Nasrallah Wants Gaza Settlements Overrun by One Million Hamas Marchers

By late Monday, April 19, Israel prime minister Ariel Sharon had mustered the complete roster of Likud ministers behind his disengagement plan, driving roughshod over their resistance to evacuating Jewish settlements – 21 in the Gaza Strip and 4 in northern West Bank – in breach of the party platform. No prominent party minister is now left in Sharon’s path to spearhead the opposition when some 200,000 Likud members cast their votes May 2. In the Knesset, where left-wing opposition parties promise him a safety net, Sharon and his plan are home free.
The only real impediment he faces comes from a completely different quarter, Lebanon. The pledge incorporated in the Sharon letter to US president George W. Bush to voluntarily evacuate the Gaza Strip by the end of 2005 is a red flag to a bull for Islamic extremists and Palestinian terrorists, making them determined to thwart it at all costs.
Israeli military intelligence chief Maj.-Gen Aharon Zeevi assured the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee Tuesday, April 20, that the controversial Mohammed Dahlan was preparing to organize a Palestinian force to impose law and order the day after Israel leaves the Gaza Strip.
However, as the intelligence chief knows very well, Dahlan’s record on the side of the angels is very spotty. As head of Palestinian preventive security in the territory from 1996, he turned the job on its head and orchestrated innovative terrorist exploits against Israel as Yasser Arafat’s obedient Gazan operations chief. As Mahmoud Abbas’s interior minister in charge of security, he never raised a finger to halt terrorist attacks, despite his promises to President Bush and the pat on the head he got from the White House. His fights with Arafat have never gone so far as to challenge his old boss’s unwavering adherence to the path of terror.
General Zeevi is on past record as predicting that Israel’s go-it-alone evacuation of the Gaza Strip will be interpreted by “the Hamas, the Jihad Islami and the Fatah-al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade as capitulation to terrorism and provide a continuing spur to violence for political gains.
His first prediction looks closer to the truth than his second.
Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah has produced a new master plan which he presented this week to the Hamas leadership group appointed to succeed Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the second Hamas leader Israel killed in less than a month. Their identities are a closely-kept secret on the orders of supreme Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Damascus. debkafile‘s counter-terror sources have the names of the five new leaders: two well-known figures, Ismail Haniya and Mahmoud Al-Zahar, Said Siyam who recently succeeded al-Zahar as spokesman, Nazar Rayan and Yunes al-Assal.
The Lebanese Shiite Hizballah and the Palestinian Sunni Hamas have much in common. Both are internationally-certified terrorist organizations, Islamic extremists and spoiling for revenge. Eager to help the newly- bereaved Hamas, Nasrallah presented his plan this week to Khaled Mashal and Mussa Marzouk in Damascus, Imad Alami, Hamas chief of staff and operations commander and Osama Hamdan in Lebanon. Hamdan liaises for Hamas with Hizballah and al Qaeda.
According to debkafile‘s intelligence and counter-terror sources, Nasrallah’s basic premise is this: Israeli leaders must not be allowed to dictate the timetable of their pullout. It must be forced on them before they are ready and so award the Palestinians a victory. He reminded his Hamas allies of the Israeli troop withdrawal from south Lebanon in May 2000 which, instead of being an orderly retreat under the cover of Lebanese military units, became an uncontrolled rout, and asked: Why should we not repeat this exercise against Gush Katif and Netzarim? We never promised to let Israel withdraw in orderly fashion; neither are we bound by the timeline set by Bush and Sharon.
As in Lebanon four years ago, there is no need to fire a single shot or give Israeli troops any pretext for shooting back.
Nasrallah described how, several weeks before Israel was scheduled to withdraw from Lebanon, he organized the town and village populations of the south and several thousand Shiites from Beirut into massed groups of civilians, each ordered to stage marches in different sectors. Elderly people hoisting Lebanese and Hizballah flags, women and children marched in a body on the bases of the Israeli-backed South Lebanese Army who, aware of the Israeli pullout, did not dare open fire on the advancing processions. In no time, all their bases were overrun by the motley mobs and the Hizballah flag fluttering overhead. According to Nasrallah, the departing Israeli troops had to negotiate safe passage back to the Israeli border in exchange for leaving their weapons, even tanks, behind.
Our sources reveal that the Hizballah leader showed Hamas the Gaza version of his plan. For stage one, he proposed collecting the 200,000 Palestinian mourners who followed the Yassin and Rantisi funeral processions, and dividing them into groups of 10-15,000. Each would march on a marked IDF position or camp defending Netzarim and Gush Katif.
In stage two, a million Hamas marchers would hurl themselves at Gush Katif, the largest settlement bloc of the Gaza Strip. Even Israeli tanks would not be able to arrest this human deluge, he said. The Israelis may start shooting, but the Palestinian mass will keep coming, and, like in Lebanon, it will mow down the army positions. The settlements will then crumble. Israeli troops and settlers will be stampeded into flight and the Palestinians will take over their bases and homes – not in 2005 as the Israelis offered, but next summer.
The Hamas has not yet replied formally to Nasrallah’s Gaza proposal but it is known to have aroused much enthusiasm in Damascus and Gaza.
A senior security source in Washington familiar with the Nasrallah blueprint told debkafile that its creation had come about because Bush and Sharon are operating on unrealistic timetables. Bush cannot hope to be ready to hand sovereignty over to Iraq on June 30; Sharon speaks of removing settlements by the end of next year. Their timing cannot be pre-determined, only governed by the onrush of events. To show how far removed Washington is from reality, the State Department spokesman this week called on the Palestinian Authority, no less, to make sure Nasrallah’s Million Marchers plan does not come into being.

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