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Report: How Abu Mazen's Fatah Movement Directs Attacks in Judea and Samaria

Under Abu Mazen's leadership, members of the Fatah Movement encourage and carry out attacks through the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. Abu Mazen and his senior officials’ approach is similar to Arafat's, but Israel is continuing to stick its head in the sand. Read Hakol HaYehudi’s full report on Fatah

  • Elchanan Gruner, Hakol Hayehudi
  • ט"ו שבט תשפ"ד - 10:36 25/01/2024
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לכתבה בעברית

Left-wing organizations in Israel, many led by former members of the security establishment, seek to establish a Palestinian state headed by Abu Mazen at the end of the Gaza war. To advance this aim, they have denied  and concealed the involvement of the  Palestinian Authority in attacks and terrorism. They have further silenced those who have drawn attention to this issue.

An investigation by Hakol HaYehudi published in the 'Bsheva' weekly newspaper exposed PA leaders’ support for terror- including those directly under Abu Mazen.

The leader of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazen, much like his predecessor in office, Yasser Arafat, controls two main entities. One is the "official mechanisms" that supposedly cooperate with Israel, while the other is the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades which officially and expressly takes part in terror attacks.

Many members of the PA security forces have been killed since Oct. 7th while firing at IDF forces in villages or cities. Many of the PA security forces also take part in so-called "double parking" - during the day they work for the PA and at night, they shoot at IDF soldiers while serving in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades.

How many examples of these two-faced terrorists are there? The IDF and the Civil Administration refuse to provide an estimate. However, according to our count, the number exceeds 100, with many more actively participating in attacks against the IDF. When the IDF announces the death of these terrorists, including some who were targeted in airstrikes, the IDF and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) avoid stating the affiliation of these individuals, presumably to maintain the falsehood that the PA can serve as a partner for peace.

Below we review the history of Fatah and its formation of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade. We also highlight the current PA Ministers from the Fatah party in various regions and how they interact regularly with the terrorists from the Fatah-affiliated Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade.

What is Tanzim?

"Tanzim," which literally translates to "Organization," is a group within Fatah established in 1995 after the Oslo Accords.

The Tanzim is comprised of long serving local Fatah leadership and includes within it the primary organizational manpower of Fatah.

During the Second Intifada, the Fatah Tanzim, under the leadership of arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti and with the guidance of Yasser Arafat, led an intense and violent series of terror attacks.

Israel’s blindness during the Second Intifada

During the Second Intifada, it took Israel a long time to realize that the terror attacks on soldiers and civilians were being carried out by the PA security forces and the Tanzim under Marwan Barghouti, all with the support of Yasser Arafat.

The “Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades" was later established as a clandestine terrorist organization within the Tanzim, and senior figures in the security forces took part in it. After Operation Defensive Shield in 2002, documents were uncovered revealing the extent of Arafat and other senior PA officials' involvement in both organizations. 

What the media doesn’t report

Among the findings was that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades was responsible for at least 12 of 38 suicide bombings (32%) against Israeli civilians from January to August 2002.

Among the leaders of these attacks was Jihad Amarin, an officer with the rank of colonel in the PA security forces, who led the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Gaza and was assassinated in 2002. Notably, Amarin appears to have been close to Arafat and Arafat even helped Amarin sneak into Israel inside Arafat's vehicle.

Other leaders of the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade form this period include Nayef Abu Shraf from Shechem, who was assassinated in 2004; Marwan Zalum from Hebron, who was assassinated after the murder of Shalhevet Pas HY”D; Aatef Abayat from Bethlehem, who was assassinated in 2001; and Raed al-Karmi from Tulkarem, who was killed in 2002.

Several members are also serving in Israel prisons. Among these are Nasser Awis, the right-hand man of Marwan Barghouti, who was sentenced to 14 life sentences for his role in organizing suicide bombings, and Majdi Massri received 10 life sentences for his role in suicide bombings.

