Newsletter #218 Friday, January 21, 2004
Abbas’s PA will only partially fight terrorBy Jerusalem Newswire Editorial Staff - January 20th, 2005
JERUSALEM - Fearing a major Israeli military incursion and possible weakening of his nascent authority, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas Wednesday ordered his forces in Gaza to deploy with the intent of preventing rocket and mortar attacks on nearby Negev communities.
Despite the deteriorating effect on Israel’s deterrent factor, Abbas’s words were enough for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s left-leaning cabinet to shelf IDF recommendations on how to curb artillery attacks on Israeli Jews and renew contacts with the PA.
Sharon had frozen all contact with the PA last week in the wake of a fresh wave of Gaza-based “Palestinian” terror.
Talks between the two sides resumed Wednesday evening when IDF commander and PA security officials met at Gaza’s Erez Crossing, where the “Palestinians” laid out their plans for thwarting anti-Jewish rocket attacks in the short term.
The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement emphasizing communications with the PA at this point would focus solely on security issues. Diplomatic contacts, the statement read, would remain on hold until Abbas had demonstrated his willingness and ability to curb terror.
But the PA’s solution to the increasingly unbearable artillery barrages against Israel’s Jews fell far short of its Road Map commitment to eliminate the scourge of Islamic terror.
“Major-General” Sa'eb el-Ajez, head of PA forces in Gaza, told The Jerusalem Post his orders did not include the authority to arrest known terrorists or open fire on those caught in the act of firing rockets.
Ajez said many of his men did not believe the terrorist rocket crews were criminals, and might resist orders to thwart attacks.
They “might not be motivated to have all the [terrorists] stop firing” at Jewish civilians, Ajez explained.
The PA is expected to deploy an advance force of up to 700 men Thursday in areas of northern Gaza repeatedly used as Kassam launch pads.
Israeli officials said they were closely monitoring the implementation and effectiveness of the move, while retaining the option of a full-scale IDF incursion.
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