Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Unlike Rishon etc., Jerusalem has been quiet (ie. free of terror attacks) for several weeks now (unless I'm forgetting something). Previously, we were getting the message that Operation Defensive Wall had seriously undermined the infrastructure of the terrorist groups, while increasing their motivation to let us know that they're around and kicking.

The message now is: major attacks are being attempted; the active steps being taken by the IDF (report) are necessary to prevent them; a security fence close to the perimeter of the West Bank is now being constructed (report).

Today in Tel Aviv, there's a drill (including a tall smoky building) to prepare for a large scale attack which I pray will never happen.

Lots of diplomatic activity going on: Sharon and CIA chief George Tenet held a meeting and are said to have discussed "security and intelligence". Arafat is said to be showing Tenet his plan for reform of the Palestinian security apparatus. Arafat apparently snubbed both the pragmatic Jibril Rajoub and the suave and well-dressed Mohammed Dahlan as security chief (though from this report it seems that Dahlan himself decided to resign). And now Sharon has been invited to Washington.

The people around me are talking primarily about the Mondial ... but I think it's accurate to say that Israelis don't expect much from either the diplomatic flurry or the PA reforms.

It strikes me as strange how some people (eg. the Europeans, Haaretz) are fond of pushing for "diplomatic initiatives". At this stage, the facts and attitudes on the ground are what matter - ie. the two sides must have broadly reconcilable goals and mutual trust - and of course they don't.

There a lots of reporters on the diplomatic beat, but not too many on military affairs: the good ones are Ze'ev Schiff at Haaretz and Arieh O'Sullivan at the Jerusalem Post. I'd like to see an explanation of the "security fence". This morning I was listening to the clowns on youth-oriented Army Radio joking about a security fence which could open and close to catch the rumored glider attacks. Then they cut in with news of the Hebron shooting/truck wreck. (details)

Separately, the IDF is now conducting an investigation into the Jenin events and speaks of "failures in coordinating aid" with international agencies (details).

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