A recently compiled intelligence report submitted to the government lists 21 prominent Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists as currently serving in the Palestinian security forces.
Six of the terrorists played central roles in the suicide bombings in Jerusalem, Ashkelon, and Tel Aviv during February-March 1996, in which some 60 people were killed. Another three of the terrorists appearing on the list served in the past as aides to the wanted terrorist Mohammed Dief. The list also includes four terrorists convicted by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and sentenced to terms of two to 12 years in jail. Instead of serving their sentences, the four were enlisted by the Palestinian security forces.
Israel has already submitted extradition requests to the PA for five of the men on the list. However, the PA refuses to extradite them, just as it turned down 31 other extradition requests.
The six terrorists involved in planning suicide attacks who are now serving in the Palestinian security forces are:
- Adnan al-Gol – senior operations officer in the Hamas, who underwent military training in Syria and Jordan. He prepared the Dizengoff Center bomb, escaped custody in June 1996, surrendered himself to the PA and joined the Palestinian security forces in December 1997. In March 1998 he was detained on suspected links to a grenade factory but returned to serve in the PA forces.
- Kamal Khalifa – helped plan attacks in Jerusalem and Ashkelon, and was later drafted into the Preventive Security Service.
- Yasser Yusef Mustafa Khasin – who took part in the attacks in Jerusalem and Ashkelon, today serves in the “Special Office,” a small bureau without defined areas of responsibility which is subordinate to the PA’s Preventive Security Service.
- Bassam Issa – among other things, he trained the unit from eastern Jerusalem that helped Hassan Salameh carry out the February-March 1996 attacks. He was drafted to serve in the Preventive Security Service.
- Mahmad Sanwar – involved in preparing suicide attacks at the beginning of 1996, after which he was drafted into the Preventive Security Service.
- Sufian Abu Jadian – took part in the murder of Ilan Sudry and was enlisted by the PA’s Military Intelligence.
Abd al-Fatah Sitri, Salaam Abu Maarouf and Abd al-Khader Amar served as deputies of Muhammad Dief and were drafted to serve in the Preventive Security Service. Yusuf Malhi and Osama Abu Taha, involved in lethal attacks against Israelis and both sentenced to 12 years in prison by the Palestinian Authority, were released and now serve in the “Special Office”.
The five terrorists whose extradition has been requested by Israel are: Atef Hamadan, Yusuf Malhi, Raid Bashiti (who took part in the murder of two Israeli workmen at a construction site in Ramle), Bassam Issa and Imad Abbas.
Intelligence Report: Palestinian Authority Has Some 400 Weapons Obtained in Violation of the Agreement With Israel (article by Nadav Shragai, Ha’aretz, July 7, 1998)
An intelligence report presented to the government in the past few days contains a long list of security violations of the Oslo Accords by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Among other things, the document states that “there is an ongoing and deliberate effort by officials of the PA’s security forces to smuggle weapons in to areas under its control with the aim of increasing the quantity and improving the quality of weapons at their disposal, including attempts to obtain anti-tank missiles.”
The report also states that despite the Palestinian Authority’s obligation under the Interim Agreement to confiscate illegal arms and license weapons in the hands of civilians in coordination with Israel, nothing has been done in this regard. “There are cases in which the Palestinian Authority has issued licenses unilaterally, and it is known that the Palestinian police continues to hold onto Israeli weapons despite requests to return them to the Israeli Army_ the Palestinian security forces have several hundred weapons of different types whose delivery to Palestinian-controlled areas was not coordinated with Israel nor approved by it as the agreement requires. According to our information, this is true of some 400 weapons, the source of which is smuggling from abroad, purchase from criminal elements within Israel or collection from opposition sources.”
The intelligence report also states that the size of the Palestinian police continues to exceed the agreed-upon limit. “Thus far, Israel has approved some 18,600 Palestinian policemen, but thousands more are operating in the field – apparently double the number approved by Israel.”
The report notes that armed bodyguards of Palestinians with VIP passes have entered Israel without the requisite Israeli gun license, in part because of lax Israeli enforcement. The Palestinian Authority, the report says, continues to arrest and interrogate holders of Israeli identity cards. “There are numerous such instances every month, and at times the detention is for long periods. There are cases of detention for up to two months, and in exceptional cases, for even longer. Detainees report being subjected to physical violence and humiliating treatment. In general, the Palestinian police do not hurry to answer Israeli requests to free detainees, as the accord requires.”
The report states that “the PA has refrained from initiating or taking comprehensive action against the terrorist infrastructure. They have failed to respond to Israel’s repeated requests to initiate thorough action against the infrastructure of the Islamic opposition organizations and they have refused to exert the necessary efforts to locate senior terrorists. The PA has closed Hamas institutions only for appearances’ sake. Thus, for example, there are currently 16 Hamas institutions which have been formally “closed” since September 1997, but there is evidence that regular activity takes place in at least some of them.”
“Around the time of Ramadan, (January-February 1998), there was a growing tendency in the PA to release prisoners. The PA also released Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists who were involved in attacks against Israelis. After complaints by Israel and the United States, this trend slowed somewhat.”