Fighting And Negotiating With Terror

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and British Prime Minister Tony Blair this week agreed to increase cooperation between the two countries, including the sharing of intelligence data.

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The agreement comes as Israel is seeing increasing signs of involvement of the IRA in attacks originating in the Palestinian Authority and as Islamist terrorists threaten both countries with attack. Each country will appoint two emissaries who will be responsible for the transfer of intelligence information. On behalf of Israel, Sharon has selected Dov Weisglass and his military secretary Maj.-Gen. Yoav Gallant for the assignment.

In Israel, meanwhile, the intelligence and military struggle against terrorism continues. Today (Friday), the commander of the IDF’s military police force issued an alert regarding the abduction of soldiers by terrorists. Acting on intelligence community warnings, military police have been placed on alert and soldiers have been instructed to be increasingly vigilant. Following the successful release of kidnaped taxi driver Eliyahu Gur-El, and the capture of his abductors, IDF forces last night razed the Ramallah-area homes of two of the terrorists involved in the incident. A statement released by the Office of the IDF Spokesperson stated the homes were razed to send a clear message to terrorists, that there is a price to be paid for their actions. Also yesterday, several terrorists were apprehended in the Shomron and Gaza.

In other counter-terrorism efforts, the first section of the controversial security wall along PA-controlled areas has been completed. The 159-kilometer (98.7 mile) section is mostly between the Arab village of Salim east of Megiddo and the southern Shomron Jewish community of Elkana (138km/85.7 miles). 21 kilometers (13 miles) of the new security wall run between the capital and PA areas as part of the Jerusalem protection plan. A formal inauguration ceremony will be held on August 5, 2003.

Even as Israel continues to apprehend terrorists from Judea, Samaria and Gaza, as the IDF did last night, there are increasing indications that an upcoming prisoner release will include 40-60 Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists; those classified as not having "blood on their hands", but rather as "administrative prisoners".

Meanwhile, US President George W. Bush stated in a press conference yesterday (Thursday) that the ongoing terrorism is preventing the PA from establishing its own state. He said that a Palestinian flag will be flown in the State of Palestine only when the terrorism is halted. On the other hand, a White House spokesman has confirmed that PA leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) will be visiting President Bush at the end of next week. Four days later, Prime Minister Sharon is scheduled arrive at the White House.