Skip to comments.Israel Gave Major Aid to Hamas
Posted on 06/30/2002 12:46:35 PM PDT by Austin Willard Wright
United Press International 24 February 2001
Israel gave major to aid to Hamas
By Richard Sale, Terrorism Correspondent
New York -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, speaking of the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas recently described it as "the deadliest terrorist group that we have ever had to face."
Active in Gaza and the West Bank Hamas wants to liberate all of Palestine and establish a radical Islamic state in place of Israel. It has gained notoriety with its assassinations, car bombs and other acts of terrorism.
But Sharon had left something out.
Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly combat, but, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years.
Israel "aided Hamas directly -- the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO," said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic Studies.
Israel's support for Hamas "was a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative," said a former senior CIA official.
According to documents obtained from the Israel-based Institute for Counter Terrorism (ICT) by UPI, Hamas evolved from cells of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928. Islamic movements in Israel and Palestine were "weak and dormant" until after the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel scored a stunning victory over its Arab enemies.
After 1967, a great part of the success of the Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood was due to their activities among the refugees of the Gaza Strip. The cornerstone of the Islamic movements success was an impressive social, religious, educational and cultural infrastructure, called Da'wah, that worked to ease the hardship of large numbers of Palestinian refugees, confined to camps, and many of whom were living on the edge.
"Social influence grew into political influence," first in the Gaza Strip, then on the West Bank, said an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
According to ICT papers, Hamas was legally registered in Israel in 1978 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the movements spiritual leader, as an Islamic Association by the name Al-Mujamma Al Islami, which widened its base of supporters and sympathizers by religious propaganda and social work.
Funds for the movement came from the oil-producing states and directly and indirectly from Israel, according to U.S. intelligence officials. The PLO was secular and leftist and promoted Palestinian nationalism. Hamas wanted set up a transnational state under the rule of Islam, much like Khomeini's Iran.
What took Israeli leaders by surprise was the way the Islamic movements began to surge after the Iranian revolution, after armed resistance to Israel sprang up in southern Lebanon organized by an Iran-backed movement called Hezbollah that bore similitaries to Hamas, these sources said.
"Nothing stirs up the energy for imitation as much as success," commented one administration expert.
A further factor of Hamas' growth was the fact the PLO moved its base of operations to Beirut in the 1980s, leaving the Islamic movements to strengthen their influence in the Occupied Territories "as the court of last resort," he said.
When the intifada began, the Israeli leadership was further surprised when Islamic groups began to surge in membership and strength. Hamas immediately grew in numbers and violence. The group had always embraced the doctrine of armed struggle, but the doctrine had not been practiced and Islamic groups had not been subjected to suppression the way groups like Fatah had been, according to U.S. government officials.
But with the triumph of the Khomeini revolution in Iran, with the birth of Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorism in Lebanon, Hamas began to gain strength in Gaza and then in the West Bank, relying on terror to resist the Israeli occupation.
Israel was certainly funding the group at that time. One US intelligence source who asked not to be named, said that not only was Hamas being funded as a "counterweight" to the PLO, Israeli aid had a more devious purpose: "to help identify and channel towards Israeli agents Hamas members who were dangerous terrorists."
In addition, by infiltrating Hamas, Israeli informers could listen to debates on policy and identify Hamas members who "were dangerous hardliners," the official said.
In the end, as Hamas set up a very comprehensive counterintelligence system, many collaborators with Israel were weeded out and shot. Violent acts of terrorism became the central tenet, and Hamas, unlike the PLO, was unwilling to compromise in any way with Israel, refusing to acknowledge its very existence.
Even then, some in Israel saw some benefits to be had in trying to continue to give Hamas support: "The thinking on the part of some of the right-wing Israeli establishment was that Hamas and the other groups, if they gained control, would refuse to have anything to do with the pace process and would torpedo any agreements put in place," said a U.S. government official.
"Israel would still be the only democracy in the region for the United States to deal with," he said. All of which is viewed with disapproval by some former U.S. intelligence officials.
