Jerusalem – On Aug. 15, Al Hayat Al Jadida, the official newspaper of the Palestinian Authority (PA), carried what the Western reader would regard as an unusual news item: A soccer tournament had been held in a Palestinian Authority school in honor of Ziyad Da’as, the terrorist who engineered a machine-gun attack at a Bat Mitzvah celebration in Hadera in January 2002 where six people were murdered and more than 30 people were hurt.
Da’as was also the terrorist who planned the kidnapping and murder of two Israeli restaurant owners whom he lured to the Arab city of Tulkarem in 2001.
Da’as, a Fatah commander, was killed by Israeli troops in August 2002.
In the wake of an official PA soccer match in a PA school which glorified a man who murdered Jews, The Bulletin dispatched a letter to the U.S. State Department and the Israeli government to ask whether either government would demand that the PA cease from honoring those who murder Jews.
The Bulletin awaits responses.
Most recently, the U.S. and Israel renewed their assistance to Fatah-oriented PA schools.
As The Bulletin reported on Aug. 10, neither the U.S. nor Israel conditioned aid to PA education on a cancellation of the anti-Semitism in the PA school curriculum.
Israel, U.S. Sign
$30 Billion Military
Over this past week, Israel and the U.S. signed a new agreement for $30 billion defense aid to Israel over 10 years.
The agreement promises the security establishment annual aid that will begin at about $2.5 billion and reach $3.5 billion at the end of the decade.
Israel will be able to spend three quarters of the sum on the purchase of defense equipment and defense industry projects in the U.S., while a quarter of the aid will be converted into shekels and will serve the security establishment as extra money in Israel.
Over the past decade the American aid has been used by the Israel defense establishment for the purchase of new F-16 combat planes, in addition to trucks, missiles, bombs and many electronic means. The most important project in which Israel plans to invest the new aid is in the future Israeli Air Force combat plane, the Lockheed-Martin F-35, in addition to the General Dynamics Striker APCs and tens of thousands of bombs and missiles. In the future, Israel plans to produce the Merkava APC and Merkava tank in the U.S. in order to acquire the blue and white tank with green currency.
Arab Newspaper: Hezbollah
Hezbollah holds weapons of mass destruction, according to the London-based newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi. The paper based this conjecture on an analysis of Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah’s latest speech, in which Nasrallah promised Israel “a surprise that will change the fate of the region,” as he put it, if Israel attacks Lebanon.
“Nasrallah is a person who does not lie,” writes Abdul Bari Atwan, editor-in-chief of Al-Quds Al-Arabi. “He keeps his word. When he promises Israel a surprise that will change the face of the region, these statements should be taken with full seriousness.”
According to Atwan’s analysis, Nasrallah was not referring to long-range rockets, since he already revealed in the past that Hezbollah holds such weapons in its arsenal. “From an initial examination, it can be understood that these rockets, or part of them, can be equipped with chemical or biological weapons,” states Atwan. Atwan assesses further that Nasrallah might not hesitate to use the doomsday weapon.
“Just as Hezbollah did not hesitate to attack the Israeli hinterland with rockets, it would not be surprising or unusual if he should employ weapons of mass destruction in a new confrontation,” writes Atwan.
Nasrallah made his vague threats on Tuesday evening in a speech given in Dahiya, Hezbollah’s stronghold in Beirut, on the occasion of the anniversary of the Second Lebanon war. “Our preparations for war are what will prevent it,” said Nasrallah. “If there is a war in the future, I promise you surprises that will change not only the fate of the war, but the fate of the entire region. This is a promise that the fighters and I stand behind. If a war breaks out, and we are not interested in this, we must be prepared.”
U.S. Military Will End Surge In April 2008
The Middle East NewsLine reports that the U.S. military plans to end the troop surge in Iraq by the spring of 2008.
U.S. military commander in Iraq Gen. David Petraeus has been drafting a plan that envisions the end of the troop surge in Iraq around April 2008. They said the end of the operation would reduce the U.S. military presence from the current 162,000 to about 130,000.
“The surge we know, as it is today, goes through April of ’08,” Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the No. 2 commander in Iraq, said. “We believe at sometime around that time, we will begin to reduce our forces down to pre-surge levels, and we are building our plans accordingly.”
In a briefing from Friday, Odierno said the U.S. military plan takes into account each of Iraq’s 18 provinces. The general said the Iraqi military would be ready to take control of some of the provinces over the next year while U.S.-led coalition forces would be required in others.
“We have to be able to maintain enough capability so we can go with the right rate, until we believe the security situation and the Iraqi security force capabilities match what’s on the ground,” Odierno said.
Petraeus has been completing a draft of the U.S. military plan in Iraq, scheduled to be discussed in Congress in September. Officials said the plan envisioned the withdrawal of one brigade per month for five months.
“The surge, we all know, will end sometime in 2008, in the beginning of 2008, and we will begin probably a withdrawal of forces based on the surge,” Odierno said. “So when I talk deliberately, again, we must consider the complexity of the threat and deliberately reduce our forces based on the situation on the ground as well as the capability of the Iraqi security forces. I think the plan will reflect that as we develop it.”
Odierno asserted that 52 percent of the violence in Iraq – down from 70 percent in January 2007 – stemmed from Sunni and al-Qaida strikes. He said Shiite insurgents were responsible for the remainder.
“We also believe we had some effect on them [al-Qaida],” Odierno said.
“And if we can, we want to finish them off. We want to make life as tough as possible here for them, so that we can completely defeat them.”
Iran, Iraq Sign
In a development that may come as a surprise to U.S. officials, the Middle East NewsLine has confirmed that Iran and Iraq have signed a security accord.
Both nations have agreed to cooperate on border security. They said the cooperation would include coordinated patrols along the Arvand River, which serves as a border between Iran and Iraq.
The agreement was signed on Friday by the commanders of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iraq’s Border Guards. The accord was announced at the end of the first Iran-Iraq security session in Tehran.
“The two sides – in order to ensure the security on eastern and western shores of the Arvand River – have agreed in accordance with the terms of the security pact to launch regular and simultaneous patrols on both sides of the border river,” the official Iranian news agency, IRNA, reported.
What this means is that Iran and Iraq have also agreed to establish border posts and enhance existing installations. They said both countries would supply additional patrol boats along the Arvand River.
Another element of the accord stipulated an intelligence exchange on border security. Officials said this would include alerts regarding the movement of smugglers and illegal aliens.
Iraq plans to deploy 37,000 troops at 413 border checkpoints. By 2008, Baghdad intends to increase the number of border checkpoints along the Iranian border to 530.
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2007