Colonel Miri Eisin, IDF Intelligence Officer
Jerusalem Media Center
April 23, 2002
What I’d like to do today is to give a brief overview, reminding you what our operation was for, what we feel at this stage that we have achieved, and also some of the things that we haven’t achieved. The operation’s aim and missions were not limited, however, there are limitations to what you can do with military means. I’d like to talk about terrorism and the four legs it stands upon, and what we achieved regarding each of those legs. I’m going to speak mainly from the perspective of intelligence.
The first leg is ideology. Ideology comes from the top. Besides ideology, you have to have people, both planners and executors, and weapons and bombs. All three of these, ideology maybe less but certainly people and weapons, cost money. If you don’t have money, you don’t have people and weapons. If you don’t have an ideology, you don’t have any of the other things. Ideology is very important throughout.
When we talk about terrorism within the Palestinian Authority’s territories, we never said that the PA in its entirety is one big terrorist organization. We have tried to differentiate between the terrorists within the PA and the PA itself, but sometimes they are interconnected – somebody who is paid by the PA during the day to be in a security or civil function, and during his free time plans, organizes and executes terrorist activities against Israelis.
The funding, the connections that we found, are the things that I’d like to show you today.
We have proved the connection with the PA’s own documents, found in the compound in Ramallah and other cities. The humoristic side is, that I read in the newspaper yesterday that the civil authorities within the PA are complaining that they cannot take over authority within the cities because we took away their computers and hard disks and pieces of paper. This, in spite of the fact all along they have been claiming that everything that we have shown is fabricated.
I’ll add that I’ve consistently said things that I’d have to eat my hat for as we go more thoroughly into the computers. At the beginning I said, "no Arafat" and then we had Arafat. The documents that we exposed until now were found inside filing cabinets. It takes a long time to understand the information that you find, for instance, in Marwan Barghouti’s computer, or in Fuad Shubaki, the chief financial adviser’s, computer. The bottom line is money. We did not go only into cities, we went into rural areas around the cities, and what we focused on was terrorism: ideology, people, weapons and money. In military terms, you have to translate that into something which you can go and capture. And we went in and captured people, weapons, places where they make weapons, and documents, which I will connect afterwards to both ideology and to funding.
I’m going to talk about the people, the 4,564, let’s say 4,500, people who were detained. 1,450 people admitted to having participated in terrorist acts against Israel. When you take into account that we went into only six of eight cities in Judea and Samaria, we didn’t go into the Gaza strip at all, and didn’t enter many rural areas, and that 1,450 people admitted to having participated in terrorist acts against Israelis, you realize that the numbers are far larger than what we expected to find. I’d like to expand on what we have done and what we haven’t done. During the operation, we managed to make the wave of terror go down drastically; the security of the average citizen in the State of Israel was changed over the last three weeks. There will be lingering effects for some time in several of the cities, but we didn’t capture all the people, all the labs, all the weapons and all the connections. But we did a lot. I am going to show both sides (waits for computer to cooperate).
I’d like to talk about the three terrorist organizations within Judea and Samaria. Some of the people were arrested, some people were killed, some people are still at large. Yesterday Marwan Zaloum, a nice man of the Fatah, ended his life in Hebron. Marwan Barghouti, the head of the Fatah, was arrested last week.
Marwan Barghouti, to a large extent, was educated in Israeli jails. He was imprisoned for almost four years when he was still at Bir Zeit University, in the eighties. But I want to talk about his activities in the last two years. He was the head of the Fatah in Judea and Samaria. He was the head of the Tanzim. There is a difference between having a clue about the people or intelligence ahead of time and going into their offices and seeing how they see themselves. In every one of the cities that we went into, Bethlehem, Jenin, Ramallah, and in the compound which is the PA headquarters in Ramallah, we found documents of the Fatah/Tanzim, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Three weeks ago, when we presented the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades document which was the first one that we had found, all the people of the PA who were asked about it said, "what do you want, it has nothing to do with the Fatah/Tanzim." It took us a little more time, and we found the posters of all of the shahidim [martyrs]. Go into any Palestinian town nowadays, take down the posters from the wall, read them in Arabic and every single one of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade s posters has Fatah/Tanzim and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades on them.
