Israel Resource Review 12th January, 2007


US Sec'y of State Rice Launches Initiative for Immediate Arms and Recognition of Palestinian State.- Skipping Over Requirement for Abbas to Disband Terror Groups
David Bedein

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is promoting a new initiative to establish a temporary, sovereign and armed Palestinian state Rice will try to promote her initiative soon through extensive international shuttle diplomacy, which will include Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf states. Her journey is to begin on Sunday, and she is expected to arrive in Jerusalem on Monday.

Rice's initiative will circumvent the first step of the Middle East Road map that she herself pioneered in May, 2003, which was that the leaders of the Palestinian Authority must first disband and disarm all Palestinian terrorist groups - some of which remain under the command and loyalty to Machmud Abba, AKA Abu Mazen.

The Rice initiative was discussed on Wednesday at a meeting between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah II of Jordan, which took place in Cairo

Meanwhile, over the past few weeks, the United States has provided 7,000 assault rifles and more than 1 million rounds of ammunition to militias associated with the Fatah, which is commanded by Palestinian Authority president Machmud Abbas, even though the armed wing of the Fatah , the Al Aksa Brigades, is defined by US law as an FTO - a Foreign terror organization. the Bush administration will provide $86.4 million to strengthen security forces loyal to Abbas, including Force 17, Abbas' security detail, which also serves as de facto police units in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

The US rationale in providing arms to Fatah is to aid the Fatah in its rivalry with Hamas, also defined by US law as an FTO. U.S. government officials confirmed the financial aid is set to be transferred to Fatah.

The American government expectation remains that a multi-million-dollar grant will be used to "assist the Palestinian Authority presidency in fulfilling PA commitments under the Road Map (peace plan) to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism and establish law and order in the West Bank and Gaza," a U.S. government document

However, Abu Yousuf, one of the commanders of Fatah's "Force 17" armed force, forces, told Philadelphia journalist Aaron Klein, bureau chief of the World Net Daily on line news service, that while some of the weapons may be used in confrontations against Hamas, the bulk of the American arms would be utilized to "hit the Zionists." Some members of Force 17 also are openly members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades,

Abu Yousuf declared that there is a major conflict with Israel, U.S. weapons provided to Fatah may be shared with other "Palestinian resistance organizations."

Abu Yousuf said some of the U.S. weapons his group received would be used against Hamas.

"The first place of these U.S. weapons will be to defend the Palestinian national project, which is reflected by the foundation of the Palestinian Authority. If Hamas or any other group under the influence of Iran and Syria wants to make a coup de tat against our institution, these weapons are there to defend PA," said Abu Yousuf.

"We don't want to go to civil war with Hamas, because this is what both the U.S. and Israel want. This is our last option. We hope our brothers in Hamas won't oblige us to find ourselves in confrontation," Abu Yousuf said.

But the Fatah militant said the new American weapons may also be used to target Israelis.

He admitted previous American arms supplied to Fatah were used in "resistance operations" against the Jewish state.

"If Israel will deliver what it promised to Abu Mazen (Abbas), [meaning a] withdrawal from Palestinian lands, including east Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, remove all the checkpoints in the West Bank, release our prisoners, and find a clear solution for our refugees, we'll control our forces and the distribution of weapons

"But if Israel doesn't deliver, and we find ourselves manipulated by Israel, we cannot guarantee members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Force 17 will not use these weapons against Israel. Our goal is to change the occupation," said Abu Yousuf.

" Its unnatural to think these American weapons won't be used against the Israelis," he said.

The Al Aka Brigades, together with Islamic Jihad, has taken responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel the past two years, including an attack in Tel Aviv in April that killed American teenager Daniel Wultz and nine Israelis. The Brigades also has carried out scores of deadly shooting and rocket attacks against Israeli civilians in recent months.

All Brigades leaders are also members of Fatah. Abbas last June appointed senior Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades leader Mahmoud Damra as commander of Force 17. Damra, who was arrested by Israel in November, was on the Jewish state's most-wanted list of terrorists.

A senior member of the Israeli Knesset parliament, Tzachi Hanegbi, the chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee of the Knesset, says that he successfully implored the Israeli defense establishment to arrest Damra.

Abu Yousuf said the American weapons shipments may be shared with other Palestinian terror groups. He said that during large confrontations with Israel, such as the Jewish state's 2002 anti-terror raid in Jenin, Fatah distributed weapons to Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

There are precedents for Hamas - Fatah cooperation in sharing military equipment, from the earliest days of the Oslo process.

In May 1995, the commanders of the Fatah formally announced to the VOICE OF PALESTINE radio news of the Palestinian Authority that the Fatah would license and distribute arms belonging to the Hamas. The Palestinian Minister of Justice at the time, Friej Abu Medein, declared that his understanding was that the Hamas would "leave their weapons at home"

In October 2000, Fatah general secretary Marwan Bargouti organized a joint military command with all Palestinian factions, in order to carry out attacks against Israel.

Bargouti is currently serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison for murdering 13 Israelis in five attacks where it was proven that Bargouti gave orders to conduct acts of premeditated murder. .

Menawhile, Hamas' spokesman Abu Abdullah declared to World Net Daily that U.S. weapons to Fatah would eventually fall into the hands of Hamas:

"These American weapons will be one day the property of all the Palestinian people and its resistance, including Hamas," Abu Abdullah said. "The U.S. gives weapons to Fatah during internal Palestinian clashes, but one day when we go back to carrying out operations together, these [weapons] will be shared."

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