Al Qaeda has planted its first ideological structures in Jerusalem and Nablus, Israel’s Shin Bet director Yuval Diskin warns
Diskin delivered this grave, explicit warning at his Knesset foreign affairs and security committee briefing Tuesday, June 6. So far, there is no sign of the Olmert government addressing the menace fast closing in on Israel.
For some weeks, debkafile has traced the passage of al Qaeda operatives from the Gaza Strip to West Bank towns and Arab Jerusalem, in line with its planners’ tactical landmark decision to plant ideological roots in the Palestinian population before turning to terrorist action. Missionary work has begun to prepare the ground to receive the same cells as have been established in Gaza as “Al Qaeda-Palestine.”
The world jihadist group decided on the incremental approach to its penetration of the West Bank so as not to clash head-on with secular Palestinian security and intelligence services, the Shiite Hizballah’s networks and Hamas, which is leery of al Qaeda as a potential rival for Palestinian rule.
West Bank and Jerusalem stores are therefore awash audiotapes, video film, pamphlets and posters pushing the al Qaeda message. Tapes downloaded from the Internet by Palestinian al Qaeda sympathizers depict Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al Zarqawi and their most brutal operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, including beheadings. Tracts from bin Laden’s Palestinian speeches are popular. Extremist Muslims are snapping up Zarqawi-style black knit caps.
Like Ariel Sharon before him, prime minister Ehud Olmert still turns a deaf ear to all the signs of the burgeoning threat poised to spring at Israel’s heartland from around its borders. Now that his own director of national security attests to the fact that the affliction is taking root inside Israel’s seat of government, capital of the Jewish world, Jerusalem, will he start taking notice?