Marwan Barghouti, the head of the Tanzim, not only knew of terrorist activities, he approved terrorist activities. Sometimes he dictated the acceptance of responsibility announcements after the terrorist activity, since everybody wants to make sure that they gain the glory. When Marwan Barghouti dictates what is going to go out to the press "Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade is responsible, etc.", that says more than enough about his involvement in terrorist activities. In the year 2002, there was a definite competition between the Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and the Fatah over violence in the Palestinian street. At the beginning of 2002, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades was doing more terrorist activities than Hamas and Islamic Jihad. I’m not talking about how many were killed in the end. In the overall figures, the Hamas definitely takes it. They have the best explosive people, they make the most effective explosives, and they did the deadliest attacks.
That is Fatah. Its head Marwan Barghouti was arrested and his right hand man, his nephew, his operations officer, Ahmed Barghouti, and the second in command, the senior activist in the northern part of Judea and Samaria, Nasser Arwish. If I go city by city, in Ramallah, in Tulkarm, in Bethlehem, in Nablus, in Jenin and, today I can also say, in Hebron even though we didn’t physically enter that city, we have crippled, but haven’t demolished the terrorist organizations. There are lower people, but we have crippled the top of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah/Tanzim in the six cities that we were inside, and in Hebron.
When you get these pieces of paper you’ll also see the names of those we did not capture. In Kalkilya we went in and out relatively quickly. We did not catch the two top operatives of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Fatah/Tanzim. In the city of Nablus, heart of the hardcore terrorists of both Hamas and Fatah/Tanzim, they had their own leaders there. Islamic Jihad wasn’t as strong within Nablus, but they are the ones who did the harshest suicide bombings and other activities against us. And there are still two top terrorists from the Fatah who, I don’t know where to tell you they are but they are not detained in the area of Nablus.
When I say crippled that means that we made a difference. Because every one of the people who was arrested and is now talking, is telling us about future operations that those who are still around are planning. In that, is the possibility to stop any suicide bomber that comes into Israel.
And that goes from the top down. As I said, Marwan Barghouti at the top of the military terrorist pyramid. I put aside the political issue. For me is not existent at the moment, because he himself was the one who was planning and telling what to do. And Ahmed Barghouti and Nasser Arwish as two top names, all of these operatives, these terrorists are now under investigation in Israel.
When I talk about the Hamas, I’ll talk about it in a different way. The Hamas is based more in the Gaza strip. I want to remind everybody, we didn’t go into the Gaza strip. The million-odd people within the Gaza strip, if there is one thing I can say in an extreme manner it is that there is one thing that they are trying to do now, execute terrorist activities against Israelis, in the Gaza strip and especially out of the Gaza strip. They are not the only ones. In all of the cities that we are speaking about, anybody who is left at this stage is talking about revenge. Every operational terrorist who is left is the seed for what will come.
We will go over the names in the Hamas and I’ll talk about three names on this list, two killed and one captured, and what it means to us in our fight against terrorism now and against the seeds of terrorism to come. I start from two names which are on the list in Jenin, even though that is only because that’s where they came from; they were far beyond Jenin. I am talking about Kais Adwan, a name that everybody knows well, who was killed by our troops in the town of Tubas, and Said Alwad who was killed with him. When you don’t have somebody like Kais Adwan to run the scene in an area like Samaria, what does that mean? Kais Adwan was not a suicide bomber. That wasn’t what he wanted to do. He didn’t want to die. He was the one who learned to make explosives. When they learn to make explosives, they’d rather do it in the Gaza strip or in other places. He learned how to make the explosives in the Gaza strip. From there he went to Samaria. He was the main terrorist in the Samaria area, from Ramallah north, and worked out of Jenin and Nablus. He was the man who planned and sent suicide bombers, meaning he knew how to make the explosives. You have to have money for that, you have to have a place to make them. He knew how to find the operatives. You have to have education and ideology to find people able to do that. You have to have to know how to get into Israel proper because he was sending the suicide bombers into Israel proper – how to get through whatever you have to get through, bring them to the right spot, make the right effect.
