The American administration ordered the Israeli government to be quiet
Local media reported on Friday that American troops strengthened their offensive in western areas of Iraq. Those are the areas, from which Israeli territories were bombed with missiles in 1991. Thirty-nine Iraqi Scuds were launched on Tel Aviv back in those days.
It was particularly reported that Americans were busy with Iraqi army objects, known as Age2 and Age3. Israel believed that missiles were stored at those objects, posing a very big threat to Israel. Some experts say that if US forces get western Iraqi areas under their control, the opportunity of a missile attack against Israel will decrease a lot. Observers say that this opportunity will vanish by the beginning of next week.
Nevertheless, the Logistics instructed Israelis to have gas masks always. The instruction is still valid. Thousands of people keep coming to special points to buy gas masks. People also buy polyethylene film and adhesive tape for their apartments and houses. Rolls of polyethylene and skotch can be seen outside at the doors of a lot of shops. Television still broadcasts civil defense programs, instructing Israelis on arranging shelters. Certain television channels already have elements of humor in their programs, trying to make people laugh at everything that happens. For example, an Israeli television show announced a contest for the best recipe to cook a dish of tinned food. The majority of Israeli families have tons of tins in their fridges now. Buying food in hermetically sealed packaging is another recommendation that was given to Israelis by the Logistics. As Israelis say now, tinned food will be in their menus for several months more. It seems that people have already calmed down to a certain extent. Not many people carried gas masks in their hands on Friday. The majority of Israelis, young people, first and foremost, ignore the Logistics’ instruction. Israelis keep spending more and more of their time outdoors. Trade centers, markets, cafes, and shops work as usual. However, people are still very cautious.
Israeli media report a lot about the process of the American operation in Iraq. Israeli reporters basically justify the operation. They keep talking about the dictatorship essence of Saddam’s regime. Israelis do not like that regime, they think that it is hostile to the Jewish state. Israeli mass media keep telling stories how Baghdad renders help to Palestinian suicidal bombers’ families, allocating thousands of dollars to them. Israel does not feel sorry about the fact that the USA launched the operation without the UN’s approval. A lot of observers perceive the given international organization as an organization that is not very Israel-friendly. An Israeli reporter has recently called the United Nations an anti-Semite organization. No one in Israel is sorry about the fact that the mechanism to settle international disputes is falling apart at present moment. Israel believes that the Jewish state will not suffer from that. Television constantly broadcasts the footage of Baghdad on fire, as well as captive Iraqi soldiers.
However, a lot of Israelis were surprised about the serious resistance that was shown on the part of the Iraqi army, in the area of the city of Basra, for instance. A reporter said scathingly that American prophecies do not come true, Iraqi people do not greet them with flowers, as liberators.
The territory of the Palestinian autonomy is still encircled. Israel is afraid of possible acts of terrorism that might happen on account of the war. Israeli special services have the information, which says that several radical organizations prepare new acts of terrorism. That is why, Israeli army troops still conduct cleansing procedures on the West Bank, arresting suspicious people on the allegation of their implication in terrorist activities.
Palestinians fear that the Israeli leadership might use the situation, and to conduct large-scale operations on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, ousting certain Palestinian politicians, including Yasser Arafat, from the territory. Several Palestinian observers say that Israelis might oust the Palestinian population completely, to Jordan or Egypt, for example. This is not really likely to happen, though.
The Palestinian leadership denounced the actions of the American administration in Iraq, although there were no official statements released on the issue yet. According to certain estimates, Yasser Arafat does not want to spoil relations with the USA at the moment, for America might soon start dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seriously. However, the streets of Palestinian cities are filled with anti-American protests. Crowds of Palestinians go out in the streets to protest against the war in Iraq. Anti-American slogans are added with anti-Israeli ones too. Some protesters reportedly call upon Saddam Hussein to burn Tel Aviv. Such demonstrations gather thousands of people, presumably young men. Protests help radical organizations to improve their reputation as fighters with the “Zionist enemy.” This situation can be explained with the fact that Israel conducted tough army operations on the Palestinian territory, blocking autonomy’s towns, driving people to despair. A lot of Israelis are very unhappy about continuing acts of terrorism and worsening situation in the economy. The living standard decreased a lot in the country on account of the intifada.
Israel is ready to settle scores with Palestine, while the USA is busy with the war in Iraq. Another bloody act of terrorism would be enough for that. Specialists also say that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will never venture to do that, since such actions would bring harm to the USA, first and foremost. Israeli serious army actions on the Palestinian terrain might cause another outburst of anger in the Arab world. As observers believe, the American administration ordered the Israeli government to be quiet and not to show any movement.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov