[Middle East Newsline provides this newsworthy piece concerning the operational cooperation between the Fatah and Islamic Jihad. For information as to how to subscribe the the Middle East Newsline, check out www.menewsline.com – DB

The Palestinian Authority and a range of insurgency groups are said to cooperate in the smuggling of weapons and explosives from Egypt.

Israeli military sources said the weekend operation to search and destroy at least 13 tunnels that connect the southern town of Rafah with the neighboring Egyptian-controlled Sinai Peninsula has pointed to cooperation by a range of Palestinian elements. The sources said the elements range from the ruling Fatah Party to Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

The insurgency groups, in cooperation with PA officials, were said to share the expense of constructing and maintaining the tunnels as well as the smuggling of weapons and explosives from Egypt. The military sources said the PA and insurgency groups maintain an arrangement for the division of material that comes from the Egyptian-side of Rafah.

On Tuesday, an Israeli military force returned to Rafah in a search-and-destroy operation for the tunnels. The combined force, which included 40 tanks and armored personnel carrier, was also composed of infantry and engineering units and was expected to operate for several days.

Palestinian groups began smuggling weapons from Egypt before the advent of the PA in 1994. But over the last three years the tunnels have represented a major source of supplies for the production of missiles, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and high-grade explosives. The tunnels were dug from the homes of residents of the Palestinian refugee camp in Rafah to conceal their presence from the Israelis, the sources said. They said PA security officials have been paid a percentage of the profits and don’t interfere in the smuggling.

Israel’s military has found three of 13 tunnels believed to be in operation amid heavy battles with Palestinian insurgents. Ten Palestinians were killed in two days of fighting and they included operatives from Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

One of the casualties was identified as the commander of the Fatah-dominated Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Naadar Abu Taha, age 23. Other Palestinians were injured when they tried to prepare bombs meant to be hurled against Israeli forces.

This piece an on the Middle East News Line on October 14th, 2003


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.