Israel Defense Forces/Military Intelligence
"We are glad of the Istishhadiyyah [suicide] and heroic spirit of the Palestinian people. By Allah, what the Palestinian people does is beyond my expectations…"
[Iraqi TV, 4 March 2002]
"The President Saddam Hussein’s Grant" to the families of suicide terrorists in the framework of the Iraqi "terror industry" in the PA areas: a $25,000 check, which was transferred on 23 June 2002 to Khaldiya Isma’il Abd Al-Aziz Al-Hurani, mother of the Hamas terrorist Fuad Isma’il Ahmad Al-Hurani, who carried out a suicide attack on 9 March 2002 in the Moment Cafe in Jerusalem. 11 Israelis were killed and 16 wounded in the attack.
The families’ gratitude
Gratitude and appreciation to President Yasser Arafat and to President Saddam Hussein from the family of the killed terrorist Imad Al-Dib Badir Al-Dayah (Al-Hayat Al-Jedidah, (the official) publication of the PA, December 2000).
1. An archive consisting of documents, video cassettes and computer disks was captured by the IDF in the "Arab Liberation Front" (an organization under Iraqi patronage) and the Iraqi Ba’ath organization HQ in Ramallah. Other documents and videocassettes were captured during Operation Defensive Shield. The captured materials shed light on the Iraqi aid to the Palestinian confrontation in the PA, with emphasis on the encouragement of terrorist attacks. This aid, which it provides in coordination with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian terrorist organizations, is an expression of Iraqi policy – the interest to escalate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, inter alia, in order to strengthen Iraq’s status among the Palestinians and in the Arab world, to divert international attention from Iraq and to delay the US attack plans against Iraq.
According to the captured documents, this Iraqi interest gained momentum after Operation Defensive Shield.
2. According to the captured documents, the central figure in the Iraqi leadership, who directs the Iraqi aid to the Palestinian terror in the PA is Taha Yassin Ramadan, President Saddam Hussein’s deputy, a member of the "Revolutionary Leadership Council" (the supreme governing body in Iraq) and Saddam Hussein’s confidant. Taha Yassin Ramadan is described in a captured document as responsible for the Palestine Office in the all-Arab leadership of the Ba’ath party in Iraq. In a secret handwritten letter, signed by him, Taha Yassin Ramadan transfers instructions for building the Ba’ath party infrastructure in the PA areas, exploiting the Intifada events for achieving "the complete liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea".
3. Taha Yassin Ramadan’s main area of responsibility in the framework of Iraqi political activity is the economy and the promotion of Iraqi economic relations as a central bargaining chip in its foreign policy. Indeed, the captured documents demonstrate that the "Palestine Office," headed by Ramadan, "specializes" in encouraging the terror in the PA areas by judicious use of the financial lever. Thus the "Arab Liberation Front" (which is under Iraqi patronage) became the main "payment contractor" of the Iraqi regime in the PA areas. At the same time, Taha Yassin Ramadan is also involved in instructions connected to military activity. In a letter written in his handwriting, coded sentences were found referring to "military activities" in Gaza and in the West Bank and to money requests (from Iraq) for arms procurement.
4. The main manifestation of the judicious Iraqi use of the financial lever is the encouragement of suicide attacks. The sums of money transferred by the Iraqis to the PA are much greater than those transferred by the Saudis, for example. However, at the same time, they are much more focused on the violence and terror perpetrators, with a clear emphasis on their families, including those of the suicide terrorists (a suicide bomber family receives a grant of $25,000 from Iraq, as compared with $5,300 from Saudi Arabia). This is carried out in order to strengthen the steadfastness of Palestinian society, to encourage it to continue the violence and the terror and to reject political solutions and the calming down of the situation.
5. In the framework of the systematic Iraqi financial aid to the families of Palestinians killed in the violent confrontation (including the families of Israeli Arabs killed in the October 2000 events), the families of suicide terrorists receive enlarged grants from Saddam Hussein ($25,000 for such a family, in contrast with $10,000 for the family of an "ordinary" killed Palestinian terrorist). The captured documents demonstrate that the intentional "gap" in favor of the suicide terrorists’ families continued growing as the Intifada went on. The fact that such large sums of money, in Palestinian terms, are distributed to the families of suicide terrorists (about nine years of work, from all the aid bodies) encourages the suicide phenomenon. It is an important (but not the only) consideration in the suicide terrorist’s decision.
6. The captured documents uncover the existence and the operational methods of a wide ranging bureaucratic network, engaged in money transfers to the families of killed and suicide terrorists. Photos of checks were found, which were given to the families of the terrorists who carried out terror attacks which caused many casualties in Israeli population centers. For example, two checks were found, which were given to the families of two Hamas terrorists who blew themselves up in Zion Square in Jerusalem on 1 December 2001 (11 Israelis were killed and 152 wounded). In addition, receipts were found of family relatives who received the "President Saddam Hussein’s Grant," and a check given to the mother of a Hamas terrorist who blew himself up in the Moment café in Jerusalem on 9 March 2002 (11 Israelis were killed and 51 wounded).
7. While the "Arab Liberation Front" and the Ba’ath party in the PA areas are used by Iraq as "payment contractors" in the framework of the terrorism encouragement policy, the Iraqi regime uses another terrorist organization, the "Palestinian Liberation Front" headed by Muhammad Zaydan (Abu al-Abbas), as an operational tool for carrying out terrorist attacks against Israel. This organization, which carried out the terrorist attack aboard the Achille Lauro ship in 1986, in which a US citizen was murdered, is operated by the Iraqis in the PA areas. Arrested PLF activists confessed that they were sent for military training in Iraq. During the training they were instructed by a senior PLF activist (who was arrested in Italy during the Achille Lauro affair) to carry out terrorist attacks against both Israeli military and civilian targets. This training was carried out in coordination and with the direct support of the Iraqi Government and the involvement of Abu al-Abbas, the PLF Secretary General (who visited one of the terrorist squads at the end of the training period).
8. The Palestinian Authority, on its part, enables the Iraqi regime (as well as other foreign entities) to freely implement the policy of encouraging the suicide attacks. The PA security apparatuses and the Fatah organization are integrated into the network of money payments to the families of the killed terrorists, including the families of the suicide terrorists. The PA and the Fatah also enable the Iraqi regime to freely operate in the realm of political propaganda (this activity includes, inter alia, the dissemination of Iraqi messages calling to continue the Intifada, promoting the personality cult of Saddam Hussein, who enjoys popularity in Palestinian society, and dissemination of virulent and false anti-American propaganda).
9. The Iraqi aid uncovered in the archive which was captured in Ramallah, is an additional significant and central component in the external military, financial and logistic aid circles constantly nourishing Palestinian terror. Such large-scope financial aid, as demonstrated in the documents captured in Operation Defensive Shield, is also provided by Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Each of these countries adds fuel to the fire of the violence and terror in the PA in its own way and using its own methods. The financial aid is a central tool for encouraging terror in general, and suicide terror in particular. This external aid has a strategic significance, and, if not stopped, or at least significantly reduced, it will be difficult to end the violence and the terror produced by the PA and Palestinian society.
Iraqi Support for and Encouragement of Palestinian Terrorism
1. An archive consisting of documents, videocassettes and computer disks, which was captured by the IDF in Ramallah, documents and videocassettes captured during Operation Defensive Shield operation and the interrogation of Palestinian detainees, shed light on the Iraqi support for and encouragement of the Palestinian confrontation and the terror carried out in its framework. A large part of the materials was captured on 25 June 2002 in the "Ramun" building in Ramallah, in the offices of the Palestinian branch of the Iraqi Ba’ath party and the "Arab Liberation Front" HQ. These two bodies receive ongoing instructions from Iraq and constitute the main arm for carrying out its policy in the PA.
