Arafat Gets Fresh Chance. An Israeli Baby’s Life is Forfeit

The politicians are wholeheartedly dedicated to fighting terror – with words. Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has declared Arafat at various times irrelevant and removable. After Arafat purged Abu Mazen, both the US and Israeli governments vowed to have no truck with a successor Palestinian government if it spoke for Arafat.
At the United States General Assembly last week, President George W. Bush called on the Palestinians to change their leaders for the sake of peace.
US secretary of state Colin Powell declared Saturday morning September 27 that the onus is on the new Palestinian government to fight Hamas, disarm terrorists and create a single Palestinian security body.
UN Secretary Kofi Annan admitted the Middle East peace process had run into a certain snag.
However, Palestinian spokesmen use the language they know best: Friday night, September 26, a terrorist knocked on the door of a home in a remote Jewish West Bank community southwest of Hebron. A family was at table celebrating the New Year Festival Eve. The gunman shot dead the Israeli who opened the door and a 7-month old baby girl. Two celebrants were injured before the killer was himself gunned down.
The Palestinians staged this atrocity within hours of a decision reached by the Middle East Quartet and the Israeli prime minister to give their next government yet another chance despite the countless chances abused by their leaders.
debkafile‘s Washington and Jerusalem sources reveal the existence of a secret understanding between Sharon and Palestinian prime minister-designate number two, Ahmed Qureia aka Abu Ala, reportedly brokered by US mediator John Wolf. Israel undertakes not to impede the formation of the new Palestinian government – meaning, no direct action against Arafat or his Ramallah headquarters – or boycott Abu Ala. The targeting killings of terrorists will be halted for as long as the Palestinians refrain from attacking Israelis.
Abu Ala, for his part, has undertaken to collect illegal weapons in Palestinian hands – a formulation that Sharon and Powell translated optimistically into the “disarming of terrorist groups”. He also promised to set up a single Palestinian security-intelligence organization.
Why does Qureia expect to succeed where his predecessor Mahmoud Abbas failed? For the same reason that this chance promises less than its forerunners.
Very simply: Unlike Abu Mazen, Abu Ala is fully backed by Yasser Arafat and allowed him to pack the new government with his allies, representatives of the very terrorists groups that the Middle East road map obliges him to fight: Damascus-based and Tehran-funded extremists, Islamic fundamentalists, Saddam supporters and anti-democratic factions.
debkafile‘s Palestinian sources report that 14-15 new ministers belong to Arafat’s Fatah. Among them are for the first time in Palestinian government 5 or 6 full members of the Fatah terrorist wing, one of whom, Hatam Abd al-Kadar, is Minister for Jerusalem.
Hamas, universally proscribed as a dangerous terrorist organization, wins a seat in the Qureia-Arafat cabinet. He is Dr. Mussa Zubut, euphemistically entitled representative of “The Islamic Bloc of Gaza”. As reported previously by debkafile, through Zubut, the Hamas will thus acquire funding for the continuation of its terrorist operations through the back door of a ministerial budget. Zubut and Abu Ala have already sat down to work out how this revenue will be transferred from the ministerial office in Ramallah to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Another first-time presence in Palestinian government is Naif Hawatme’s Palestine Democratic Front member Kais Faran, better known to Palestinians as “Amer Abu Leila”, an ardent supporter of the deposed Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein. A fellow Saddam fan with a seat in the new government comes from the Popular Struggle Front, headed by Samir Rosha. This group still draws on Iraq funds transferred from Damascus.
A post each is assigned to the Palestinian Communist Party and SIDA, a faction set up by Arafat’s ally Yasser Abd Rabbo. It will be held by the only woman minister in the lineup Zahira Kemal from Ramallah.
The key post of internal security held by Mohammed Dahlan under Abu Mazen is still up for grabs. Dahlan is Abu Ala’s choice. His rival is Arafat’s adviser Jibril Rajoub. However, Gen. Nasser Yousef, general commander of Palestinian forces, is in the lead. He already holds one empty title and making him internal security minister would leave the real power in Arafat’s hands.
