JERUSALEM – The Jewish state is headed toward a major, violent confrontation with the Palestinians while Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s plan to withdraw from most of Judea and Samaria will “not help” to decrease the terrorism, according to an Israeli army assessment.
The prognosis will be released in an official Israeli Defense Forces report to be published next month. It follows a series of WorldNetDaily exclusive interviews in which the leaders of every major Palestinian terror organization said recent events here are leading them to launch what they call a third intifada – or violent confrontation against Israel. The terrorists warned of suicide bombings, rocket attacks against Jewish communities and “a few new surprises in our arsenal.”
“The new intifada is only a question of time and this will be the hardest and the most dangerous one. It’s just about timing until the order to blow up a new wave of attacks will be given,” Abu Nasser, a senior Al Aqsa Brigades leader from the Balata refugee camp in northern Samaria told WorldNetDaily in an interview.
Army: Violence to escalate with evacuation
The IDF report outlines the army’s plan for the next five years. It states that in order to prepare for the expected upcoming conflict with the Palestinians, IDF resources should be shifted more toward counter-terrorism units and away from traditional forms of warfare, such as armor, artillery and the engineering corps.
The Associated Press quoted Israeli intelligence officials familiar with the report stating the document contends Olmert’s plan to evacuate Judea and Samaria will not do anything to decrease the scope of violence in the region. Security officials told WND the withdrawal will result in a major increase in terrorism.
Judea and Samaria also is commonly referred to as the West Bank.
The trend of violence here already has been increasing weekly. Israeli security organizations say they have more than 60 general warnings of planned suicide attacks, most targeting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. In the past seven days, three suicide bombings were thwarted.
Security officials point to an increase in violent attacks against Israelis, such as stabbings, shootings and lobbing of Molotov cocktails.
Rocket attacks against Jewish communities near Gaza have been carried out so frequently, some Israeli defense officials and government ministers recently have recommended reoccupying parts of the territory, which was vacated by Israel last August. Israeli defense officials say there is information terrorists in northern Samaria are developing rockets for a future onslaught against Jewish communities there.
The defense officials also say Hamas, which agreed to a long-term cease-fire with Israel, has been amassing large stocks of weapons so its operatives will be ready to launch attacks immediately should its leadership decide to end the “lull” in fighting.
They say Iran and Syria, currently under mounting international pressure, are streaming large sums of money to Palestinian terror groups to prompt local cells to carry out attacks in hopes of starting regional violence.
Some officials tie the expected increase in violence to Olmert’s Judea and Samaria evacuation plan.
After Israel announced it would withdraw from Gaza, terror organizations, mostly led by Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees umbrella group, increased attacks in the area, at one point firing an average of seven rockets per day at Gaza’s Jewish communities. Security officials told WND they fear terror groups similarly will increase attacks to claim credit for any Israeli pullout from Judea and Samaria.
The Palestinians launched their first intifada in 1987, which developed into a well-organized violent rebellion orchestrated by Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization from its headquarters in Tunis. The so-called second intifada was initiated in 2000 after Arafat rejected at Camp David an Israeli offer of a Palestinian state on most of Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip and sections of eastern Jerusalem. Some 993 Israelis and 3,781 Palestinians have been killed so far. Many say the second intifada still is being waged.
The terror groups themselves say they are planning a new wave of violence against Israelis, which some terror leaders are calling a “third intifada.” They detailed for WorldNetDaily how they will carry it out.
Al Aqsa Brigades: ‘We’ll kill Israelis to revolt against Hamas’
The Al Aqsa Brigades was formed in 2000 by then-PLO leader Arafat as a military offshoot of the Fatah party. PA President Mahmoud Abbas signed a cease-fire with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last February, to which the Brigades was party – but the terror group continued carrying out attacks.
Al Aqsa’s Abu Nasser claims Israel put Hamas in power and says his group is preparing a new terror onslaught as a result. Hamas won last January’s Palestinian parliamentary elections by a large margin. Hamas and Fatah have been violently clashing on the streets in Gaza and Judea and Samaria.
