The Palestinians continue in the rocket war against Israel, and there's absolutely no sign that things will change on this front. Fatah, which controls the West Bank, apparently has control problems with its al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, who now seeks to kill the PA Prime Minister for "collaborating" with the US and Israel. That comes on the heels of announcements by Mahmoud Abbas that the AAMB no longer exists (snort) and that AAMB members would be assisting in the security detail for President Bush's visit to the West Bank in 2008.
Two Israelis were murdered by Palestinian terrorists - and three separate groups claimed responsibility, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. The Palestinians are spinning the situation furiously, claiming that this wasn't a terrorist attack, but a criminal incident where the thugs sought to steal the Israelis' weapons:
On Sunday, the armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility in a joint statement, saying the operation was a response to Israeli strikes against their fighters in the Gaza Strip and army killings and arrests in the West Bank. Earlier, a branch of the Fatah-affiliated Aksa Martyrs Brigades militia had claimed responsibility together with Islamic Jihad.Sayfi is right that the terrorist groups are trying to curry favor with the Palestinian public - the more attacks against Israel and the higher the profile, the more likely the terrorist groups will be able to maintain their operations. However, to argue that this was a criminal matter because the object was to steal the Israelis' weapons is laughable given that they would then turn around and use those weapons on Israelis in terrorist attacks.
But the Palestinian security commander in Hebron, Samih al-Sayfi, told the Palestinian news agency Maan that the motive behind the attack had been strictly criminal and suggested that the attackers might have been trying to steal the Israelis’ weapons. He said that the militant organizations had claimed responsibility to curry favor with the Palestinian public and to confuse the local security forces.
The Times report spins this as a serious problem for the peace process, but the paper has ignored the hundreds of rockets fired at Israel in just the past few weeks as though those aren't nearly as important or significant. The terrorist groups, having failed to succeed in suicide attacks, has resorted to a rocket/mortar war with Israel.
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