12-14-2005, 06:27 AM
IDF SPOKESPERSON ANNOUNCEMENT
Following decisions made by the political echelon and in continuation with the IDF's policy of easing restrictions on the Palestinian population, the following steps have been in effect since this morning, December 12th, 2005 in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip after the general closure that had been placed on these areas following the suicide bombing attack in the city of Netanya on December 5th, 2005.
Judea and Samaria:
Authorization for 16,000 Palestinian workers to enter and work inIsrael.
Authorization for 12,500 merchants to enter and work in Israel.
Authorization for 1,000 workers to enter and work in the "Atarot"industrial zone.
Authorization for 500 workers to enter and work in East Jerusalem.
Authorization for 7,000 workers to enter and work in Israel.
Authorization for 2,000 merchants to enter and work in Israel.
Authorization for 500 additional workers to enter Israel and work in factories that were relocated into Israel following theimplementation of the Disengagement Plan.
The "Karni" goods crossing and "Suffa" security crossing will continue to function at full capacity, as they have throughout the closure.
12-14-2005, 06:29 AM
A Faulty Video Camera at Rafah Must Keep Al Qaeda at Bay
DEBKAfile Special Report
Defense minister Shaul Mofaz may have talked from the top of his head when he threatened an economic siege of Gaza unless security measures at the Rafah crossing from Sinai started working. The prime minister's office slapped him down in a trice. But the PMO did not contradict Mofaz's assertion that the accords brokered by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to monitor the passage of terrorists were being trampled under the feet of incoming terrorists and their weapons.
An unnamed American diplomat made haste Saturday, Dec. 10, to dismiss Israel's complaints as exaggerated. He admitted that the video camera installed at the Rafah from which the Palestinians had contracted to transmit data on incoming traffic to Israel, was on the blink. But he promised it would be fixed within days. Until then, of course, the terrorists may stroll through the Egyptian-Palestinian crossing as they have since Israel's pullout, with no one the wiser â€“ except for the European inspectors who are under instructions not to interfere.
In place of the ultimatum Mofaz and other Israeli officials broadcast last week, Amos Gilead, security adviser to prime minister Ariel Sharon, who led the negotiations over Palestinian passage into and out of the Gaza Strip, spoke reassuringly Sunday morning.
He said Israel would continue to insist on access to the full identities of entrants through Rafah before the next stages go into effect, chiefly the first experimental commuters' bus due to open the shuttle road link between the Gaza Strip and West Bank Thursday, Dec. 15.
But, he said, more "staff work" remained to be done before the bus service could start running.
Much of this is posturing.
C. David Welch, the US assistance secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, was dispatched to the region last week to guarantee that Israel's "exaggerated" security reservations do not obstruct progress on the deals the secretary forced through on Nov. 15. Welch knows as well as Jerusalem that, even after the video camera is "repaired," there is no bar to the free passage of terrorists and weapons into the Gaza Strip, because -
1. No party in Brussels, Cairo or Ramallah exercises control over the international border at Rafah. Since Israeli troops pulled out, it has degenerated into a lawless enclave ruled by gangs of Palestinian and Sinai Egyptian-Bedouin weapons smugglers who buy passage with substantial bribes.
2. The Palestinian Authority official who signed the Rafah accords, civil affairs minister Mohammed Dahlan, has never honored a single pledge or commitment he signed off on, including the 1994 protocol in the 1993 Oslo Accords. His record is an open book to Washington too.
David Welch's mission is not to satisfy Israel's concerns but to ascertain that the Palestinian bus service starts on schedule. Just as the Sharon government gave way to Rice's demand to sign on the dotted line in November, it is unlikely to stand in the way of the American insistence on daily bus convoys.
Israel would like the buses to go only as far as the Turkumiya roadblock near Hebron.
The Americans are adding stops in Ramallah and Tulkarm or Jenin in the north.
The Bush administration is shutting its ears to the prognosis shared by all Israel's security and intelligence experts that even a single bus convoy per day without Israeli security control is a major hazard; tantamount to opening a highway for terrorists including al Qaeda incoming from Sinai to deploy with their weapons on the West Bank directly opposite Israel's main cities, industrial heartland and population centers.
They have already gained access to the Gaza Strip; their unsupervised connection to the West Bank is only days away.
If Sharon and Mofaz appear to turn a blind eye to this terrifying prospect, it is only because it is the inevitable corollary of their heedless policy of evacuating the Gaza Strip four months ago without sustainable security safeguards. The danger is therefore systematically played down by domestic media. In consequence, 70% of Israelis canvassed in the last few days awarded high marks to Sharon's handling of security matters, chiefly out of sheer ignorance.
By the end of this week, therefore, Palestinian convoys will start rolling out of the Gaza strip to the West Bank. Al Qaeda operatives, from the cell they were allowed to establish in Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal, will be able to drive straight for Hebron, Ramallah and Jenin. The Al Qaeda express bus service will drop the "holy warriors" at convenient sites for striking choice targets in Tel Aviv and Kfar Saba as well as Hadera and Netanya, which are routinely battered by Palestinian suicide bombers.
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