Said Alwad was the person in Samaria who knew how to make Kassam 2 rockets. And the fact that he is not with us any more means that, at the moment, there is not anybody who knows how to make Kassam 2 rockets in Samaria. The knowledge is from the Gaza strip, that is where they make them extensively. He was the man who learned how to make them. This is not something that you know how to make when you wake up in the morning. A rocket is even more difficult than explosives, and explosives are not that easy themselves, certainly not the type of explosives that they were making. Kais Adwan and Said Alwad were both killed in the second week.
The third person that I’d like to talk about is Salim Haja in Nablus. Salim Haja was captured when we entered Nablus, and you have to understand that every person that we captured, like Salim Haja, is now telling us about the cell he was in, the people, how he planned, what he directed. These are the things that we are starting to learn now, which will give us more information when we do pinpointed activities again within the cities. Because we are still at the stage where the PA is saying it can’t do anything because it doesn’t have the capability. Before, they said they couldn’t do anything because Israel bothered them, and before that they just didn’t do anything. I’ll get back to ideology in a moment, ideology and education.
The different names that I mentioned now in Nablus are people that we have arrested and people that we have killed. With the Hamas I would say we hit a blow. Certainly on the Kassam 2 rocket issue. For us, it was very important because they planned to use them by going into cities on the edge of the Sharon: Tulkarm, Kalkilya, and trying to hit an urban center within Israel, just as they fired out of the Gaza strip as north as they could and hit Ashkelon and the city of Sderot. They understand and their perspective is that Ashkelon and Sderot are on the edge of Israel and don’t make much of an impact. The impact will be if they manage to do something in Kfar Saba, Raanana, which is right in the middle, the urban center of Israel.
The last list which I have is the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. As I said, afterwards I’ll give a copy to you. It’s important for me in the sense that we did a rather thorough job as you all have been reminding us.
I’ll put in my terms, I would say that we virtually wiped out the Islamic Jihad’s heads in Jenin. When I say wiped out, it is important to be exact. One was killed and four, including the two top ones, surrendered in the camp of Jenin. I have spoken of both, Ali Zafouri, Tabaat Mardawi.
Jenin sent out the most suicide bombers. Twenty-eight suicide bombers came out of Jenin, twenty-three committed suicide. We captured ten in the city who had already made their tape. The Islamic Jihad center in Judea and Samaria was in Jenin. Their money came directly from Damascus to Jenin. We had an interesting perspective through the captured documents of seeing how funding for Islamic Jihad from Damascus caused problems within Jenin. The Islamic Jihad had money and could pay their terrorists and for education and weapons. The competition between the Islamic Jihad and the Fatah/Tanzim and the El Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Jenin was mainly over the fact that one had money and the other didn’t and ‘please could you give us more money, so we can be better competition on our terrorist activities against Afula, Hadera and Haifa’ where both the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad did their acts of terror against Israelis.
These are some perspectives on people who are captured, killed or detained by Israel. Obviously, the people who were detained are not exactly sitting down and saying, ‘now I’ll tell you absolutely everything we can.’ These things take time and patience. Some have told us more, some have told us more quickly. I suppose in the end it has a lot to do with the people themselves. As time goes on, we will continue to give more briefings based on what these people now are telling us. Of course, for us, it is basic intelligence for the continuation of our pinpointed operations of terrorist activity against Israel.
I’d like to talk on the last issue and that is education and ideology. I think that the first thing we wanted to find was the answer to the question everybody wanted to know. Did Yasser Arafat tell somebody to do a terrorist act? How does the money go? That is what we have been looking for. And as we went on, we understood that the sea of documents that we have uncovered shows a side which probably has the most far-reaching implications of the present operation.
Every single school we went into (the schools are empty now of course, people have not gone to school in the last three weeks), be it in Jenin, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Kalkilya, or Tulkarm, in every one of them, all the walls are plastered with the posters of the glorification of the shahidim. First graders, sixth graders, eighth graders. That is what you have in the schools. We started looking more deeply at the schoolbooks. I recommend some of you do so. The Canadians who fund the educational system may want to read the educational books that are being taught in the PA. A lot of those were printed in 1999 and in 2000. There is no recognition of the State of Israel at all. There is no State of Israel on any map. These are things, that when we talk about the violence of the last eighteen months, everybody says, ‘well you know,’ like it is Israel’s problem.
