Wed, Aug 18, 2010 | Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
International initiatives to organize flotillas and aid convoys to the Gaza Strip continue
More Flotillas and Convoys Planned – Update
International initiatives to organize flotillas and aid convoys to the Gaza Strip continue, as follows:
The Lebanese women’s ship Mar Yam is still anchored in the Lebanese port of Tripoli. Samar al-Hajj, coordinator for the ship’s organizing committee, claimed that the necessary documents were ready and would be presented to the minister of transport. She also claimed that a press conference would be held in the near future to announce the exact date on which the ship would sail. The Lebanese media reported that the ship would sail “in the coming days” (Al-Nishra, August 15 2010).
Freedom Fleet 2
- Italy: Mahmoud Hanoun, a member of a pro-Palestinian organization calling itself the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG), announced that at least 30 Italian civilian institutions and dozens of Italian VIPs had joined Freedom Fleet 2. It was reported that a committee would be formed to establish contacts between the organization and the Italian public and that it would also try to promote the issue in Italian politics (Al-Quds and Ikhwanweb.com, August 12, 2010). According to the organization’s website, it was attempting to integrate at least one Italian ship into the flotilla and a number of correspondents had expressed the desire to participate (European Campaign to Lift the Siege of Gaza website, July 31, 2010).
- Switzerland: Anwar Gharbi, also a member of the ECESG and head of the Swiss organization Rights for All Society, said that “significant” political parties wanted to join the flotilla and that 450 activists had already been recruited from them. In addition, 220 NGOs and labor unions also expressed a desire to join. He said that the flotilla had been widely covered in the Swiss media and that a number of Swiss Parliament members had called for organizing flights to the Gaza Strip (Abna.ir, August 14, 2010).
- South Africa: Ihsaan Hendricks, chairman of the South African supreme judicial council and a member of the board of trustees of the World Council of Muslim Theologians said the council was making preparations for a flotilla which would set sail after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. He said that one of the participants would be sheikh Yussuf al-Qardawi, who would be joined by other senior Muslim clerics. Al-Qardawi is a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, famous and influential in the Arab-Muslim world, who has supported suicide bombing terrorism and called for the murder of Jews.
More Flotillas and Convoys Planned – Update
The Arab countries
Yemen: On August 2 a day of broadcasts was held to raise donations for a Yemeni flotilla. Academic personnel and business men participated, and 57 million rials (about $249,000) were collected.
Fahed Abu al-Hajj, director of the Abu Jihad Center for the Prisoners’ Movement located at Al-Quds University in Ramallah claimed that a group of former prisoners was organizing to sail a ship called Candles of Freedom after the end of Ramadan. Its destination would be Arab and other countries and its objective would be to “shed light on the prisoners’ suffering” (Al-Sharq al-Awsat, August 13, 2010).
The Egyptian Media Continue Attacking Hamas for the Rocket Fire at Eilat
Abdallah Kamal, the editor in chief of Ruz al-Yusuf, wrote that even if Egypt were “forced to have contacts with Hamas, the unlawful body controlling the Gaza Strip,” Hamas was [still] a “strategic danger” to Egyptian interests and an “ongoing threat” to Egypt’s stability and national security. He said that Hamas’ ideology, which believed in a religious state, was contrary to Egypt’s concept of a civil society. In addition, he said, Hamas was linked to countries and organizations working against Egyptian interests, such as Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and organizations, he claimed, affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
The editorial also accused Hamas of “serving the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood’s global network and regarding itself as its geographic rear along the border with Egypt.” It also claimed that “as long as Hamas poses that kind of danger to Egyptian security, we should attack the Gaza Strip and topple its regime” (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, August 10, 2010).
Statements from Senior Palestinian Terrorist Figures
The following are some statements from senior figures in Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad:
* Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas’ political bureau in Damascus, congratulated excelling high school students, saying that “knowledge is a weapon, just as a rifle is a weapon in the hands of a man of the resistance [i.e., a terrorist].” He said that “victory will arrive through knowledge and the rifle” and that if Israel manufactured missiles “we will manufacture rockets and destroy all their fortifications,” because the Palestinians “possessed rights and the land” (Al-Jazeera TV, August 11, 2010).
* Mahmoud al-Zahar, senior Hamas figure in the Gaza Strip, claimed that it was the duty of Muslims to erect a mosque near Ground Zero, Muslims “have to build everywhere” so that followers can pray, just like Christians and Jews” (Jerusalem Post, August 16, 2010).
* Abu Ahmed, spokesman for the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, claimed that the PIJ would “succeed in restoring its deterrent capability in the West Bank…[and would] not miss any opportunity…to carryout a suicide bombing attack” in the heart of the “Zionist entity.” He added that because of the security coordination [of the Palestinian Authority] in Judea and Samaria it would not be easy. He called on the Palestinian Authority to stop working against the “resistance” [i.e., the terrorist organizations]. He said that “the resistance in Gaza is much stronger than it was in Operation Cast Lead,” and that it had the means “to hurt Israel” and would acquire longer-range rockets than the “local [range] rockets.” He denied that Iran was supporting the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas with weapons but admitted that it was providing money for the families of shaheeds, prisoners and “charitable societies” (Palestinian Islamic Jihad military wing website, August 1, 2010).