A Fundamentalist Fatwa as Tool of US Mideast Diplomacy
Very shortly, Israelis will wake up to find their military forces pulling out of the northern Gaza Strip and Bethlehem and handing over the war on terror originating in those regions to Palestinian prime minister Abu Mazen and his internal security minister Mohamed Dahlan. The confusion Monday, June 16, over whether or not the Egyptian delegation in Gaza City had managed to persuade Hamas, Fatah, Jihad Islami and other rejectionist terrorist groups to accept a ceasefire arose from the decision to reverse the order of events. First the handover of the two territories to the Palestinian Authority; then a ceasefire transacted by the radical groups with the Palestinian Authority – not with Israel through Egypt and the United States.
The key to the truce was provided by the man in the picture. His name is Yousef Qaradawi.
On December 2, debkafile introduced Qaradawi as the author of the Islamic concept of “the good axis” as the antithesis of President George We. Bush’s axis of evil and a popular disseminator of al Qaeda’s doctrines in a regular weekly broadcast over the Arab television station al Jazeera. No links between Qaradawi and Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda have ever been proven, but for 90 minutes every Sunday, he fills his “Sharaya and Life” program with bin Laden’s teachings.
The main burden of his sermons is the justification of suicidal terror.
Other points of emphasis: We are in the midst of a Jihad against the West. The West is secular and corrupt in its day-to-day pursuits; religious in its approach to Islam. We are therefore living through the second round of the Crusades.
The document the Egyptian ceasefire brokers presented Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin on Sunday, June 15, was not an American or an Israel guarantee to end targeted assassinations of terror chiefs or incursions, but the far more potent Qaradawi fatwa with permission for the terrorist groups to join the Palestinian Authority in a ceasefire. The document does not state with whom, never mentioning Israel, but it set in motion the following course of events:
1. The Hamas, Jihad Islami and Fatah secretly accepted a truce.
2. It will be announced only after another round of Egyptian-Palestinian Authority talks in Cairo. Until then, all the parties, including Israel, will act as through the Egyptian ceasefire bid is in stalemate.
3. Some of the understandings agreed by the United States, the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas as part of the truce deal will not be published. According some of debkafile‘s intelligence sources, publication of their content would raise a tremendous outcry in American and Israel.
Only the less important provisions will be unveiled with the launching of the truce next week in Cairo.
4. To avoid the ceasefire being seen to be a Palestinian accord with Israel, the original order of truce first and Israeli withdrawal second was reversed. This will also give the Hamas the chance of claiming that Israel was forced to withdraw on its knees by the organization’s onslaught of terror.
The Israeli View
Israeli leaders reiterated this week that a truce is in the country’s worst interests. The Sharon government has nonetheless been swept up by the diplomatic dynamic generated in Gaza City this week and is heading for a partial troop withdrawal and a ceasefire without the Palestinians interrupting their terrorist offensive for one moment.
Many Israelis are asking to what Palestinian hands they are entrusting their security from terror assault. The question has been answered on frequent occasions by debkafile – Yasser Arafat, the eminence behind the Abbas throne. Former OC southern command, Gen. (Res.) Yomtov Samiya put it succinctly in an interview Sunday morning: “Abu Mazen and Mohamed Dahlan,” he said, “will do precisely what they are told to do by Yasser Arafat.” Which means the territory Israeli forces are evacuating will be regained by Arafat and the fox is again charged with guarding the chicken coop.
The departure of IDF units from the northern Gaza Strip will expose Israel’s western Negev towns and villages to unbridled barrages of Qassam missile and mortar attack as well as suicide terrorist raiders. The first crisis is therefore round the corner. Even if by some miracle, Abu Mazen and Dahlan are able to ring down the curtain on terror from the regions under their control, the next source of trouble has already made itself known. This week, for the first time, Palestinian missiles were fired from Rafah and Khan Younes – the southern end of the Gaza Strip at a kibbutz and moshav in the southern Negev. And if not from Rafah, then Tulkarm or Jenin on the West Bank have Hadera and Kfar Saba well within range, and buses and malls are the easiest prey of all for suicide killers. This forecast is based on the sorry outcome of every previous ceasefire signed onto by the Palestinians.
As in the past, the Israeli army will be pressed into the effort to recover lost strategic points for fighting terror and contend with terrorist forces fresh from the respite of a truce and armed with replenished stocks of weapons and energy.
Defense minister Shaul Mofaz commented dryly: If the worst comes to the worst, we can repeat the comprehensive Defensive Wall operation we fought in April 2002, this time against the Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Mofaz knows better than anyone that, however successful that operation may have been, Arafat’s Fatah-Tanzim and al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have meanwhile fully recovered from the beating they took then and their commander still rules the roost from his Ramallah headquarters.
A timely word about Dahlan’s credentials for his new job as scourge of terrorists.
As head of the Gaza Strip’s Preventive Security service in the nineties and the first two years of the Palestinian armed confrontation, Dahlan remained close friends with the commander of the Hamas Ezz-a-Din Al Qassam Brigades, Mohammed Deif. In the name of their childhood friendship, he protected the Hamas terror master even after he murdered hundreds of Israelis and was on the run, although under the 1993 Oslo Accords he was bound to turn him over to Israel.
Deif is not Dahlan’s only Hamas crony. He apparently grew up in Khan Younes with another of the group’s terrorist masterminds, Abdel Rantisi, who narrowly escaped an Israeli assassination attempt earlier this month. The Dahlans and Rantisis moved to Gaza City at the same time and when the two men prospered – Dahlan for apparently fighting terror and Rantisi as a senior terror operative – they built their palatial villas alongside each other. Although Rantisi no longer practices medicine, he makes an exception for Dahlan’s children.
The legend on the Rantisi website is a quote from the Koran and reveals the Hamas leader’s true bent: “Kill them wherever you find them. Remove them from wherever they removed you. Civil war is harsher than killing.”
The diplomatic web woven in the Gaza Strip this week seems to be more in keeping with the Rantisi motto than the Middle East aspirations of the Bush administration or the interests of the Sharon government.