Despite assurances by Vice President Dick Chaney, Condoleezza Rice’s latest demand have harmed Israel’s security. Just a few short hours after Israel opened up the border crossing roadblocks per Rice’s demands, a member of Palestinian President Abbas’ Fatah was killed as he attempted to kidnap an Israeli Teenager.
Defense officials here strongly opposed the roadblock removals, saying the obstacles impede the mobility of terrorists. They are irate about the Secretary of States interference in security matters that she so obviously does not understand. The majority of the roadblocks were established in the late 1990’s following repeated terrorist attacks from the territory.
Rice to blame for attempted attack against Jews? Defense officials fuming at secretary’s meddling
by Aaron Klein JERUSALEM – The removal of a series of Israeli anti-terror roadblocks yesterday was overseen directly by the U.S. and was carried out under heavy pressure from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, defense officials in Jerusalem told WND. The removals also may have enabled an attempted terrorist attack against two Jewish civilians. The foiled attack yesterday, in the northern West Bank, was carried out just hours after Israel began lifting the roadblocks and was in an area where a major roadblock had been removed. Defense officials here strongly opposed the roadblock removals, saying the obstacles impede the mobility of terrorists. Palestinians complain the roadblocks also make it more difficult for them to travel throughout the West Bank. The majority of West Bank roadblocks were established in the late 1990’s following repeated terrorist attacks from the territory. In yesterday’s incident, an Israeli man shot and killed a Palestinian armed with a knife after he approached the Israeli and a teenager at a popular hitchhiking stop between the West Bank Jewish communities of Shiloh and Eli, about 20 miles from Jerusalem. Senior leaders of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group, the so-called military wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah organization, told WND the attacker, a Palestinian from Hebron, worked on behalf of their organization. They said the foiled attack was not an attempted stabbing but part of a planned kidnapping operation that included a car waiting nearby. Yesterday’s attempted attack came just hours after Israel began removing a series of anti-terror roadblocks throughout the West Bank in line with Israeli gestures toward Abbas. Uri Ariel, chairman of the National Union-National Religious Party, explained to reporters, “Hours after the IDF began removing roadblocks and began easing restrictions on the movement of Palestinians, a terrorist tried to murder Israelis only a few kilometers west of a roadblock that had been removed from Shiloh Junction.” The roadblock removals were specifically called for by Rice in a series of meetings with Israeli leaders. At a news conference here on Sunday, Rice said that the U.S. expected the roadblocks would be removed “very, very soon” and stated American diplomat William Fraser would oversee the removals. Fraser was deployed to the region to monitor implementation of agreements pledged by Israel and the PA during last November’s U.S.-sponsored Annapolis summit, which seeks to create a Palestinian state before the end of the year. “Fraser will ensure that 50 roadblocks will be removed and that this will actually have an effect on the freedom of movement in the West Bank,” Rice said in Jerusalem. “The Israeli Ministry of Defense had identified the roadblocks that will be removed, but we will ensure that they carry it out,” she added. Rice announced the U.S. “wants to monitor and ensure that their removal will begin. This is a very specific commitment on the part of Israel.” She said that while in the past the U.S. did not micromanage the implementation of Israeli and Palestinian commitments, “this time we want to be a lot more systematic concerning the territories and what is being carried out on the ground.” Aside from overseeing the roadblock removal, defense sources said Rice urged the Israeli government to reopen major crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip. The crossings were closed after Hamas took over the Gaza Strip last year and in response to what Israel said were a high number of warnings about terrorist attacks at the border. Terrorists in the Gaza Strip regularly have been firing rockets from the territory aimed at nearby Jewish communities. During Rice’s hour-long meeting on Sunday with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, one rocket was fired from Gaza. The roadblock controversy is not the first time defense officials here have been frustrated with security deals brokered by Rice. In November, 2005, Rice brokered an agreement in which Israel transferred all security control at the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip to the PA and outside countries. Israeli security officials speaking to WND in 2006 labeled the deal an “abject failure” threatening the Jewish state’s national security. Rice’s deal restricted Israel to monitor the Egypt-Gaza crossing by camera, called for a European presence at the border station, and gave the Palestinians some veto power on vehicles and persons entering Gaza. The Europeans many times fled their duties in response to threatened violence. Israeli security officials charged the Palestinians tampered with the names of entrants, accusing Palestinian border workers of deliberately disguising the personal information of terrorists crossing the border. Rice’s border deal went up in smoke last year when Hamas completely took over the Gaza Strip and expelled the PA monitors from the border. Hamas-backed gunmen multiple times breached the border, including an episode in January when a large chunk of the border fence was destroyed and hundreds of thousands reportedly passed between Egypt and Gaza. Egyptian security forces did not interfere as massive quantities of weapons were transported across the Egyptian border into the Gaza Strip in January, according to Palestinian militant sources who were speaking to WND then from the border scene.