Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and United States
Rocket and mortar shell fire since the end of Operation Cast Lead
Hamas billboard in honor of Muhammad al-Sama'n and Muhammad Yassin
Abu Obeida attacks the Palestinian Authority at a press conference
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and United States
President Barack Obama (Al-Jazeera TV, May 29, 2009)
Hamas’s policy of restraint continues, and no rockets or mortar shells were fired into Israeli territory this past week. In the Mt. Hebron region the Israeli security forces killed a wanted Hamas terrorist operative who had been involved in suicide bombing attacks in Israeli cities in the 1990s. In Qalqiliya the Palestinian security forces killed two senior wanted Hamas operatives after a violent confrontation. In response Hamas said it was �examining� its continued participation in the internal Palestinian dialogue.
On May 28 Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met with American President Barack Obama. At a joint press conference held after the meeting, Abbas noted the Palestinian commitment to the road map and the Arab peace initiative. President Obama said he supported the road map and the two-state solution, and called on both sides to meet their obligations, including Israel ‘s to stop the settlements. He reiterated that Israel was an important American ally and that preserving its safety and security was an American interest.
The Gaza Strip
Rocket and mortar shell fire
During the past week no rocket or mortar shell hits were identified in Israeli territory.
Rocket and mortar shell fire since the end of Operation Cast Lead
Counterterrorism activities abroad
Car-bomb terrorist attack at Israeli embassy in Azerbaijan prevented
The American daily Los Angeles Times reported that in May the Azerbaijan police detained two men suspected of being Hezbollah operatives from Lebanon . The two headed a cell which planned to carry out terrorist attacks at the Israeli embassy in Baku , the capital city, and at other locations in the city in retaliation for the death of Imad Moughnieh.1 According to the report, a search of their car uncovered explosives, binoculars, cameras, pistols with silencers and reconnaissance photos. Information about the prevention of the attack was kept secret for a year, and the affair was revealed for the first time with the opening of the trial of the two Lebanese and four Azeris charged with terrorism, espionage and other crimes ( Los Angeles Times , May 30, 2009).
According to the report, the two Lebanese were Ali Karaki , whom anti-terrorism officials described as a veteran of Hezbollah’s external operations unit, and Ali Najem Aladine , described as a lower-ranking explosives expert. Before their arrest they moved back and forth between Baku and Iran on Iranian passports. They established a cell of operatives and laid the groundwork for an attack. During interrogation, the name of a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards contact was mentioned, who was involved in their terrorist activities. Members of the cell conducted reconnaissance on the embassy and were planning to park a number of booby-trapped vehicles nearby and detonate them by remote control. They had hundreds of kilograms of explosives in their possession.
The Iranians denied playing any role. According to the Iranian Students News Agency, the Los Angeles Times report had �Israeli roots� and was intended to draw Muslim attention away from � Israel ‘s crimes� against Iran (ISNA, May 31. 2009).
Hezbollah has still not responded officially to the report in the Los Angeles Times . The Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar described the affair as part of an international �legal attack� on Hezbollah which began in Latin America, continued in Africa (with the exposure of a Hezbollah plot in Egypt) and Europe (the article in Der Spiegel about Hezbollah’s responsibility for the murder of Rafiq Hariri) and had now gone to Asia. According to the paper, the objective of the attack was to present Hezbollah as a terrorist organization which should be shunned and whose leaders should be brought to trial ( Al-Akhbar , June 1, 2009).
Head of Hamas’s terrorist operative wing in the Hebron region killed by Israeli security forces
Abd al-Majid Dudayn , head of Hamas’s terrorist operative wing in the Hebron region, was killed on May 28 in an Israeli security force operation in a village southeast of Hebron . The security forces surrounded the building in which he was hiding and repeatedly called on him to surrender. He opened fire and the force returned it, killing him (IDF Spokesman’s website, May 30, 2009).