I pose this as a question to you, because if I could go now into a printing press, not a military place, to read the books and see what is being taught – because in the last 24 hours four Palestinians have been murdered and two are in critical condition, having been lynched by Palestinians who suspected them of having cooperated with Israelis: when we talk about what violence does, where terrorism comes from, and the ideology which I spoke about at the beginning, you have an ideology here that taught a generation of people that ‘Violence is OK’ and a sort of competition between how horrendous Israel is and how poor the Palestinians are.
I want to propose to everyone sitting here: find an Israeli book that teaches anything for violence or anything that we teach our soldiers when we go into these operations, which are military operations and a state of war, where mistakes are made and it is harsh. But what we teach them to do, what we teach them about civilians, and the fact that we put people on trial for doing things which are wrong, as opposed to four Palestinians who I have no idea who they are and it doesn’t matter to me. It doesn’t matter to me if they were with the Israelis or not with the Israelis. They were put on violent trial in the middle of the streets of Hebron and Ramallah. And there is a direct line to ideology, and education, and listening to Palestinian TV, Abu Dhabi TV, Al Jazeera TV and to what they say in Arabic to their own people. Because what Saeb Erekat says in English, "2,000 people killed in Jenin", or Yasser Arafat, "500 people massacred in Jenin" is quoted all over the world in English. What he says in Arabic on the televisions that they watch, "I want to be a shahid, you should all be shahidim, that’s OK".
So you have ideology, you have education that violence is the only solution. The fact that it has already spread all over the world, from anti-Zionist to anti-Semitic, is something that I leave to my colleagues, not to myself in military terms. As a civil person in Israel, aside from being a military person, all I can say is that to me the most horrific of what we have seen and been exposed to in the last three weeks is the depth of hatred and the education to violence, which has nothing to do with occupation. It has everything to do with what you say. Because if you don’t recognize the State of Israel in any case, then the seeds of violence are very easy. And in that sense just go and find out what they teach in the schools and what they were teaching in 1999. Because one of our problems is understanding that these books are from then, when we were on a peace wave. It is not something that can be contended with.
We have a few books that we’ll show you, afterwards, examples of what we found in the Ramallah compound, in the office of the personal bodyguard of Arafat, a book in Arabic called ‘Nazo-Zionism’. It was printed at the end of 2001 in Bethlehem and besides saying that there was no Holocaust, it has every possible anti-Semitic horrific thing that you can think of from the last 100 years. It is a book that was printed in the PA, sent to their office and we found it on the shelves there. We’ve already talked about other types of incitement that we’ve seen.
I want to finish with what I began with. Terrorism has four legs: ideology, people, weapons and bombs, and money. I’ll talk about weapons for just one more word. In Nablus we found 18 labs for making explosives. You find one, you find two, you find three. Every single one of these labs was inside a civilian building, including one in the basement of an official PA building. They were exploded because TATP is the sort of thing that if you walk in and just blow on it, it could explode. You don’t take a chance with TATP. In Nablus alone (I have the most exact data from there), we found 24 belts as in "find a person, put the explosives on, send them out". Twenty four belts.
Besides ideology, people and weapons, I spoke about money. On this I say, just as a teaser, we are working on that one. We’ve been finding more and more documents. For us it is one of the most important issues to explain to our European friends, to those who are funding the PA, that we aren’t against the civil side, but we think the money is not going for the causes that they think it is going to. We are trying as much as possible to find out from the documents, because we understand how important it is to be able to prove what we have been saying for a very long time.
That is the briefing, now it is open for questions.
Q: Do you have the bureaucratic means to stop the flow of money, for example, from Damascus, and all this explosive stuff, are they creating it themselves or is it bought?
