Wednesday, October 12, 2011

**Once again Israel weakens the Palestinian...

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Once again Israel weakens the Palestinian Authority, strengthens Hamas

"General Alon, a former commando and intelligence officer who is scheduled to end his command after two years in his post, agreed to discuss issues that have arisen during his tenure. In a wide-ranging conversation, he brought up American aid and spoke with great concern about increasing violence by radical Israeli settlers, which he called "Jewish terrorism." "We should do much more to stop it," he said.

He called for more police officers and for getting them to shift some focus from their main mission of protecting settlers to stopping radicals. The army has sent some troops in for this.

General Alon said violence was a problem in both directions. He said Palestinian rock-throwing had increased since the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, went to the United Nations last month, leading to the deaths of a settler and his infant son whose car turned over after they were pelted. In recent months, the militant settlers have burned several mosques and destroyed acres of Palestinian olive and fig trees. Last week, dozens of settlers surrounded an Israeli Army vehicle and assaulted soldiers.

On General Alon's desk sits a two-screen computer. During the interview, one showed in real time the deployment of security forces around settlements where Palestinians were picking olives. The other showed a news site of the Israeli settler movement.
Every year, the olive harvest produces increased tension because some of the trees are next to —or inside of — Israeli settlements.

There is clearly a public-relations battle under way. Most of the world shares the Palestinian position that the settlements are illegal and illegitimate, so anti-settler agitation is seen as less offensive than anti-Palestinian activity. Even within Israel, some of the more radical settlements are seen as politically costly.

A spokesman for the United Nations human rights commissioner said on Tuesday that the Israeli Army was not doing enough to protect Palestinians.

"The accountability for settler violence against Palestinians is less than adequate, let's say, and certainly not comparable to the reverse cases," the spokesman, Rupert Colville, said at a news conference in Geneva.

Though the relationship between the Israeli Army and the Palestinian security forces has been complicated, over the past three years, calm has largely prevailed over the West Bank. Palestinian forces mostly control about 40 percent, Israelis the rest.
But even the 40 percent, where most Palestinians live, is subject to nightly raids. General Alon said that a few years ago, Israeli troops went into the West Bank more than a dozen times a night, but that is down by half now. Fewer, he said, would require a political decision. The Palestinian Authority says the raids harm — and sometimes kill — their citizens and humiliate their forces."

*When Israel withdrew from Gaza under Sharon's leadership, it refused to negotiate or even talk to the PLA while Hamas was making continuous attacks. They even successfully destroyed an Israeli tank.*

That made Hamas appear strong and the PLA appear impotent. The Israelis destroyed infrastructure built by the PLA such as the airport and left Gaza's populace dependent on Hamas for basic needs. Then they and we (the USA) insisted on elections and punished the Authority when Hamas won a large number of seats, making the Authority weaker, setting the stage for Hamas' takeover in Gaza.

Now, a thousand prisoners are traded for one soldier. This makes Hamas appear even stronger. It makes the suffering the Gazans suffered seem necessary, though the capture of this soldier prompted ferocious assaults with many civilians killed and maimed.

It says that the PLA are weak fools for even trying to negotiate with Israel. Israel gives nothing unless you use force and have soething or someone they want. Meanwhile, Israel contnues to fault the PLA for failing to control Gaza. The settlements keep expanding. The humiliation continues, mostly, because they can.
Israel's West Bank General Warns Against Radicals
Cutting off American aid because of the Palestinians' United Nations bid will lead to instability, Brig. Gen. Nitzan Alon says.
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