Abd al-Majid Dudayn, 45, from the village of al-Burj, in the Mt. Hebron region, had been on the wanted list since 1995 following his involvement in many deadly terrorist attacks, including suicide bombing attacks in Israeli cities and planning shootings on roads. In 1995 he recruited Sufiyan Sabih, who carried out the suicide bombing attack on a Jerusalem bus on August 21, 1995, killing four civilians and wounding more than 100. In addition, Dudayn was also involved in the suicide bombing attack on a bus in Ramat Gan on June 24, 2995, which killed six and wounded 31. A number of days after the Jerusalem attack he was detained by the Palestinian security forces and subsequently spent several years in the Palestinian prison in Jericho . When the Palestinian terrorist campaign (the Al-Aqsa intifada) broke out in 2000, he was released and returned to the ranks of Hamas’s terrorist operative wing, becoming one of its commanders (IDF Spokesman’s website, May 30, 2009).
His funeral was held in Al-Burg on May 29 and attended by senior Hamas figures from the Hebron region (Al-Aqsa TV, May 29, 2009). Musheir al-Masri, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said in phone call from the Gaza Strip that �it is the right of the resistance [i.e., the terrorist organizations] to confront Israel , and the response will come at the right time in the right way.� He praised Dudayn, saying that he was �responsible for many attacks on the enemy and to the last minute did not give up the right to resist [i.e., carry out terrorist attacks].� Hamas’s military-terrorist wing issued an announcement saying that the wing in the West Bank had �complete freedom to respond to this crime and other crimes in a proper manner…and every Zionist on Palestinian land ([i.e., every Israeli citizen] was a legitimate target.� The announcement accused the Palestinian Authority of collaborating with Israel (Al-Qassam website, May 28, 2009).
Heads of Islamic charitable society in the United States sentenced to long prison terms for transferring funds to Hamas
The Assistant Attorney General for National Security sentenced Ghassan al-Ashi and Shuqri Abu Baker, heads of the Holy Land Foundation, 2 a charitable society based in Dallas , Texas , to 65 years imprisonment each. The two were found guilty of financing Palestinian terrorist operatives, money laundering, tax evasion and using humanitarian assistance to promote Hamas. Three other Holy Land workers were sentenced to terms ranging from 15 to 20 years (Reuters, May 28, 2009). The Assistant Attorney General rejected the claim that it was a charitable society, stating that the organization had transferred funds to finance terrorism.
The sentence set a precedent and was an important achievement for the United States and other countries in their struggle against funding terrorism through Islamic institutions and charitable societies. In response to the American sentence Musa Abu Marzuq, deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, said that it was motivated by political, not legal, considerations and was an attack on all Palestinians living in the United States (AP, May 28, 2009).
Palestinian responses to home front exercise Turning Point 3
In preparation for the large-scale Israeli home front exercise Turning Point 3, Fatah sources in the Gaza Strip reported that instructions had been issued to all the commanders of the local security forces, police and military networks to take precautions and to evacuate their stations and positions throughout the Gaza Strip and not to enter public places (Iran’s Fars News Agency website, Sky Press, May 31, 2009).
The Palestinian public and media expressed relatively little interest. Some of the Palestinian reactions were the following:
Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said that the objective of the exercise was to raise IDF morale after it had lost the wars in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip (Operation Cast Lead). He said that the new Israeli government had decided on a comprehensive military plan to attack Iran and eradicate Hamas, but that so far it had not succeeded in doing so. He added that the objective was also to �frighten� Iran , Syria , Hezbollah and Hamas, and as the same time to pressure American public opinion (PalToday website, May 30, 2009).
Abu Obeida , spokesman for Hamas’s military-terrorist wing, said that the exercise was a veiled threat to all the Arab and Muslim countries and a slap in the face to all the countries supporting the Arab peace initiative (Hamas’s Palestine-Info website, May 30, 2009).
Ali Barake , Hamas representative in Syria , said that the exercise was a �message of aggression� and proved that Israel planed to attack the countries in the region. He added that it proved Israel ‘s fear of the �resistance� [i.e., terrorist organizations], especially after the second Lebanon war and Operation Cast Lead (Al-Alam TV, May 31, 2009).
The Gaza Strip after Operation Cast Lead
The Gaza Strip crossings between Israel and Egypt
This past week deliveries of humanitarian assistance entered the Gaza Strip through the Israeli crossings at a daily rate of approximately 100 trucks.
Deliveries of humanitarian assistance and delegations entered through the Rafah crossing. On May 30 the Egyptian authorities allowed a group of almost 100 American peace activists to enter the Gaza Strip ( Al-Yawm Al-Sabaa , May 30, 2009). The delegation came to examine the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, and brought sports equipment ( Al-Ahram , May 29, 2009).
