The Day In Israel: Monday Feb 1st, 2010

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Yet another explanation of the death of founding Hamashole Mahmoud al-Mabhouh: the killers got to him with the help of the Jizz.

Top Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was identified and killed following an interview he gave to Al-Jazeera on instructions from the movement’s leadership in Syria, according to a Fatah-affiliated news agency.

The interview with Mabhouh was conducted against his will and against the advice of his colleagues in the armed wing of Hamas, Izzadin Kassam, the agency said.

The Palpress news agency said it did not rule out the possibility that the killing was an “inside job.”

“Did he know too many secrets and that’s why they decided to get rid of him?” the agency asked. “Perhaps he knew about the weapons convoy [to Hamas] that was destroyed by Israel about a year ago?”

Although the Hamas operative appeared masked in the interview and was only identified by his nom de guerre, Abu Abed, Israeli security authorities were able to identify him and later track him down, according to the report.

The interview was part of a documentary that was recently aired by the popular Arab network. The film focused on Izzadin Kassam and its past operations, particularly the abduction and killing of IDF soldiers.

Palpress suggested that senior Hamas officials Musa Abu Marzouk and Izat al-Risheq were the ones who exerted heavy pressure on the slain Hamas operative to appear on television.

Following the interview, Hamas said it would not authorize its broadcast because Mabhouh’s features and identity had not been completely concealed.

The news agency reported that the original tape, which revealed Mabhouh’s identity, was kept in Hamas’s archives, while the TV station was told to conduct another interview.

It said that when Mabhouh learned that he was supposed to give a second interview, he responded with fury and asked about the fate of the original tape and whether it had been copied.

But he was finally persuaded to give another interview under pressure from senior Hamas leaders in Damascus, the agency claimed.

I’m enjoying read all of these versions of his death.

Because in all of them, the ending is the same.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

11:15PM: Quote of the day:

“It was like being punched in the stomach,”

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi after visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem

11:05PM: Two barrels of explosives were today discovered on Israeli beaches – one washing ashore in Ashkelon this morning and another in Ashdod this evening. Islamic Jihad, Popular Resistance Committees and (Fatah’s) Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility.

According to Ha’aretz:

Police believe that the barrels arrived at the beach via the sea from the Gaza Strip and are checking the possibility that it was intended to explode next to a ship or amongst beachgoers.

The explosive charges were neutralized by sappers.

A person who was walking on the Hofit beach in Ashkelon discovered the explosive at 11:30 a.m. and called the police. Security personnel form the northern beaches of Ashkelon arrived at the scene, checked the device and then neutralized it.

Area residents were asked to stay in their homes due to an “unusual security incident”.

Think about it for a second. These terrorists deliberately sent explosives to Israeli beaches. They aimed to kill non-combatants.

Keep that thought next time you hear anyone whining about Israel restricting supplies of goods to Gaza.

8:58PM: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi today said his “greatest desire” is to to see Israel join the EU.

Which is a big deal, considering he is a man with many desires.

6:54PM: PA President Mahmoud Abbas recently promised there was no more incitement in mosques during Friday prayers.

Liar, liar (via PMW).

You can see why I am not exactly keen on the idea of putting our faith in Abbas and the PA.

5:04PM: Can you guess this terrorist’s age?

a) 20-30

b) 30-40

c) 40-50

The answer is…..(a. He’s actually only 24.

I don’t know about you, but I thought he looks closer to 44.

Meanwhile, here’s more on why he is in the news.

The Shin Bet arrested two east Jerusalem residents suspected of being recruited by Hamas  during their time in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and gathering information on potential terror targets in Israel, it was cleared for publication.

An indictment was filed against the pair with the Jerusalem District Court on Monday. The two were charged with espionage, membership in a terror organization, contact with a foreign agent and aiding the enemy during wartime.

The two are suspected to have collected the videos, photographs, charts and information on a USB flash drive which they transferred to their handlers in Saudi Arabia. They were then meant to receive explosives. They also prepared a cave near Sataf, in the Judean Hills, and expanded it to use as a hiding place for weapons.

Murad Kamal, 24, from Wadi Joz in Jerusalem, and Murad Nimer, 24 from Tzur Baher, also in the capital, both carry Israeli IDs. They were arrested on January 3 at the central bus station in Beersheba. A third person was arrested with them, but suspicion that he was aware of their activity was refuted.

According to the Shin Bet, at the request of their Hamas handlers, Nimer and Kamal began collecting information which included photographs and sketches of potential terror targets, including the central bus station and Malcha Mall in Jerusalem, the central bus station in Beersheba, the hotel area on the Tel Aviv coast, bus stops in Jerusalem and Mevasseret, and the area surrounding the Tel Hashomer military base, where many soldiers are concentrated.

Nimer studied engineering in Jordan between 2003 and 2007, and was recruited to Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, during a trip to Saudi Arabia at an unknown date.

In 2007, Nimer recruited Kamal, who was studying pharmacy in Jordan at the time. According to the indictment, the two knew each other from high school.