As soon as the new government is formally installed, a triumphant Arafat will go on the air to declare a new ceasefire. He will claim to have attained the consent of all the Palestinian organizations to stop striking Israeli targets and challenge Israel to reciprocate with a truce announcement of its own. Advance notice of this plan was provided Saturday morning, September 27, in a statement by the PLO UN delegate saying that a Palestinian truce is conditional on a reciprocal Israeli commitment to cease fire.
Arafat will also compliment the king of Morocco and Egyptian president for their contribution to “rescuing the Middle East peace.”
The tacit US-Israeli endorsement of the Abu Ala government restores Arafat to the standing of Palestinian leader bar none, while leaving him the option to revert to his 40-year old terrorist campaign against Israel in order to extract further concessions – exactly the same tactic he employed each time he “consented” to former US-brokered ceasefires.
Ready to hand for violence is the Hamas, whose leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin told the world this week that his group would never accept a truce. Last week, Abu Ala met with Hamas leaders in Gaza City to discuss their future interaction.
debkafile‘s has obtained access to notes of the prime minister-designate’s remarks at that interview:
“I am under no illusions that a settlement can be achieved in the foreseeable future,” said Abu Ala. “But it is only reasonable for you to stop giving the Sharon government more and more pretexts for attacks. Before anything, my new government must put an end to the “fawda’ (chaos). That’s the way we have to go! We must seek an accommodation to be able to brig order to the chaos. I promise you I have learned my lessons from Abu Mazen and the failure of his hudna and I must stress that the Palestinians have no choice but unity
“I don’t intend telling the organizations who they should appoint as ministers or taking any stands on this point – not with the Fatah either. (This was a hint at the Tanzim ministers Arafat has inserted.) But I must sort out the chaos. It will be much easier for me to work with your consent; without it the job could prove impossible.
“Now I’ll tell you what has to be done. We have to collect weapons from everyone. We must also, stop shooting missiles from Palestinian residential areas, remove explosive stores from civilian neighborhoods, take the masked men off the streets, wipe the graffiti off the walls and stop agitating against the law. To achieve all these things I need your consent.
“I know that the Sharon government holds no solutions for us, but nothing sought by Sharon is decreed by fate.”
Our Palestinian sources note that the Hamas leaders Abu Ala out and asked him to leave the room. After a while, they sent him a message that they do not want to see him again because they don’t trust him or his advisers because they are in touch with Israelis. Qureia was left with no option but to communicate with Hamas-Gaza through telephone calls and messengers to the group’s Damascus-based commanders.
On September 26, at the very moment that a Palestinian gunman murdered two Israelis at Negohot, US administrator Paul Bremer was making some highly pertinent comments at a Pentagon news conference in Washington.
Asked who was behind the attacks on US troops in Iraq, he pointed to three groups: Saddam Hussein’s loyalists, the 100,000 prison inmates he released under a pre-war amnesty and a third group on which he laid the most stress: foreign terrorists.
He revealed that US forces are holding 248, of which the largest group, 123, is Syrian and 19 suspected al Qaeda, as well as al Qaeda-linked Ansar al Islam members. Most foreign terrorists enter Iraq through “ratlines” from Syria; some also from Iran and Yemen. Bremer thus confirmed disclosures by debkafile and DEBKA-Net-Weekly in recent months of the preponderant role played by Syrian fighters and the routes via Syria in the terror campaign waged against the US presence in Iraq.
Another assertion by Bremer has been strikingly borne out by the Palestinians: Without democracy, he stressed, Iraq will become a breeding ground for terrorism.
Yet, as matters stand today, the United States is holding back from direct action against Syria, just as the Israeli government withholds action against the Palestinians’ core terrorist strongholds in Ramallah and Gaza City. Never having known democracy, both territories have long been the breeding grounds for an unending spate of terrorism.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email