The Tunnel Industry
Egypt continues its activities to prevent smuggling into the Gaza Strip. On May 29 the Egypt security forces commandeered a storehouse containing 200 tons of cement intended to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip. On the same day they seized three vehicles carrying 3,000 liters of fuel, also intended to be smuggled. According to Egyptian security sources, their activities have resulted in a 90% reduction in smuggling (Al-Yawm Al-Sabaa, May 30, 2009). On May 29 a tunnel was discovered in a high school in Egyptian Rafah. Its opening was located in a locked storeroom. The undersecretary for education northern Sinai claimed that he knew nothing about the existence of tunnels in schools and that it was one of the schools which had been damaged by the recent Israeli bombing near the border ( Al-Yawm Al-Sabaa , May 29, 2009).
According to a Dutch radio program about the markets in the Gaza Strip, most of the items carry Egyptian tags since they were smuggled in through the tunnels. At the tunnel entrances there are signs put up by the networks running them, and sometimes even the names of the tunnel owners. Some of the tunnels are also used to smuggle drugs and pain killers used by Gazan youths. There are also tunnels operated by �armed gangs� which smuggle arms and ammunition. Hamas recently started taxing the tunnels with a two-year �subscription fee� of 10,000 Israeli shekels. The Rafah municipality also has its hand in the till, receiving 20% of the tunnels’ income (International Dutch Radio, May 28, 2009).
The UN delegation to investigate Operation Cast Lead arrives in the Gaza Strip
On June 1 a 15-member UN Human Rights Council delegation entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing to investigate the events of Operation Cast Lead. It is headed by the former attorney general of the Internal Court for War Crimes in Yugoslavia and Rwanda . The delegation met with the head of the crossings authority for the Hamas de-facto administration, Ghazi Hamad, and with representatives of various support agencies operating in the Gaza Strip (Al-Jazeera TV, June 1, 2009).
Hamas announced that it would give the delegation its full cooperation. Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip Fawzi Barhoum said that Hamas was ready to place all its evidence and proof at the delegation’s disposal (BBC, June 1, 2009). Musheir al-Masri, secretary of the Hamas faction in the Palestinian Legislative Council, said that Hamas welcomed the delegation despite the fact that it had come late. He demanded that the �victim and the hangman� not be equated [i.e., that the delegation would not deal with Hamas’s crimes but would focus on Israel ‘s] and that �what is necessary is to prove the truth and to stand firmly beside the Palestinian people, which suffered a genuine holocaust [sic] during the war…� (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, May 30, 2009).
The spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry said that Israel would not cooperate with the delegation. He said that the Human Rights Council had long since lost its credibility in the eyes of governments and organizations dealing honestly with furthering human rights in the world. He said the decision to appoint the delegation was so extreme that all democratic countries had publicly expressed their reservations. Its mandate automatically blamed Israel and prevented it from investigating anything connected to Hamas or the Palestinians. Because of that, said the spokesman, there was no reason for Israel to give its cooperation.
The Political Front
Mahmoud Abbas meets the president of the United States
On May 28 Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met with American President Barack Obama. On May 29 he left Washington and flew to Egypt where on May 30 he met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to update him on his talk with the American president and his other meetings in Washington (on the eve of Obama’s visit to Cairo and speech to the Arab-Muslim world on June 4).
The meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and Barack Obama lasted almost two hours. They spoke alone and were later joined by representatives from both sides. Mahmoud Abbas gave the president a document containing ideas for furthering the peace process (Agence France Presse, May 29, 2009). He described the meeting as �serious and sincere,� and said that the president seemed determined to implement the road map with all the obligations required of the two sides. The freezing of building in the settlements was, he said, incumbent on Israel in accordance with the road map’s first article (Mahmoud Abbas interviewed by Al-Hayat’s Washington correspondent, May 30, 2009).
After the meeting a joint press conference was held. The following issues were raised by Mahmoud Abbas (BBC and Al-Jazeera TV International, May 29, 2009):
Emphasis on the Palestinian commitment to the road map , which is, he said, the only way to achieve a comprehensive, just and viable peace in the Middle East . The road map will be implemented by the international quartet, some of the Western countries, the Arab monitoring committee and several Islamic countries.
