The cease-fire to which Israel and major Palestinian factions agreed this week will be used by Palestinian groups to smuggle weapons into Gaza, reinforce and train “fighter units,” and produce rockets for a future confrontation with the Jewish state, the leaders of the four largest Palestinian terror groups in Gaza told WorldNetDaily in a series of exclusive interviews.
“The cease-fire offers a period of calm for our fighters to recover and prepare for our final goal of evacuating Palestine,” said Abu Abir, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, a Hamas-allied terror organization in the Gaza Strip responsible for many of the recent rocket attacks against Israeli communities.
“We will keep fighting [Israel], but for the moment we will postpone certain parts of the military struggle,” Abu Abir said.
Abu Abdullah, a senior leader of Hamas’ so-called “military wing,” told WND that Hamas agreed to the cease-fire “because we need a period of calm to recuperate. This lull in fighting will not bring us to speak about peace.”
Abu Abdullah is considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas’s Izzedine al-Kassam Martyrs Brigades, Hamas’s declared military wing.
He pointed to Hamas doctrine that calls for the destruction of Israel and refuses to recognize the Jewish state.
“The political leadership [of Hamas] will never compromise on these values,” the terror leader said.
Abu Abdullah said Hamas has its own political reasons to respect the truce. “We want a period of calm to prove we are not only a revolutionary movement but to show the Palestinian people our rule is without the corruption of [the rival] Fatah [party].”
Abu Luay, a leader of Islamic Jihad in Gaza, said that Israel’s call for a cease-fire “proves our rocket attacks work. The Zionists know there is no remedy for our rockets.”
The Islamic Jihad leader said Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel would resume “at a time of our choosing.”
Abu Ahmed, the leader of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip, said his terror group would respect the cease-fire but that “we keep our right to respond to any Israeli aggression. Our group does not give up any of its ideals, which is a withdrawal of the Israelis.”
Israeli Army Not Consulted on Cease-fire
Olmert did not fully consult with the Israeli army before agreeing to the cease-fire with Palestinian militants, according to Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Dan Halutz.
Halutz told the Knesset Tuesday that the cease-fire would help Palestinian terror groups in Gaza, pointing out that since the truce was imposed, weapons have continued to flow from neighboring Egypt into Gaza.
The IDF’s military intelligence unit would have recommended against a cease-fire if asked, military sources told WND. Sources in the unit said the army assessment is that a major anti-terror assault against Gaza and re-occupation of parts of the Strip is immediately needed.
Knesset member Silvan Shalom (Likud), echoing remarks by many of his colleagues, said the current lull in fighting is allowing Hamas to organize and obtain new weapons. He accused Olmert of jeopardizing Israel’s security in an attempt to win back public faith following repeated Palestinian rocket attacks launched from Gaza.
‘Lost Tribe’ Returns Home
About 220 Jews from a group of thousands in India that believes it is one of the “Ten Lost Tribes” landed in Israel, fulfilling for many of them a life-long dream of returning to what they consider their homeland.
“I truly believe this is a miracle of immense historical and even biblical significance,” said Michael Freund, chairman of Shavei Israel, the organization leading the charge for the tribe’s return.
For a decade, Freund’s group has been working to facilitate the immigration to Israel of the Bnei Menashe, about 7,000 Indian citizens who believe they are the descendants of Manasseh, one of the two sons of Joseph, as related in the Bible.
The tribe lives in the two Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur, to which they claim to have been exiled from Israel more than 2,700 years ago by the Assyrian empire.
The group, which has preserved ancient Jewish customs and rituals, has been trying for the past 50 years to return to Israel. Israel’s chief rabbinate flew to India last year to meet with and convert members of the Bnei Menashe. Once legally Jewish, the tribe can apply for Israeli citizenship under the country’s “Law of Return,” which guarantees sanctuary to Jews from around the world.
Jumblatt: Syria Carried Out Assassination
The Syrian government was responsible for the assassination last week of Lebanon’s Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel and will likely attempt more killings with the goal of destabilizing Lebanon, the country’s Druze leader Walid Jumblatt told WND in an interview.
Jumblatt is head of Lebanon’s Progressive Socialist Party and is widely considered the most prominent anti-Syrian Lebanese politician. He charged that calls by many in the U.S. government for a withdrawal from Iraq sent a message of American weakness to Syria that may result in “more instability and chaos” in Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.
“The Syrian regime through some of its local allies carried out this assassination,” said Jumblatt. “They [the Syrians] are capable of anything. They will probably try more killings. We still have a majority in the parliament unless ministers resign or Syria kills more ministers off.”
Jumblatt said Syria is “emboldened by the fact that the Americans are searching for an exit strategy from Iraq. This is encouraging all kinds of people to kill and create chaos in the region.”
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on America’s top radio programs.