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A War Out in the Open - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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GAZA, Asharq Al-Awsat – The boldness of Kataeb Iz-Adin (Iz-Adin Al-Qassam Brigades) – the military wing of Hamas – in disclosing the names of its leaders in different regions of Gaza is an event that has never been preceded in regards to Palestinian resistance in the Western Strip and in Gaza since 1967.

An indication of the new era of the post-disengagement period is the role of the Iz-Adin Al-Qassam Brigades press office that is increasing while it did not do much in the past.

This press office issued quarter of a million copies of its well-known non-periodical publication Fajr Al-Intisar (the dawn of victory) that revealed the names of the regional leaders for Kataeb Iz-Adin including interviews with them. In fact, Sawt Al-Aqsa (the voice of Al-Aqsa) a radio broadcasting service for Hamas, broadcasted an advertisement for the Kataeb press office promising Palestinian citizens more Kataeb press issues in addition to &#34surprises&#34.

Despite the fact that no one exactly knows what is going to be revealed, it is largely thought that whatever it may be is related to revealing details of some of the operations Kataeb Brigades carried out during the Intifada of Al-Aqsa.

It is worth mentioning that the Kataeb press office previously published overall statistics for resistance operations that were carried out against occupation and settlement forces since the break out of the Intifada. This revealed that Kataeb Al- Qassam carried out more than 50 percent of the operations.

Revealing the names of region leaders of Kataeb Al-Qassam led to varying reactions among Palestinians – between those for it or against it.

Asharq Al-Awsat spoke to one of the Kataeb leaders who introduced himself, as Abu Abdullah asking him about the reason the brigades would endanger the lives of its leaders by revealing their names. His reply was that what has been revealed does not represent any security value to him since all whose names have been exposed are practically known to the authorities, to Israel and to a large sector of the people. Abu Abdullah also pointed out to the fact that most of those mentioned have been subjected to assassination attempts from occupation forces, an indicator that the occupation authorities know in details the whereabouts of their hideouts.

He implied that the Kataeb Al-Qassam leaders facing occupation forces during their invasion of different regions compelled them to openly fight back most of the time – which also revealed them to most of the Palestinian people.

From the viewpoint of the Palestinian authorities, Hamas” move in revealing the names of their military leaders in Gaza as well as appointing military lieutenants was found to be provocative.

In addition, in an official statement, the Palestinian Ministry of Interior accused Hamas of sowing seeds of trouble where internal nation relations are concerned. Additionally, the official statement included that their act of appointing lieutenants was if there is no authority or constitution or that there is a better alternative authority.

Sami Abu Zahri, the official spokesperson for Hamas did not hesitate to point out to Asharq Al-Awsat the objectives in revealing names of the leaders. He said that through announcing the names of the leaders they wanted to introduce the children of the Palestinian people to the men who created the victory and worked on ending the occupation. He added that at a time when this or that minister speaks about his role in the negotiations claiming it as the reason behind the disengagement/pull out, it was right of the resistant movements to introduce their leaders who had the bigger role in achieving this historical accomplishment.

Abu Zahri confirmed that Hamas is fully aware of the important role the media plays in reinforcing the role of resistance in achieving this accomplishment. Furthermore, Abu Zahri did not think much of the Palestinian Interior Ministry”s position on this matter that he described as the ”ministry of war against Hamas”.

The end of the discrete resistance is due to the occupation forces” intelligence keeping the resistance and its activities under surveillance. These resistance movements were severely cautious in keeping the identities of its members hidden as well as those working in their cells not to mention their military leaders.

Moreover, since the occupation of the Western Strip and Gaza and even until the Aqsa Intifada, the resistance never initiated toward introducing its leaders or those militarily active.

The names of those who were militarily active were revealed only in two situations: if the person died while carrying out a military operation or if the person was caught and condemned in the military court of the occupation forces. However, in both cases, the information disclosed is only what the occupation army already knows.

However, with the rising of the Intifada that came 6 years after the signing of the Oslo agreements, many of the leaders and operatives became known due to Israeli surveillance. This is addition to the occupation forces” lists of those with the resistance during the beginning of Intifada –who were all considered as wanted men and whose arrest was demanded.

From that point there was no way to avoid dealing with those leaders as known leaders as was the case with Saleh Shahata, the general leader of Kataeb whom

Israel assassinated in mid-July 2002.

At the same time the failed assassination attempts that were aimed at leaders and others active with the resistance contributed to it all going public such as Mahmoud Tawalba the head of ”Saraya Al-Aqsa- the military wing of the Islamic Jihad Movement in the Western Strip who was assassinated in 2002 after several failed

assassination attempts. As was Jihad Alamarein the founder and leader of Kataeb Shuhada”a Al-Aqsa (Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades), the military wing for Fateh who was known before he was assassinated. Moreover, there are several other names of resistance leaders, such as Ala”a Sanaqara from Fateh who was described as the head of Kataeb Al-Shuhada Al-Aqsa in the region of Nabulus and who was subjected to many failed assassination attempts.

At the same time, many of those active in the military think that revealing the identities of certain people within the military pyramid sometimes has its advantages. The leader who reveals himself can move about more freely and does not need much security precautions than those working underground have to resort to that in turn helps in executing an operation in shorter time. In addition, the ”revealed” leader has a better chance of recruiting others more than those who work in total secrecy.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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