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APC's and Qassams: Tools of the Trade

The complex simplicity of the conflict that surrounds and permeates the Palestinian Territories is laid before the reader once again by Caroline Glick in the Jerusalem Post. In her column, she brings up the renewed Russian effort to supply armored personnel carriers to the Palestinian Authority, an effort renewed since the popular means for opposing Hamas has been to support Fatah and the PLO.

A week before Zoldan was murdered by US-funded PA security forces, Olmert approved the shipment of two million bullets for AK-47 assault rifles and 50 advanced Russian armored personnel carriers to those forces in Judea and Samaria. The delivery of the APCs has been delayed because the Palestinians insist that they be deployed with roof mounted machine guns and Israel has refused to accept that demand so far. In the meantime however, the bullets have apparently arrived safe and sound.

Note that the rejection of the APC's came from the Palestinians - and not the Israelis - because they demanded the armored personnel carriers include turret-mounted machine guns. Israelis are right to fear these weapons may one day be seen coming downrange at them.

The Russians began this effort immediately after Hamas was elected into power in January 2006. The original allotment of equipment and weaponry included the 50 armored personnel carriers and, in addition, two helicopters.

Further upsetting the perceived unity of the Quartet, if the meeting in March goes well in the eyes of the Russians, they may go forward with planned sales of 50 armored personnel carriers and two helicopters to the Hamas-led PA. This will amount to not only a terrorist organization in governance, but a terrorist organization being openly armed by another state, with governance as the alibi. Russia, no stranger to Islamic terror, has never recognized Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that Russia has pledged $10 million for the Palestinians in 2008. "In order to enhance Palestinian security forces, we have prepared 50 armored personnel carriers, communication and special equipment for the PNA (PA), and we expect countries in the region to assist in the delivery of this aid," he said.

The Gaza Strip has been isolated since it was seized by Hamas in June. Lavrov warned that the area could turn into "a kind of high security prison" for its 1.5 million population as "punishment for their free expression of will," referring to the January 2006 elections, which brought Hamas to power.

This is disingenuous at best. The Gaza strip is isolated because a terrorist group was elected into power after its power base - the Gaza Strip - was handed to the Palestinians when Ariel Sharon withdrew all Israeli forces from the territory.

What did Israel get in return for this gesture, one largely opposed by the Israeli public? A dramatic increase in rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, from 179 attacks in 2005 to 946 and 783 respectively in the two years since the Israeli 'occupiers' disengaged from Gaza and Hamas came to power.

And while the blame for the plight of the Palestinians is always placed at the doorstep of Israel, one wonders why the Iranian support for Hamas in Gaza, for instance, is never scrutinized to determine just how much food, medicine and economic development is provided in contrast to the amount of weapons, explosives, ammunition and other equipment and training.

And the West pledges &7.4 billion in aid to the Palestinian Authority to pay for salaries and services neglected by them in deference toward more weapons, explosives and ammunition.

Israel left Gaza to the Palestinians. Occupiers no more. Now, they are ostensibly derided as prison guards while the Palestinians' elected representative group fires record numbers of rockets and mortars into Israeli towns. And we continue to push for an official Palestinian state where no governance of an informal state can be mustered. This makes sense how?