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Arab Editor: Arming Abbas and Hamas is a Step Toward Civil War

Muslim and Western efforts to equip Fatah and Hamas militias "will be used to kill and slaughter Palestinians by Palestinians," a Bethlehem-based journalist wrote.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/29/2006, 9:09 AM / Last Update: 12/29/2006, 11:06 AM

Nasser Laham, chief editor of the independent Ma'an news agency based in Bethlehem, stated his fears of the arming of Hamas by Hizbullah, Syria and Iran and the initiative by the United States, supported by Israel, to ensure that the Fatah militia receives more weapons and fighters. The militia forms Force 17, the Presidential Guard which forms the personal army under control of Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the Fatah faction.

"While I scan the websites of the Fatah and the Hamas movements, I feel a chill and cannot believe that there is such an amount of evil among us Palestinians." Laham wrote. "I ask myself, 'Has blood flowed from our flanks? Will the Sheikh of the mosque, whom I trusted, voted for and made my Imam in prayer, kill me? Or will I be killed by my Fatah companion in the prison's cell, who is married to my sister and whose kids I raised in my own home?'"

He rhetorically asked why Iran provides "Hamas with millions of bullets and rifles" and why Arab neighbors provide Fatah with troops, rifles and security technology."

The increasing exodus of Palestinian Authority Arab residents from Judea, Samaria and Gaza and the ensuing civil war will deplete the population, he warned. "Those who will stay alive will end up unable to provide even a loaf of bread. At the end, these weapons will be used to kill and slaughter Palestinians by Palestinians in the name of defending principles, religion and revolution. Wouldn't it be better if we bought computers and nutrition for our children?"

Israeli government sources revealed this week that hundreds of Gaza terrorists recently have traveled to Iran to receive combat training by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, considered one of the fiercest armies in the world. Terrorists from several rival organizations for years have been smuggling weapons into Gaza, but the phenomenon has increased sharply since last year, when Israel surrendered its patrol of the Philadelphia smuggling route and handed the responsibility over to Egypt.

However, Egyptian police and troops have done little to prevent the escalation of smuggling, which now includes long range rockets, advanced anti-tank rockets and propellants for surface-to-air missiles.

This week, Fatah received a shipment of 2,000 assault rifles and 2 million rounds of ammunition, although Abbas claimed that the shipment actually was office equipment. Abbas did not want the information disseminated, Voice of Israel government radio reported.

Along with fears that Fatah and Hamas will kill off a large number of citizens, senior military officers and many politicians as well as terrorists warn that the weapons will be used against Israelis. A senior Fatah terrorist recently told WorldNetDaily that American aid and weapons for the Presidential Guard will be used to "fight the Israeli occupation."

If so, it would be not be the first time it has happened. Former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin agreed to give the Palestinian Authority (PA) rifles and ammunition in the 1990s as part of the Oslo Accords. The government and military possess documented proof that the weapons in short time were used in terrorist attacks on Israelis.