HAMAS JEALOUS OF THE AL-AQSA MARTYRS BRIGADES
[Note by Tom Gross]
I attach two items:
1. In recent months, Hamas has grown increasingly jealous of the mounting operational "successes" (in terms of killing Israelis in suicide and other attacks) of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the terrorist militia founded by Yasser Arafat and Marwan Barghouti after they launched their intifada.
The tensions and rivalries between Hamas and Arafat's Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigades have become more public of late. According to the briefing (attached below, and translated by the IDF from Palestinian internet sites), Hamas leader Abdel-Aziz al-Rantisi earlier this month criticized Palestinian and international media for "trying to glorify Marwan Barghouti's image."
Hamas denounced Barghouti, who is due to go on trial in Israel for murder, for "recruiting Nelson Mandela and a battery of French lawyers to defend him, despite the fact that [Israel] is detaining [suspected Palestinian terrorists] who are much more important and serving in much more active roles than he is."
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades website has responded by denouncing Hamas for "disgracing one of our noble warriors, Marwan Barghouti."
2. Following the IDF translation, I attach a separate statement by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades from September 23, 2002, denouncing Nabil Amar as a "traitor". Nabil Amar recently called for reform of the Palestinian Authority and criticized Yasser Arafat. The statement by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades implies that Amar will be "punished" for his criticism of Arafat.
TOP HAMAS OFFICIAL BRANDS MARWAN BARGHOUTI A “TRAITOR”
Top Hamas official brands Marwan Barghouti a "traitor"
Over the past several days, tensions have been rising between Fatah and Hamas. The two Palestinian terror organizations are exchanging public accusations as they vie for leadership in the armed struggle against Israel.
According to IDF statistics, Palestinian terrorists have carried out more than 13,700 terror attacks since September 2000. These attacks have resulted in the slaying of 612 civilians, soldiers and visitors.
The current uproar was sparked by blatant criticisms, voiced by top Hamas official Abdel-Aziz al-Rantisi, against Marwan Barghouti, commander of the terrorist wing of the Fatah, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. Barghouti is currently standing trial in Israel for the murder of dozens of Israeli civilians and soldiers.
Statement by Abdel-Aziz al-Rantisi:
On 8 September 2002, responding to remarks by a participant in the Internet forum, 'Paltalk', Rantisi stated:
"Palestinian and international media are trying to glorify Marwan Barghouti's image. In addition, campaigns are being organized to defend him [legally and publicly], despite the fact that he [Barghouti] was among the Copenhagen Group [a political dialog that took place between Israel and the Palestinians in Copenhagen several years ago] and pursued peace with Israel [in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in the late 90s]."
"It seems that steps are being taken to turn him [Barghouti] into the 'Karadi of Palestine' [Karadi: the U.S.-appointed Afghan leader after the overthrow of the Taliban regime]. This is manifested by the world-wide interest in him [Barghouti] and the recruiting of Nelson Mandela and a battery of French lawyers to defend him, this despite the fact that Israel is detaining [suspected Palestinian terrorists] who are much more important and serving in much more active roles than he is. Most important among these is 'jihad warrior' Hassan Yusuf [a Ramallah-based Hamas official being held in Israel for his direct involvement in terror attacks]."
"Is this act of turning Barghouti into the new Palestinian Karadi going to continue? Are you going to allow this?"
Statement by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin:
These accusations reinforce recent angry remarks directed at Fatah by Hamas leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. In a special interview with the Islamic newspaper Nidaa Alislam in July 2002, Yassin declared that Hamas "is working to deepen the roots of Islam in Palestine?. The Islamic movement has scored a great victory over the secular movements [primarily Fatah] that have been overshadowed by the spreading wave of Islam after having held the reins of government [in the past]."
Below are some relevant excerpts from Yassin's interview:
Rantisi's claims provoked much disfavor among members of Fatah, headed by Yassir Arafat. In a formal statement published by members of the Fatah Forum on the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades website, Barghouti is called 'warrior, symbol of the struggle, and flag of the Intifada who lit the torch [of struggle] that will never be extinguished.' These descriptions of Barghouti as 'warrior of the Intifada' [the war of terror against Israel initiated by the Palestinian Authority in September 2000] contradict the claims of Palestinian organizations acting on behalf of Barghouti that allege that he is merely a political figure.
The following is a translation of a statement published on the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades website:
"In the name of the merciful compassionate Allah
A statement by the members of the Fatah Forum
[The symbol of the Fatah movement]
A dangerous precedent – a Hamas leader has disgraced one of our noble warriors, Marwan Barghouti!
