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Israeli Measures against Hamas in the West Bank Background

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					       Israeli Measures against Hamas in the West Bank
               Background Briefing – 10 July 2008


1. Background

     a. Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, is an illegal
        Palestinian Islamist armed organization whose central goal
        is the destruction of the State of Israel. Hamas employs
        terrorism as its main method of operation and disseminates
        its ideology via mass media, political cells and social
        activities that attract the Palestinian population.

        Hamas is exporting their operational experience from the
        Gaza Strip to the West Bank and exploiting its civil
        infrastructure in order to recruit support for its terrorist
        activities. The organization's ideology is based on a Muslim
        Brotherhood worldview, which integrates fanatical Muslim
        theology with an extremist nationalist Palestinian agenda.
        Consequently, the organization is vehemently opposed to
        the pragmatic Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas
        and to other moderate Arab regimes who do not accept its
        ideology.

     b. Since the year 2000, 373 Israelis have been killed in
        Hamas-initiated terror attacks. Of those, 325 were civilians
        killed in suicide attacks and other terror incidents, and the
        remaining 48 victims were members of the Israeli security
        forces.

     c. Hamas uses two central methods to achieve its goals:

           i. Holy War (Jihad): The violent campaign against Israel
              and any other entity not identified with radical Islam
              that control areas of “Greater Palestine” (from the
              Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River). Prevalent
              methods employed are operations against civilian
              targets, suicide attacks and the use of women and
              children as terror operatives.

           ii. Social Activities (Daawa): Referred to by Hamas as
               “the training of the hearts", these “charitable”
               activities constitute the organization's most important
               means to implement its ideological agenda and to
               promote support for its goals within the population. In
               a continuous, long-term program, Hamas uses its
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              social welfare apparatus to create and increase the
              population's political allegiance, veiled in religious
              rhetoric. In the course of time, the recipient of this
              assistance will become an activist in the movement,
              whether as a terrorist operative, in an organizational
              capacity or as a political supporter.

2. Facing Hamas Terrorism

     a. Hamas terrorist operatives continuously target Israelis as
        part of their struggle against the existence of the State of
        Israel. On 4 February 2008, a suicide bomber blew himself
        up in a shopping center in Dimona, killing one Israeli civilian
        and injuring 38 others. Last Yom Kippur (22 Sep 2007),
        Israeli security forces thwarted an attack on civilian targets
        when they found explosive belts hidden ready for use in Tel
        Aviv. During the Passover holiday last year (April 2007),
        they discovered a car bomb in central Israel. Hamas
        initiated all three of these attacks, all targeting population
        centers.

     b. Due to the danger that Hamas poses to Israel’s citizens,
        and to the threat they pose to the peace process between
        Israel and the pragmatic Palestinian leadership, Israel set
        the campaign against Hamas as its primary objective. For
        this reason, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) wages a
        stubborn campaign against the Hamas terror organization,
        with emphasis on the organization's terror operatives.

     c. Hamas operatives use various methods to implement their
        ideology of jihad and anti-Israel terrorism, including
        disguising themselves as civilians, even women, in order to
        avoid detection and carry out their attacks. In September
        2007, while conducting operations against the terrorist
        infrastructure in the Ein Beit Ilma refugee camp in Nablus,
        Israel security forces discovered a fugitive hiding beneath a
        bed upon which a pregnant woman, who had objected to the
        search, was lying. The fugitive, Ahmed Yussuf Aya Abd-el
        Iz, one of the heads of the Hamas infrastructure in the
        camp, was arrested. In another incident, an Israeli force
        arrested Ahmed Yussuf Abd El Abu Shehada, another
        Hamas operative, who disguised himself in women's
        clothing in an attempt to dupe IDF forces searching for him.
        Three other Hamas operatives, Haled Nuri, Yussuf Nadi and
        Mustafa Nuri, were arrested in the same operation. They
        admitted during questioning to the planning of attacks
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  against Israeli targets as well as to Mustafa Nuri's desire to
  commit a suicide attack.

d. Many Hamas activists were arrested during 2007 – 2008.
   The most senior among them:

      i. On 11 January 2007, security forces detained Khaled
         Mohammed Amin El Haj' in the Jenin refugee camp.
         In the year preceding his arrest, El Haj' headed the
         Hamas organization in the Jenin region, and was
         considered the most senior operative in the area,
         responsible for all the organization's regional
         operations and for coordination with Hamas
         headquarters in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and
         abroad. In addition, El Haj' played a pivotal role in the
         establishment of the Hamas terrorist infrastructure in
         the Jenin region.