2. The Iraqi aid to the Palestinians in the PA is provided for allegedly humanitarian motives. However, behind it there is a clear Iraqi political and strategic interest to prevent calm and to escalate the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation by encouraging the violence and the terror. The continuation of the confrontation and its escalation serve well the Iraqi interests: they strengthen Iraq’s status in the Arab and Palestinian arenas, divert international and Arab attention from Iraq and may delay, in the Iraqi view, the US attack plans against Iraq.
3. Against the background of this basic interest, the Iraqis oppose any Palestinian, Arab or international political initiative, aimed at ending the violent confrontation in the PA and any Israeli-Palestinian or Israeli-Arab agreement. Beyond the aid to violence and terror, the captured documents are concerned with political and propaganda activity of the "Arab Liberation Front" and the Ba’ath party in the PA. This activity consists mainly of advancing the continuation of the Intifada and opposition to decisions, initiatives and agreements aimed at calming the situation (for example, opposition to the Saudi initiative).
In a letter sent by Taha Yassin Ramadan, Saddam Hussein’s deputy, to Ba’ath party activists in the PA areas, he again defines the Intifada’s goal as "the expulsion of the invaders from all Arab lands, and first of all from all dear Palestine lands, from the river to the sea".
4. The Palestinian Authority, for its part, enables the Iraqi regime to freely operate in the PA areas via the "Arab Liberation Front", the "Palestine Liberation Front" and the Ba’ath party. It cooperates with Iraq in providing aid to the families of killed and suicide terrorists and enables Iraq to freely disseminate the propaganda messages of the Iraqi regime (hostile to Israel and to the US) in Palestinian society and media. The captured documents demonstrate that the Fatah organization, headed by Arafat, is involved in anti-American propaganda and incitement and in glorifying Iraq and Saddam Hussein.
5. The analysis of the Iraqi assistance to Palestinian terrorism consists of three parts:
The Iraqi Policy of Encouragement of Palestinian Violence and Terrorism, and its Implementation
6. The documents captured in Ramallah point at an Iraqi policy striving to encourage the violence and the terror in the PA areas by intensively using financial aid, which is viewed by the Iraqis as the main tool for promoting their interests there. This policy is determined by the Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, who has repeatedly praised the Palestinian suicide attacks and encouraged the continuation of the Intifada in his declarations. He has also declared his intention to erect a monument in memory of Wafaa’ Idris, the first Palestinian female suicide terrorist, who carried out a murderous attack in the heart of Jerusalem (and whose family, according to the captured documents, received financial aid from the Iraqis).
7. Since the beginning of the Intifada the Iraqis have transferred significant sums of money to the PA areas: According to an ALF document captured during Operation Defensive Shield, from the beginning of the Intifada and until mid- February 2002 close to $10 million were transferred from Iraq (see Appendix 34). According to an activist in the "Arab Liberation Front" leadership in Gaza, Ibrahim Al-Za’anin, until March 2002 Iraq transferred about $12 million to families of Palestinians killed in the conflict (Al-Quds, 6 March 2002).
According to a report in Sky News, which recently covered a ceremony of check granting to families of killed and suicide terrorists in Gaza, Saddam Hussein granted more than 20 million dollars to the Palestinians since the beginning of the Intifada. The emphasis in granting this money is on the families of the dead, the wounded and those whose houses have been destroyed and especially on the families of the suicide and other terrorists, and to the lesser extent on other casualties in the conflict. This is clearly done in order to improve the capabilities and the steadfastness of Palestinian society and to encourage it to continue the violent confrontation. This Iraqi aid was increased after Operation Defensive Shield.
Employment of Iraqi-supported organizations in the PA
8. According to captured documents, the Iraqi policy in the PA is implemented through the Palestine Office in the all-Arab leadership of the Iraqi Ba’ath Party. Extensive correspondence was found in the captured documents between the "Arab Liberation Front" and the Ba’ath leadership in Ramallah (mainly Rakad Salem) and a.k.a. Abu Hassan, Director of the Palestine Office in the all-Arab leadership of the Ba’ath Party in Iraq.
9. For reasons of secrecy and field security, in the documents captured in the Ramallah archives Abu Hassan’s full name is not mentioned. However, in one Defensive Shield captured document, Rakad Salem, Secretary of the Ba’ath Party Palestine Organization Leadership and ALF Secretary, broke field security regulations and wrote the full name and position of the director of the "Palestine Office" in the all-Arab leadership of the Ba’ath Party: "Fighter Comrade Taha Yassin Ramadan, may God protect him."
A letter from Taha Yassin Ramadan, concerned strengthening the infrastructure of the Ba’ath Party in the PA during the Intifada, was also among the Defensive Shield captured documents. The conclusion from these findings is that Taha Yassin Ramadan, Saddam Hussein’s Deputy, is the person who operates the ALF and the Ba’ath Party in the PA.
10. Taha Yassin Ramadan, as it transpires from the correspondence, is also involved in military activity. In a handwritten appendix to the letter he instructs to use code sentences referring to "military activities" in Gaza and in the West Bank and to requests for money (from Iraq) for arms. In addition, intelligence reports are transferred to his office on Israeli military activity in the PA.
11. Taha Yassin Ramadan, a Sunni Moslem, was born in 1939 in Mosul. He acquired his education in a military academy. Ramadan is a veteran of the Ba’ath Party and before it gained power he was arrested (1959) by the Qassem regime and discharged from the army. He continued his illegal activity in the party throughout the 1960’s, was once again arrested in 1964, and participated in the Ba’ath Revolution in July 1968. Since 1966 Taha Yassin Ramadan has served as a member of the "Revolutionary Council", the Iraqi supreme leadership entity. He founded the Iraqi "Popular Army" and commanded it for 20 years. In the 1980’s he also filled various state and party posts, including minister of industry, minister of finance, minister of housing, first deputy in the prime minister’s office, head of the Egypt department in the Ba’ath party, deputy presidential aide de camp, deputy prime minister and vice president since 1991.
12. Ramadan is a central figure in a small group, a sort of kitchen-cabinet, around Saddam Hussein since the 1968 revolution. Ramadan’s main realm of responsibility in the framework of Iraqi political activity is the economic realm and in this framework he is in charge of promoting Iraq’s economic relations as the main building block of its foreign policy (for example, he is in charge of implementing the policy of rewards and prioritization in the framework of the "oil for food" arrangement and for the free trade zone agreements with neighboring states). Ramadan is also responsible for the oil sector – a strategic sector from every point of view for Iraq. Ramadan is one of the main proponents of the "hawkish" posture in Iraqi foreign policy, both vis-a-vis the US and the West, as well as vis-a-vis Israel, and he is known to be one of the most outspoken and sabre-rattling spokesman of the Iraqi regime.
13. Against this background, it can be concluded that the Iraqi policy and activity in the PA is directed by the highest echelon in the Iraqi regime. In our assessment, Saddam Hussein is personally involved in formulating and overseeing this policy by means of his deputy, Taha Yassin Ramadan. Ramadan’s expertise in the economic realm assists him in the intensive operation of the financial lever as a central tool for encouraging Palestinian terrorism.
