Account Management


Arab Plot Against Bush - More Israeli Intelligence Activity?
Previous case points to staged intel operations

Steve Watson
day, July 18, 2008


Six arabs have been arrested and accused of trying to set up an al Qaeda cell in Israel, but given previous accounts of such plots turning out to be the direct work of Israeli intelligence, why should we believe any different this time?

Israel's Shin Bet counter-intelligence agency arrested the men, whom it says had plans to carry out attacks as well as shoot down helicopters used by president Bush while on visits to the country.

The Shin Bet identified four of the suspects as Palestinian residents of Arab East Jerusalem and two as Israeli Arabs, reports Reuters.

Further details are scant, however, a similar case dating back to late 2002 may shed more light on the situation.

(Article continues below)

On the 4th of December 2002, an announcement by then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that al-Qaeda militants were operating in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon was widely reported.

Sharon declared (rather ludicrously) that the phantom al Qaeda cell was cooperating with Lebanon's Shi'ite militia Hizbollah.

Two days later on the 6th, Col. Rashid Abu Shbak, head of the Palestinian Preventive Security Services in the Gaza Strip, held a press conference to reveal, as Ha'aretz reported, "that his forces had identified a number of Palestinian collaborators who had been ordered by Israeli security agencies to 'work in the Gaza Strip under the name of al-Qaeda.' He said the investigation was ongoing and evidence would be presented soon."

In the hours that followed, the BBC, AFP, Reuters and others reported that Palestinian security forces had arrested a group of Palestinians for collaborating with Israel and posing as al Qaeda operatives.

The Sydney Morning Herald quoted an unnamed Palestinian official:

"The Palestinian Authority arrested a group of collaborators who confessed they were working for Israel, posing as al-Qaeda operatives in the Palestinian territories," said the official, on condition of anonymity.

He said the alleged collaborators sought to "discredit the Palestinian people, justify every Israeli crime and provide reasons to carry out a new (military) aggression in the Gaza Strip."

The BBC then reported that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat also said that Israel had set up the mock al qaeda cell in order to justify attacks in Palestinian areas.

Reuters reported that Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo pinned the blame on Mossad, saying: "There are certain elements who were instructed by the Mossad to form a cell under the name of al-Qaeda in the Gaza Strip in order to justify the assault and the military campaigns of the Israeli occupation army against Gaza."

As the case made major headlines around the world, people began to question Mossad's hasty declaration that "al-Qaeda" had been responsible for a Nov. 28 attack on a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, where three Israelis were killed in an incident that also involved an attempt to shoot down an Israeli charter flight taking off from Mombasa with 261 passengers.

Israel said the act was purportedly claimed by al-Qaeda on an Islamic website and went on an immediate propaganda rampage announcing worldwide revenge. However, there was no identification of the bombers within the first five days of the incident and authorities in Kenya also denied any al-Qaeda link.

A further press conference, addressed by Colonel Shbak, and by Palestinian Minister for Planning and International Cooperation Nabil Shaath was detailed in the mainstream media and is summarized here by the Executive Intelligence Review Journal.

Shbak told the international representatives that, "Over the past nine months, we've been investigating eight cases in which Israeli intelligence posing as al-Qaeda operatives recruited Palestinians in the Gaza Strip." Colonel Shbak said that 3 men were under arrest, and 11 had been released. He explained that those released had voluntarily provided information going back to May 2002, about the contacts that had been made asking them to operate as an "al-Qaeda" group. The alleged al-Qaeda recruiters were traced to Israeli intelligence, said Colonel Shbak. He detailed incidents, some of which were described in official documents, of cell phone calls and e-mails, where Palestinians were asked to "join al-Qaeda." Shbak said, "We investigated the origin of those calls, which used [wireless phone] roaming, and messages, and found out they all came from Israel," reported the publication, IslamOnline. He said that the potential "recruits," had been given money and weapons, "although most of these weapons did not even work." He also noted that the money for these targeted Palestinians "was transferred from bank accounts in Jerusalem or Israel."

Minister Shaath announced at the press conference that the P.A. had "handed ambassadors and consuls of the Arab and foreign countries, documents revealing the involvement of the Israeli intelligence in recruiting citizens from Gaza Strip in a fake organization carrying the name of Qaeda." He said the ploy was intended "to create a new excuse to escalate the aggression on Gaza Strip."

Yet another press conference was held two days later on the 10th December where Colonel Shbak and the Palestinian authorities presented the Mossad's potential recruiter to the international media.

At this point, the controlled western media started to take less interest in the story, meaning the only details came from foreign press agencies.The Islamic Association for Palestine Press reported:

A Palestinian citizen from Gaza has revealed how the Israeli intelligence
Service, the Mossad, had been trying to enlist him to set up a terrorist cell in
Palestine under the name of al-Qaida, the group headed by Osama bin Laden.

Ibrahim (not his real name) said during a news conference in Gaza Monday night
that he had been contacted by a man who identified himself as Haj Yousuf from
the city of Akka, who told him that he was working for Osama Bin Laden and that
he was able to carry out bombings in Tel Aviv and Haifa and other Israeli towns.


Ibrahim said his contacts with Haj Yousuf (the Mossad agents) became more
frequent, adding that at one point the Mossad agent offered him a monthly salary
of up to 3000 US dollars.

In an interview with the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat, after the press conference, Ibrahim stated, that "the man told him that mega military operations will be conducted inside Israel, and that these operations would be announced through Ibrahim." This meant that as soon as he got the signal after a major terrorist act against Israeli civilian targets, Ibrahim and his group would send word to the press, claiming responsibility for the attack.

All the while this activity was being monitored by the Palestinian Preventive Security agency, which decided to intervene when the Mossad agent began to ask for information about known members of Hamas, saying he wanted them "to join al-Qaeda."

The Palestinians then passed the evidence to the U.S. and other foreign intelligence agencies, whereupon it was simply ignored.

The precedent is clear, Israeli intelligence has, in the past, used the mythical existence of a coordinated "al qaeda" terrorist network in order to justify attacks on its enemies.

In light of this one might ask, how long will it be before it is reported that the new al qaeda cell in Israel is working with Shi'ite militias backed by Iran?

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