Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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4 Teves 5766 - January 4, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











The Calm this Year was Due to Israel Security Services, not Palestinian Restraint

by Mordecai Plaut and Yated Ne'eman Staff

Almost all of 2005 was within the period of tahdia (declared calm) that began on January 22 of that year, but nonetheless there were 2,990 terrorist attacks against Israeli targets. The firing of Kassam rockets even increased a bit in 2005 compared to 2004, with 377 rocket attacks as opposed to 309. Nonetheless, in the all-important human casualty figures there were significant declines: Forty-five Israelis (37 civilians and eight members of the security forces, Hy"d) were killed in 2005, compared to 117 (76 civilians and 41 members of the security forces, Hy"d) in 2004. Twenty-three of these were murdered in seven suicide attacks (55 in 15 suicide attacks in 2004).

There was also a decline in the number wounded in 2005: 406 (302 civilians and 104 members of the security forces), as opposed to 589 (394 civilians and 195 members of the security forces) in 2004.

However it is clear that this decline was more the result of Israeli security forces success, with siyata deShmaya, than Palestinian restraint. The ISA arrested 160 potential suicide terrorists in Judea and Samaria in 2005. If, chas vesholom, a significant number of these attacks had been carried out, there would have been no decline.

The number and level of warnings in 2005 makes it even more evident that the terrorist organizations' attempts to attack Israeli targets did not lessen. The number of monthly warnings remained for the most part fairly high. In 2005 there were a total of 578 warnings with the average number of monthly warnings at 48, and just about the same number at the end as at the beginning: 61 in January 2005 and 57 in December 2005.

The tahdia that was announced by the Palestinian terrorist groups was an agreement among themselves and with the Palestinian Authority. It did not involve Israel. It was executed with the PA after the leadership changed from Yasser Arafat to Mahmoud Abbas with the former's death. Abbas was under strong international pressure to fight terrorism, and that was the way he chose. He did not take away anyone's weapons, and did not interfere with their operations in any way.

Hamas announced that it accepted the agreement. The Islamic Jihad announced that it did not. The Popular Resistance Committees and Fatah's Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades announced an end to their self-declared calm on midnight of December 31, 2005. Hamas made no public statement, presumably since it plans to run in the PA elections scheduled for January 25 and its embracing of terror and violence is an embarrassment to those who support the elections.

However the breakdown of the terrorists arrested by the organizations that sent them shows a broad distribution: Hamas - 29, Islamic Jihad - 59, Tanzim - 47, PFLP - 14, Other - 11.

Hamas did maintain an outward appearance of abiding by the tahdia — mainly by refraining from publicly claiming responsibility for terror attacks in which it participated. For example, Hamas was responsible for the suicide bombing at the Beersheva bus station on August 28, 2005, and in September Hamas terrorists abducted and murdered Jerusalem businessman Sasson Nuriel. Moreover, Hamas assisted other terrorist groups in carrying out their attacks against Israel. Hamas is due to participate in the upcoming PA elections without having disarmed or renounced terrorism or even having refrained from terror at all.

There were also more terror attacks in Judea during the period, with 379 attacks as opposed to 288 attacks in the same time frame the year before. A significant decline was registered in the Gaza Strip, with 1,205 attacks after 22 January 2005, as opposed to 2,637 before.

The terror organizations never renounced their public goal of annihilating Israel and they certainly worked hard towards that end by strengthening their capabilities. Because of the publicly declared calm, because of the Disengagement from the Gaza communities, and because of the hopes from Abbas, Israel did not exert as much pressure on the terror organizations as it did in the past. They took advantage of this to build for future murders.

The terrorist organizations increased their efforts to establish infrastructures for producing mortar rounds and rockets in Judea and Samaria in order to move the main focus of their efforts there after the Disengagement. In 2005, eight such infrastructures (four of Hamas and four of the Tanzim and Islamic Jihad) were uncovered.

The withdrawal of the IDF from the Philadelphi corridor in September led to a significant increase in arms and ammunition smuggled into the Gaza Strip. Over five tons of explosives, approximately 200 antitank rocket launchers, approximately 350 antitank rockets, approximately 5,000 automatic rifles, over one million rounds of ammunition and a limited number of antiaircraft rockets were smuggled from Egypt into the Gaza Strip. The peak smuggling was during the week September 12-18,2005. In comparison, some 200 antitank rocket launchers, 50 antitank rockets, 1,800 automatic rifles and some ammunition were smuggled in during the first eight months of 2005.

Members of the various Palestinian Authority (PA) security services that are deployed along the border with Egypt do not interfere with the smuggling. On the contrary. They play an active role in bringing in the arms and ammunition, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

The four large-scale terrorist attacks inside Israel of 2005 were perpetrated by the operational infrastructures in Samaria. In 2004 those infrastructures perpetrated two large- scale terrorist attacks.

The terrorists exploit the weak points at the crossings of the security barrier and also travel through Judea which still lacks a complete barrier.

In the 34 months from the beginning of the intifadah in 2000 until the establishment of the security fence in July 2003, there were 73 deadly suicide attacks and/or car bombs inside Israel that originated in Samaria, in which 293 Israelis were murdered and 1,950 were wounded. In contrast, in the 28 months from then to December 2005, there were 11 such attacks inside Israel, in which 54 Israelis were murdered and 358 were wounded.

There was a dramatic increase in attempts to breach the unfenced Sinai-Negev border area. This area is used by smugglers, criminals and persons looking for work illegally in Israel, as well as the terrorists. Frequently, there is close cooperation between terrorists and criminal elements in southern Israel. Israel recently made a major deployment of elite troops to this area. The defense establishment prepared an ambitious plan to erect a formidable security fence but at an estimated cost of NIS 1.5 billion, it was put on the back burner. The IDF is now seeking one-tenth of this amount.

Terror groups several times used Israeli-citizen drivers who regularly smuggle Palestinian workers into Israel, to transport bombers through checkpoints.

We can describe the past and plan for the future, but im Hashem lo yishmor ir, shov shokad shomer (Tehillim 127:1).


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