Army intelligence: Abu Mazen unable to halt terror
Military Intelligence told the political echelon at the beginning of the week that the new Palestinian government headed by Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has no intention of uprooting the terrorist infrastructure.
Military Intelligence told the political echelon at the beginning of the week that the new Palestinian government headed by Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has no intention of uprooting the terrorist infrastructure. "According to what we know now, Abu Mazen plans to speak with the Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders, and not clash with them," a senior military source told Haaretz yesterday.
In recent weeks much has been written about the different approaches being taken by the army and Shin Bet with regard to what to expect from the Palestinian Authority. While even before Abu Mazen's appointment, army heads were relatively optimistic and spoke of the rare opportunity created as a result of the new prime minister in the PA and the American victory in Iraq, the Shin Bet was providing more pessimistic views.
Now the gap between the two bodies appears to have been totally erased. Military Intelligence shares the Shin Bet's view that at least for now, Abu Mazen is not planning a comprehensive change. "He may have opposed the violent intifada from the first day," say military sources, "but he's barely a third of the new political framework in the PA. The other two-thirds are Yasser Arafat and the terror organizations, which continue to support violence."
The new prime minister, says Military Intelligence, feels he lacks domestic legitimacy and therefore has to concede to Arafat on critical issues, which has already eroded his ability to fight terrorists in the future. The sources say Abu Mazen began his job with excellent conditions for a significant change, in light of the developments in Iraq and the Palestinian failure to achieve anything through violence, but it does not appear he plans to actualize those conditions fully.
In any case, what he does plan to achieve is far from what Israel is demanding of him. Military Intelligence's prognosis is that the terror from the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and parts of the Tanzim will continue. "At most," one senior officer said cynically, "the PA will reach an agreement with them not to commit attacks between 2 and 4 in the afternoon."
Military Intelligence predicted Abu Mazen would win confirmation for his government, despite Arafat's obstacles. For his part, Arafat continues to believe he will remain the real manager, whether behind the scenes or on the stage. Intelligence officials also admit that the forecasts of Arafat's political death last summer were premature. He is alive and kicking, and meanwhile has managed to constrain Abu Mazen.
As far as the terror organizations are concerned, the coming months will be an all-out race. After the defeat in Iraq and the total lack of violent resistance to the American powers in Iraq, the main focus returns to Israel and the territories. For the elements that direct the Palestinian terror from outside the territories - Syria, Hezbollah and especially Iran - there is enormous importance to a renewal of the terror against Israel now, especially in light of Tehran's fears that Damascus might concede to American pressure and limit activity of the terror organizations in Damascus.
It's not only the Palestinian will to fight terror that is being questioned in Israel, but also its ability to do so. Mohammed Dahlan has not shown any signs of readiness to enforce his will in the West Bank and some of the heads of the security apparatus are asking out loud why they have to make an effort for him. When the new minister looks around, he is not likely to see them fighting shoulder to shoulder with him, says Military Intelligence.
There's been no change in the motivation of the terror groups, says Military Intelligence. "They're climbing the walls because it has become so difficult for them to infiltrate a suicide bomber into Israel, but that doesn't mean they have ceased trying."