All the Arab countries are committed to the Arab peace initiative based on �land in exchange for peace.� 3 If Israel withdraws from all the Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese territories, those countries will be willing to institute normal relations with it.
The Palestinian Authority will assure security in the West Ba nk to promote Palestinian interests and for stability in the region. Mahmoud Abbas thanked American General Keith Dayton and his staff for their support of the Palestinians with security issues.
He noted that during the meeting President Obama had emphasized the international obligations to the road map, the need for two states, freezing the building in the settlements and the importance of achieving peace through a discussion of the issues pertaining to the final status arrangement.
The following issues were raised by President Obama in his speech at the press conference and later in answers to questions from floor (White House website, Agence France Presse, May 29, 2009):
President Obama expressed support for the two-state solution , which would provide Israel and the Palestinians with peace and security. He called on the Arab countries to support the solution and to furnish Mahmoud Abbas with economic and political support.
The road map , he said, will further the interests of Israel , the Palestinian people and the United States .
He called on Israel and the Palestinians to meet their obligations to the road map. For Israel , they included �stopping settlements� and creating the conditions for the creation of a viable Palestinian state. The Palestinians are required to continue their security steps in the West Bank (which, he said, had progressed greatly) and to reduce the anti-Israeli incitement and sentiments in the schools, mosques and public places.
Israel , he said, is an important American ally and it is in American interests to safeguard its peace and security. The United States believes that the best way to realize that interest is to prepare the ground for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel .
According to an Agence France Presse report, the United States will be �aggressive� in its mediation between Israel and the Palestinians. However, Obama refused to name a target date for the establishment of a Palestinian state, saying that he did not want an artificial timetable.
On the eve of Obama’s visit to Egypt and speech in Cairo , �sources in the American administration� reported that the possibility of exerting pressure on Israel was being examined, should it continue its refusal to freeze building in the settlements. �The measures under discussion – all largely symbolic – include stepping back from America ‘s near-uniform support for Israel in the United Nations…and the Security Council� ( The New York Times , June 1, 2009).
Reactions from Hamas and the other terrorist organizations
As expected, Hamas and the other terrorist organizations attacked the Obama-Abbas meeting:
Ismail Haniya , head of the Hamas de-facto administration, said that information about the results of the meeting were �not propitious.� He said that the Israel government was using �dirty tactics� to gain time, maintain the settlements, make Jerusalem into a Jewish city, and erode Palestinian demands (Al-Quds TV, Al-Jazeera TV, May 29, 2009).
Musheir al-Masri , a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, claimed that the Obama-Abbas meeting was �a surrender.� He said the Americans demanded that the Palestinian Authority persecute the �resistance� [i.e., Hamas and the other terrorist organizations] in the West Bank while they did not demand that Israel meet its obligations to the road map (Al-Aqsa TV, May 29, 2009).
Hamas and the other terrorist organizations operating in Damascus issued a statement warning of the dangers of the American measures for the two-state solution and expressing their opposition to any document presented to regional or international elements in the name of the Palestinian people (Al-Quds website, May 30, 2009).
The Internal Palestinian Arena
The Palestinian Authority takes firm action against Hamas operatives in Qalqiliya
There was a serious confrontation in Qalqiliya between the Palestinian security forces and senior wanted Hamas operatives on the night of May 30, 2009. During it two wanted operatives, three members of the security forces and the owner of the house in which the operatives were hiding were killed. In addition, several dozen Hamas operatives in Qalqiliya were detained (Palestinian media, May 31, 2009).
On the night of May 30 the Palestinian security forces surrounded a house in Qalqiliya where Muhammad al-Sama’n , a senior Hamas operative, and Muhammad Yassin , were hiding and refused to surrender to the Palestinian security forces. The Hamas media called on the local residents to take to the street and march to the house, and reported that the call was answered, mainly by women.4 Hamas’s military-terrorist wing issued a warning that if anything happened to al-Sama’n, �the response will be severe� (Hamas media, May 30, 2009). According to the Palestinian media, Muhammad Yassin, the operative with al-Sama’n, exited the house after several hours and blew himself up with a hand grenade after shouting � Allahu Akbar .� The Palestinian security forces then broke into the house and took it over during an exchange of fire.
