November 11, 2002
The terrorists Yasser Arafats Fatah admitted sending to Kibbutz Metzer on the Israel-West Bank border carried out their killing rampage on Sunday, November 10, concurrently with the Fatah-Hamas conference taking place in Cairo under the European Unions aegis.
Far from being mutually contradictory, the two events fit neatly together.
Sunday night, two or more Palestinians burst into an avowedly pacifist rural kibbutz, shot dead its secretary Yitzhak Dori, 44, and a visitor from Moshav Eliachin, Tirza Damari, 42. They then burst into a home and murdered Revital Ochayon and the two small sons, Matan 5 and Noam, 4, she sheltered with her body, before disappearing into the night. They struck hours after the Israeli military pullback from the Palestinian city of Jenin.
In Cairo, External Hamas, and Arafats Fatah representatives were charged by their European sponsors with discussing ways and means of ending terrorist and suicide attacks in Israel.
The Hamas is represented by its real bosses, the Damascus-based leaders, Khaled Mashal and Abu Marzuk, who tell Sheikh Ahmed Yasin and Abdul Aziz Rantissi in the Gaza Strip what to do. The conference is the fruit of tireless efforts by EU external affairs executive Javier Solana and his envoys, Miguel Moratinos and Alistair Crook. Their closest Israeli collaborators lead the Labor party that walked out of Ariel Sharons national unity last week. They include former ministers Shimon Peres and Binyamin Ben Eliezer and hopefuls Haim Ramon and Amram Mitzna. The Haifa Mayor, who hopes to topple Ben Eliezer as party leader, believes Israel should negotiate with the Palestinians as if there is no terror and fight terror as if there were no negotiations.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell is the wirepuller behind the EU initiative.
DEBKAfiles Washington sources note that Powells Palestinian and Iraqi policies often go off on a tangent from the White House line - and never more so than on Sunday, November 10, when he declared in a TV interview that, if Iraq does not comply this time (with the latest UN resolution), well ask the UN for authorization to take all necessary means
This would mean recalling the Security Council for more time-consuming haggling.
The White House chief of staff Andrew Card quickly scotched that notion when he said: The UN can meet and discuss, but we dont need their permission before taking military action.
For the White House, Yasser Arafat - like Saddam Hussein - is a political goner.
But not for the secretary of state or the European Union.
In London, Charles Tanner, Conservative foreign affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, was curtly brushed off for demanding an investigation into charges that European taxpayers donation of 10 million euros a month to the Palestinian Authority is being diverted to fund terrorist activity. European Foreign Affairs Commissioner, Britains Chris Patten, retorted that he wants this investigation like a hole in the head.
The Palestinian leader maneuvers adroitly between these conceptual divergences.
For reasons of its own, the Powell-EU group chooses to regard Arafats Fatah as the more responsible of the Palestinian terrorist factions and therefore to be protected and sponsored along with its master. The EU therefore assigned the very movement that created the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and the Tanzim with persuading the Islamist Hamas to drop its suicide campaign on Israeli soil.
However, according to DEBKAfiles Palestinian and counter-terror sources, that item never featured on the Cairo meetings agenda from the start. Because Arafats power base is made up of the Fatah and the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades - whose sole raison detre is murdering Israeli civilians - his officials and the Hamas devoted all their attention to the single and most urgent piece of business: to iron out their differences in order to collaborate more effectively in the common cause of killing the greatest number of Israeli men, women and children in every part of the country.
The fine European distinctions between pre-1967 and territory across the Green Line, right-wing communities and pacifist villages, are immaterial for any part of the Palestinian terrorist movement. Therefore, EU-State Department efforts to persuade the terrorists to stop striking in Israel alone (killing Israelis across the Green Line is permissible in their judgment) is not only denounced in Israel as two-faced, but also misses the mark.
The attack on the left-wing, pro-negotiation Kibbutz Metzer inside the Green Line illustrates this point to the Palestinians and the Arab nation as they celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. It is Arafats renewed battle cry for unity. It also underlines two further political objectives:
1. After taking credit for bringing down the national unity government, Arafats next goal is to drag Israels right-of-center government into radical reprisals that will provoke international condemnation for war crimes.
2. To prove the Bush road map a non-starter. The kibbutz massacre was therefore timed for the night before the arrival of US assistant secretary of state David Satterfield in the region. Since Clintons day, Arafat has practiced the same destructive tactic. Every American Middle East plan, whether initiated by the president, Madeleine Albright or Colin Powell, or formulated as a ceasefire plan by George Tenet or Anthony Zinni were all shot down, one by one, by means of devastating terrorist atrocities masterminded by Arafat and his henchmen.
Such peacemaking endeavors therefore have the opposite effect to the one intended, costing the lives of Israelis from every political persuasion, ethnic group, and walk of life, a fact that will dominate the campaign leading up to the January 28 general election.