Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

in association with the Fairness Project
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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May 29, 2002

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In-Depth Issue:

The Truth about the
al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade

    Today�s New York Times account of the murder of four Israelis presents the terrorist al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade as an independent, local defense militia. According to correspondent John Kifner, the Brigade "was born in the Balata [refugee] camp as an armed response to an Israeli settler�s slaying of a Palestinian villager...the nominal outgrowth of a Fatah militia called Tanzim [which, with] its leader Marwan Barghouti, have often acted independently of Mr. Arafat."
    In fact, the Tanzim was set up by Arafat in 1995 as a paramilitary force of Fatah. In October 2000, Fatah created the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade as a special unit. Tanzim commanders such as Atef Abiyat and Raed Karmi served in both organizations.
    Documents captured by the Israel Defense Forces in Operation Defensive Shield proved that Fuad Shubaki, Yasser Arafat�s chief financial officer, was funding the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades' operations -- including homicide bombings. Moreover, Arafat authorized payment with his own signature, in Arabic, for Tanzim/al-Aqsa operatives such as Raed Karmi.
    According to the recently released State Department report on "Patterns of Global Terrorism," the al-Aqsa Brigade is responsible for the death of "at least five U.S.citizens," as well as scores of Israeli civilians.

Useful Reference:

  • Twenty Facts about Israel
  • Myths & Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict

    Key Links: Israel

    Key Links: USA

    Key Links: Media Lists

    Action Recommendations

    Daily Alert Back Issues

    The Washington Rally for Israel
  • Speeches
  • Photos
  • News Resources - USA and Europe:
  • Bomber Called His Mother Before Blowing Himself Up
    Just before blowing himself up near an ice cream parlor in Petah Tikva, killing a grandmother and her baby granddaughter and wounding over 50 including 13 children, Jihad Titi called his mother. Haleema Titi told the Associated Press: "I said, 'Oh, son, I hope your operation will succeed.'" Her husband, Ibrahim, said he wished his son had carried a nuclear bomb. The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a terrorist group linked to Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the bombing. (Washington Post/AP)
  • Portugal Welcomes Palestinian Terrorist
    The Portuguese daily 24 Horas ran a photo of a smiling 24-year-old Annan Mohammed Hamis Tanjeh, a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade who was exiled from Bethlehem and arrived in Portugal last Thursday. The photo caption read: "Single, with a free house and a reliable allowance, all he needs is a bride." (
  • How the Experts Spot a Terrorist
    According to an Israeli security specialist who works with American clients, "the difference between the Israeli and American systems is that we are looking for the terrorist, while the Americans look for the weapons." (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Plans for Peace Conference Vague
    Having committed itself to an international peace conference this summer, the United States is now trying to determine how such a meeting can garner results -- or whether it should take place at all. (JTA)
  • News Resources - Israel and Mideast:

  • Terrorists Kill Three High School Students, Jerusalem Man
    Two of the students were killed as they were playing basketball outside their school in Itamar, near Nablus. The terrorist then entered the building, killing one more and wounding two 14-year-old boys. Earlier on Tuesday a Jerusalem man was murdered and his cousin lightly wounded when terrorists shot at their car on the Ramallah bypass road. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Launches New Spy Satellite
    A three-stage Shavit rocket lifted the 300-kilogram Ofek 5 spy satellite into a low orbit around the planet, re-enabling Israel's early-warning capabilities that had been lost when Ofek 3 died two years ago and an Ofek 4 launch failed in 1998.
        Ze'ev Schiff adds: Improved long-range intelligence ability provided by Ofek 5 with its high-resolution cameras is particularly important as Iran is reaching advanced stages in the development of its surface-to-surface Shihab missile and may in the future reach nuclear capability. (Ha'aretz)   See also Israel Aircraft Industries press release.
  • Global Commentary and Think Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Six Wars and Counting - Thomas L. Friedman
    This time Arafat has really hurt the Palestinian cause, and Palestinians know it. This Suicide War has badly alienated the only party that can deliver the Palestinians a state -- the Israeli silent majority. If the Palestinians persuade the Israeli center that they are ready to live side by side in peace, they will get a state; if they don't, they won't. (New York Times)
  • Dumping Arafat: Watering the Seeds of Palestinian Democracy - James S. Robbins
    The American fixation on Arafat is the main obstacle to the emergence of a true nonviolent political opposition movement in the PA. (National Review)
  • The State Department's Terror Untruths - Daniel Pipes
    The State Department uses methods which create the misleading impression that the Middle East is marginal to terrorism. Of the 346 terrorist incidents logged in its "Global Terrorism" report in 2001, 178 (slightly over half) involved attacks on a multinational oil pipeline in Colombia, suggesting that South America is the overwhelming source of terrorism. (New York Post)
  • Amnesty International Report, 2002 - Israel and the Territories
    "More than 460 Palestinians were killed during 2001 by the Israeli security forces; most were unlawfully killed." (Amnesty International)
  • A Question of Blood - Dan Gordon
    According to Dr. David Zangen, chief medical officer of the Israeli paratroop unit in Jenin, the Israelis offered the Palestinians blood for their wounded, but the Palestinians refused it because it was Jewish blood. (Jewish Journal of LA)
  • Muslim Intellectual Fights Anti-Semitism - Joseph Algazy
    Tariq Ramadan, a lecturer at the College of Geneva in Switzerland, is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. In his opinion, "Anti-Semitism has no justification in Islam, the message of which demands respect for the Jewish religion and spirit, which are considered a noble expression of the People of the Book." (Ha'aretz)
  • Talking Points:   Arafat Has the Capability; He Lacks the Will

        U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer has called Yasser Arafat's performance "abysmal in terms of using the resources at his disposal -- the PA's police, security forces, and intelligence apparatus -- to stop this kind of [terrorist] activity." Nevertheless, while expressing �great disappointment in [Arafat�s] performance," the ambassador stated that the U.S. "will continue to work with the PA and Arafat...the elected leader of the Palestinians."

    What Arafat Can Do:

    • Crush terrorist cells and shut down bomb and mortar factories. He has the capability -- Arafat�s security forces remain intact in the West Bank. They may have lost some of their facilities, but the command, communications, and intelligence structures remain intact. None of the Gazan security forces were targeted in Operation Defensive Shield.
    • Confiscate terrorists' weaponry. Arafat�s security forces have the "firepower" to take on Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Tanzim/al-Aqsa Brigade. They retain the weaponry permitted under the Oslo Accords (as well as considerable amounts of smuggled weapons).
    • Stop incitement. Arafat sends mixed signals when he "denounces" terrorism but in the same speeches refers to treaties that were broken by Mohammed when it was convenient.
    • Adopt a culture of coexistence. To the foreign media, Arafat may publicly express sorrow over murdered Israeli civilians, but Palestinian schools, mosques, and media continue to extol suicide bombers.
    • Arafat has the capability. Does he have the will?

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