Israel says it will present evidence of Syrian involvement in latest attack

Jerusalem Post:


Delegations from the Israeli defense establishment embarked Monday to Washington, Paris and London, in order to present intelligence information which Israel has collected against Syria revealing its role in the deadly bombing in Tel Aviv Friday night, which killed five people.

Israel said Sunday that it would use intelligence information to prove Syria was behind Friday night's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the cabinet Sunday.


Sharon's associates said the goal of releasing the information is to pressure the Syrians ahead of Tuesday's summit on building the Palestinian Authority in London. Foreign Ministry officials said they hope the Security Council will condemn the attack and perhaps even censure Syria on Monday.

"We have intelligence information that the orders came from the Islamic Jihad in Syria," a senior source close to Sharon said. "We know where the orders for the attack were issued, we know where they were sent, and we know Syrian intelligence was involved and provided logistical support."

Mofaz told the cabinet that an Islamic Jihad cell in Jenin recruited the bomber from Tulkarm under orders from Damascus. Mofaz said that Israel had arrested Islamic Jihad operatives in Tulkarm, but both Mofaz and Sharon emphasized that the PA had taken no action yet against the group, even though Israel had given the PA names of wanted Islamic Jihad operatives.


Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Avi Dichter told the cabinet that the timing of the attack was set by Islamic Jihad officials in Syria to send a message to Abbas's new government. He said intelligence officials had enough information about the bombing even to know where the bomb was made.


Israel handed over to the PA a list of names of scores of fugitives it demands should be arrested by the Palestinian security forces in the framework of its war against terror. "If not, we will be forced to act instead," a security official said.

In pointing a finger at Islamic Jihad, Israeli security officials noted that the movement receives millions of dollars from Iran. "The headquarters in Damascus sends instructions to operatives in the West Bank regarding the type of attack and how it should be planned. Local operatives then begin preparing the explosives and plot the route and recruit the suicide bomber who will carry out the mission. The entire operation from beginning to end is funded by Iran," an official said.

The article focuses a lot of attention on what the Israelis want the Palestinian Authority to do. Stragely, there is no call for Syria to turn over the people in Damacus who ordered the attack. That would be more meaningful than any useless resolution from the Security Counsel, which at best would only give the Isrealis some negotiating chips. Demanding that Syria turn over those responsible for the attacks or share their fate, would tend to focus the debate on the terrorist and their sanctuary. Unlike the Palestinian Authority, the Syrians do have the means to actually arrest those resoponsible aned turn them over to the Israelis. Witht he pressure that Syria is getting from Lebanon and Iraq, as well as the US, a third front with Israel would not seem to be in their interest at this time, and that might even get some good will out of turning over more bad guys. It would certainly help them fight the charge that they are a base for terrorism against their neighbors. At this point Islamic Jihad would seem to be not worth hosting.


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