Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Israel to PA - Terror Groups Must Be Disarmed

I have found it difficult to write about Israel this week. The images of the settlers being evicted from their homes is too heart wrenching for words. It is a testament to the IDF forces, the police, and the settlers themselves that except for a few scuffles here and there, the evictions went off smoothly and faster than planned. There was so much compassion and sorrow reflected in both the evictors and the evictees faces, that it made me weep. The prayers that were said together and the strength that was shown by all have dispelled my fears that the disengagement would tear Israel apart.

There is only one remaining fear, the security of Israel itself. In the news reports leading up to the disengagement, groups such as Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the PLO appeared to be jockeying for position. The news from this weekend that PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei stated while in Syria that neither Hamas nor Islamic jihad would be disarmed does not bode well for the 'peace map'. For if the PA will not disarm those groups that have stated over and over that they are committed to the total destruction of Israel and it's people, what hope is there of peace?
The only redeeming thing to come out of this statement is that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon insists that the groups must be disarmed before there can be any political dialogue with the PA.

Also, last week, it was reported that Secretary of State Rice stated that Israel must do more and that was all of her statement that was reported. Her message to the PA was not widely reported.

You cannot simply let a terrorist organization sit forever," she said. "There is an obligation in the road map to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism, not just coexist with it."

She said that dealing with a terrorist infrastructure, "is one of the most important next elements. I know that the Palestinians have been concerned and so are the Israelis, to have calm in this period of time. It has been a good thing that thus far the Palestinian factions have more or less respected that calm, but that isn't a substitute for the dismantling of the terrorist organizations, because as Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas] himself has said, 'you can only have one authority and one gun.'"
"I'm not talking about a sequencing here because the road map is assiduously not sequencing one step after another," she said. "It gives, in parallel, certain obligations to both sides. And the obligation of the Palestinians has to do with the dismantling of terrorist infrastructure and organizations and they're going to have to do it."

While the road map calls for Israel to dismantle the unauthorized settlement outposts and freeze all settlement activity, the road map obligations that Rice mentioned were the ones dealing with the, "continued freeing of Palestinian movement and conditions in the West Bank."Jerusalem Post
This is a strong message to Abbas, the terrorist groups must be dismantled. The onus is on them and Israel should not be expected to take any further steps until those vile, hateful, murdering terrorist groups are dismantled. All eyes should be on the PA and Gaza to see if the road will lead to peace or to continued terror attacks against Israel.