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>JN Oct. 23, 2013, Vol. 21, No. 205

Abbas Set to Slam Door on Talks with Israel, Resuscitates 'Revolving Door' for Terrorists

By DEBKAfile

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas has decided to derail talks with Israel directly after the release of the second batch of jailed Palestinians next week. Secretary of State John Kerry will try to head off the crisis in the talks he brokered earlier this year, by cajoling Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when they meet in Rome today, Wednesday, to make Abbas an offer he can't refuse, of sovereign Israel land.

DEBKAfile's sources reveal that Kerry is thinking of a large chunk of Dead Sea coastal area and water, equal to about a third of the territory owned by Israel in this region. On May 28, in an exclusive report, DEBKAfile first disclosed Kerry's plan to save this Israeli concession for the final peace accord. He is now thinking of hauling it forward as bait to dissuade Abbas from walking out of the peace process.

But the Palestinian leader's game plan entails more than this walkout, a step he has taken many times before. He is also unraveling the longstanding security cooperation with Israel for containing Palestinian terrorism. This was the unspoken background to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's first - typically taciturn -remarks Tuesday about the latest bout of Palestinian terrorist attacks.

"We take a grave view [of this wave of incidents]. It may be due to the atmosphere of incitement generated by the Palestinian Authority, recent religious events, any other causes - or even a kind of contagion," said Ya'alon, adding: "There is no sign of what we may call a popular uprising, or what the Palestinians would call a `third intifada.' We take every incident very seriously and stand ready for any escalation."

DEBKAfile's military sources translate two of the minister's most opaque terms: (1)Third Palestinian intifada: Technically, he was correct in denying signs of its advent, but only because he held out on the whole picture. Yasir Arafat launched his second intifada 13 years ago after careful preparation. He first dismantled the security cooperation existing between the Palestinian Authority, Israel and the American military advisers helping to make it work.

In 2013, Mahmoud Abbas is following in Arafat's footsteps of 2000. In recent weeks, DEBKAfile's military sources report that the Palestinians in Ramallah are only going through the motions of working with Israel to combat terrorism. In the past, Israeli security and military authorities would inform Palestinian security services about suspected terrorists. They would then be questioned and the information passed back to their Israeli opposite numbers.

Now, on direct orders from Abbas, suspects are detained only briefly before being released without being questioned. Abbas has thus adopted Arafat's "revolving door" method. Senior military circles operating in the field of counterterrorism say that detaining terrorist suspects without interrogating them makes nonsense of the process. Letting them walk without questioning them about their organizational affiliations and secret cells, and referring the information to the IDF, makes the entire concept of security cooperation meaningless.

Palestinian security officers now understand that their job is to cooperate with the terrorists – not Israel. (2). Palestinian Authority incitement and religious events. Ya'alon was talking about Mahmoud Abbas' latest propaganda campaign stunt, which raises the specter of an Israeli conspiracy to seize control of Temple Mount and destroy Al Aqsa Mosque.

This theme can always be counted on to strike an inflammatory chord in the Palestinian Muslim masses and fire the more radical up for attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets. Arafat understood this very well when he labeled his four-year suicide bombing campaign against Israel the "Al Aqsa intifada."


IDF Kills Islamic Jihad Terrorist Who Plotted Tel Aviv Bus Bombing

By Israel Hayom

Israeli soldiers shot dead a wanted Palestinian man near the West Bank village of Bil'in on Monday after he fired shots at soldiers near the village. According to the Israel Defense Forces, the soldiers were pursuing a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The man was chased into a cave in an "open field" and was shot dead during the ensuing gun battle, according to Army Radio. A second man was arrested, according to Israeli reports.

The Palestinian Ma'an News Agency named the man who was shot dead as Mohamed Assi, 24, and reported that he was a member of the Islamic Jihad. A Kafr Ni'ma resident told Ma'an that IDF troops chased Assi into an olive grove, where clashes erupted. The gun battle that ensued continued until dawn, according to witnesses.

The incident follows a recent wave of violent events in the West Bank, including two separate terrorist attacks that killed two soldiers, an attack against a 9-year-old girl in Psagot, and the bloody murder of a former IDF colonel in a Jordan Valley settlement. "Overnight, an important operation was carried out, in which a wanted [Palestinian] was killed. He was responsible for a terror attack in Tel Aviv in the last year, in which 29 Israelis were injured on a bus near the Kirya IDF headquarters," Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon told reporters while touring Hebron on Tuesday.

Asked whether, in light of the recent increase in tensions, he thought Israel was on the verge of a third intifada, Ya'alon said, "There is no indication of a renewed popular resistance or third intifada. Regardless, we are preparing for any potential escalation, in case it happens. But as for a popular resistance, they are not talking about it, we are not seeing any motivation for it, we are not seeing any activity toward that end, and obviously we are doing everything in our power to ensure that it doesn't happen."

The defense minister also rejected the argument that the violence was linked to the diplomatic process currently underway. One reporter raised the issue of the upcoming release of the second group of Palestinian prisoners, meant as an Israeli gesture of good will toward the Palestinians during the ongoing peace talks. Asked whether it may be wise to reconsider the release in light of the escalation in violence, Ya'alon replied that "Israel made a commitment to release prisoners, all of whom [committed their crimes] before Oslo. There are also other considerations besides the routine security concerns. As long as there is a [diplomatic] process and we are committed to it, I assume that we will release the prisoners next time as well."


Peres Warns Israel's Enemies of Air Force's Hidden Abilities

By The Times of Israel

In a thinly veiled warning to Israel's regional enemies, President Shimon Peres said Tuesday that the Israeli Air Force has immense capabilities, some of them hidden from the public eye. The president made the comments during a visit to the Palmachim air force base.

"Not all of the IDF's and the air force's capabilities are open to view. Whoever derides us and seeks to harass us should take this into account," Peres said during a tour of the base, which included a review of new weapons systems. "The Israeli Air Force is the best air force in the world. We have unique systems. The air force is equipped with the most advanced technology and — most importantly — with dedicated and high-quality human capital."

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and Israeli Air Force Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel accompanied the president during the visit, which included a meeting with soldiers from elite air force units and an inspection of the drone squadron operated from the base. "You are a branch with a heavy responsibility on your shoulders, and this produces tactical and strategic results daily," Peres said.

Speaking of Israel's "many challenges," Gantz offered similar tough talk. "We are ready 365 days a year, at any range and facing any challenge. We know how to offer intelligence, operational and tactical solutions to any threat. The air force is our main system for deterrence, offensive and defensive action, and has fantastic technological abilities."


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