Israel Resource Review 12th September, 2002


U.S. Drug Ring Tied to Aid for Hezbollah
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON, September 2 (AP) Federal investigators say an illegal drug operation in the Midwest, run by men of Middle Eastern descent, funneled proceeds to Middle East terrorist groups like Hezbollah.

Since the ring was smashed eight months ago, there has been "increasing intelligence information from the investigation that for the first time, alleged drug sales in the United States are going in part to support terrorist organizations in the Middle East," said Asa Hutchinson, director of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Officials of the agency said the ring's members, most indicted on drug charges after their arrest in January, had smuggled large quantities of the chemical pseudoephedrine from Canada into the Midwest. Pseudoephedrine, which is used in some popular cold and allergy medications, is an essential ingredient in methamphetamine, a powerful and increasingly popular drug. The authorities say the ring was reselling pseudoephedrine to Mexican-based drug operations in the Western United States that used it to produce methamphetamine.

Officials said that the smuggled pseudoephedrine had been routed through Chicago and Detroit, and that the operation involved several men with ties to Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon and other Middle East countries.

Some of the proceeds from the resale to the Mexican-based traffickers were directed to accounts in the Middle East that the authorities have begun to connect to Hezbollah, officials of the drug agency said. Officials named Lebanon and Yemen as two countries where the money had been traced. They said there was no evidence that any of the money was connected to the September 11 attacks.

Drug agency officials said that while the pseudoephedrine sales had amounted to millions of dollars, they did not know exactly how much of it had been funneled to Hezbollah or other terrorist groups.

"A significant portion of some of the sales are sent to the Middle East to benefit terrorist organizations," Mr. Hutchinson said.

The ring was broken up on January 10 as a result of a sweeping investigation that has smashed several major methamphetamine operations in the last two years. Arrests were made on that day in Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Phoenix and Las Vegas, and in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Fresno and Carlsbad, Calif.

Those raids have resulted in charges against 136 people and the seizure of nearly 36 tons of pseudoephedrine, 179 pounds of methamphetamine, $4.5 million in cash, eight real estate properties and 160 cars used by drug gangs.

The evidence of the terror ties emerged only after the arrests. The authorities said it was possible that some defendants charged with drug violations could face additional charges.

Mr. Hutchinson has been warning for months that illegal drug money provides a compelling opportunity for terrorist groups to siphon support from the United States, but the investigation has provided the first evidence of a direct flow of money.

"The money mechanisms being used to aid terrorism are limited only by your imagination," one senior law enforcement official said. "There is a significant amount of money moved out of the United States attributed to fraud that goes to terrorism."

The early evidence suggests, the official said, that groups including Hamas and Hezbollah benefit far more than does Al Qaeda from money flowing out of the United States. The official spoke only on condition of anonymity, because many of the details, resulting from a grand jury investigation, remain sealed.

Under a law that prohibits providing "material support and resources" to known terrorist organizations, the Bush administration has been stepping up efforts to stem the movement of money and other assets from sympathizers in the United States to foreign terrorist groups.

Federal agents say they have uncovered a broad effort involving legal immigrants or visitors to use credit card thefts, illegal cigarette sales, charitable funds and cash smuggled in airline luggage to enrich anti-American and anti-Israeli terror groups.

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Fatah adopts new strategy - denies approved draft of call to halt attacks
The Jerusalem Times (independent Palestinian weekly)

[With thanks to Aaron Lerner of IMRA for posting the enclosed article]

12 September 2002

The Fatah faction, President Yasser Arafat's movement, denied last Tuesday that it had approved a draft document calling for a halt to attacks on Israeli civilians which was published in full in the Ha'aretz newspaper. According to media reports the draft was achieved during talks with European Union mediators.

West Bank Fatah leader, Hussein al-Sheikh, said his organization had reservations about the draft and explained that the document had not yet been finalized. Sheikh said the statement on a possible cease-fire had been worked out in lengthy talks with the EU but there was as yet no final agreement between the various wings of Fatah.

"We have not agreed on a final status for the statement but negotiations are continuing," he told AFP. "We told the Europeans that we had reservations about the document and we had to finalise internal debate before reaching concensus," he added.

"No date was set for the release of the document" Sheikh said. He said any halt to attacks on Israeli civilians would only be implemented "on the condition that Israel stops its assassinations and its assaults on our lands and people."

Hani el Hassan, Fatah's newly appointed General Secretary in the West Bank and Gaza, said "Fatah will continue its legitimate resistance against Israeli occupation until we achieve our independence." However, we reject attacks against the civilians he added.

The Details of the document, the latest in a series of EU mediated truces drafted over the past few months, was leaked on Tuesday, a day after Arafat said he opposed attacks against civilians. However the document did not express opposition to attacks against Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers living in the lands occupied in the 1967 war -the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Fatah said last month it was opposed to all such attacks in accordance with the higher interests of the Palestinian people and with their moral values. The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed group within Fatah, has attacked Israeli targets since a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation erupted in September 2000. It has rejected previous attempts by moderate Fatah officials to end its attacks.

Palestinian Interior Minister Abdel Razaq al-Yehya, who is in charge of the Palestinian security forces, has publicly called for all Palestinian factions to halt all attacks against Israelis, saying they undermined the Palestinian cause. A Western diplomat said: "This text corresponds to what the majority of Fatah members think, including the Al-Aqsa Martyrs, but it's true that it has been released too early.

