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Signs of the Times for Fri, 31 Mar 2006

Signs Editorial:

Joe Quinn
Signs of the Times
The Israeli government claims that it is "expecting more Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade suicide attacks in the coming weeks", and with the Israeli government's uncanny ability to predict 'Palestinian suicide attacks' being trumped only by Palestinian militant's ability to provide them at the most opportune time for Israel, the Israeli government can be very confident that such attacks will occur at the right time.

Consider the new and improved Katyusha rocket, allegedly of Iranian origin, that was fired into Israel from the main Gaza border crossing a couple of days ago on Israeli election day. This new rocket has twice the reach of the previous Kassam rocket (12 miles instead of six), yet like its predecessor, the Katyusha, is utterly ineffective most of the time, failing even to explode never mind hit its target on most occasions. Despite this, "Palestinian terrorists" of "Islamic Jihad" appear quite happy to continue to use such ineffective attacks on the Israeli enemy and provide the IDF with the excuse to destroy what is left of the soul of Gaza strip and West Bank citizens. Indeed, not only do such impotent attacks directly cause the deaths of innocent Palestinian civilians, but they also provide the Israeli government with all the justification and international backing it needs to refuse to give an inch on the militants demands of a separate Palestinian state. The obvious and most pressing question therefore is, who ARE these idiot "Palestinian militants" who seem so determined to make life as unbearable as possible for their own people and thwart any chance of the Palestinian dream of peace in their own land?

Let me explain how it works. For many years now Israel has been periodically recruiting equipping and handsomely paying individuals who either live in the Gaza strip or the West Bank or who can pass freely in and out of these areas. These individuals are then tasked with the mission to fire dud, or very dodgy, rockets at Israeli targets and to later phone in to a radio station a claim of responsibility in the name of one of the Palestinian militant offshoot organisations, or, if it is deemed appropriate by the Shin Bet, to make up a new "previously unknown" group and post the claim of responsibility on the internet.

But it doesn't end there.

Last night, we are told that an "Al Aqsa suicide bomber dressed as an Orthodox Jew hitched a ride in a car driving into the West Bank settlement of Kedumim. Once inside the car he blew himself up at the entrance to the settlement, killing himself and the three Israelis in the car. This is the first time militants have entered a private car to blow it up", we are told. As with most other alleged "Palestinian suicide attacks", it is the emergency services or the police that immediately provide the official story that it was indeed a suicide attack, later to be backed up by the IDF. Yet if we look at the facts of this particular case, what actually happened is far from clear.

First of all, nobody seems to know whether the bomber was driving the car or whether the Israelis were driving the car.

"IDF officers analysing the scene mentioned two possible scenarios. The first is that the three Israelis thought to be in the car picked up the hitchhiking terrorist, dressed as an Israeli Jew, and the explosives he had with him. The second is that the terrorist was driving a car with Israeli license plates, and that he picked up the hitchhiking Israelis and then detonated the bomb."

Yet even here we have a leap of assumption since it was not immediately clear how or why anyone was assuming that there even was a hitchhiker.

Furthermore, nobody seems to know whether the bomb detonated outside the car or inside the car, with the IDF authoritatively stating that the bomb was "detonated by a remote control beside the car ." If it was in fact a remote controlled bomb, then we can rule out the traditional 'suicide bombing' with 10KGs of dynamite strapped to the bomber's waist. Yet certain pundits have tried hard to combine the two by suggesting that the bomber had 'handlers' who were somehow watching him and waiting for the right moment to detonate the bomb. But why would anyone go to these lengths when it would be much more simple to follow the normal procedure of allowing the bomber to do the detonating? If this was a remote control bombing, as the Israeli army states, perhaps we should assume that the 'bomber' was unaware that he was a bomber at all! Or perhaps, and here we get a little closer to the likely truth of the matter, there was no 'bomber' at all because, after all, the IDF stated that the bomb was detonated automatically by a "remote control" beside the car.

