Fatah Militant: U.S. Training Was Key to Intifada's Success
BY AARON KLEIN - Special to the Sun
August 21, 2007
RAMALLAH -- American-run programs that train Fatah militias were
instrumental in the "success" of the Palestinian intifada that began in
2000, a senior Fatah militant told The New York Sun.
"I do not think that the operations of the Palestinian resistance would have
been so successful and would have killed more than one thousand Israelis
since 2000 and defeated the Israelis in Gaza without these [American]
trainings," a senior officer of President Abbas's Force 17 Presidential
Guard unit, Abu Yousuf, said.
America has longstanding training programs at a base in the West Bank city
of Jericho for members of Force 17, which serves as de facto police units in
the West Bank, and for another major Fatah security force, the Preventative
This weekend diplomatic security officials announced that the State
Department will begin training Force 17 again this year in an effort to
bolster Mr. Abbas against Hamas, which took over the Gaza Strip in June when
the terror group easily defeated American-backed Fatah forces in the
Under an agreement signed this month by Secretary of State Rice and
Palestinian Arab Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Force 17 officers are slated
to take course work and conduct VIP protection exercises under the State
Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
The new training program aims to help the Palestinian Authority "deliver
security for the Palestinian people and fight terrorism, build confidence
between the parties, and ultimately help to meet the security needs of
Palestinians and Israelis alike," a State Department press release said.
The training program, which includes courses in the use of weapons, paid
with $86.5 million in funding granted to the Palestinian Authority by
Congress in April.
Many members of Force 17 and the Preventative Security Services also openly
serve in Fatah's declared "military wing," Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which
took credit along with the Islamic Jihad terror group for every suicide
bombing in Israel between 2005 and 2006. The Brigades is responsible for
more terrorism from the West Bank than any other Palestinian Arab
Abu Yousuf, the Force 17 officer, received American training in Jericho in
1999 as a member of the Preventative Security Services. He is a chief of the
Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Ramallah, where he is accused of participating
in anti-Israel terrorism, including recent shootings, attacks against
Israeli forces operating in the city, and a shooting attack in northern
Samaria in December 2000 that killed the leader of the ultranationalist
Kahane Chai organization, Benyamin Kahane.
After the Kahane murder, Mr. Yousuf was extended refuge by Yasser Arafat to
live in the late Palestine Liberation Organization leader's Ramallah
compound, widely known as the Muqata. Mr. Yousuf still lives in the
Prime Minister Olmert last month granted Mr. Yousuf amnesty along with 178
other Brigades leaders reportedly in a gesture to Mr. Abbas.
Speaking during an interview for the upcoming book "Schmoozing with
Terrorists," Mr. Yousuf said his American trainings were instrumental in
attacks on Israelis. "All the methods and techniques that we studied in
these trainings, we applied them against the Israelis," he said.
"We sniped at Israeli settlers and soldiers. We broke into settlements and
Israeli army bases and posts. We collected information on the movements of
soldiers and settlers. We collected information about the best timing to
infiltrate our bombers inside Israel. We used weapons and we produced
explosives, and of course the trainings we received from the Americans and
the Europeans were a great help to the resistance."
Mr. Yousuf said the training included both intelligence and military
"In the intelligence part, we learned collection of information regarding
suspected persons, how to follow suspected guys, how to infiltrate
organizations and penetrate cells of groups that we were working on and how
to prevent attacks and to steal in places," he said.
"On the military level, we received trainings on the use of weapons, all
kind of weapons and explosives. We received sniping trainings, work of
special units especially as part as what they call the fight against terror.
We learned how to put siege, how to break into places where our enemies
closed themselves in, how to oppress protest movements, demonstrations, and
other activities of opposition."
Mr. Yousuf seemed to anticipate criticism for speaking publicly about the
training. He's not "talking about U.S. training in order to irritate the
Americans or the Israelis and not in order to create provocations," he said.
"I'm just telling you the truth."