Monday, January 02, 2006

A7news: 900% Increase in Terrorist Smuggling in Four Months

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GSS: 900% Increase in Terrorist Smuggling in Four Months
The General Security Services (GSS) has released its 2005 year-end report, which reveals a dramatic increase in weapons brought into Gaza by Arab terrorists since Israel's evacuation of the region.
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 1. GSS: 900% Increase in Terrorist Smuggling in Four Months
 2. Discussions of Cross-Israel 'Safe Passage' Suspended
 3. Netanyahu Will Decide When Likud Ministers Resign
 4. Kassam Rockets Strike Negev Despite IDF Operation
 5. Britain’s Chief Rabbi: Anti-Semitism Spreading Like a Tsunami
 6. Terror Statistics Belie IDF Claim of Less Terrorism
 7. Yitzhar Resident Acquitted After Left-Wing/Arab Claims Rejected
 8. Neshama Carlebach Interview
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Editor: Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
Monday, January 02, 2006
2 Tevet 5766


1. GSS: 900% Increase in Terrorist Smuggling in Four Months
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

The General Security Services (GSS) has released its 2005 year-end report, which reveals a dramatic increase in weapons brought into Gaza by Arab terrorists since Israel's evacuation of the region.

According to the report, released Monday, there has been a 900% increase in the number of anti-tank missile launchers Arab terrorists have brought into Gaza from Egypt since Israel's unilateral withdrawal in August as compared with the preceding seven months. Approximately 350 anti-tank missiles were brought across the border in the same post-Disengagement period, representing a 600% increase since the Palestinian Authority took over Gaza.

In addition, the GSS reported that an estimated five tons of explosives have made their way into Gaza since August, as well as 5,000 rifles and handguns, and more than a million bullets.

The GSS report states that the PA, which holds jurisdiction over Gaza since the Israeli withdrawal, is doing nothing to halt the flow of weapons into terrorist hands. Therefore, the report concludes, the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip has become an easy, safe passage for the importation of weapons and other supplies for various Arab terrorist groups. In this regard, the GSS sees the abandonment by Israel of the Philadelphi Route, bordering Egypt, as a turning point in the threat Israel faces from Gaza.

Security services say the beefed-up arsenal has provided the terrorists with greater capability and incentive to start firing Kassam rockets into central Israel from Judea and Samaria, as well.

While noting an increase in certain types of terrorist attacks in 2005, the GSS report notes a decrease in the overall number of victims of such attacks. During the year just concluded, there were 2,990 terrorist attacks of all types against Israeli targets, with an increase in rocket attacks (377) over 2004 (309). There were 45 Israelis murdered by terrorists in 2005, down from 117 in 2004. Of those killed, half were victims of seven suicide bombings carried out over the last year, four of which took place subsequent to Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria.

The GSS report clarifies that the drop in the number of victims is primarily the result of Israeli measures preventing, disrupting or intercepting terrorist organizations attempting to carry out attacks. The report further specifies that during 2005, the GSS arrested 160 suicide bombers in Judea and Samaria.

Despite declarations of "calm" by terrorist organizations during 2005, the GSS reported that the number of security alerts remained fairly consistent all year. In fact, there was an increase in attacks in the Judea area during the terrorist-declared "calm" as compared to an equivalent period before the declaration. Only in the Gaza region was there a significant decrease in enemy attacks during the period of "calm", but still representing 1,205 attacks (as opposed to 2,637 attacks during an equivalent period beforehand).

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2. Discussions of Cross-Israel 'Safe Passage' Suspended
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

Anarchy in the Palestinian Authority is the reason Israel cited for its decision to put off talks on allowing travel between Gaza and Judea and Samaria. The Americans have dropped the issue.

Israel initially promised US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that it would implement a long-dormant provision of the Oslo Accords, providing PA Arabs traveling between Gaza and Judea and Samaria "safe passage" through uncontested Israel, on Israeli roads. The commitment was made in the framework of a deal brokered by Rice to open the Rafiach crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

However, Israeli officials have informed the Americans that current anarchy in the PA makes it impossible to maintain Israeli security requirements for implementing the cross-Israel passage for PA residents. According to a senior government official, the US and European officials have shown understanding of Israel's position.

