Israel: December 17, 2001


Israel was unimpressed by Arafat's pronouncements yesterday, as they want deeds, not words. In the past, Arafat has talked the talked, but rarely walked the walk. Arafat controls, on paper, over 30,000 armed men in the various Palestinian police and paramilitary units. But many of these outfits, especially elite specialist outfits (like Arafat's own bodyguard) have been caught engaging in terrorist acts. What it comes down to is; if Arafat ordered his troops to crack down, would they all obey, or would many do nothing or turn against Arafat? Many Israelis believe that Arafat is simply not willing to find out what would happen if he tried to crack down, so Israelis go along with their government's pronouncement that Arafat is now irrelevant. But the Palestinian Authority disagrees, pointing out that they have closed 33 terrorist (Hamas and Islamic Jihad) offices and arrested over a hundred terrorist suspects. Israel points out that the "terrorist suspects" arrested included few of the key terrorists on a list Israel has provided the Palestinians. And the violence against Israelis continues, although the level has declined in the last week. 


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