Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas has decided to derail talks with Israel directly after the release of the second batch of jailed Palestinians next week. US Secretary of State John Kerry will try to head off the crisis in the talks he brokered earlier this year, by cajoling Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when they meet in Rome Wednesday, Oct. 23, to make Abbas an offer he can’t refuse, of sovereign Israel land.
debkafile’s sources reveal that Kerry is thinking of a large chunk of Dead Sea coastal area and water, equal to about a third of the territory owned by Israel in this region.
On May 28, in an exclusive report, debkafile first disclosed Kerry’s plan to save this Israeli concession for the final peace accord. He is now thinking of hauling it forward as bait to dissuade Abbas from walking out of the peace process.
But the Palestinian leader’s game plan entails more than this walkout, a step he has taken many times before. He is also unraveling the longstanding security cooperation with Israel for containing Palestinian terrorism.
This was the unspoken background to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s first – typically taciturn -remarks Tuesday, Oct. 22 about the latest bout of Palestinian terrorist attacks.
“We take a grave view [of this wave of incidents]. It may be due to the atmosphere of incitement generated by the Palestinian Authority, recent religious events, any other causes – or even a kind of contagion,” said Ya’alon, adding: “There is no sign of what we may call a popular uprising, or what the Palestinians would call a ‘third intifada.’ We take every incident very seriously and stand ready for any escalation.”
debkafile’s military sources translate two of the minister’s most opaque terms:
1. Third Palestinian intifada: Technically, he was correct in denying signs of its advent, but only because he held out on the whole picture. Yasser Arafat launched his second intifada 13 years ago after careful preparation. He first dismantled the security cooperation existing between the Palestinian Authority, Israel and the American military advisers helping to make it work.
In 2013, Mahmoud Abbas is following in Arafat’s footsteps of 2000.
In recent weeks, debkafile’s military sources report that the Palestinians in Ramallah are only going through the motions of working with Israel to combat terrorism. In the past, Israeli security and military authorities would inform Palestinian security services about suspected terrorists. They would then be questioned and the information passed back to their Israeli opposite numbers.
Now, on direct orders from the PA Chairman Abbas, suspects are detained only briefly before being released without being questioned.
Abbas has thus adopted Arafat’s “revolving door” method.
Senior military circles operating in the field of counterterrorism say that detaining terrorist suspects without interrogating them makes nonsense of the process. Letting them walk without questioning them about their organizational affiliations and secret cells, and referring the information to the IDF, makes the entire concept of security cooperation meaningless.
Palestinian security officers now understand that their job is to cooperate with the terrorists – not Israel.
2. Palestinian Authority incitement and religious events. Ya’alon was talking about Mahmoud Abbas’s latest propaganda campaign stunt, which raises the specter of an Israeli conspiracy to seize control of Temple Mount and destroy Al Aqsa Mosque.
This theme can always be counted on to strike an inflammatory chord in the Palestinian Muslim masses and fire the more radical up for attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets. Arafat understood this very well when he labeled his four-year suicide bombing campaign against Israel the “Al Aqsa intifada.”
The defense minister fully appreciates the fragile situation created by the recent Palestinian "lone wolf"attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians.
He spoke in Hebron Tuesday, shortly after an IDF-Shin Bet unit shot dead Mohammed Assi, 28, the Jihad Islami operative who masterminded the Nov. 21, 2012 bombing of a bus in Tel Aviv. He was shot while resisting arrest from his hideout in a cave in the village of Bil’in, north of the 443 highway to Jerusalem.
The bus bombing, which left 27 people injured, took place shortly after Israel’s Defensive Cloud operation in the Gaza Strip ended in a ceasefire.
Mohammed Assi was brought to book the day before the Netanyahu-Kerry meeting in Rome. It was a reminder to Palestinians, including their leaders, that Israel’s Defense Forces eventually bring terrorists, whether killers or their masters, to book.