|Israel Resource Review
||16th December, 2002
The Official Palestinian
Authority Media Reports:
Al Qaida, The End of Ramadan,
Suicide Bombs, Hamas and more . . .
Al Qaida in Gaza: Quietly, the PA Moves Against Suspected Cell
Amid pressure from the United States and the European Union, the
Palestinian Authority is quietly moving to stop Al Qaida recruitment in the
Gaza Strip. Israeli intelligence discovered the recruitment and relayed the
information to the United States. At first, the PA denied the Israeli
assertion and accused the Mossad of planting bogus Al Qaida insurgents to
embarrass Yasser Arafat. But soon PA security services began to increase
the monitoring of foreigners suspected of being linked to Al Qaida.
On December 8, Palestinian dailies extensive news coverage of a December 7 news
conference given by PA International Cooperation Minister Nabil Shaath and
PA Preventive Security Apparatus chief Rashid Abu Shback.
The Al Quds daily headlined its page one article: "President Arafat:
Israeli Accusations of Al Qaida Presence Is a 'Very Big Lie.'" The PA-owned
Al Ayyam asserted that the "Preventive Security Apparatus uncovers Israeli
Attempt to Recruit People in the name of Al Qaida in Gaza." The articles
reported Abu Shback and Shaath as saying that Israeli intelligence officers,
claiming to be Al Qaida operatives, tried to recruit Palestinian citizens.
Shaath told foreign diplomats and consuls that Israel was trying to
delegitimize Palestinian resistance against the occupation by linking it to the Al Qaida attacks on the United States on September 11.
For his part, Abu Shback said Israeli intelligence officers claiming to
be Al Qaida operatives approached Palestinians throughout the Gaza Strip.
The intelligence chief said he knew of at least eight Israeli approaches.
At the same time, PA officials reported capturing a Palestinian ring
that was trying to recruit for Al Qaida. The officials said they were
working for Israel. PA officials did not disclose the number of arrests or
the identities of the suspects.
The London-based Al Hayat daily reported on December 10 that the PA has
agreed to meet with U.S. intelligence officials and diplomats this week to
discuss Israel's charges regarding Al Qaida's presence in the Gaza Strip.
The Saudi-owned newspaper, quoting senior Palestinian sources, said PA
intelligence has ordered an intensive monitoring effort against Arabs and
other foreigners in the Gaza Strip in an attempt to gather evidence to
dismiss the Israeli accusation. The newspaper said PA Preventive Security
discussed the alleged Al Qaida presence in the Gaza Strip in August and PA
intelligence officials charged Israel with fabricating the issue.
Al Hayat reported that Preventive Security also briefed British and
French intelligence agencies regarding the alleged Al Qaida presence. PA
officials said both Israel's domestic and foreign intelligence agencies are
involved in what they termed the Al Qaida fabrication. Preventive Security
met separately with U.S., British and French agencies on December 7 in Gaza
Regardless, the PA-owned media have been continually discussing the
prospect of Al Qaida cells in Palestinian-controlled areas of the Gaza
Strip. They have raised the issue whether this will serve as an Israeli
pretext to attack the Gaza Strip. As Al Ayyam put it on a front-page article
on December 8, "The Al Qaida Episode: Is This the Prelude to an Invasion of
PA Media and Suicide Bombings
The Palestinian Authority has told the United States and the European
Union that the regime of Yasser Arafat is opposed to suicide bombings. But
PA-owned newspapers, radio and television continue to encourage suicide
bombers and glorify their deeds. The most recent example was in a PA
television interview on December 5.
The television interview was with a mother whose two sons blew
themselves up in terrorist attacks against Israel. The mother said she went
on a pilgrimage to the Saudi city of Mecca, where she prayed that her son
would die in a battle against Israel. She said she prayed that Israel would
suffer from Palestinian attacks.
"I have one wish for all Israeli mothers, for all Israelis," the mother
said. "They should not relax, they should not sleep peacefully, they should
always have nightmares, night and day, wherever they go, and whatever they
do. No Israeli of any kind should live in comfort. Even in their sleep, they
should have nightmares. We will blow them up day and night, wherever they
go. If I see an Israeli I will blow
up among them."