Witnesses to the explosion stated that there was a huge blast that blew parts of the car far from the scene and that the lights in neighboring houses went out for a few minutes, all of which sounds nothing like 10KGs of conventional explosive and much more like a larger quantity of military-grade explosives which is supported by the IDF's claim of a more 'hi-tech' device. Indeed, such was the force of the blast that the entire back half of the car was totally obliterated, not just mangled, but missing!

Added to this we have the all-too-common confusion over who actually carried out the bombing with two groups claiming responsibility - the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and of course, a new Fatah offshoot, Kateb al-Shahid Chamuda from the Balata refugee camp, which was recently sieged by the IDF and is home of two alleged 'Palestinian al-Qaeda' cell members arrested by Israel.


Al Qaeda cell members arrested in West Bank

22 March 2006

JERUSALEM - Two Palestinian members of an Al Qaeda cell were arrested late last year in the Nablus region of the northern West Bank, Israeli military sources said on Wednesday.

The pair are said to have been recruited by followers of Osama bin Laden terror network in Jordan and had been planning to carry out a double attack on the French Hill neighbourhood in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem last December.

The sources said that Azzam Abu Aladas et Balal Hafnawi, who both appeared in a top security court on Tuesday, had planned to explode a massive bomb in a restaurant and then detonate a car bomb when the rescue services arrived.

The pair, who come from Nablus’s Balata refugee camp, were arrested as they crossed over the Allenby Bridge border crossing with Jordan.

They have both been charged with conspiring to intentionally cause death, active membership in a terror organisation, illegal assembly and additional charges.

It is the first time that alleged members of Al Qaeda have been arrested by the Israeli security services.

Now what have we learned about 'al-Qaeda in Palestine'?

Ibrahim, the Shin Bet wants you to join Qaida

By Danny Rubinstein

PA unveils Israeli intelligence scheme, denies Gaza links to bin Laden

Early last week, Rashi Abu Sba, head of the preventive security apparatus in Gaza, the equivalent of the Shin Bet, accused the Israeli security service of tricking young Palestinians into conducting missions in the name of Al-Qaida. Last Tuesday, a young man named Ibrahim was presented to reporters in Gaza. Ibrahim hid his face behind a mask, and told what happened to him.

He said that a year ago he sent in a personal, with his photo and phone number, to East Jerusalem's Posta, a cultural-entertainment weekly with a personals section. Three months later, the Gazan received a phone call from an older man, who introduced himself as a merchant named Ahmed, who told Ibrahim that his photo reminded him of his son. They spoke on the phone a number of times, with Ahmed asking Ibrahim about the situation - and if he was a devout Muslim.

During one of the conversations, Ahmed told Ibrahim that he wanted to help Gazans in economic distress and began sending money - cash in dollars and Jordanian dinars - through the Nablus branch of the Cairo-Amman bank. Ibrahim told Ahmed that he had never been arrested nor involved in any political organization. Then, in one of the conversations, Ahmed said he was working for Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaida organization, and Ibrahim was meant to be one of its organizers in northern Gaza since the group already had an infrastructure in the south. Ahmed gave Ibrahim a list of people, mostly Hamas activists, and was told to collect information about them and follow them so they could also be drafted for the Al-Qaida cause.

The two never met, but at a certain point during their telephone contact, Ibrahim became suspicious. He contacted a preventive security officer in Gaza and told him the whole story. The officer looked into the matter and told Ibrahim that Ahmed was an Israeli Shin Bet agent, and Ibrahim should immediately cut off any contacts with him.

Palestinian sources said last week that the case was not unusual, and they reported it, as well as similar cases, during a security meeting with top-level U.S. security officials

Getting back to our "suicide bombing"; all that we really know is that:

A car containing three Israelis exploded last night outside an illegal Israeli settlement

The bomb that exploded was probably detonated by remote control and was of a 'high grade'.

A new and previously unheard of Palestinian militant group tied to 'al-Qaeda in Palestine', claimed responsibility.

I shall leave it up to you, dear reader, to come to your own conclusions about whether or not this was a 'Palestinian suicide bombing', or if it was in fact the work of the Israelis themselves. In doing so, you might want to consider my previous musings on The Truth Behind The War On Terrror

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