The organizations under Iraqi patronage through which the Iraqi regime operates in the PA
14. The three entities through which the Iraqi regime operates in the PA are the "Arab Liberation Front", the "Palestinian Liberation Front" (terrorist organizations under Iraqi regime patronage) and the Palestinian branch of the Iraqi Ba’ath party. These three entities are the "agents of influence" of the Iraqi regime in the PA areas, operating according to its instructions and enjoying generous Iraqi financing: according to one of the captured documents, the budget demanded from Abu Hassan in Baghdad for the ongoing operation of the "Arab Liberation Front" branches in Gaza was $40,000 per month in June 2002, which is a large sum in Palestinian terms.
15. The outstanding figure concentrating the activity in the PA from his Ramallah residence vis-a-vis Taha Yassin Ramadan and others in Iraq is Rakad Mahmud Salamah Salem (Abu Mahmud), who has Iraqi citizenship and is the "Arab Liberation Front" Secretary in the PA and Secretary of the Palestinian branch of the Ba’ath party. Rakad Salem was born in Kabri (near Acre) in 1944. He has academic education (he is a teacher), he has been a member of the Iraqi Ba’ath party since the 1960s. Until the Lebanon War he served as the commander of the "Arab Liberation Front" military arm in Lebanon and as Deputy Secretary General and Secretary General of the ALF. In 1996 Rakad Salem entered the PA and since then he resides in Bir Zeit near Ramallah. In addition to his positions as the Secretary of the ALF and the Ba’ath in the PA, he is also a member of the "National and Islamic Forces" forum in Gaza and concentrates the activity of "The Organization for Support of Iraq."
A report to Abu Hassan [Taha Yassin Ramadan] in Baghdad from the PA areas
A data sheet issued by the IDF on Iraq and the conflict with the Palestinians (9 April 2002) was also found in Ramallah. Below is a photo of a handwritten note made on the sheet:
"To dear Abu Hassan,
Attached please find a report on Iraq, which [Prime Minister] Sharon took with him and [which he] handed to the American administration in his last visit to Washington."
[The data sheet and the handwritten note were probably faxed to Baghdad on 8 May 2002].
Acceleration of Iraqi Aid to the PA after Operation Defensive Shield
16. According to the captured documents, after Operation Defensive Shield, a decision was made by the Iraqi regime to accelerate the aid to the PA areas.
Concretely, Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime gave priority to two projects:
b. Reconstruction of the houses destroyed by the IDF in the Jenin refugee camp during Operation Defensive Shield, as an important means for strengthening Palestinian steadfastness. It seems that the heavy battles which took place in the camp, the glory that the camp gained as the "suiciders capital" and the great attention given to it by the media and the politicians made this project especially important in the Iraqi view. The Iraqis gave lower priority to the reconstruction of houses destroyed in Rafah and in other places.
The glory that Jenin gained as "the suiciders capital" (which is manifested in the captured documents) and the great number of suicide attacks carried out in Israel by terrorists emanating from the Jenin refugee camp and from the whole Jenin area, have encouraged the Arab states supporting terrorism, to transfer the largest sums of money to the terrorist organizations operating in the Jenin area for encouraging terrorist activity. This took place before Operation Defensive Shield and even more after it. Besides the Iraqi aid, according to the captured documents and the interrogation of detained terrorists, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad HQ in Damascus transferred large sums of money (originating in Iran) for the PIJ operational activists in Jenin in order to support the families of killed terrorists and finance terrorist activity. The flow of money coming from outside to Jenin is the oil which fuels this area "terror industry."
Acceleration of Iraqi Financial Aid, with Emphasis on the Families of Killed and Suicide Terrorists, after Operation Defensive Shield
17. As was already mentioned, in the framework of its policy of support for violence and terror in the PA, the Iraqi regime uses intensively the financial lever. The Iraqis consider it especially important to help the families of the Intifada killed terrorists and, especially, those of suicide terrorists. They also support the wounded and the handicapped, who receive between $500-$5000, according to the severity of the wounds.
18. According to the captured documents, after Operation Defensive Shield, Iraq accelerated the transfer of financial grants to the families of killed and suicide terrorists, giving priority to this aspect of its aid. In this framework:
b. At the same time a check of $500,000 was transferred to the "Arab Liberation Front"/Ba’ath party activists in the Gaza Strip. A request was also passed to the "Arab Liberation Front"/Ba’ath party activists in the Hebron area to prepare lists of 27 killed (according to a captured document, $70,000 were left in the Hebron area from the previous payment cycle).
c. It seems that the Gaza Strip, which was not included in Operation Defensive Shield, received lower priority the Iraqis. In one of the captured documents the "Arab Liberation Front" activists in the PA complain that some families of killed and suicide terrorists in Gaza and in other places have not yet received the grants. This gap was closed later and recently several ceremonies were held in the Gaza Strip – one under PA auspices and one under Hamas auspices – in which checks were distributed on Saddam’s behalf to terrorists’ families.
The Encouragement of Suicide Attacks by Providing Enlarged Financial Aid to the Families of Suicide Terrorists
19. According to the captured documents, in order to encourage suicide attacks, Iraq makes a clear distinction – which is not made by other Arab states providing aid to the families of casualties – between a financial grant transferred to the family of an "ordinary" killed terrorist and the grant given to the family of a terrorist who died in a suicide attack.
20. The captured documents and the information at our disposal point to the fact that the Iraqi policy of supporting the families of suicide terrorists underwent three stages of development during the Intifada:
b. According to a captured document, in August 2001 Saddam Hussein decided to raise the sum of the financial grant transferred to the families of suicide terrorists (A’wael al-Istish-hadiyeen) from $10,000 to $15,000 (see Appendix 6). This decision was published in the Palestinian press. The grant for an "ordinary" killed terrorist remained $10,000. Therefore, the decision created a gap of $5,000.
c. This gap continued to grow when, following another decision by Saddam Hussein (11 March 2002), after Faruk Qaddumi (head of the PLO political department) visited Iraq, the sum of money received by the family of a suicide terrorist was raised to $25,000 (and an appreciation certificate phrased differently). The grant for the families of "ordinary" killed terrorists remained $10,000, and the gap between them and the families of suicide terrorists grew, to a considerable sum of $15,000.
b. Example B: two checks were given to the family of Hamas suicide terrorists, who blew themselves up in Zion Square in Jerusalem on 1 December 2001 (Usama Muhammad Id Bahr and Nabil Mahmud Jamil Halbiyyah). The checks were of $15,000 each, according to the Iraqi regime payment policy of the period. Receipts were attached to the checks, in which the family confirmed that they had received the "President Saddam Hussein’s Grant" from the "Arab Liberation Front" on 22 January 2002.
Copy of a $15,000 check given to the family of the Zion Square suicide terrorist by Saddam Hussein’s representatives in the PA territories
c. Example C: A check of $25,000, according to the new payment policy of the Iraqi regime. The check was transferred to the mother of (Fuad Isma’il Ahmad Al-Hurani) a Hamas suicide terrorist, who carried out the suicide attack in the Moment cafe in Jerusalem on 9 March 2002. The check was transferred on 23 June 2002.
A photo of a joint Fatah – Iraqi Ba’ath Party ceremony conducted on 8 February 2001. In the ceremony checks and certificates of merit were granted to families of those killed and wounded in the Intifada. The checks were distributed on Saddam Hussein’s behalf by Masad Yassin, one of the leaders of the "Arab Liberation Front" and the Ba’ath Party in the northern Gaza Strip. The check is of the "Palestine Investment Bank," the main bank through which money transfers to these families are made.
Photos of a ceremony in which a check and certificate of merit were granted to the family of a killed terrorist from Khan Yunis, ‘Abd al-Wahab Abdallah ‘Abd al-Najar. The ceremony held in Gaza on 18 July 2002. The check is from the Palestine Investment Bank, the main bank used in money transfer to the families (see below).
