Fatah Is Deeply Implicated in the Palestinian Terrorist Coalition. Egyptian Military Collaboration Is Also Present

The major battle fought through Sunday night, Oct. 30, against a Jihad Islami cell in Qabatiya, near Jenin, only partially addressed the Palestinian terror threat creeping in from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank. The al Aqsa Brigades, a wing of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ ruling Fatah, either led or took active part in all the terrorist strikes of late.
This holds true for the Oct. 16 drive-by shooting that murdered three young Israelis at the Gush Etzion hitchhiking post, the suicide bombing that killed another five Israeli civilians in the Hadera open market ten days later, the frequent shooting and bombing attacks on West Bank roads and the Qassam missile barrages from the Gaza Strip. The last volley was launched Sunday night, Oct. 30, hours after Palestinian spokesmen claimed consent to halt this offensive.
debkafile‘s intelligence sources point to the evidence that the Gush Etzion strike and a synchronized attack further north at Ely were the work of two Fatah gangs from Nablus and Bethlehem. Yet the Israeli army was not sent into action against Fatah – only later against the Jihad Islami cell that ordered the Hadera attack.
This situation recalls the Israeli government’s tactics in 2001 and the first half of 2002, when Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon, who succeeded him as prime minister, cherished the illusion that Yasser Arafat would rein in his Fatah and uphold his commitments under the Oslo Accords. Those vain hopes had the same results as today’s twice-weekly exhortations aimed by Israel and America at Abu Mazen. Then the suicide bombings of buses and crowd centers carried out by the Fatah-Tanzim and al Aqsa Brigades were usually pinned on the Hamas. Today, the favorite culprit is Jihad Islami.
The Hamas is fully occupied with a huge operation to import enough weapons to equip several armies into the Gaza Strip and moving them on into the West Bank. It suits the Hamas at this moment to feign non-participation in the Fatah-Jihad Islami pact. However, the capture on Oct. 5 of three Qassam missile engineers on their way to set up a missile factory in Jenin gave the game away. The Hamas was exposed as a senior partner in the Palestinian terrorist coalition, although it tried to hide behind the Popular Committees.
This coalition is not working in a vacuum. The Shin Beit reconstruction of their mission and route deeply implicated Egyptian special troops who were assigned in lieu of Israeli forces to guard the Philadelphi border route between Sinai and Gaza against arms smuggling.
It transpired that these troops, deployed as a pre-condition for Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, can be bought for the trifling sum of NIS200 (less than $50) – and have been from Day One of their deployment last month.
With Egyptian connivance, the three Palestinian weapons pros used one of the forbidden arms smuggling tunnels to cross into Sinai from Gaza, picked up a Hizballah disk containing instructions on how to construct a missile workshop in Jenin, and then infiltrated southern Israel through the Egyptian border.
What is more, picked up with the three Palestinian “engineers” was an Egyptian “guide,” familiar enough with the southern Israeli Negev region to shepherd them to Mitzpe Ramon, where they were intercepted by Israeli security police.
This discovery floored Israeli security experts who would have expected Palestinians to guide Egyptians inside Israel – not the reverse. They were appalled to find an Egyptian terrorist cell supporting al Qaeda and Palestinians operations in Sinai had planted a tentacle deep inside Israel’s southern and central Negev regions, as a branch of the Sinai organization.
All these disturbing developments have occurred since the Israeli pullback from the Gaza Strip in mid-September and are therefore glossed over by Sharon government spokesmen.
The serious security deterioration can be summed up by –
1. The influx of a huge, illegal war arsenal from Sinai into Palestinian Gaza;
2. Al Qaeda-Sinai’s establishment of a Gaza cell;
3. The ascending spiral of Palestinian terrorist attacks in and from the West Bank, supported from a logistical base in Gaza;
4. Intense Palestinian preparations for a Qassam missile and mortar offensive against densely populated central Israel.
At Sunday’s cabinet session, prime minister Ariel Sharon woke up belatedly and declared: “We must not allow Qassam missiles to be fired from the West Bank at coastal Israel.” His rationale? “We can’t put them all in bomb-shelters.”
Israel is also determined not to allow suicide, drive-by and missile attacks. But they still happen. Sharon pledged solemnly to Sderot that this battered town would suffer no more Qassam attacks. That was several attacks ago.

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