Arafat Defiantly Adds US Targets to his Terror Map

As night follows day, a Palestinian terrorist attack was bound to follow the approval of the new Abu Mazen government on Tuesday, April 29, in Ramallah. In fact, it was carried out during the night between its approval and swearing in Wednesday morning April 30 as the first supposedly reform administration dedicated to fighting terror.
Yasser Arafat must have had his next operation well in hand when he urged the Palestinian Legislative Council meeting at his office in Ramallah to endorse a cabinet originally conceived to root out the terrorism and corruption he instigated. After failing to torpedo the new administration, Arafat made a big show of embracing it, while first rendering Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) helpless to carry out the reforms that would have cleared the way for the revival of a peace process on the road to Palestinian statehood.
The attack which killed three and left more than 60 injured at Mike’s Place on the Herbert Samuel seafront promenade a few yards from the American embassy in Tel Aviv was Arafat’s way of saying that, regardless of the Americans, he – not Abbas – would determine the course of action and destiny of the Palestinian people. His own Fatah proudly took responsibility for the strike, together with the Hamas, which is totally committed to defying any ceasefire initiatives.
Updating: Wednesday evening, suspicion was confirmed that Arafat’s Fatah had activated two British terrorists, who entered Israel from the Gaza Strip on their British passports: Hanif Mohammed, who blew himself up when the security guard pushed him away from entrance to Mike’s Place, and Omar Khan Sharif, who ran away. His passport photo has been widely circulated for the public to help run him down. The Hamas, Fatah’s partner in the attack, trained the two men, suspected al Qaeda operatives, once again underlining Arafat’s operational links both with Hamas and the most notorious anti-American Islamic terrorist network. Gaza was picked as their point of departure in order to show Abu Mazen’s minister for internal security, Mohammed Dahlan, in the most humiliating way that he no longer has a say in the Gaza Strip.
The speeches Arafat and Abu Mazen delivered to Palestinian lawmakers left no room for illusions. Arafat was quite frank about his intentions. After promising the Palestinians a state whose capital would be Jerusalem, he invited those who stand against him “to go and drink the salt water of the sea!” This has been Arafat’s triumphant battle cry since September 2000, his way of informing adherents that their campaign of terror is unbeatable and would go on.
He is known to have targeted American victims at every opportunity, although on the quiet. Now the mask and gloves are off. Assuming the victorious posture of the only Arab Muslim leader remaining to challenge the world’s number one power – Saddam Hussein was vanquished in 30 days and Bin Laden has failed – Arafat confidently and unequivocally declared war on the United States – and not just in the Palestinian-Israeli context. In ringing tones addressed to the entire Middle East, he called on the Shurfa (noble men) and “free men” to fight the American occupation of Iraq.
Arafat last referred to Shurfa in October 2002, when he praised the “noble men” who assassinated Laurence Foley, head of USAID, after he was charged by President George W. Bush with overseeing the reconstruction of the reformed Palestinian civil administration.
For an audience familiar with Arafat’s coded references, this was a clear order to extend the war of terror to US targets. A suicide bomber was immediately dispatched to the closest accessible location to the US embassy in Tel Aviv: Mike’s Place cafe-bar, a favorite nightspot of young Israelis and tourists.
Mahmoud Abbas, who addressed the PLC after Arafat, did not dispute his predecessor’s message. He offered no fighting words that might indicate he meant to fulfill the hopes reposed in him of stamping out Palestinian violence. Most media misreported him as promising to rein in terror. They had no direct quotes because he made no such promise. His only commitment in dry, legalistic tones was to impose law and order on “Palestinian chaos” under which only authorized officials would be permitted to carry arms. He also parroted Arafat’s formula condemning terror “from any source”. Since the Palestinians claim they are resistance fighters, not terrorists, they understood him to be referring to “Israeli terrorists” not themselves.
All in all, the incoming Palestinian prime minister’s soft words were taken by his Palestinian listeners as a plea to terrorist groups to keep their heads down for a while until the heat from Washington was off. If they pretended to play along, he and his internal security minister, the former Gazan strongman Mohammed Dahlan, could look as though they were taking effective action against terrorism. In keeping with this policy line, Abu Mazen’s first response to the attack in Tel Aviv – after hearing US Secretary of State Colin Powell warn him to perform at once – was to send Dahlan to the Gaza Strip for ceasefire negotiations with the Jihad Islami and Hamas there, a wild goose chase when both knew perfectly well that the instigators were in Ramallah.
debkafile‘s counter-terror experts discern in the Reform Palestinian Government exercise under Abu Mazen which is meant to activate the Middle East road map, the same self-defeating traits as previous efforts by Powell, General Zinni, Madeleine Albright, Senator George Mitchell, George Tenet and many others, including a succession of Israeli leaders. They all attempted to scotch the bane of Palestinian terrorism by offering the inducements of Palestinian independent statehood and major Israeli concessions for peace. Every single attempt was met with a fresh upsurge of terrorist atrocities. The toll of dead in the last 30 months alone does not begin to reflect the many thousands of smashed bodies and lives of the survivors and bereaved.
When Powell stood up in the US Senate Tuesday night and demanded that Abu Mazen act now, it was a case of the show must go on. The secretary of state knows perfectly well that Arafat never leaves his quarters in Ramallah lest Israeli forces pounce on 200 of the most vicious master-terrorists in the region whom he has been sheltering since last year.
No Israeli leader has ever published their names or ordered direct action against this bastion of terror. Neither Abu Mazen nor Dahlan will dare to genuinely come to grips with Palestinian violence, because to achieve results they cannot be satisfied with taking on the Fatah’s al Aqsa Martyrs (suicides) Brigades, the Hamas and the Jihad Islami. They will have to go to the top and remove the hands pulling the strings, Arafat and his 200 masterminds of terror.
No foreign nation, even the United States, can be expected to deal with the scourge blighting Israeli lives, any more than Abu Mazen, Dahlan or any other Palestinian. Since no Israeli prime minister – whether Labor’s Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak or Likud’s Binyamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon – has so far been willing to put his hand in the lion’s mouth and remove Yasser Arafat, Israelis on the street, in the markets, shopping malls, cafes, buses, schools, night spots and highways, will have to keep on looking over their shoulders for the next Palestinian suicide killer before and after the Middle East road map is published.

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