Palestinian Hamas websites quickly hailed the murder of a mother, father and three of their children, aged, 11, three and a baby of a month, whose throats were slashed in their sleep at Itamar, south of Nablus Friday night, March 11 as "a heroic operation." The escape of at least two Palestinian killers long before the alarm was sounded after midnight was eased by the dismantling of most Israeli security checkpoints on the West Bank and slow military vigilance.
debkafile's intelligence and counter-terror sources disclose that the Itamar attack was the first result of an Iran-funded secret conference in Khartoum last week of the heads of the national branches of the Muslim Brotherhood across the Arab world, at which a plan was charted for Hamas to launch a multi-casualty terrorist assaults against Israel on both sides of the Green Line – over and above missile attacks from the Gaza Strip in order to ignite the third Palestinian uprising (intifada). The Egyptian Brotherhood is the parent organization of Hamas.
This decision was a facet of a comprehensive plan drawn up in Khartoum for Brotherhood activists to fire up the uprisings in the various Arab countries. With Iranian backing and funding, the different branches resolved to coordinate operations for using the unrest to take control of Arab capitals
Iranian intelligence officers attending the conference used the occasion to set up direct contacts with Brotherhood leaders who came from Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Syria, Jordan, Great Britain. The Palestinian delegation representing Hamas-Gaza was headed by Mahmoud A-Zahar and Hamas-Damascus headed by Khaled Meshaal.
The plan for Hamas to revive terrorist on the West Bank and inside Israel was an important part of the Iranian-backed resolutions reached at the Khartoum conference.
debkafile notes that not a single Arab government – not even Israel – prevented the Brotherhood and Hamas delegates from setting out for Khartoum. No word of the conference was allowed to leak to the Israeli public and Israeli security authorities appear not to have adapted their practices to the decisions reached by the Islamists there.
This could explain why there was no prior terror alert for the Itamar killings or apparent IDF redeployment for an upsurge of multiple terrorist murders even though Hamas networks had been known to be regrouping in Judea and Samaria for the purpose of attacking and kidnapping Israelis on both sides of the Green Line. Several Palestinians were recently detained at the few remaining West Bank checkpoints carrying pipe bombs, knives and fire bombs.
Despite appeals from West Bank Israeli community leaders, the military did not recommend putting any of the checkpoints back – even though the Palestinian Authority's security services had slowed down their counter-terror cooperation and intellience-sharing with Israel, therefore failing to keep their side of the bargain for the removal of the checkpoints.
For more than a year, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak acceded to relentless US and European pressure to grant West Bank Palestinians almost unrestricted freedom of movement and generous aid for their economic development as a means of persuading PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas to return to the negotiating table. This policy failed in its purpose while leaving Israelis vulnerable once again to terrorist attacks. None of these alarming developments were brought to public notice in Israel. Jerusalem is still trying to pretend that Egypt remains faithful to its 1979 peace treaty, whereas nothing of those relations appears to have survived the fall of Hosni Mubarak.