In 2008 Nimer moved to Dubai where he worked as a engineer and continued to meet with Hamas elements in a number of places, including Turkey.

The two returned to Israel in 2009, and upon their return, began work on their mission – to collect information on locations in Israel. The two traveled the country seeking crowded sites. They filmed videos, took photographs, and prepared maps and sketches of malls (at the central bust station and Malcha Mall in Jerusalem).

Since neither of them had a driver’s license, they used Nimer’s cousin, Ma’amun Nimer, who was unaware of their plans, to drive them around. They told Ma’amun that they had to take pictures of different locations around the country as part of an academic assignment.

The three drove around the country every weekend of July to document Israel’s highways and main roads. Nimer and Kamal occasionally received funds from Hamas elements to cover the expenses of their activity.

The two photographed the sings along the roads and Nimer transferred the images to his laptop, along with a description of each route, including its length, the signs on the road, and more.

The suspects also examined how many Jews and soldiers could be found at each site, and took note of the security measures in the various locations. The information collected was saved on a USB flash drive. Last August Nimer visited Saudi Arabia with the processed information, and transferred it to Hamas operatives whose identities are unknown.

According to the Shin Bet, the cell’s members used their rights as holders of Israeli IDs to collect the information and seek out weaknesses in security in Israel’s crowded sites.

The Shin Bet said this affair points to yet another case of the terror organizations’ efforts – Hamas in particular – to recruit students, with emphasis on those that specialize in chemistry and engineering, for military activity.

4:50PM: While genocidal maniac seems to be a common profession in Iran, fact-checker does not seem to be.

Iran’s official media outlets published a fabricated item on Sunday claiming that Israeli Olympic medalist Yael Arad decided to give her silver medal to the wife of opposition reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi in order to show her appreciation of her struggle against the regime.

A Ynet investigation revealed that the source of the item was an Iranian blogger who decided to joke around a bit by inventing an interview that Arad, who was called Hava Amit in the story, supposedly gave to Haaretz newspaper.

In the fictitious interview, the Israeli athlete said that she decided to give the silver medal she won in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona to Mousavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard, “out of respect for her fight for freedom.”

“Hava Amit” explained that “Rahnavard’s interview to the BBC in Persian following the elections increased my desire to support the freedom movement in Iran.” A picture of Arad and a picture of Rahnavard figured prominently alongside the story laid out in the blog.

The news item subsequently picked up and published by Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, gained momentum and was then launched on a number of other pro-regime websites. The title of the article was “Presenting the Israeli runner’s silver medal to Zahra Rahnavard.”

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The Iranian opposition believes that the regime’s effort to paint the opposition as an agent of Israel and the US led Iran’s official media to forget to check the source of the article and its authenticity.

6:10AM: PA President Mahmoud Abbas has told the Guardian that there “will be no return to armed struggle.”

This despite the fact he has little control over his own people, and that terrorists from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, affiliated with his own Fatah party, recently murdered an Israeli man.

Abbas stressed that “There will be no return to armed struggle,” saying such a struggle would “destroy our territories and our country.” Hamas itself, he claimed, “is not resisting” – a reference to the organization’s effective ceasefire since January last year – “and now they are talking about peace and a truce with Israel”.

You can also add the continued palestinian incitement and new Fatah charter (see 5:55AM update) into the mix, and it’s clear the man talks with forked tongue.

6:00AM: Interesting video on one of our Zionist Weapons of Death.TM

5:55AM: My friend Barry Rubin looks at the new charter to emerge from the August 2009 Fatah congress, and argues it is not “moderate” as some have suggested.

Yet up until now nobody has noticed that such a charter emerged from the August 2009 Fatah General Congress. The document was translated by the U.S. government and has just been leaked by Secrecy News. You are now reading the first analysis of this charter.

Secrecy News remarks: “The document is not particularly conciliatory in tone or content. It is a call to revolution, confrontation with the enemy, and the liberation of Palestine, ‘free and Arab.’” But then the newsletter continues:

“But what is perhaps most significant is what is not in the document. The original Fatah charter (or constitution) from the 1960s embraced `the world-wide struggle against Zionism,’ denied Jewish historical or religious ties to the land, and called for the `eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.’ None of that language is carried over into the new charter, which manages not to mention Israel, Zionism, or Jews at all.”

Now here’s an important lesson for you. When a radical group is portrayed as moderate based on some position it supposedly has taken or some statement made there has to be a catch somewhere. Here’s the tip-off in this case, a single sentence in the new charter:

“This internal charter has been adopted within the framework of adherence to the provisions of the Basic Charter.”

In other words, every detail of the original charter still holds; nothing is repealed, no error admitted, no explicit change of course accepted.

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Following my article on the new Fatah Charter, I was sent a JTA story about how the new charter is very moderate since it “drops” calls for Israel’s destruction, etc. As I pointed out, the charter says that the old charter is still in force and nothing in the new one contradicts it. So nothing has changed in fact.

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