Iran and Syria as Strategic Support for Palestinian Terrorism
Israel Defense Forces/Military Intelligence
(Based on the interrogations of arrested Palestinian terrorists and captured Palestinian Authority documents)
Iran's leader Ali Khamenei: "... we regard Palestine as an organ of our body, and the support of the Palestinian nation is pride for the Iranian people... The Palestinian people must continue the blessed Jihad and its standing against the enemies of Islam... The Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah forces must continue the struggle in a united way... But, indeed, the only solution [to the crisis in the region] is the elimination of the root of this crisis, which is the Zionist regime imposed on the region." (Khabar TV, Iran, 20 October 2000)
President Bashar Assad in the Arab Summit in Beirut: "As far as an occupier is concerned, there is no distinction between soldiers and civilians... There is a distinction between armed and unarmed, but in Israel everyone is armed. In any case, we adopted the following concept: resistance to occupation is a legitimate right." (FTV, Lebanon, 27 March 2002)
Damascus Radio: "Syria has turned its land into a training camp, a safe haven and an arms depot for the Palestinian revolutionaries." (1 January 2002)
"The magnificent and unique suicide operation in Rishon Le Ziyyon is a practical declaration of the way to liberate the land from Israeli colonialism."
(9 May 2002)
The characteristics of Iranian and Syrian aid to the Palestinians in the military, operational and financial fields:
- The ongoing direction of terrorism from Damascus.
- The financial lever as a tool for the establishing terrorist infrastructures in the PA areas and for initiating terrorist activities.
- Training and instruction infrastructure for Palestinian terrorists in Syria and Lebanon.
- Iranian efforts to transfer high quality arms to the PA.
Appendix A: The terrorist circle in the Damascus area.
Appendix B: A document captured in Operation Defensive Shield: a Palestinian General Intelligence Apparatus report relating, inter alia, to money transfers from Damascus for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Jenin area (3 February 2002) - not available on-line.
Appendix C: A captured document: a Palestinian General Intelligence Apparatus report on Iranian money transfers to Hamas and to the Az Al-Din Al-Qassam Battalions, aimed at financing terrorist attacks against Israel (10 December 2000) - not available on-line.
Appendix D: A captured document: a Palestinian Preventive Security Apparatus report on Iranian activity aimed at escalating the situation in the PA and encouraging the carrying out of suicide attacks (31 October 2001) - not available on-line.
Appendix E: A compilation of Iranian statements encouraging terrorism and calling for the destruction of Israel.
Appendix F: A compilation of Syrian statements encouraging terrorism.
1. Iran and Syria, two states which are defined by the US State Department as terror-supporting states, pursue a consistent strategy of encouraging and inflaming the Palestinian Intifada, of providing political-propaganda backup and support, and practical assistance to the carrying out of murderous terrorist attacks inside Israel. This strategy is designed to achieve several goals: to strengthen the radical Iranian-Syrian axis in the Middle East, to weaken Israel by creating splits in its society and damaging its economy, to strengthen the radical Islamic forces in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and to disrupt any chance of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement and the reactivation of the political process. This in the framework of the comprehensive employment of the "terrorism weapon" by these two countries as a tool for promoting their national interests.
2. This Iranian and Syrian strategy combines well with Arafat's employment of violence and the "terrorism weapon" as levers for promoting his strategic goals, especially since the beginning of the recent confrontation. For this reason no real disagreement has been created so far between Iran, Syria and the radical Islamic opposition supported by them, and the PA. On the contrary, during the confrontation the Iranians provided direct aid to the PA (the Karine-A arms ship) and indirect aid to the Fatah and to the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades which are subordinate to Arafat (via Munir Al Maqdah, a Fatah dissident operating from Lebanon).
3. Syria and Iran frequently deny the military-operational nature of their aid to the organizations defined by the US and the international community as terrorist organizations. They portray it as political, propaganda, or humanitarian aid. However, the findings from the interrogation of arrested terrorists, including senior activists, imprisoned by the IDF during Operation Defensive Shield, PA documents captured in the same operation, and information accumulated during the Intifada, unambiguously prove the falsehood of the Syrian and Iranian denials.
4. This report is unique, because it is based in part on findings from the interrogation of Palestinian terrorists, detained mostly during Operation Defensive Shield. Among them are senior terrorists from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and from the Fatah/Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, who were involved in many murderous attacks. In their interrogation they revealed the operational direction method and the direct and indirect aid transfers to the PA areas from organizations and activists operating from Syria and from Lebanon under Iranian and Syrian patronage. This report also includes the findings of the interrogation of the Karine-A and Santorini arms ships crews, which point to the fact that Iran has been trying to transfer high quality arms to the PA areas, whether directly or via terrorist organizations under Iranian and Syrian patronage (the PFLP-GC/Jibril Front and the Hizbullah). The findings from the interrogations of the terrorists are supported by PA documents captured by the IDF.
5. From these prisoners' interrogations, from captured documents and from other sources on which this report is based, it was learned that the Iranian and Syrian aid to Palestinian terrorism is varied and is expressed both in the political-propaganda realms, as well as in the military-operational realms. This report examines the aid in five cross sections:
a. Political-propaganda support. The Iranian and Syrian communications media systematically encourage the continuation of the Intifada and glorify the violence and the suicide attacks.
In Inter-Arab and international forums the two states emphasize the alleged legitimacy of Palestinian terrorism (calling it "national resistance"). They also host conferences designed to support the continuation of terrorism, oppose agreements and arrangements designed to end terrorism and criticize the US and the Arab regimes (Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia), which are trying to shift the confrontation and terrorism path to the channel of negotiations.
b. Directing terrorism. The Iranians and the Syrians are constantly attempting to prevent any calming of the situation and to increase the terrorist attacks. For this purpose they use the Palestinian organizations operating under their patronage, with emphasis on the PIJ, the Hamas and the PFLP-GC. This includes coordination and briefings for the carrying out of terrorist attacks (by phone, internet and by calling activists to Damascus). It also includes the preparation of mass murder attacks (such as blowing up the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv). Along with instructions to escalate and increase suicide attacks, instructions are also given to temporarily halt terrorist activity when it suits Syrian and Iranian interests (for example, after the September 11th attacks in the US).
c. Employing the financial lever. The financial lever is a very important tool for the establishment of terrorist infrastructures and for initiating terrorist activity. Findings from the interrogations of "Defensive Shield" detainees point at the existence of an institutionalized and systematic money transfer system. Large sums of money are transferred by Iran via the organizations operating under its patronage, which use the Syrian and the Palestinian banking system (the Arab Bank stands out as the main money channel for terrorist organizations). The detainees' interrogation reveals large scope money transfers for the PIJ, the Hamas and indirectly also for the Fatah/Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (in addition to the money that the Fatah receives from the PA). This money encouraged murderous terrorist attacks. The carrying out of these attacks was a condition for transferring the financial aid for the Palestinian terrorist activists in the field.
d. Instruction and training. Syria enables the terrorist organizations, under its and Iranian patronage, to maintain a training infrastructure in Syria and in Lebanon. From the interrogations of Hamas, PIJ and PFLP-GC terror activists, it was learned that in Syria there is a wide ranging training disposition for terrorist activists in PFLP-GC and Syrian Army bases.
Sometimes this training is carried out during university studies in Syria or in other Arab countries. The training includes, inter alia, dedicated professional instruction in preparing explosive charges and electric circuits and producing explosive belts. Professional instructions regarding these subjects were sent to Palestinian terrorist activists via the Internet and possibly also by video cassettes (in Operation Defensive Shield, a professional video cassette was found, containing detailed instructions by an Az Al-Din Al-Qassam (Hamas) instructor regarding explosive charge preparation, including instructions for blowing up a bus and what its "weak points" are).
e. Transfer of high quality arms to the PA areas. Iran makes efforts to help the Intifada by transferring quality arms to the PA, whether directly from its territory (the Karine-A arms ship) or indirectly, from Lebanon by the PFLP-GC and the Hizbullah (the Santorini arms boat). The interrogation of the ships' crews unveiled Iran's role, and the PFLP-GC, the Hizbullah and the Syrian connection to the arms smuggling attempts. There is no doubt that if these quality arms, including Katyusha rockets and Strela antiaircraft missiles, had reached the PA, they would have significantly improved the terrorist organizations capability to hit populated areas inside Israel (including large cities) and military and civil aviation, and created a Lebanon-style balance of terror.
