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March 29, 1996 - Image 120

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-03-29

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Renee and Ron Forman


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A Palestinian confronts an Israeli soldier during a raid in a West Bank village
looking for Muslim militants.

The Infrastructure

Defeating terrorism just isn't what you might think,
say the experts.


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ow that world leaders
seem to be thinking seri-
ously about how to defeat
Islamic terror, it's time for
some illusions about the nature
of-that fight to be defeated too,
say experts on the subject.
Israeli strength, the impor-
tance of money to terror, the pos-
sibility of physically "separating"
from the Palestinians, the reser-
voir of suicide terrorists, the
vaunted Hamas "infrastructure"
— all these crucial elements
have been misunderstood, they
For instance, many people be-
lieve that Israel has left itself
naked in the West Bank and
Gaza since the IDF and Shin Bet
pullback — that the country's in-
telligence and military capabil-
ities there have been fatally
crippled. This belief is wholly
wrong, says Ha'aretz's Ze'ev
Schiff, dean of Israeli military
"How did we catch the terror-
ists [behind the recent bus
bombings] right after the at-
tacks?" he says. "How was Yechi
Ayyash assassinated [in Gaza
about two months ago, presum-
ably by the Shin Bet]? The IDF
wasn't in Iraq; how did we blow
up the Iraqi nuclear reactor? The
IDF wasn't in Jordan or Syria or
Lebanon; how did we carry out
operations there?"
Israel's ability to locate ter-
rorists and hit them has cer-
tainly diminished since the
Palestinian Authority took over
in Gaza and the West Bank
cities, but it is still viable and
can be rebuilt, Mr. Schiff says.
Israel's intelligence "will nev-
er return to the level it was
when we were the sovereign in

the territories. It's harder to re-
cruit new collaborators, but the
Shin Bet is still getting infor-
mation there. They are running
collaborators, but the collabora-
tors are hidden. It is much hard-
er to act today, but the work goes
on," adds Shimon Romach, a re-
tired senior Shin Bet official.
And collaborators are hardly
Israel's only source of informa-
tion in the territories; there are
all sorts of technological meth-
ods being used, say Messrs.
Schiff and Romach.
The notion that Israel can
strangle Hamas terrorists by
cutting off their foreign financial
support is an another illusion,
says Dr. Menachem Klein, an C=/\
authority on Palestinian affairs
at Bar Ilan University's BESA
(Begin-Sadat) Center for Strate-
gic Studies.
Most of Hamas's money comes
from the U.S. and England and
goes to its charitable and educa-
tional institutions. "Some of the _ ,
money gets to [Hamas's terror r-I-\
arm] Izzadin El-Kassem," Mr.
Klein says, "but Izzadin El-
Kassem doesn't use F-16s; it uses
TNT and guns. They don't need
much money. Even the Israeli
Arab who was bribed into driving
the terrorist to Dizengoff, how
much did he get? A thousand dol-
lars. We're not talking about (=\
huge sums."
An even more widespread fan-
tasy is that Israel can simply "put
up a wall" — hermetically seal off
the country from all Palestinians
wishing to enter, and thereby
achieve complete "separation"
and put an end to terror. Theo-
Cr_ \
retically Israel could build a wall
or electrified fence, buttressed by
moats, mines and/or sharp-

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