American negotiators have not raised the matter of the "safe passage" in the past week, in contrast with the persistence with which they pressured Israel previously. The European Union has also lowered its pressure on Israel, particularly since the European observers at the Rafiach crossing on the Egypt-Gaza border were forced to flee in the wake of PA rioting and internal clashes.

On Thursday, a delegation of senior envoys from the United States is due to arrive in Israel for meetings with Israeli and PA officials. The American delegation, headed by US Undersecretary of State C. David Welch and Deputy National Security Advisor Elliot Abrams, will raise the issue of the "safe passage", but no ultimatum is expected. At the top of the delegation's agenda will be the expected victory of the Islamist Hamas movement in PA elections scheduled for later this month, as well as the possibility that the elections may be postponed. Members of the ruling Fatah organization have recently threatened to withdraw their names from the ballot, which would force a postponement; whereas, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas ("Abu Mazen") has declared that the elections will go ahead on schedule. Abu Mazen himself, however, has indicated that he may not contest future PA leadership elections.

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3. Netanyahu Will Decide When Likud Ministers Resign
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

Members of the Likud party serving in Prime Minister Sharon's government have decided to resign their posts. They agreed to leave the timing of their resignations in Binyamin Netanyahu's hands.

The decision was reached Monday morning at a meeting among Likud government ministers convened by party chairman Binyamin Netanyahu. Between Sunday evening and Monday morning, Netanyahu had spoken individually with Ministers Limor Livnat, Danny Naveh, Yisrael Katz and Silvan Shalom, emphasizing that it was not politically possible to attack the government's policies as long as Likud members sit in the cabinet. Therefore, in light of upcoming national elections, he asked them to offer their resignations as soon as possible.

Among other issues determining the timing of the planned Likud resignations is the upcoming hospitalization of the prime minister for a heart catheterization procedure on Thursday. Ministers pushing for delaying their resignations contend that resigning before Sharon's hospitalization would be perceived by the public as a move lacking in national responsibility. Those in favor of resigning before Sharon's hospitalization claim that the longer the party remains in the government, the more harm is done to the party's electoral prospects.

Commenting on the make-up of the existing government coalition ahead of the meeting with Netanyahu, Education Minister Livnat said that government ministers who broke away from the Likud to form the Kadima party are the ones who have no right to their position. "They are sitting on a Likud mandate," said Livnat, "because Likud voters chose them to sit in the government."

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4. Kassam Rockets Strike Negev Despite IDF Operation
By Scott Shiloh

Three Kassam rockets struck the western Negev on Sunday, despite an IDF operation in northern Gaza to stop the rockets.

Two of the rockets landed in open fields and the third struck the city of Sderot, a frequent target for the Kassams. None of the rockets caused damage or casualties. The rocket fired at Sderot set off the city’s, “Red Dawn” warning system. Residents took cover in bomb shelters.

Over night Sunday, the IDF carried out an aerial attack against a structure in the southern Gaza Strip used by terrorists of the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade. IDF spokesmen said the attack was in retaliation for recent Arab terror activity, including the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israeli communities.

Sunday’s Kassam strikes calls into question the effectiveness of the IDF’s operation in northern Gaza, code named, “Blue Skies.” Many of the Kassem rockets, especially those fired on the Ashkelon industrial zone, were launched from the former Jewish communities of Dugit, Elei Sinai, and Nisanit. The IDF has warned the Palestinian Authority that any unauthorized Arab present in those areas would be hit by the IDF.

PA police are exempt from the ban, although Israel has warned the PA security forces against assisting the terrorists.

The IDF’s strategy has been to effectively create a buffer zone in the areas that were thriving Jewish communities prior to the disengagement last August.

That strategy was put into practice Saturday night. IDF troops spotted three terrorists near the former community of Elei Sinai as they were attempting to launch a Kassam into Israel. Two of the three terrorists were killed and one was wounded by a missile fired by the Israeli Air Force.

The PA, in an unusual act of candor, admitted that the Arabs killed were in fact terrorists from the Al Aksa Bridages, the military arm of the Fatah, the political party of PA chief Mahmoud Abbas.

The IDF has warned the PA that the “Blue Skies” operation could be expanded to include large swaths of territory bordering Israel, if the PA does not act to stop the rockets.

