By Aaron Klein
There is evidence indicating the reemergence of a terrorist wing of the Palestinian Authority that was purportedly disbanded as a condition for continued U.S. and international financial aid.
In a rare move, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the so-called military wing of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah organization, last week issued an official pamphlet condemning Israel for the conviction of one of its members who had been arrested.
An Israeli court in the city of Beer Sheva convicted Fatah gunmen Khalid Abu Amsha, a member of the Al Aqsa Brigades, for leading a deadly attack on an Israeli soldier at the Erez border crossing near the Gaza Strip.
Immediately following the conviction, the Brigades in the West Bank released a pamphlet criticizing Israel while warning the group “has the right” to defend itself.
During the past year, small factions of the Brigades released such statements but those were followed by clarifications claiming the group as a whole was disbanded. No such clarification followed the publication of last week’s pamphlet.
Israeli security officials say they are noticing signs the Brigades, acting with a silent green light from elements in the PA, are slowly reemerging.
The officials said they are aware of Brigades leaders changing their phone numbers, taking extra security precautions and even brandishing weapons in spite of a disarmament agreement and amnesty deal with Israel.
WND reported in February members of the Brigades were seen wielding weapons publicly in the region of Nablus, or biblical Shechem, in the northern West Bank. The city serves as the main Brigades stronghold.
Yesterday, a former senior leader of the Brigades, speaking on condition of anonymity, admitted to WND that his group is studying the possibility of reawakening.
The Brigades leader said his group is studying how to rebuild its cells quickly in case the organization is required. The leader, however, claimed the Brigades continues to be disbanded.
The Brigades are responsible for scores of suicide bombings and deadly shootings targeting Israeli civilians. The group took credit, many times jointly with the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad organization, for nearly every suicide bombing in Israel in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
The U.S. provides arms, training and financial aid to the PA’s various militias. Many members of official PA security forces double as Brigades terrorists.
In 2007, then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert granted hundreds of Brigades members temporary amnesty on condition they disarm, refrain from attacks and spend three months in PA detention facilities and another three months confined to the West Bank city in which they reside.
If the terrorists completed their side of the deal, Olmert’s office would grant permanent amnesty, allowing them freedom of movement in the West Bank and taking them off Israel's most wanted list of terrorists to ensure they are not arrested.
About 45 percent of the temporarily pardoned terrorists received permanent Israeli amnesty in coordination with Olmert’s office and Israel's Shin Bet Security Services. Olmert granted the amnesty in spite of information dozens of terrorists granted full amnesty were later involved in attacks or foiled attacks.
Israel Defense Forces have arrested a number of pardoned Al Aqsa Brigades members carrying arms and planning terror attacks, according to security sources. WND reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government quietly continued the controversial practice of granting amnesty to Brigades terrorists despite the dismal track record under Olmert.
Israel Detains Weapons Ship Crossing Dead Sea from Jordan to Palestinians - The Israel Project
Israel Preparing for the Worst in September - Commentary Magazine
PA to Unilaterally Set Borders in September - Arutz Sheva
IDF rearms ahead of Palestinian state bid - Israel Today (Ryan Jones)
Abbas asks Arab League to meet on PA financial crisis - Jerusalem Post