Militants say Israel-Palestinian downtime to be used for weapons smuggling,
training to attack Jewish state
By Aaron Klein FROM WND'S JERUSALEM BUREAU
Posted: November 27, 2006 1:00 a.m. Eastern
TEL AVIV - The cease-fire to which Israel and major Palestinian factions
agreed yesterday will be used by Palestinian groups to smuggle weapons into
Gaza, reinforce and train "fighter units," and produce rockets for a future
confrontation with the Jewish state, the leaders of the four most
significant Palestinian terror groups in Gaza told WND in a series of
"The cease-fire offers a period of calm for our fighters to recover and
prepare for our final goal of evacuating Palestine," said Abu Abir,
spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, a Hamas-allied terror
organization in the Gaza Strip responsible for many of the recent rocket
attacks against Israeli communities
"We will keep fighting [Israel], but for the moment we will postpone certain
parts of the military struggle," Abu Abir said.
Abu Abir was one of several terror leaders speaking to WND after a
cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants took effect yesterday
Israel removed its ground forces from Gaza and agreed to not launch
antiterror operations in the Gaza Strip in exchange for Palestinian promises
to halt attacks against Israel, including the cessation of rocket fire
against Jewish communities near Gaza.
Palestinians have been firing rockets from the Gaza Strip since Israel
evacuated the territory last summer. In the past few weeks, Palestinian
rocket attacks from Gaza have intensified exponentially, killing two
Israelis and disrupting life in several Jewish cities.
The recent increase in rocket bombardments prompted calls by the general
public here and by many in the Israeli defense establishment for a
large-scale Israeli offensive in Gaza.
Israeli Defense Forces officials reportedly presented multiple military
plans to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to dismantle some of the terror
infrastructure in Gaza, minimize rocket attacks and attempt to halt rampant
weapons smuggling from neighboring Egypt into Gaza.
IDF military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin and Yuval Diskin, director of
Israel's Shin Bet Security Services, both warned in recent speeches to the
Knesset if Israel doesn't launch a major offensive in Gaza, Palestinian
groups there will soon have military capabilities similar to those of the
Hezbollah guerilla organization in Lebanon.
But Olmert yesterday said he had faith the cease-fire would work. He said it
could lead to a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians.
"All of these things ultimately could lead to one thing - the opening of
serious, real, open and direct negotiations between us so that we can move
forward towards a comprehensive agreement between us and the Palestinians,"
Olmert told reporters yesterday, speaking about the cease-fire.
Olmert said he would be willing to meet with Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas for peace talks in the near future.
About two hours after the cease-fire was imposed yesterday morning, three
rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed
A short time earlier, Abbas ordered the heads of Palestinian security forces
to ensure Gaza militants respect the truce, Palestinian officials said.
Olmert said Israel would display "patience and restraint" in the face of
Palestinian violations of the cease-fire.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader, said all major
militant factions in the Gaza Strip had reaffirmed their commitment to the
truce after the rockets were fired yesterday.
"Contacts were made with the political leaderships of the factions and there
is a reaffirmation of the commitment of what has been agreed to," Haniyeh
Terror leaders: 'We need period of calm to recuperate'
Meanwhile, terror leaders from every major Palestinian faction in Gaza,
speaking to WND, said their groups would for now
abide by the cease-fire, which they stated would be used to resupply their
arsenals and prepare for a conflict with Israel.
The Committees' Abu Abir said, "We will reinforce very quickly and rush what
we are doing to prepare [for attacks against Israel] in Gaza and in the West
Abu Abdullah, a senior leader of Hamas' so-called "military wing," told WND
Hamas agreed to the cease fire "because we need a period of calm to
recuperate. This lull in fighting will not bring us to speak about peace."
Abu Abdullah is consider one of the most important operational members of
Hamas' Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, Hamas' declared military wing.
He pointed to Hamas' doctrine, which calls for the destruction of Israel and
which refuses to recognize the Jewish state.
"The political leadership [of Hamas] will never compromise on these values,"
the terror leader said.
Abu Abdullah said Hamas has its own political reasons to respect the truce.
"We wish to show Islam as a ruling party is capable of leading the
Palestinian people. Since Hamas was elected, we have been through only
chaotic periods. We want a period of calm to prove we are not only a
revolutionary movement but to show the Palestinian people our rule is
without the corruption of [the rival] Fatah [party]."
But Abu Abdullah said the cease-fire would ultimately end in violence.
"All the Palestinian people and all the Muslims will launch a direct
confrontation with Israel. This may come soon or it may take some time," Abu
Abu Luay, a leader of Islamic Jihad in Gaza, told WND Israel's call for a
cease-fire "proves our rocket attacks work. The Zionists know there is now
remedy for our rockets."
The Islamic Jihad leader said Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel
would resume "at a time of our choosing."
Abu Ahmed, the leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the northern Gaza
Strip, told WND his terror group would respect the cease-fire.
The Brigades, responsible for scores of suicide bombings, shootings and
rocket attacks, is the declared military wing of Abbas' Fatah party.
"We will respect the cease-fire as the president (Abbas) has ordered us to
do," said Abu Ahmed. "We keep our right to respond to any Israeli
aggression. Our group does not give up any of its ideals, which is a
withdrawal of the Israelis."
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