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Arafat ordered Hamas attacks against Israel in 2000
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
29/09/2010
Former PA chairman issued instructions to terror group when peace talks were failing; Hamas leader makes revelations during university lecture.
 
The late Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat had instructed Hamas to launch terror attacks against Israel when he realized that peace talks with Israel weren’t going anywhere, Mahmoud Zahar, one of the Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip, revealed on Tuesday.

“President Arafat instructed Hamas to carry out a number of military operations in the heart of the Jewish state after he felt that his negotiations with the Israeli government then had failed,” Zahar told students and lecturers at the Islamic University in Gaza City.

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Zahar did not specify when and how Arafat instructed Hamas to launch the “military operations” – most of which were suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians.

However, it is believed the reference is to Arafat’s response to the failure of the Camp David summit in 2000.

This was the first time that a senior Hamas official disclosed that some of the Hamas suicide bombings during the second intifada, which erupted 10 years ago, were ordered by Arafat. Until now it was widely believed that Arafat had only ordered his Fatah militiamen to carry out terror attacks on Israel.

According to various testimonies, Arafat ordered the armed wing of Fatah, Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, to launch terror attacks against Israel after he realized that the government of then-prime minister Ehud Barak was not going to meet all of his demands.

Zahar claimed that Arafat’s decision to negotiate with Israel was one of the factors leading to his “assassination.” He said the decision was a grave mistake and a tactical error on Arafat’s part.

Zahar urged PA President Mahmoud Abbas to pull out immediately from the talks with Israel.

He claimed that the PA’s security coordination with Israel has resulted in the elimination of a number of Hamas men in the West Bank at the hands of the IDF.

He added that Hamas now was better able to smuggle weapons and other military equipment into the Gaza Strip in preparation for the next confrontation with Israel.

Zahar said that a growing number of Palestinians were now convinced that the armed struggle was the only way to deal with the Jewish state.
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