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The most disturbing news last week, to which for some reason there was no reaction from the Israel Defense Forces spokesman, was the report of the attempt to blow up one of the military positions along the Egyptian-Israeli border in the Rafah area. While the IDF is fighting the tunnels through which the Palestinians smuggle mostly materiel, they have also managed to dig right under the nose of the IDF an approximately 200-meter-long tunnel through which they smuggled hundreds of kilograms of explosives.

This was the second attempt to use a tunnel to blow up an IDF position in the area (first the Termit army outpost and now the Hardon army outpost). In oral explanations it was stressed that no one was hurt and that the damage was not serious. This is a superfluous trumpeting of victory. Despite the dozens of military outposts against the Palestinians in the area, their desire to fight and their courage are stronger than ever.

The IDF has entered and exited the area many times. In order to prevent losses and dangerous smuggling, the best thing to do would be to occupy a land belt there until the conflict ends. The Egyptians would certainly complain, but they also bear indirect responsibility for smuggling from their territory.

The Gaza Strip is stormy again. Further north two IDF officers were killed in a battle and Qassam rockets and mortar shells have again been fired at Sderot and other locales.

In Judea and Samaria the most significant action that has been thwarted recently shows that the Tanzim, which is connected to the heads of the Fatah, has been infiltrated by agents of the Hezbollah. This group, which receives wages from the coffers of the Palestinian Authority (!), tried to carry out a major suicide attack in the center of the country, which reinforces the argument that the longer the battle against the Palestinian terror infrastructure is put off, the more difficult it will be for the PA to deal with the problem when it does want to do so.

From the truce talks between the Palestinian factions, the Hamas came out strengthened. It succeeded in seizing the role of the "governing alternative" to PA Chairman Yasser Arafat and the PA. Its leaders were invited to Cairo and President Hosni Mubarak's bureau is granting them recognition. In Cairo the Egyptians are hearing a negative answer from the Hamas to their proposal for a comprehensive truce. If the Hamas did not feel Egypt's weakness as an Arab leader, it would not have dared. What the Egyptian government never did with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, it is trying to do with the Hamas, with no success.

Arafat definitely knew in advance that the chance for a hudna (cease-fire) among the Palestinian factions was very slim and therefore he sent Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala) off to Cairo. At the same time Arafat is sending out signals to the United States and Israel that it is only with him, and not with Abu Ala, that a cease-fire can be reached. A stormy argument about this was conducted between Arafat and Abu Ala this week at a meeting of the PA National Security Council.

And indeed, Abu Ala is unable at present to satisfy the basic precondition for a meeting between him and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to take place. Israel has requested of his people that Abu Ala come to the meeting with a security plan in which the stages of implementation are detailed. Abu Ala would like such a meeting to focus on general "positive" statements. All the efforts thus far to obtain such a plan in advance from the Palestinian prime minister have been to no avail. Arafat is saying indirectly: You will be able to get this only from me.

Into this vacuum various terrorists are infiltrating, including Hezbollah people, who want to implicate not only the Fatah but also the Arabs of Israel. This is also the vacuum in which Israel is waging the duplicitous struggle concerning the illegal Jewish settler outposts in the territories.