6. Iran and Syria are on the list of seven countries which the US State Department defines as terror-supporting states. The Bush Administration defined Iran as one of the three states of the "Axis of Evil." Despite this, no significant change in the nature of these states support for Palestinian terrorism has been noted so far, not even after September 11th and the US campaign against terror. On the contrary, Iran and Syria have since increased their support for Middle East and international terrorist organizations:
a. The Bashar Assad regime not only allows Hizbullah to carry out terrorist attacks from Lebanese territory, as one of the expressions of its support for the Intifada, but also provides direct aid to the Hizbullah, a step from which Assad Sr. refrained (the Syrians provide Hizbullah with rockets which have a range of dozens of kilometers).
b. The Iranian regime allows the use of Iran as a main transit state for the movement of Bin Laden activists from Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Iranians also provide in their territory, near the Afghanistan border, a safe haven for Al Qaida activists escaping from US attacks.
1. Iran and Syria are two states employing terrorism as a main tool for promoting their strategic goals. The two states, which cooperate closely with one another, belong to the seven states "club," which the US State Department defines as terror-supporting states, and both states are also criticized for their efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction. The Bush Administration considers Iran to be the most active country in providing patronage to terrorism, and one of the three states belonging to the "Axis of Evil". Its partner Syria is an unusual phenomenon of a terror-supporting state, which in the past was part of the peace process and is now a member of the UN Security Council.
2. These two states have been pursuing to this day a consistent strategy of encouraging the Intifada and fully supporting the terrorist attacks in Israel. The goal of this strategy is to make the Iranian-Syrian axis dominant in the Middle East, to promote the national interests of the axis member states and to bring about a significant weakening of Israel. This is done, inter alia, by inflaming and escalating the Intifada, disrupting any cease fire attempts and extending the confrontation dimensions into Israel. This in order to split Israeli society, to damage the Israeli economy and to disrupt any chance of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement and a reactivation of the political process.
3. In order to implement this strategy, Syria and Iran encourage and promote terrorism in Israel and in the PA through Palestinian, Lebanese, radical Islamic and leftist organizations operating under their patronage. These organizations, which take part in Palestinian terrorism or assist it, can be divided to three categories:
a. Radical Islamic organizations: Hamas and PIJ.
b. Leftist Palestinian organizations: the PFLP-GC/Jibril Front, DFLP/Hawatmeh, PFLP/Habash, Fatah/Abu Musa and the extremist faction of the Popular Struggle Front.
c. The terrorist organizations operating from Lebanon: the Hizbullah (a Lebanese terrorist organization) and the Black 13th September Battalions, a dissident terrorist Fatah faction, headed by Munir Al-Maqdah.
4. Along with the Iranian and Syrian support for these terrorist organizations, Iran also began providing indirect aid for the Fatah/Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades during the Intifada, due to their joining the violence and terrorism circle.
5. Among these terrorist organizations, three stand out as "central sub-contractors" at the service of Iran and Syria:
a. Palestinian Islamic JihadThese three organizations are defined by the US as terrorist organizations. The PIJ and the Az Al-Din Al-Qassam Battalions, the Hamas military arm, are also defined as terrorist organizations by the European Union.
and its military arm "the Az Al-Din Al-Qassam Battalions"
c. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine/General Command (Ahmed Jibril's organization)
6. Of note is the close cooperation between Iran and Syria regarding the encouragement and support for the operation of Palestinian terrorism:
a. Iran provides the radical Islamic ideology, supplies large sums of money to the terrorist organizations, provides them with arms directly or indirectly (as in the case of the Karine-A). It also puts at the service of the Intifada the Islamic Palestinian terrorist organizations and the Lebanese Hizbullah organization which operates under its patronage.
b. Syria allows using its territory as the main operation base, puts Lebanese territory at the service of the aid disposition for the PA (arms and money transfers, training) and enables Hizbullah to pressure Israel along the Israeli-Lebanese border in support of the Intifada. It also urges the Palestinian leftist organizations under its patronage to fight Israel, it helps the terrorist organizations in training, allows Iran to transfer money and arms to the PA areas and provides political and propaganda support for terrorism in the Arab and international arena.
7. Below is an analysis of the military and operational aspects of the Iranian and Syrian aid to Palestinian terrorism, in the four following fields:
a. The ongoing direction of terrorism from Damascus.
b. The financial lever as a tool for establishing terrorist infrastructures and initiating terrorist activity.
c. Instruction and training of terrorists from the PA areas in Syria and in Lebanon.
d. Large-scope transfer of quality arms to the PA.
The Ongoing Direction of Terrorism from Damascus
"The Palestinian Islamic Jihad is a fruit from the bountiful tree of the leader Khomeini."
|Dr. Ramadan Shalah: Directs terror in the PA from Damascus, took responsibility for the suicide bomb in Megiddo (June 5, 2002)
Dr. Ramadan Shalah, PIJ Secretary General, at his meeting with Zahara Mustafawi, President of the Palestinian Nation Defense Association, in Damascus
8. Since the beginning of the Intifada and until now, ongoing direction of terrorism and of violent activities in the PA areas is carried out from Damascus. This process is controlled by Syria and Iran, and it is carried out by the terrorist organizations operating under their patronage. The three leading terrorist organizations are, as was mentioned, the PIJ, the Hamas and the PFLP-GC, whose political and operational leaderships reside in Damascus.
Syria also hosts a wide ranging infrastructure of these and other terrorist organizations, including their HQs, offices, training camps, equipment and arms depots.
9. This direction is expressed in operational instructions to the various terrorist organizations operating in the PA, as well as determined activity for improving their capabilities. As part of this activity, money is transferred to various terrorist organizations in various regions, training is carried out in Syria and in Lebanon, the local activists' appointments are supervised and operational cooperation between the terrorist organizations is encouraged. In addition, quality arms are transferred to the PA from Lebanon via the PFLP-GC (the Santorini arms boat) or directly from Iran (the Karine-A arms ship).
10. This is clearly manifested in intelligence reports of the Palestinian security apparatuses, which were given to Arafat:
a. According to an intelligence report (10 December 2000), transferred by the Head of the General Intelligence Apparatus (GIA), Amin Al-Hindi, Iran transferred large sums of money to the PA ($400,000 to the Az Al-Din Al-Qassam Battalions, $700,000 to the Islamic organizations opposing the PA. According to the document, this money was designed to "support the Hamas military arm inside'" and to encourage suicide attacks. The document states that the Hamas leadership in Syria maintains contacts with the Az Al-Din Al-Qassam Battalions in the PA regarding the carrying out of military attacks against Israeli targets.
b. According to an intelligence report (31 October 2001), transferred by the Head of the Preventive Security Apparatus (PSA), Jibril Rajoub, intensive meetings between the Hamas, PIJ and Hizbullah activists were taking place in Damascus "in order to increase the joint activity inside,' with the aid of Iranian money." This "after an Iranian message had been transferred to the Hamas and PIJ leaderships, according to which they must not allow a calming down [of the situation] at present." "What is required now," states the document, "is to carry out suicide attacks against Israeli targets in Gaza, in the West Bank and inside Israel."
11. In the interrogations of senior PIJ operational activists from Jenin and Hebron captured in Operation Defensive Shield, it was learned of the nature of the ongoing direction from Damascus from the point of view of the field activists.
The Direction of Terrorist Activities in the Jenin Area
12. Ali Al-Sa'adi (Saffuri) and Thabet Mardawi were the two most senior activists of the PIJ military and operational network in the Jenin area. They were constantly in touch with the PIJ leadership in Damascus. The two were arrested during Operation Defensive Shield. They provided information regarding the direction of PIJ operational activity by its Syria-based leadership (known and encouraged by the Bashar Assad regime).