“For [many] months we respected a cease-fire, expecting to see changes in the lives of the Palestinian people, but we received from the Israeli side more assassinations … and above all we received the Hamas victory, which seems to be the result of an Israeli and international conspiracy,” Abu Nasser told WND. “They believe that Hamas will give up easier our lands and rights. I think that they are right, but we will not allow this to happen. We will fight and we will blow up the new intifada.”
Sources close to Al Aqsa say Abu Nasser was involved in preparing the last five suicide bombings in Israel, including the attack in April at a Tel Aviv restaurant that killed 10 Israelis and American teenager Daniel Wulz.
Abu Nasser told WND the Brigades will not respect any cease-fire agreed to by Hamas and will not halt attacks at Hamas’ request.
“I am sure Hamas will start arresting us, but it will not be that easy [for them],” said Abu Nasser. “We are preparing ourselves for the worst scenario.”
Asked if Al Aqsa’s new terror war will be launched less out of aggression toward Israel and more to revolt against Hamas, Abu Nasser replied, “This is partially true. When we were in power, we were obliged to be more sensitive and more obedient to the instructions and policies of our leadership. Now that we lost the elections, why should we obey the leaders and just who do we obey? The Hamas?
Abu Nasser warned the so-called third intifada will be a combination of suicide bombings and rocket attacks against Jewish towns.
“The Al Aqsa Brigades recently unified most of our cells and groups and we will wait for the most suitable moment to launch our resistance acts,” he said. “As for the acts, there will be suicide attacks but there will be a massive use of rockets. These rockets will be launched against Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but also if needed against Israeli cities inside the green line.”
Rocket war against Israel
Since Israel’s evacuation of the Gaza Strip, over 400 rockets have been fired at nearby Jewish communities. Last week, a series of missiles landed hundreds of feet from the home near Gaza of Israel’s defense minister, Amir Peretz. The rocket volley followed an anti-missile operation conducted deep inside Gaza – reportedly the first such operation since Israel evacuated the territory nine months ago. Defense officials said more ground operations in Gaza likely will follow.
The officials have been warning that the Palestinian terror groups transferred their rocket capabilities to Judea and Samaria, which is within firing range of Israel’s international airport and many major Israeli cities, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Israel has confirmed that at least two rockets have been fired so far from the northern Samaria town of Jenin. There is information terror groups in Judea and Samaria, particularly the Al Aqsa Brigades and Islamic Jihad, will step up attacks against the area’s Jewish communities ahead of any Israeli withdrawal from the area.
WorldNetDaily caught up with Abu Oudai, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades leader responsible for coordinating the organization’s rocket network in Judea and Samaria. He warned that his organization is preparing a rocket war against Israel:
“We have launched [several] times and with the help of Allah we will launch these rockets regularly. There will be no calm, no cease-fire until the occupation leaves our land. I don’t need to tell you that the aerial distance from Jenin to Netanya, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities is not big without telling you what are all our plans concerning other parts of the West Bank.”
Oudai said his organization and other terror groups have stockpiled Palestinian rockets, including Qassams, which can travel about 4 miles, more primitive Jenin-1 and Jenin-2s, and Arafat-1 and Arafat-2 rockets, some of which can reportedly travel up to 3 miles. He claimed his group is developing a new rocket that will put all of Israel’s major cities within firing range.
“The very near future will prove their capacity to kill and destroy and to beat the Israelis in [Judea and Samaria] exactly like we did with these rockets in the Gaza Strip,” Oudai said.
Oudai pocked fun at Israel’s Judea and Samaria security barrier, which has been credited with making it more difficult for Palestinian groups to carry out suicide bombings.
“[The Israelis] have built a huge wall on which [it] spent billions of dollars but still we are hitting Israel with our rockets and reaching every target we want. This wall will not defend [Israel] from our rockets which have defeated the wall and all the security measures taken to prevent our attacks,” Oudai boasted.