Left: The house where Muhammad al-Sama’n and Muhammad Yassin
barricaded themselves (Al-Jazeera TV, June 1, 2009).
Right: Hamas billboard in honor of Muhammad al-Sama’n and Muhammad Yassin
(Al-Aqsa TV, June 1, 2009).
Hamas accused Fatah of collaborating with Israel , claiming that IDF forces supported the Palestinian Authority security forces in Qalqiliya (Hamas forum, May 31. 2009). According to a Hamas announcement, during the operation more than 40 of its activists in Qalqiliya were detained (Hamas’s Palestine-Info website, May 31, 2009). On May 31 Hamas organized processions in the Gaza Strip to protest the actions of the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria (PalToday website, May 31, 2009). At the same time, Hamas initiated a broad, vicious media attack on the Palestinian Authority and even against Mahmoud Abbas personally, representing him as responsible for the events:
Abu Obeida, Hamas military-terrorist wing spokesman , said that the Palestinian Authority’s security forces �are acting against the Palestinian homeland� and had surprised even Israel in the extent of its collaboration with it. He added that Mahmoud Abbas was directly responsible for the terrorist �crime and its future ramifications.� He called on Palestinians in the West Bank to resist the PA’s security forces and prevent the detention of more [Hamas] activists. He also called on operatives working for the security forces to resign and �support the men of the resistance and the jihad fighters in their struggle against this treachery…� (Al-Aqsa TV, May 31, 2009).
Abu Obeida attacks the Palestinian Authority at a press conference
following the confrontations in Qalqiliya (Al-Jazeera TV, June 1, 2009).
Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, Fawzi Barhoum, laid responsibility for the confrontation on the shoulders of Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah leadership, adding that a dialogue with them had become �meaningless� in view of the steps taken against Hamas. When asked about a practical response, he spoke in generalizations, saying that Hamas would respond to every attack against its operatives in the West Bank (BBC in Arabic, May 31, 2009).
Senior Hamas figure Musheir al-Masri said of Mahmoud Abbas that he was �more of a Zionist than the Zionists and more American than the Americans� (QudsPress News Agency, June 1, 2009).
Fatah accused Hamas of responsibility for the confrontations in Qalqiliya. Amid Adnan al-Damiri, Palestinian security forces spokesman, said that the house in which the Hamas operatives barricaded themselves had been prepared in advance for an attack on the Palestinian security forces. He accused the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip of having organized a group of Hamas operatives in Qalqiliya to support a military takeover in the West Bank . He also reported on weapons hidden in the mosques and noted that the security forces had recently found caches of large quantities of weapons (Palestinian Television, May 31, 2009). In another interview he said that the Hamas network was involved in storing the weapons found a few months ago in Qalqiliya’s Abu Ayub al-Ansari mosque and in the homes of civilians (BBC in Arabic, May 31). 5 Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas praised the security forces and their operation, and called on Palestinians to unite around �their legal national leadership� (Wafa News Agency, May 31, 2009).
In response, Hamas initiated a wave of detentions of Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip to frighten the residents of the Gaza Strip and prevent Fatah activity. Sources within Hamas said that the movement would not allow Fatah to reestablish itself in the Gaza Strip again.
Influence of the events in Qalqiliya on the internal Palestinian dialogue
Following the events in Qalqiliya, Hamas spokesmen in the Gaza Strip reported that the movement was �examining� its continued participation in the internal Palestinian dialogue (Al-Quds TV, Al-Aqsa TV, May 31, 2009). A website affiliated with Hamas reported that the movement had officially informed Egypt it was freezing its participation in the dialogue and labeling it a failure as a result of the events in the West Bank (Al-Ala website, May 31, 2009). On May 31 the Quds Press news agency reported that Egypt had contacted both sides to minimize the damage done the internal Palestinian dialogue by the events in the West Bank , however, according to a Palestinian source, it was too late.
Hassan Nasrallah calls for Iranian arming of the Lebanese army
On May 29 Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gave a pre-election speech in Baalbek calling for the Lebanese army to be armed by Iran . His main points in this issue were the following (Al-Manar TV, May 29, 2009).
Lebanon , he said, was in Israel ‘s crosshairs and therefore needed a strong army. He criticized the Lebanese government for not having turned to Iran to purchase arms which would help Lebanon stand up to Israel .