13. Below are the main characteristics of these two senior activists, each of whom is responsible for the killing and wounding of many dozens of Israeli citizens:
a. Ali Suleiman Sa'id Al-Sa'adi (Saffuri): Aged 40, Jenin refugee camp resident, one of the most senior activists of the PIJ was captured in Operation Defensive Shield and admitted his involvement in car bomb in Hadera (25 May 2001), an explosive charge which exploded in a garbage can in Hadera (20 June 2001), an attempted suicide attack in Binyamina (16 July 2001), an attempted suicide attack in Haifa (22 July 2001), an attempted terrorist attack on a bus in Tel Teomim near Beit Shean (2 August 2001), a suicide attack in the Wall Street restaurant in Kiryat Motzkin (22 August 2001), an attempted suicide attack in Umm El-Fahm (16 August 2001), a suicide attack at the entrance to Kibbutz Shluhot (7 October 2001), a suicide attack in the Check Post junction near Haifa (9 October 2001).
b. Thabet Azmi Suleiman Mardawi: a 26-year-old activist from Arraba (near Jenin), one of the senior PIJ operational network activists in Jenin.
|Thabet Mardawi: Senior terrorist who received his instructions from the PIJ HQ in Damascus
Mardawi was arrested during Operation Defensive Shield and admitted his involvement in many terrorist attacks in Israel: a car bomb explosion in the Haifa central bus station (25 May 2001), an attempted suicide attack in Afula (25 July 2001), a suicide attack in Binyamina (16 July 2001), an attempted suicide attack in a bus in Tel Teomim near Beit Shean (2 August 2001), a suicide attack in the Wall Street restaurant in Kiryat Motzkin (22 August 2001), shooting at a bus south of the Adam bridge (9 September 2001), a drive-by shooting at an Israeli car in the northern part of the Jordan Valley (24 September 2001), a suicide attack at the entrance to Kibbutz Shluhot (7 October 2001), a suicide attack in a bus en route from Tel Aviv to Nazareth (20 March 2002).
14. These two senior terrorists, responsible for many murderous attacks in Israel, admitted that they had ongoing contacts with Dr. Ramadan Shalah, the PIJ Secretary General who resides in Damascus. They also held contacts with his assistants, PIJ HQ activists. The two said that they used to call regularly the PIJ HQ in Damascus and discuss various subjects, such as:
a. Clarifications regarding the policies of PIJ leadership in Damascus (regarding terrorist attacks policy).
b. Claims of responsibility to the HQ for the terrorist attacks carried out by PIJ activists. (Such reports are the basis for the public announcements published by the terrorist organizations' HQs in Damascus. For example, Dr. Ramadan Shalah, the PIJ Secretary General, claimed responsibility for the suicide attack in Megiddo, in which 18 Israelis were killed on 5 June 2002.)
c. Requests for money.
d. Receiving instructions regarding arms production.
15. The contacts with the PIJ leader in Damascus were held by phone, using aliases in order not to reveal the names of the speakers (Thabet Mardawi called himself "Yusuf"). He said that during one year he also used to send e-mail messages and receive answers a day later. He and Ali Saffuri received e-mail messages containing instructions for explosive charge production, including sketches.
16. Ali Saffuri said in his interrogation that during the last Ramadan month (16 November - 16 December 2001) he decided to carry out a joint terrorist attack of the PIJ and the Fatah. As a senior PIJ activist, he had the approval of the PIJ leadership in Syria to reach an agreement with the Fatah on the perpetration of joint terrorist attacks. It was learned from his interrogation that on the tactical level, the PIJ leadership in Syria gave its local operational activists in the PA extensive freedom of action, as far as the targets and the method of carrying out the attacks were concerned.
17. Contacts between the PIJ senior activists in the Jenin area and PIJ HQ in Damascus were carried out also during Operation Defensive Shield. Ali Saffuri told his interrogators that during the fighting he talked with Dr. Ramadan Shalah and reported to him that "all is well" and that it was decided not to withdraw.
18. When the carrying out of terrorist attacks or their cessation had a special political-propaganda significance, the PIJ leadership in Damascus transferred instructions to its activists in the field regarding the continuation or cessation of terrorist activity. An example is the period after the September 11th attacks in the US. According to Thabet Mardawi, after these attacks Dr. Ramadan Shalah issued an instruction, apparently temporary and limited, not to carry out terrorist attacks in Israel, in order not to create a parallel between Al-Qaida and the PIJ. He also said that after the death of Ra'ed Karmi (a senior Fatah/Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades activist in Tulkarm) the PIJ activists decided to renew the terrorist attacks inside Israel. (Note: In fact, for several weeks the PIJ indeed refrained from carrying out terrorist attacks inside Israel.)
19. It is possible that behind this instruction stood the Syrian regime (in coordination with Iran?). The Syrian regime occasionally puts temporary limitations on the terrorist organizations operating under its patronage, when it is pressured or when international political circumstances are not convenient.
Directing Terrorist Activities in the Hebron Area
20. Another senior operational activist arrested in Operation Defensive Shield is Muhammad Mahmud Isma'il Barawish, who served as the PIJ commander in the Hebron area. He recounted in his interrogation that he had held contacts with Akram Al-Ajuri in the Damascus HQ (Ajuri is a senior PIJ activist in Damascus, who is engaged in directing operational activity in the PA areas). In April 2001 Ajuri asked Barawish, who had been released from a Palestinian jail in early 2001, to reassume the position of PIJ leader in Hebron and assume the responsibility for the contacts between the PIJ cell in Hebron and its HQ in Damascus. Ajuri said that the Palestinians are in the midst of war and that he wants Barawish to reorganize the PIJ network in Hebron towards the continuation of military activity. For this purpose he transferred $7000 to Barawish.
21. In his interrogation Muhammad Barawish described the continuation of his and his men's operation by Akram Al-Ajuri from the PIJ HQ in Syria:
a. Around mid-2001 Ajuri called Barawish and asked him to recruit military activists who could carry out "quality attacks". Barawish replied that he would begin the recruitment and update Ajuri. He began recruiting military activists and gave them large sums of money, which he received from Syria to cover the expenses of their military activity (the perpetration of terrorist attacks, acquisition of arms). Concretely, Barawish carried out 5-6 money transfers of $10-20,000 each, and a total of more than $100,000 - which he transferred to two military activists he recruited.
b. After the organization stage was completed, Barawish and his men began carrying out terrorist attacks against Israeli targets in order to kill civilians or soldiers. He called Akram Al-Ajuri or a man named "Muhaned" in the PIJ HQ in Damascus to report about the attacks he carried out. Barawish said in his interrogation that he reported to the HQ in Syria about a series of terrorist attacks he carried out, including the "Harsina" junction attack in Hebron, the attacks in the Halhul bypass road, in Bet Shemesh, in French Hill in Jerusalem and more.
The PFLP-GC/Jibril Front: The Instruction of Activists in Damascus
22. Apart from ongoing instructions by phone or by couriers, there were also some cases in which instructions for attacks in the PA areas and in Israel were given in the PFLP-GC offices in Damascus, at the end of training which the activists underwent there.
23. An example is the case of two PFLP-GC terroristS, Rami Fuzi Sa'id Katuni and Samah Mahmud Salim Jibril, arrested in the summer of 2001. Both were recruited in the Nablus area, were trained in Syria and were sent back to the PA areas, after instructions by PFLP-GC activists in Syria to carry out a series of terrorist attacks, including a suicide bombing in the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv.
24. Below are the main subjects learned from their interrogation, noted also in the indictment issued by the IDF military prosecution against them:
a. In the summer of 2001 these two terrorists from the Ayn Beit Alma refugee camp near Nablus were sent for military training in Syria. The two departed on 10 July 2001 and arrived to the Jordanian-Syrian border through Amman. At the Syrian border their papers were checked and a Syrian policeman gave them a brown envelope with the inscription "To the Syrian Intelligence Offices in Damascus, within three days" on it.
(According to Rami Katuni, during their stay in Syria they visited the Syrian Intelligence Offices in Damascus and met with a senior officer. The officer checked their papers, certified them and wished them good luck.) b. In Damascus the two were brought to a tall building, in which the PFLPGC office is located. There they met Jihad Ahmed Jibril, the son of Ahmed Jibril (Jihad Jibril died in a car bomb explosion in Lebanon on 20 May 2002). Jihad Jibril sent them for training in a military camp called "17 September", which is located at a distance of about 45 minutes drive from Damascus.
c. In the "17 September" camp they trained for two weeks in the use of small arms, and underwent training in improvised explosive charges and detonators preparation, operating explosive charges and delay mechanisms, production and operation of explosive belts for suicide bombing and mass murder. At the end of their training they returned to the PFLP-GC office in Damascus.
d. In the office the two discussed their operation plans after their return to the PA areas. They listed a series of terrorist activities they intended to carry out: firing mortars, laying explosive charges, shooting at a military patrol, attacking an IDF armored personnel carrier and carrying out a suicide bombing in the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv with a car bomb. The two asked the PFLP-GC activist in Damascus to help them carry out the terrorist attack in the Azrieli Towers.
e. The PFLP-GC activist replied that he will see to it that the two would be assisted by Israeli Arabs, and that the PFLP-GC senior activist in Nablus would provide them with arms and explosives for perpetrating these terrorist attacks. Before they returned to the PA areas, communication methods were agreed upon between them and Damascus.