22. According to one of the captured documents, sometimes there is also an internal distinction inside the category of the suicide terrorists between those who succeeded to carry out their mission and those who failed to do so. A letter directed to the "Arab Liberation Front" and Ba’ath Secretary Rakad Salem (14 June 2002) by an "Arab Liberation Front" activist in Bethlehem reads:
I ask you to distribute the Commander Saddam Hussein’s Grant to the families of the martyrs mentioned [in a table] below. These martyrs died during the [last] clashes in Bethlehem and are divided to three categories:
* Category A: suicide bombers (Istish-hadiyeen) who successfully carried out their missions.
* Category B: suicide bombers who failed in their missions.
* Category C: those killed by the fire of the Zionists.
23. A table is attached to the letter, in which the dead are divided according to these three categories: there are 4 in Category A, 8 in Category B and 42 in Category C. Below are the names of the those in Category A – of the suicide terrorists – and a short description of the terrorist attacks they carried out:
b. Ayat Muhammad Lutfi al-Akhras: a 18-year-old girl from the Deheishe refugee camp near Bethlehem. She carried out a suicide attack in a supermarket in the Jerusalem Kiryat Hayovel neighbourhood on 29 March 2002. Two Israelis were killed and 22 wounded. Fatah/Tanzim claimed the responsibility for the attack.
c. Muhammad Daraghme al-Shu’ali: a youngster (born 1984), a Fatah activist from the Deheishe refugee camp near Bethlehem, who blew himself up with an explosive charge on 2 March 2002 towards group of worshipers at a family celebration at the entrance to the Bet Israel Jewish orthodox neighbourhood in Jerusalem. 11 Israelis were killed and 43 wounded.
d. Yasser Sa’id Musa ‘Udah: a Fatah activist from Beit Sahur near Bethlehem. He was married and a father of three. He blew himself up with a car bomb on 18 February 2002, near the Al Za’im roadblock east of Jerusalem. One Israeli policeman was killed and another policeman and a civilian were wounded.
Who is a suicide bomber?
24. A document concerned with the question of "Who is a suicide bomber?" was found in the bureaucratic correspondence of the "Arab Liberation Front" in the PA. This concern is not merely theoretical. The exact definition of the distinction between an "ordinary martyr" or a "martyr" who carried a shooting attack in which he was killed and a martyr who killed himself by means of an explosive charge on his body is very important, since on its basis higher payments are transferred to the families of the suicide terrorists and the appreciation certificates are differently phrased.
25. This problem arose in early May 2002, when a representative of the "Arab Liberation Front" in Jenin claimed that the two terrorists who carried out a suicide attack in Afula on 27 November 2001 were not suicide bombers. He explained that they carried out machine-gun fire (an action which gives them a chance to escape) and not a suicide attack using an explosive belt (which does not leave any chance to stay alive). Abu Mahmud, the "Arab Liberation Front" and Ba’ath Secretary in the PA, was asked to examine this problem.
26. Below is the translation of the letter concerned with this problem:
To Comrade Abu Mahmud [the "Arab Liberation Front" and Ba’ath Secretary in the PA]
Attached please find a letter I received from Jenin.
For your information.
To our dear comrade, greetings,
In the framework of the grants provided by Iraq to the families of all killed Palestinians, it was decided to pay a sum of $25,000 to these families. In effect this distribution was carried out among the involved persons in the Jenin district. However, a problem arose regarding the family of the martyr Abd al-Karim Abu Na’isah. This family is connected with the [Arab Liberation] Front.
On 27 November 2001 Abd al-Karim Abu Na’isah and Mustafa Abu-Sariah carried out a suicide attack in the Afula Central Bus Station. They used machine-guns in the attack. The two were killed, and all the details point to the fact that this is clearly a suicide attack.
The "Arab Liberation Front" representative in Jenin claims that this attack cannot be described as a suicide attack, since its perpetrators did not carry explosive belts. The families of the terrorists rejected this claim. They insist that it was a suicide operation and demand that it be recognized as such in order to receive the [due] respect and financial rights.
We are asking you to examine this problem with the brothers [in the "Arab Liberation Front"] at your place, especially because your men here asked to present this problem to them in a systematic manner in order to decide … [an unidentified word] control, and let us know about your conclusions.
Jenin, 9 May 2002.
27. The Afula terrorist attack, which is mentioned in the letter, was carried out on 27 November 2001 in cooperation between the PIJ and the Fatah/Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. It was a shooting attack at Afula Central Bus Station, in which 2 Israeli civilians were killed and 48 wounded. For preparing this terrorist attack, foreign money was used: according to a document captured during Operation Defensive Shield, a large sum of money was transferred from the PIJ HQ in Damascus in order to finance the costs of the attack’s preparation.
The document states that "the remainder of the action’s expenses" was a sum of $31,000. According to the captured document, this terrorist action was, therefore, directly and indirectly supported by large sums of money coming from Damascus and Baghdad, which demonstrates well the scope of the foreign financial aid that the suicide attacks in the PA enjoy in general, and in the Jenin area in particular.
28. In other cases the "Arab Liberation Front" activists in Ramallah do not need to deliberate regarding the problem of the terrorist being a suicide bomber, when the organizations to which the suicide terrorist belongs transfer an official declaration to the "Arab Liberation Front" on this matter. Such an example may be seen in a Fatah declaration found among the "Arab Liberation Front" documents in Ramallah. The declaration concerns ‘Amer Shakukani, whose family received a financial grant for the carrying out of a suicide attack in Tel-Aviv. A public statement by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades regarding the attack in which Shakukani took part was attached to the declaration. Below is the translation of the declaration:
The Palestinian National Liberation Movement
The Ramallah and Al-Bireh District
17 June 2002
To Whom It May Concern
With the Greeting of the Nation
The Fatah movement in the Ramallah and Al-Bireh district hereby declares that the martyr ‘Amer Muhammad Issa Shakukani is one of the Intifadat Al-Aqsa martyrs, who committed suicide during a suicide attack by exploding a car bomb in the Tel-Aviv area on 24 May 2002.
Please help his family as needed.
With the greeting of the revolution until victory
Ramallah district office
29. The terrorist attack mentioned in the declaration is the explosion of a car bomb in Tel-Aviv. A nightclub security guard shot at a suspicious car driven by the Fatah terrorist. As a result of the shooting the car exploded and the terrorist was killed. ‘Amer Shakukani, the terrorist killed in the attack, was indeed recognized as a suicide bomber, and his family received an enlarged grant of $25,000.
The Significance of the Financial Aid for the Families of Suicide Terrorists
30. According to the captured documents, the Iraqis are well aware of the circumstances of the deaths of the terrorists whose families receive the grants. The distinction they make in granting the money between an "ordinary" terrorist and a "suicide bomber" is not made by other Arab countries. The significant difference between the sums of money given to the families of these two categories points at the importance that the Iraqi regime attributes to suicide attacks inside Israel and to its interest to encourage this kind of terrorist activity.
31. According to our information, some of the Arab countries hold a kind of "competition" between them for money transfers to the families of terrorists and suicide terrorists. Iraq leads in this "competition" with a considerable gap ($10,000-$25,000 per family). It is followed by Saudi Arabia (about $5,300) and the PA (about $2000). This gap grew larger as the Intifada went on. The Iraqi part in granting the money to the families of the suicide terrorists is even more significant (most of the money received by these families comes from Iraq).
