Arafat Gave the Green Light to the Intifada, Says Senior Hamas Leader / Jonatha D.Halevi

The Palestinians celebrated on September 208, 2010 the tenth anniversary of al-Aqsa Intifada, known as the war of terror launched against Israel after MK Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. The debate in Israel regarding the question who initiated the Intifada is not yet over. Some analysts and commentators believe that the Intifada was a spontaneous burst of popular rage against Israel and not a premeditated attack made by Yasser Atafat, the chairman at that time of the Palestinian Authority, and the leader of the PLO and Fatah movement.
For instance, Haaretz senior journalist Gideon Levy wrote the following after Arafat’s death: “In spite of all his [Arafat] mistakes, and there are many of them, Israel did not try all available options to reach an agreement with him. He did not initiate the Intifada, as it is quite clear today.” Statements made by high ranking Palestinian leaders and officials portray a different account of the events leading to the Intifada and the wave of terrorist attacks, including tens of suicide bombings in Israel.
Mahmud al-Zahar, member of the Hamas political bureau, referred to this issue last week in an interview with Hamas’s official website, saying the following:
“[Question]: You have said in recent statements that the President Abu Ammar [Yasser Arafat] instructed Hamas to carry out operations while he was under siege in Ramallah. Can we expect for example that Abu Mazen [current PA’s chairman] will follow him in his policy towards the movement [Hamas]?”
“[Mahmud al-Zahar]: “Abu Ammar did not instructed Fatah to negotiate Hamas for carrying out operations based on a position supporting the resistance, but because of his intention to use the operations for tactical ends. I remember the day I took part in a popular conference held in al-Sheikh Awad auditorium in al-Aqsa [University in Gaza], with Hani al-Hassan, Abu Ali Shaheen and Abdallah al-Hourani [senior Fatah leaders]. In this event the attendees raised the need that Hamas would initiate operations against the Israeli occupation, and that was not a secret. Abu Ammar wanted that it would be a tactical means to exert pressure on Israel trough Hamas. Abu Mazen lacks this courage and vision and he is not capable of putting his life in danger for such a cause. I meant by this issue to inform the public with the fact that some times the resistance was used for tactical ends... and therefore I am not interested that the attempt to use the reconciliation [between Fatah and Hamas] and the resistance will be repeated in order to improve the conditions of the negotiations. They [reconciliation and resistance] must be based on strategic concept and vision.”
The question directed to Mahmud al-Zahar referred to a news report regarding his statement two weeks ago, that was quoted as follows by al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper: “The late Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, instructed Hamas movement to carry out several military operations in the heart of the Hebrew State, after he thought that the negotiations at that time with Israel failed.” In another event, five years earlier, al-Zahar gave a similar version of Arafat’s instructions. Al-Zahar was quoted then by the Palestinian newspaper al-Haya al-Jadida as follows: “al-Zahar added that… after the failure of the negotiations in Camp David the Organization [PLO] started telling Hamas that gates are now open for carrying out operations. However, Hamas did not trust it and committed operations under the name Omar al-Mukhtar forces.”
This evidence is only one of many others indicating that Arafat was the mastermind behind the al-Aqsa Intifada and he was responsible for giving the green light for the terrorist attacks against Israel.
Jonathan Dahoah Halevi is a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former advisor for policy planning in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. [email protected]


Can these people name even one nccoession Hamas made to Fatah in the Mecca accords? As far I could tell, Fatah basically gave in on everything. Or is it really just about turf?

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