Aaron Klein with members of Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
American security officers, including U.S. Army instructors, are so “clueless” about the nature of the Palestinian militias the U.S. regularly trains, that the officers have exchanged friendly e-mails with former students who also are known terrorists, including one of the most notorious terror leaders, according to the author of a recently released book.
WND’s Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein, author of “Schmoozing with Terrorists,” says he discovered officers of U.S. teams that train Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah security forces have kept in touch with some of their former students who also are members of a major Palestinian terror group, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, perhaps unaware they were chatting with terrorists.
In one example, Klein was made aware of a series of pleasant e-mail exchanges between a U.S. Army officer and his former student, one of the most infamous Brigades terror chiefs. The chief received U.S. training from the Army officer in the late 1990s in the West Bank as a member of Fatah’s security forces.
The officer also exchanged Christmas greetings last year with his former student, who was a terror chief in the West Bank city of Bethlehem where in 2002 he holed up for 34 days in the Church of the Nativity, the believed birthplace of Jesus. The chief’s group was accused of desecrating the holy Christian site.
Another U.S. trainer exchanged e-mails with a former student, a Fatah security officer who doubles as a Brigades terrorist whose cell was accused of orchestrating a series of suicide bombings inside Israel in 2005 and 2006.
In his book, Klein details how the U.S. has been arming, training, funding and coordinating security with members of Fatah’s Force 17 and the Preventative Security Services, who openly serve in Fatah’s declared “military wing,” the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
The Brigades took credit along with the Islamic Jihad terror group for every suicide bombing in Israel the past three years. It is responsible for more terrorism from the West Bank than any other Palestinian Arab organization, carrying out thousands of shootings and grenade attacks.
“It’s scandalous that in the midst of the war on terror, our tax dollars are used to fund, train and arm the most active Palestinian West Bank jihad group,” said Klein.
“To highlight how ridiculous the state of things are and how clueless are our U.S. security coordinators, they are keeping in touch with former students who are carrying out regular attacks against our ally Israel, including shootings and bombings. Some of their former students are on Israel’s wanted list of terrorists.”
The U.S. since the late 1990s has been running bases in the West Bank City of Jericho to train militias from Abbas’ Fatah organization, including the Preventative Security Services, which serve as police officers, and Force 17, Abbas’ presidential guard units which previously protected Yasser Arafat. Force 17 members serve as de facto police and security officers as well.
Over the years, the U.S. also has provided Fatah militias with arms, reportedly including thousands of high-powered assault rifles during the past year alone.
This past August, the State Department announced the U.S. will begin new training courses for Force 17 in an effort to bolster Abbas against Hamas, which took over the Gaza Strip in June when the terror group easily defeated American-backed Fatah forces in the territory.
The U.S. training programs include courses in the use of weapons. They are being partially funded with a $86.5 million grant approved by Congress in April.
“It took no investigative reporting whatsoever on my part to discover members of U.S.-backed, trained and armed Fatah militias are also members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group,” writes Klein. “I simply went around the West Bank and asked Fatah militia members, who walk around with American-provided high-power assault rifles, whether they are also in the Brigades.”
Among dozens of militants interviewed in “Schmoozing,” Klein caught up with Abu Yousuf, a Force 17 officer who received American training in Jericho in 1999 as a member of the Preventative Security Services.
Yousuf is a chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Ramallah, where he is accused of participating in anti-Israel terrorism, including recent shootings, attacks against Israeli forces operating in the city and a shooting attack in northern Samaria in December 2000 that killed the leader of the ultra-nationalist Kahane Chai organization, Benyamin Kahane.
After the Kahane murder, Yousuf was extended refuge by Arafat to live in the late PLO leader’s Ramallah compound, widely known as the Muqata.
Yousuf still lives in the compound, where U.S. weapons are regularly delivered to Fatah. He is a ranking member of the Palestinian team that receives the American weapons.
