Iran has become the main financier of the largest
Palestinian insurgency group in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Israeli military sources said that over the last year Iran and its
Hizbullah ally have supplied the ruling Fatah movement with as much as 90
percent of the organization's requirements to maintain the Palestinian war
against the Jewish state.
The sources said Iran has replaced Iraq in financing Fatah
operations against Israel. Until early 2003, Iraq was pumping about $2
million a month to Palestinian insurgents, mostly Fatah, in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip, Middle East Newsline reported.
The sources said Palestinian Authority Chairman
Yasser Arafat has steadily reduced funding to Fatah and provides no more
than 10 percent of Fatah's requirements to maintain the war.
"Arafat is hardly involved in the financing of the war. Iran is," a
senior military source said. "But without Arafat, Iran would not have the
Fatah infrastructure to finance."
"In every [Palestinian] town and village, you can find groups of Fatah
people who have been financed and trained by Iran," [Res.] Maj. Gen. Amos
Gilad, director of the Israeli Defense Ministry's political-military unit,
The Iraqi funds were halted in March 2003 when the United States invaded
Iraq and ousted the regime of Saddam Hussein.
On Tuesday, Israeli security sources said Arafat has again resumed the
harboring of Palestinian insurgents wanted by Israel. The sources said the
insurgents included recruiters for suicide bombers or the bombers
themselves. In all, the sources said, about 30 Palestinian fugitives wanted
by Israel have found safe haven in Arafat's headquarters in the West Bank
city of Ramallah.
In another development, the Israeli government held its first meeting to
draft a plan for unilateral separation from the Palestinian Authority. The
meeting was led by National Security Council chairman Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland
National and included officials from the Mossad intelligence agency.