         Together with El Haj’, the IDF arrested Ghassan Abd
         El Wahab Tahir Zouaibi. Ghassan Zouaibi was a
         senior member of the Hamas leadership in the Jenin
         region and played a central role in the establishment
         of its terrorist cadre.

     ii. On 23 June 2007, security forces apprehended Salah
         Mahmud Suliman el Aruri in the village of Arura, north
         of Ramallah. A senior operative of the Hamas terror
         infrastructure and a wanted fugitive, El Aruri is
         considered the founder of the West Bank’s Iz A-Din El
         Kassam Brigades – the military wing of the Hamas
         terror organization. He is the most senior Hamas
         operative in the West Bank and is one of the heads of
         the Hamas overall leadership.

     iii. On 26 March 2008, security forces arrested Omar
          Jaber, head of Hamas infrastructure in the Tul Karem
          region. He had been wanted since 2002 for his
          coordination of the suicide bombing of the Park Hotel
          on Passover eve, 27 March 2002, including arranging
          for the transport for the suicide. Thirty Israelis were
          killed and 140 injured in the attack.

         From 2002, Omar Jaber was directly responsible for
         recruiting armed cadre into the Hamas terror
         organization and for recruiting youngsters to serve as
         terrorist operatives in isolated armed cells. In the year
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              prior to his arrest, he was directly involved in the
              training of these recruits. Jaber used coded
              messages to receive funding for his activities, to
              finance the operatives working with him and to
              purchase and hide weapons and ammunition.
              Following the armed confrontation between the PA
              and Hamas in the Gaza Strip in January 2007, Jaber
              began to form an extensive terrorist infrastructure in
              the Tul Karem area. In addition, he was responsible
              for the financing of terror cells, for the purchase of
              weapons and for recruiting operatives. He also
              formed isolated cells whose role was to form an
              operational force based on the Hamas model
              operating in the Gaza Strip. The arrest of the cell
              members in effect prevented them from carrying out
              their intended terrorist attacks.


3. The Hamas Daawa Network

     a. The Hamas Daawa (Charitable) institutions comprise a
        comprehensive social infrastructure, incorporating dozens
        of bodies and institutions and scores of associations and
        Islamic charitable committees spread throughout West Bank
        cities and many of the villages as well.

        These associations and committees provide financial and
        material aid to the population in general and to Hamas
        supporters in particular, and carry out activities in a wide
        range of fields – education, health, welfare, religion,
        information, etc. This array constitutes Hamas' main power
        base and differentiates it from other Islamic organizations
        operating in the area.

     b. This Hamas activity is carried out under the guise of charity,
        but the actual aim of the Daawa infrastructure is the
        strengthening of the Hamas terror organization and its grip
        on the population. It is representative of the organization's
        strategy to accumulate strength in the West Bank so as to
        gain control and increase its influence locally and regionally
        – much in the same manner as Hamas gained control of the
        Gaza Strip.

     c. In light of the above, Israel has concluded that measures to
        curtail this infrastructure and its numerous components –
        employees, associations, connections with internal and
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   external financiers, etc – are essential for the disruption of
   Hamas operations, for curbing its increasing influence and
   reducing its power base in the West Bank.

d. Consequently, Israeli security forces have embarked upon
   unprecedented operations against institutions belonging to
   the Hamas Daawa infrastructure in the West Bank. Funds
   disguised as “charity” but actually designated for terror
   activities are funneled through these institutions, which are
   a valuable instrument for financing terror-related activities.
   As part of the campaign against Hamas, it was decided to
   operate against its organizational infrastructure, which
   includes offices, warehouses, financial assets and various
   institutions, in order to impair the organization's ability to
   function effectively, thus undermining its effort to co-opt the
   legitimate Palestinian Authority.

e. The institutions of the Hamas Daawa infrastructure have
   been outlawed due to their financial support of the families
   of suicide bombers and imprisoned terror operatives.
   Hamas support for the families of killed and jailed terrorists
   aims to provide incentives for terrorist recruits and to
   increase popular support for the terror organizations.

f. Since the beginning of 2008, Israeli security forces have
   been focusing on several regions in Judea and Samaria in
   their efforts against the Hamas Daawa institutions.

   On 6 March, the IDF launched an operation against
   economic assets of the Islamic Charity Association in
   Hebron, confiscated assets and closed down institutions
   and offices that provided a source of income for the
   organization's terror-related activities. The Islamic Charity
   Association is the largest and most established institution in
   the Hamas' Daawa network in the West Bank. This
   institution funds and directs the activities of many sub-
   associations spread throughout southern Judea and
   Samaria. The Association distributes Hamas propaganda
   materials, initiates Hamas-related projects and creates a
   significant power base for the movement among the local
   population. Security forces carried out similar operations
   against institutions and economic assets operating under
   the auspices of Hamas in the towns of Kalkilya, Jenin and
   Ramallah.



