politics, history and the war on terror
Friday, July 16, 2004
The Road to Defeat 

In an effort to obtain a separate peace from the Palestinians, Israel has enacted a strategy to defeat the Palestinians by building a security fence, targeting terrorist leaders and unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza and the West Bank.

The security fence has drastically reduced the number of suicide bombings in Israel, and there has only been one successful attack in Israel in the past four months. Despite a recent ruling by the World Court, which has rules the fence illegal, construction continues. The Israeli Supreme Court has determined the fence is wrongly placed in some areas, and Israel re-routes the fence to abide by its court's wishes for the fence to conform closer to the pre-existing Green Line.

Targeting terror leadership creates a power vacuum in the terror organizations. Hamas' leadership has been decapitated, with the assassinations of Rantisi and Sheikh Yassin, its 'spiritual' advisor. Other leaders of terror groups, such as Islamic Jihad, the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), and Al Aqsa have not fared much better. As these groups founder without leadership, they are susceptible to splintering and infighting, further weakening their ability to fight successfully.

The unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and most of the West Bank, along with the security fence, prevents the Palestinians from negotiating from a position of strength, as the Israelis alone set the conditions for withdrawing from the areas and Israel alone draws the borders to its needs. The Palestinians have no voice in the boundaries, nor do they have the leverage to extract concessions, such as financial aid, from Israel.

Further evidence shows the Palestinian Authority and its armed (terrorist) wing Al Aqsa appears to be succumbing to Israel's pressure. In April, the PA planted the seeds of dissent when it arrested Al Aqsa terrorists, sowing the seeds for further conflict between the organizations. A recent report demonstrates the increasing divisions between these two groups. Al Aqsa is very unhappy with the state of affairs in the Palestinian Authority and released a paper demanding reform within the PA.

The 10-page document calls for the expulsion and prosecution of government officials involved in corruption, a wholesale purge of relatives and cronies of senior officials from government payrolls, and a halt to the practice of government officials' monopolizing sectors of the Palestinian economy to line "their private pockets."

The paper lashes out at "wives and sons and daughters of officials who are registered as employees and receive high salaries from the Palestinian Authority and are either at home or abroad." It attacks bureaucrats who "hold official titles and government jobs . . . when in fact they have no role other than the salary and position." It demands "eradication of the corruption in most of the PLO embassies and representatives" overseas.
According to Zakaria Zbeida, who heads the Al Aqsa group in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, Al Aqsa leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip crafted the proposal partially in response to Israel's announced plan to withdraw soldiers and Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip within the next few years.
"We want to take part in this stage and not have the political process bypass us," Zbeida said in an interview at a rundown hideout in the Jenin refugee camp. "We come with this initiative to prove we are not just a group of fighters throwing bullets here and there. . . . We are ready to sit and talk."
"This is a way of saying to Arafat that 'it's time for you to step down as head of the Palestinian Authority,' " said Khalil Shikaki, a Palestinian pollster and political analyst. "That's a direct assault on Arafat. It's a clear indictment of the whole old guard."

And the Palestinian Authority's ability to police and maintain law in Gaza and the West Bank is practically non-existent.
A United Nations briefing on the estimated 45,000 PA police and security forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip informed the Security Council that PA police operate in only one city.....The failure of the police has led to chaos throughout the PA areas, the council was told. [U.N. envoy] Roed-Larsen warned of a collapse of the PA and said the worst-hit areas was Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip and Nablus in the northern West Bank. "Clashes and showdowns between branches of Palestinian security forces are now common in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinian Authority legal authority is receding fast in the face of the mounting power of arms, money and intimidation," Roed-Larsen said. "Lawlessness and gang rule are becoming common in [the northern West Bank city of] Nablus."

The UN envoy said the PA "has made no progress on its core obligation to take immediate action on the ground to end violence and combat terror.....Despite a well-intended prime minister, the paralysis of the Palestinian Authority has become abundantly clear and the deterioration of law and order in Palestinian areas is steadily worsening," Roed-Larsen said. "The PA is in deep distress and is in real danger of collapse."

Absent the unlikely involvement of the international community, the pending implosion of the Palestinian Authority will accompany a period of lawlessness, power grabs by competing factions of Fatah and terror organizations and the complete collapse of the remainder of the Palestinian economy and society. Israel's strategy to defeat the Intafada requires the defeat of the Palestinian Authority as the PA is a major supporter of terror and an obstacle to peace. It appears Israel is coming closer to realizing its goals.

Posted by bill roggio @ 12:01 AM