A: 95% of it is created by themselves, that’s what we keep calling the explosive labs. It is made of ingredients which any chemical lab can make and I differentiate between explosive labs and chemical labs. We discovered that in the Bethlehem University, they were making the chemical components, which are the ones with which you make the explosives. I said that’s the sort of thing that you don’t think of looking at in the beginning. You don’t think of going into the university and looking within the university for the ingredients of the chemicals that make the explosives for the suicide bombers and different types of charges that they were putting against us. That is 95%. The 5% that we call "standard explosives" is either smuggled in from different areas (as you know, we had smuggling from Jordan, although Jordan does try to stop it as much as possible) and as you know, Judea and Samaria is not a hermetically sealed area and they steal things from military installations. It is one of our consistent problems. We have tried to raise the security of all our bases to make sure this doesn’t happen, but that’s where they get the standard explosives.
Q: How do you trace a deposit from Damascus to the Palestinian Authority?
A: The Palestinian Authority has its own international telephone code; it is different than the State of Israel. The Palestinian Authority is the civil authority there, the banks are working, the supermarkets are open, I’m not saying it is the best environment at the moment, but it is all there. And the transfers of money can come either by courier in cash, or they can come through bank transfers. You can’t stop that, it’s like asking to stop an Internet transaction that we all do nowadays in day to day life, that’s the modern world we live in. So we may be aware of it, in intelligence terms, but we couldn’t talk about it over the last year. And here we have been finding the documents to support it, because the fact that you’re aware of something, doesn’t mean that you have the proof that you can bring out. We know about the funding from Damascus directly to Jenin from interrogations, money transactions and the general intelligence of the PA, their own reports. One of the reports from Jenin describes how $135,000 were transferred and "we wanted to get a cut", and this is from the GI of the Palestinian Authority. "We didn’t get our cut." And the whole discussion is because they didn’t get a cut of the money. These are things that we have talked about extensively over the last four years, this isn’t something new.
Q: How much money, according to your knowledge, was spent on so-called terrorist activities?
A: It is a question that I’ll think that I’ll try now. It is an interesting perspective. In intelligence obviously we’re working for the government of the State of Israel, or intelligence for the IDF. Now, we have been trying to look at things that were not usually our regular questions. This is a question that I will try to answer. I don’t know how much explosives cost but, for example, one of those documents that we showed you said how much it cost them. How much the explosives cost, and the lab itself, it wasn’t something that we had thought about before.
Q: You mentioned that you have roughly 1,450 arrested who have already acknowledged having planned or participated in attacks against Israel. These people are sworn to harm or invalidate the State of Israel. I’m curious to know how and why they are telling you these things?
A: That’s a question you might want to pose to someone else. I’m not in the interrogation rooms. That’s something you could ask the United States – why the people who have been arrested in the United States have admitted to what they admitted. I think the idea is that you do it in the legal means that you can.
Q: Can you tell us if you’ve gotten anything interesting from Mr. Barghouti?
A: As Mr. Barghouti at the moment is still at the stage of international exposure together with legal arraignment, I will leave that on the side at the moment. I know that we all heard when he was arraigned yesterday, he said that he is a political figure and not a military figure. I can say in military terms that not only is there no question about a lot of documents that you, yourselves, have already seen, there is also no question about the direct connection of Marwan Barghouti to the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. When they write him, he adds on to it his own addition to Yasser Arafat, just for an example. I think that we have more than enough additional material which shows him as a terrorist and not as a political figure.
Q: Anything useful coming from his interrogation?
A: I don’t know.
Q: [asks for information about the lynchings of Palestinians]
A: The last two days – there was one today and one yesterday. Yesterday in Ramallah, a group of people that were headed by the Fatah/Tanzim, as I said not everybody was arrested, but local low people accused three people of having cooperated with Israel on arresting Marwan Barghouti, and a crowd of people in the street killed one of them in the street, and critically injured two others. Today in Hebron, the Fatah/Tanzim on the street accused three people of having pinpointed Marwan Zaloum, the man who was killed yesterday and who was the head of Fatah/Tanzim in Hebron. I’m going to open parenthesis for a moment, and say that Marwan Zaloum was personably responsible for sending the woman suicide bomber last (a tiny little piece of recording of one or two words is missing here) here in Jerusalem, I think it is at about 150 meters from where we are right now. He was personally responsible for that, for sending a woman suicide bomber. The lynch itself – they were accused, in the street, all three of them were shot in the head and then mutilated. These are the last two days; yes, there are more instances.
