First it should be recalled that in the immediate wake of last week's terror attack at the Gush Etzion junction, the Aksa Martyr Brigades - the terror group belonging to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party - issued an announcement claiming responsibility. Oddly, in the hours that followed, IDF commanders and government ministers denied Fatah's claim and insisted that Hamas, not Fatah, had carried out the attack that murdered three.
Although no evidence was ever presented to back up this claim, let's assume that it is true. Still, the question arises: What does the fact that Fatah claimed responsibility tell us about Abbas's Fatah party, on which Israel and the US are currently pinning all their hopes for peace and security?
After Wednesday's bombing, the Iranian-sponsored Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility. As is their habit, the terrorists claimed that the massacre of Israeli civilians was their response to the IDF's killing of their terror commander Luai Sa'adi in Tulkarm earlier this week. But then something interesting occurred.
In Gaza City, masked Fatah and Islamic Jihad terrorists held a joint press conference where they claimed joint responsibility for the bombing. A Fatah spokesman further announced that any attack against Islamic Jihad will be viewed as an attack against Fatah as well. Disturbingly, no Israeli newspaper other than The Jerusalem Post reported on the press conference.
And that isn't all. Like the government, the Israeli media also ignored the fact - reported again exclusively by the Post's Khaled Abu Toameh - that in the same IDF raid where Sa'adi was killed, Majed al-Ashkar, a senior Fatah terror commander, was also killed. The Israeli Hebrew-speaking public has not been informed that the two had spent the past several months establishing joint Fatah-Islamic Jihad cells throughout Judea and Samaria and Gaza.
FOR HIS part, Abbas, whom the Sharon-Peres government and the Bush administration uphold as Israel's partner in peace and the fight against terrorism, has been making some interesting moves. Abbas has told the Americans and the Israelis that he is working to end Fatah terrorism by integrating the Aksa Martyrs Brigades into the Palestinian security forces.
But on Wednesday night, Channel 2's reporter in Gaza interviewed three such "former" terrorists as they stood in position outside the ruins of the community of Neveh Dekalim. The flag flying from the top of their tent was that of the Aksa Martyr Brigades. One man was in uniform and the other two were wearing civilian clothes. All were brandishing the same AK-47 rifles they received as terrorists. All claimed that they are still part of the Aksa Brigades.
As one Palestinian source noted to the Post, the fact that Fatah and Islamic Jihad terrorists are now operating in the same cells raises the prospect that Islamic Jihad operatives will infiltrate the Palestinian security services by claiming to be Fatah terrorists. As members of the security forces, these murderers will receive training at the hands of Russian security personnel who are now operating in Gaza.
After I read the reports from the Hadera market bombing last week I too wondered why so few journalists were noting the implications of a joint Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade/Islamic Jihad suicide bombing but I put it down to the fact that most journalists in the MSM don’t want to face up to Palestinian political realities and the obvious implications; there are no viable or creditable peace partners for Israel.