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September 06, 2002 - Image 46

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-09-06

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Terror And Turmoil

In Israel, it was a year of terror, but also stronger ties with the U.S.

Jewish Telegraphic Agency


aunched in the shadow of
Sept. 11, the Jewish year
5762 was marked for Israel
by two developments direct-
ly related to those terror attacks: a
tightening of ties between Israel and
the United States and growing
American disaffection with Palestinian
Authority leader Yasser Arafat.
Shortly after the planes hit the
World Trade Center, the Pentagon and
a Pennsylvania field, many Americans
said they understood how Israelis felt
to live in a society threatened by ter-
ror. Aside from 'the immediate emo-
tional identification between the two
nations' plights, however, a larger
strategic alliance developed in the
ensuing months.
In one of the defining policy pro-
nouncements of his early presidency,

9/ 6



President Geroge W. Bush said shortly
after Sept. 11 that the international
community would be divided between
those who supported terrorism and
those who opposed it.
Arafat ultimately came down on the
wrong side, and paid the price in
diplomatic ostracism. The discrediting
of Arafat in American eyes was, for
Israel, the most significant political
development of 5762, and appreciably
changed the diplomatic balance
between Israel and the Palestinians.
The process of discrediting the
Palestinian leader took several months.
Sensing the political shift, Arafat on
Sept. 19 prudently declared a cease-
fire in the intifada (uprising) against
Israel. If Palestinian attacks on Israel
continued, he realized, he risked being
branded a sponsor of terrorism.
Although the cease-fire failed to
hold even for a few days, Bush gave
Arafat the benefit of the doubt and in
early October formally noted

America's support for the creation of a
held Arafat personally accountable for
Palestinian state alongside Israel. In
the attacks. "He is directly responsible
November, Secretary of State Colin
for everything that's happening," Sharon
Powell followed this up with a major
said, "and he is the great obstacle to
policy speech at the University of
peace and stability in the Middle East."
Louisville in which he called for an
A few days later, after an Israeli bus
end to the intifada, an end to the
was attacked outside the West Bank
Israeli presence in the West Bank and
settlement of Immanuel on Dec. 12,
Gaza Strip, and the creation of a viable killing 10 people and wounding 23,
Palestinian state.
the Israeli Cabinet issued a statement
With the Palestinian terrorist
declaring Arafat "no longer relevant,"
onslaught continuing and even inten-
and severing all contact with him.
sifying, however, American percep-
Signaling his own dismay at the
tions began to change. In late
Palestinians, Bush temporarily recalled
November, retired Marine Gen.
Zinni, but sent him back to the region
Anthony Zinni arrived in Israel as
in late December.
Powell's special envoy, charged with
The decisive shift in Bush's attitude
hammering out a cease-fire. Instead,
toward Arafat came after Israel on Jan.
the Palestinians greeted Zinni with a
3 seized the Karine-A, a ship.purchased
series of terror attacks that, over the
by the Palestinians and laden with arms
course of a single weekend in early
acquired in Iran. The 50-ton cargo
December, left 25 Israelis dead and
included Katyusha rockets, mortars,
almost 230 wounded. The attacks
anti-tank missiles, anti-tank mines,
shattered Zinni's mission.
sniper rifles and other munitions.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Arafat repeatedly denied any


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