A Digest of debkafile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending August 4, 2005

The Palestinian four-bullet trick as a ruse to get APCs


30 July: debkafile‘s military sources report: The plan drawn up by Abu Mazen’s men to guard the Israeli evacuation in 17 days from Palestinian fire looks fine on paper. But time has run out for putting it into practice.

Furthermore the Palestinians and the international coordinator James Wolfensohn have not come to any arrangement for clearing bulldozed Israel buildings – notwithstanding Palestinian claims. They have only got as far deciding to meet again in a few days.

What was behind the Palestinians’ ludicrous claim that they cannot fight terror because their officers have no more than 4 bullets each? They tried it on the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice when she was in Ramallah last Saturday, July 23. How can we fight terrorists, Abu Mazen and his interior minister Yousef Nasser asked her when Israel won’t let us have ammunition?

Although it is common knowledge that Palestinian stores are bursting with enough ammo and guns for a full-scale war and their towns and villages are awash with every kind of weapon, Rice demanded that Israel immediately rectify the Palestinians’ sorry situation. Prime minister Ariel Sharon and defense minister Shaul Mofaz made no effort to put the angry secretary right – just to appease her.

But when American and Israeli officials asked the Palestinians to list their requirements, they were surprised at the answer. Forget the bullets, they were told. What we really need are armored personnel carriers.

In other words, Palestinian officers aspire to upgrade their chaotic security services into an armored force, without bothering to go through the process of disentangling them from – let alone cracking down on – terrorist groups.

Instead of types of bullets, the American and Israelis were given a wish list for assault APCs capable of attacking army oppositions, transporting troops, combat engineering and riot dispersal with water canons.

debkafile‘s military sources report that last week Palestinian forces in the Gaza Strip quietly took delivery of 4 British APCS capable of attacking military positions, knocking over roadblocks and clearing mines. The Palestinians now demand permission to import 300 BTR carriers, gifts from Russia and China, due soon to reach Gaza and Ramallah. So far, Israel has said no. But the Sharon government may well relent if Rice steps in again.


Palestinians raise fresh demand: to station armed troops around the fences and gates of each of the 21 Gush Katif communities 100 hours before their evacuation


31 July: Before taking off for Cairo on July 31, Abu Mazen left three fresh Palestinian demands..

1. Armed Palestinian forces must take up position around Gush Katif 100 hours before Israel troops move in for the evacuation. Israel’s pullback would thus take place under Palestinian guns.

2. Armed Palestinians will take up position at the fences of each of the 21 locations slated for evacuation to guard against shooting attacks, looting and robberies.

3. Because the Palestinian Authority lacks the troops to execute its plan, its heads want the withdrawal to be staged and coordinated. They demand advance notice of Israel forces’ progress from one locality to the next so as to move alongside.

debkafile‘s military sources report that Israel’s high command is flatly opposed to meeting these demands for four reasons:

a. Prior notice to the Palestinian Authority of the exact timetable for the evacuations will be transmitted in no time to Gaza Strip terrorists and give them 100 hours to prepare attacks.

b. There is no question of the Israeli pull-back taking place under Palestinian auspices. The presence of armed Palestinian forces in the middle of the ultra-sensitive pull-back operation will inject a seriously destabilizing element. Some overexcited evacuee may open fire setting the whole scene ablaze and bringing the withdrawals to a halt.

c. A Palestinian force dogging Israel units will be an encumbrance and break up the evacuation into stages. The IDF does not need this extra headache.


In new fatwa marking Israel’s pull-back, senior Egyptian imam Tantawi rules: no Muslim fighter who blows himself up may be declared a martyr or reach Paradise – unless he fights in Palestine.


1 August: Sheikh Said Tantawi of the Azhar religious center is Egypt’s senior religious authority and a close associate of president Hosni Mubarak. debkafile‘s military sources reveal that the new radical Islamic decree issued by an influential Egyptian figure to justify Palestinian terror shocked Israel’s high command.

