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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Don't be fooled by calm

Someone please remind me - again - why we expelled all the Jews from Gaza and pulled our troops back.

Writing in Yediot Achronot - and on YNet's web site, analyst Boaz Ganor points to three strategic threats facing Israel today. Terror originating out of Gaza - exacerbated by the State Department's insistence on allowing the Paleostinians 'free passage' to Judea and Samaria - is number one on the list:

Calm on the Palestinian front is allowing Israel to act like a normal country as it heads into elections and to put burning domestic issues at the head of the campaign.

But we must not fool ourselves into ignoring reality. The relative security calm is no more than temporary, and it won't last long.

In practice, Israel is finding itself facing three of the most serious strategic threats it has known in the past 10 years: Anarchy in the Palestinian Authority and continual strengthening of Hamas, a steady flow of global jihadists into Israel and the territories, and Iran's nuclear program, accompanied by explicit threats against Israel.

The reduction in Palestinian terror is temporary, and will continue no longer than next week's Palestinian Legislative Council elections and the establishment of a new Palestinian political establishment.

Even if the unexpected occurs and Hamas decides to continue the cease-fire, other organizations will continue their attempts to stage terror attacks.

These attempts will require Israel to stage pre-emptive and reactive strikes. The road from here to serious deterioration is short.

More than that: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' lack of will or ability to disarm terror organizations and to establish his rule in the territories has placed us on a powder keg, when the deterioration depends on the motivation and judgment of terrorists.

But Palestinian terror has gathered strength in light of terrorists' improved ability to fire rockets into Israel, an open border between Gaza and Egypt that allows terror activists and weapons to freely enter the Strip, and international pressure on Israel to allow free passage between Gaza and the West Bank that would enable the transfer of these weapons to the West Bank.

The second strategic threat is global Jihad. Signs are growing that al-Qaeda, Iraqi terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and other organizations are trying to focus their terror activities on central Asia and the Middle East, and as usual, Israel finds itself right in the eye of the storm.

The Palestinians' fate is no more important to Bin Laden and co. than last year's snow. They are interested only in creating a world-wide Islamic caliphate.

In the first stage their goal is to bring down replace Arab regimes near Israel, and this represents a real failure in realizing their dream.

Therefore, Zarqawi's activists and others have ranked up their presence in countries bordering on Israel – Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt.

The vacuum created in the Gaza Strip after Israel's departure and Abbas' failure have allowed global Jihad to rank up its terrorist abilities in Gaza, and eventually they will probably do so in the West Bank as well.

Someone please remind me why we expelled all the Jews and withdrew from Gaza?


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