Attention on the Palestinian Authority currently centres around speculation as to whether some sort of coalition government will be formed between Fatah and Hamas, in order to create a pretense at moderation. Western leaders can't seem to wait to be able to send more of their taxpayers' cash to support the institutionalised Palestinian corruption and violence that has been cultivated over the last decade.
Meanwhile, the IDF is focused on more practical activities. Press releases that don't get much play tell of weapons caches and weapons smuggling tunnels uncovered almost daily - usually hidden in civilian structures and areas. Kassam rockets continue to fall on southern Israel - although IDF action has slowed the pace and make it more difficult for Israeli population centres to be hit.
Documents recently captured by the IDF show Palestinian charities are centres of propaganda for war and anti-Semitic hatred disseminated in schools and throughout Palestinian society. Palestinian Media Watch reports that, as was the case under the Fatah regime, PA funded television is once again regularly broadcasting propaganda videos encouraging Palestinian men and women to "martyr" themselves in terror attacks against Israelis. The hope that a Palestinian unity government (whether or not funded with western money) will somehow magically create serious advances toward peace seems just a little misplaced.
And as for international aid having the effect of relieving poverty, other IDF releases are telling.
The IDF has confiscated around $1.3m in cash destined for terrorist activities. The IDF put it nicely "...the Palestinian Authority has no system of supervision over moneychangers, and they are therefore free to make such transfers without any fear of sanctions or limitations." Translated? A totally uncontrolled black market allows money to freely flush through. Of course, this in itself is an indicator that at least part of the economic distress of the Palestinian Authority is due to a deliberate decision not to control or collect taxes from large segments of that society. [I wrote about the PA's lack of tax enforcement in the The Frankfurter Plan.] Flushing more money into an uncontrolled system is hardly a path to economic responsibility.
Of course, another prime economic complaint of the Palestinians is their inability to rely on trade or border crossings with Israel. While this no doubt creates economic stress, another IDF press release illustrates exactly where the blame lies. With a long history of border crossings being used as corridors for the passage of equipment and people on their way to commit terrorist attacks, one can understand heightened security procedures. If in the middle of the Israeli city of Ra'anana I have my car searched and a metal detector passed over my body every time I want to enter the local shopping mall - then one might expect slightly higher security at any border crossing. In this Palestinian created reality, indignity at delays at a border crossing with a sworn enemy is a little laughable. But to complain of closures when these critical border crossings are the very target of Hamas government sponsored terrorists? I suggest a more appropriate reaction would be gratitude for the humanity of operating a border crossing at all!
It is unusual for the IDF to release information about foiled terrorist attacks, and as the press release is not available on-line, I will attach it here.
September 14th 2006
IDF SPOKESPERSON ANNOUNCMENT
PRC operative arrested in Gaza revealed the location of the tunnel which was to be used in Karni attack
Majed Fahmi Salameh Kambaz, 29, is a resident of the Saja'iya neighborhood in the city of Gaza. Kambaz is a member of the Popular Resistance Committees terror organization, which is involved in attacks on IDF forces and Israeli civilians. Kambaz was arrested in a joint IDF and ISA operation in the Gaza Strip on August 14th 2006.
- During his investigation Kambaz gave ISA and Israel Police officials exact information on the location of a tunnel being dug by PRC terrorists in the direction of the Karni crossing. The organization planned to carry out a large-scale terror attack on the crossing by planting explosives in the tunnel- under the crossing and under the IDF administration building located in the compound. Assisted by the information Kambaz disclosed, the IDF in cooperation with the ISA, carried out a search operation in the area of Karni and on August 27th discovered the 13 meter-deep shaft and 150 meter-long tunnel near the crossing.
Due to the many security alerts regarding the intentions of terror organizations to carry out an attack on the crossing, the crossing has been intermittently closed over the past months as part of the activity to thwart such attempts. The Karni crossing is one of the main lifelines of the Palestinian population- allowing the passage of merchandise and medical supplies in and out of the Gaza Strip. Its targeting by the terror organizations, along with other crossings such as Erez and Kerem Shalom, is a deliberate attempt by terrorists to weaken the Palestinian economy. The targeting of these crossings which are reopened again and again after attacks is a cynical exploitation of the Israeli effort to ease the daily lives of Palestinian civilians who are not involved in terror activity.
It should be noted that despite the uncovering of this particular tunnel, the threat of terror against the crossing still exists.
- Kambaz also told of his involvement in the terror attack on the Karni crossing on January 13th 2005, in which six Israeli civilians were murdered. The attack was the result of the cooperation of senior terrorists from the Hamas, PRC and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades organizations. The attack itself was directed from the rooftop of Kambaz's house by senior PRC terrorist Mamtaz Dugmush, among others.
- Kambaz gave investigators information on his involvement, along with other PRC operatives, in the murder of Mousah Arafat, former Head of Military Intelligence in the Palestinian Authority. Kambaz himself was part of the cell that broke into Arafat's home and was present at the time of the murder. The murder was carried out with the assistance of the Hamas terror organization. Fauzi Alqara, a senior Hamas terrorist, supplied equipment to the cell for the purpose of the murder. The murder is one example of the close cooperation between Hamas and the PRC, and of their joint efforts to undermine the Fatah organization's activity in the Gaza Strip.
- Among his activities under PRC leadership, Kambaz underwent military training in the Gaza Strip, transferred weaponry to operatives, fired anti-tank missiles at IDF forces and enlisted suicide bombers for attacks.