Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sherlock, após o horror -- Elementar, caro Watson

July 19, 1994


Commentary by Jacques Neriah

The big question arising from the shocking attack in Buenos Aires is whether the world's Jews have become hostages in Hizballah's hands?

In my opinion, there is a connection between the two attacks in Argentina

in June 1992 and yesterday and IDF operations against 'quality' Hizballah targets. We must recall that in February 1992, our planes attacked the Sheikh Hussein Mussawi's convoy in southern Lebanon, and killed him, his wife, and his daughter. Hizballah's counterattack came 40 days later, at our embassy in Buenos Aires.

It seems to me that yesterday's operation came in response to the Israel Air Force attack on Ein Dardara last month. That was a highly successful military operation in which dozens of Hizballah personnel were killed. Hizballah promised to take revenge, and, indeed, 50 days have passed since the attack on Ein Dardara.

Why exactly in Argentina? Argentina is comfortable for Hizballah, due to the large Shi'ite community there. Moreover, it has porous borders. It may be assumed that the terrorists were able to flee the country this time as well.

From the event, it may be concluded that when the Israelis plan an operation against the terrorist organizations in Lebanon, it must be taken into account that the reaction against our operations might not necessarily be made at an Israeli target, but could be made against any Jewish target. This has not escaped the Israelis in the past.

The conclusion arising from all of this is that what goes on between ourselves and Hizballah can not be solved except by a broad consensus in our relations with Syria and Lebanon. This issue needs to be brought up in the negotiations.

Until then, we must return to a defensive posture, like we have in the past, regarding sensitive Jewish targets around the world; no simple effort for Israel. Of course, countries which have Jewish populations must also share in the responsibility for protecting them.


Comments by Brig.-Gen. Yigal Pressler, the Prime Minister's Adviser on Terrorism

'The answer to attacks of the type which occurred in Argentina is not defensive activity. Another fence, another roadblock, another guard will not help.'

'The countries of the world must cooperate intensively to foil Iranian and Islamic terrorism. It essential to penetrate them, to collect intelligence, to uncover intentions and to foil attacks. Cooperation between the countries of the world should be tightened, and this matter must be significant and important.'

'At this stage, all of the details of the incident in Buenos Aires are not clear, although the very fact that the attack was directed at a Jewish target would seem to indicate that terrorist elements do not stop at anything in order to attack whomever they consider to be an Israeli or a supporter of Israel. An attack on a building densely packed with Argentinean citizens of Jewish origin constitutes an attack on Argentina's sovereignty, as well as on the entire Jewish People, not only on Israel.

It must shock all the countries of the world and arouse them to act against organizations who carry out attacks of this sort, no matter what their identity.

Q: Do you believe that the attack was carried out due to Israel's activity against Hizballah?

Pressler: 'Hizballah and other radical Islamic elements have indeed threatened that they would respond to IDF activity in Lebanon, thought the radical organizations do not lack reasons to carry out an attack. These organizations are known to oppose the peace process.'

Q: Was there an assessment that an attack would be committed against a Jewish target abroad after the Dirani abduction and the bombing of the Hizballah base in Lebanon?

Pressler: 'After the Hebron massacre, and following the Israeli activity in Lebanon, security measures were increased in Israel and abroad. This level of security is still being maintained today. In this framework, the possibility of attacks being carried out against Israeli or Jewish interests abroad was taken into account. Previous experience has shown that the terrorist organizations view Jewish targets abroad as Israeli interests in all respects.'

Q: How involved is Israel in securing Jewish institutions abroad?

Pressler: 'Security at Jewish institutions abroad is, first and foremost, the responsibility of the country in which they are located. Occasionally, Jewish organizations hire local security services, in addition to the regular police protection. Israel does not protect Jewish institutions, but it does provide assistance and advice to organizations, with the consent of the local security authorities.'

Prof. Ariel Merari, terrorism expert, explains why South America has become a terrorist target of choice

'Iran attacks Jews and Israelis in South America in order not to harm its economic interests in Western Europe and North America. In South America, it does not have much to lose.'