Yousuf, along with other Brigades leaders, was granted amnesty by Olmert in June as a gesture to Abbas, but many Brigades members, including Yousuf’s cell, are accused of violating the agreement by failing to disarm and by carrying out a spate of terror attacks.
‘U.S’ training key to Palestinian resistance’
Speaking to Klein through a translator, Yousuf said his American training was instrumental in attacks on Israelis.
“All the methods and techniques that we studied in these trainings, we applied them against the Israelis,” he said.
“We sniped at Israeli settlers and soldiers,” he said. “We broke into settlements and Israeli army bases and posts. We collected information on the movements of soldiers and settlers. We collected information about the best timing to infiltrate our bombers inside Israel. We used weapons and we produced explosives, and, of course, the trainings we received from the Americans and the Europeans were a great help to the resistance.”
Yousuf said the training included both intelligence and military tactics.
“In the intelligence part, we learned collection of information regarding suspected persons, how to follow suspected guys, how to infiltrate organizations and penetrate cells of groups that we were working on and how to prevent attacks and to steal in places,” he said.
“On the military level, we received trainings on the use of weapons, all kind of weapons and explosives,” said Yousuf. “We received sniping trainings, work of special units, especially as part as what they call the fight against terror. We learned how to lay siege, how to break into places where our enemies closed themselves in, how to oppress protest movements, demonstrations and other activities of opposition.”
Continued Yousuf: “I do not think that the operations of the Palestinian resistance would have been so successful and would have killed more than 1,000 Israelis since 2000 and defeated the Israelis in Gaza without these [American] trainings.”
Yousuf seemed to anticipate criticism for speaking publicly about the training. He’s not “talking about U.S. training in order to irritate the Americans or the Israelis and not in order to create provocations,” he said. “I’m just telling you the truth.”
‘U.S. trained terror group’
When it comes to the U.S. training terrorists, Abu Yousuf is the norm, writes Klein.
“America has trained almost the entire senior leadership of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades,” he writes.
Klein indicates he learned that some Fatah militia members who are open leaders of the Brigades are even up for future American training.
The Brigades’ main stronghold is in the West Bank city of Nablus.
“The entire senior leadership of the Brigades in Nablus, every single one of them, is U.S.-trained,” writes Klein. “The majority of the Brigades serve in various Fatah militias.”
The leader of the Brigades in Nablus, Ala Senakreh, received U.S. training and serves in the Palestinian Preventative Security forces. Senakreh is widely considered to be the West Bank chief of the Brigades; his cell is accused of planning multiple suicide bombings.
“In other words, a U.S.-trained police officer charged with stopping terrorism in Nablus is also the known head of the city’s terror group. Something smells a little wrong here,” writes Klein.
The No. 2 of the Brigades in Nablus, Nasser Abu Aziz, is also U.S.-trained, according to Klein. He received training in Italy, as well.
Zacharias Zubeidi, the infamous leader of the Brigades in Jenin – the city where most Palestinian suicide bombers originate – was trained by the U.S. government in Jericho.
“The theme goes on and on,” states Klein. “Israel regularly arrests U.S.-trained Fatah members wielding American weapons who are wanted for terror attacks and who used their American training to carry out their operations.”
U.S.-trained terrorists are just the beginning of American support for terrorism claimed in “Schmoozing.” Klein also details how:
- The Bush administration has sent hundreds of millions of dollars worth of weapons per year to Palestinian militias without official congressional oversight.
- U.S. weapons have been used in scores of terrorist shootings, including against Israeli schoolgirls.
- U.S. intelligence has coordinated security with terrorists.
- The U.S. funds Hamas-run schools and a university in which the chemistry lab has been used to produce rockets and suicide bomb belts.
- U.S.-funded streets and sports stadiums have been named after enemies of America, including Iraqi insurgent leaders, suicide bombers, and even hanged Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
To interview Aaron Klein, contact Tim Bueler Public Relations by e-mail, or call (530) 401-3285