The arrest of the two men on the Allenby Bridge on 7 August 2001 prevented the implementation of these plans.
25. As for the carrying out of the terrorist attack in the Azrieli Towers, it is of note that in the past the PFLP-GC carried out spectacular murderous attacks. For example: the penetration into Kiryat Shemona (April 1974, 18 Israeli killed), the "hang-gliders' night," when a hang-glider infiltrated into an army camp near Kiryat Shemona (November 1987, 6 IDF soldiers killed) and the PFLP-GC involvement in the Lockerbie attack (the Pan-Am explosion above Lockerbie in 1988, which resulted in the death of 270 passengers).
The Hamas: Instruction of Activists in Damascus
26. In the second half of 2001 more than 20 Hamas activists were arrested. They were recruited in Arab states, trained in Syria, received operational instruction in Syria and were involved in murderous terrorist attacks aimed against Israeli citizens.
27. Outstanding characteristics learned from the interrogation of these Hamas activists:
a. Most of the activists are students recruited to the Hamas during their studies in Syrian, Yemenite, Sudanese and other Arab universities. The students were located by the Hamas HQ activists in Damascus and sent for training in Syria and Lebanon.
b. In the training camps the students were trained to use arms, prepare explosive charges and explosive belts. They were also instructed in intelligence activities and the techniques of carrying out terrorist attacks against civilian and military targets. They were also trained in kidnapping hostages.
c. After completion of the training the recruits were sent to the PA and instructed to establish terrorist squads there. This in the framework of the Hamas effort to rebuild its military arm, which was damaged by the Israeli security services.
d. After the terrorist cells were uncovered, some of the detainees admitted that they had been involved in the planning of two suicide attacks in Netanya in April and May 2001, in which 8 Israeli civilians were killed and more than 100 wounded.
The Financial Lever as a Tool for Establishing Terrorist Infrastructures and for Initiating Terrorist Activities
28. The financial lever is Iran's most important tool for establishing terrorist infrastructures in the PA and for encouraging terrorist attacks by the various terrorist organizations. Captured PA documents and the interrogation of terrorists provide tangible evidence that the Iranians transfer large sums of money to the PA areas on a regular basis via the terrorist organizations under their patronage: PIJ, Hamas and Hizbullah. For example, a Palestinian GIA report (10 December 2000) indicates that the Az Al-Din Al-Qassam Battalions received "only" $400,000 since the beginning of the Intifada, and that the Iranians transferred a check of $700,000 to the Palestinian opposition factions as part of their policy to encourage attacks against Israeli targets.
29. Referring to the last US State Department report, in which Syria was defined as a terror-supporting state, Syrian Foreign Minister Shara said that "Syria has never financed terrorism" (AP, Syrian TV, 22 May 2002). Syria C which lacks Iran's financial resources C usually does not provide direct financial aid to the terrorist organizations. However, it allows them to use Damascus and the Syrian national banking system for money transfers to the PA areas. This also enables the Syrian regime to technically supervise these money transfers.
30. These large money transfers significantly enhance the operational capabilities of the terrorist organizations under Iranian patronage, and mainly those of the PIJ which, contrary to the Hamas or the Fatah, does not have deep roots among the Palestinian population (in the Jenin area, for example, the PIJ operational capabilities are better than those of the Fatah/Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades). The large sums of money directly and indirectly finance terrorist activity and motivate and encourage the carrying out of attacks by all the terrorist organizations, including the Fatah/Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which indirectly also receive the Iranian money.
31. Below are the methods of money transfers in organizations and regions cross section.
Money Transfers to the PIJ in Jenin
32. Thabet Mardawi and Ali Saffuri, two senior PIJ Jenin activists, recounted in their interrogation that they received large sums of money from the PIJ HQ in Damascus. They said that they had opened several bank accounts in their name or in the name of an older woman (in order to cover up their activity). The PIJ HQ in Damascus transferred the money to these accounts via the Arab Bank. (It is of note that not only the PIJ preferred to use the Arab Bank as the main channel for money transfer to the PA. According to captured documents, the Saudis also used this bank's branches in the PA for money transfers to organizations close to the Hamas and to the families of Palestinian killed, including those of suicide bombers).
33. Ali Saffuri said that every PIJ operational group had a bank account, in which it managed its own financial balance. The money was transferred to the whole group ad hoc, according to operational needs. Sometimes the money transfer took 3-4 days. In addition, according to a captured document of the Palestinian GIA in the Jenin area, some of the money was also transferred to the bank account of Bassam Al-Sa'adi, a senior PIJ activist in Jenin. This resulted in tension and quarrels between him and senior activists of the PIJ network in the Jenin area.
34. The money transferred from Damascus served for various goals: preparation of terrorist attacks in Israel, support of the families of dead and detained terrorists, arms procurement, purchase of dedicated equipment for terrorist attacks such as IDF uniforms. Two examples of large sums of money which were transferred by Dr. Ramadan Shalah from Damascus to the PIJ activists in Jenin can be found in a captured document of the Palestinian GIA in the Jenin area:
a. A sum of $31,000 was to be given to Ali Saffuri, but did not reach its destination. This sum was defined in the document as "the remainder of the expenses" of the suicide bombing in Afula (27 November 2001).
b. A sum of $127,000 was transferred for the support of families of dead and detained terrorists (this sum also did not reach its destination).
35. The large sums of money which were transferred from Syria to PIJ terrorist activists in Jenin, greatly improved PIJ capabilities there and turned it into the leading terrorist organization. Many terrorist activities originated from the Jenin area, mainly suicide attacks (Jenin was called "the capital of the suicide bombers"). According to a captured document of the Palestinian GIA, the money enabled PIJ activists to finance Fatah attacks (to the great frustration of the Fatah/Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which suffered from lack of money). The PIJ activists also helped the families of dead Fatah activists, bribed the PA security apparatuses men and encouraged the Fatah/Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades to carry out joint terrorist attacks in Israel (such as the suicide attack in Afula on 27 November 2001).
Money Transfers to the PIJ in Hebron
36. Muhammad Mahmud Isma'il Barawish, the PIJ leader in Hebron, told in his interrogation that large sums of money were transferred to him from the PIJ HQ in Syria for financing terrorist activities by the military network that he established.
37. This money was transferred from the PIJ HQ to Barawish' bank account. It was then transferred to finance the expenses of PIJ operational activists in the area. In total, Barawish transferred more than $100,000 to finance terrorist activity of the terrorist network he established in the Hebron area.
Money Transfers from Lebanon to Fatah/Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades Activists by Munir Al-Maqdah
38. A terrorist Fatah faction is operating in the Ayn Al Hulwah refugee camp near Sidon in Lebanon, it is headed by Aqid (Colonel) Munir Hussein Khalil Al-Maqdah. Al-Maqdah and his "Black 13 September Battalions" (established in 1993 to commemorate the signing of the interim Israeli-Palestinian agreement) oppose Arafat's policy and constitute an opposition to the central Fatah stream in Lebanon. However, from the interrogation of Operation Defensive Shield detainees and of a terrorist arrested in 2001 it was learned that Al-Maqdah transfers large sums of money to support Fatah/Tanzim/Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorists in various West Bank areas. The scope of money transferred by him since the beginning of the Intifada is estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars.
39. There is no doubt that Munir Al-Maqdah has no financial sources of his own for financing the Fatah/Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades large-scope terrorist activity.
It is reasonable to assume that this money comes from Iran: according to open sources, Iran provides financial aid to Al-Maqdah via the Martyrs Fund, a fund which helps the families of war casualties, including Palestinians and the Hizbullah. This means that Iran also provides indirect aid to the Fatah terrorist network headed by Yasser Arafat, who did nothing to severe the operational terrorist ties between his men and Al-Maqdah.
