By Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn
Three quiet anti-terror actions by Israeli security forces this week shed more light on the Israeli-Palestinian situation than all the speeches, diplomatic pronouncements, and “expert” opinions that fill our airwaves daily.
On the night of April 13, Israeli soldiers and police arrested 29 Hamas terrorists in Shechem (Nablus). Some were formerly imprisoned terrorists who have returned to their old ways; some were more recent recruits. They were planning various massacres of Jews, but since they had not yet acted, the international news media aren’t interested. Near-misses don’t count.
Once again, U.S. news media are missing the big story. According to the Oslo accords, it is the Palestinian Authority, not Israel, which is responsible for acting against terrorists in Nablus. When Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin withdrew Israel’s forces from there (and the other cities where 95% of Palestinians reside), he did so with an explicit written guarantee that the PA would stamp out the terrorists in those areas.
But the PA has made a mockery of its anti-terror obligations.
Even the New York Times, not exactly known for scrutinizing the PA’s behavior, acknowledged in a March 23, 2014 news article that Israeli troops had recently been forced to enter the Jenin refugee camp in pursuit of terrorists because although Jenin is under the “full control” of the Palestinian Authority, “the Palestinian [security forces] did not generally operate in refugee camps.”
Jenin, Nablus, and other PA-controlled cities have thus become havens for terrorists–which is why Israel was forced to send in its troops this week.
Meanwhile, Israeli security forces also captured a cell of Palestinian terrorists organizing in the Abu Dis neighborhood of Jerusalem. The terrorists had already purchased an automobile, obtained rifles and ammunition, engaged in target practice, and picked an area near Abu Dis where they planned to shoot at Israelis passing by.
Abu Dis is one of a number of Jerusalem neighborhoods that is technically beyond the pre-1967 armistice line. We all recall how then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton berated Israel’s prime minister for 45 minutes (!) when the Israeli government announced plans to build apartments some day in one of those neighborhoods.
Now imagine if Israel had accepted the Obama administration’s position that those neighborhoods are “occupied Arab territory,” and allowed Abu Dis and its environs to become part of a Palestinian state. The result, of course, is that the terrorists who were arrested this week would not be behind bars, but would getting ready to carry out the ambushes they were planning.
A third development of significance that did not make the news this week, took place in an Israeli military court. Ms. Khalida Jarrar, a member of the PA’s Palestinian Legislative Council, was indicated on twelve counts of terrorism, including a connection to a plot to kidnap Israelis.
When the Rabin government agreed to the Oslo Accords, it was based in part on the argument that giving the Palestinians self-government would lead to them becoming responsible and moderate. Once they have their own parliament, surely they would give up their old terrorist ways. Yet here is a respectable member of the Palestinian parliament, who in between votes and speeches manages to find time to conspire to kidnap Israelis.
Ms. Jarrar, by the way, is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which became infamous in the 1970s for airplane hijackings (including the Entebbe hijacking), not to mention its 2001 murder of Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Ze’evi. To this day, the PFLP is the second-largest member-organization of the PLO, which is the parent body of the Palestinian Authority.
Despite the Oslo Accords–and despite the fact that the PFLP is on the official U.S. list of terrorist groups–the PFLP was never outlawed or expelled from the PLO. Which means that some part of the $500-million the Obama administration sends to the Palestinians each year likely ends up, directly or indirectly, in the pockets of PFLP terrorists.
So: the PFLP enjoys the benefits of being part of the PLO, Palestinian terrorists enjoy freedom in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, the PA enjoys its annual U.S. aid package–and the Obama administration berates Israel every time it even thinks about building apartments in Jerusalem. What’s wrong with this picture? Everything.
[Moshe Phillips is president and Benyamin Korn is chairman of the Religious Zionists of Philadelphia, and both are current candidates on the Religious Zionist slate (www.VoteTorah.org) in the World Zionist Congress elections.]