During the current fighting for dominance between Hamas and Fatah forces in Gaza, Hamas forces have seized the previously Fatah-controlled Preventive Security Service headquarters in Gaza. Hamas television broadcasts from inside building displayed Israeli weapons previously transferred by Israel to Fatah as part of efforts to bolster Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah forces. The weapons shown included jeeps, mortar shells and bulletproof vests. The Hamas members took over vehicles and weapons in the compound, which is considered Abbas’ main symbol of authority in Gaza. Hamas gunmen were filmed holding the weapons while a Hamas member declared, “This is the first step in the establishment of the Islamic state … This is Islam’s victory, Allah’s victory, and we pray to Allah for bringing us this victory’ (Yediot Ahronot, June 14, 2007).
Hamas has also reportedly captured 50,000 assault rifles and scores of combat vehicles financed by the United States and supplied by Egypt and Jordan to the PA. A PA security official stated, “I would say that they have most of the weapons and armored vehicles sent by Egypt and Jordan over the last year” ( Middle East Newsline, June 14, 2007).
In November 2006, Israel’s Defense Minister, Amir Peretz, authorized the transfer of 5,000 rifles to Abbas’ Presidential Guard ( Jerusalem Post, November 1, 2006). This followed a similar arms transfer in May 2006 when the Olmert government transferred weapons and ammunition, including 370 assault rifles, to Abbas’ Force 17. Force 17 is a Fatah terrorist group headed by a terrorist on Israel’s most wanted list, Mahmoud Damra, whom Abbas appointed to that position in June 2006.
At the time of the May 2006 arms transfer, a senior member of Force 17 and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, both Fatah terrorist groups, Abu Yousuf revealed in an interview that, “These weapons will not be used in an internal war but against Israelis … The weapons will not be used against our brothers, only [against] Israelis.” Other members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades also confirmed that the weapons transferred by the Olmert government to Abbas in May had been used in two subsequent terrorist attacks which resulted in the death of one Israeli and the wounding of another (World Net Daily, June 15, 2006).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The latest turn of events in Gaza exposes the tragedy of a policy based on strengthening Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah terrorist group. Despite the continuing involvement of Fatah in the terrorist murder of Israelis and the evidence that quickly emerged on previous occasions as to the intended and actual use of these weapons against Israeli men, women and children, Israel and the U.S. have backed Abbas and Fatah. Fatah has ended up using these weapons to murder Israeli Jews, not to stop Palestinian Arab terrorists.
“This policy error mirrors the mistakes committed by the Rabin government early in the Oslo peace process when arms were transferred to Yasser Arafat’s PA which were subsequently turned upon Israeli soldiers and civilians. However, this time it is even less excusable than before because experience has repeatedly shown that Israelis arms given to the PA end up being used against Jews. Now they have fallen into Hamas’ hands. Despite Israeli and American intentions, both countries have ended up becoming arms suppliers of Hamas.
“Meanwhile, Abbas and the PA does absolutely nothing to arrest and jail terrorists and confiscate their weaponry and end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps that feeds terrorism, despite signed commitments to do so under the Oslo agreements.
“Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah are not moderates. Abbas co-founded the terrorist Fatah with Yasser Arafat and was his deputy for 40 years. He funded the Munich massacre. He wrote a Ph.D. thesis and a book denying the Holocaust. As president of the PA, Abbas said ‘it is our duty to implement the principles of Yasser Arafat.’ He refers to terrorists as ‘heroes fighting for freedom.’ He rebuffed President Bush’s call at the 2005 Aqaba summit to accept Israel publicly as a Jewish state. He has declared that neither Fatah nor Hamas need recognize Israel. He approved legislation mandating financial benefits to be paid to families of Palestinian shahids — that is, dead terrorists. It is vital that Israel and the U.S. provide no more arms to any Palestinian group. Whether in Fatah hands or in Hamas hands, such arms will end up being used against Israeli Jews.”
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