Israeli military leaders previously warned that the Jewish state will launch an “unprecedented” military campaign against any rocket-firing from Judea and Samaria. But the IDF did not initiate any large-scale anti-rocket operation in response to the rockets launched from Jenin. It has been largely unable to stop the rockets regularly fired from Gaza.
Said Oudai: “Israel already has used all its tools. Tanks, aircrafts, assassinations and everything it could use. But we are still here and still fighting. We do not get excited from the Israeli threats. What can be this unprecedented reaction? They have already tried everything.”
In Gaza, the Popular Resistance Committees, an umbrella organization consisting of several Palestinian terror groups, has taken credit for many of the rockets launched from the area since 2000.
Abu Abir, spokesman for the Committees, boasted his group transported missiles to Judea and Samaria.
“If there is need, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and everywhere in Israel can become our target,” Abu Abir told WorldNetDaily. “Israelis must also know that we have already transferred the knowledge and the technology of producing rockets to [Judea and Samaria].”
Abu Abir said his group has “improved [our] capacities in shooting these rockets. Even the Israeli officers agreed that the improvement is at all levels, [including] the distance that these rockets can reach, the capacity of explosives and their accuracy. In the last five years, there is no doubt that our abilities have improved.”
Islamic Jihad: ‘The Israelis should wait for our surprises’
Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for every suicide bombing against Israel since last February’s cease-fire, including bombings in a Tel Aviv disco and restaurant and a Netanya shopping mall. Al Aqsa leaders told WorldNetDaily they aided the recent bombings. Islamic Jihad also says it fired most of the rockets launched from the Gaza Strip since Israel’s August withdrawal.
Israel says Islamic Jihad is backed directly by Iran and Syria. Jihad chief Ramadan Shallah operates openly from Damascus and regularly visits Tehran.
Security sources say Hezbollah headquarters in Damascus and Beirut have ordered Islamic Jihad to carry out attacks in hopes of drawing Israel into a protracted military conflict. They say Iran and Syria are looking to use Islamic Jihad in part to distract mounting international pressure against their respective countries.
Iran is under fire for its alleged nuclear ambitions, and the international community led by the United States has threatened to bring Syria to the United Nations Security Council for allegedly interfering in the investigation into the assassination last year of former Lebanese Prime Minister Raqif Hariri, for which Syria has been widely blamed.
WorldNetDaily spoke with Islamic Jihad’s northern Samaria leader Abu Khalil, who warned his terror group is planning a terror onslaught to chase Israel from the West Bank and eventually from Jerusalem.
“We will launch very soon very painful attacks that will shake the enemy,” Abu Khalil said. “In fact, this is more the continuation of the (second) intifada because we never said that the intifada has ended. We will never give calm and security to the enemy. This will happen only when Israel will run away from Jerusalem and [Judea and Samaria] like it did in Gaza.”
Abu Khalil, like leaders from the Al Aqsa Brigades, said his group will not respect a Hamas request to halt attacks against Israel.
“I don’t believe the brothers in Hamas will ask us to stop. In any case, our only commitment is towards Allah and the blood of our people and brothers and towards our political leadership,” Abu Khalil told WND.
“Therefore we will not give up the right to defend ourselves and to launch all kinds of attacks against Israel everywhere there is an Israeli soldier or any Israeli goal in 1948 occupied Palestine (the entire state of Israel).”
Asked which weapons will be emphasized during Islamic Jihad’s next wave of terror attacks, Abu Khalil replied, “I should not answer this question for operational reasons. But we proved that we use everything Allah enables us to achieve and to use – suicide attacks, rockets and more surprises. The Israelis should wait for interesting surprises.”
Hamas developing guided rockets, bomb-laden planes
Leaders of Hamas, responsible for more than 60 suicide bombings, claim they will focus on rebuilding Palestinian society and have stated they will continue respecting a cease fire with Israel. The group has been clashing regularly with Fatah.
