By Aaron Klein
In breach of multiple U.S. federal laws, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is overseeing the financing and support of international terrorism. Her department’s actions have resulted in civilian deaths, and its continued perpetuation of terrorism is bound to kill many more.
On Monday, Rice requested Congress boost aid to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah organization by another $400 million on top of a $59 million grant she pushed through last April and about $100 million per year provided to Abbas’ forces in unregulated shipments of ammunition and high-powered American assault rifles.
A bulk of the proposed new aid package is slated to fund and train Abbas’ security forces, particularly his Force 17 presidential guard units and the Preventative Security Services, which serve as Palestinian police officers.
The only problem with this is Fatah’s security forces have statistically carried out more terror attacks than any other West Bank terror group.
U.S. policy has long considered Fatah moderate even though its declared military wing, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, is responsible for more terrorism than Hamas.
The Brigades, labeled a terrorist organization by the State Department, took credit along with the Islamic Jihad terror group for every suicide bombing in Israel the past three years and for thousands of shootings and rocket attacks against Jewish population centers.
So in other words, the U.S. is funding an organization whose military wing is labeled a terror group by our government.
Some may argue the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is a separate entity from Fatah.
But in my new book, “Schmoozing with Terrorists,” I extensively document how Al Aqsa Brigades leaders serve openly in U.S.-backed Fatah security forces, how we are training Brigades cells that double as police officers and how these terrorists receive our arms shipments to Fatah, which they use to kill Jews.
Just days before Abbas departed to last week’s U.S.-sponsored Annapolis summit, two members of his American-sponsored police forces who double as Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades members reportedly shot and killed a Jew in the northern West Bank, with Fatah militants declaring they will continue their “resistance” until “all territories” are liberated.
This is the norm. At the time of my book’s printing, an estimated 85 percent of Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorists, including most of the group’s senior leaders, served in Abbas’ security forces, according to information I obtained. I list the names of the Brigades chiefs in various major West Bank cities who also serve in Fatah police forces currently slated to be infused with Rice’s aid request.
Just last June, Abbas appointed senior Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades leader Mahmoud Damra as commander of Fatah’s Force 17. Damra, who was arrested by Israel last November, was on the Jewish state’s most-wanted list of terrorists.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are so important to Abbas that when Prime Minister Ehud Olmert several months ago asked the Palestinian leader to outline ways Israel can help boost the PA, one of Abbas’ first requests was for all Brigades leaders to receive amnesty.
The new funding package Rice this week asked Congress to approve includes budgets for the training of Fatah forces. Believe it or not, the U.S. has been running bases in the West Bank city of Jericho to train Fatah militias since the late 1990s.
In August, the State Department announced the U.S. will begin new training courses for Fatah militias 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.
In “Schmoozing,” I document how much of the current senior leadership of the Brigades told me they received U.S. training as Fatah militia members, with some up for future U.S. training.
One Force 17 officer described to me how the U.S. training aided in his group’s ability to kill Jews.
“All the methods and techniques that we studied in these trainings, we applied them against the Israelis,” said Abu Yousuf, chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Ramallah and a Force 17 senior officer.
Yousuf is accused of participating in anti-Israel terrorism, including 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 Yasser Arafat to live in the late PLO leader’s Ramallah compound, known as the Muqata.
Yousuf still lives in the compound, where U.S. weapons are regularly delivered to Fatah. The American weapons shipments are reportedly transferred by an Israeli-protected convoy from Jordan into the Muqata in Ramallah. Yousuf is a ranking member of the Palestinian team that receives the American weapons!
Just to reiterate here, Rice’s State Department is shipping weapons to a Palestinian compound in which known terrorists live. It’s insanity.
Yousuf boasted to me: “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 [American] trainings.”
How directly does Rice’s State Department perpetuate terrorism?
It was widely reported that in May 2006 America sent to Fatah militias a cache of 3,000 M-16 assault rifles and over 1 million rounds of ammunition. Olmert told reporters he approved the shipment to aid Abbas.
A few days after the American weapons were received in the Muqata, there was an unusually high number of shootings against Israeli motorists in and near the West Bank carried out by Al Aqsa Brigades terrorists.
Sources close to the Brigades told me the new American assault rifles were used in three separate anti-Israel shooting attacks carried out within weeks of the weapons shipment. One attack killed a 35-year-old Israeli Arab on a major West Bank highway on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Israeli security officials say the shooters likely mistook the victim for a Jew. The second attack occurred June 13 on the same highway, lightly wounding an Israeli.
The third attack was carried out by Abu Yousuf himself against a busload of Israeli schoolgirls. No one was hurt because the bus was armored.
“It is no coincidence that as soon as these American weapons arrived, we were able to carry out these accurate shootings,” Abu Yousuf said.
Abu Yousuf told me the U.S. sent weapons to Fatah “for its own political purposes and as part of a conspiracy to generate a civil war between us and Hamas. We are not concerned with the reasons. The weapons will not be used against our brothers, only [against] Israelis.”
Indeed, U.S. policy dictates backing Fatah, secular terrorists who kill Jews but who also talk with America and negotiate with Israel for the takeover of strategic territory, against Hamas, religious Islamist terrorists who kill Jews but will not talk to the U.S. or negotiate with Israel.
Let’s forget about Hamas. It’s Fatah’s media that is indoctrinating the next generation of Palestinians on hatred and terrorism. It’s Fatah-run schools that teach the destruction of Israel. Just this week, Palestinian Media Watch reported Abbas’ radio station glorified Hitler. Abbas, who served as a primary deputy to Arafat, wrote a university thesis denying the Holocaust. And we’re about to infuse his forces with a lot of cash.
Incredibly, Rice herself recently admitted the money her State Department provides to Abbas may wind up in the “wrong hands.”
The Bush administration in January pledged $86.4 million to strengthen the Fatah forces, but after a series of articles, including several of mine, outlining how Fatah consists of terrorists, Congress blocked the aid pending a clarification from Rice.
During a congressional hearing in March 2007, Rice conceded she can’t account for where the aid will go. She said she would request less money.
“I will request less money, precisely because some of the money that I would have requested I did not think I could fully account for. I hope that is a sign for you that we take very seriously our responsibilities. I have no interest in having to come here one day and say, ‘you know, this funding did not end up in the right place.’ I will do my very best,” she told Congress.
Lawmakers caught the State Department red-handed. The U.S. was about to send money Rice admitted may get into the wrong hands. But then Rice simply asked for $59 million instead of $86.5 million to fund the same terror-saturated Fatah militias. And Congress bought it; they unfroze the aid. So instead of sending $86 million to terrorists, that time they only sent $59 million.
And so in the midst of our war on terror, Rice is getting away with funding terrorism in total contravention of U.S. Anti-Terrorism Law. Why are we letting her get away with this madness?