The cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas and Jihad, was not limited to the maintenance of a dialogue between them. The Israeli security establishment knows about dozens of Hamas activists who have been enlisted in Jibril Rajoub’s organization, and dozens of Fatah activists who have begun operating within Hamas and Jihad, while being involved in attacks. Senior Palestinian officials claim that Hamas and Jihad are receiving massive aid from many elements in the Palestinian security establishment. The Israeli government knew about this, but preferred to cover up the information and try to resume the negotiations with Arafat — until the attack.
Less than two weeks ago, the Prime Minister’s Bureau — through the Government Press Office — issued a booklet entitled: “Six Months Since The Signing — Israeli and Palestinian Compliance With The Hebron Accord: A Comprehensive Assessment.”
Over 31 pages, the prime minister’s Information Dept., headed by David Bar-Illan, detailed a litany of the most severe actions which the Palestinian Authority — in its words — has undertaken. “The PA has violated most of the fundamental security provisions of the agreement,” the Prime Minister’s Bureau determined, oganizing riots in Hebron, enlisting four times as many police officers than is allowed by the Agreement, paying those who attack Israeli soldiers, etc.
The report specially stressed the Palestinian Authority’s, “avoidance of a war on terrorism:” by active incitement, avoiing struggling against the terrorist organizations, and cooperating with senior Hams and Jihad officials. To lend credence to these claims, the report pointed to the failur to try terrorists and the release from prison of senor Islamic Jihad officials — such as Muhammad Hawaja and Nabil Sharihi, who took pat in the Beit Lid (January 1995) and Kfar Darom ( April 1995) attacks. It also pointed to the fact that today, more than 150 Hamas and Islamic Jihad members are serving in the ranks of the Palestinian security services. Several days before the Israeli report was issued, senior officials in Jibril Rajoub’s organization distributed a pamphlet in Jerusalem. The pamphlet was from Fatah, Arafat’s organization, and it called for, “the revival of the intifada in Jerusalem,” attacks on mobile Israeli targets, and for, “a fire to be lit under the feet of the Zionist occupiers.” This pamphlet was not mentioned at all in the list of severe violations published by Israel.
The contacts and the secret agreements between the top Hamas leadership, Jihad and the Palestinian Authority, are not a new phenomenon. They were formulated during Mr. Peres’ and the late Mr. Rabin’s tenures as prime minister. However, this cooperation became especially close in the past year. Channels of dialogue and cooperation were opened between the Authority and these organizations. Thus, for example, an important channel was created between Abdallah Abu Samhadaneh, the governor of Khan Younis, and Hamas’ Sheikh Bahker, through the direct involvement of Yasser Arafat. Through this channel and others, it as promised to Hamas and Jihad personnel that their people would be released, and it was made clear to them what had also been emphasized before the attacks in February and March of last year: you can operate against Israel — but not from Palestinian Authority territory, and not in a way which leads directly to it.
The cooperation was not exhausted thereby. The security establishment knows about dozens of Hamas activists who have been enlisted in Jibril Rajoub’s organization in the first half of the year. It is also known that at least dozens of Fatah activists have begun to act inside Hamas and Islamic Jihad, while being deeply involved in attacks. Senior Palestinian officials claim that Hamas and Jihad are receiving massive aid from many elements from within the Palestinian administration and security services, including giving material and logistical support.
And there is, of course, the case of the gang of police officers and the involvement of senior Authority officials in it. The security establishment — and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — know very well that Palestinian police commander Razi Jebali did not operate the gang on his own accord, but received an order from Arafat. Various security officials passed such an assessment on to Netanyahu — but the Prime Minister preferred to cover up this information and try to resume the negotiations with Arafat.
And thus, despite the fact that the government claimed that General Razi Jebali’s VIP card had been cancelled, no order was give to the IDF to do this. At the same time, Netanyahu foiled several attempts by people in Washington, such as terrorism Yigal Carmon, to bring about the cessation of American aid to the Palestinian Authority.
In the last half year, Hamas and Jihad personnel have become the darlings of the Palestinian regime. Every deceased member of theirs receives a state funeral, accompanied by an honor guard, and is declared a martyr. The Palestinian leadership has begun to participate more and more in Hamas and Jihad events, and to legitimize the messages expressed at them.
Such was the case three weeks ago at the main square in Nablus, when 20,000 people attended the weddings of 15 couples, sponsored by Hamas. The initiator of the event, and the main speaker, was Sheikh Hamed Bitawi, a member of the top Hamas leadership and, “Chairman of Palestine Council of Sages,” an appointment he received from Arafat. Sitting on the stage were Nablus Governor Mahmoud Al-Alloul and Mayor Rassan A-Shak’a. Opposite them, the crowd shouted, “Iz E-Din Al-Kassam,” and Bitawi declared: “As the Israeli flag was burned, so Israel shall burn.”
Many uniformed Palestinian policemen were seen in the crowd, who shouted anti-Israeli slogans along with everyone. The couples received financing from the Palestinian welfare Ministry, headed by Umm Jihad.
The cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and the extremist Islamic organizations exists in an intentional anti-Israeli atmosphere, crystallized over the last six months by the PA. Only one month ago, the daily incitement being broadcast by the PA’s “Voice of Palestine” was revealed. The campaign of anti-Israel libels in the official Palestinian press — the libido gum, prostitutes with AIDS and the distribution of spoiled food by the GSS — was mentioned here.
On Wednesday, after the attack, security establishment spokesmen began to reveal the severe letters which they had sent to the top PA leadership in the wake of this campaign of incitement. Only on Wednesday, was it decided — for the first time — to jam Radio Palestine’s broadcasts. It was then decided to issue an arrest warrant against Razi Jebali and work to halt the American assistance to the Palestinian Authority.