40. Iran's readiness to provide indirect financial aid to Fatah activists C and, later, direct aid to the PA (the Karine-A arms ship) C constitutes a significant change in Iranian policy. During the first stages of the Intifada, Iran viewed the PA as a treacherous entity striving to reach a political agreement with Israel. However, this attitude changed when, since the second half of 2000, the PA and the Munir Al-Maqdah terrorist apparatuses operating under its auspices gradually became the leaders of the struggle and the terrorism aimed against Israel.
Money Transfers to the Nablus Area
41. Nasser Mahmud Ahmed Aweis, resident of the Balata refugee camp near Nablus and a former Palestinian GIA activist, stood out as a senior Fatah/Tanzim/Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades military activist in Samaria some months before the beginning of Operation Defensive Shield. He was involved in a series of murderous terrorist attacks in Israel, in which dozens of Israelis were killed and wounded, including the terrorist attack in the banqueting hall in Hadera (17 January 2002), a shooting attack in Jerusalem (22 January 2002) and a shooting attack in Netanya (9 March 2002).
|Nasser Aweis: Received funds from Munir Al-Maqdah for terrorist activities
42. Nasser Aweis was arrested during Operation Defensive Shield, and in his interrogation pointed at Munir Al-Maqdah as a funding source of Fatah/ Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror activity. A summary of his statement follows:
a. Around June 2001, he made contact with Al-Maqdah in Lebanon. Al-Maqdah offered him financial aid designed for terrorist attacks (including shooting attacks and explosive charge attacks). Their contacts were by telephone (every 3-4 days) and by the Internet.
b. Aweis routinely reported to Al-Maqdah about the details of the terrorist attacks carried out by his activists. Al-Maqdah encouraged him to carry out attacks and occasionally demanded that several attacks be carried out simultaneously (but he did not interfere in determining the attack targets or method). In return, Al-Maqdah provided Aweis with money to cover the expenses of his terrorist operations.
c. Al-Maqdah asked Aweis to report about his and his activists needs and expenses for the daily activities. According to Aweis, the daily expenses of the terror activists included living expenses, arms purchases, acquisition of high explosives, renting apartments and other payments. In total, these expenses amounted to $7000 for every week or two. A report on this matter was sent to Al-Maqdah via the Internet.
d. Al-Maqdah asked Aweis to open an account in the Arab Bank in Nablus. He transferred a sum of $5000 to Aweis' account every week. These weekly payments were distributed by Aweis to the activists and used to cover the expenses of their operations (procurement of M-16 rifles, ammunition acquisition, purchase of materials for making explosive charges). Aweis estimates that altogether he received a sum of $40,000- $50,000 from Al-Maqdah.
e. Three months ago, Al-Maqdah and Aweis examined the possibility of sending an activist (from Lebanon) to carry out a suicide attack inside Israel. Aweis, who preferred not to involve a stranger in his activities, replied that entry into the PA became more difficult than in the past.
Money Transfer to Fatah/Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades Activists in the Jenin Area
43. Jamal Mustafa Huweil from the Jenin Refugee Camp was arrested during Operation Defensive Shield. Huweil was recruited a year ago to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Jenin area, and was appointed to be their treasurer. In his interrogation, Huweil described his ties with Munir Al-Maqdah, and stated that he received from him financial aid. The sum of money referred to amounts to approx. $5000 (a similar sum to that transferred to the Fatah infrastructure in Nablus), transferred every month or two to the account of Nasser Aweis from Nablus. Huweil used to drive to Nablus in order to receive the money; occasionally, Nasser Aweis would send the money to Jenin by a courier.
44. Jamal Huweil stated that he was in direct contact with Munir Al-Maqdah and would report to him about terrorist attacks carried out by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the Jenin area. In this context, he reported about the suicide attack in Afula (27 November 2001) carried out jointly with the PIJ, an attempted attack in Haifa and attacks carried out in Jerusalem and Hadera.
Money Transfers to Fatah Activists in the Ramallah Area
45. Mustafa Hassan Abd Al-Qadr, from the Jalazun Refugee Camp (north of Ramallah), was recruited to the Fatah along with some of his friends and was arrested in 2001. In his interrogation, he stated that he and his friends were connected to Fuad Balbissi, alias Abu Bashar, through a senior Fatah activist residing in Nablus, who promised to send them money to cover their expenses (Fuad Balbissi, a senior Fatah activist originally from Nablus, resides in Jordan and holds contacts with Fatah activists in the West Bank). Abu Bashar linked them with Munir Al-Maqdah in Lebanon and Mustafa Abd Al-Qadr established direct contact with him, via cellular phone.
46. Munir Al-Maqdah expressed his readiness to provide Abd Al-Qadr and his friends an initial sum of $5000 to cover their personal expenses. The money was transferred in the name of Abd Al-Qadr to the Arab Bank branch in Ramallah. Around July 2001, Al-Maqdah transferred another sum of about $5000, in order for Abd Al-Qadr to commence operational activity, such as shooting at IDF patrols. Al-Maqdah even offered to send arms to Abd Al Qadr and his group.
Money Transfers to the Gaza Strip
47. Jamal Huweil revealed in his interrogation that, in early 2002, Al-Maqdah informed him that he holds a similar channel with Jamal Abu Samhadana.
Abu Samhadana is the head of the Popular Resistance Committees in the Southern Gaza Strip, an armed militia of Fatah/Tanzim wanted terrorists, operating in the southern Gaza Strip, mainly in Rafah. This militia perpetrated terrorist attacks in which 5 Israelis were killed, and attempted to infiltrate suicide terrorists into Israel (November 2001).
48. Munir Al-Maqdah asked Jamal Huweil and Jamal Abu Samhadana to contact each other in order to learn from each other's experience and in order for Jamal Abu Samhadana to send Jamal Huweil weapon systems as required.
Money Transfers to the Hamas 49. Hamas activists in the PA also receive financial aid from the Hamas HQ in Damascus for financing their operational activity. Money designated for the families of casualties and prisoners is also transferred from Syria and Lebanon. This money is also transferred to the Hamas' military branch.
50. An intelligence report written (10 December 2000) by the Head of the GIA, Amin Al-Hindi, tells about a decision made by Islamic elements (connected to Iran) to transfer the 2000 charity donations (Al-Zakat) (collected in Lebanon?) to the Hamas movement in the PA. The Hamas movement would then distribute the money without any involvement of the PA. Part of this money, according to the report, would be used for supporting the Hamas' military arm in the PA.
51. The charity tax, "zakat", is one of Islam's five basic commandments. It is considered one of the pillars of social justice in Islam and was to be used for promoting social goals. The utilization of charity money for military needs is contrary to the goals for which it was designated.
52. However, the Imam Khomeini has solved this theological problem. The solution can be found in a book called Palestine in Imam Khomeini's Speeches, which was published in Syria by the Syrian Ministry of Propaganda. The book quotes Khomeini's answer to a question he was asked by a group of Palestinian fighters (Palestinian Fedayun), on whether they can or cannot use the taxes determined by Islam for arming the Moslems. Khomeini's answer was as follows:
"I have already explained in the past that the establishment of the exploiting state of Israel constitutes a great danger to Islam and to the Islamic countries. Since Islam is exposed to danger, the Islamic states in particular, and Moslems in general must drive away this microbe of corruption in any possible way. One must not be satisfied only with the practical aid provided for this goal, one may also use the charity tax resources (zakat) and other Moslem charity money for this matter."
(Adnan Hussein Abu Nasser, Palestine in Imam Khomeini's Speeches, a book published by the Ministry of Propaganda in the Syrian Arab Republic, 2000, p.120).
53. This concept gives theological authorization for money transfers from abroad to the Hamas charity committees in the PA and for the funneling of some of this money to its military arm. The money for these charity committees is transferred from Lebanon and from Arab and Western countries. This is manifested in the case of Jamal Muhammad Farakh Tawil from El Bireh in the Ramallah area, a Hamas activist who was released from prison in Israel in July 1997 and appointed head of a local committee for the care of Hamas prisoners.
|Jamal Tawil: Received money from the Hamas office in Lebanon
54. In his interrogation, Tawil told that money for this committee was received, starting from March 1998, from a man named Abu Ahmed, defined by him as head of the Hamas propaganda bureau in Lebanon (apparently referring to Isma'il Sarur, a.k.a. Abu Ahmed, in charge of money transfers from the Syrian leadership to the PA). Abu Ahmed made regular deposits of $12,000 in Tawil's bank account (the Arab Bank, Ramallah). On his part, Tawil provided information about detainees in Israeli prisons to the Hamas bureau in Lebanon.