'There is a large Arab population in Argentina. Although not all of them support Iran and not all are anti-Semites, it certainly makes it possible to recruit volunteers for such attacks. There is, of course, a need for intelligence regarding targets, and for this the attackers can get help from the Iranian Embassy. The Iranian Embassy there is known to work hard at spreading Islamic doctrine through education classes, and cultural centers and activities.'

'There is a clear link between the recent attack, the explosion at the Israeli Embassy [in Buenos Aires two years ago] and the attempted car bomb attack on the Israeli Embassy in Thailand four months ago. Radical Islamic elements were also behind the attack on the Twin Towers in New York a year and a half ago, though that was a different sort of attack.'

'MA'ARIV', (p. 12)

Analysis by Oded Granot

There is a large gap between the festivities of the historic moment of the opening of the Arava talks on the border and the mistaken impression that a giant step for peace was taken at Ein Evrona.

There is a gap between the Jordanians' polite smiles and Rubinstein and Tarawneh's hugs and the mistaken impression that Amaan is already prepared

for normalization. And there is a gap between the feeling inside the discussion-tent, that Jordan has already passed the point-of-no-return, and the aggressive questions by the Jordanian reporters at the news conference: Why is Israel continuing to occupy Jordanian land? and: Has the 'Greater Land of Israel' concept been put to rest?

One of the two: either the Jordanian reporters were not briefed on the details of Israeli-Jordanian contacts up to now, or the official line, dictated from Amaan, is to smile and be friendly, but not to hurry to make concessions.

Last night, members of the Israeli delegation defined the current stage of Israeli-Jordanian relations in four words: 'Searching for a balance.' The intention is to seek a balanced formula regarding Israeli and Jordanian needs in the negotiations. An example: Israel wants more agreements on mutual cooperation sand normalization and the Jordanians want to talk more about the division of water resources and the demarcation of the boundary. They also do not feel so pressed to quickly implement the grandiose vision of joint projects in the Arava Valley.

If new directives for accelerating the talks are not given at the Washington summit, then the talks on water and the boundary will continue, step by step, without a dramatic breakthrough. The committees will have many tiring discussions, with no end in sight.

And the most difficult news is that the Jordanians announced, last night, that they insist that the bilateral discussions continue in the Arava, on the border, in the white tent, with air conditioners that do not help very much. The Israelis will not be able to take this for very long.


Commentary by Vered Noam

Sunday's Israel Television news program was faithful to the current mood. It opened with a rhetoric-laden monologue by Israel Television's correspondent, 'in Petra, for the first time.' But the somewhat contrived excitement shattered very quickly against the remains of the charred buses at the Erez Checkpoint. We have become accustomed to this in the past year: alternately ridiculous and threatening events suddenly emerge from the heaps of verbage. Every time the media begins to rain historic moments down on our heads, from the Cairo ceremony to the Arafat festival in Gaza, the discordant laugh of reality, provoking us, is suddenly heard from the corner. Petra at sunset, which has been romantically longed-for by a country under siege, is an especially successful symbol of the dream of peace. The smoke from the riots at the Erez Checkpoint is its realization.

The Oslo Agreement did not bring us any closer to the rocky caverns of Petra or the rivers of Damascus. It did not put us in the magical expanse of a new Middle East. The Oslo process does not guarantee us unlimited traveling. It is a familiar, tired-out process of entrenchment behind siege-lines. It did not even get us out of the intifada. It rides on our backs, goes where we go, and withdraws along with our forces to such new lines of deployment as there are. We have not escaped, nor will we escape, from the growing frustration in Gaza. Gaza's plight will storm the 1967 borders as well. It will sentence us to a perpetual see-saw between riots at the Erez Checkpoint and knives in Tel Aviv.

The peace process moved the war in Gaza to the Erez Checkpoint. As the process continues, the intifada in Kalkilya is supposed to reach the alleys of Kfar Saba. What is unique and risky in the new format of this war is the fact that a Palestinian army and Palestinian weapons are involved in it now.

The war being conducted at the checkpoints also has advantages military, democratic, and demographic over the war conducted in the casbahs. But these advantages can only be expressed negatively, and they are not getting us any closer to Petra.

