Sunday, October 3, 2010

Will Abbas, Too, Order Hamas to Carry Out Terror Strikes?

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Former Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, who won the Nobel Peace prize, fooled all of the people all of the time.

Mahmoud Zahar, a prominent Hamas leader, has just revealed that Yasser Arafat, when he failed to get what he wanted at the negotiating table, instructed Hamas to launch terror attacks in the heart of Israel. Hamas obviously took Arafat's orders seriously, waging an unprecedented campaign of suicide booming and terror attacks that killed and injured thousands of Jews and Arabs.

When Arafat reportedly unleashed Hamas's terrorists against Israel, both he and the Palestinian Authority were still on the payroll of the international community, first and foremost the Americans and Europeans.

Arafat pretended back then that he was doing his utmost to stop the terror attacks that were launched not only by Hamas, but also by members of his own ruling Fatah faction. It now appears - from what Zahar has to say - that Arafat was bluntly lying to Israel and the Western donors.

What is interesting is that Zahar's revelations about Arafat's role in the terror campaign come at a time when the Palestinian and Hamas have resumed efforts to end their differences and achieve "national unity."

Does this rapprochement mean that Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas, is planning to use Hamas again against Israel if the Palestinians don't get all what they want through direct and indirect talks? Some of the Palestinians who are negotiating with Israel these days were very close to Arafat back then; it is highly likely that they knew about his instructions to Hamas. Nabil Sha'ath, Saeb Erekat and Yasser Abed Rabbo were among Arafat's inner circle of advisors and confidants.

Zahar made this revelation during a lecture at the Islamic University in Gaza City marking the 10th anniversary of the second intifada, which erupted in September 2000, a few weeks after the failure of the Camp David summit.

This is the first time that a Hamas leader openly admits that his movement carried out terror attacks against Israel on instructions from the Palestinian Authority leader. Arafat is believed to have issued the orders to Hamas after the botched Camp David summit, which was hosted by President Bill Clinton.

Sadly, some Israelis, Americans and Europeans refused back then to open their eyes to the reality - that Arafat was fooling them. They even turned a blind eye when it was revealed back then that Arafat was funding the armed wing of Fatah, the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, whose members carried out dozens of terror attacks in the past 10 years.

Arafat was a leader who led his people from one disaster to another. Because of him, thousands of Palestinians were massacred by the Jordanians in the early 1970s. He also played a role in the Lebanon Civil War that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people.

By ordering Hamas to carry out "military operations" against Israel after the failure of the Camp David summit, Arafat brought disaster not only on Israel, but on his own people. More than 5,500 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis were killed in the attacks which Zahar says were ordered by Arafat.

Finally, it remains to be seen what the Noble [sic] Prize Committee has to say about the Hamas leader's confession. In addition, those who back then staunchly defended Arafat as a "peace partner" owe the victims of the terror attacks and their families an apology.

Khaled Abu Toameh

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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