Sources in the IDF said that certain foreign governments have been pressuring Israel to halt the operation, claiming that it limits PA control over territory ceded to it by Israel under the disengagement plan. Those sources emphasized that at present, there are no plans to stop the operation.

Sderot residents, however, have complained to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, that operation “Blue Skies” in northern Gaza has no effectiveness in preventing Kassam rockets from being fired from other sites in Gaza into areas of the western Negev.

“Are the children of Sderot worth less than those of Ashkelon?” asked Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal. “We live in one country, and if an operation is to be carried out to prevent the firing of Kassem rockets is different for Sderot than for Ashkelon…this is very serious.”

Moyal said that what appeared to be discrimination between the two cities, “should not happen in a democratic country.”

Moyal said the residents of Sderot were “very angry” at the government. “We’re very happy the prime minister is defending the residents of Ashkelon. But we want them to do the same thing when rockets are fired at Sderot,” he said. “And if not, let them explain why they discriminate between the lives of Ashkelon’s children and the lives of those in Sderot.”

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5. Britain’s Chief Rabbi: Anti-Semitism Spreading Like a Tsunami
By Scott Shiloh

Britain’s Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, said in an interview on BBC radio that ongoing conflicts around the world have been having uncomfortable ramifications for Europe’s Jews.

He said that global conflicts are acting like “a kind of tsunami of anti-Semitism, which is taking place a long way from this country (Britain) but (of) which Europe seems unaware," he said.

Rabbi Sacks did not blame Israel for the threat to European Jewry. He pointed out that many regional conflicts ignited by Islamic radicals in Chechnya, the Philippines, and Indonesia, would be occurring, even if Israel did not exist.

He said that globalization was leading many people to view Israel as the cause of the world’s conflicts. He accused Islamic radicals of using Israel’s alleged mistreatment of Arabs to support their campaigns of violence around the world.

Rabbi Sacks blamed satellite television and the Internet for exposing Britain to a globalized anti-Semitism. But anti-Semitism was also rearing its head on prime-time TV and best-selling books that deny the Holocaust, he warned.

While the situation for Jews in Britain was good overall, Rabbi Sacks said that anti-Jewish activities were rising throughout Europe, especially in France.

“A number of rabbinical colleagues throughout Europe have been assaulted and attacked on the streets,” he said. "We've had synagogues desecrated. We've had Jewish schools burn to the ground - not here but in France."

The Community Services Trust, a UK based group that monitors anti-Semitic incidents says there has been a dramatic rise in anti-Semitic incidents over the past year. The trust recorded 532 anti-Semitic incidents in 2004, 83 of which were physical assaults.

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6. Terror Statistics Belie IDF Claim of Less Terrorism
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said Thursday terrorism has gone down since the expulsion and withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria, but statistics on suicide bombings show the opposite.

In an interview, Halutz said, "the level of terror has gone down significantly." He also advised to take recent terrorist attacks in proportion and not to interpret every "sound" as "noise." Halutz stated, "Pay attention to how many attacks there were [before the expulsion and withdrawal] and how many there are now."

Statistics show that terrorism actually has increased and has not decreased. Suicide bombers struck six times in 2005, twice before the expulsion of Jewish residents from the Gaza and northern Samarian regions and four times afterwards.

In February, a suicide bomber killed five Israelis in an attack on the The Stage nightclub in Tel Aviv, shortly after the "calm" was announced at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit. In July, a suicide bomber killed five Israelis and injured 30 others at a Netanya mall, the first of two attacks there.

On August 28, shortly after the expulsion, a terrorist blew himself up and wounded 20 people in an attack at the Be'er Sheva bus station. In December, suicide bombers struck twice, once at the Netanya mall where five were killed, and again on Thursday when an IDF officer and two Arab bystanders were murdered.

The number of rockets and mortar shells on Israeli targets has sharply increased since the expulsion, with 130 attacks from January through July, the eve of the expulsion, and 179 since then.

A decline in the shelling and rocket attacks can be claimed only if taking into consideration the hundreds of strikes by Arab terrorists against the Jewish communities in Gush Katif and northern Gaza before the expulsion. However, there have been numerous misfirings which have resulted in countless rocket explosions in the areas of the destroyed Jewish communities.

