Jerusalem – Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert presented the Annapolis summit principles to the Israeli government cabinet, and they were accepted unanimously.
What Mr. Olmert told the Israeli government cabinet was that Israel’s acceptance of the Middle East road map, as presented by President George W. Bush in Annapolis, meant that Israel would not have to take any steps of compliance toward the creation of a Palestinian state until and unless the Palestinians would abide by the first stage of the road map: To crush terror organizations in its midst.
However, at Annapolis, Mr. Bush declared that Israel must set up a Palestinian state led by Fatah within one year. In that context, Mr. Bush was careful to declare that both sides are to accept and abide by the April 30, 2003, road map, not the May 25, 2003, version, which spells out that the Palestinians must crush terrorist organizations as the first stage of the road map.
Since Mr. Bush also declared that the U.S. would be the judge of compliance, The Bulletin asked State Department officials if the U.S. demanded that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas cancel his school curriculum, which teaches children to destroy Israel (the curriculum can be found at www.edume.org), and disband and disarm the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah’s military wing, which is defined by the U.S. as a terrorist organization.
The answer that The Bulletin received was that neither issue is on the agenda.
Meanwhile, a member of Congress has shared with The Bulletin a report from US AID, which works in conjunction with the U.S. State Department, of an official US AID report for Congress that determined that Palestinian incitement had been eliminated from their curriculum.
Congress is not aware of the fact that the author of the report works as an advisor to the Arab lobby in Washington.
Fatah Will Fight
Only two days after the Annapolis summit meeting, Mr. Abbas’ Fatah organization has declared that Fatah will fight alongside Hamas if and when the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launch a military operation in the Gaza Strip to combat the incessant rocket fire of terrorists operating in Hamas-controlled territory. A Fatah official was quoted as saying that “Fatah won’t remain idle in the face of an Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip. … We will definitely fight together with Hamas against the Israeli army. It’s our duty to defend our people against the occupiers. … The homeland is more important than all our differences.”
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades issued a statement on Friday in which it called on Mr. Abbas to provide them with the ability and equipment necessary to repel an Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip.
Ignoring the warnings that Fatah remains at war with Israel, Israel will work out the final terms for the entry of armored vehicles for Fatah into Palestinian cities over the coming week.
The armored vehicles were a Russian gift to Mr. Abbas.
Israel will also allow an increase in the number of conscripts into Fatah security forces so as to allow them to enter Palestinian cities.
Meanwhile, eight Palestinian terrorists who were identified as members of Hamas’ military wing, Iz a Din al-Kassam, were killed in a Friday nocturnal Israeli Air Force (IAF) strike east of Khan Yunis.
Another three Hamas men were killed the following day by members of an IDF patrol in the northern Gaza Strip. The Arabs opened fire on the Israeli patrol, which returned fire with a rocket, killing the three. Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Iz a Din al-Kassam, warned that “the day of reckoning is drawing near” and that Hamas would take its revenge. Over the weekend Palestinians reportedly fired four rockets and 15 mortar shells out of the Gaza Strip aiming for Israel.
One high-ranking IDF official said, “Every attack by Hamas on an Israeli town by means of mortar shells or Kassam rockets will lead to a response of damaging Hamas centers, such as bases and other positions held by the organization.”
On Saturday, Hamas terrorists opened fire at a patrol of troops from the Golani Brigade’s 12th Battalion in the northern Gaza Strip near the border fence opposite Kibbutz Kfar Azza. The troops returned fire with a rocket, which killed three terrorists.
On Friday night at around 2:30 in the morning, IAF jets attacked a group of armed terrorists to the east of Khan Yunis. The Palestinians reported that Israeli helicopter gunships fired six missiles at a group of terrorists from the Iz a Din al-Kassam brigades. The attack killed brothers Mohammed and Ziad Suleiman Abu Anza, 21 and 35; Ibrahim Asad, 20; Jihad Fauzi Kadih, 19; and Tamer Abu Jamaa, 21.
Hamas officials threatened to seek revenge. “The enemy will pay a heavy price. … All of the occupation’s calculations will be inverted and the results will be beyond all expectations,” said Abu Obeida. In a press conference he held in Khan Yunis, Abu Obeida called on Israel to “begin to prepare the funerals for soldiers and settlers.” He said that Hamas had “many alternatives for responses to the enemy’s crimes.”
Israel Shelves Plan
To Invade Gaza
Israel’s military has again been forced to shelve plans to invade the Gaza Strip.
Military sources said Mr. Olmert has rejected plans for a major ground operation in the Gaza Strip as part of an effort to stop daily Palestinian missile fire into Israel. The sources said Mr. Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak determined that any major incursion into the Gaza Strip would torpedo U.S. plans for accelerated negotiations for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank by 2009.
“Right now, there are no plans for an invasion even though everybody understands that the violence will get worse,” a military source said. “The reason is political.”
Palestinian Authority With An Outstretched Hand
The PA will ask for $5 billion from the donor countries who will gather this month in Paris to finance reforms in its institutions and for economic rehabilitation.
The plan is to be spread over three years and is intended, among other things, to reduce the deficit of the PA (about $1.5 billion) and finance reforms in the Palestinian security organizations and enterprises in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian Planning Minister Samir Abdullah, who is coordinating the reform plans, said that the plan is almost complete and that a draft of it has been sent for the donor countries to study.
Abbas: We Won’t Accept Israel As
A Jewish State
Mr. Abbas has been touring Arab capitals in the aftermath of the Annapolis conference. The Palestinian leader took pride in the achievements that were made in the course of the conference but clarified that he rejected Israel’s “red lines,” including its demand to be recognized as a Jewish state.
“We achieved the primary goal that we set for ourselves in advance of the Annapolis conference: to set the peace process in motion,” Mr. Abbas said after meeting in Cairo with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. “The joint committees will begin their work on Dec. 12 and will discuss all of the issues, including the final status arrangement issues, including Jerusalem, the borders, the settlements and the refugees.”
Mr. Abbas also cited the conference of the donor countries in Paris on Dec. 17 and the follow-up conference to Annapolis, which is supposed to be held in Moscow.
“We have no guarantees that the talks will reach their conclusion, but behind us stands the international community and international institutions that want the promotion of the peace process,” he said. “We have international, Arab and Islamic legitimacy and American sincerity of intent.”
Mr. Abbas added, “The Palestinians do not accept the formula that the state of Israel is a Jewish state. We say that Israel exists, and in Israel there are Jews and there are those who are not Jews.” The PA chairman undertook also to combat terrorism. “That is included in the road map. We will meet the demands that have been presented to us, and it is incumbent upon the Israelis to meet their obligations, particularly with respect to ending the settlement activity, removing the outposts and restoring the Palestinian institutions to East Jerusalem.”
429 Palestinian Convicts To Be Released Today
The most significant Israeli goodwill gesture for the Annapolis conference will be carried out today with the release of 429 Palestinian convicts from jails across Israel. The convict release was originally scheduled to be held yesterday but was delayed by a single day at the Palestinians’ request, said Prisons Service officials.
©The Bulletin 2007