Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

5 Av 5761 - July 25, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Sharon Proceeding on the Basis of Mitchell Plan
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, rejecting pressure from the Right to initiate harsher military action, said that he is "sticking to the Mitchell plan," for a cease-fire followed by a renewal of the peace process. The plan "has not been exploited," Sharon said, adding that every effort must be made to reach a cease-fire.

Before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Sharon said the government's current security policy is not restraint, but to respond to every attack, and implement "effective defense" on the roads. However, he emphasized that the policy of implementing harsh attacks in response to terror has been rejected by the cabinet, since Israel does not want to close the door on the advancement of the peace process.

"This kind of approach is preferable to a harsh response. We all know where that could lead," Sharon warned. "The people who shouted [at the Likud central committee gathering Sunday] who think I will change my opinion and bring this people to war are simply mistaken. As long as there is no reason to go to war, the shouting won't influence me," Sharon added.

Sharon said Israel is opposed to international observers but supports the continuation of the current Israeli-Palestinian coordination with US involvement. Sharon indicated Israel may agree to a change in the US role within the Mitchell commission outline. He said he does "not see a problem in adding more American observers," as long as they only report to the committee and are not involved in passing judgment. He emphasized that despite all of the talk about observers, the US has not approached Israel about the matter.

Some American sources have said that the US policy remains unchanged as centering on the Mitchell plan, and the talk of observers was just a result of European pressure at the G-8 meeting in Genoa. One US administration official said the US is focused exclusively on implementation of Mitchell and that the issue of monitoring is "only in the press and because of the G-8 summit," which released a statement calling for the stationing of some type of third-party monitors if both Israel and the Palestinians agree.

Sharon said that when Israel carries out military operations, it tries to ensure that civilians are not in the areas and prefers to carry out arrests when possible.

He noted that a list of 73 names of terrorist leaders whose arrests are being demanded by Israel was supplied to Arafat twice, including once when it was hand-delivered, but Arafat has made no move to arrest them.

If there is information on a terror ring, someone enlisting suicide-bombers or specializing in preparing explosives Israel will "take care of them," Sharon said.

As for the shooting attack on a Palestinian family by Jewish extremists near Hebron, Sharon said the phenomenon there must be "uprooted with an iron hand." He warned that attacks by Jews could "bring on disaster," and said he has given instructions to the General Security Service to make every effort to find the perpetrators of the attack, in which three Palestinians were killed.

A senior IDF intelligence officer who also attended the committee meeting said Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat has "no intention to halt terror." The official attributed the rise and fall in violence to the amount of international pressure put on Arafat, but from his point of view the armed struggle has not ended.

On the northern border, the official said that the IDF has identified Hizbullah preparations to carry out an operation against Israel.

The officer also noted that the Tanzim is again fully operating after a taking a break following the acceptance of the Tenet cease-fire document, with renewed activity in the Ramallah, Hebron, and Bethlehem areas, including Beit Jalla.

In an attempt to make an impression on the US, the PA has arrested two activists in the Tulkarm area based on a list provided by Israel, but they are being kept under good conditions, and are released to carry out attacks, according to the officer.

He added that although the Afula, Haifa, and Binyamina attacks were masterminded by two Hamas-Islamic Jihad activists whose arrests have been demanded by Israel, there has been no move made by the PA against them.

Former senator George Mitchell renewed his call on Israelis and Palestinians to implement the recommendations of the committee he chaired, a step-by-step approach to ending the violence, restoring confidence, and returning to peace negotiations. He described the cease-fire announced recently as "obviously not fully effective."


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