A Fundamentalist Fatwa as Tool of US Mideast Diplomacy (DEBKAfile) Special Report 06/17/03 12:38 AM (GMT+02:00)
Very shortly, Israelis will wake up to find their military forces
pulling out of the northern Gaza Strip and Bethlehem and handing over
the war on terror originating in those regions to Palestinian prime
minister Abu Mazen and his internal security minister Mohamed Dahlan.
The confusion Monday, June 16, over whether or not the Egyptian
delegation in Gaza City had managed to persuade Hamas, Fatah, Jihad
Islami and other rejectionist terrorist groups to accept a ceasefire
arose from the decision to reverse the order of events. First the
handover of the two territories to the Palestinian Authority; then a
ceasefire transacted by the radical groups with the Palestinian
Authority - not with Israel through Egypt and the United States.
The key to the truce was provided by the man in the picture. His name
is Yousef Qaradawi.
On December 2, DEBKAfile introduced Qaradawi as the author of the
Islamic concept of “the good axis” as the antithesis of President
George We. Bush’s axis of evil and a popular disseminator of al
Qaeda’s doctrines in a regular weekly broadcast over the Arab
television station al Jazeera. No links between Qaradawi and Osama
bin Laden or al Qaeda have ever been proven, but for 90 minutes every
Sunday, he fills his “Sharaya and Life” program with bin Laden’s
The main burden of his sermons is the justification of suicidal
Other points of emphasis: We are in the midst of a Jihad against the
West. The West is secular and corrupt in its day-to-day pursuits;
religious in its approach to Islam. We are therefore living through
the second round of the Crusades.
The document the Egyptian ceasefire brokers presented Hamas spiritual
leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin on Sunday, June 15, was not an American or
an Israel guarantee to end targeted assassinations of terror chiefs
or incursions, but the far more potent Qaradawi fatwa with permission
for the terrorist groups to join the Palestinian Authority in a
ceasefire. The document does not state with whom, never mentioning
Israel, but it set in motion the following course of events:
1. The Hamas, Jihad Islami and Fatah secretly accepted a truce.
2. It will be announced only after another round of Egyptian-
Palestinian Authority talks in Cairo. Until then, all the parties,
including Israel, will act as through the Egyptian ceasefire bid is
3. Some of the understandings agreed by the United States, the
Palestinian Authority and the Hamas as part of the truce deal will
not be published. According some of DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources,
publication of their content would raise a tremendous outcry in
American and Israel.
Only the less important provisions will be unveiled with the
launching of the truce next week in Cairo.
4. To avoid the ceasefire being seen to be a Palestinian accord with
Israel, the original order of truce first and Israeli withdrawal
second was reversed. This will also give the Hamas the chance of
claiming that Israel was forced to withdraw on its knees by the
organization’s onslaught of terror.
The Israeli View
Israeli leaders reiterated this week that a truce is in the country’s
worst interests. The Sharon government has nonetheless been swept up
by the diplomatic dynamic generated in Gaza City this week and is
heading for a partial troop withdrawal and a ceasefire without the
Palestinians interrupting their terrorist offensive for one moment.
Many Israelis are asking to what Palestinian hands they are
entrusting their security from terror assault. The question has been
answered on frequent occasions by DEBKAfile – Yasser Arafat, the
eminence behind the Abbas throne. Former OC southern command, Gen.
(Res.) Yomtov Samiya put it succinctly in an interview Sunday
morning: “Abu Mazen and Mohamed Dahlan,” he said, “will do precisely
what they are told to do by Yasser Arafat.” Which means the territory
Israeli forces are evacuating will be regained by Arafat and the fox
is again charged with guarding the chicken coop.
The departure of IDF units from the northern Gaza Strip will expose
Israel’s western Negev towns and villages to unbridled barrages of
Qassam missile and mortar attack as well as suicide terrorist
raiders. The first crisis is therefore round the corner. Even if by
some miracle, Abu Mazen and Dahlan are able to ring down the curtain
on terror from the regions under their control, the next source of
trouble has already made itself known. This week, for the first time,
Palestinian missiles were fired from Rafah and Khan Younes - the
southern end of the Gaza Strip at a kibbutz and moshav in the
southern Negev. And if not from Rafah, then Tulkarm or Jenin on the
West Bank have Hadera and Kfar Saba well within range, and buses and
malls are the easiest prey of all for suicide killers. This forecast
is based on the sorry outcome of every previous ceasefire signed onto
by the Palestinians.
As in the past, the Israeli army will be pressed into the effort to
recover lost strategic points for fighting terror and contend with
terrorist forces fresh from the respite of a truce and armed with
replenished stocks of weapons and energy.
Defense minister Shaul Mofaz commented dryly: If the worst comes to
the worst, we can repeat the comprehensive Defensive Wall operation
we fought in April 2002, this time against the Hamas in the Gaza
Strip. Mofaz knows better than anyone that, however successful that
operation may have been, Arafat’s Fatah-Tanzim and al Aqsa Martyrs
Brigades have meanwhile fully recovered from the beating they took
then and their commander still rules the roost from his Ramallah
A timely word about Dahlan’s credentials for his new job as scourge
As head of the Gaza Strip’s Preventive Security service in the
nineties and the first two years of the Palestinian armed
confrontation, Dahlan remained close friends with the commander of
the Hamas Ezz-a-Din Al Qassam Brigades, Mohammed Deif. In the name of
their childhood friendship, he protected the Hamas terror master even
after he murdered hundreds of Israelis and was on the run, although
under the 1993 Oslo Accords he was bound to turn him over to Israel.
Deif is not Dahlan’s only Hamas crony. He apparently grew up in Khan
Younes with another of the group’s terrorist masterminds, Abdel
Rantisi, who narrowly escaped an Israeli assassination attempt
earlier this month. The Dahlans and Rantisis moved to Gaza City at
the same time and when the two men prospered – Dahlan for apparently
fighting terror and Rantisi as a senior terror operative – they built
their palatial villas alongside each other. Although Rantisi no
longer practices medicine, he makes an exception for Dahlan’s
The legend on the Rantisi website is a quote from the Koran and
reveals the Hamas leader’s true bent: “Kill them wherever you find
them. Remove them from wherever they removed you. Civil war is
harsher than killing.”
The diplomatic web woven in the Gaza Strip this week seems to be more
in keeping with the Rantisi motto than the Middle East aspirations of
the Bush administration or the interests of the Sharon government.
(Copyright © 2003 DEBKAfile 06/17/03)
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