(photo credit: AP)
Former Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat instructed Hamas to launch
terror attacks against Israel when he realized that the peace talks weren't
going anywhere, Mahmoud Zahar, one of the Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip,
revealed on Tuesday.
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"President Arafat instructed Hamas to carry out a
number of military operations in the heart of the Zionist entity 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.
not say when and how Arafat instructed Hamas back then to launch the "military
operations" – most of which were suicide bombings targeting Israeli
However, it is believed that Arafat issued the order to Hamas
following the failure of the Camp David summit in 2000.
This was the
first time that a senior Hamas official disclosed that some of the suicide
bombings in Israel during the second intifada, which erupted 10 years ago, were
ordered by Arafat.
Until now it was widely believed that Arafat had
ordered his Fatah militiamen to carry out terror attacks on
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 his demands.
Zahar claimed that Arafat's decision to
negotiate with Israel was one of the reasons that led to his "assassination." He
said the decision was a grave mistake and a tactical error on the part of
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 had
more capabilities to smuggle weapons and other military equipment into the Gaza
Strip in preparation for the next confrontation with Israel.
that a growing number of Palestinians were now convinced that the armed struggle
was the only way to deal with Israel.