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The Palestinian Authority-Hamas Collusion – From Operational Cooperation to Propaganda Hoax

On June 1st, 2001 a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated an explosives belt amid a crowd of youngsters outside a Tel-Aviv beachfront nightclub, killing 20 and injuring more than 120, in the most murderous terrorist attack since the beginning of the Intifadah.

The Israeli government has put the blame on Arafat’s Palestinian Authority (PA), because it has given a virtual green light to attacks on Israeli civilians. At the outset of the current Palestinian uprising against Israel last September, the Palestinian Authority released some 200 Islamic terrorists from Palestinian jails in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Initially, no Palestinian movement came forth to claim responsibility for the suicide bombing at the Dolphinarium discotheque. This, according to an Israeli commentator, “is evidence of the confusion that the attack has caused among the Palestinians and their leadership. Since the start of the current Intifadah, the zealous Muslims who have carried out the attacks have usually been proud of their actions.” According to the same commentator, “the attempt now to evade responsibility stems from fear that the attack will cause serious damage to the interests of the Palestinians and their government and could lead to a turnaround in public opinion on their actions.”[Danny Rubinstein, Haaretz, June 3, 2001]

Probably for the same reason, the Palestinian media center, headed by PA Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo, strongly denounced the bombing. The Center’s announcement claimed that the Israeli government was wrong to blame the PA for the attack.

Later, at least two militant Palestinian groups—the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas—claimed responsibility for the blast. Another claim was made by the “Palestinian Hizballah,’ a name given to a “cocktail” cell made up of members of the Islamist groups and Yasser Arafat’s Fatah militants.

According to a statement released by Hamas on June 4, the suicide bomber was Sa’id Hutari, 22, from the Palestinian Autonomous town of Qalqilyah, in the West Bank. The radical Islamic movement claimed Hutari was a Hamas supporter, but stopped short of claiming responsibility for the terrorist attack. According to Palestinian Authority sources, Hutari was arrested and held for 12 days by Palestinian security forces two months ago, following a suicide bomb carried out by a friend of Hutari’s, Fadi Atallah. In the attack at Neveh Yamin two months ago, two schoolboys were killed and four wounded. [ICT Topic of the Day, March 28, 2001]

The Hizbollah television station, Al-Manar, reported that the military wing of Hamas, Iz-e-Din al-Qassam, had taken responsibility for the Tel-Aviv suicide bombing.

Hamas claims the attack

On June 5, the official Hamas website published a communiqu? in English, proudly taking full responsibility for the murderous attack, which was labeled a “qualitative martyrdom operation.” According to the statement, “the blast was made using a highly explosive material (Qassam-19), which was developed by Qassam Brigades’ experts in their own factories.” The Jews were threatened “to leave or perish.” [See Annex I for full text of communiqu?]

Heavy pressure from the international community and the American administration, together with the threat of Israeli retaliatory attacks, lead Yasser Arafat to commit to an “immediate and total” cease-fire.

Leaders of the Islamic militant groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, subsequently expressed confidence that Arafat, even after ordering a cease-fire, would not act to stop their attacks on Israelis. “I don’t think this will happen,” said Mohammed al-Hindi, a top-ranking Islamic Jihad official in Gaza City.

This was confirmed by a senior Palestinian minister, Nabil Sha’ath, who said the Palestinian Authority has no intention of re-arresting Palestinian militants wanted for the murder of Israelis. [ICT Topic of the Day, June 6, 2001, and Haaretz, June 4, 2001]

Palestinian propoganda attempts to absolve Hamas

However, in the framework of Arafat’s attempts to achieve a cease-fire and the concomitant political gains, without, however, paying the price of imprisoning the Islamist terrorists and their leaders, Hamas’ claim of responsibility became something of an embarrassment.

Thus, the PA propaganda machine has resorted to the same type of “dirty tricks” at which the Nazis had excelled more than 70 years previously. The greater the lie, the greater the chances to impress the larger public, at least the Arab and Islamic one. The Palestinian Authority has come to rely heavily on the art of the “hoax as excuse.” First, there was the hoax of the Israeli Army’s use of enriched uranium ammunition, then, the story of poisoned sweets thrown from helicopters to Palestinian children. These, and other tall tales, were followed by the story that Israel was responsible for the death of Palestinian minister Faisal Husseini in Kuwait, due to his inhalation of tear-gas during a violent demonstration in Jerusalem. After all this, it was only a small step to blaming the Israelis themselves for the suicide attack at the Tel-Aviv discotheque! Such was the claim published by the Palestine Ministry of Information on its website on June 10, 2001, based on information from some mysterious “Jewish intelligence experts.” According to the Palestinian Authority, ‘the bombing outside Pacha’s Disco which killed 18 and wounded 100 was the work of Israeli fanatics.’ [see Annex II, quoted from] 

And what mysterious coincidence: on the same day, the Hamas communique claiming responsibility for the bombing disappeared from its website!

We publish here the original Hamas communique and the PA “scoop” for our readers to judge.