"They should dream of how the Palestinian people kill them, and blow
them up," the mother continued. "They should not be relaxed, and should not
sleep. Not them and not there sons, not their children, nor the Israeli
army. They should not be able to travel on the buses, nor drive a tank, nor
even ride a bike. Wherever they turn, the Israelis should see [someone] and
say: "Maybe it's a Palestinian."
"This Jerusalem is our Jerusalem, and not yours. We are the children of
Palestine, the Muslim nation, you will not live in comfort: not an Israeli's
mother, nor a soldier's mother, nor a soldier's grandfather, nor a soldier's
father. No Israeli of any kind should live in comfort. Even in their sleep,
they will have nightmares. We will blow them up day and night, wherever they
go. And I, as the mother of two Shahids, if I see an Israeli I will blow up
At this point, the presenter congratulated the mother and her dead sons.
"We are, of course, always very proud of all of our martyrs," the PA
television presenter said.
PA Media Sets Religious Framework for Jihad
The PA used the fast month of Ramadan to encourage the recruitment of
Palestinians for suicide attacks against Israel. PA television and radio
carried programs, the theme of which was that Islam wants its followers to
sacrifice themselves in the mission to kill Jews. These messages have been
transmitted through interviews and talk shows.
But the message appears most prominent during sermons by Islamic clerics
broadcast by Palestinian television. There, Jews are called an accursed
nation and relatives of monkeys and pigs, anathema in Islamic society.
A sermon given by Mustafa Najem on December 6 urges Palestinians to fulfill
Allah's mission and kill Jews. Najem, entitled a doctor, quoted passages
from the Koran to demonstrate that Islam requires its followers to
"torment" Jews until the resurrection.
"Praise be to Allah, who has cursed [the Jews], the brothers of monkeys
and pigs, with a stream of curses that will continue until the resurrection
of the dead," Najem said in his sermon. "He has warned us against their evil
and their arrogance, and has said: 'You will find that the most brazen among
mankind, with hatred towards the believers, are the Jews and the
Najem calls Jews "idolaters, heretics, whose faith is false." He said
the Jews are waging a war against Islam and seek to subjugate Muslims and
ruled out any reconciliation with the Jewish state.
"Allah said against the Jews and the idolaters 'Your lord has declared
that he will surely send against them [Jews] until resurrection, those
[Arabs and Muslims] who will afflict them with terrible torment,'" Najem
said. "Prayer and blessing to the imam of the Jihad fighters, Mohammed, who
waged a Jihad against the Jews, and a significant Jihad. He warned us, in
strongest terms, against them. He said, after he expelled them from Arabia,
'Two religions will not be here together.'"
The PA has refused to acknowledge its own documents. Most of the PA media either ignored the publication of Israeli-captured PA documents that
discussed terrorist activities and the manufacture of weapons. Some
newspapers termed the documents as forgeries prepared by Israel. But the
media have not reported the details of the PA documents.
The exception was a report in much of the Palestinian media on December 14
on a Hamas rally during the previous day in Khan Yunis and other areas of
the Gaza Strip. The occasion was 15th anniversary of the founding of Hamas.
At the rally, Hamas displayed a range of weapons during a march in a
stadium in the central Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis. The weapons included
mortar launchers and anti-tank missiles. The missiles were identified as the
Al Bana, a new weapon that has been launched against Israeli tanks, armored
personnel carriers and armored buses.
There was no sign of the Kassam short-range missile at the parade. Hamas
has completed three models of the Kassam.
The Kassam-1 is said to have a range of 4.5 kilometers. The Kassam-2 has
a range of 6 kilometers and the advanced -3 model a range of 10 kilometers.
"We will not lay down their weapons and will not stop firing their
bullets until the end of this battle," Hamas leader Ahmed Nimer Hamdan said.
PA documents captured by Israel cite names, orders, figures and
intrusive details of the PA war machine. One document found in the offices
of the Preventive Security Apparatus in Tel Hawa, captured in a raid in
November, disclosed a strategic project to produce nitric acid, a key
element in the assembly of bombs. The document also discussed constructing a
factory that would produce 400-450 mortar bombs a month.
