Jerusalem, Israel – An Israeli security official said that Hamas is trying to create a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and, therefore, there are recurrent attempts to attack the crossings.
The official said Hamas is trying to create international pressure on Israel by means of a humanitarian crisis. Sources in the security establishment told Israel Radio that, at this stage, there is enough food, water and fuel for at least 80 days.
On the other hand, The United States will continue to deliver humanitarian aid to residents of the Gaza Strip, according to what Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch told Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Welch added that U.S. aid to security agencies of the Palestinian Authority will be confined to training and counseling by the coordinator Dayton. Today, Abbas will confer in Jordan with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on Israeli Public Channel One yesterday that the Egyptian force on the border with the Gaza Strip is not big enough to prevent arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip, and it is Israel that is opposed to its expansion. Interviewed by Israel’s Channel One television, Mubarak rejected Israel’s charges that Cairo is not doing enough to prevent the smuggling. Mubarak said that he needs Israel’s approval for more troops to guard the border. However, the “Philadelphi” road, which guards the Gaza/Egypt crossing, is the size of a city block.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that the arms that Moscow is selling to Syria are not offensive weapons and will not upset the balance of power in the Middle East. Lavrov said the balance which is preserved now in the region is not a guarantee of peace and the best way to ensure peace is through negotiations. Lavrov conferred in Tel Aviv with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and thanked Israel for making it possible for Russian nationals to be evacuated from Gaza.
U.N. Report Calls For Monitors On Porous Syrian-Lebanese Border
An extremely severe report intended for U.N. Security Council members, which reached the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, confirms most of Israel’s allegations on arms smuggling from Syria to Lebanon, and recommends that “international experts” be deployed on the border in order to halt the smuggling.
The members of the committee who authored the report describe the land border between Syria and Lebanon as a paradise for smugglers. Their visits to the “official” border terminals made them wonder out loud about the unbearable ease of smuggling arms into Lebanon. “The smugglers can transfer with relative ease not only explosives, light arms and ammunition, but also heavy weaponry such as missiles and rockets,” stated the report.
The committee members doubt the seriousness of the Lebanese’s assertions that so far they have not caught even a single arms shipment being smuggled over the border. “The lack of such activity is worrying. This raises questions about the honesty of the agencies and the people responsible for border security… illegal decisions on the management of movement across the border are made on the basis of considerations of political favoritism, family ties or traditional corruption.”
Seedy Tapes And The Palestinian Authority
According to the regulations of the Fatah security services, it was important to be careful to destroy any sensitive document or material before it should fall into the hands of Hamas. Now, however, it becomes apparent that not only intelligence material was stored in the headquarters, and in addition to arms and documents, the Hamas militiamen found a real treasure of another kind: Dozens of sex tapes which document the escapades of many senior members of Arafat’s and Abbas’ Fatah leadership.
Most of the tapes document senior Palestinian figures being unfaithful to their wives, and needless to say, such material is considered dynamite in Palestinian society, which is particularly sensitive to moral offenses. The embarrassing tapes, which were filmed covertly, served as a means of blackmail and pressure against various targets, who probably feared the consequences both on the personal level and on the public level. It would appear that the personnel of the security services used the footage to obtain favors and also to recruit agents among political rivals, both within Fatah and within Hamas.
The internal conflicts within Fatah led to a situation where each senior figure tried to collect dirt on his rivals in the organization. This is the reason, for example, that the filmed figures also include a senior minister in one of the Fatah governments. Another victim is a very high-ranking officer in the Palestinian security services, who was apparently filmed by a rival security service.
All the embarrassing tapes are now in the hands of the members of Iz a Din al-Kassam, Hamas’ military wing, and they are watching them with great interest. “Who knows?” said the Hamasnik with clear satisfaction in his voice. “Perhaps one day we will make use of them.”
‘No One Asked Us To Turn In Our Weapons’
Members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ declared military wing, the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, today informed the World Net Daily Bureau Chief Aaron Klein, a Philadelphia native, that they strongly denied claims by Fatah leader Abbas that he asked the Fatah terror group to turn in their weapons, stating officials instead have encouraged them to continue their “resistance” activities.
Indeed, Abbas had pledged during the Monday summit with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert he would immediately dismantle all militias.
Indeed, Abbas deputies have been telling the international media the Al Aksa Brigades agreed to turn in their weapons in exchange for guarantees that Israel not try to arrest or kill them.
“No one from Abbas’ office ever asked us to disarm,” Nasser Abu Aziz, the deputy commander of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the northern West Bank, told Klein. “We will never disarm until all issues are settled, including a complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Jerusalem and the right of return for all Palestinian refugees.”
Moreover, Abu Yousuf, a leader of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades in Ramallah, told Klein that Abbas’ claims that the Brigades will disarm “are more of a message meant for the Israelis, the Americans and the international community.”
Zacharias Zubeidi, leader of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, told Klein that the decree from Abbas’ office for armed groups to be dismantled “has nothing to do with the Brigades. It’s meant for Hamas. Abbas recognizes the Brigades as a legitimate source of resistance.”
The Fatah’s Al Aksa Brigades are listed by the U.S. and Israeli governments as an illegal terrorist organization. Both governments are currently overlooking that categorization, because of their mutual interest in using the Fatah to fight Hamas.