Annex I

4 June 2001

In the name of Allah the most Gracious the most Merciful
 “Fight them, and Allah will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame, help you (to victory) over them, heal the breasts of Believers,” 

Qassam Brigades by the grace of Allah strikes hard with precision
We carry the glad tidings of the tenth martyr
The executor of the qualitative operation
 The martyr hero / Saeed Hassan Hussein Al-Hoteri
Our Palestinian patient and Mujahid people 
Our Arab and Islamic Nation 
The tenth martyr the hero Saeed Hassan Hussein Al-Hoteri, 20, approached his target confidently last Friday at 11.30 pm according to the plan. He carried out his qualitative martyrdom operation in the enemy’s depth and heart then ascended to heavens to meet the prophets, the truthful and the martyrs in Allah’s Jannah (paradise).
The qualitative operation healed the breasts of believers and humiliated Jews and their collaborators. The blast was made using a highly explosive material (Qassam-19), which was developed by Qassam Brigades’ experts in their own factories. The enemy experienced its bitterness in the first test in Netanya at the hands of the martyr hero Mahmoud Marmash.
We tell our people and Nation to rest assured that the Brigades’ reprisal, by the grace of Allah, would always be a pioneering retaliation in its implementation, quality and effect.
The Qassam Brigades hail our people and brothers the Mujahideen in Jordan who begot such a martyr hero who mastered the state of wait and see as a true Mujahid.
We tell Jews … you have to leave or perish … for the Qassam promise of ten martyrs had achieved its goals of realizing balance of deterrence and horror with the grace of Allah. Still wait for what is coming is stronger and more bitter.
A salutation to our lions behind bars … here are your brothers working with your guidance the way you wished. Soon relief will ensue. Jihad greetings to all honorable Mujahideen of our people in their various positions and a grateful greeting to all martyrs and their relatives and to all those wounded on the land of Aqsa.

And it is a Jihad until either victory or martyrdom
Qassam Brigades
Palestine – Al-Quds

Annex II


Palestine Ministry of Information
(Sunday, June 10, 2001)
C o m m e n t
  • Israelis killing Israelis 

Arabs are not the only victims of Israel aggression. Even Jews are being killed in Israel as is evident from the following news report coming out of Israel 

Grim-faced Jewish intelligence experts are claiming that the bombing outside Pacha’s Disco which killed 18 and wounded 100 was the work of Israeli fanatics rather than Islamic Jihad or a new (media invented) organization described as “Palestinian Hizbollah”.
There is considerable credibility in these claims, because if and when Hamas, Islamic Jihad or Hizbollah sends in a suicide bomber, the responsible organization invariably names him and publishes a photograph within 12 hours of the bombing itself. Not this time. For days the western media has been frantically naming one Islamic organization after another for the attack, but there is not one iota of proof at this time to support any of the allegations. 
Pacha’s Disco is part of the old converted Dolphinarium on Tel Aviv’s upmarket seafront hotel strip, an area vigilantly patrolled by the police, IDF, and private security firms. It is an area frequented by young trendy Israelis of Russian descent, and a Palestinian bomber bulked out by several kilos of high explosive and 20 – 30 kilos of bullet and nail shrapnel, would be spotted and arrested in seconds flat. No-one reported any such unusual individual, no-one sounded an alarm, and no-one made an emergency telephone call before the explosion.
One second patrons were milling around outside Pacha’s, and the next they were dead. 
What the bombing achieved internationally was outrage from the “International community”, and calls for Israel to break off its unilateral cease-fire declared last week for purely cosmetic reasons, after it attacked unarmed Palestinian women and children with American taxpayer-funded F-16 bombers. Whoever ordered the carnage at Pacha’s has now generated the appropriate media environment necessary for Israel to bomb the hell out of the Gaza Strip all over again. If anyone objects, a mealy-mouthed Israeli Government spokesman will swiftly point to the “Palestinian” atrocity at Pasha’s as “justification”. Expect a bloodbath in the Occupied Territories, and expect it sooner rather than later. 
As for the dead teenagers and others outside the disco, no particular worries. Pacha’s is a favorite with immigrants from the former Soviet Union, a social grouping not included on Israeli VIP lists and therefore nothing to be concerned about from the viewpoint of Zionist fanatics. Sacrifices have to be made for the “greater good”, and all the other ideological baggage. The Stern Gang in particular is already on the documented record as killing its own citizens on a number of different occasions, when geopolitically necessary. 
Indicative of things to come was a statement by former Likhud Prime Minister and ultra-hawk Benjamin Netanyahu, who said: “The government must change its policy of ceasefire because clearly it is unilateral and not matched by Arafat. Israel can and should use all means at its disposal. One only has to think what the British government would do if every day citizens were gunned down in cars or bombed in malls, schools and discos. The public would rightly demand action.” Netanyahu clearly is not concerned about how differently the British Government might react if its “every day citizens” had first been shelled and bombed by a fanatical religious cult determined to take over Great Britain. Netanyahu also coyly omits the harsh realty that since “Intafada II” started last October, Jewish forces have slaughtered 483 Palestinians, most of them unarmed women and children. 
Historically the Stern Gang (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel), was “officially” disbanded in 1948, but exists to this day in covert form. In post-war British-mandated Palestine the words Stern Gang equalled “terrorism” – assassinations, bombings, the full works. Even after independence, mainstream Jews continued to regard these Jewish terrorists as an extremist and ultimately insignificant aberration in the Zionist movement – until that is it was revealed that the Likud foreign minister of the 1970s, Yitzhak Shamir, had been the gang’s operations commander. 
By appointing Shamir Foreign Minister, Prime Minister Menachem Begin had selected the organiser of two famous assassinations: the killing of Lord Moyne, the British Minister representative in the Middle East, in 1944, and that of Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN’s special Mediator on Palestine, in 1948. Shamir later went on to become prime minister. 
The word used today in Hebrew to describe a terrorist is ‘mekhabbel’. It is used liberally to describe anyone who fights the state with political violence. It is in fact, exactly the same word that Yitzhak Shamir and his colleagues used to describe themselves – with pride – in their armed guerrilla struggle against the British. In those days it was roughly translated as ‘saboteur’, although the Stern Gang did a lot more than mere sabotage. 

The meaning changed from positive ‘saboteur’ to extremely negative ‘terrorist’ in the early days of the Israeli state – once the battle for independence had been won and what had been won had to be protected from others seeking to take it away by the same means. In reality the Stern Gang never disbanded at all, Pacha’s Disco is lethal proof of that.