The wave of Palestinian terror plaguing Israel in the last two weeks is in fact being quietly tossed back and forth by two opposing external forces, debkafile’s intelligence sources reveal: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are laying out large wads of cash to various Palestinian groups, especially the Fatah’s Tanzim militia, to stay out of the terror offensive. The money is channeled through Israel and Jordan, which also provide intelligence on which groups are worth financing to counter the efforts of Tehran and Beirut to keep the violent flames high.
Israeli and Jordanian government and security officialdom at the highest levels are working hard to remove bureaucratic obstacles and keep the money flowing in the right direction.
Along with aid, Iran and Hizballah are sending directives to the Palestinian recipients on how and when to jump the terror offensive from one stage to the next. For instance, Saturday morning, Oct. 17, following Israel’s partial success in slowing the flood of Palestinian knife attacks, Hamas media instructed terror activists to switch from stabbing attacks to running people down with vehicles, as a more effective way of killing larger numbers.
The backstage cash contest between the Saudi-UAE partners and the Iranian-Hizballah duo is strongly determining the course of the Palestinian terror offensive, with the effect of sidelining Washington and further disempowering Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
The Obama administration had in any case given up on leverage to sway these events by declining to ask Tehran to restrain extremist Palestinian violence. That was part of the price exacted from Israel for its failed fight to stop Obama obtaining a nuclear accord with Iran.
Hence, Washington’s even-handed comments which so incensed Jerusalem this week, when Secretary John Kerry linked the outbreak of violence to “massive settlement building” and the State Department referred to Israel’s resort to “excessive force.”
Still, President Obama and Kerry Friday, Oct. 16 backtracked up to a point after being taxed with unprecedented heat by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and charged with utterances that could be construed as support for terrorism.
Obama and Kerry then turned around and leaked to mainstream media negative innuendo about over-the-top Israeli actions for reining in terror. One report, for instance, noted that “both sides have traded blame about who is responsible for the spate of violence;” others highlighted the deaths of Palestinian terrorists and vindicated their violence.
Israel’s international reputation undoubtedly suffers from this stratagem, while at the same time, it contributes nothing construcive toward solving the crisis.
Mahmoud Abbas, even if he for once dispensed with prior conditions for a meeting with Netanyahu, has even less to contribute. His influence on the Palestinian street is at rock bottom, even after his stuttering support for the ongoing Palestinian “Al Aqsa struggle.”
His presence in Ramallah is ignored by the two Arab governments working to stifle Palestinian terror. They prefer to go directly to Jordan’s King Abdullah and Netanyahu and leave him in the cold. The stakes of the contest between Saudi Arabia Jordan and the UAE, on the one hand, and Iran and Hizballah, on the other, are high indeed – not just for the security of Israel but also of Jordan as well as its stability, if radicalized Palestinians are not subdued quickly.
The Obama administration’s policy of disengagement from the burning conflicts of the region and its lost points in Jerusalem have left the US empty-handed for taking any hand in the current Israel-Palestinian crisis of terror. It’s just as well that the government in Jerusalem entertains no illusions about anything useful coming out of from Netanyahu’s encounter with Kerry in Berlin next Wednesday, Oct. 21.