Israel and Abbas Are Powerless to Reach the Netanya Bombing Masterminds

Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon ordered the Israeli army to catch the men who engineered the suicide bombing Tuesday, July 12 which killed five Israeli shoppers in Netanya. The order was followed by a statement by chief of staff Lt. Gen Dan Halutz that Israel knows the identities of the terrorist masterminds who sent the suicide bomber from Atil in the Tulkarm district. When asked if the military operation in Tulkarm following the bombing had netted any of the planners, bomb-makers or their accomplices, the general replied in the negative. No one asked him why not.
As he spoke, debkafile‘s exclusive Palestinian sources report that Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas had three of his security chiefs on the carpet, Tawfiq Tirawi, who was Arafat’s chief of general security on the West Bank and his top axe-man, Ziyad Ariah, head of the West Bank Preventive Security Service, and Bashir Nafa, commander of Special Palestinian Forces. He ordered them to detain and bring before him the senior perpetrators of the Netanya bombing. The officers nodded and after they left the room exchanged shrugs.
Clearly, the Palestinian leader, like the Israeli chief of staff, knows the identities of the hidden hands behind the Netanya attack. So why does no one bring them in?
There are three reasons.
1. There are no Jihad Islami heads to detain in Tulkarm. This is no secret to Israeli leaders. Therefore, the IDF units which reoccupied the West Bank city nearly five months after it passed to Palestinian security control are searching in vain.
2. No Palestinian security officer will lay hands on terrorists. They would rather disobey Abu Mazen.
3. debkafile‘s intelligence sources reveal that, straight after being called to account by Abbas, the three Palestinian officers sent messages to Israel saying: We will not lift a finger against Jihad Islami members, but we can pass on to you – or Abu Mazen – our information on the identities and moving hiding places of the Netanya bombing masterminds.
Israel has not taken the offer up.
One reason is that it comes from Tirawi who is the last Palestinian Israel can trust. He is known to be the secret commander of the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades which he founded at the behest of his boss, the late Yasser Arafat. Although high on Israel’s list of wanted terrorist controllers, he and other terrorist chiefs on that list were granted immunity under concessions Sharon and defense minister Shaul Mofaz gave the Americans and Abbas. However, any information he obtains from Israel he will be sure to use to tip off the Hamas and Jihad Islami to keep their operatives out of harm’s way, while the intelligence he provides may well lead Israeli forces into a trap.
Abu Mazen therefore goes to the Gaza Strip Thursday, July 14, empty-handed for another hopeless mission. Not only has he no chance of restoring the very patchy lull prevailing since the February Sharm al-Sheikh summit, but his arrival was preceded by a further deterioration. Hamas leaders warned him that they have extended their protection to the heads of the Jihad Islami. Any Israeli or Palestinian action to harm them will invoke Hamas retaliation against… Israel. The Hamas is thus forcing its will – not only on the Palestinian Authority but also on Israel. Abu Mazen’s latest humiliation comes on the heels of the snub he suffered in Damascus a week ago, a flat refusal from all the radical Palestinian chiefs in response to his appeal to call off their attacks for the duration of Israel’s pull-out from the Gaza Strip.

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