55. In his interrogation, Tawil recounted that, being harassed by the GIA, he opened in Ramallah a branch of the Al-Salah Charity Association in early 2000, as a legitimate cover for Hamas activities (this is a charity organization identified with the Hamas). The association in Ramallah received money from charities around the world, including from Saudi Arabia (including from the Saudi Committee for the Support of the Al-Quds Intifada). He also held continuous contacts with the fund for the Care of Families (Wakfiat Ria'at El Usra) in Lebanon, headed by Abu Al-Abd (this organization is known as a body established by the Hamas leadership so as to regulate the transfer of money to the families of Hamas casualties and prisoners).
Embezzlement of Funds Arriving from Damascus
56. The transfer of large sums of money from Damascus to activists in the PA, without substantial control and supervision, is fertile grounds for phenomena of embezzlement and corruption. PA documents captured in Operation Defensive Shield reveal that some of the money "leaks" to numerous persons (including some among the PA intelligence apparatuses), that "feast" on the money designed for the support of terrorists and their families.
57. Several examples that emerge from captured PA documents:
a. Ali Al-Sa'adi (Saffuri), a senior operational PIJ activist in the Jenin area, quarreled with Bassam Al Sa'adi, the treasurer of that area. The background:
- A sum of $127,000 that Ali Saffuri was due to receive from Damascus has "disappeared."
- A sum of $31,000 - "remaining expenses from the attack in Afula" - also failed to reach Ali Saffuri.
b. A GIA source in the PIJ, who received $10,000 from his operators in Damascus, divided the sum as follows: a third to himself, a third to PIJ activists, and a third to a senior GIA officer.
c. A PSA source in the PIJ received a sum of $8,000 for a non-existing military squad in Jerusalem. The source took the money for himself.
Training and Instruction Infrastructure for Palestinian Terrorists in Syria and Lebanon
58. Hamas detainees reported in their interrogation about instruction and training they underwent in Syria. A few examples follow:
a. Muhammad Abd Al-Malk Abd Al-Qadr Al-Hur from Surif, told his friend in May 2001, that he was willing to join the Hamas military arm and to carry out a suicide attack. In August 2001, the friend told him that he should go to Syria in order to undergo military training, after which he will return to the West Bank. In Syria, he was brought to a PFLP-GC military camp, along with 3 other recruits. There, he underwent basic training in small arms, activation of various explosives, production of explosive charges, building electric circuits and a short lesson in make up and camouflage. When the training was completed, he was sent to Saudi Arabia in order to conceal his stay in Syria. From Saudi Arabia he returned to Jordan, where he met his operator in Amman (a Hamas activist named Khaled Mahmud, a.k.a. "Fares"), then returned to the PA.
b. Majdi Abd Al-Azim Sadeq Tabesh, a Hamas activist; recounted in his interrogation that he was sent twice for training in Syria. In the second time (July 2001), the training focused on sabotage and security. This training took place in an apartment in the Al Yarmukh refugee camp and then in the Durayj army camp (a Syrian Army garrison in the Damascus area).
The second training series covered various subjects: preparation of explosive charges with 30 minute delay and their activation by cellular phones, building electric circuits, producing improvised explosives, tracking and "tailing", including practical exercises in the streets of Damascus. When his second training series in Damascus was concluded, he was recruited to the Az Al-Din Al-Qassam Battalions by his instructor "Abu Khaled" (Yihie al-Fayad, Hamas activist in Syria). He was instructed to return to the West Bank via Jordan, link with Hamas activists and commence operations.
c. Hussein Zaghal from Zabubah (a village near Jenin) was recruited to military activity in the Hamas. In August 1998 he was sent to Damascus for education and military training. He registered for the Ph.D. program in Islamic Studies and at the same time underwent theoretical training for one and a half months, at an average of 3 training days a week. In the training, Hussein Zaghal was instructed in a variety of subjects, such as tracking and recognizing tracking, detection and emptying of caches, map reading, communications and secured communications, and motorized tracking.
After a short vacation, he was sent to a Syrian army base 40 minutes drive from Damascus (in his assessment, this was a PFLP-GC base). There, he underwent theoretical and practical small arms training. Hussein Zaghal recounted that in 1999 he set out again for two-week training in Syria. In the second training series, Zaghal repeated earlier material and underwent theoretical training with a LAW missile. At the end of the training, he launched a LAW missile at a target.
Training of PFLP-GC Personnel
59. For the training of PA PFLP-GC activists in training facilities in Syria, see the section "Ongoing Direction of Terrorism from Damascus".
Instruction by E-mail and Possibly by Video Cassettes
60. Another instruction method used by PIJ, was mentioned by Thabet Mardawi, a senior operational activist from Jenin. He stated that he and his colleague Ali Saffuri received instructions for assembling explosive charges, including sketches, by E-mail from the HQ in Syria. It is also possible that the terror activists in the PA were provided "professional" video cassettes. In Nablus, an Az Al-Din Al-Qassam instruction video cassette was found, which explains how to produce and detonate explosive charges, including detailed instructions on how to explode a bus.
Iranian Efforts to Transfer Quality Arms to the PA
61. Iran makes efforts to assist the Intifada by transferring quality arms to the PA, either directly from Iran or via Lebanon through the Hizbullah and PFLPGC. Iran's goal is to provide the Palestinians with quality arms to improve their operational capabilities so as to deter Israel, increase Israel's casualties, escalate the Intifada and recreate the "Lebanese Model" in the PA. We are of the opinion that this Iranian policy, and certainly its Lebanese dimension, is coordinated with Syria, which controls Lebanon and the PFLP-GC.
62. Two conspicuous examples of direct and indirect Iranian involvement in arms transfers are the Karine-A arms ship (direct arms transfer from Iran to the PA by sea) and the Santorini arms boat (arms transfer by sea from Lebanon through the Hizbullah and PFLP-GC). The characteristics of these two arms smuggling attempts are described below, based on the interrogation of the vessels' crews, captured by the Israeli Navy.
The Iranian Involvement in the Karine-A Affair
63. The interrogation of the Karine-A crew indicates that Iran was directly involved in supplying quality arms to the Palestinian Authority.
64. The Iranian connection was repeatedly mentioned in the interrogation of Omar Akawi, the Karine-A captain, and other crewmen:
a. Akawi stated that he was due to arrive in Iran in July 2001 for "special arrangements", apparently in order to organize instruction for PA personnel about the submergible containers (the smuggling required special sealed containers that could not be produced in Lebanon but only in Iran). However, he said that he did not arrive in Iran as planned, since he received instructions that Hizbullah was in charge of this subject.
b. The Karine-A crew recounted that the ship arrived to the shores of Iran, in proximity of Kish Island (9 December 2001), where the arms containers were loaded onto the Karine-A by Iranian and other personnel.
c. Salam Mahmud al-Sankari, a Naqib (captain) in the Palestinian naval force, had previously participated in an attempt to carry out a naval terrorism attack; he was on the Karine-A when it was captured. In his interrogation, Sankari reported that an Iranian with a camera documented the loading of the Karine-A in Iran. He also admitted to having undergone specialized training in Lebanon in diving and in operating the submergible containers. The training was carried out by the Hizbullah. According to Sankari, one of his Hizbullah instructors was present when the arms were loaded onto the Karine-A.
d. Riad Abdallah, one of the Karine-A crewmen, said that during July 2001 he arrived in Syria to purchase a ship. He met there with a Hizbullah member named Haj Bassam, who gave him a financial advance for the ship purchase (regarding Haj Bassam's involvement in arms smuggling from Lebanon to the PA see below).
64. It is of note that aboard the Karine-A, which was captured on 3 January 2002, there were "force multiplier" weapon systems. These include 107 and 122 mm rockets and launchers, which the Palestinians do not have at present and which have a range of up to 20 km. The meaning of their transfer to the PA could be the inclusion of large Israeli cities in the range of the Katyusha rockets. In addition, improved antitank launchers, 120 mm mortars and mortar bombs and powerful explosives were aboard the Karine-A. If all these had reached the PA, they would have significantly improved the capabilities of the terrorist organizations, mainly of the Fatah/Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and their deterrence capability vis-a-vis Israel, and created a Lebanon-style balance of terror.