Oh, brothers of the Palestinian people, standing tall,
Marwan Barghouti is a symbol of the struggle, a flag of the Intifada who lit the torch [of struggle] that will never be extinguished.
We, sons of Palestine, sons of Fatah, members of the Fatah Forum, stress that our people – no matter which groups or divisions we represent – cannot accept the vile words of Dr. Abdel-Aziz al-Rantisi, prominent Hamas leader, who brags about his dedication to "national unity" while he points his finger at others saying that they are deliberately undermining it."
Rantisi stated in an Internet interview he gave on 8 September 2002: 'Everything connected with the trial of our brother warrior Marwan Barghouti is but a show to allow him to be transformed into a 'Palestinian Karadi.'
We consider these words of Rantisi, as well as his agreement with and support of the question directed to him during that interview, a dangerous precedent and expressive only of his narrow political outlook. This characterization of the warrior Barghouti constitutes a serious deviation from the basic principles of our Palestinian people, offensive in light of his sacrifices and an insult to the blood of the fallen and wounded and the sacrifice of the imprisoned.
We take this opportunity to send greetings to our warriors detained in Zionist penitentiaries, first and foremost these brothers:
Nasser Abu Hamid
[Ramallah-based Fatah operative convicted of murdering Israelis]
[Nablus-based Fatah operative responsible for dispatching suicide terrorists]
Abed Alrahim Maluch
[Senior official of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, responsible for the PFLP's policy of terror]
[Head of the Fatah terrorist wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades]
[Senior Hamas leader in Ramallah, involved in terror attacks]
[Senior Fatah operative, linked to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades]
[Kalkilya-based Fatah operative involved in terror attacks]
Yasser Abu Bachar
[Samaria-based Fatah operative involved in terror attacks]
We call for their immediate release
We, members of the Fatah Movement in the Fatah Forum call upon all [active] forces among our [Palestinian] people and the [Arab] nation to condemn and denounce the slander and allegations directed at the standing of one of our brave warriors. It seems that he who uttered these words strives to draw attention to himself at the expense of our warriors, the [Palestinian] problem and the interests of our [Palestinian] people while destroying what our people have achieved through blood and sacrifice.
We call upon Abdel-Aziz al-Rantisi to apologize, immediately and publicly, for his statements. We call upon our brothers in Hamas to bear the burden of national responsibility and declare their position vis these statements, positive or negative.
We call upon our brother Ahmed Yassin to intervene immediately, to publicly denounce the current situation, as he, more than anyone else, is aware of its sensitivity and to take care to distance himself from these statements.
Should he [Rantisi] fail to do so, we will pursue him using every legal, informational, legislative and other legal means at our disposal to pay him back for his despicable behavior. We emphasize that these actions will not deter us, the sons of Fatah, from continuing the struggle to be the first in line among the guardians of national unity and in the struggle for the liberation of our country – which was stolen from us – and the captive holy sites, until the establishment of our Palestinian state with its capital, Jerusalem, headed by the warrior leader, the symbol, Abu Amar [Yassir Arafat].
This revolution will end only in victory.
NABIL AMAR IS A TRAITOR
Nabil Amar is a traitor
Statement by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
September 23, 2002
This is a translation of the declaration published by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades on 23 September 2002:
"Our brave people At this moment of truth, while our people, and all the groups it consists of, stand united by the leader [Arafat]'s side, there is one group of middlemen and agents that is watching us and trying to force an alternative leadership upon us. They do this in order to solve the Palestinian problem, by advance planning with the Americans and the Israelis, who gave legitimacy to the continuation of the occupation [of the Palestinian land]. They cooperated with the occupation and made plans to wipe out the brave and noble fighters who are protecting our independent decision-making. Those who are called 'an alternative' have became 'a third side' and do not play any part in the Palestinian battle. On this point, we wish to emphasize that we have no other leader apart from the leaders who are currently dealing with our problems and with the current events concerning our people in this highly decisive period.
"We have no other leadership apart from the warrior leadership, from the point of view of real and true belief in the battle, we wish to say to all the conspirators, such as Nabil Amar and his group of traitors who are seeking to create an alternative leadership, that their schemes will not be realised. We want to emphasize at this point, our right to armed battle in every way possible and to strike at the Zionist targets and the Zionist territory [the State of Israel]. Our people have no other choice but the way of legitimate battle and gathering around the leadership and the symbol, which is Yaser Arafat.
"The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades warns all those who have chosen to scorn the achievements of the Palestinian people, led by the national and historic leadership.
"The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades take it upon themselves to fulfill the mission of resistance, and to make dubious the opposition within the Palestinian Authority and within the Fatah [to Arafat] which has been denounced by the entire Palestinian People.
"The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades – Say and do. Promise and fulfill.