Palestinian Authority television has resumed its open support for suicide attacks against Jews and other Israelis.
Since Hamas's victory in elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council, PA television has resumed programming that supports suicide bombings. To glorify such attacks, PA television has interviewed women whose children have volunteered for and died in suicide missions against Israel. In other programs, Palestinian children recited poems and stories that told of their wish to massacre Israelis.
On February 20th, PA television interviewed the parents of a 21-year-old Palestinian woman who sought to bomb Soroka Hospital in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba in the Negev Desert area.
In June 2005, Wafa Al Bas was arrested after she was searched and was found with a 20-pound bomb in her clothing. Al Bas was on her way to Soroka to receive treatment for burns sustained from the explosion of her gas oven. Israel provides free medical care for Arabs, even non-Israeli citizens from the PA when it is needed.
Al Bas's parents expressed understanding for their daughter's mission. Her mother, however, said she did not encourage Al Bas in her desire to die in an attack against Israel:
“If it was a boy, I would have supported this, but since she is a girl I discouraged it.”
PA television has also resumed programming for children that encourages killing Israelis.
On February 26th, a Palestinian pre-teen read a poem that told of a machine gun and rifle received from her father. The poem contained such lines as “When I am big I will join the liberation army. The liberation army has taught us how to liberate our homeland.”
Meanwhile, The Palestinian Authority has been preparing to transfer security authority to the new Hamas-elect government. This is being done with the consent of current Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has held meetings with Hamas representatives to discuss the transfer of security agencies to the authority of the new Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haniyeh. Abbas said several security agencies would come under Hamas control.
“We'll grant Hamas authority over Palestinian national security because we need to have one body that controls the situation to ensure security,” Abbas told the Qatari-based Al-Jazeera satellite channel on March 2nd. “I don't intend to deprive Hamas of what I demanded in the past from Yasser Arafat.”
“There are three security apparatuses,” Abbas said, “the preventive security forces, the police and the civil service. All of these belong to the Interior Ministry, but the national security belongs to the President.”
In remarks reported by the PA media, Abbas said he would transfer control of the National Security Forces, civilian police and civil defense to any Hamas-led government. The paramilitary National Security Forces, said to contain 25,000 troops, has been the largest single PA security agency.
Despite its loss in Palestinian legislative elections though, Fatah continues to sow terror in the Gaza Strip. Fatah has attacked universities, stormed Palestinian Authority offices and attacked rivals.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights has protested the Fatah policy. On February 28th, Fatah gunmen from the Al Rish Brigades stormed Al Quds Open University in Khan Yunis. The gunmen forced staff and students off campus and announced the university would be closed until their demands were met.
The demands were free tuition for any student whose father was killed in the war against Israel, the transfer of 50,000 Jordanian dinars [about $80,000] and new elections for student council.
PA police arrived and did not confront the Fatah gunmen. Instead, a PA officer agreed that the campus would be closed while some of the demands would be fulfilled.
On the same day, the Center reported the killing of one Palestinian and the wounding of two others in a clan dispute in Gaza City. The center said the incident, in which there were no reported arrests, was part of the “internal security chaos and proliferation of arms” in the Gaza Strip.
On March 1st, unidentified gunmen abducted Atef Al Khodari, the director-general of the Palestinian Land Authority, from his office in Gaza City. Al Khodari was held for several hours and then released.
At the same time, Hamas has outlined its plans to establish a Palestinian army in the Gaza Strip to fight Israel and the West.
The army is modeled after Hamas's Izzedin Kassa military wing. A senior commander in
Izzeddin Kassam told the Palestinian newspaper Dunya Al Watan on March 4th that Hamas has established units in every major city and refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.
The commander said thousands of Palestinians have been trained to fight Israel and the West. They said the army would be used in the Holy War against non-Muslims.
The training was designed to last four months and the commander, identified as Abu Huzaifa, said that the first month consists of basic training and the next will comprise
special operations as well as unit maneuvers.
Abu Hazaifa also said Palestinian cadets were taught firearms training, rappelling buildings and outposts, launching Kassam-class, short-range missiles and infiltrating Israeli enemy bases. He said the instructors were Hamas fighters who were trained abroad. Hamas has been trained in such countries as Iran, Lebanon, Sudan and Syria.
In addition, Abu Huzaifa stated the army included an intelligence unit to warn against Israeli strikes. Recruits have been trained to deploy in strategic locations of the Gaza Strip and provide reconnaissance of Israeli ground, air and artillery units.
The army has also overseen the development of new weapons, which, according to Abu Huzaifa, include extended-range Kassam rockets and bombs.
Hamas has already developed a system to quickly mobilize thousands of fighters.
He said the fighters would ensure fierce resistance to any Israeli attempt to recapture the Gaza Strip after the Disengagement.
All this is occurring while Israel's Labor and Kadima political parties are vying over who will get the endorsement of Mahmoud Abbas, who serves as both the head of the Fatah and Palestinian Authority, both organizations that work in tandem with Hamas in a state bent on a total and unremitting war against Israel.
All this begs the question: Is war on the horizon or is there really any semblance of a peace process left?
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