65. It is of note that some of the arms found on the Karine-A were produced in Iran (year of production: 2001). These include: PG-7 Tandem and PG-7 Nader antitank rockets, YM3 antitank and YM1 antipersonnel mines. The markings on most of the arms were changed and their serial numbers erased, in order to prevent the identification of the producer. The Iranians hurried to deny in public any connection to the ship (4 January 2002), as part of their policy to reject their identification as a "terror-supporting state."
66. We assess that the arms found on the Karine-A cost about $2 million. From the interrogation of the ship's captain and the crew it was learned that the money for purchasing the arms and the ship came from Hizbullah. We assess that Hizbullah does not have resources of its own for financing such projects and, actually, the deal was financed by Iran, even if it was done under a Hizbullah cover. The ship's operation expenses (crew salaries, insurance expenses etc.) were paid by the PA.
Arms captured aboard the Karine-A
Arms Smuggling from Lebanon by Hizbullah and the PFLP-GC
67. Another Iranian method for smuggling quality arms from Lebanon to the PA was via the Hizbullah and PFLP-GC. (Naturally, this required coordination with Syria, which controls Lebanon).
68. The Santorini arms boat crew recounted in the interrogation that until their arrest four smuggling attempts were made by the Santorini and by another boat named Calypso-2. Three of these attempts succeeded (some of the arms reached Gaza and Sinai shores), and the fourth one was prevented by the Israeli Navy. The four attempts are: the first smuggling by the PFLP-GC from Tripoli (November 2000), the second one by Hizbullah from Jiyah beach south of Beirut (April 2001), the third one by the Hizbullah from Jiyah beach (April 2001) and the fourth one by the PFLP-GC from Tripoli on the Santorini (May 2001).
69. In its last trip the Santorini left Tripoli (Lebanon) and was to unload the cargo opposite Northern Sinai shores. It was captured on 6 May 2001 by the Israeli Navy, about 150 miles west of Tyre. Various quality weapons were found aboard the boat, including dozens of barrels filled with Katyusha rockets, antiaircraft (Strela) and antitank missiles, mortars, small arms and ammunition.
Ahmed Jibril admitted in public that his organization was responsible for the arms shipment, aimed at supporting the Palestinian people (AP, 8 May 2001). If these arms had reached the PA they would have significantly improved the capabilities of the terrorist organizations.
70. The Santorini crew interrogation unveiled several important aspects of Syria's and Hizbullah's involvement in arms smuggling operations from Lebanon to the PA. A crew member, a Lebanese called Dib Muhammad Rashid Awita, recounted in his interrogation:
a. During the search for a boat for the arms smuggling operation, a boat named "Abd Al Hadi" was found in Arwad port in Syria. Awita came to Syria, under PFLP-GC auspices, in order to check the boat. When it was decided that the boat suited their needs, an agreement about its purchase was reached in the Shahin restaurant in Tartus (North Syria). The boat was then registered as Lebanese, and its Syrian registration was erased. Then a Syrian crew transferred it from Syria to Tripoli port in Lebanon, where its name was changed to Santorini.
b. Awita overheard a conversation about an arms transfer from Syria to Lebanon in order to load them on the boat. During one of the smuggling attempts from Tripoli the arms were put into barrels in Syria, loaded onto a passenger bus with Syrian registration numbers from which the seats were removed, and transferred via the Damascus-Beirut road to Zahlah and then to Tripoli in North Lebanon.
c. During the third smuggling attempt, the arms loading on the Santorini was directed by the Hizbullah as a military operation, in which 25 Hizbullah activists took part. Some of them secured the shore and the roads leading to it, others participated in the loading on the boat. According to Awita, if a Lebanese Navy patrol boat had arrived at the site, the Hizbullah activists would have fired at it in order to drive it away.
Arms captured on the Santorini
71. The arms smuggling project was carried out in cooperation between the Hizbullah and the PFLP-GC and, in our assessment, two senior activists were involved in it:
a. From Hizbullah: Awita stated in his interrogation that before the third arms smuggling he met Haj Bassam, a Hizbullah liaison officer. Awita visited Haj Bassam's office near Beirut airport (he remembered that a portrait of Khomeini hangs on the wall). Then they went to a small bay on Jiyah beach in order to load the arms onto the boat in the third smuggling attempt.
b. The PFLP-GC: According to open information published after the death of Jihad Jibril, a son of the PFLP-GC leader (Al Watan, Saudi Arabia, 21 May 2002), Jihad Jibril was in charge of the connections with the Palestinians in the PA. It was also published that he was the most outstanding figure in the procurement of arms, ammunition and explosives and their transfer by boat to the PA. The Al Watan newspaper quoted Jihad's cronies who said that he served as the liaison officer between the PFLP-GC and the Palestinians in the PA.
Iranian Expressions Supporting Terror and Calling for the Destruction of Israel
(since January 2001)
|The Leader's Adviser for International Affairs, Akhtari
||In a conference on the subject of the Intifada, ISNA (10 January 2001)
||"Iran will never and under no circumstances recognize Israel's right to exist. Israel with all its might and Satanic methods, will not be able to prevent the Palestinian people from continuing its Intifada."|
|Iranian Leader, Khamenei
||In a meeting with the organizers of the International Intifada Support Conference, Iranian TV (15 January 2001)
||"The foundation of the Islamic regime is opposition to Israel and the perpetual subject of Iran is the elimination of Israel from the region. Palestine is Islamic land that was conquered by an anti-Islamic enemy, and according to Islam, one must oppose the Zionist regime. The support for the Palestinians is a religious decree."|
|Muhtashemi Pur, Presidential Advisor and Head of the International Intifada Support Conference.
||In a conference on the subject of Jerusalem in Lebanon, Radio Tehran (29 January 2001)
||"The Moslem nations must support the Palestinian people by supplying arms and funds and fulfilling its Jihad needs."|
|Muhtashemi Pur, Presidential Advisor and Head of the International Intifada Support Conference
||Radio Tehran (29 January 2001)
||"The Zionist entity is a dangerous cancerous tumor in the Islamic and Arab body and by means of its tentacles, it threatens world and human peace, therefore it must be uprooted from the source."|
|Iranian Foreign Minister, Kharazi
||During a visit in Lebanon, an interview to Al Safir, (21 March 2001)
||"The Lebanese people suffered a great deal from the Israeli occupation and we in Iran have stood by this people, and by the Islamic resistance in the battle for liberation of the land, and we shall also stand by its side until the full liberation and elimination of Israel. The Iranian-Syrian- Lebanese cooperation, which led to the IDF withdrawal from south Lebanon, will also lead to the liberation of Palestine."|
|Iranian President, Khatemi
||In the International Intifada Support conference, IRNA (24 April 2001)
||"The dangerous phenomenon of Zionism is what is behind the military clashes and the current political conflicts... Zionism has turned the holy religion of Moses into a game of its Satanic desires... The Zionist establishment is based on self-glorification and on trampling on the rights of others, and the same erroneous basis has created a state which is the most despotic ever in history in its violence and brutality, in trampling on the most basic of human rights... The exploits of valor of the Intifada are a pillar of hope for the people's faith and bravery, and for removing the rule of force and violence... Whoever wants the spreading of liberty, justice and defense of human rights and honor... cannot but support the Intifada... The Islamic Revolution in Iran, from its very outset until the various phases of its victory and consolidation, espoused the slogan - 'today Iran - tomorrow Palestine' - this is the perpetual cry of our holy martyrs (Shahids)... The exploits of valor in south Lebanon and in Intifada II have disproved the myth that the Zionist regime is invincible, and have opened a clear future of struggle and victory for the Palestinian people."|
|Iranian Leader, Khamenei
||In a meeting with the heads of the Palestinian opposition organizations, Iranian TV (26 April 2001)
||"One must not think that the elimination and destruction of the Zionist regime, despite the powers' support and their advanced weaponry, is an impossibility."|
|The Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon
||Iranian TV - in Persian (9 August 2001)
||"There is no doubt that Israel's existence and conduct are clearly contrary to Iran's national interests."|
|Iranian Leader, Khamenei
||In a Friday sermon Iranian TV - in Persian, (7 December 2001)
