Say it Ain't So Part 2: Whitewash of PA and disturbing "moral equivalence"
in Department of State Report
[IMRA: Once again, the folks at Foggy Bottom sends a clear message to
Israel: don't ever make the mistake of putting yourself in the situation
that you have to rely on accurate reporting from the US Department of State.
The US Department of State Report, in its discussion of Israel, the West
Bank and Gaza Strip, continues to bend over backwards and whitewash the PA
and Yasser Arafat.
+ Even after Israel provided heavy documentation of the excellent
command-and-control that Arafat has over Tanzim and its subsidiary Al-Aqsa
Martyrs Brigade responsible for the majority of terror attacks in the last
period, Foggy Bottom describes Tanzim as "small and loosely organized cells
of militants drawn from the street-level membership of Fatah and that " Some
Tanzim militants also were active in al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade" and leaves it
+ Not a word about PA security forces engaged in terror activities - part of
the problem rather than the solution.
+ Not a word about Arafat's "millions of martyrs marching on
Jerusalem"/continuing praise for terror.
+ Not a word that Arafat's only objection to terror is if it is not
effective [e.g. bad PR] - thus leaving open a glaring green beacon for any
and all acts of terror that are deemed effective.]
+Karine-A was an operation run by Martians?]
Patterns of Global Terrorism -2001
Released by the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
May 21, 2002
Middle East Overview
Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip
Traditionally, Israel has been one of the United States' staunchest
supporters in fighting terrorism. September 11 reinforced US-Israeli
security cooperation in this area. There is no known al-Qaida presence in
the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Arafat
forcefully denounced the September 11 attacks. Even HAMAS publicly distanced
itself from Usama Bin Ladin.
Israeli-Palestinian violence escalated in 2001, and terrorist activity
increased in scale and lethality. Israel responded to terrorist attacks with
military strikes against PA facilities, targeted killings of suspected
terrorists, and tightened security measures, including roadblocks and
closures of Palestinian towns and villages.
HAMAS conducted several suicide bombings inside Israeli cities from March to
June, culminating in the attack outside a Tel Aviv nightclub on 1 June that
killed 22 Israeli teenagers and injured at least 65 others. On 9 August,
HAMAS mounted a suicide attack in a Jerusalem pizzeria, killing 15 persons
and wounding more than 60 others.
Attacks by the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) against Israel were similar to
those of HAMAS. They included car bombings, shooting attacks, and suicide
bombings. In general, PIJ operations were significantly less lethal than
those of HAMAS. The PIJ claimed several shootings during the year, including
an attack on 4 November in which a PIJ member ambushed an Israeli bus
carrying schoolchildren in the French Hill section of East Jerusalem. The
attack killed two children, including one dual US-Israeli national, and
wounded at least 35 other persons.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) raised its profile
in 2001. It carried out car bombings in Jerusalem, few of which caused
serious injury. The PFLP, however, assassinated Israeli cabinet minister
Rehav'am Ze'evi in an East Jerusalem hotel on 17 October, purportedly in
retaliation for Israel's killing of its leader, Abu Ali Mustafa.
Members of the Tanzim, which is made up of small and loosely organized cells
of militants drawn from the street-level membership of Fatah, conducted
attacks against Israeli targets in the West Bank over the course of the
year. In mid-March, Israel arrested several Tanzim members who confessed to
participating in at least 25 shootings over a five-month period. Some Tanzim
militants also were active in al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which claimed
responsibility for numerous attacks in the West Bank -mainly shootings and
roadside bombings against settlers and Israeli soldiers. Al-Aqsa Martyrs
Brigade also claimed credit for at least one mortar attack.
Other secular Palestinian entities carried out terrorist attacks in 2001.
Israel announced in the fall that it had detained 15 members of a terrorist
squad linked to the Iraq-based Palestine Liberation Front. In early May, the
Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command
(PFLP-GC) tried to smuggle weapons into Gaza aboard the Santorini.
Apparently unaffiliated Palestinians also committed acts of political
violence. For example, on 14 February, a Palestinian from Gaza, employed by
Israel's Egged civilian bus company and with no known links to any terrorist
organization, drove his bus into a group of Israeli soldiers at a bus stop
killing eight and wounding 21 persons.
Israeli Arabs, constituting nearly one-fifth of Israel's population,
appeared to have played a limited role in the violence in 2001. On 9
September, Israeli Arab Muhammad Hubayshi conducted a suicide attack at a
train station in Nahariyah. HAMAS claimed credit for the attack. Israeli
Arabs generally refrained from aiding and abetting terrorists from the West
Bank and Gaza, however. At year's end, Israel indicted four Israeli Arabs
linked to rejectionist groups, although they were uninvolved in terrorist
operations or planning.
Jewish extremists attacked Palestinian civilians and their properties in the
West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2001. The attacks claimed the lives of
Palestinian civilians and destroyed Palestinian farmlands, homes,
businesses, and automobiles. In April, six Israeli policemen were wounded
when settlers blew up a Palestinian shop. In late November, Israel's Shin
Bet security service assessed that five Palestinians were killed and
fourteen wounded in attacks that were likely staged by Israeli settlers in
the West Bank. Investigations into many of these attacks produced
inconclusive results, leading to several arrests but no formal charges.
During 2001, Israeli military forces killed more than two dozen suspected
terrorists affiliated with HAMAS, the PIJ, Fatah, or the PFLP. An
unspecified number of Palestinian civilians also were killed in the strikes.
Unlike the pre-intifadah era, when Israeli-PA security cooperation was
generally effective, PA counterterrorism activities remained sporadic
throughout the year. Israel's destruction of the PA's security
infrastructure contributed to the ineffectiveness of the PA. Significantly
reduced Israeli-PA security cooperation and a lax security environment
allowed HAMAS and other groups to rebuild terrorist infrastructure in the
PA security services did thwart some attacks aimed at Israelis. They also
discovered and confiscated some caches of weapons and explosives. But
violence continued throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, resulting in
almost 200 Israelis and over 500 Palestinians killed in 2001.
Early in December, the White House called upon Arafat to take "meaningful,
long-term and enduring action against terrorists operating out of
Palestinian territory." On 16 December, Arafat issued a public statement
urging adherence to his call for a cease-fire. This was followed by PA
arrests of dozens of HAMAS and PIJ activists, although the conditions of
their arrest and the military role that some of them may have played remain
unclear. The PA also closed some social services centers run by HAMAS and
the PIJ. In December, and under pressure from the PA, HAMAS announced that
it would halt suicide attacks within Israel. It retained the option of
continuing operations against Israel inside the West Bank and Gaza Strip,
however. The top PIJ leadership inside and outside the West Bank and Gaza
Strip did not endorse Arafat's call for a cease-fire agreement.
(In January 2002, Israeli forces boarded the vessel Karine-A in the Red Sea
and uncovered nearly 50 tons of Iranian arms, including Katyusha missiles,
apparently bound for militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.)