The Conception: Arafat as a Man of Peace

After the Oslo Accords, Israel established a "security coordination" mechanism with the PA, believing that Arafat and Fatah had become men of peace.

This mistaken conception persisted even after the outbreak of the Second Intifada, leading to numerous additional deaths until the mistake was recognized.

The most well-known incident was the lynching of Druze Border Police Officer Madhat Yusuf at Joseph's Tomb during the start of the Second Intifada. A group of Arab rioters, which included PA police officers, attacked the officers at the tomb, injuring Yusuf.

Although the military observed the incident from the nearby Tel Ares base, the IDF waited for PA Official Jibril Rajoub to arrive and calm the situation. The belief was that this would enable Madhat to be rescued from the mob. However, Rajoub “delayed” his arrival for several hours, which ultimately led to Madhat’s death.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades’ Comeback in May 2021

During Operation "Guardian of the Walls" in 2021, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade issued a statement declaring their return to a violent struggle against Israel. Three days later, the first armed parade took place in Ramallah.

Whether the statement rose from concern about the growing influence of Hamas or from Fatah's ordinary desire to kill Jews, the decision had a significant impact in the region. Over the past two and a half years, since then, there has been a notable increase in shooting attacks in Judea and Samaria.

The attacks began with firing at IDF forces in cities, expanded to attacks on checkpoints and army positions, and now include attacks on Jewish communities and on roadways where dozens of Jewish victims have been killed. Local terror cells formed during this period generally took credit for these attacks including several from Jenin, Tulkarem, Tubas, the Lions' Den in Nablus, and others.

History Repeats Itself

Just as during the Second Intifada, the IDF has maintained its mistaken conception regarding Fatah terrorists.

Over the past 15 years, the IDF has again developed a "security coordination" program with the PA and made this program a key element of its security approach. The Coordination and Liaison Office (MATAK) in the Civil Administration has become a key player in terms of intelligence, consultations, and formulation of the security concept. They have also advised on avoiding operations in certain areas to preserve the ‘security coordination.’

Just as during the Second Intifada, there is a systematic denial of the involvement of the PA and the Fatah party in terror. Attacks carried out by Fatah members and PA security officers are presented as the actions of "lone wolves" or in some cases their political affiliation is covered up entirely.

The IDF portrays Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades as a group of rogue elements and that the PA has no control over them and no relationship with them. This is despite numerous findings indicating the deep involvement and support of Fatah leadership in the Brigade’s activities.

Investigations into numerous Fatah Ministers (including those serving directly under Abu Mazen) reveal their deep involvement in terrorism, incitement, and potentially even in ordering and organizing attacks. Sometimes these senior officials are arrested, but more often they receive VIP permits granting them free passage around Israeli checkpoints.

Below we review the various Fatah ministers and their relationships with incitement and support for terror.

Jenin- the Source of Evil

Jenin has become the capital of terror in Judea and Samaria. The Jenin Brigade, combining multiple terrorist groups, has benefited from the central role of Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade in supporting shooting attacks and manufacturing explosives.

Ata Abu Rameleh, the Fatah Minister of Jenin, was arrested after the October 7th massacre. According to the IDF, he “carried out incitement, and promoted and funded terror.”

In a speech to Fatah terrorists, Rameleh said, "We are fighting. Fatah, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and the Popular and Democratic Front. Every faction of our people is on the battlefield... We call on our people to take up arms. Today, our language with the occupation is the language of the rifle. Bloodshed will bring bloodshed."

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Shechem

Mohammed Hamdan, the Fatah Minister in Shechem, led violent riots in the village of Beita under his jurisdiction.

Members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in the region were among the founders of the Lion’s Den terror organization and served in the Balata Brigade and other terror groups in Shechem. These groups were responsible for numerous attacks that led to injured and dead Israelis.

Hamdan consistently praises terrorists killed by the IDF and calls for escalating attacks on Israel.