El caso AMIA no deja de sorprendernos.

Anna Maria BA- VT

Las investigaciones hasta el momento, transcurridos ya once años, solo han llegado a la certeza que la AMIA fue demolida por una explosión. Conclusión que pudo ser determinada a la 9 y 53 minutos del 18 de julio de 1994, pero que los avatares investigativos han dejado como único hecho cierto.
Una infinidad de pistas falsas, pruebas plantadas e interpretaciones antojadizas surcan un expediente de miles y miles de folios.
Pero un insólito hallazgo, parece destinado a esclarecer definitivamente el hecho con la misma precisión que las pruebas exhibidas por el juez Galeano y otros funcionarios que exhibieron resonantes resultados como el fiscal Alberto Nisman. Todo se desarrolló, como no podía ser de otra manera, en forma fortuita. La rotura de un caño en el moderno edificio de la AMIA, construido en el mismo terreno donde se levantaba el anterior, objeto del atentado, llevó a que los plomeros tuvieran que realizar una excavación de dos metros de ancho por tres de profundidad. De pronto, uno de los trabajadores, encontró un tubo de los utilizados para guardar planos o títulos profesionales, de color azul, aplastado en uno de los extremos, que fue entregado a las autoridades de la casa. Grande sería la sorpresa, cuando al abrir el mismo, se encontró el testamento del conductor suicida, que para facilitar la posibilidad de falsas interpretaciones o demoras en la investigación se tomó el trabajo de hacer una versión en castellano. También se encontró su pasaporte.
En sus aspectos centrales, el firmante Mohamed Fatula, se asume como único autor y responsable del atentado, cuya planificación le llevó los últimos diez años de su vida. Nació en Teherán, vivió su niñez en Damasco, pasó unos años en Tel Aviv, su adolescencia en Nueva York y en sus vacaciones solía veranear en la Franja de Gaza. Era soltero y virgen, con lo que pensaba encontrar mujeres en la misma situación con las que fraternizar en el Paraíso.
Inmediatamente se han tejido diversas hipótesis sobre los intereses que se han movido detrás del atentado, dado los distintos países por donde discurrió la vida del conductor suicida. Lo que queda en claro es que no hay cómplices locales, salvo el traductor que pasó al castellano el testamento de Mohamed Fatula.Queda así esclarecido totalmente, mediante éste insólito hallazgo, y en forma accidental, el atentado que costara la vida a 85 personas. Indudablemente siempre habrá pesimistas que pondrán en duda la forma, el momento y en lugar de la prueba. ¿Como no se encontró este tubo cuando se limpió la zona para realizar la construcción del nuevo edificio? ¿Como se pudo conservar en tan buen estado después de once años?
Incrédulos siempre habrá. Aún hoy hay quienes intentan socavar la versión oficial de la muerte de John Fitgerald Kennedy, debida a un solo y único ejecutor como en este caso. O más recientemente, una explosión ocasional como la de Río Tercero, a la que el entonces Presidente Carlos Menem atribuyó inmediatamente a un hecho fortuito con la misma seguridad que nos ofrece hoy el testamento encontrado en la AMIA. O los muchos suicidas con mano invertida que enterró la década de los noventa.
Hay algunos descreídos que hacen un juego de palabras. Dicen que si el hallazgo fue hecho por unos plomeros, es
evidente que es una investigación que hace agua. A esto sólo puede responderse con la muletilla de un hombre que hizo de la palabra un verdadero sacramento, como el presidente riojano, quién siempre afirmaba: "es una burda patraña" Lo que no consiguió el juez Juan José Galeano, investigadores varios, autores de varios libros, lo han conseguido estos esforzados plomeros, cuyos pedidos de anonimato nos impide hacer público sus nombres. Un haz de luz ilumina once años de encubrimientos. Como en las novelas de Agatha Christie, las evidencias estaban a la vista, en este caso a ras del piso. La justicia es lenta porque siempre tiene pérdidas cuando le falla el cuerito. Por eso, lo que parece aleatorio y circunstancial responde a la más diáfana lógica aristotélica. Como diría Sherlock Holmes: "Elemental Watson".