Hamas, according to the document and interrogation of a PA security
official, received mortars, bombs, rocket-propelled grenades and other
weapons from the Preventive Security Apparatus, General Intelligence Service
and Force 17. Over the last two years, the documents and interrogations
asserted, hundreds of mortars, bombs, rockets and weapons were produced by
the PA and distributed to a range of terrorist groups.
Threat of Abduction
Hamas has threatened to abduct Israeli soldiers and use them as a
bargaining chip for the release of Palestinian terrorists held by Israel. A
lead article on Hamas's web site [http://www.kataebq.com] said it plans to
renew the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, begun in the early 1990s. Hamas,
in an appeal made on December 8, urged other Palestinian groups to do everything
within their power to free Palestinians imprisoned in the maximum-security
Several months ago, Hamas distributed to its members an instruction
manual on abducting soldiers and holding them for ransom.
The Egyptian Factor
Egypt is said to have pressed Islamic Jihad for a recess in suicide
attacks against Israel.
The London-based Al Hayat said on December 15 that Egyptian officials
succeeded in obtaining a commitment from the Iranian-backed Jihad for a
respite in suicide missions during Palestinian reconciliation talks last
week in Cairo. The talks included representatives from the ruling Fatah
movement and the opposition Hamas regarding the Palestinian war against
Jihad has claimed responsibility for a series of suicide missions in
November in northern Israel as well as the killing of 12 Israelis in Hebron
in December. The organization is said to have been bolstered
over the last few months with funding from Iran and cooperation from the
Egypt has pressed Fatah and Hamas to agree to a ceasefire on suicide
missions in Israel during the election campaign. The Palestinian insurgency
groups were told by Egypt and the European Union, which sponsored the
Fatah-Hamas talks, that attacks on civilian targets in Israel would
strengthen the reelection prospects of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Al Hayat reported that a Jihad delegation, which did not
include leader Ramadan Shalah, had requested to be included in the
Fatah-Hamas talks. The newspaper said Egypt pledged to examine the request.
Fatah and Hamas met on December 10 and December 11 at a secret location in the
Cairo area. The meeting site was secured by Egyptian security officers and
contents of the session were not disclosed.
The intentions of Fatah do not seem to be in line with any ceasefire
effort. A statement by the Fatah-dominated Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades on December
11 called for a resumption of suicide attacks, termed martyr operations.
Fatah pledged to head the Palestinian war against Israel in a joint effort
with Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Earlier, PA International Cooperation Minister Nabil Shaath told the Al
Ayyam daily on December 9 that Fatah and Hamas seek to reach an agreement on a
ceasefire. But Shaath said no such accord would go into effect unless Israel
ends its attacks.
Sha'ath said other issues on the Fatah-Hamas agenda include the adoption
of a strategy regarding Palestinian statehood and the question of
On November 24, Hamas leader Abdul Aziz Rentisi, a member of the Hamas
leadership, said suicide missions would not end. He said the goal is to
topple the regime of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon the way Hamas succeeded in
doing against predecessors Ehud Barak, Binyamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres.
In an interview with the London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat daily, Rentisi said:
"Martyrdom missions will not strengthen the Sharon's victory for this is
impossible if it comes amid the election slogan of Israeli security as they
had promised. We will now topple [the regime] by activing martyrdom
Rentisi said there is no difference between the ruling Likud and the
opposition Labor Party. He said most of the killings of Palestinians took
place during Labor Party rule. He said more than 80 percent of the Jewish
settlements were built by Labor.
Regarding the recent Hamas suicide attack in Jerusalem in which 11
people were killed, Rentisi said, "We always tell our Palestinian people the
truth and we don't fear anything. We told the facts after the Cairo meeting
and we said there was no agreement to end martyr operations -- not for a
month and not for three months and not even for three seconds. This
operation was a natural response to the crimes of the Israeli occupation
that are committed against the Palestinian people."
Rentisi also tried to take credit for the Jihad operation in December in
which 12 Israelis, most of them soldiers, were killed. He said the operation
was planned by Hamas and Jihad later joined the operation. "We are not
diminishing their role," Rentisi said. "At the same time, we won't diminish
our own role. We launched the attack and after a quarter of an hour the
Jihad group entered the battle and were martyred. These are the facts."
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