terror reverberates in new delhi

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    Palestinian Terror Reverberates in New Delhi

    DEBKAfile Special Analysis

    September 10, 2003, 2:18 AM (GMT+02:00)

    Fourteen Israelis died, more than 90 were injured, in two murderous Palestinian suicide attacks Tuesday night, September 9.

    The first struck down a crowd of soldiers waiting outside the Tsrifin military base for transportation home. It occurred just as Israeli and Indian prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Atal Bihari Vajpayee were winding up their conversation in New Delhi. The terrorist blew himself up with a 4-5 kg bomb, killing two Israelis on the spot and injuring another 30. Six died later from the grievous wounds inflicted by the blast at point blank range and the sharp nails and metal shards with which it was packed. All the victims were soldiers.

    Five hours later, a suicide bomber gained entrance to the popular Café Hillel on Emek Refaim Street in southern Jerusalem and blew himself up, killing six Israelis and injuring 52. Jerusalem hospitals filled up quickly as rescue squads carried out resuscitation on the pavements. The victims of the two blasts, 14 dead and scores of injured, were young people – soldiers at Tsfirin and night revelers at Café Hillel. Two soldiers and one civilian secured the Tsrifin bus-stop, two guards stood at the entrance of the Jerusalem café. In neither place were they able to prevent the suicide bombers from carrying out their crimes.

    Jerusalem was on high alert all day with police and security personnel out in force.

    Just before the Palestinian killers struck, the two prime ministers had been updating the ten-year old strategic defense alliance between their two countries. Its initial signing was little noticed by most Israelis, who were deeply immersed in the 1993 Oslo Peace Framework Accords that they saw as a gateway to the Arab-Muslim world. The 1993 military-intelligence pact with India for mutual security against antagonistic Arabs, hostile Palestinians and Islamic fundamentalism turned out to be the more realistic.

    During that time, Palestinian terrorists also kept a finger in the Indian sub-continental pie by training and arming Tamil Tigers fighting against Sri Lanka from the eastern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. To this day, Palestinian groups like Yasser Arafat’s presidential guard “Force 17” maintain intelligence and operational structures and relationships in Tamil Nadu. They are managed from Ramallah half a world away.

    For now, Israeli-Indian military and intelligence cooperation focuses on these aspects:-

    A. Kashmir tops the list. In 2001 and 2002, DEBKAfile and DEBKA-Net-Weekly reported on the assistance Israel renders India in fighting Pakistan-backed Islamic insurgents: electronic security fences, a large-scale electronic early warning station like the one Israeli maintains on its northern border on Mt. Hermon and Cochav Yarden, operational and communications commands and training in counter-terror tactics.

    B. Both nations recognize that Pakistan’s nuclear capability, its Islamic bomb, threatens not only India but also Israel. At this moment, Pakistani technicians and gas centrifuges are to be found in Iran providing equipment and technology for the enrichment of uranium. Just as the Pakistani bomb is potentially dangerous for Israel, so too would an Iranian nuke be for India. This mutual threat has given rise to stories in Pakistan and Iran alleging Israeli pilots were practicing bombing sorties against nuclear targets in Iran and Pakistan alike.

    C. The United States is deeply involved in Indian-Israeli strategic collaboration. While many aspects are secret, DEBKAfile’s sources can reveal that it covers exchanges and transfers of advanced military avionics, as well a missile, armor and artillery technologies.

    D. For New Delhi, the Middle East is Western Asia. Control of the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea is a cornerstone of India’s defenses against Pakistan and up to a point also China. It gives India the key to the mouths of the Indus and the sea approach to the Pakistani town of Karachi. A naval blockade of Karachi lasting more than three weeks would starve Pakistan and its army of food and fuel.

    Another Pakistani port of especial interest to India is Gwadar near the Iranian border. New Delhi suspects Pakistan and China of building jointly a big naval base for their two navies, providing China its first military foothold on the Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf and prompting Indian-Israeli naval cooperation as a counterweight. Israel therefore maintains a permanent presence of two Dolphin submarines fitted with advanced missiles in the Indian Ocean.

    All these elements of cooperation are regarded by both Indian and Israeli leaders as in their mutual long-term strategic interest.

    But before Sharon set off for India, an important operation was carried out In the confrontation with Palestinian terror. Saturday night, September 8, an IDF special force raided the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah in order to pick up Ahmed Tubaisi. Under interrogation he came clean on a number of points:

    1. He is an officer of the Gaza Strip’s Preventive Security Service.

    2. He is the commander of the illegal Palestinian tunnel system for smuggling explosives and weapons from Egyptian Sinai into the Strip. It is his job to dig new tunnels after Israeli troops fill them in.

    3. He gets his orders from two direct bosses: Rashid Abu Shbak, whom Muhamed Dahlan (Abu Mazen’s interior security minister) appointed chief of the Preventive Security service, although he is on Israel’s list of most wanted terrorists; and from Dahlan in person.

    4. On one night at the end of August, US and Israeli leaders were convinced the Abu Mazen-Dahlan duo had finally begun to crack down on Palestinian terrorists. It was then that Dahlan ordered four smuggling tunnels blocked up with cement and invited international television crews to record the historic moment. Tubaisi told his interrogators that it was all a show put on by Dahlan to throw off American pressure for a crackdown on terrorist structures. Dahlan and Shbak told him to pour concrete into long-disused tunnels and organize gunfire as though the operation was meeting resistance.

    Arafat’s nominee as prime minister Ahmed Qureia will not bother to stage shows. He will just do as he is told by his master.

    Is there a single Palestinian leader alive today willing to turn away from Arafat’s strategy of suicidal terror?

    Probably not.

    That being the case, Sharon is mistaken if he thinks he can present a strong Israel in India and a weak posture towards Palestinian terror at home. India’s leaders, experienced in the ways of Islamic terror, keep up with events in Israel. They also know what happens to leaders who fail to subdue terrorism in their countries.
 
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