32. The family of an "ordinary" killed terrorist might receive a grant equal to the sum he would have earned during six years of work (from all the organizations helping to the families of the dead). The family of a suicide terrorist might receive a sum equal to about nine years of work. Granting such large sums of money, in Palestinian terms, to the families of the terrorists raises the motivation of terrorists to be sent on terror missions and encourages suicide attacks. This because the terrorist who sets off for carrying out a terrorist attack knows that his family will receive significant sums of money after his death or in case he is hurt or arrested. It plays an important (but not the only) role in the terrorist’s considerations. Other reasons influencing him are his family and Palestinian society, which create a supporting and sympathetic environment for him.
Examples of Suicide Terrorists whose Families Received Iraqi Financial Aid
33. In the tables of killed terrorists captured in the "Arab Liberation Front" and Ba’ath archives, it is clearly mentioned who is an "ordinary" and who is a suicide terrorist. In addition, a unique table was found, containing the names of terrorists who died in suicide attacks. This table also contained a short description of the circumstances of their death.
34. Below are some examples of the names of terrorists killed in suicide attacks, whose names were included in the table. In the list were 152 names of killed Intifada terrorists in the Jenin area, who received grants from Saddam Hussein:
(Note: the attack was carried out by the PIJ on 12 August 2001. The terrorist blew himself up in the Wall Street restaurant in the Haifa suburb of Kiryat Motzkin; 15 Israelis were wounded.)
b. Nazir Muhammad Mahmud Hammad carried out a suicide attack on 4 October 2001 (#53).
(Note: this Fatah terrorist opened fire on civilians near the Afula Central Bus Station. Three Israelis were killed and seven wounded.)
c. ‘Abd al-Karim Issa Tahayina carried out a suicide attack in a bus by detonating an explosive belt. This attack is called "the Afula operation" in the table (#68).
(Note: the terrorist belonged to the PIJ. He blew himself up on 5 March 2002 in a bus in Afula Central Bus Station. One Israeli was killed and 15 were wounded.)
d. Nimr Muhammad Yussuf Abu Siffen carried out an attack which is called "the Haifa operation" in the table. The table states that the attack was carried out near a bus station (#69).
(Note: the terrorist blew himself up at a bus station in the Check Post junction near Haifa. The attack was carried out by the PIJ on 9 December 2001, 24 Israelis were wounded.)
e. Ra’fat Salim Najib Abu Diyak, according to the table, carried out a suicide attack by detonating an explosive belt. The attack is called "the Musmus operation" in the table (#70).
(Note: the terrorist blew himself up on 20 March 2002 in a bus in Wadi Ara near the village of Musmus. The attack was carried out by the PIJ. Seven Israelis were killed and 30 wounded.)
f. Shadi Zakariyyah Rida Tubassi carried out a suicide attack in a bus by detonating an explosive belt. It is called "the Haifa operation" in the table (#71).
(Note: the terrorist blew himself up in the Matza restaurant in Haifa. The terrorist attack was carried out by the Hamas. 15 Israelis were killed and 33 wounded.)
g. Raghib Ahmad Izat Jarradat carried out a suicide attack in a bus by detonating an explosive belt. It is called "the Yagur operation" in the table (#72).
(Note: the terrorist blew himself up on 10 April 2002 in a public bus at the Yagur junction, near Haifa. The terrorist attack was carried out by the PIJ. 8 Israelis were killed and 15 wounded.)
h. Samer ‘Umar Ahmed Shawahina carried out a suicide attack, which is called "the Hadera operation" in the table (#73).
(Note: the terrorist blew himself up on 29 November 2001 near an IDF camp in Wadi A’ra, the Afula-Hadera road. The terrorist attack was carried out by the PIJ. Three Israelis were killed and nine wounded.)
35. Below are examples of terrorists killed in suicide attacks. Their names appear in two tables which include the names of Infidada killed terrorists in the Ramallah and Jerusalem areas, who received financial grants from Saddam Hussein:
(Note: this Fatah terrorist opened fire on passersby near the Ministry of Defense HQ on 10 August 2001. 10 Israelis were wounded.)
b. Ra’id Nabil al-Barghuti carried out a terrorist attack, which is called "the Al-Quds operation" in the document. It was carried out on Nevi’im Street in Jerusalem on 4 September 2001.
(Note: the suicide attack was carried out by the Hamas. 11 Israelis were wounded.)
c. Wafaa’ Alaa’ Idris carried out a terrorist attack, which is called "the West Jerusalem operation" in the document.
(Note: the operation was carried out in Jerusalem by a female suicide terrorist from the Fatah on 27 January 2002. One Israeli was killed and 131 Israelis were wounded.)
d. ‘Amir Muhammad Issa Shakukani, according to the document, carried out a suicide attack in Tel-Aviv on 24 May 2002.
(Note: the terrorist attack was carried out by the Fatah. The attempt to blow up a car bomb outside a Tel- Aviv nightclub was prevented. One Israeli was wounded.)
Money Transfer to the Families of Israeli Arabs Killed in the October 2000 Riots
36. A document and checks regarding the transfer of $10,000 for each of the 12 families of Israeli Arabs killed in the October 2000 Israeli Arab riots [13 Israeli Arabs were killed during these riots] were found in the "Arab Liberation Front" and Ba’ath archive in Ramallah. This is part of the Iraqi aid, transferred to Al-Aqsa Intifada casualties, in the Iraqi view, the killed Israeli Arabs are considered Intifada martyrs.
37. Highlights of the documents:
b. 9 checks of $10,000 each, on which the note "inside" is written. The 9 family names are identical to the names of the 9 killed in the table. The 3 remaining families apparently received the checks via representatives from Israel or from the PA.
38. The checks are of $10,000 each. They were paid in cash on 16 December 2000 to the families of the killed terrorists or to their representatives in Ramallah via the "Palestine Investment Bank," the central banking institution through which the Iraqi money is transferred. Rakad Salem (Abu Mahmud), the "Arab Liberation Front" and Ba’ath Secretary in the PA, signed all the checks.
39. It is of note that in a document captured in Operation Defensive Shield, the names of two Israeli Arabs appear, who died during the October 2000 riots and whose families received a grant of 20,000 rials (about $5300) from "The Saudi Committee for Support of Intifadat Al-Aqsa." One of them is Muhammad Ahmad Mahmud Iq from Umm Al-Fahm (his name does not appear in the Iraqi table), the other is Umar Mahmud Ibrahim Akawi from Nazareth, whose name also appears in the Iraqi list (which means that his family received grants from both Iraq and Saudi Arabia).
Financial Aid to Families of Killed Terrorists as a Lever for Iraqi Propaganda Gains
40. In order to gain the most propaganda gains from the support of Intifada killed terrorists families, the Arab Liberation Front and Ba’ath Party carried out, after Operation Defensive Shield, a series of ceremonies in which checks from Saddam Hussein and Iraq were granted, in various West Bank and Gaza Strip locations. These ceremonies were held publicly and more frequently than in the past, abandoning the more modest form of ceremony – in the family’s house – as sometimes was customary in the beginning of the Intifada (among the captured material were several videotapes from the year 2000 showing ceremonies of the more modest type in addition to videotapes of public ceremonies). It transpires from one of the captured documents that after the Intifada broke out all the parties and various elements attempted to convince the "Arab Liberation Front" to enforce supervision of the Saddam Hussein grants, but in vain.
41. The presence of Fatah personnel was prominent in most of these ceremonies, where in the background to the platform, pictures of Saddam Hussein and Arafat were hung. In many cases, the Fatah was represented by ‘Abbas Zaki, member of the Fatah Central Committee and the Palestinian Legislative Council (‘Abbas Zaki accompanied Faruq Qaddumi, head of the PLO political bureau, in a visit to Iraq on March 2002, and appears to have a special inclination towards Iraq). In one instance a joint ALF-Ba’ath-Fatah ceremony was held.
