Thursday, December 08, 2005


From Israel: Arlene Kushner, December 7, 2005

From Israel

Arlene Kushner

December 7, 2005

[] I had said yesterday that I was waiting for word of what Mahmoud Abbas, having condemned the terrorist attack in Netanya for western consumption, would say about it in Arabic. Well, what I have instead may be even more significant.

Just about the same time that the bombing occurred, word broke in the PA paper al-Haya al-Jadidha that President Abbas had approved financial support for families of "martyrs." Martyrs? Suicide bombers qualify most definitely.
Those in Israeli prisons also get stipends. Altogether, about $100 million a year will be spent on this, drawn from the PA budget that totals $1 billion -- about 30% of which comes from foreign donors. (Is anybody involved in making any of those donations watching this?)

Please see Palestinian Media Watch for more information.

[] Netanyahu and Landau held a joint press conference in Tel Aviv today, kicking off an invigorated effort to bring Likud back to its roots and save it.

[] Meanwhile...Tsachi Hanegbi, who has been serving as interim chairman of the Likud since Sharon left that position, today announced that he was following Sharon to Kadima and giving up his Knesset seat (which he says belongs to Likud).
During his press conference, he told reporters that for the last 17 days he has been running the Likud while deciding whether to join Kadima. One journalist pointed out that, during this interval of time, Hanegbi had blocked a political move by Netanyahu to have 61 MKs approve him (Netanyahu) as prime minister in Sharon's stead. Of course, Hanegbi was acting on principle and we shouldn't even think about conflict of interest.

But it should be noted that this evening, the police, winding up an investigation, recommended indicting Hanegbi for making illegal political appointments. What a line-up Kadima has! I think they all deserve each other.

[] Meanwhile Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz, who heads the party secretariat, has begun actions to purge Likud of Sharon loyalists. One of those actions was to fire deputy director-general Rafi Bar-Chen, who is suspected of working behind the scenes to help Kadima. He is accused of downloading information from the Likud adminstrative computers for the wrong reasons.

[] Israeli military has begun a massive crackdown on Islamic Jihad, following the Netanya suicide bombing. The sweep is expected to last a month. Yesterday the father and brothers of the Netanya bomber were arrested in the village of Illar; eight other suspected members of Islamic Jihad were rounded up at the same time. In an IDF aerial attack in the Rafah area today, Mahmud Arkan a senior leader in the "Popular Resistance Committees" was taken out while driving in his car. Arkan was responsible for planning several attacks and worked in concert with the Islamic Jihad.

[] As to the Netanya bombing: It's important always to show the human face of the tragedy. Eliya Rozen, 38, was one of the victims of that bombing. The next morning her son, aged five, woke up and asked his father, "Who will be my mother?" "She will always be your mother," his father told him.

[] It has not yet been determined exactly how the terrorist got to Netanya. But information of a more general nature has been revealed indicating that Palestinians are getting into Israel illegally on a regular basis in spite of the security fence. The weakness is in the crossings. Seems there are Israelis who are prepared to bring Palestinians across. My assumption is that while the Israelis know what they are doing is illegal, it is not their intention to help terrorists. Rather, they intend to help people get work. Whatever the intent, there have been instances of Israelis convicted of helping terrorists get into Israel.

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