The Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades leadership responsible for orchestrating this week’s suicide bombing in Eilat is loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah party, Abu Ahmed, leader of the Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip told WorldNetDaily in an exclusive interview.
Along with the Islamic Jihad terror group, the Brigades, the declared military wing of Fatah, took responsibility for the attack, which killed three civilians. The bomber originated with Abu Ahmed’s cell of the Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip.
Fatah spokesman Ahmad Abdul Rahman, meanwhile, condemned the bombing, telling reporters, “We are against any operation that targets civilians, Israelis or Palestinians.”
But the Brigades’ Abu Ahmed said the Eilat attack “reflects the position of Fatah that the occupation must be fought whenever and wherever possible.”
He said Abbas “did not have anything to do with the attack but we are loyal to him.”
“The Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades has an independent role, but we are proud to be a part of a movement (Fatah) which has a heroic leadership respected around the world,” Abu Ahmed said.
U.S. policy considers Fatah to be moderate, while the State Department labels the Brigades a terror group.
Abu Ahmed said that although other organizations took responsibility for this week’s attack, it was Fatah’s Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades that trained the bomber, planned and aided his infiltration into Israel and provided him with explosives. He said the only role Islamic Jihad played in this week’s attack was in originally recruiting the suicide bomber.
Carter: Too Many Jews On Holocaust Council
Former President Jimmy Carter once complained there were “too many Jews” on the government’s Holocaust Memorial Council, Monroe Freedman, the council’s former executive director, told WND this week.
Freedman said that in 1980 he was given the task of creating a board for the council, which was created by the Carter White House and which went on to establish the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Freedman said he sent a memo to Carter’s office containing recommendations for council board members. He said the board he constructed was about 80 percent Jewish, including many Holocaust survivors. His memo was returned, he said, with a note on the upper right hand corner that stated, “Too many Jews.”
The note, Freedman said, was written in Carter’s handwriting and was initialed by Carter.
He said that at the behest of the White House his council composed another board consisting of more non-Jews. But he said he was “stunned” when Carter’s office objected to a non-Jew whose name sounded Jewish.
Freedman said he was “outraged by this absurdity.”
“If I was memorializing Martin Luther King, I would expect a significant number of board members to be African American. I do not for a moment consider it inappropriate to build a Holocaust council with a significant majority of the board being Jewish,” Freedman said.
Freedman describes himself as a “self-proclaimed iberal.” He said he decided to speak out after the release of Carter’s latest book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, which has been criticized for anti-Israel bias. (See story, page 3.)
Kadima Proposal: Hand West Bank to Europe
A member of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Kadima party last week proposed transferring control of the West Bank to a European task force until the establishment of a Palestinian state, at which time the strategic territory would be handed to security forces associated with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
The West Bank borders Jerusalem and is within rocket-firing range of Tel Aviv and Israel’s international airport.
At Israel’s prestigious Herzliya Conference, Knesset Member Shlomo Breznitz, reportedly a close confidante of Olmert, said the West Bank should be transferred temporarily to the Europeans and that most of the territory’s Jewish communities should be evacuated.
The Herzliya Conference is attended by Israel’s top leadership and regularly maps out the country’s agenda for the coming year. In 2004, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced his plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip at the conference.
Breznitz told Israel’s Maariv daily newspaper that the West Bank should be transferred to the European community and not the U.S. because, he said, after the invasion of Iraq, America “lost its status as an honest broker in the view of the Palestinians and the Arab states.”
Breznitz said his West Bank transfer proposal received a warm reception from European and Palestinian officials. The proposal comes after this column broke the story last week that, according to top European and Egyptian diplomatic sources, Israel has been conducting behind-the-scene negotiations to hand over most of the West Bank to Abbas’s security forces. The sources said the transfer of security control to Abbas would be coordinated by the European Union and Jordan.
Olmert’s office this week denied this column’s reports on negotiations to evacuate the West Bank.
EU Anticipating Role In Israel’s Security
The European Union is in the process of expanding its offices in Israel, including in the Palestinian areas, in anticipation of an increased security role here following what European diplomatic officials say is new momentum regarding an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.
EU sources in Israel tell WND that their offices here are taking on new staffers to deal with matters of security, public relations, diplomacy and regional coordination. They say they expect an increased work load due to behind-the-scenes diplomatic initiatives they say may result in an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.
According to an aide to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, speaking on condition of anonymity, there will be a “historic political evolution and movement in negotiations in the next few weeks and few months, unseen since the Camp David peace talks in 2000.”
During the Camp David talks, then-prime minister Ehud Barak offered Yasir Arafat a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern sections of Jerusalem.
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief forWorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on leading American radio programs.