The IDF Chief of Staff also said in the interview that he does not expect the IDF to stop the Kassam rocket attacks entirely, but only to reduce them to a low level.

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7. Yitzhar Resident Acquitted After Left-Wing/Arab Claims Rejected
By Ezra HaLevi

After three years of troubles, imprisonment and thousands of shekels in court fees, Avraham Binyamin of Yitzhar was acquitted of charges he attacked Arab olive-pickers and left-wing activists.

Judge Carla Raginiano decided to completely acquit Binyamin of any involvement in the attack, which allegedly took place three years ago. Raginiano said that the police failed to demonstrate any connection between Binyamin and the alleged attack. His case is but the latest in a series of high-profile accusations that local Jews cut down Arab trees, followed by low-profile acquittals and debunking of such claims by tree-experts and judges.

Binyamin, a 20-year-old resident of the northern Shomron town of Yitzhar, was arrested after left-wing activists, led by Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights and the radical Ta’ayush group, claimed they had rocks thrown at them by Jews from Yitzhar as they helped local Arabs harvest olives nearby. Ta’ayush activist Or Gurlitz claimed that Binyamin threw stones at him and stole his knapsack.

Binyamin was arrested and imprisoned for several days in the Ariel police station, during which time he says police investigators hit him while he was tied. He was released only after signing a restraining order banning him from setting foot in Judea or Samaria for six months and posting 4,500 shekels bail.

During the course of the trial, at the Kfar Saba Magistrate’s Court, an IDF reserves company commander was called to the witness stand by the prosecution in order to testify against Binyamin. He refused to do so, to the prosecution’s consternation, instead telling the court that the left-wing activists had lied in their police complaint.

Binyamin’s lawyer, Ofer Ashkenazi revealed irregularities in the police handling of the case. Police refused to put together a line-up for local Arabs to be able pick out who supposedly attacked them. Ashkenazi alleged that police knew Binyamin, and assumed his guilt from the outset. Binyamin’s lawyer also demonstrated during the trial that the left-wing activists had given four different testimonies regarding the identity of the attacker.

Another key witness, left-wing activist and Beit Berl professor Yaakov Manor, was found to have given contradictory testimony.

Binyamin told Arutz-7 that he is considering suing the police for their superficial and faulty investigation of the case, as well as for his false imprisonment and alleged abuse while under police custody.

Ta’yush’s Gurlitz, a resident of Ramat Gan, told Arutz-7 that he is “very sorry to hear about the acquittal.” He said he is still convinced that Binyamin was the attacker and that the verdict is “part of the forgiving attitude of the judicial system toward the attacks of the settlers.”

Meanwhile, police forensics units have once again entered Samaria’s olive groves to determine whether olive trees have been cut down by local Jewish residents, as alleged by left-wing groups and the international media, or by villagers seeking compensation.

A local Arab from the village of Burin told Israel’s Channel 10 that he saw groups of settlers from an outlying neighborhood near Elon Moreh cut down the olive trees that border the community.

Defense Minister Sha’ul Mofaz announced the launching of a special investigation into the cutting of the olive trees, saying the perpetrators would be found and brought to justice.

Police investigators last year found hundreds of trees that had allegedly been cut by Jewish residents to have actually been pruned by their owners. The investigators now say there is a possibility the Arab villagers caused the damage themselves, in order to receive compensations from the government. “Something is clearly suspicious in the way these trees were cut,” Police Superintendent Shlomi Sagi told Army Radio. He said that it would be strange for Jewish residents to start cutting the trees on the side closest to the Arab village and merely cut off branches, when they could have cut the trunks with the chainsaws apparently used.

MK Avshalom Vilan (Meretz-Yahad) called the tree-cuttings an act of terror and demanded the IDF clamp a closure on Judea and Samaria until the perpetrators are apprehended. “Had it been Arabs who cut down the trees, security forces would have acted a long time ago," he said.

Jewish farmers in Gush Etzion and Samaria say, however, that they have had hundreds of fruit trees uprooted and acres of wheat burned by local Arabs, but police, to date, have never carried out serious investigations into the vandalism.

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8. Neshama Carlebach Interview
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