Jerusalem – Two convicted Arab terrorists today will receive the Jerusalem Medal Award, the highest decoration in the Palestinian Authority (PA), which is bestowed by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, described as a “moderate” by President Bush and the three leading U.S. presidential candidates.
“These women were chosen because they were sentenced to long jail terms and suffer in Israeli prison,” a high-ranking PA official said. “This act is meant to raise their morale, to honor them.”
The honorees, Amana Muna and Ahlam Tamimi, are serving life sentences for multiple murders.
The former is known to the public as “the terrorist temptress,” responsible for the June 2001 kidnap and murder of a 16-year-old boy, Ofir Rahum. She lured Mr. Rahum to Ramallah, had him shot and killed, and then had his body mutilated.
The latter drove an Arab terrorist to the Sbarro restaurant in downtown Jerusalem in August 2001, where he blew himself up, killing 16 people, including four small children.
In 2006, The Bulletin interviewed Ms. Tamimi, in jail, about the killing and asked if she had any regrets. She said no, except that she was sorry that the Arab who had “accomplished the great deed” was killed.
The medals in their honor will be awarded in a ceremony marking Palestinian Prisoners’ Day that will take place courtyard of Mr. Abbas’ headquarters in Ramallah. The killers’ families have been invited to attend the ceremony.
Mr. Abbas himself, who is holding meetings abroad, will not be in attendance. However, Palestinian officials said that the PA chairman, who in the past declared his vehement opposition to terror attacks, personally approved the citations.
The U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv would not comment as to whether the U.S. government will ask Mr. Abbas to cancel the ceremony.
Iran Trains Thousands Of Hezbollah Fighters
The Middle East Newsline has confirmed that Iran has significantly increased its training of Hezbollah.
Tehran has been training thousands of Hezbollah fighters in camps throughout Iran. The sources said the training was part of the lessons drawn from the 34-day Hezbollah war with Israel in mid-2006.
“Until less than two years ago, Iran only trained the elite of Hezbollah,” an intelligence source said. “Now, Iran is training every Hezbollah combat unit.”
Over 4,000 Hezbollah fighters per year are being trained in Iran. This intensified training effort commenced in November 2006 and stipulated that at least 300 operatives per month fly from Beirut to Tehran.
The sources said the Hezbollah fighters were trained in combat skills, night-vision, rocket and anti-tank fire as well as reconnaissance. In March 2008, more than 20 Hezbollah cadets were killed during a live-fire exercise in Iran. It was not clear how the Hezbollah fighters died.
“The training in Iran lies at the heart of our connections with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard,” Mohammed Ali Husseini, director-general of the Islamic Union in Lebanon, said. “This is known to all Lebanese people.”
On April 14, a senior Hezbollah commander warned of an attack on Israel. The unidentified commander told Syria’s Al Haqiqa magazine that Hezbollah would launch an offensive from the Gaza Strip and West Bank in case of a war in Lebanon.
“We would not initiate war, but in case they wage any war in the future,” the commander was quoted as saying, “there will be a counter-attack behind the front lines and for the first time since 1948 in Palestine itself.”
Hamas Uses UNRWA Facilities For Rocket Production
The Middle East Newsline has also confirmed that the Hamas regime in Gaza continues to use a UNRWA Palestinian Arab refugee camp for missile and rocket production. The Hamas regime as well as aligned militias have maintained missile and explosives production at the UNRWA Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.
Weapons production in the Jabalya camp resumed after a major Israeli operation that destroyed scores of suspected weapons facilities in March 2008.
“Some production has been affected,” a source said. “But the Israelis missed out on the majority of weapons workshops.”
On Sunday, a Palestinian was killed and two others were seriously injured in Jabalya. The home of Noureddin Ahmed Al Mutawaq was damaged by a series of explosions followed by a fire. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights determined that the explosions were the result of bomb production.
In 2007, Hamas was said to have significantly increased production of the Kassam-class missile. The sources said the Islamic regime was capable of manufacturing at least 100 short-range Kassam missiles at workshops in Jabalya, Bureij and other UNRWA refugee camps in the Gaza Strip.
The U.S. government contributes 32 percent of the UNRWA budget. U.S. law forbids the transfer of foreign aid funds to any humanitarian facility that is involved in weapons production.
Congressmen Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Ileana Ros-Leitin (R-Fla.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) have raised this issue in regards to UNRWA’s allowance of their facilities to be used as training grounds for terrorists.
Iran, Saudi Arabia Prepare For Security Cooperation
At a time when the U.S. administration considers major arms deals for Saudi Arabia, Iran and Saudi Arabia prepare for high-level security cooperation talks. Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Ali Akbar Mohtaj said a Saudi security delegation was scheduled to arrive in Tehran. Mr. Mohtaj said the Saudi delegation would arrive for cooperation talks “very soon.” Saudi-Iranian security talks are planned in Tehran in May.
Iran has long wooed Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council states to agree to military and security cooperation.
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008