Israeli Agency Sheds Light on Terror Axis (ISRAEL INSIDER COMMENTARY) By P. David Hornik 01/27/05)
ISRAEL INSIDER Articles-Index-Top
Common pieties about the "Israeli-Palestinian conflict" as
a "struggle between two peoples" ignore the fact that the conflict is
now in large part a proxy war fueled by the Iran-Syria-Hizbullah
That is not to say many Palestinians don´t share their patrons´ aim
of destroying the Jewish state. The Palestinian battle itself,
however, which spiked dramatically two months after Prime Minister
Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians a state in almost all the
territories at Camp David in July 2000, has lost some of its momentum
because of a lack of results and an effective Israeli counterattack.
The Iran-Syria-Hizbullah axis is now picking up the slack.
As detailed in a recent report by the Intelligence and Terrorism
Information Center (ITIC), an Israeli agency at the Center for
Special Studies near Tel Aviv, "one of the major trends in 2004 was
Iran´s growing involvement in Palestinian terrorism through
Hizbullah, used by the Iranians as an operative leverage vis-´-vis
Until summer 2004, Hizbullah tried hard to cover up its role in
supporting Palestinian terror. But after the July 19 assassination in
Beirut of Hizbullah operative Ghaleb Awali, Hizbullah leader Hassan
Nasrallah went public about this involvement for the first time.
In a eulogy at Awali´s funeral, Nasrallah said: "Today, we give away
Ghaleb Awali as a martyr of Lebanon. He is also a martyr of
Palestine. For the martyr Ghaleb Awali . . . belonged to [those who]
in recent years dedicated their lives to supporting the brothers in
occupied Palestine. We do not wish to hide the truth. We declare it
openly and take pride in it. Ghaleb Awali is today a martyr in the
path of Palestine. He is a martyr of Jerusalem. He is a martyr of the
Al-Aqsa Mosque. He is a martyr of the confrontation with the Zionist
enterprise" (Al-Manar Television, July 19, 2004).
According to the ITIC, the terror axis has two main objectives in
orchestrating Palestinian terror in the territories. One is that
since Israel´s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, assisting Palestinian
terror has been a way of preserving Hizbullah´s belligerent, jihad-
like character despite the constraints of operating across the
Lebanese border. The second is that Hizbullah and its supporting
states, Iran and Syria, regard continuing and even escalating the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict as "a valuable strategic device for
undermining Israel´s internal social and political stability, and as
a potential [means of] extorting concessions from Israel."
Hizbullah, the ITIC notes, "operates dozens of terrorist . . . groups
in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. In 2004, these cells
perpetrated 68 terrorist attacks, killing 24 Israelis (approximately
21% of the 117 Israelis killed in terrorist attacks in 2004) and
injuring 52 (approximately 8% of the 589 Israelis wounded in
terrorist attacks in 2004)."
Hizbullah orchestrates Palestinian terror via several methods:
* Giving instructions to terrorists "inside" the territories to
perpetrate mass-murder attacks in Israel.
* Dispatching Palestinians from the "outside" (usually Arab
countries) to carry out terrorist missions in Israel.
* Mediating between operatives at various focal points within the
* Working to upgrade the capacities of the terrorist infrastructures
in the territories-specifically, providing know-how on explosives,
delivering high-quality weaponry, and sending operatives from
the "inside" for military training abroad.
Another major Hizbullah contribution to Palestinian terror is
funding. Along with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah
makes large fund transfers to the territories from terrorist
headquarters in Syria. The sums are provided to operatives who make a
living by coordinating terrorist activities, not necessarily for
ideological motivations. Many Palestinian suicide bombers have been
people with financial and social problems who agree to perpetrate
attacks in exchange for financial support to their families after
As the ITIC details, in 2004 Israeli security forces arrested several
terrorists who, in their interrogations, gave information on the fine
points of how Hizbullah funds terror:
* Ahmed Sari Hussein, an Islamic Jihad terrorist from Tulkarm in the
West Bank, was involved in a suicide bombing in the town of Netanya
on March 30, 2003 that injured 32. He received about $2200 in advance
for his activities from the then-Islamic Jihad chief in Tulkarm. A
Hizbullah handler from Lebanon told him he would receive additional
funds only if he went through with carrying out attacks.
* Wael Ghanem, a Fatah Tanzim operative from the Tulkarm refugee
camp, was in contact with a handler from Lebanon who gave him $7,000
in exchange for manufacturing explosives, $1,500 for buying arms, and
$10,000 for funding his terrorist activity (the money was deposited
in the bank accounts of women he was involved with).
* Muntasir Abu Ghalyoun, one of the Fatah Tanzim leaders in Jenin,
was involved in planning and funding numerous terrorist attacks,
including four shooting attacks in June 2003 that killed four
civilians. In his interrogation, he said the basic fee for carrying
out a terrorist attack came to about $650-$1100.
In light of all the above, there could be nothing more ominous than
the cease-fire or hudna that new PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas is trying
to work out with the various Palestinian terror organizations. The
requirement, often stated by Israeli and American officials, that the
PA must "disarm the terror organizations and confiscate their
weapons" easily gets lost in translation into "Just keep things quiet
for a while, so Israel can withdraw from territory. Meanwhile, you
can regroup and rebuild, deepen your ties with your foreign sponsors,
whatever-so long as the situation on the ground looks good for a
Indeed, an earlier hudna in summer 2003, which Mahmoud Abbas also
helped "orchestrate" in his then-role as PA prime minister under
Arafat, was punctuated with small-scale terror attacks that were
ignored, till it ended in a well-planned August 19 bus bombing in
Jerusalem that killed 21.
If, on the other hand, the U.S. and/or Israel will be acting
aggressively against the Iran-Syria-Hizbullah axis or part of it, it
is difficult to see why Israel should be rushing to hand over
tactically and strategically sensitive territory in Gaza and Samaria
at a time when the situation is fluid and Palestinian terror may yet
lose much of its support. (© 2001-2005 Koret Communications Ltd.
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY