June 22, 2001
There is no better example of the cynical attitude of the Palestinian
Authority (PA), and of PA Chairman Arafat himself, to acts of terror, and
of their disdain for keeping agreements, than their handling of the
slaughter carried out by a suicide bomber at the discotheque in the Tel
Aviv Dolphinarium that has now claimed 21 young lives. The Shin Bet (General
Security Services) quickly found out who was involved in this act of
terror. At a meeting of the Supreme Security Committee, Israel presented
the Palestinian delegates with the names of two Hamas men who had sent the
bomber: one from Nablus, and one from Qalqiliyah. The Palestinians were
asked to arrest the two immediately – and the Americans supported this demand.
What actually happened? The two men responsible for the terrorist attack at
the Dolphinarium were invited to a meeting at the offices of one of the
Palestinian security services. In a conversation – not an interrogation –
with the PA security agents, the two admitted their involvement in sending
the suicide bomber to Tel Aviv and preparing him for the attack. And here
comes the interesting part: The two were warned by the Palestinian security
people not to carry out similar activities in the future – and apparently
they have even signed an agreement to that effect!
After that chat, they
were released to their homes. At a second meeting of the Supreme Security
Committee, the Palestinians were asked what they had done with the two men
involved in the terrorist act. Their answer was: “They have been warned!”
Whoever gave instructions to treat the two perpetrators of terror in this
manner becomes a full partner to the slaughter and is responsible for
encouraging additional murderous acts of terror. It further shows that
Israel has an absolute right to defend itself, and to stop acts of terror
(an activity which, for some reason, has been defined as “elimination”).
This story is a typical example of how the PA works today. Israel also
presented a list of about 35 people who are planning acts of terror,
including eight or 10 who intend on suicide attacks.
This is proof of how Arafat is making fools of Israel and of the Americans.
All this would not be happening without Arafat’s approval. By his method of
administration and domination, he makes sure to sow confusion even among
his delegates in the Supreme Security Committee. Each of these senior
delegates is separately responsible to him directly, so he thus prevents
true coordination even among his own representatives.
It is not only his
political echelon that wonders what Arafat really wants; the same is true
of the heads of his security services.
Only someone suffering from amnesia can ignore similar behavior on his part
in the past – his dozens of violations of agreements with Arab countries,
and of cease-fire agreements in Lebanon and in Jordan. One could write a
fascinating doctoral thesis about it.
The debate that has raged in Israel
concerning the extent to which Arafat controls what happens in the
territories is absurd. And it is also harmful to Israel. It’s true that
there are some “black holes” in Arafat’s control – like the popular
opposition committees in Rafiah.
But there is no longer any doubt among all
Israel’s intelligence arms that Arafat bears full responsibility for what
goes on, for good or for ill.
Arafat must not be allowed to make a fool of Israel in the matter of the
cease-fire. Therefore, we must not make any allowances for him when it
comes to preserving the cease-fire agreement. That is the big mistake which
many, including Israel and the Americans, have made in the past.
does not now insist on complete observance of the cease-fire, and on
honoring the agreements, we will not succeed in doing so at any time in the
future – as long as Arafat leads the Palestinians.
A system that allows one to kill Israelis, while at the same time conduct
negotiations – this technique was embarrassingly demonstrated when the
delegations met in Taba (during peace negotiations in January, shortly
before the elections for prime minister) – is unacceptable.
This means that
we should not conduct political negotiations with Arafat, or accept his
proposal to hold international congresses and meetings with him, so long as
the acts of killing continue and the cease-fire agreement is being
violated, both openly and covertly.