Since the September 11 terror attacks in the United States, more and more data is being uncovered on the the activities of Osama bin Laden and his organization, al-Qaida.
Something's gone wrong at the highest levels of the military-government echelons since the military conflict began with the Palestinians a year ago. It's not the lack of honest coordination between the office of Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz and the offices of Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, as it is sometimes portrayed in the press.
The Health Ministry urgently needs NIS 40 million to top up its supply of antibiotics in order to withstand a biological terrorist attack and provide the population with adequate protection. The Health Ministry notified Finance Minster Silvan Shalom of the urgent need for the funds, but has yet to receive a reply.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat finally decided to give in to Israeli and American pressure and arrested a few of the people Jerusalem has singled out as being directly involved in severe acts of terror. But the Palestinian leader is doing so in his typically evasive way: Arafat ordered the arrest of six or eight people out of the list of 108 terrorists that was submitted to him.
Achieving a victory clear to all - especially to countries and organizations that support terrorism - will determine to a great extent the duration of the international war on terror and military moves in different parts of the world.
In the course of efforts to establish an international coalition to fight terrorism, Washington has found itself in absurd situations riddled with contradictions. From Israel's standpoint, it could be considered a joke that the United States, apparently inspired by Egypt, is proposing that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat join a regional forum to discuss ways of fighting terrorism.
What impact will American and British military attacks against the Taliban regime, and Osama bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan have on the Middle East and Israel? Officials here believe that so long as the attacks are not directed against Arab targets such as Iraq or Hezbollah, it is not likely that Saddam Hussein, Hezbollah or others will declare Israel to be a legitimate target for attack.
It's hard to assume that Osama bin Laden is a fanatic idiot who is waiting in his hiding place in Afghanistan for an American attack. It would take an intelligence miracle, something that didn't happen to the Americans on September 11, for them to locate bin Laden and his men, and to hit them directly. It is a reasonable assumption that the terrorist training camps in Afghanistan have long since emptied out.
It's true that on Osama bin Laden's list of unbelievers, against whom war must be waged, the Jews (and not Israel alone) appear only in second place, after the "Crusaders."