                                                                    5
      g. Due to the Israeli operations, Hamas is losing a vital source
         of income without which it will find it difficult to pay for arms
         and ammunition, carry out attacks or assemble the
         explosives necessary for terror attacks on Tel Aviv, Netanya
         or Dimona – the last town attacked by a Hamas suicide
         bomber only a few months ago.

      h. The damage to the Hamas Daawa facilities disrupts the flow
         of money needed by the organization, thereby disrupting
         terror activities as well.

      i. Schools and orphanages belonging to the Hamas
         organization educate generations of schoolchildren in the
         spirit of jihad and of Hamas as the supreme value. The
         photos appended to this document, all confiscated from
         Hamas Daawa institutions, clearly demonstrate the Hamas
         indoctrination of youth to terrorism and jihad.

4. The Legal Front:

      a. The IDF Military Advocate General is carrying out a diverse
         range of legal activities in the campaign against Hamas,
         which have met with much success. Furthermore, there is
         widespread understanding in the military courts, the High
         Court and even in international courts that decisive action
         must be taken against the Hamas's "civilian" infrastructure,
         and that Daawa activities which engender terrorism must be
         viewed with severity.

      b. Several legal precedents have been established in the
         course of this campaign:

             i. The military court in Judea sentenced Hosni
                Mohamed Abd El Qadar Abu Awaad to three years in
                prison on 17 December 2007. Abu Awaad headed the
                Ramallah Daawa Committee, which was a subsidiary
                of Hamas's Daawa network and was therefore
                outlawed. The sentence set a precedent, as this was
                the first time a prison term was imposed for an
                operative working in the Hamas Daawa infrastructure.

            ii. An 18 March 2008 ruling of the Israel Supreme Court
                holds significant legal importance in the fight against
                terror-related funds.

                According to the ruling, the military commander is
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               authorized to order the confiscation of funds from a
               person equal in value to funds transferred to him by
               an outlawed organization, without requiring proof of
               the source of the confiscated funds in question. This
               ruling can provide a basis for action against terror-
               related funds, particularly against terror operatives in
               the West Bank where substantial evidence regarding
               transfer of funds to them from terrorist organizations
               has been gathered.

           iii. On 27 February 2008, a military court accepted an
                appeal that authorizes the continued imprisonment of
                a Palestinian who established a Daawa organization
                on behalf of Hamas. According to the judge, the sole
                purpose of the organization was the support of
                Hamas-related activities. Although the organization
                also collected money for establishing a school and for
                child education, all these activities were carried out in
                an atmosphere totally oriented to promoting Hamas
                ideology.


5. Conclusions:

     a. By supporting the population and providing ostensibly
        “charitable” services, the Hamas terror organization
        promotes its armed agenda under a civilian umbrella.
        However, the real purpose of these activities is to increase
        Hamas's ideological power base and its control over the
        population.

     b. The organization uses its Daawa infrastructure as a tool to
        usurp control of the West Bank from the legitimate
        Palestinian Authority, as it has already done in the Gaza
        Strip. Should this effort be successful, the consequences
        would be tragic for the peace negotiations now taking place
        between Israel and the pragmatic Palestinian Authority.

     c. Hamas's Daawa activities promote popular support and
        recruitment for increased terrorist operations against Israel.
        The institutions indoctrinate youth with an ideology of
        terrorism and violence, and provide financial support for the
        families of killed and imprisoned terrorists – thus providing
        an incentive for terrorist enlistment.



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d. In addition, the infrastructure established by the Hamas
   Daawa institutions is used to transfer terror-related funds
   under the guise of charity, thus creating a versatile system
   for channeling funds to terror operations.

e. Israeli security forces will continue to operate against the
   Hamas terror organization, its institutions and assets, in
   order to provide security and safety to the citizens of Israel
   and to prevent Hamas from taking control of the West Bank

f. Israel will continue to utilize all the legal options at its
   disposal against the terror organizations and their
   operatives in order to provide protection and safety to the
   citizens of Israel.




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Appendix – Visual Materiel Confiscated from Hamas Dawa
                      Institutions




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“I swear I shall take revenge, for the sake of God and the Religion”




“Oh rock, if I would only have known what fate had in store I would tear
out my heart, put it aside, and replace it with rock.”

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