Israel has uncovered documents in recent days that irrefutably link Yasser Arafat with acts of terror being committed by the Fatah Tanzeem militia and by other terror organizations.

Other documents strongly suggest that Arafat and his lieutenants had been planning the current war of attrition (called “Infitada” by them) well before September 2000-perhaps as early as late 1995–and that they had no intention of reaching a peaceful compromise settlement with Israel.

“These documents–many of them signed by Arafat–are more than a smoking gun. They are a smoking pen–a pen dripping blood–held by Arafat,” declared Uzi Landau, Israel’s Minister of Public Security, who made the documents available to the A.P.

The documents were part of the archives containing tens of thousands of papers kept at “Orient House” a set of buildings owned by Feisal Husseini, Yasser Arafat’s personal representative in Jerusalem (until his death late last year), and the Palestinian Authority’s headquarters in the Israeli capital.

The buildings were closed down by order of Security Minister Landau, with the backing of the Israeli courts, because the Palestinian Authority is not allowed to maintain national institutions under terms of treaties signed with Israel.

Additional documents in the archives seized by Israeli authorities reveal close links between Arafat (and the institutions he controls) and Islamic terror groups such as HAMAS and the Holy Land Foundation (connected to Al-Qaeda).

The documents also show that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has a strong relationship with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and was glad to receive special monetary aid derived from Iraqi oil revenues made under special arrangement with the U.N.

Among the notable finds amid the thousands of documents are:

  • signed orders by Arafat to pay Tanzeem members who were known hit-men;
  • signed reports on terror activities, asking for more budgetary disbursements, directed to the man who was Arafat’s personal representative in Jerusalem-Feisal Husseini;
  • and signed orders by Arafat to give official officers’ commissions in the Palestinian Army to members of the Tanzeem militia, which is an un-uniformed army that is illegal under international law.

“Arafat denied involvement in the arms shipments of the ‘Karinne A’, but he cannot deny these documents that show he and his top aides planned and financed acts of terror,” declared Dr. Landau.

The documents may serve to put an end to the question whether Arafat controls the Tanzeem or is being controlled by it.

In addition, the archival material contains many handwritten notes and letters as well as typewritten articles and essays signed by leading Palestinians such as Arafat himself, Husseini and Tanzeem leader Marwan Barghouti.

The material suggests very strongly, among other things, that:

  • The Tanzeem is an integral part of the Palestinian Authority’s military branches, and its men operate essentially as an un-uniformed army, contrary to international law;
  • Yasser Arafat has formal and practical control of the Tanzeem, contrary to analyses that have contended that Tanzeeem is independent of Arafat’s control;
  • And Marwan Barghouthi regularly reports to Yasser Arafat even on seemingly minute details of his organization’s operations-even the appointment and rank of a mid-to-high-level officer;

One of the most telling revelations of the documents is that the broadly accepted view that Arafat “leaves the details to others” is completely incorrect.

In fact, the documents repeatedly show that Arafat is in day-to-day control of the details of all his organizations, relaying the information for comment to the senior members of his military branches-for example, to Generals Haj Ismail, Abdel-Razek Mujaida and Haj Mutlik (who handles military salaries for the PA).

Detailed coverage of the Orient House documents, including photographs of them and background material, is available at the Media Line website.

© 2002 Michael Widlanski, The Media Line, .

Michael Widlanski is senior analyst at The Media Line and lecturer at The Rothberg School of the Hebrew University. Fuller versions of his articles are available at the Media Line webside .