believe they eradicated the terrorist
infrastructure of resistance here, they are wrong. Despite our losses, it
will rise from these ashes stronger then ever before."
Which Way Will Arafat Choose Now? Reconstruction or Terror?
The package incorporating Yasser Arafat's freedom from a month under siege in
Ramallah, the transfer of six Palestinian assassins and terror chiefs to jail
in Anglo-American custody and the lifting of the Israeli blockade of
Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, teetered on the brink of consummation from
early Tuesday, April 30. The parties involved in the three-way negotiations,
the Vatican, the United States, the UK, Israel and the Palestinians, explained
that loose ends remained to be tied up.
DEBKAfile's sources have another explanation.
In fact, the details were all in the bag. Israeli and Palestinian
negotiators in Bethlehem had finalized the list of 30 wanted Palestinian
terror activists barricaded in the church for the last four weeks, who
will go into permanent exile, never to return to Israeli or Palestinian
territory. Their place of exile was selected - Italy, which offered them
The detailed arrangements for the transfer of the six wanted
Palestinians holed up in Arafat's compound were all but settled - but
for a single snag called Yasser Arafat. All the parties were of one mind
over the disposition of the four PFLP activists who assassinated the
Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi, plus the PFLP secretary Ahmad
Saadat and the Karine-A arms smuggling project's organizer, Fuad
Shobaki. Yet Arafat withheld his final endorsement on the entire package
till late Wednesday, May 1.
According to DEBKAfile's Palestinian sources, Arafat inserted two cogs
in the negotiating wheel: One, first he vetoed the deportation of the 30
senior Palestinian terrorists outside Palestinian jurisdiction; Two, he
stood out against the security arrangements the Anglo-American
specialists set up for holding the six men in Jericho jail.
Our sources report the Palestinian leader assigned 7 rooms in the
Palestinian Jericho compound to the six prisoners - one each, excepting
for Saadat who got two. This is to signify that he is not a convict but
an honored guest of the Palestinian Authority. But Arafat refused to
sign on to the US-UK arrangement for West Bank security chief Jibril
Rajoub's militia to secure the British unit and the Jericho facility. He
insisted that their safety is their own concern, not that of the
The Palestinian leader dickered because he needed to settle opposing
compulsions emanating from two factions inside his own camp:
Faction one: Four top Palestinian officials - his official deputy Abu
Mazen, Palestinian legislature speaker Abu Ala, his spokesman Yasser
Abed Rabbo and his financial adviser Mohammed Rashid, demanded that
Yasser Arafat abandon his radical stance and his strategy of terror.
This group, the pro-American-Saudi faction of the Palestinian
leadership, wants him to use the fresh opportunity presented him to
rebuild the Palestinian Authority on lines that will bring the
Palestinian people to recovery. Deeply distressed from 20 months of
Intifada, the ordinary Palestinian has hardly any money and many are on
the point of starvation. Arafat's aides told him that the radical
national-Islamic line he chose to follow along with the Hamas, Jihad
Islami and Hizballah, oriented on the Iran-Syria-Iraq axis, had run its
course. The Palestinians have been beaten back by the US war on terror
and Israel's Operation Defensive Shield.
Now, he must seize the moment; the Americans, the Saudis and the Arab
world are prepared to restore his fortunes and governing institutions -
for a price. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer and Secretary of State
Colin Powell spelled this price out very clearly: As soon as he is free,
he must embark on the fight against terror.
In other words, he must abandon his Intifada.
The West bank security chief, Jibril Rajoub heads the military arm of
this faction. Although his credibility is low among his own people, and
Israeli forces demolished his Bitunia command center, Rajoub is alone in
retaining a functioning militia and the only one continuing to pay
regular wages to his 3,000 men. The money comes from sources interested
in restoring Arafat and his Palestinian Authority as a non-terrorist
entity - Americans, Europeans and certain Israeli circles.
Faction two: This group is closest to Arafat's real thinking. Its top
members are Tawfiq Tirawi, the intelligence chief who is the real
commander of the Fatah's al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades; Sahar Habash, the
Palestinian leader's gofer, who is still working hard to hold together the
extremist Fatah-Hamas-Jihad islami-PFLP- Hizballah alliance.
Ahmad Saadat, secretary general of the hard-line Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine - PFLP.
Muhamed Dahlan, head of the Gaza Strip preventive security service,
whose heart and mind belong with faction one. But his loyalty to Arafat
is absolute and where Arafat leads, he will follow. Dahlan commands a
trained militia that rivals that of Rajoub.
This faction said to Arafat: You are very near the peak of your
achievements. Don't throw it all away now. For 20 months, you stood up
to Israel's military might and survived; almost single-handed, you - not
Bin Laden - held off the American assault on Iraq by keeping American
and Arab leaders fully engaged with the Palestinian issue.
You still have a reserve force, the Hizballah, which has not yet gone
into all out action. Keep going, coordinating with Iraq and the
Hizballah, and the Americans and Israelis combined will be defeated and
you will triumph.
True, the plight of the Palestinian people is acute, but it is prepared
for yet more sacrifice. A last effort and Arafat, Saddam Hussein and
Hassan Nasrallah will rule the Middle East. So don't desert the struggle
for the sake of the American-Saudi golden calf.
Arafat did not have long to decide which path to opt for.
He finally put his signature on the package on offer, signaling thereby
his acceptance of the course advocated by faction one and accepting the
well-funded US-Saudi plan to restore his authority and reconstitute it
on constructive lines.
But at the last minute, he waged his usual war of nerves to squeeze what
he can out of his situation.
Arafat while now aim to extract his reward in the coin of approval and
funding for the reinstatement of his regime in a way that leaves in his
hands sufficient budgetary authority to secretly bankroll basic repairs
to his badly damaged terrorist infrastructure.
Then he will be ready to return to the terrorist strategy with renewed
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