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PA Incorporating, Not Fighting, Terrorism

Last night, Israeli security coordinators Maj.-Gen. Doron Almog, of the Southern Command, and Maj.-Gen. Amos Gilad met with Palestinian Authority security chief Muhammad Dahlan in Jerusalem.
First Publish: 6/20/2003, 2:26 PM

Last night, Israeli security coordinators Maj.-Gen. Doron Almog, of the Southern Command, and Maj.-Gen. Amos Gilad met with Palestinian Authority security chief Muhammad Dahlan in Jerusalem. The meeting was also attended by US special envoy John Wolf, but produced no positive results regarding PA fulfillment of its commitment to fight terrorist gangs.

Rather than fighting Islamist terrorists, PA leader Mahmoud (Abu Mazen) Abbas has been conducting intense negotiations aimed at bringing them under the PLO/PA umbrella. On Thursday, Abu Mazen met with representatives of thirteen different Arab terrorist organizations in Gaza, including Islamist factions. The meeting was part of ongoing talks among PA terrorists regarding the possibility of a temporary cease-fire agreement and the incorporation of the Islamist groups into a Unified National Leadership for the PLO. Abu Mazen further said that PLO leader Yasser Arafat has given his approval for the proposed expansion of PLO ranks.

Regarding the PA proposal for a joint Hamas-PLO leadership committee, government spokesman Ra'anan Gissin told Israel Radio today, "First of all. in principle we accept any kind of cease-fire. Any cessation of shooting, of violence, of terror is welcomed by us. From our experience with these organizations, from what they have been saying and, more so, from what they have been doing, this cease-fire is not going to hold. What they are going to do is try to use it to regroup, to rearm and then launch a war against us." Gissin explained that if the "hudna" (cease-fire) does not follow with concrete steps to "dismantle the terrorist organizations, to disarm them, to put behind bars and then to bring to justice those that deserve to be brought to justice, then you haven't done anything." As of now, Gissin said, "You got a group of monitors here, but they have nothing to monitor yet. Without a relentless fight against terrorism by all parties concerned - that is the Israeli side, the Palestinians, the Arab countries, which should cut support and financial support to these organizations, which have decided they are the enemies of the peace process - without such action, clearly the peace process and our effort to restart the journey on this 'road map' will go nowhere."

The PA attempt to incorporate, rather than fight, terrorist groups is due solely to a lack of will, according to General Security Services (GSS) chief Avi Dichter. In the case of a cease-fire agreement, Dichter pointed out in his talks in Washington this week, the Hamas would retain its strength and set-up new terrorist cells. Dichter told his American interlocutors that the Palestinian Authority has tried to underscore the weakness of its security forces, but in Gaza, the Oslo War has hardly affected them. The GSS director said that Muhammad Dahlan could easily take on the Hamas, and did so seven years ago.

Given the foregoing, the continuation of Arab terrorism in the last 24 hours was not unexpected. An explosives-laden bicycle detonated at the Karni crossing point early Friday morning. No one was injured and no damage was done. Soldiers had recognized suspicious behavior among the PA residents waiting nearby and had delayed opening the crossing to workers. A short time later, another bomb, weighing 20-kilograms, was discovered and neutralized close to the same location where the bicycle-bomb had gone off. The second device, according to security sources, was meant to kill soldiers scouring the area in the aftermath of the earlier attack. The Karni crossing, where PA workers cross into Israel, was closed following the incident.

Yesterday, a mortar shell fired from PA-controlled territory landed near a house in Netzer Hazani, Gush Katif. There were no reports of injuries.

Security forces remain on heightened alert Friday due to intelligence reports of several planned terrorist attacks. In overnight counter-terrorism efforts, security forces nabbed three wanted Arab terrorists near Hevron.