Mahmoud al-Zahar, Hamas chief in Gaza, told WorldNetDaily his group will “rebuild the Palestinian life shattered by corruption in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. This is our goal now. To make a better life for the Palestinians.”
In a widely circulated interview, al-Zahar even recently claimed to WorldNetDaily that Hamas might negotiate with Israel using a third party.
He said his group likely will agree to a long-term cease-fire with the Jewish state but said it will not recognize Israel or renounce its charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel by “assaulting and killing.”
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said his group will not stop other Palestinian organizations from carrying out attacks against Israel.
WorldNetDaily spoke last week with Abu Abdullah, considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas’ Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, Hamas’ declared “resistance” department. He said his terror group is acquiring new weapons and is preparing for the possibility of resuming attacks should a long-term truce it claims to uphold fall apart.
Abdullah said Hamas is developing a new, electronically guided missile that will place most major Israeli population centers within firing range, claiming the rocket will be able to reach “every target in 1948 occupied Palestine (Israel) and that from Gaza we will be able to hit the center of Israel.”
Israel has noted regular improvements in Palestinian rockets, although it has not released information about Palestinian groups developing missiles with guidance systems.
A senior Palestinian intelligence officer told WND there is evidence groups in Gaza are developing guided missiles.
Abdullah claimed Israel has been deliberately minimizing his group’s rocket capabilities and stated Hamas eventually would break the cease-fire to which it agreed last February.
“It is normal that the Israelis will underestimate the capabilities of Palestinian resistance such as not admitting we are working on these new missiles,” he said. “The people who made the (Gaza) withdrawal don’t want to talk now about the so-called risks.
“In the last 15 months, even though the fighters of Hamas kept the cease-fire, we did not stop making important advancements and professional training on the military level. In the future, after Hamas is obliged to stop the cease-fire, the world shall see our new military capabilities.”
Asked if the Hamas’ political leadership sanctions the acquiring of new weapons, Abdullah replied, “The acquiring of any weapon is a decision of the military wing, and it depends on a number of conditions related to financial facilities and to the situation on the ground. The Hamas political leadership starts to play a role only when it comes to the question of time – when to come back to the military operations because, as you know, we are respecting the cease-fire.”
Israel says Hamas continues to direct attacks using other terror groups, particularly the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees. The Shin Bet Security Services recently announced Hamas senior member Ahmed Randor was responsible for a thwarted major bombing by the Committees at the Karni crossing, the main checkpoint between Israel and Gaza.
‘Terror forced Israel out of Gaza, will get us rest of Jewish state’
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has carried out recent Judea and Samaria shooting attacks and rocket firings from the Gaza Strip. The group’s leader, Ahmad Saadat, is accused by Israel of planning the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavaam Zeevi in October 2001.
Israeli security officials say the PFLP has scaled back its participation in attacks the past few months, but Abu Hani, a leader of the PLFP’s “armed wing,” the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, told WorldNetDaily his group used the time earned from last year’s cease-fire to build its arsenal in preparation for a third intifada.
“The last months were used for a rest in order to rehabilitate forces,” Abu Hani said. “The Palestinian people preserves its right to fight against Israel.”
He told WorldNetDaily the PFLP is “being forced” to launch a new terror war.
“It is not that we prepare an intifada,” Abu Hani said. “It is the reality on the ground that dictates a new intifada. There is the fence, there is the building in the Jewish settlements, the daily Israeli penetration into Palestinian cities, villages and camps and of course the killing of our comrades and brothers.”
Israel routinely conducts anti-terror military raids in Judea and Samaria when it receives intelligence warning of new attacks. The Israeli Air Force fires at targets in Gaza in attempts to halt Palestinian groups from launching rockets at nearby Jewish communities.
Abu Hani warned, “The current situation does not leave to the Palestinians many choices but to fight with all the tools we have or can have. The Gaza withdrawal proves unfortunately that force, attacks and rockets is the only language and attitude that the Israelis understand. They do not withdraw unless they are hit by the Palestinian resistance. So if there is a way that has already obliged the Israelis to withdraw, why not to use it again?”