Our sources affirm that nothing was finalized in Maj-Gen. Amos Gilead’s talks in Cairo Monday, August 1, for Egyptian border police to be deployed on the Philadelphi strip in place of Israel units. Cairo is still trying to use Israel’s disengagement from Gaza as a lever to bring its troops close up to the Egyptian-Israel border on other sectors too.


Al Qaeda’s New Publication: “The Jews” Are Unworthy of the Promised Land


31 July: A five-page essay appearing under the transparent alias of Abu Zubeida al-Baghdadi in al Qaeda’s new publication is titled: How should Islam relate to the Jews? debkafile‘s Islamist experts have translated passages from this article as it appeared in the Tip of the Camel’s Hump:

Stage One: Allah seeks to lead them to the path of faith and victory and therefore urges them to conquer the Land of Israel [acknowledging that Allah caused the Jews to return to and conquer the Land of Israel]. But the Jewish people’s shoulders are too feeble to carry the heavy burden; the Jews always aspire to victory, but they are not willing to devote the necessary effort, sacrifice or sweat to achieve this end.

The Jews learned and must still learn, says al Baghdadi, that there is no victory without sacrifice.

Stage Two: Throughout the generations it transpired that Jews, unlike Muslims, do not fear Allah and are incapable of understanding that the world’s moving force is fear of Allah, not of people. For example, they are even more afraid to fight for the Promised Land than they are of God. For this reason, says the al Qaeda essayist, the Jewish people does not find it hard to break the covenant between God and Abram, which awarded the Land of Israel to the Jewish people for all generations. [Ed.The writer is referring to Brith Habetarim, Genesis 15: 18. In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.]

That is why Allah has despaired of the Jews, in the view of the al Qaeda essayist. Therefore the time has come to get rid of them Jews, because that is Allah’s wish.


Al Qaeda’s Appearance in Gaza is a Dangerous New Terrorist Manifestation


1 August: Tuesday, August 2, Al Qaeda claimed the establishment of a Gaza branch called “Al Qaeda-Palestine, Jihad Brigades in the Border Land.” (This is an al Qaeda locution meaning warfront.) The announcement, accompanied by a video tape, appeared on Websites normally reserved for releases on major al Qaeda strikes, such as the Madrid, London and Saudi bombing attacks and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s operations in Iraq. It is therefore to be taken seriously. The statement came out three days after the debkafile exclusive disclosure of al Qaeda’s purported theological grounds for attacking Israel, as expounded in its new monthly magazine.

Israeli intelligence experts on al Qaeda have three diverse theories to explain the new development.

1. This theory holds that the three most violent Palestinian groups, Hamas, Jihad Islami and the Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades, established a new umbrella organization to execute terrorist and shooting attacks against Israel’s withdrawal operation in two weeks while ducking the charge of flouting Abu Mazen’s orders.

2. Al Qaeda’s agents infiltrated the Gaza Strip through northern Sinai, the Palestinian arms smuggling gangs who work both sides of the Rafah border or Hizballah cells in Gaza, and set u p a new organization based on the Hamas and Jihad Islami.

3. The Palestinian Popular Committees which bring together the al Aqsa Brigades and other terrorist splinters has split into feuding elements, one of which may have joined up with al Qaeda.

Whichever mechanism was used, it is clear that the international Islamist organization has made its first public appearance as a terrorist force present in the Gaza Strip.


Palestinians break off talks on economic arrangements after Israel’s pull-out


3 August: Israeli ministers Shimon Peres and Shaul Mofaz held two conversations Wednesday night, August 3, with Palestinian minister Mohammed Dahlan in the presence of the Quartet envoy James Wolfensohn. They met to finalize agreements on Israel-Palestinian cooperation after the Gaza Strip is evacuated in mid-August. Dahlan cut both discussions short.

According to debkafile‘s sources, Dahlan listened to the offer from Peres to supply the Gaza Strip with water, electricity and communications services in the future. But he adamantly refused payment for those services. He also flatly rejected Mofaz’s demand for Palestinian supply trucks transiting Israel from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank be subjected to security screening.

Wolfensohn who had believed these issues had long been settled decided to stay on another week to overcome the impasse.

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