No country, he said, was willing to arm the Lebanese army, not even the United States . He claimed that no benefit was to be derived from the few tanks, cannons and truck Vice President Joe Biden offered Lebanon . On the other hand, when Lebanon petitioned Iran , it would receive a positive answer because �the Iranian Republic , and in particular the Imam Khamenei, will not deprive Lebanon of anything that might make it stronger, with no conditions or reservations.�
He promised that if the opposition, to which Hezbollah belonged, won the elections and succeeded in establishing a �national government,� it would build a strong national army (i.e., an army based on Iranian weapons 6). The Lebanese army would then operate alongside Hezbollah � �the popular resistance� � and be able to defend Lebanon .
The speech clearly revealed Nasrallah’s intention of strengthening Tehran ‘s foothold in Lebanon , and were met by fierce criticism from his opponents, who regard them as a serious danger to Lebanon ‘s independence and security . On May 31 the Lebanese daily Al-Nahar reported that the March 14 Forces (the camp opposed to Hezbollah) claimed that the ground was being prepared to turn Lebanon into a forward base for Iran and that a Hezbollah victory in the elections would be dangerous for the Lebanese republic. The paper elaborated: Antoine Zahra , a member of the (Christian) Lebanese Forces, said that if Iran decided to arm the Lebanese army, it would be accompanied by its own political agenda. Ahmad Fatfat , a member of the Al-Mustaqbal group, wondered if � Iran is a charitable society determined to provide weapons unconditionally and with nothing in return?� Carlos Edd� , head of the National Block, expressed his fear lest Iran ‘s arming the Lebanese army led to the arrival of Iranian instructors in Lebanon who would turn the Lebanese security forces into an Iranian army force which would be used to support Iran ‘s wars at the expense of the Lebanese people. On June 1 the Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal , affiliated with Hariri supporters, wrote that there was a consensus in Lebanon and that acquiring arms from Iran , as described by Nasrallah, was dangerous for the country.
Tareq al-Hamid , editor in chief of the London-based Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat , claimed that Nasrallah’s speech served to illustrate �Hezbollah’s subservience to Iran � and was an announcement that if Nasrallah and his supporters won the election, �it means the end of Lebanon ‘s ties with the international community.� He said there was another aspect to Iranian military aid to Lebanon : �If there is an armed confrontation with Iran , then Hezbollah will find itself in an unenviable position. How will Nasrallah them convince the Lebanese that Lebanon should come to the aid of Iran?� (Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, May 31, 2009).
1 Hajj Imad Fayiz Moughnieh was deputy to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and considered second in importance in the organization. He was killed in Damascus on February 12, 2008. For further information see our February 13, 2008 bulletin �Imad Fayez Moughnieh, No. 2 at Hezbollah and responsible for its military and terrorist operations in Lebanon and abroad, died when his car exploded in Damascus�.
2 The Holy Land Foundation is the largest Islamic charitable society in the United States . It was ordered closed by President Bush after the 9/11 attacks when it was suspected of raising funds for Islamic extremists. For information about how Islamic charitable societies transfer funds to Hamas, see for example our February 2005 bulletin �The Union of Good� .
3 The Palestinian delegation in Washington put a giant advertisement in the leading American newspapers (including the Washington Post ) about the Arab initiative when Mahmoud Abbas was there. In November 2008 the Palestinian Authority used a similar tactic in the Israel press.
4 Using civilians, especially women as human shields for its terrorist operatives is a well-known Hamas tactic. On November 3, 2006, during an IDF action in the northern Gaza Strip, the IDF surrounded several dozen terrorist operatives who had hidden in the Al-Nasser mosque in Beit Hanoun. Two hundred women came to the mosque in answer to the calls of the terrorist organizations and mosque preachers, and protected them. For further information see our January 2009 bulletin � Hamas Exploitation of Civilians as Human Shields .�
5 For further information see our February 16, 2009 bulletin �Evidence from Operation Cast Lead Shows Hamas Uses Mosques to Store Weapons and as Sites Launch Rockets and Mortar Shells� .
6 Hassan Nasrallah did not specifically say that the government of which he would be a member would ask to purchase arms from Iran because he was aware that UN Security Council resolution 1749 forbids the transfer of arms from Iran to any other country.