In an interview after two terrorists who carried out a shooting attack were neutralized, Hamdan stated that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the military wing of Fatah, would know how to respond.

Mohammed Walwal – The Strongman of Qalqilya

Walwal is considered the most influential figure in Qalqilya today. Like many Fatah officials, he served an extended period in Israeli prison after the Second Intifada due to his involvement in terror.

In one recorded incident, he led an armed procession of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and posed for photos with them.

Notably the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Qalqilya with whom Walwal posed, has called for carrying out terror attacks and making sure to erase cameras that could assist the IDF in locating terrorists returning after perpetrating attacks.

Tubas- Fatah Minister Leads Armed March

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Tubas has claimed responsibility for multiple shooting attacks against IDF soldiers in the area. These shooting attacks have became commonplace and have been especially constant during the war.

Mohammed Suwafteh is the Fatah Minister in Tubas and has been documented leading processions with armed members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades.

He even appeared as a speaker at a rally in support of terrorists in Jenin. On his personal Facebook page, he has posted support for terrorists who carried out attacks and were killed by the IDF.

Tulkarem- Terror is a Family Business

Iyad Jarar has been the Minister of Fatah in Tulkarm since 2019. He is a former terrorist released from Israeli prison who served in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades during the Second Intifada.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Tulkarem has taken responsibility for numerous shooting attacks against IDF soldiers and Jewish communities. Jarar has praised terrorists in media interviews, stating that the PA does not operate against them. He was documented participating in an armed protest for the release of a terrorist in an Israeli prison. 

Jarar also took part in the funeral procession of Jihad Shahada, commander of the Tulkarm Brigade, who was killed by the IDF. Notably, Jarar’s nephew was killed by the IDF during an operation against terrorists and Jarar attended his funeral, as well as supported his nephew’s actions.

Bethlehem- Wanted Terrorist now in a Suit

The Fatah Minister in Bethlehem is Muhammad Masri, who has held the position since 2008 and was previously wanted by the IDF. He has appeared together with armed members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. Recently, he spoke at the mourning tent of a terrorist from the village of Tuqua as numerous other terrorists milled around.

His Facebook page is filled with statements of support for terrorists both from his region and other areas.

Jericho- Released After Two Years in Administrative Detention- Because of the War?

The Minister of Fatah in Jericho is Naal Abu Asal, who was released from a two-year administrative detention just two weeks ago. Two of his brothers are still in administrative detention, and their father, who was the governor of Jericho, left his position just a few months ago.

What the media doesn’t report

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Jericho, under Abu Asal's leadership, took responsibility for multiple shooting attacks on IDF forces in the city.

On the Jericho Fatah party’s Facebook page one can find regular posts commemorating terrorists killed in clashes with the IDF.

Supporting terrorists

Aside from the examples listed above highlighting Fatah leaders’ involvement in terror and support for the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade there are several other key Fatah officials who also have connections to terror that we detail below.

The Minister of Fatah in Salfit is Abudal Star Awad.  While there have been no documented shooting attacks by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Salfit, local Fatah branches regularly glorify terrorists who carried out attacks in the region. Among others, they have praised Mohammed Suf, who murdered four Jews at a gas station in Barkan, and Omer Abu Laila, who killed Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger and soldier Gal Keidan at the Ariel junction.

The Awad published a message supporting the terrorists in Jenin during the IDF’s 2023 operation there. 

In the Hebron area, there are four Fatah Minister divided into four districts. The Minister in Northern Hebron is Ani Jaara, from Beit Ummar, who served in administrative detention in 2020. Second, the Minister in Central Hebron is Amad Harwat, who was also placed in administrative detention for his involvement in a shooting attack. Third, the Minister in Southern Hebron is Iyad Rayin from Dura. Lastly, the Minister in Beita Nabil is Abu Qubita, who also sat in administrative detention in 2019.

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