[(Continued from p.3)]conclusion.
There is still time for our Israeli friends to wake up and smell the hummus. Bill Clinton is finally gone, and Israel will have to rely on itself for its salvation. It is not enough for Israelis to continue to state the obvious, that they live in a dangerous neighborhood. They must demonstrate by word and deed that they are determined to continue to live and thrive there, and to take steps to deter the violence and aggression directed against them, instead of wishing it away. By doing so, they will be doing a service to themselves, to Jews worldwide, and to our own country.
Morris J. Amitay, a Washington, D.C. attorney, is one of the most widely-respected advocates for Israel in the nation's capital.
The state of Israel has armed its enemies.
After six years it is still difficult to digest this. It is hard to believe that by its own hand, Israel built up a hostile military force and let it entrench itself in the heart of the country.
"How do we expect them to keep order if they don't get arms?" "How will they fight against Hamas? With sticks?" These were the rhetorical questions Shimon Peres asked in the Knesset debates in the euphoric early days of Oslo. Such was the Israeli justification for the transfer of 11,544 weapons to the "retired" terrorists who would in due course once again do battle against Israel.
To be sure, Rabin, Peres, and their partners were not the originators of the idea of building a Palestinian force in the Land of Israel. In the first Camp David agreement, Menachem Begin agreed to the establishment of "a strong local police force" whose purpose would be to maintain public order in the proposed Palestinian "autonomy." Later, under the so-called Gaza-Jericho Agreements which were part of the Oslo peace process, the term "Palestinian police" was coined. This was a military force disguised as a civil guard. It was also decided that this "police force" would be responsible for public order, prevent hostile actions, and be the only armed force in the Gaza Strip and Jericho area.
To carry out these undertakings, the "thinkers" of Oslo I gave the Palestinian police 7,000 submachine guns of different types, 120 machine guns of 0.3 and 0.5 inch caliber, a number of boats (for the Palestinian coast guard) and 45 armored vehicles. These, it was stressed, would move on wheels, not on chains. The kinds of weapons and quantities of ammunition the Palestinians would be permitted were not specified. In the course of time, the PA exploited this lack of clarity. It was also specified that 9,000 men would serve in the Palestinian police force. That left 2,000 policemen who would presumably be unarmed -- or perhaps armed with billy clubs, a highly improbable scenario.
In the weeks preceding the summer of 1994, when the Palestinian forces took positions in Gaza and Jericho, Israel examined carefully every single one of the weapons which were intended for the new police force. Rifles were marked; numbers were etched into them; and in the laboratories of the army, the ballistic signatures were registered. The weapons were sup-posed to become personal weapons; the number on a weapon would be attached to an individual in the Palestinian police force just as is done with weapons in the Israel Defense Force, so that in case of a prohibited use of a weapon, Israel could quickly identify its owner. The careful marking was done in accordance with instructions by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in an effort to calm the Israeli public. The citizens of the state did not easily buy into the idea of resting their security on Arafat's men. The slogan of the right, "Don't give them rifles," and the arguments of the opposition that Palestinian policemen were nothing but terrorists in disguise, made an impression on the average Israeli who is usually apathetic, if not asleep. Therefore Rabin instructed the security services to undertake this effort to convince the public that its safety was being guarded.
However, the measures that were taken were merely for appearance sake. From recent accounts by senior officers who were involved in the process of arming the Palestinians, it emerges that the army knew perfectly well that the day after the policeman received his meticulously-identified rifle, nothing would prevent him from exchanging his weapon with someone else. Even in the Israel Defense Forces, no one thought seriously it would be possible to track down such exchanges. Thus it was clear from the beginning that all the cross-listings between the number on the weapon and the owner were useful -- in the best case -- for only a very short time.
The ballistic signatures were an even
greater fiction. The reasons are clear to any beginner. To
identify a weapon from which a shot was fired, one has
to find the cartridges expelled during the firing. But a
Palestinian policeman who goes out to ambush
someone from Area A (under control of the Palestinian
Authority), or from a vehicle that then drives off to the
sovereign Palestinian area, knows the forces of the Israeli
Department for Criminal Investigation will not follow him to
look for cartridges. Even the most advanced methods
used to identify a weapon on the basis of the bullets fired
[(Continued on p.5)]
[(Continued on p.5)]
Outpost - 4 - February 2001