42. Some of the ceremonies held in this period, between May and August 2002, are described below as noted in the captured documents and Palestinian/foreign press reports:
b. On 20 May 2002, a ceremony in which checks granted by Saddam Hussein were given, was held in the Rafah and Khan Yunis areas. The checks were given to 48 families of ordinary and one suicide terrorist families. The ceremony was broadcast on television.
c. In the Zeitun area in the Gaza Strip (no date), a ceremony was held by the Arab Liberation Front, where checks and letters of appreciation were given to 11 families of killed terrorists. In the ceremony, the suicide attacks were praised, and a demand was made to release the PFLP General Secretary Ahmed Sa’adat and others detained by the Palestinian Authority.
d. In a ceremony on 1 June 2002, grants were given out by the ALF General Secretary to 3 families from Jerusalem and 31 families from Ramallah. The General Secretary stated that Saddam Hussein stands alongside the Palestinians and "assists them with all they need for the Intifada to continue".
e. On 11 June 2002, a ceremony was held in Jabaliya by the Ba’ath Party and the Arab Liberation Front, in which checks were given to the families of casualties from the northern Gaza Strip. The families of an "ordinary" casualty received $10,000, while a suicide terrorist’s family received a larger sum of $25,000.
f. On 18 July 2002, a ceremony was held in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, and broadcast on international news networks (CNN, Sky News). In the ceremony, which was held by the Arab Liberation Front, the families of killed terrorists – some affiliated with the Hamas and PIJ – received checks from Saddam Hussein. The families of "ordinary" terrorists received $10,000, while the families of suicide terrorists received $25,000. The Palestinian Communications Minister, Imad al-Faluji, participated in the ceremony, as well as representatives of the National and Islamic Forces. Saddam Hussein was praised during the ceremony.
g. During the first half of August 2002, a series of ceremonies was carried out in the Hebron area. The ceremonies were held in Hebron city, Dura, Halhul, Al Arub Refugee Camp, Si’ir and Bani Na’im. Grants were distributed to the families of killed terrorists ($10,000 per family). The ceremonies were held in the presence of ‘Abbas Zaki (member of the Fatah Central Committee and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council), representatives of the Arab Liberation Front and Ba’ath Party, mayors, local dignitaries and representatives of the National and Islamic Forces.
h. On 31 August, the ALF conducted a multi-participant ceremony in Rafah, in which framework grants were distributed on behalf of President Saddam Hussein to 26 martyrs’ families. The ceremony was attended by senior members of the ALF and the Ba’ath Party (Al-Ayam, 1 Sept 2002).
Manner of Money Transfers to the Families of Killed and Wounded Palestinians
43. The captured documents paint the following picture regarding the manner in which Iraqi aid money is transferred to the families of the dead and the wounded, and the manner of distribution:
b. The funds transferred from Iraq are deposited in bank accounts, apparently in Ramallah. In the documents there is a printout of a bank account of Rakad Salem and two ALF persons who are authorized signatories in the Cairo-Amman Bank (this bank is the Western Union’s agent in Jordan and the PA). During the year 2000, sums were deposited in the bank of between NIS 30,000 and 60,000. In addition a report was found (handwritten) addressed to Abu Hassan (Taha Yassin Ramadan, Saddam’s deputy) on the depositing of money in "Account No. 1" (bank not known, possibly the Palestine Investment Bank in Ramallah).
c. According to the above captured document the transfer of funds to "Bank Account No. 1" began to take place systematically in October 2000, after the Intifada broke out and continued through 2002. These funds were transferred on a monthly basis, and occasionally, when needed, money was transferred twice or even thrice a month.
d. The sums that were received are transferred to the Arab Liberation Front and Ba’ath leadership in Ramallah based on data collected and processed by it.
The collection of data and distribution of money are personally supervised by Rakad Salem (Abu Mahmud), secretary of the Arab Liberation Front and Ba’ath in the PA. Salem is a key figure in the system of money transfer from Iraq, and his signature appears on nearly all bank checks found in the captured documents.
e. Rakad Salem transfers funds from "Account No. 1" to sub-accounts in various areas in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The above captured document gives details of funds to the areas of Nablus and Gaza. The subaccounts are supervised by ALF / Ba’ath Party personnel in the various areas and through them the check transfers are made to the beneficiaries. Usually, the checks are personally handed to the beneficiaries, but direct depositing in their bank accounts is also an option.
Rakad Salem’s signature on a check for $10,000 ordered
to the family of a suicide terrorist.
See Rakad Salem’s signature and title on an official
Arab Liberation Front document below:
|The Arab Liberation Front
(an Iraqi-supported organization
through which the Iraqi regime
operates in the PA areas)
Rakad Salem’s signature and title:
f. A prominent role in the money transfers from the Arab Liberation Front to the beneficiaries is played by the Palestine Investment Bank, via its central branch in Al Bireh and local branches such as Gaza, Hebron and possibly in other Palestinian towns. The captured documents included many copies of checks transferred through this bank to the beneficiaries – family members of the killed terrorists or their representatives. As far as we know, the money transfers involve additional banks in the PA such as the Cairo-Amman Bank, the Al Aqari Mortgage Bank (Egyptian) and the Arab Bank branch in Jenin, but their place in the whole system, as described in the captured documents, is secondary.
Palestine Investment Bank
The "Palestine Investment Bank" operates in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and it has seven branches in various locations. The bank’s main branch is in Ramallah. It was established in 1994 on the basis of the Jordan Investment Bank. The bank is privately owned and is not supported by government elements. The chairman of the bank’s board of directors is Yussuf al-Qadi, from the village of Sureif, the bank founder’s cousin. The details of the main branch are given below, as found in the captured documents:
g. Rakad Salem and the Arab Liberation Front / Ba’ath leadership in Ramallah receive the relevant documents that testify to the death or wounding and the family’s entitlement to a grant (certificate of death, pathological reports, ID card, wife’s marriage contract). These documents are systematically transferred to the Arab Liberation Front by the Palestinian Authority’s institutions (mainly the Health Ministry). Occasionally, relevant documents are provided by various terrorist organizations or the killed terrorist family.
h. Families of killed or wounded terrorists or their representatives receive the grant from ALF and Ba’ath representatives in the various areas. The beneficiaries sign a "Martyr Grant" (or "Injured Grant") receipt form from the "Fighting President Saddam Hussein", by means of the ALF and Ba’ath party Palestinian Organization HQ in the PA. The form includes the sum, the name of the charity, name of recipient, and his relation to the casualty, his signature, the date. A photocopy of the check is attached to the form.
i. From the captured documents it can be learned how the money is distributed within the family (wife, children, father, mother, other relatives). In some cases, it is determined by agreement among the family members. Correspondence in this matter shows that the wife of the deceased, or parents if unmarried, have priority over the others. In some cases there are internal arrangements such as giving the money to the children of the deceased if the wife or mother agree, or dividing the money between the father, mother and wife. Some of these arrangements receive religious endorsement of clergymen and Islamic tribunals (according to the captured documents, the supreme "Shari’aa" judge of the Jordanian courts endorsed arrangements made by a family residing in Jordan and issued a religious decree concerning the money allocation within the family).
j. In addition to the direct aid for martyrs’ families, the Iraqi regime also gives them indirect support such as assistance to the sons and brothers of killed terrorists for studying in Iraq. These students constitute an important reserve for Iraqi recruitment of personnel for terror and espionage missions in the PA (in a letter to the PA Taha Yassin Ramadan requests a list of suiciders and a description of their political tendencies).
