Israel: Battling the Bombers


December 12, 2005: In Lebanon, a car bomb killed another anti-Syrian Lebanese. Gebran Tueni, a newspaper who has long been anti-Syrian, died along with three other people by a huge car bomb set off in a Christian neighborhood.  


December 11, 2005: For the first time, the Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank have fired a home made mortar shell at a Jewish settlement. No injuries occurred. Israel has resumed its counter-terrorism campaign, based on an extensive informer network among the Palestinians, and killing key terrorist leaders and technicians. Missiles launched from aircraft are used against targets in Gaza, while attempts are made to arrest terrorists in the West Bank.


December 10, 2005: About 35 percent of the West Bank security fence has been completed. In the next three months, another 20 percent of the fence will be completed, and by the end of 2006, all of the fence will be built.  The fence has worked to block terrorist attacks on Israel. While these attacks still occur, they do so on a much lower level than ever before, and tourism has revived in Israel as a result. 


December 7, 2005: There has been a surprising development in the UN investigation of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri last February. On December 6th, Hussam Taher Hussam, the so-called " masked witness" who provided UN investigator Detlev Mehlis, with information detailing the involvement of high ranking Syrian government officials, including Asef Shawkut, brother-in-law of Pres. Bashir Asad, has come forward to recant his testimony. Hussam stated that he testified after Lebanese officials kidnapped, tortured, and drugged, and then offered a bribe that he has variously reported as between $500 thousand and $1.3 million. Several persons familiar with Hussam have reportedly that he has a complex history, at that without corroboration Mehlis ought never to have relied on his testimony.
Hussam's recantation threatens to unravel the case against the Syrian leadership, particularly since the another important witness, Zuhair Ibn Muhammad Said Saddik, has proven so unreliable even the investigators tagged his information could not be confirmed. The only other notable witness, Nawar Habib Donna, who sold the phone cards that were identified as being used by the assassins, was killed in an auto "accident" in November.


Precisely how the investigation went astray is hard to determine. Given the complex politics of the Middle East, it's possible that Syrian agents massaged the investigation, by setting up Hussam and Saddik and Hussam, and, of course, removing Donna.