Dr. Aaron Lerner – IMRA: Mr. Ehud Olmert’s decision to allow “Karine A Gaza” to grow – to be joined by “Karine A West Bank” – in return for a chance that the rockets won’t be fired for a short period serves as proof that his planning horizon can be measured, at most, in days. Until now tons of explosives were flowing daily from Egypt to Gaza. But under a cease fire the Palestinians won’t even have to waste time and resources concealing their operations.
Here’s the calculation:
#1 Security officials unanimously warn that the Palestinians are acquiring and building weapons that will dramatically change their potential to attack Israel.
#2 These same officials warn that war is very possible in the North in ’07.
#3 Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal made it clear that if a peace agreement to his satisfaction isn’t reached in 6 months the Palestinians will also go to war against Israel.
On the other hand:
#1 Olmert is doing poorly in the polls now and the rocket attacks are contributing to this.
So Mr. Olmert opts for the obvious: a cease fire now can help him in the polls today.
If and when war breaks out in a few months and Tel Aviv, Raanana, Netanya, Ben Gurion Airport, Ashdod etc. are all hit by rockets the Palestinians assemble thanks to the cease-fire he will deal with that problem when it comes up.
After all. That’s a problem that will come up in a few months. What really matters are the Dahaf and Teleseker polls that will be published in the Friday papers.] =======
Olmert to Abbas: We’ll end raids if rocket fire stops By Avi Issacharoff and Mijal Grinberg, Haaretz Correspondents, and Agencies Last update – 23:39 25/11/2006 www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/792354.html
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Saturday told Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that the Israel Defense Forces would end military operations if Palestinian militants uphold a pledge made earlier in the day to halt Qassam rocket fire.
Olmert made the remarks to Abbas during a telephone call in which the PA chairman informed the prime minister of the offer to end rocket strikes in return for a cessation of military activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
On Saturday evening, the Palestinian factions announced that they had agreed that, as of Sunday morning, they would halt the rocket fire on Israel. In return, the representatives of the factions demanded that Israel end its operations in Gaza.
One of the spokesmen for the factions, Abu Abir of the Popular Resistance Committees, said that the Palestinians expect Israel to stop its operations in the West Bank as well. Nevertheless, when asked by Haaretz if the Qassam attacks would resume if Palestinians were arrested in the West Bank, Abu Abir said that Israel must first end the targeted killings and its invasion of Gaza.
“After that we can talk about what we would view as a violation of the cease-fire,” he said.
The offer comes after a weekend of Qassam fire on southern Israel from the Gaza Strip and IDF operations in Gaza that killed at least five Palestinians.
On Saturday evening, a Hamas militant was killed and four other people were wounded in an Israel Air Force strike on a vehicle in Gaza City’s Zeitun quarter.
The militant was identified as Mahmoud Housh. A second strike near Al-Zahar University caused no injuries.
Palestinian sources said that two militants were killed in separate incidents, including one who belonged to Islamic Jihad.
The military said it ordered an airstrike that hit a vehicle carrying Hamas militants involved in weapons production. It had no further details, and said it was checking into the report about a second blast.
A Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip Saturday scored a direct hit on a house in Sderot, penetrating the roof and causing damage inside. No injuries were reported.
IDF tank crews subsequently located and fired on the launch site from which the rocket was fired.
Later Saturday, a tunnel under the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt collapsed, trapping several people, but Palestinian security officials weren’t immediately able to say whether it served to smuggle contraband or weapons to Palestinian militants.
In the afternoon, the IDF and Shin Bet security service discovered a weapons laboratory in the West Bank city of Nablus.
A Palestinian security official said one man was dug out from the rubble and an undetermined number of others were trapped in the debris.
The official, Col. Hussein Abu Omar, said the tunnel was dug from inside a Gaza house some 100 meters from the border with Egypt. It was not clear how far it extended into Egypt.
Abu Omar had no details about the owner of the house or further information about the tunnel.
Security forces dug out one person from the rubble, and bulldozers were removing debris so rescuers could look for others.
“What we know right now is that a tunnel collapsed and there are people inside,” Abu Omar said. It was not clear how many people were inside, he said.
The man who was pulled out of the debris was taken to a hospital, then left without being questioned by police, hospital and security officials said.
Stuffed animals were found in the Nablus raid containing explosive charges, as well as belts intended for use as explosive devices and batteries.
