The head of military intelligence, Maj.Gen. Aharon Ze’evi Farkash, told the government at a cabinet meeting on Sunday that Israel’s military establishment will recommend enabling the Palestinian Authority to become equipped with armored personnel carriers (APC’s).



American pressure is purportedly behind the IDF’s recommendation. The recommendation represents the first time Israel has allowed PA troops to use APC’s since the PA began fighting Israel with the onset of the Oslo War in September 2000.



Israel destroyed all of the PA’s APC’s during that war.



Defense sources have emphasized, however, that the APC’s will be used solely for carrying PA troops. The APC’s themselves will be unarmed and unable to fire.



Israel expects that the PA will use the APC’s in order to quell violence spurred by the Hamas terror organization. Hamas operates in Gaza as a rival to the PA. Its goal is to replace the PA as Gaza’s governing authority, and continue an all-out struggle against the Jewish State.



Farkash told the cabinet that PA chief Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) could strengthen his position in Gaza vis-a-vis Hamas, if he “wakes up” and keeps the Hamas in check.



“The Hamas is losing ground,” he said. “The PA has an interest in preserving quiet,” with Israel.



Farkash said that the terrorist group’s main purpose was to “harm normalization, and cause children in Gaza to go hungry for bread.” According to Farkash, that policy, ironically, serves to strengthen Hamas, providing an impetus for attacks against Israel.



Israel’s offer to the PA regarding the APC’s will be presented to Abbas by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at their meeting scheduled for Tuesday.



Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has already given the PA approval to purchase hundreds of thousands of rifle bullets. Many leaders of the defense establishment have said recently that Israel should also allow the PA to purchase thousands of new rifles. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, so far remains opposed to allowing the PA to purchase more rifles.



The acquisition of rifles and other armaments by the PA was a focal point of contention between right and left-wing groups prior to the implementation of the Oslo accords in the early 1990’s. Many right-wing groups, especially those affiliated with Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, vehemently opposed arming the PA, contending that the weapons ultimately would be used against Israelis and IDF troops.



Although they were condemned at the time, particularly by the press, of being soothsayers of doom and opponents of peace, their grim forecasts proved correct early on the in process. When Israel opened an underground tunnel in the Old City of Jerusalem to provide access to buried sections of the Western Wall in 1996, PA troops opened fire and killing numerous IDF troops.



In September 2000, after Ariel Sharon, then opposition leader, took a tour of the Temple Mount, PA forces used their weapons, much of which was provided by Israel, to launch a brutal war against IDF troops and Israeli civilians, resulting in well over one thousand deaths and thousands of injuries, over a five-year period.



Also ahead of Tuesday’s meeting between Sharon and Abbas, a committee of ministers will meet by Monday to decide on releasing Arab terrorists many of whom were convicted of murder. The committee is expected to distinguish between terrorists who murdered Arabs suspected of providing assistance to Israel in the war on terror, and those who murdered Jews. At this stage, the committee is expected to approve only the release of terrorists who murdered other Arabs.



Terrorists released under the guise of strengthening the hand of the PA are often back working for terrorist organizations shortly after their release. Many are caught and then sentenced a second time for cutting short more innocent lives.

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