woensdag 2 januari 2008

Fatah leden betrokken bij aanval op Israëli's bij Hebron

De PA, die verantwoordelijk is voor de ontmanteling van alle gewapende milities in Palestijns gebied, verklaarde zaterdag dat Fatah's eigen Al Aqsa Martelaren milities waren opgedoekt. Sommige milities waren het daar niet mee eens, en verspreidden pamfletten die het tegendeel beweerden. Hoeveel milities er eerst waren en hoeveel daarvan nog over zijn wordt helaas niet duidelijk uit onderstaand bericht, maar het lijkt om een kleine minderheid te gaan.
Analysis: A Fatah member by any other name...
Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST Dec. 30, 2007

Some of the gunmen who participated in Friday's shooting attack near Hebron belong to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, Fatah activists in the West Bank confirmed over the weekend.

They said the attack was carried out jointly by Fatah and Islamic Jihad members.

The involvement of Fatah members in the attack is seen as a serious embarrassment for Abbas and the PA, whose representatives were quick to denounce the perpetrators, pledging to crack down on all armed groups in the West Bank.

The attack shows that several armed Fatah groups continue to operate in the West Bank despite statements by top PA officials to the effect that most of these groups had been dismantled.

Although many members of Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, have in recent months handed over their weapons to the PA security forces in return for jobs and salaries, dozens of Fatah gunmen are still refusing to follow suit.

Hoping to get better jobs and salaries, these gunmen have set up small militias in various parts of the West Bank.

Others have refused to surrender their weapons for ideological reasons, preferring to join forces with Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

One of these Fatah militias is called Fursan al-Layil (Horsemen of the Night), which is active in the old city of Nablus. Other Fatah gunmen are operating under the auspices of other militias called the Yasser Arafat Groups and the Martyr Ayman Judeh Groups, which took credit for Friday's attack.

On Saturday, the IDF arrested a number of Fatah activists belonging to the Yasser Arafat Groups in Hebron on suspicion of involvement in the killing of the two IDF soldiers on Friday.

Among those arrested was the leader of the group in Hebron, Ahmed Abu Sittah, also known as Abu Suleiman.

One of the gunmen killed in the attack, Basel al-Natsheh, was also known in Hebron as a Fatah activist, although his father, Nabil, is a Hamas member who is serving time in an Israeli prison.

Six other members of the al-Natsheh clan, brothers Naim, Firas and Hazem and brothers Nu'man, Abdullah and Shadi, were also arrested by the IDF. They, too, are said to be members of the Yasser Arafat Groups in Hebron.

Fatah activists said the attack may be linked to the faction's preparations to celebrate its 43rd anniversary this week. The attackers, they explained, were apparently hoping to send a message to the Palestinian public that, contrary to claims by Hamas, Fatah has not abandoned the path of armed struggle.
But while such attacks help Fatah score points on the Palestinian street, they also embarrass the PA leadership in Ramallah, especially in front of the international community, which has just pledged to channel to more than $9 billion to the Palestinians over the next three years.

That's why PA officials were quick to condemn the attack, vowing to take measures against the perpetrators. PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad said during a tour of Nablus that his government would fulfill its security commitments toward Israel by pursuing those responsible. "The military operation took place on Palestinian soil and the PA will carry out all its duties in this regard," he said.

PA Information Minister Riad al-Malki strongly condemned the attack as an attempt to disrupt peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.
However, both Fayad and Malki are well aware of the fact that the PA's plan to dismantle all the Fatah-affiliated militias in the West Bank is still far from achieving its goal.

Shortly after PA Interior Minister Abdel Razzak al-Yahya announced Saturday that the Aksa Martyrs Brigades had ceased to exist, the group responded by distributing thousands of leaflets throughout the West Bank scoffing at the claim and vowing to continue the armed struggle against Israel..

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