45. Below is an example of a request made by an official in the Palestinian "Embassy" in Amman to Rakad Salem, asking that a Saddam Hussein grant be given to the father of the suicide terrorist who carried out a suicide attack in Rishon Le-Zion (a suicide bombing in a busy pedestrian-mall on 22 May 2002, perpetrated by the Fatah / Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades – two Israeli civilians were killed and 4 wounded in the attack).
In the Name of Allah the Merciful
Embassy of the State of Palestine
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
To the comrade Abu Mahmud [Rakad Salem, Secretary of the ALFront and the Ba’ath in the PA]
I have been approached by the father of the Shahid Isa Abd Rabbihi Badir, who carried out a suicide operation [Istishhad] on 22/5/2002 in Rishon Le-Zion near Tel Aviv.
The father is from the village of Al-Duha, he is a lawyer, and he is unable to return to your side [to the PA areas].
The Forces of Occupation have destroyed the family’s house in the refugee camp and arrested his two sons and daughter, according to information that reached the father, who lives here [in Jordan].
I request your decision in this matter. He [the father] would like to receive a grant from the President [Saddam Hussein].
With greetings and appreciation,
The comrade Sa’id Majari
The "Suicide Heritage" of the Arab Liberation Front
46. Rakad Salem was the commander of the military arm of the Arab Liberation Front, the Iraqi-supported Palestinian terrorist organization, during the period when the organization operated from Lebanon. While it still functioned as a major promoter of terrorist and suicide activity of all organizations, the Arab Liberation Front lowered the profile of its terrorist operations in the PA areas in the 1990. In our assessment, this was due to an Iraqi decision on a "division of labor" between the two terror organizations under its patronage: while the ALF "specializes" in encouraging terror by remuneration (thus not incriminating overmuch the Iraqi regime), the Palestinian Liberation Front is also employed in terror missions (see Part 3). However, the organization still maintains its military infrastructure in the PA areas and keeps sending its activists for training to Iraq.
47. In the archives captured, documents were found concerning the organization’s past terrorist activity heritage. Emphasis is put especially on suicide attacks carried out by the organization in the 1970s. One of the documents, titled "Fatalities of the Suicide Operations" lists the names of Arab Liberation Front activists killed in three suicide operations perpetrated from Lebanon and Jordan.
These are the operations mentioned in the document: [See Appendix 24 for the Arabic original].
[Note: this attack took place in fact on 13 June 1975. A squad of Arab Liberation Front terrorists captured a house in Kfar Yuval in the Galilee and took hostages. 3 Israeli civilians and 3 soldiers were killed in the attack, as well as 4 of the terrorists].
b. The Kfar Giladi attack, 1 November 1975.
[Note: this attempted terrorist attack was foiled by the IDF. A squad of 4 Arab Liberation Front terrorists infiltrated into Israel 1 km west of Metula, on 16 November 1975. An IDF patrol encountered the squad and killed the terrorists.
c. The Tiberias attack, 4 August 1977.
[Note: this attempted infiltration was also foiled by the IDF. A squad of 5 Arab Liberation Front terrorists infiltrated into Israel, south of the Sea of Galilee. An IDF force killed 3 of the terrorists and captured 2. In their interrogation, the captured terrorists told that they trained in Iraq (near the Rashid camps) and infiltrated into Israel from Jordan in order to recruit activists and transfer arms and money to the Mukhtars (tribal leaders) in the Jenin area (the squad possessed many arms: 40 Kalashnikovs, 41 magazines, 24 hand grenades, delay fuses, spare civilian clothes, radio transistor, code tables and a large sum of money ($2400, 810 Dinar and Greek Drachmas). Did the squad intend to carry out a suicide attack in Tiberias, as indicated by the documents of the Arab Liberation Front? The captured terrorists claimed that the squad leader (killed) was the only one who knew their real mission. However, judging from the large quantity of equipment they had and the confessions, it does appear that the squad was on its way to Jenin rather than on a suicide attack mission in Tiberias].
48. Preservation of the "suicide attacks heritage" was also intended to secure the privileges of the suicide terrorists’ families, as noted in another document, written on 15 April 2000, titled "Support for the Suicide Operations" [Istishhad]. The document concerns a request from the secretary of the Arab Liberation Front in Ramallah to the PLO that they recognize a suicide terrorist who took part in an attack in Tiberias in 1977 as eligible for financial support. The translation is given below.
The Arab Liberation Front
For the PLO
Subject: Support for a Suicide [Operation]
We support the suicide operation of comrade Major (Ra’id) Khaled Mahmud al-Dhib, committed in the occupied land in the year 1977 while leading a terrorist squad in Tiberias.
Prior to that, he was arrested and imprisoned in the prisons of the Zionist enemy after the 1967 War and released in 1974. He served as representative of the National Palestinian Liberation Army in Iraq between his release from prison and until the suicide [operation].
Al-Dhib was member of the Occupied Land Bureau of the Arab Liberation Front. We therefore request your assistance in the payment he deserves as a Shahid in the Palestinian revolution, to the order of his wife, Mufidah Abd al-Rahman Isma’il, who lives in Iraq/Baghdad.
Yours with esteem and greetings of the Revolution Until Victory,
Rakad Salem, "Abu Mahmud"
Secretary of the Arab Liberation Front
15 April 2000
Reinforcing the Jenin Terrorist Center: Financial Aid for the Reconstruction of Houses in Jenin Refugee Camp
49. The Iraqi regime allocated a sum of $25,000 to every house owner in the Jenin refugee camp whose house was destroyed during Operation Defensive Shield. This sum is substantially larger than the sums previously allocated by the Iraqis for owners of destroyed houses. According to captured documents, the former sums were between $5000 (in most cases) and $10000 (depending on the degree of damage inflicted to the house).
50. The considerations underlying the generous Iraqi aid for the reconstruction of the houses destroyed in the Jenin refugee camp are not merely humanitarian. The large sums express the Iraqi regime’s high esteem of the extensive terrorist activity against Israel, perpetrated from Jenin RC ("the Suiciders Capital"). It also expresses appreciation for the terrorists’ determined stand in Jenin RC during Operation Defensive Shield, and the Iraqi regime’s desire to preserve Jenin RC as a focus of terrorism against Israel in the future.
51. Apparently, financial aid was given to dozens of families whose houses were destroyed. Thus, for instance, the documents suggest that 34 house owners were given grants in the "second cycle" of the money transfers. We estimate the sum allocated for this purpose to be around $1 million. It was given out in the period between the end of May and mid June 2002.
52. In order to extract the maximum propaganda benefits out of the project, these grants were handed over to the house owners in public ceremonies that were exploited as a stage for glorifying the name of Iraq and Saddam Hussein, as well as a propaganda offensive against the US and Israel. The ceremonies were prominently covered by the Palestinian press. As usual, the house owners published letters of gratitude (Al Quds, 1 August 2002), thanking the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the Ba’ath Party and the Arab Liberation Front for the aid they received.
Thank you letter to Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi people, found in
an archive in Ramallah, published, in the Al-Hayat.
Exploitation of Iraqi Financial Aid for Disseminating the Iraqi Regime’s Propaganda in the PA Areas
53. The leadership of the Arab Liberation Front and Ba’ath Party in the PA areas carry out intensive propaganda activity, exploiting the financial aid lever as an instrument for disseminating their messages in the media and among the various political entities. This activity is aimed mainly at disseminating the Iraqi regime’s messages, while encouraging the violence and terrorism to continue, praising the Iraqi people and Saddam Hussein himself, and severely criticizing the United States.