The laboratory was detonated in a controlled explosion by a sapper crew.
Meanwhile, IDF troops and Shin Bet officers arrested Khaled Salim – a senior member of Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades military wing, who had been on the wanted list for four years – in Ramllah’s Qalandiyah refugee camp.
Security forces surrounded the house in which Salim was located and called on him to turn himself in.
Salim attempted to flee and was fired on by troops. He was then administered medical treatment.
The army says Salim, 27, of the village of Jius near Qalqilyah, was involved in in planning an ambush somewhere in the northern West Bank.
In 2004, he recruited a cell of the Fatah-affiliated Tanzim militant group, promising to provide them with arms in exchange for the kidnapping of an Israeli taxi driver. Members of the cell were arrested on their way into Israel.
Palestinian hospital doctors on Saturday said two Palestinians were killed Saturday by IDF fire in two separate incidents in Gaza.
In the morning, IDF tanks fired from mounted machine guns toward a group of men near a housing project outside of the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahia, critically wounding three people, doctors said.
One of the men later died of his wounds and was identified as an Islamic Jihad militant.
Later Saturday, a Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in Sderot, penetrating the roof of a building and causing damage inside. No injuries were reported.
In the same area as the earlier incidents, Hamas-run Al Aqsa TV reported that tank fire hit between its office and an adjacent kindergarten, sending employees and children running for cover.
Sami Ayoub, an employee at the kindergarten, said no one was hurt and the 45 children were taken to safety. Gunfire could be heard on the Al Aqsa broadcast.
IDF soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man near the Karni border crossing between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday, Palestinian medical officials said.
It was not immediately clear whether the man was armed.
An army spokeswoman said soldiers fired at three people as they approached the border area and identified hitting one.
Two IDF soldiers wounded in Gaza, three Palestinians killed on Friday Three Palestinians were killed and two IDF soldiers were lightly wounded in two separate incidents in the Gaza Strip on Friday.
Palestinian sources said a Hamas camerman who filmed attacks against Israel for the Islamic militant organiztaion was killed by IDF gunfire in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya, Israel Radio reported.
The soldiers were lightly wounded when their armored vehicle drove over an explosive device in the Strip. They were evacauted to a hospital by helicopter.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired five Qassam rockets at the western Negev on Friday. Two rockets landed in the Negev on Thursday night, damaging a building. There were no injuries in any of the incidents.
Two Palestinians were killed – one of them a ten-year-old boy – while trying to fire Qassams at Israel.
In the wake of ongoing rocket fire on Sderot, IDF troops will be escorting children to school in the Negev town on Friday, Israel Radio reported.
In the West Bank cities of Nablus and Tul Karm, militants threw several explosive devices at IDF troops, causing no injuries.
Security forces arrested seven wanted Palestinians in the West Bank overnight Friday.
On Thursday, a 57-year-old woman became the first grandmother suicide bomber, blowing herself up near IDF troops operating in northern Gaza, lightly wounding three soldiers. Also in northern Gaza on Thursday, an Israel Air Force strike killed the commander of the Popular Resistance Committees, along with his deputy.
Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Fatah said Thursday night that they are willing to stop launching Qassam rockets at Israel if the IDF ceases its operations in the Gaza Strip. Government spokeswoman Miri Eisin responded to the proposal by saying Israel would only stop its actions after militants laid down their weapons.
PM Olmert Speaks With PA Chairman Abbas (Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke a short while ago last night (Saturday), 25.11.06, with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who telephoned in order to inform him that he had reached agreements with all Palestinian factions to halt all violent actions from the Gaza Strip including rocket fire, the digging of tunnels and the dispatch of suicide terrorists. The comprehensive ceasefire will enter into force at 06:00 today (Sunday), 26.11.06. PA Chairman Abbas told Prime Minister Olmert that all Palestinian organizations have committed to the foregoing and said that he expects that Israel will halt its military activity in the Gaza Strip in response and will withdraw its forces from the Strip. Prime Minister Olmert consulted with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and other ministers, and with senior security establishment commanders, and informed PA Chairman Abbas that since Israel has been active in the Gaza Strip in response to terrorist actions, in light of the ceasefire, Israel would halt its military actions and withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip in the hope that the cessation of violent activity will last and serve both sides. The two men agreed to continue to discuss the expansion of the cessation of violent activity to Judea and Samaria in the future. They also agreed to speak again soon in order to continue these measures.