Border Control / Safer with bin Laden gone?
Aside from the revenge attacks we can expect, Osama's death could scuttle the PA's statehood bid.
Now that the arch-terrorist has been dispatched to the heavens, I recall the image of Israeli soldiers in the summer of 1994, searching in the rubble of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, which was leveled in a hellish terror attack. Eighty-five people were killed and 330 injured in retaliation for the 1992 assassination of Hezbollah Secretary General Abbas al-Musawi.
During the Israeli helicopter attack on Musawi's convoy on a southern Lebanon road, his wife, son and four other people were also killed. Exactly one month later, 29 Israelis and Argentines were killed and more than 200 people were wounded in a terror attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires.
I accompanied Uzi Baram, then minister of tourism, who was sent to the Argentine capital to convey condolences to the families and visit the wounded. In a heavily freighted encounter with Jewish leaders, Baram spoke of Israel's courageous link to the Diaspora.
One of the leaders of the community looked at Baram sharply and said, "I thank the minister for his remarks of condolence. But next time you weigh the possibility of assassinating the leader of a terror organization, take us into consideration too."
Masawi was replaced in Hezbollah by Hassan Nasrallah, whose hatred for Israel exceeds that of his predecessor.
The terror attacks of September 11, 2001 helped Prime Minister Ariel Sharon make the danger of terror a top priority in Israel's relations with the George W. Bush government, and relegated the occupation and the peace process to the margins.
The assassination of Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden returns the war on terror to the forefront of American consciousness and is likely to assist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a poor man when it comes to diplomacy, to sabotage the diplomatic terror that threatens to overcome him in September 2011 in a building just a few dozen blocks from Ground Zero.
The undersigned hereby bets that the brother of Yoni Netanyahu, the hero of Entebbe, will ride the body of bin Laden all the way to the White House, Capitol Hill and the AIPAC conference. The strong arm of Obama against Al Qaida sits well with Netanyahu's "hand stretched out for peace," like the conciliation of Mahmoud Abbas with Hamas.
On the other hand, perhaps the terror leader's demise will change the balance of power in Washington in favor of the U.S. president, at the expense of Netanyahu's friends in Congress.
Turning back to Masawi: Uri Saguy, who was head of military intelligence at the time, discussed the assassination and terror attacks a few years ago. He said in a media interview that, "looking back, it may be that there was insufficient awareness of the possibility of revenge and we did not consider this when we made the decision to attack."
Saguy said frankly that had he been aware of this, he would have thought twice about whether to carry out the mission. We must hope that when President Obama and his advisers decided to settle accounts with Osama Bin Laden, they considered the fact that revenge attacks could, heaven forbid, cost American lives.
And in light of the joy that filled the Prime Minister's Residence upon hearing the news on Holocaust Remembrance Day - let us also take into account the lives of Jews.
Wheels of justice
In September it will be five years since the Peace Now group filed a petition against the government to order the removal of the illegal outpost of Migron. The state admitted that the settlement had been erected on private land belonging to Palestinians and promised to remove it before the summer of 2008.
However, Israeli hero Ehud Barak folded under pressure from the settlers and convinced the High Court to postpone the return of the purloined land to its owners until the state compensated the thieves with a new neighborhood to be constructed in the settlement of Adam. The summer of 2011 is nigh, but there is no sign that the settlers in the outpost plan to leave their caravans. In recent weeks, Dror Etkes of Peace Now has documented the construction of permanent buildings with his camera. He didn't need a flash. The work is done in the light of day.
A spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said inspectors had taken action recently, issuing stop work orders and even confiscating tools. "The owners of the structures were summoned to a subcommittee in order to notify them before the issuance of a demolition order," the spokesman said.
Migron is not alone. The local council of nearby Beit El also mocks law enforcement authorities. In answer to a petition by a resident of Dura al Qara, filed with the aid of rights group Yesh Din, the High Court issued an order three months ago obligating the state to take all necessary steps to carry out the stop-work orders issued against five large, permanent buildings.
In this case too, the state admitted that the houses were located on private land belonging to Palestinians, this time at a site taken over for "temporary military use." The attorneys for the state admitted that the buildings were constructed without building permits, and in violation of the stop-work and demolition orders.
In spite of all this, building proceeds apace, and in response to the complaint, the Civil Administration informed Yesh Din in writing that "the work done on the site was intended only to process wood to be used at another building site."
In response to a petition in process regarding contempt of court, the state prosecutors announced last week that Civil Administration inspectors had confiscated work tools and generators. And furthermore, the head of the Civil Administration has "decided that enforcement activities will continue energetically." He will even "consider taking additional measures."