54. The Arab Liberation Front and Ba’ath propaganda activities are carried out both at the Palestinian political level and at the popular level (mainly by organizing rallies and parades). To this end, they make wide ranging use of the Palestinian, Arab and Western communication networks, as well as Palestinian notables who either receive financial aid from the Iraqis or are sympathetic to the Iraqi cause. The activity is often in cooperation with the Fatah and other organizations operating in the PA, organized in the framework of "National and Islamic Forces Alliance."
Cultivation of Saddam Hussein’s personality cult in the PA areas:
A photo taken at the ceremony for distributing grants to families of Intifada fatalities and casualties that took place in Beit Furiq (near Nablus). In the stage background, posters and pictures of Saddam Hussein, of suicide terrorists and Saddam and Arafat saluting, were hung.
(Source: videorecording captured in Operation Defensive Shield)
55. The Arab Liberation Front also publishes a monthly journal (on high-quality paper) called "the Voice of the Masses" (Sawt al-Jamahir). The chief editor is (naturally) Rakad Salem and the editorial offices are in the Ramun building, Ramallah (where the Arab Liberation Front and Ba’ath leadership bureau is located).
56. The results of this propaganda activity are expressed in demonstrations throughout the PA with signs bearing the picture of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and pro-Iraqi / anti-American slogans. One of the captured documents is a report from Rakad Salem to the Palestine Office director of the Ba’ath All-Arab leadership (1 September 2001). The report discusses a parade that took place apparently in Ramallah. The report states that the protesters carried two banners: one showing Presidents Saddam Hussein and Arafat over the slogan "Partners for Peace" and another showing Prime Minister Sharon and President Bush over the title "Partners in Crime". The report also states that a few days before the parade, Fatah requested a portrait of the "President the Commander Saddam Hussein" and Iraqi national flags, which in effect were supplied to the Fatah.
57. Rakad Salem and his people do more than send letters of flattery, praise and glory to Saddam Hussein (many of which were found among the captured documents). They make sure that this would be expressed by publishing words of praise and appreciation by the Palestinian population in the Palestinian and Arab press. For example, among the Arab Liberation Front / Ba’ath documents, there was one noting that the wide-circulation London based Arab newspaper Al Hayat published a letter of gratitude to Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi people on 20 December 2001. A translation of the letter follows:
Gratitude and Appreciation
The father of the martyr Ahmad Muhammad Abd al-Hamid al-Damisi*, his mother, wife and two children – Iyad (3 years old) and Jihad (2 years old), hereby express their gratitude and appreciation for the brotherly Iraqi people and superb Iraqi leadership headed by Saddam Hussein, May Allah Protect Him, who guard the fighters, the martyrs of Palestine and Iraq while defending the homeland and all which is Arabic.
We appreciate the efforts of the fighter comrade Abu Mahmud, Secretary of the Arab Liberation Front, for giving the grant on behalf of President Saddam Hussein.
*Ahmed al-Damisi was a Fatah/Tanzim activist in Ramallah, an arms dealer and owner of a local hotel. Al-Damisi took part in several shooting attacks and eventually died on 13 December 2001. According to one of the captured documents, Jerusalem and Ramallah (2 June 2002).
Letters of Gratitude in the Palestinian Press
Gratitude and appreciation to President Yasser Arafat and to President Saddam Hussein from the family of the killed terrorist Imad Al-Dib Badir Al-Dayah (Al-Hayat Al-Jedidah, (the official) publication of the PA, December 2000).
Gratitude and appreciation to the President of Iraq and his great people from the relatives of the martyrs Amjad Hassinah and Fadi Dhabayah (Al Quds, January 2001).
"Purchasing" of Communications Media and Bribing of Journalists Working in the PA Areas
58. The large sums of money transferred by Iraq to the PA areas are like a magnet for requests from various persons and bodies trying to gain Iraqi aid and willing to provide their services to Iraq. Such requests give the Iraqis the opportunity to obtain the assistance of key Palestinian figures operating in the PA to disseminate the messages of the Iraqi regime.
59. The financial lever makes it possible sometimes to "buy" the press and the journalists – a phenomenon that emerges as very common in the Palestinian press. For example, among the captured documents there is correspondence between Rakad Salem, the ALF secretary, and the management of the Al Sharq local TV station in Ramallah. In a fax sent to Rakad Salem on 1 June 2002, the Al Sharq management requests urgent monetary support due to its difficult situation following Operation Defensive Shield. Specifically, the management requests that salaries be paid to 8 of the station’s employees, whose names are listed in the fax. The station’s request was approved.
60. Encouraged by the approval, the station’s director Muhammad Shahin sent a formal letter to Rakad Salem, asking him to assist the station by monthly payments, in return for placing its "media services" at the disposal of the Arab Liberation Front (and the Iraqi regime it serves):
"We would be willing and proud to be the media channel through which you address the public," writes Muhammad Shahin. An argument touting the station’s value to Salem is included at the end of the letter: "As you know, we are the only one among the television and broadcasting stations that is unsupported by any body."
61. It is noteworthy that the "buying" of communications media is carried out by the Iraqi regime not only in the PA but also in Arab states. In a survey made by Hazem al-Amin, a senior journalist in the wide-circulation paper al-Hayat, he writes as follows:
The stories about Iraqi financing of several Jordanian papers are no secret, and journalists report on correspondents in Jordanian newspapers who live on the salaries they receive from the Iraqi Embassy. The Iraqi influence even extends to the papers’ management. With one of the publishers of the papers, an agreement was signed for printing the official papers used by government offices and official institutions in Iraq. Consequently, despite the fact that the Jordanian press often attacks all the governments, and even the monarchy, it rarely levels criticism at the Iraqi regime. (Al-Hayat, 8 May 2002)
Pro-Iraqi expressions in the Palestinian media:
cartoon published in Al Quds, 5 February 2002 (the inscriptions on the parcel read: "Iraqi aid for the Palestine people")
Anti-American Propaganda and Incitement
62. The archive captured in the Arab Liberation Front and Ba’ath HQ in Ramallah included numerous expressions of anti-American propaganda and incitement disseminated by the Arab Liberation Front and Ba’ath activists in the PA areas, containing false claims without any attempt by the Palestinian Authority to prevent this and with the encouragement of the Fatah. Among the expressions of hatred and incitement against the US, of special notice is an explicit poster of anti-American incitement, published by the Fatah organization in Khan Yunis.
63. Some examples of anti-American incitement material captured in the Ramallah archives:
b. The captured documents included a poster produced by Fatah in Khan Yunis on 28 August 2001, concerned mainly with support for Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi people.
(On 31 August 2002, the ALF in Khan Yunis held a ceremony and parade in support of Iraq in the city center. The participants in the ceremony, including the district governor, Husni Zu’urb, and representatives of the "National and Islamic Forces" expressed the identification of the Palestinian public with Iraq ([al-Ayam, 31 August 2002]).
The poster contains many explicit anti-American expressions as well as calls to attack American and British interests around the world:
2) "We say to all of these: stop killing the babies, the women and old men of this great people, or else the Fatah, with its men, will lie in wait for you, its guns will be pointed at all American and British interests around the world, and we will punish you bitterly according to what your hands will do against our people."
3) "We call upon our fighters and cadres all around the Arab and Islamic world to strike the American and British forces in the Saudi Kingdom and the Gulf States and in Arab territorial waters."
4) We [shall ask] Iraq, Iran, Syria and the Palestinian Authority to start comprehensive deliberations concerning the principle [of] Jihad against imperialism and Zionism".