||"The Islamic world must stop being lax and use all its available means to protect Palestine... The Zionist regime is immersed so deep in mud, that it does not know what to do! It is clear that exploitation, lies and murder will not have a good end. These things were destined to take place, and the Zionist regime faces difficult days... Due to the participation of the Palestinian youths in the struggle against the occupiers, the Intifada's flames of honor and fire will climb higher, and when sooner or later the occupiers of Palestine will be destroyed, this piece of land will be governed by the Palestinians."|
|Rafsanjani, Head of the Expediency Council and Former President
||In a Friday sermon, Khabar TV, (14 December 2000)
||"The Jews [who immigrated to Israel] should expect 'reverse exodus', because one day, the tumor will be removed from the body of the Islamic World, and then millions of Jews who moved there will become homeless again. And when will that be? We shall have to discuss it another time.".. "If one day, a very important day, of course, the Islamic World will also be equipped with the weapons available to Israel now, the imperialist strategy will reach an impasse, because the employment of even one atomic bomb inside Israel will wipe it off the face of the earth, but [such bomb] would only damage the Islamic World. It is not unreasonable to consider this possibility... The people who have no choice but to sacrifice themselves will not be intimidated by the [Israeli] violence. After all, they have nothing to lose. How can a man lose something when he believes that by blowing himself up, one moment he is in the material world and in another moment he is in a divine heaven, borne by the wings of God's angels. And when he comes there, he shall sit by the Prophet and God's offspring, in a welcoming ceremony honoring the Shahids."|
|Iranian Leader, Khamenei
||In the Protection of Palestinians Conference, Khabar TV, (31 December 2001)
||"The present generation will witness the liberation of Palestine... many of the problems of the Islamic World result from the presence of the cancerous tumor in the body of the Islamic World - the Zionist Regime... Any compromise on the Palestinian subject would be in complete opposition to Iranian national interests, and our present prestige, honor and national interests are based on our steadfastness vis-a-vis this cancerous tumor."|
|Muhtashemi Pur, Presidential Advisor and Head of the International Intifada Support Conference
||In a Moslem Clergy Conference in Beirut, Al-Manar TV (9 January 2002)
||"The Palestinian people is left only the choice of 'suicide' operations against the occupation army, as the only weapon this people has against the Zionist enemy, this in order for the international community to know that the Intifada and Palestinian resistance are legitimate rights which the people realizes by protecting itself. This people will continue the struggle and resistance, whatever US pressures are exerted and whatever arbitrary steps the Zionist army takes against the Palestinian Intifada... Each and every Moslem must arise in order to eradicate this cancerous cell using the soul, money and all available resources... The Palestinians and all Moslems are committed to fighting the Zionist enemy until Palestine is liberated by Jihad and resistance and by using all available options."|
|Mahmudi Rishhari, the Head of the Haj Organization in the Leader's Bureau
||During a meeting in support of the Intifada which took place in Mecca (18 February 2002)
||"If the Moslem countries unite in order to destroy Israel, they will easily do it." Tehran Radio 9 March 2002 "In order to continue the Palestinian resistance, coordination between all those who lead the Jihad is required, and all the initiatives and military and political meetings must stop. The only just and possible solution is the disappearance of the Zionist entity."|
|Velayati, the Iranian Leader's Advisor for International Affairs
||13 April 2002, Iranian TV
||He called to continue the suicide attacks and emphasized that "the severest damage to Israel is the 'elimination of its security,' because, unlike during the first Intifada, the suicide attacks may also occur inside the '1948 territories', which makes the Israelis fear... The Intifada causes emigration from Israel, which is the countdown for the Israeli regime's life."|
|Iranian Leader, Khamenei
||In a speech on 1 May 2002 (Tehran Radio in Persian)
||"The suicide and self-sacrifice actions for the sake of national interests and faith constitute the peak of glory, heroism and valor of every nation... The Palestinian nation is alive and it will live and continue its actions." "All the Islamic governments, particularly the Arab ones, must give practical support to the Palestinians."|
|Hussein Sheikh Al Islam, the Iranian Ambassador to Syria,
||23 May 2002, IRNA
||"The only way to liberate Palestine from the grip of the Zionist regime is to continue the suicide actions and the Intifada... In the Iranian view, Palestine belongs to its original inhabitants, and the Zionist occupiers have no right to it... Khomeini's words regarding the need to destroy Israel are proven to be true now more than ever. And all the Arab and Moslem states must implement them."|
Syrian Expressions Encouraging Terror
(since the beginning of 2001)
|President Bashar Assad
||Al Sharq Al Awsat, London, (8 February 2001)
||"The resistance during the various periods was useful mainly for Lebanon and also for Syria ... was diplomacy responsible for returning south Lebanon?"|
|President Bashar Assad
||Al Majd, Jordan (19 March 2001)
||"We seek to support the Intifada which we consider to be a brave struggle phenomenon which must not be abandoned nor should its support be delayed. The Oslo agreement is dead... just as we stood by the Lebanese struggle we will always stand by the Palestinian struggle..."|
|Vice President Mashariqa
||Radio Tehran (24 April 2001)
||"The most effective weapon, the weapon of the "resistance" must continue to be used... the "Intifada" is the best response to the magnitude of the obstacle posed by the Zionist enemy... Syria has stood by the fighters in Palestine and placed its potential and capabilities at the Intifada's service.|
|Vice President Khaddam
||Al Ahram, Egypt, (16 November 2001)
||"We never succeeded to surpass Israel with regard to armament and international aid, and the importance of the resistance is in its use of weapons which Israel does not have - the weapon of the will to resist and the martyr deaths. It has been proven that Israel cannot contend with this weapon."|
|Foreign Minister Al Shara
||Al Ra'e Al Aam, Kuwait (25 December 2001)
||"It is possible to balance (implicitly, Israel's military and technological capabilities) by focusing on the enemy's weaknesses... if a person wants to blow himself up, no force can prevent him from doing so ... Syria has given everything to the Intifada."|
||Damascus Radio (1 January 2002)
||"The entire world knows that Syria, its political leadership, and its Arab people, which have been struggling throughout history, have turned Syrian Arab soil into a training camp, a safe haven, and an arms depot for the Palestinian revolutionaries."|
||Damascus Radio (5 March 2002)
||"The resistance must continue, and the types of action used against the soldiers in their roadblocks and posts, and against the scum settlers in the settlements and on the roads, must be diversified. The Zionists will not have even one place left where they are able to feel safe."|
|President Bashar Assad
||FTV, Lebanon (27 March 2002)
||"With regard to an occupier, there is no distinction between a soldier and a civilian... There is a distinction between an armed and an unarmed person, but in Israel everyone is armed. Anyway, the concept we have adopted is: "opposition to the occupation is a legitimate right."|
||Damascus Radio (30 March 2002)
||"Our virtuous martyrs will not restrict themselves to territorial borders and no Zionist will be immune ... the fire that killed the war criminal Ze'evi reached the home of the war criminal Sharon a few days ago... and if he hadn't been far from home at the time, it would have consumed him."|
||Damascus Radio (6 April 2002)
||"One of the lessons (of the struggle with and the resistance to Israel) is the possibility to mine some roads... sabotage some houses... use Molotov cocktails... attack gas stations... electric power stations... reach water reservoirs... An effort must be made to paralyze the enemy's daily life."|
||Damascus Radio (7 May 2002)
||"The fate of Rehavam Ze'evi awaits anyone who follows in his footsteps. The most contemptible of these is Effi Eitam... Ze'evi got what he justly deserved."|
||Damascus Radio (9 May 2002)
||"The magnificent and unique suicide operation which some of the Palestinian people sons carried out in Rishon Le- Ziyyon, is a practical declaration to the entire world about the way to liberate Arab Palestinian land from Israeli colonialism."|
|President Bashar Assad
||Al Majd, Jordan (13 May 2002)
||"Syria will continue to foster the liberation movement and the "Palestinian resistance" even if this will entail casualties or bring pressures upon it ... as long as the occupation exists, the resistance will persist and be legitimate... I do not want to suppress a demonstration in Syria expressing support for Palestine, for the Intifada, and for the resistance, moreover, if I had not been the President of Syria I wouldn't hesitate to participate in them."|
|President Bashar Assad
||SNA (21 May 2002)
||"The Arabs have only the option of resistance vis-a-vis Israel."|