This week, the respected Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the JCPA, issued a policy paper which documented how the Palestinian Security Forces (PSF), which reports to the Palestinian Authority, has been consistently arming Hamas and other terror groups for the past 15 years, despite public statements of the Israeli military establishment, which has consistently reported for all of these years that the PA was fighting Hamas and other terror groups.
Except that our agency broke this story, almost 20 years ago, and we paid quite a price for it, with the credibility and integrity of our office called into question.
Here is the background:
With the genesis of the Oslo process, the question of how the nascent Palestinian Authority would deal with Palestinian entities which did not approve the Oslo accord became a focus for the press.
There were moments when Arafat met with the western media and displayed remarkable candor as to his real policy of collision with Hamas.
That occurred in the evening before Arafat received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, together with Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin, in December 1994.
I was there to report this newsworthy event.
When Peres and Rabin conducted a briefing on the day before they received the Nobel Peace Prize, I asked Peres and Rabin if Arafat and the new PA had fulfilled their commitment to crush Hamas terrorists.
Peres and Rabin indicated that Arafat had done so and would continue to do so.
A few hours later, however, Arafat held his own press conference. I asked the same question, as to whether the PLO would indeed crush Hamas. Arafat’s response: “I do not understand the question. Hamas are our brothers. I will handle them in my way.”
And Arafat did handle the Hamas – by bringing them into his armed forces.
In April, 1995, Arafat’s security forces announced that they would provide Hamas with arms. We found this out from a late night newscast on the IBA Voice of Israel newscast that was never again repeated, which reported that Arafat would license weapons for Hamas.
In May, 1995, our agency helped a major news agency to produce a film on how the nascent Palestinian Authority did arm the Hamas, with weapons that the PA had received from Israel.
Our crew drove to Gaza, and filmed Hamas leaders on the record: Nasser Yosef, Razi Jabali and Mahmad Zahar. These senior Hamas leaders confirmed their military alliance with the Palestinian Authority’s armed forces.
Returning to the Knesset the next day, we shared our findings with the then-Minister of Public Security, Moshe Shachal, who said that he did not believe our findings.
Walking around the Knesset with a TV camera, we shared our findings about the Hamas-PA arms connection with Meretz Knesset members Naomi Hazan and Ron Cohen, who both said that they were shocked to hear what we had discovered and both said that our findings could mean the end of the peace process.
Then Likud opposition leader Benyamin Netanyahu expressed similar shock.
However, the film never saw the light of day.
Peres and Rabin personally contacted the corporate offices of the TV network where the film was to be aired and it was never aired.
Peres and Rabin told the news executives that we had fabricated the interviews, because I wear a skull cap and live in Efrat.
However, over the past 20 years, despite continuing vilification from the successive offices of the prime minister, defense minister, and foreign minister, our agency has continued to cover PA-Hamas military collusion, publishing in Defense News, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Middle East Forum, Front Page Magazine, Israel National News, the Jerusalem Post, Makor Rishon and a few Jewish papers.
Now the truth has emerged.
What this means is that successive Israeli governments deceived the US, Canada, and the UK, when Israel reached out to these countries to help train the PSF. Each of these nations have passed strict laws which forbid aiding and abetting foreign armed force which include a terrorist organization - in this case, Hamas.
There is yet another level of deception - to the people of Israel.
So far, the JCPA report has only been issued in English and has not yet been picked up the Hebrew language media, which is what the Israeli public reads. Therefore, it has yet to be reported or discussed in the Israel public domain.
Since Hamas takes credit for the majority of more than 1500 people murdered in Israel since the beginning of the Oslo process, in 1993, the implications of terrorists using weapons issued by Israel to kill Israeli citizens cannot be imagined.
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