Former Al Aqsa Brigade Chief:
Dr. Richard L. Benkin
In an interview with Israel National News, the former head of the Al Aqsa Martys’ Brigade described the Arab Intifada as “a crushing failure.” Former terrorist leader Zakariya Zubeida also confirmed that all terrorists’ actions were directed by the Yassir Arafat himself, despite the late Arab leader’s frequent denials.
This is an important revelation because Zubeida is an impeccable source and was a key terrorist leader during Arafat’s tenure. When Arafat signed the 1993 Oslo Accords, he made an explicit promise to halt all terrorist activities against the State of Israel. As terrorist actions continued nevertheless, Arafat and his spokespersons issued frequent and continuous denials of any complicity in the attacks. They consistently claimed that the terrorist activities were perpetrated by independent groups, representing the “will of the Palestinian people,” and that Arafat was powerless to stop them. But as Zubeida now reveals, everything…was done according to Arafat’s instructions. While many people continued to accept these statements at face value, an ever-increasing pile of evidence made Arafat’s denials less and less credible.
The most damning incident occurred on 3 January 2002 when Israeli Defense Forces intercepted the 4,000 ton freighter, the Karine A. Loaded in the Iranian port of Kish, the ship was found to be carrying over 50 tons of weapons, including Katyusha rockets, mortars, sniper rifles, bullets, anti-tank mines, anti-tank missiles, and over two and a half tons of pure explosives. The entire cache of weapons was displayed at the site for the international press so there was never any suggestion that the arms were not on the ship. Arafat, however, who was discussing peace with US General Anthony Zinni at the time, denied that the ship was bound for the Palestinian Authority (PA). The New York Times, however, called the denials “implausible” as did many journalists, academic, and other authorities. In fact, the evidence of PA involvement was overwhelming. The arms were found packed in 83 waterproof plastic crates and attached to buoys. This is consistent with methods commonly used to drop off and retrieve contraband at sea; that is, with slipping arms into
Gaza, where the ship was headed. More damning was the fact that the ship’s captain was Omar Akawi, a Fatah activist and former PA official. Even The Daily Star, a
Beirut newspaper generally hostile towards Israel, alleged that a former member of Arafat’s own staff purchased the weapons.
The Karine A revelations was seen as solid evidence that Arafat and the PA had been disingenuous all along in their denials of terrorist involvement. As a result, most governments began distancing themselves from Arafat. It was after that incident that the
United States stopped pressing Israel to try and forge any sort of agreement as long as Arafat was running the PA; and it was then that the terrorist leader became persona non grata in the
Zubeida also confirmed that the Arab Intifada was not a spontaneous and popular uprising as Palestinians and their sympathizers have long alleged. They claim it was a popular response to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s visit to the
Temple Mount. Over the years, however, more and more evidence suggests it was a planned operation, and Zubeida now confirms that the entire Intifada was directed by Arafat. “We had a plan, there was a strategy, and we would carry [Arafat’s] orders.”
The former terrorist leader was most candid about the PA’s and anti-Israel terrorism’s failure in his conversation with Israel National News Arab affairs correspondent, Avi Yissacharov. He said that none of it ever resulted in “political achievements”; that there is no longer any “Palestinian identity”; and that their politicians are nothing but “whores.” Zubeida further predicts that there will be another war when 2008 closes with no Palestinian stateónot against
Israel, but against the PA itself by a frustrated and abused population.“Today there is no Palestinian identity…. The Palestinian people are finished. Done for.”