Here we go again. We've seen it before strategically timed. Weigh
all Israeli claims skeptically. On its face, this one lacks
Cui bono? Not Syria embroiled for months battling an externally
generated insurgency and threats of foreign intervention.
Why provide greater cause while trying to defuse crisis conditions,
cooperate with Arab League observers, enlist outside support, and
offer opposition elements places in a broad-based government along
the lines of a national unity one.
At the same time, Hamas and Fatah plan May elections for unity
governance. They both want conflict resolution, not confrontations.
Nonetheless, Israel connects Syria and Hamas with West Bank terror
On January 19, Haaretz headlined, "IDF exposes Syria-funded Islamic
Jihad terror cell in West Bank," saying:
"Israeli security forces have recently discovered an Islamic Jihad
terror cell which was planning attacks against Israeli soldiers,"
according to defense officials.
Ten "Islamic Jihad militants were arrested near Jenin in recent
months." Israel claims connections to Syria-based Islamic Jihad
(IJ). Large money transfers went for weapons and other operations.
Israel also alleges IJ ties to Gaza and the so-called Islamic Union
According to Shin Bet (Israel's security service), attacks on IDF
soldiers and settlements were planned. In addition, abducting
Israelis were involved. Suspects were charged with membership in an
illegal organization, transferring funds from abroad, contact with
foreign agents, illegal weapons possession, and conspiracy to trade
arms and military equipment.
Last September, Israel claimed foiling other multiple terror
attacks. At the time, dozens of "Hamas militants" were arrested. An
explosive belt smuggled into Jerusalem was allegedly seized 24 hours
before the planned attack, according to Israeli officials.
They claimed foiling it was part of a large-scale Shin
Bet/IDF/police operation against Hamas' West Bank/East Jerusalem
Israel said 13 terror cells were involved, the main one in Hebron.
Allegedly they planned West Bank/Jerusalem attacks. They kept
contact "with Hamas headquarters in Syria, and the date of the
attack was set for August 21."
Another plot supposedly involved a "suicide bomber" armed with a
fire extinguisher containing six kilograms of explosives. The
same cell was blamed for a March Jerusalem bus station attack.
The tired story's going stale. Incendiary buzz words highlight
"terrorist attacks," "multiple cells" infested with "militants,"
"suicide bombers," and "Hamas/Syrian connections."
Israel also claimed a man named Ahmad Madhoun got $10,000 to buy
Saudi weapons as part of a plot to kidnap an Israeli soldier.
Shin Bet alleges Hamas wants its West Bank military infrastructure
restored to "execute terrorist attacks." Plausible reasons why and
proof weren't provided. In fact, Hamas only responds when attacked.
It doesn't initiate terror strikes.
Israel's allegations wreak of duplicity. Hamas and Syria have
nothing to gain and everything to lose. Yet Shin Bet claims terror
cells prove Damascus plans rehabilitating its West Bank
infrastructure to attack Israel. No cause or evidence was given,
just baseless accusations to incite fear, blame Hamas and Syria, and
provide pretexts for likely attacks on one or both.
In other words, only Israel and Washington benefit. Vilifying Hamas
and Syria continue. Expect conflict to follow.
A Final Comment
On January 19, Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC)
Aziz Dweik was arrested in the West Bank for alleged involvement
with terrorist groups. Israel didn't comment.
At a checkpoint, soldiers handcuffed, blindfolded, arrested, and
detained him. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh urged Abbas to halt sham
Amman talks with Israel, saying:
"A Palestinian should not shake the hand of his enemy, the enemy who
arrests the symbols of Palestinian legitimacy. We want to see
something in the West Bank. We want to see the prisoners freed. We
want to see the security coordination with the occupation stopped."
"Palestinian reconciliation and security cooperation with the
occupation are two parallel lines that cannot meet.
The Palestinian parliament hasn't functioned since Hamas and Fatah
split in 2007. In 2006, Dweik was arrested with other Hamas
officials, held uncharged for three years, then released in 2009.
He faced similar abuse earlier, including imprisonment and torture.
Moreover, in 1992, he and hundreds of other Hamas leaders were
expelled to Marj A-Zohour in Southern Lebanon until allowed back.
Since Hamas was elected Palestine's legitimate government, dozens of
its parliamentarians were harassed, threatened, arrested, detained
and abused. Twenty-three remain incarcerated, including 20 uncharged
under administrative detention.
Israel has thousands of political prisoners, including children and
politicians wanting occupation-free liberation. Israel calls that a
On January 20, deputy PLC head Ahmad Bahar and other parliamentary
leaders denounced Dweik's "kidnapping." Demanding his immediate
release, a joint press release said:
"The abduction of Dr. Dweik is another Israeli crime against the
Palestinian people and their democratically elected officials."
Bahar asked Arab League and Organization of the Islamic Conference
members, as well as UN authorities, to intervene on his behalf. He
also accused Israel of trying to undermine Palestinian unity, then
"What happened requires (Abbas) to declare an immediate stop to the
negotiations in Amman in respect of our people and in respect of the
parliament and its head."
"It should be a firm message to the occupation that their continued
crimes will not be given cover by the Palestinian Authority and will
not pass without a response."
As of evening January 20, Abbas and his office hadn't
Dweik was abducted after meeting with South Africa's West Bank
representative. Earlier, he and other Hamas officials held talks
with MK Hanin Zoabi.
In mid-July 2010, Israel's Knesset stripped her of key parliamentary
rights and privileges for having participated in the May 2010
Freedom Flotilla bringing vital aid to Gaza. Since then, she's been
vilified, threatened, and may be prevented from standing for
reelection. Hard-liners call her a "traitor."
They also support state terrorism against Palestinian civilians,
including suffocating Gazans under siege. Their struggle for
Palestinian liberation continues.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
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