I’ll say one thing
for the PA and their security functionaries. Throughout the last nineteen months of violence, when they were consistently arresting people and letting them go, arresting people and letting them go, the ones who were accused of betraying the PA and cooperating with the Israelis were never let out of jail. They were accused, they were found and put on trial and they were kept in jail until the end. And I’m not saying this to be ironic whatsoever. It’s a fact. Those killed in the two lynchings from today and yesterday were not in jail. They were accused on the street, and lynched by a mob. I don’t want to give you an exact date on that, and I know of at least three other cases, not of lynches. Lynches are the sort of thing that we hear about more, but of mobs hitting and hurting people. But when I say I remember that, I didn’t come prepared to give that exact data, and I will go and look it up.
Q: How effective do you think the operation has been in terms of capturing and please give us a general overview?
A: In this operation, it is very difficult to differentiate between the Hamas, the PIJ and the Fatah/Tanzim in the different cities because of the fact that the PA, from the beginning of 2002, let all hell loose. And it was a question of who could do more. It wasn’t only that the security functionaries unleashed [the terrorists], they said: "go for it, violence is the way. Terrorism will bring it." Of course, they don’t call it terrorism. If I hear the Hamas spokesman from Lebanon again explaining that it all has to do with occupation and then go to Saeb Erekat who says it all has to do with occupation, then I will say, as I have said at every single place possible, "education to hatred has nothing to do with occupation."
But I’d say that we demolished essentially 70-80% within the cities that we entered, as a ballpark figure, because the extent that we found was much more extensive than we expected, so it made us question our basic assessment of how widespread the knowledge and will to make explosives was. Weapons are a different issue. Here we are all aware of the weapons problem. There are 14,400 Kalachnikov rifles alone in Judea and Samaria as part of the Oslo agreement for the policemen and the different security functions. During our operation, we found a little over 4,000. There was always this question. It is obvious that the PA will say that this is what is going to be used now for security within the cities. I’ll remind you that in Ramallah, as part of the issue of the people who were under siege inside Jibril Rajoub’s headquarters, one of the issues was the weapons of the people of the preventive security within the structure, with attention to the fact that we realize that afterwards somebody is going to have to do security within these areas. But that means that there are more or less 10,000 rifles still out there. In that sense, there are lots of weapons still out there.
I was in a warehouse this morning of what I call improvised weapons, home-made weapons. Not the ones that are part of the Oslo agreement, the ones that they have been making. The explosives are one side of it but on the other side of it are the weapons. There was a table the size of the table here filled with them, you looked and couldn’t believe it. Just take a bit of iron, a pipe, just imagine – all the sewage pipes throughout Judea and Samaria, and I imagine there are a lot, you know, you build buildings, you have pipes, you have sewage, and that’s what they were making, improvised weapons all of it.
Obviously, these are not being used as part of the different PA security functionaries. These are things that were made to kill Israelis. So I’ll go back to where I started and say 70-80% of the explosives. This is an estimate based on the fact that there was a lot more than we expected to find. That is our best estimate, cleaning out mainly Jenin and Nablus but not being as thorough in Tulkarm, Kalkilya, Ramallah or Bethlehem.
We arrested around 70% of the top. I want to remind you that there are two levels: those who plan and execute, request money, find people, make explosives, and all the others who are couriers and different types; they are all part of the terrorist organization. We arrested around 70% of the top operatives. What that means right now is that they don’t have their directors. We arrested them within the 1,450 who said they participated in terrorist activities. That means we arrested a large amount, again, within our estimates. This number is huge, everybody takes it for granted, but it is not for granted at all. It is a huge number. Take it in proportion to the Palestinian population, and the number of people who are participating in terrorist acts is inconceivable. I’m not talking about regular PA policemen. They were detained and let go. I’m talking about those who have admitted to participating in terrorist activities against Israelis. Not every person who is around is that.
Q: Have you found documents so far linking contributions from, say, the US to terrorist activity?
