December 16, 1998
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is not fulfilling the security commitments it undertook in the Wye Accord, Israel’s Military Intelligence Chief Major-General Amos Malka told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday.
Major-General Malka enumerated the articles under which the Palestinian Authority is not complying with its obligations. He said the assessment of Military Intelligence is that the Palestinian Authority has not made a strategic decision to combat terrorism or its infrastructure. Instead, the PA limits itself to reactive operations and action against occasional targets. He added that there is no identifiable orderly Palestinian work plan to combat terror and that the steps taken have not been firm.
The Military Intelligence Chief warned that if the PA does not wage a determined campaign against the Hamas terrorist infrastructure, the organization is likely to resume its terror attacks against Israeli targets within the Green Line. He added that the possibility of Hamas attempts to kidnap Israeli soldiers for use as bargaining chips should not be discounted. He noted that reports that the PA intends to reach an understanding with Hamas on halting terror attacks are not correct.
Major-General Malka said that, contrary to the Wye Accord, the Palestinian Authority is not making efforts to collect illegal weapons. He said that the PA is not living up to the agreements regarding the Palestinian police.
“They were supposed to submit to us lists of all the policemen, but they have not done so,” he said, adding, “the PA is trying to be tricky and instead of firing policemen, it is turning them into civil servants.”
The Military Intelligence Chief also pointed out that the Palestinian demands to free security prisoners are likely to encourage riots in the territories. In his assessment, there is a crisis between the PA leadership and the protesters in the street. He added that the recent riots in the territories were initially directed against the PA leadership, who redirected the protests against Israel. Major-General Malka said that it is uncertain that the Palestinian leadership will have sufficient motivation to act forcefully against protesters demanding the release of the prisoners.
Referring to the ramifications of the American President’s visit to Gaza, the Military Intelligence Chief said that the Palestinians view the visit as the high-point of the increasingly closer relations between the PA and the United States and as an important step on the way to establishing a Palestinian state. This, despite the fact that Yasser Arafat did not exploit the platform in Gaza to declare his intention to announce the establishment of a Palestinian state in May 1999.
The Military Intelligence Chief added that the PA does not view the event the other day in Gaza as a formal meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) but rather as a gathering. From the PA’s point of view, the Covenant was amended in 1996, and in the invitations sent to PNC members there was no mention made of the intention to change the Covenant.