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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Olmert the security expert

One would think that Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud K. Olmert, would have learned not to overrule the security experts as a result of last summer's debacle in Lebanon. Last summer, the IDF wanted a ground invasion, but Olmert insisted that bombing selected targets from the air would be sufficient to defeat Hezbullah. Obviously, Olmert was wrong.

This morning, once again, Olmert has overruled the IDF and the General Security Service (called the Shabak in Hebrew - in American terms, it's a combination of the FBI and the Secret Service rolled into one). This time the issue is permitting 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen, who is rolling in western aid money when he's not paying it to Hamas, to purchase twenty-five armored vehicles.

The IDF and the GSS are opposed because they are afraid that the armored vehicles will ultimately fall into Hamas' hands, as happened with all of the weapons that the US and Israel provided to the 'Palestinians' in Gaza. I have a different concern: that Fatah itself will one day use those armored vehicles against Israelis as Arafat did with much of the weaponry he was given during the heyday of Oslo.
The security establishment questioned the judgment of such a move, citing Monday's shooting attack near Kedumim that emanated from the Nablus area, which the PA was supposed to be controlling with its newly-deployed police force, Israel Radio reported Wednesday morning. Security officials said this proved that PA forces were not capable of reining in terror groups. [And if this week the PA is 'fighting terror' that means that they'll also fight it next week? Look at the record!!! CiJ]

Government officials responded to the criticism by saying that the Palestinian Authority needed appropriate tools if it was expected to fight terrorism. The officials downplayed the significance of armored vehicles as a threat to the IDF should they be turned against Israeli forces. [Fortunately for Olmert, he won't be Prime Minister when this decision comes back to hit us in the face. He'll probably be living in France by then, and therefore he won't have to answer to the families of the IDF soldiers and revenants who will be endangered by this move. Just like his Defense Minister - Barak - wasn't Prime Minister by the time the flight from Lebanon came back and hit us in the face last summer. CiJ]

When Hamas overran Gaza in June, expelling Fatah forces loyal to Abbas, the Islamist group captured large quantities of weapons supplied to Fatah by the US and others.

Russia proposed shipping the armored vehicles to Palestinian security forces two years ago, but the deal was stalled because of Israeli opposition. Now that approval has been given, the deal is set to go through. No time frame was given for arrival of the vehicles.
But there's more. After all, you can't make a fancy dinner without also serving dessert:
In addition to the armored vehicles, some reports said that Olmert had approved shipment of 1,000 rifles and 2 million rounds of ammunition for Abbas's forces.
I guess the price of bullets in Judea and Samaria just dropped.

YNet reports that Olmert's office is denying that it has agreed to let the 'Palestinians' have 1000 rifles:
"We are asking the Palestinians to fight terror. How are they supposed to do that, with stolen Israeli cars?" a senior official at the Prime Minister's Office said in response to the criticism over the planned move, which was approved a week ago. [No, I don't expect them to fight terror with stolen Israeli cars. But before I give them armored vehicles that can be turned against me, I want to see some evidence that they will fight terror at all. In the fourteen years since the Oslo 'declaration of principles,' there is not one shred of evidence that the 'Palestinians' EVER have ANY intention of fighting terror. CiJ]

The Prime Minister's Office denied previous reports that Israel would supply 50 armored vehicles and 1,000 rifles to the Palestinians: "Not one rifle was approved."
By the way, note that Olmert's office does not deny the two million bullets. They sure have a lot of weddings to shoot those off at, eh?

Haaretz reports that this is only half of the number of armored vehicles the 'Palestinians' are eventually to receive:
A political source emphasized that Olmert only authorized the supply of half of the number of vehicles originally approved, which was some 50, and for them only to be used in Nablus. Most of this area is under PA security control.

"In the event of the security situation stabilizing in other cities, the second half will be approved as well," the source said.
Then Haaretz comes up with this comment:
Palestinian comment on the deal was not immediately available. In the past, the Palestinian Authority has denied cooperating with Israel over arms shipments, since such cooperation is seen as treason by many in the West Bank and Gaza.
When (if ever) do they plan to tell their 'people' that they are going to have to cooperate with Israel if they want a state reichlet? After the next intifadeh?

And finally, for those of you who think that Monday night's terror attack could not have been prevented, consider this from Haaretz:
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak has called off wide-scale IDF raids planned to take place in Nablus. During recent weeks there has also been a substantial decrease in the scope of IDF arrest operations against wanted men. In addition to this, some 25 checkpoints have been lifted across the West Bank.

According to a security source, the reason for the operations' cancellation is apparently the desire not to damage the chances for success of the peace summit next week.
I guess that Ido Zoldan HY"D - who was murdered not far from Nablus (Shchem) was what Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin would have called a 'sacrifice for peace' during the Oslo era. Somehow, I doubt that will be any consolation to his parents, wife and two small children.


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