Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Sivan 5762 - May 15, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Israel "Postpones" Gaza Incursion
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Israeli postponed or called-off its plan to move into the Gaza Strip in order to root out terrorists there. It sent home some reservists who had been called-up, but others remain on alert. The army remains poised around Gaza and it is not clear if these moves are the result of genuine decisions to postpone the action, or an attempt to put the terrorists in Gaza off balance to restore the element of surprise in a subsequent attack.

In the meantime, the decision to shelve the incursion into the Gaza Strip makes diplomatic efforts to end the Israeli- Palestinian conflict easier.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Benjamin Ben- Eliezer announced Sunday that they were halting the operation, saying that leaks from Israeli army officers and Cabinet ministers had given Palestinian militants time to go underground. The operation was originally planned in direct response to a suicide bombing last week in Rishon Letzion that killed 15 Israelis and wounded 60 others.

Despite Israel's military campaign in the West Bank, a senior defense ministry official said, "we are intercepting almost one suicide bomber a day and finding a car bomb a day."

Ben-Eliezer stressed Sunday that Israel still has a plan to take steps against terrorists and is ready to implement the plan at the appropriate time. Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz was a strong backer of an immediate incursion.

Political observers said that there was strong diplomatic pressure, particularly from the United States, and there was also disagreement in the military over the action. Some senior military officers reportedly said there may be heavy Israeli and Palestinian casualties.

U.S. officials had reportedly warned Sharon that a massive operation in the Gaza Strip could hurt efforts to bring about reforms in the Palestinian Authority

One of the senior Palestinian officials whose name has come up as a possible successor to Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat is Mohammed Dahlan, the head of the Palestinian preventative security service in Gaza.

Israeli troops pulled out of Bethlehem just last Friday, when the 38-day standoff at the church ended nonviolently. Thirteen Palestinian terror suspects were flown into Cyprus en route to other countries, while 26 others were sent to Gaza. Israel says the 13 were involved in numerous terrorist attacks against Israelis. Ben-Eliezer said Sunday that Israel plans to seek the extradition of the 13.

EU envoy Miguel Moratinos said Saturday the 13 are "free men," who had come to Cyprus of their own accord, adding that they are not deportees.

After the siege ended last Friday, American and Israeli bomb disposal experts defused about 40 bombs left behind by the Palestinians. Priests and volunteers cleaned away the refuse.

The Christian world has not protested the Palestinian terrorists use of its church to hide from justice.

Over the last weekend, the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria called on Arabs to back the Saudi initiative, which calls for Israel to withdraw to the boundaries that existed before the 1967 Six-Day War in exchange for full diplomatic relations, normalized trade and security guarantees from Arab countries.

In a statement at the end of talks in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik, the leaders of the three countries said the land-for-peace initiative, approved in March at an Arab League meeting in Beirut, should provide a basic guideline for peace.

The statement also denounced Israeli military attacks on Palestinians and called for international pressure to have Israel withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza.

Reports in the press, possibly planted by Saudi publicity agents, said that the Saudis plan an intense initiative to stop the violence, including talks with Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders.


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