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Did Arafat actually finance suicide bombers?
April 9, 2002 11:01 PM   Subscribe

Did Arafat actually finance suicide bombers? Media gadfly Ali Abunimah has posted a dissection of the document produced by Sharon: "On initial inspection, at least five of the names...were not suicide bombers, but rather people assassinated by Israeli death squads." The alleged smoking gun hasn't been independently corroborated, but commentators like Chris Matthews uncritically accept its validity and state the connection as fact: "[Arafat] pays for the dynamite and the bullets and relief benefits for their families." Does the mainstream media check its skepticism at the door when it comes to statements by Israeli government officials or what?
posted by mediareport (15 comments total)

 
Really? I hadn't heard that; I'll have to start watching more news and quit listening to that damn rock and roll.
posted by Mack Twain at 11:14 PM on April 9, 2002


You can see said documents here.
posted by Marquis at 11:23 PM on April 9, 2002


Chris Matthews is maintstream?
posted by donkeyschlong at 11:48 PM on April 9, 2002


Sure Chris Matthews is mainstream. Hardball is a very popular show, it's even been spoofed on Saturday Night Live.

This is all conjecture...sure at least 5 of the names aren't suicide bombers. That leaves two. We don't know if it's a forgery yet, and I don't think we'll ever know. It doesn't seem incredible, to me, that Arafat still has intimate knowledge of suicide bombings.

Are you surprised about how the media is reacting? Please, you'll never see a bad thing about Israel in the American mainstream media.
posted by taumeson at 5:32 AM on April 10, 2002


Hmm, let's see Al Aqsa itself had to say way back in August:

... The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades was established in the first month of the Intifada by [Arafat's Fatah organization, including prisoners who] were released when the Palestinian Authority moved into the West Bank... [The 'Brigades' -- Dhamra avoids using either 'they' or 'we'] began with armed confrontations with the occupation soldiers in some places in the West Bank, and its establishment was officially announced on January 1, 2001, during the military parade in commemoration of the establishment of the Fateh movement [which Arafat heads]. The 'Brigades' consider the killing of a Zionist settler ... at the beginning of 2001 as its first operation.... The 'Brigades' believes in the strategy of operating against the Israelis wherever they are. We believe in road-side explosives, armed confrontations, and sniper-shootings. The range for our operations is throughout occupied Palestine [which includes Israel], but we do not carry out Martyrdom [meaning suicide]1 operations because we believe in the importance of protecting the lives of our Jihad-warriors, as much as possible... The members of the [Brigades] are warriors who ... have no relation with the first rank of the PA, although some of its members work in sensitive positions in the PA's civil ministries or its security apparatuses. There has not been any clash between the 'Brigades' and the PA, in contrast to [other politicized groups] that clashed with the PA.... The 'Brigades' respect the national interest [which would be defined by Arafat and the PA] and [carefully]1 choose the place and time [of] operations. We killed an Israeli settler and injured others on the first day of the week of "calming". [Note irony quotes, from original.] ... Recently, the Brigades have announced [joint] operations with the ... military wing of Hamas, and with ... the military wing of the Islamic Jihad... One example was the operation that took place on the opening day of the Maccabiya Games, when two members [of the Brigdaes'] were martyred when they tried to plant a bomb near the stadium...

Source: Interview with Usama al-Najjar, commander of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Lebanese newspaper, 8/17/01.

More on the Brigades
posted by dhartung at 5:36 AM on April 10, 2002


A good synopsis of how disgusting the PA really is
posted by ParisParamus at 5:42 AM on April 10, 2002


Thanks for the info there, but of what meaning is it if the documents linked above were released in a totally misleading manner? If what was presented was false witness, in other words? Does the previous info make lying to the public about the linked documents somewhat ethical?
posted by raysmj at 5:52 AM on April 10, 2002


Be sure to tune in for next week's episode: The Nazis Were Really Provoked Pacifists Defending Themselves
posted by ParisParamus at 5:57 AM on April 10, 2002


Well, so much for this thread (Godwin).
posted by lampshade at 6:03 AM on April 10, 2002


it's the mossad! no website tho :(
posted by kliuless at 6:05 AM on April 10, 2002


No, Paris, the Nazis were not pacifists. The Nazis were by and large ordinary Germans trying to cope with the complete collapse of their economy, government, and their way of life. They listened to Hitler because he told them that they deserved a better life than the one they'd been saddled with after WWI. They were misled and misguided into commiting horrible atrocities. And all of it could have been avoided if the world community had acted responsibly and with restraint instead of making Germany the scapegoat for WWI. People do bad things when backed into a corner. Which is the only similarity between the Palestinians and Nazi Germany. Common people doing horrible things because they see no other way out.
posted by hipstertrash at 7:56 AM on April 10, 2002


there are religious nuts on both sides of this conflict, something tells me we would find some questionable documents were we to raid the sharon government HQ as well.
posted by specialk420 at 8:05 AM on April 10, 2002


something tells me we would find some questionable documents were we to raid the sharon government HQ as well.
Certainly. But does that have any bearing on the legitimacy of Arafat's (supposed) actions?
posted by Marquis at 9:41 AM on April 10, 2002


Nice attempt at misdirection. There were two sets of documents released by the IDF. The first one was a list of funding requests for things like posters of suicide bombers, mourners and funerals for bombers, AK-47 ammo, and explosive belts. That's what the interview was referring to. The second set was Arafat giving money to "known terrorists" whom he had previously claimed were independent - that's the list of seven names. No one claimed that those seven people were suicide bombers.
posted by jaek at 10:03 AM on April 10, 2002


Thanks for the all the information. I'm fully aware that the PA is morally bankrupt. I'm also fully aware that Sharon is morally bankrupt. The larger point remains, I think: The documents have not been independently corroborated, but have been taken to be fact by folks like Chris Matthews. It's a quality of journalism question, really.
posted by mediareport at 11:10 AM on April 10, 2002


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