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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Israel deliberately minimizing West Bank rocket threat

This should come as no suprise to anyone.

Ehud Olmert and his Kadima Achora party are so anxious to withdraw from surrender Judea and Samaria at all costs, as part of their war against religious Zionism, that they are keeping intelligence expectations of the aftermath of such a surrender out of the public domain.

WorldNetDaily.com's Aaron Klein reports this morning that security analysts believe that publicity about terror groups' current missile capabilities in the territories would likely generate criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plan to withdraw from most of Judea and Samaria. (Klein phrased it more cautiously than that, but I think my wording better reflects reality).

On Monday, the Fatah-affiliated Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades told WorldNetDaily that they fired two rockets aimed at an Israeli military installation about a mile away from their position in Jenin. A source close to the Brigades said the rockets were Jenin 1s, a less advanced Qassam rocket that can travel about one mile.

A security official confirmed on condition of anonymity that there is information the rockets were fired this week. But an official spokesperson for the IDF told WorldNetDaily that the army was not aware of any rockets fired Monday from Jenin.

The IDF has several times denied that rockets were launched from northern Samaria, and later quietly released select information stating some rockets had indeed been fired from the area. Israel withdrew from surrendered parts of Northern Samaria and expelled local Jewish revenants this past summer, immediately after the expulsion of all the Jews from Gaza.

Klein adds:
Official Israeli defense spokesmen claim the threat of rockets being fired from Judea or Samaria is minimal. They say the army there has largely prevented rockets from being transferred to the territory from the Gaza Strip, where rockets are fired almost daily at nearby Jewish towns. The officials maintain anti-rocket operations in northern Samaria have been successful.

Yaacov Amidror, former head of Israeli military intelligence research [and a religious Jew who left the IDF when he was passed over for the Chief of Staff position. CiJ], told WND yesterday, "Can Israel be sure in the future there won't be a rocket threat? Of course not. But the army has been extremely successful in stopping the flow and production of rockets in the West Bank."

On a few occasions the past two years the IDF has announced it has found evidence of rocket construction in Samaria during routine raids, particularly in Jenin and Nablus. In October, three members of the Popular Resistance Committees, a Gaza-based terror group, were arrested attempting to infiltrate northern Samaria to set up a Qassam missile manufacturing facility. The Committees has fired over 300 rockets from the Gaza Strip during the past four years.

The threat of projectiles has also been highlighted in Bethlehem, which borders Jerusalem. In February, Israel's Shin Bet Security Services told reporters it captured a rocket launcher and mortars that were slated to be fired by the Committees terror group at Gilo, a peripheral Jerusalem neighborhood. [Some of you may recall that Gilo was fired upon extensively in the early days of the Oslo War. CiJ]
And last month, two Hamas operatives were arrested crossing into Israel from Sinai and another was arrested in Tulkarm. All were trying to set up terror cells in Samaria.

Klein continues:

The day the attack [on Gilo. CiJ] was thwarted, Abu Abir, spokesman for the Committees, told WND his group was coordinating extensive rocket capabilities in Judea and Samaria:

"We call on (Shin Bet chief Yuval) Diskin and tell him not to be so happy and proud about stopping our attack because there is much more to come. I am not going to give details (about which cities we will attack), but we are planning to be present all around the West Bank. Every Israeli target is a legitimate target. Jerusalem, Ben Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv and every Israeli point can be part of our goals."

While Abu Abir's statements can be chalked up to rhetoric, intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say there is much information Palestinian terror groups have been producing and stockpiling rockets in northern Samaria that are currently capable of being fired.

But some security officials say the information is not getting out.

"All I can say is the information is known by the decision makers," said a senior security official.

The official noted Israel has been "reluctant" to order large-scale anti-rocket operations in northern Samaria in spite of intelligence about rocket infrastructures there.


Gaza borders desert and farming regions. There are some vital targets nearby, including the Ashkelon power station, which supplies much of Israel with electricity. Judea and Samaria, however, runs alongside Israel's major population centers. A withdrawal from the area could place Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Israel's international airport within rocket firing range.

George Birnbaum, managing director of Kidron Strategies, a Jerusalem-based political consulting firm, commented, "If it became known there were rocket threats in the West Bank it would make it very difficult politically for Olmert to implement his withdrawal plan. There would be a lot more resistance from the general public and the Knesset." [Hey - didn't I say that the revenants' strategy for preventing Olmert's surrender plan has to include making the public aware of how it will endanger Israel's heartland? CiJ]

Knesset Member Effie Eitam, chairman of the National Religious Party [and another religious Jewish general who left the army after being passed over for the Chief of Staff position. CiJ], told WND yesterday any Judea and Samaria withdrawal will result in rockets fired a major Israeli cities.

"Aside from the short-range rockets the Palestinians have now, it is just a question of time before they obtain longer-range missiles from Iran. Regardless, Olmert's withdrawal will give the terrorists land bordering our major cities," said Eitam, who serves on the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Read the whole thing.


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