A: No. Not as yet. That is not exactly the sort of thing that was in the files we first went into, intelligence type files. The amount of documents is truly huge. These are things that we are starting to look for just now. Just the computers is a whole world unto itself that we are just beginning to try to understand how to check.
Q: I heard a figure today that says that since the beginning of the operation, there were over 250 terror incidents in and from the Gaza strip. How would you assess the situation there? Is the situation about to blow up in the Gaza strip?
A: When you say blow up, I’ll try to pose it in a different way. Every single terrorist within the Gaza strip is trying to execute a terrorist activity of some sort, on whatever level he can, against any Israeli target, be it in the Gaza strip and especially out of the Gaza strip. The Gaza strip is physically and topographically very different from Judea and Samaria. At the moment, it’s contained. As you all know, Israeli soldiers and civilians were killed in the Gaza strip in the last three weeks and I would say it’s a boiling pot of poison. I get back to my point of ideology and education and hatred, that’s what they know. What they are being told, what they hear is revenge and hatred and it’s poison. And that is what they know how to do. And it is not just the terrorist organizations.
Q: Do you know what is happening in Bethlehem?
A: The negotiations in Bethlehem are continuing as we speak.
Q: Is it true that the Israelis filmed the fighting in Jenin and will you present it?
A: The film? We have never hid the fact that we use different capabilities from the air. Not to film our forces, they are to open up areas and pinpoint where the enemy is. These are things that we have on hand. All the information within the IDF for the Jenin committee is being prepared. As you know, committee within the IDF has been appointed to prepare all of the information for the UN. We are being guided by the Minister of Defense, who is leading the entire issue.
Q: You singled out Canadians, can you enlarge on this?
A: Just because it was posed to me that it was the Canadians who funded education in the PA. The Canadians, as part the international effort with other European countries, the European Union, etc., the Saudi Arabians for the Arab world, specifically funded the education within the PA. They actually sent somebody a couple of years ago and checked the textbooks. We found the textbooks themselves, and were appalled by what we saw there. I’m talking about day schools, we haven’t yet checked up on high schools. They show maps of the Middle East without Israel, which I suppose everyone takes as a given but I, as an Israeli, find that appalling. The shahidim are presented for the kids everywhere. Anybody who went into Jenin and the camp saw these pictures absolutely everywhere. I actually have one I my bag. I keep some of them, especially the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades posters, because Fatah/Tanzim and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades appear on all the posters of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades because they are part of the Fatah/Tanzim. But that is something that we’re working on now and we will give you more details along the way.
Q: You say the Canadian government funds this?
A: Some of it is donations but most of it is completely official. They fund the salaries of elementary teachers.
Q: And tell us about the schools again.
A: I’ve seen pictures with my own eyes of the schools that we entered. I was only in one school myself. It was a day school meaning until sixth grade. The schools separate boys and girls, they’re not combined. Lots of times, it is one structure that is divided into two areas. In both the girls and the boys in both types of schools, on all of the walls are pictures of the shahidim, and the textbooks, as I said, are the official PA textbooks. One example: just open it up and the first thing that you see is a map. You see that there is Filastin [Palestine], there is no Israel. By the way, Filastin includes Jordan.
Q: Are the shahids glorified in the textbooks?
A: The shahidim are newer [the books were printed in 1999] and we’re looking into textbooks more and more now. When I opened it up and went through, the first thing you see is the map. I’ve been in intelligence for 15 years, and in the nineties, we and all the Arab countries spoke peace. There was one stage along the way when we were talking about the change that we saw in their education. They were starting to talk on their radio and television, in their words, instead of violence and similar words, they were talking about the strength of peace, using the same adjectives but in a different context. What we’re seeing here is an education to deep hatred, which has violence as an integral part. In the textbooks themselves, we have not yet gotten to that stage, but that is what we’re working on now. I’m doing this now, basically fulltime, working on these different things. It takes a little bit of time to read them and translate them and bring them out, and we will do so.
Q: Can you tell us anything about what is going on in Bethlehem? What is the situation in the church?
A: They’re hungry, they’re thirsty, they’re dirty, they’re unhappy, hopefully it will end soon.