Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert this past week granted complete amnesty to 45 terrorists, including the chief of the most active West Bank Palestinian terrorist organization, whose cell is responsible for scores of deadly attacks.
Ala Senakreh, considered the West Bank chief of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, was on the amnesty list, which was obtained by this reporter. He received his full pardon last Tuesday.
The Brigades is the military wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah organization. Together with Islamic Jihad, Senakreh’s group took responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel from 2005 through 2007, and for scores of deadly shooting attacks.
Brom his base in the northern West Bank city of Nablus – the Brigades’ main stronghold – Senakreh directed cells that carried out scores of suicide bombings inside Israel, according to security sources and Senakreh’s own admission during in-person interviews.
Last June, Olmert granted temporary amnesty to 178 terrorists on condition they disarm, refrain from attacks and spend three months in PA detention facilities and another three months confined to the West Bank city in which they reside.
In spite of rampant Israeli media reports that many of the 178 pardoned terrorists refused to disarm and continued carrying out attacks, Olmert pardoned 48 more Al Aksa Brigades members last October, and earlier this year pardoned at least 80 more. Now Senakreh is among those pardoned.
Hamas Opposes Int’l Force in Gaza
Israel and Egypt have embarked on serious discussions about the deployment of an Arab force in the Gaza Strip which would consist mostly of Egyptian and some Saudis, senior defense officials told WorldNetDaily.
The officials said Defense Minister Ehud Barak discussed the Israeli proposal for Arab forces in Gaza during a meeting he held last week in Alexandria with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
The officials said Barak and Olmert would like to eventually expand the deployment of Arab and international forces to the West Bank as well. These units would consist largely of Jordanian forces, according to an Israeli plan.
Ahmed Yousef, Hamas’s top political adviser in the Gaza Strip, confirmed that he is aware of the recent talk of sending an Arab force into Gaza. He said his organization strongly opposes the plan.
“Hamas’s position is resisting this idea strongly because there is no need for such things. We can handle security and don’t need to bring forces and internationalized solutions,” said Yousef, speaking on his cell phone from Gaza.
In a more direct response, Abu Abdullah, a senior leader of Hamas’s so-called military wing, told WND his group would target any international forces in Gaza.
That sentiment was echoed by Muhammad Abdel-Al, spokesman and senior leader of the Hamas-allied Popular Resistance Committees, who accused Egypt of serving “the Zionist conspiracy to take over our land.”
“Our resistance will reach any Arab forces who think they have the right to deploy in Gaza,” Abdel-Al told this column.
Gush Katif Grounds Providing Ample
Space For Terrorist Training in Gaza
Several major Palestinian terrorist organizations last weekend staged what they called military training exercises on the grounds of Gush Katif, the former slate of Jewish communities inside the Gaza Strip that were uprooted by Israel three years ago. The exercises were aimed at preparing for attacks against Israel, said terrorist leaders.
“The old [Jewish] settlements gave the Palestinian resistance enough space to have big trainings. We never had this space and these possibilities when the Zionists were in Gaza,” Abu Muhammad, a senior Gaza-based leader of the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, told WND in an interview.
Abu Muhammad said those drills stressed Hizbullah-like guerilla operations, such as exercises in raiding Israel’s border with Gaza and kidnapping of Israeli troops; shooting practice using automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, or RPGs; and explosives testing.
He said Islamic Jihad was using a cease-fire with Israel, forged last June, to stock up on weapons and increase the range of the group’s rockets, which for three years have devastated Jewish towns located near Gaza.
He claimed his group now possesses “hundreds” of improved rockets that place “all the Israelis south” within range.
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on leading U.S. radio programs and is the author of the book “Schmoozing with Terrorists.”