Israel: May 7, 2001


The Israeli navy seized a small (40 ton) ship carrying weapons from Lebanon towards Gaza. The weapons included 50 107mm rockers, SA-7 shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles, RPG (anti-tank) rockets, several hundred mortar shells, assault rifles and 13,000 rounds of AK-47 ammo. The home made mortars the Palestinians are currently using have a range of only about 1,500 meters. The 107mm rockets can reach out 10,000 meters (six miles). The SA-7 missiles, while an old design, can still be effective against non-military aircraft, or military planes and helicopters that are caught unawares. SA-7s would make life difficult for Israeli gunships and transport helicopters flying over Israel. The smuggled weapons were stored in barrels that were to be tossed overboard and then picked up on the beach. The shipment was sent by an anti-Arafat Palestinian group in Lebanon. There are many anti-Arafat militant groups in the Palestinian territories. This is another example of the civil war conditions within the Palestinian community. The militant organizations will settle for nothing less than the destruction of Israel. Even Arafat tends to talk a very anti-Israel line when speaking to Arab or Palestinian groups. His pronouncements to Israelis and non-Arabs is more conciliatory and it is this two faced approach that makes many Israelis opposed to peace with the Palestinians. Meanwhile, the violence in Israel continues with the death toll now at 514 (425 Palestinians, 13 Israeli Arabs, 75 Israelis and one German.) Israel has made two more raids into Palestinian territory to destroy buildings gunmen were using to fire on Israelis. 


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