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Official PA media call for renewed Attacks Against Israel Only One Day After Arafat's Speech of "Restraint"
Michael Widlanki
Senior Arabic News Media Analyst, The Media Line

Barely one day after Yasser Arafat supposedly called for ending terror attacks on Israeli civilians, his official Palestinian television station broadcast ten minutes of films calling expressly for attacking the Israeli "enemy."

The films which immediately followed the major three o'clock afternoon news show left no doubt as to Palestinian intentions, and they featured footage of Arafat himself and other Palestinian leaders carrying weapons during attacks on Israel. (See accompanying video footage on

"Ya-jamaheer ard-al muhtallah, yallah al-thawra dhid-al'udu "Oh, masses of the occupied land, go forward with the revolution against the enemy."

This verse was repeated tens of times in a song that featured a mixture of celebratory martial music that played over pictures of Palestinian youths throwing burning gasoline bombs, rocks and firing rifles.

Arafat himself and his late aide Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad)--in footage taken more than two decades ago-- were shown carrying weapons and even in the midst attacking Israeli targets.

"Oh masses of the occupied land, give of your blood. Forward our martyrs, forward our suns," sang another verse in the song that was repeated several times.

Arafat has been deliberately offering a mixture of messages--one aimed largely at Western audiences, and one aimed mostly at his own Palestinian constituency.

In his speech in Ramallah Monday (September 9) he only offered some general calls for not attacking 'Israeli civilians inside Israel' while steadfastly refusing to condemn any of the terrorists--Islamic Jihad, HAMAS and his own Fatah organization--that have carried out the attacks.

It appears that Arafat's main message to his own people was a call for unity and an almost plaintive attempt to say "I am still here, alive and kicking."

All the Palestinian newspapers carried front page pictures of Arafat flashing his now-famous "V-for-victory" sign to the crowds.

But there are signs that Arafat's two-tiered public relations approach and his corruption-riddled regime are losing their hold on Palestinians, and not just on Israeli and American critics.

For several days Arafat has held off a vote in the Palestinian legislature because it was likely his cabinet would not have been approved.

Inside his own Fatah movement, there are growing calls for Arafat to step aside, in practical if not symbolic terms, by appointing a prime minister. Fatah's Central Committee urged Arafat three weeks ago to name Mahmoud Abbas (known widely by his nickname Abu Mazen) as prime minister, but Arafat has so far refused to do so. Even Arafat's own Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda newspaper published a cartoon several weeks ago showing a tombstone over the Palestinian legislature--as if to say that it was being railroaded by the high-handed tactics of Arafat. Such a cartoon would have been unthinkable a year ago.

"We reserve the right to fight against the occupation and to defend ourselves," declared Hussein al-Sheikh, a leader of the Fatah Tanzeem militia in the West Bank only a few hours after Arafat's speech. It was the kind of bold comment that he perhaps would not have made even one year ago.

"We need an election law that strengthen the parties and not the families," said another Fatah member, Kadoura Farress, and his comment was also testimony that blind faith in Arafat had ended.

However, the dismay with Arafat does not mean that the Palestinian community as a whole is now ready to admit that it has lost the two-year-long war of attrition and terror waged against Israel.

Polls inside the Palestinian community show that "al-muqawama"--the resistance--is still very popular.

Even as Arafat has sent messages to the Israeli media and to Western European diplomats insisting that his Fatah units are ready to end attacks on Israeli civilians, Arafat has been working hard to show his Palestinian supporters that he will not surrender to Israel.

At least 25 Palestinian gunmen, bombers and terror planners have holed up in Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah, according to a report released yesterday by Israeli security officials.

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Palestinian Schools Praise Suicide Bombers

IDF Spokesperson, 9th September 2002

In the course of routine activity in Ramallah, an IDF documentation team entered classrooms in local Palestinian schools and took photographs that illustrate the incitement against Israel taught to Palestinian school children. Such incitement is common in Palestinian educational institutions. The operation was coordinated with local authorities.

In the schools they visited-some of them under the auspices of the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA)-the team found prominently displayed posters glorifying suicide attacks, armed struggle, and leaders of the terrorist wing of Hamas.

Following are photographs taken in classrooms:

Place: Alamari refugee camp, Ramallah
School: Albira Aljadida
Parent organization: UNRWA

Poster praising leaders of the Hamas terrorist wing killed over the last few years. The leaders featured on the poster include A'adel Awadallah, Imad Awadallah, Mukhi Adin Sharif, Mahmud Madani, Yekhiyeh Ayash, and Imad Akal. The terrorists pictured were responsible for dispatching suicide bombers and the murder of dozens of Israelis.

Place: Ramallah
School: Alhashimia
Palestinian Authority

Poster hanging inside the school. The poster praises terrorist Tzi Altwil, perpetrator of a suicide attack on a passenger bus in Jerusalem early in 2001.

Place: Alamari refugee camp, Ramallah
School: Albira Aljadida
Parent organization: UNRWA

Drawing displayed on a schoolroom wall. The drawing shows historical Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea next to a picture of the Temple Mount. The drawing is entitled "Our Palestine."

Alamari refugee camp, Ramallah
Albira Aljadida
Parent organization: UNRWA

Posters displayed in a classroom. The posters praise suicide terrorists.

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Go to the Israel Resource Review homepage

The Israel Resource Review is brought to you by the Israel Resource, a media firm based at the Bet Agron Press Center in Jerusalem, and the Gaza Media Center under the juristdiction of the Palestine Authority.
You can contact us on