"The thing wrong with so many Israeli operations is that they try to be too sexy," said former CIA official Vincent Cannestraro. Former State Department counter-terrorism official Larry Johnson told UPI: "The Israelis are their own worst enemies when it comes to fighting terrorism. They are like a guy who sets fire to his hair and then tries to put it out by hitting it with a hammer.They do more to incite and sustain terrorism than curb it."
Aid to Hamas may have looked clever, "but it was hardly designed to help smooth the waters," he said. "It gives weight to President George W Bush's remark about there being a crisis in education."
Cordesman said that a similar attempt by Egyptian intelligence to fund Egypt's fundamentalists had also come to grief because of overcomplication.
An Israeli Embassy defense official, asked if Israel had given aid to Hamas replied: "I am not able to answer that question. I was in Lebanon commanding a unit at the time, besides it is not my field of interest."
Asked to confirm a report by U.S. officials that Brigadier General Yithaq Segev, the military governor of Gaza, had told U.S. officials that he had helped fund "Islamic movements as a counterweight to the PLO and communists," the Israeli official said he could confirm only that he believed that Segev had served back in 1986.
The Israeli Embassy press office referred UPI to its Web site.
-- Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.
Ehehehe. this thing is floating around on the Usenet, it seems, in some Arab-America smooch groups. Posted by some "sami@somewhere-or-other".
The story also seems to be flogged for what it's worth on "whatreallyhappened.com", Rivero's malevolent little crackpot hideout&madrassa.
2. The U.S. supported the Taliban during the Soviet-Afghan war.
Your point is......?
As someone who enjoys reading about possible lessons history, I wasn't bothered by the fact that the story was published last year. It now seems more timely than ever. Why were you bothered?
One you have had a similar reaction to a story about World War II. After all, that was more than fifty years ago!
What the hell is that supposed to mean?
Well, that worked out well now didn't it?
PS: I am not too keen on all the unnamed sources and stuff. If you are going to drop a bombshell like this it should be easily verifiable.
I read an article somewhere that Austin Willard Wright is a wife beater and a child molester. If you think the story is bogus, I would love to hear your evidence.
If Clinton had not been elected in 1992, the WTC towers would still be standing.
America defeated the Red Army in Afghanistan. In large part, that is why over 400 million people are freed from Soviet tyranny today. Our CIA and Reagan should be hailed as heros, not critized.
I know the temptation is great to defend Israel by saying "America did it too!" but what we did is not comparable to what Israel did.
No, no, no.. I don't mean you should verify it personally.
When I said you shouldn't drop a bombshell with dubious sources I meant the UPI.
Honestly, allot of this is really nothing more than their say so at this point. I agree it's possible, but then again it might be a smear campaign also.
I would like to see more names.
Ever since 9/11, I've had the feeling I'm in Ann Lewis/Sidney Blumenthal Land when reading these Israel threads.
I'm sure you are.
Do you feel otherwise and, if so, why?
Let's just say that I'm not much impressed by the "multiple sources" in this story, nor with the fact that UPI were said to have "aquired documents" about early Hamas history (which seemed to be sort of irrelevant). Nor am I much impressed with the fact that ths story, such as it is, is to be found on no reputable news outlets but on scores of your (and Mr. Lied's) garden variety nazi, holocoust-denial and history revisionist sites, something that usually means that something is very, very rotten.
But hey, I'll go track down the life history of Sale guy. And Cordesman. Nothing like making sure :)).
You mean, "there is an actual person by that name". What that means for the story is basically nothing. A non-existent link and a post on Usenet by one "sami" a year and a half ago?
What is far more significant is that all the versions I've found of this story, on examination, is just Sale's story. And Sale is leaning on Cordesman, who is saying that he believes that this happened. I can see no corroborating and verifiable evidence of any kind. Add to that that Cordesman seems to be something of a darling of the washington-report, another rabid antisemitic outfit.
If the story was true you would see lots of coverage of this thing, by real sources, long ago. Instead it's the kook chorus. As on uhmma.com and antiwar.com and worse.
But of course we'll now see FreeRepublic spammed with a barrage of this thing, since it seems to be the newest project. How many times have you posted this article yourself??
How odd :)).
This is Conservative website. Not many Ann Lewis or Sidney Bluementhal fans here. Unless of course this is just another of your attempts to slime Jewish Republicans and or Republicans who support Israel. Is it?
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