Monday, August 27, 2007

Follow up: Islamic Liberation Party (HuT1) rallies in the PA-administered

11. Although the HuT does not have a terrorist operative wing and is not, as a party, involved in terrorist acts, it is potentially dangerous . 11. Although the HuT does not have a terrorist operative wing and is not, as a party, involved in terrorist acts, it is potentially dangerous . Its radical Islamic ideology, its implacable hostility to the State of Israel, the West and Arab regimes, and its intensive da'wah preaching activities are liable to motivate individuals becoming ideologically extreme to turn to violence and terrorism. In addition, it is widely deployed throughout the PA-administered territories, Middle Eastern countries and the Muslim communities abroad (including in Western countires). That makes it potentially convenient for HuT activists to be recruited and handled by terrorist organizations and dispatched on terrorist missions for both the Palestinian terrorist organizations and global jihad elements whose ideologies are close to the party's.
12. For example, there were a number of instances in Britain in which Islamic activists underwent a process ideological radicalization during their participation in HuT and similar party meetings, and were afterwards involved in terrorist activities which were unrelated to the HuT. British newspapers have recently published reports based on statements made by a former member of the HuT, according to which one of the terrorist operatives who carried out the terrorist attack at the Glasgow airport at the end of June 2007 was a member of an HuT cell in Cambridge University ( Sunday Times , July 8, 2007; New Statesman , July 16, 2007).
Islamic Liberation Party activities in Judea and Samaria
13. There are overtly and covertly active radical Islamic movements and organizations which operate in the PA-administered territories. Two of them, Hamas and the PIJ, are clearly Palestinian-Islamic in character (although their leadership is geographically outside the PA) and they favor violence and terrorism ( muqawamah ) as the means to achieve their goals. Other organizations (such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Liberation Party) are branches of radical Islamic organizations which are globally deployed throughout the Arab world and in Muslim communities abroad, and whose leadership is outside the PA-administered territories . They focus their activities on ideology and the political struggle against their opponents without establishing terrorist-military wings and do not promote their world view by military-terrorist means.
14. Before the Six Day War the HuT was active in Judea and Samaria as an opposition force to the Jordanian regime. Between 1967 and 1977 it severely curtailed its party activities, fearing Israel would take steps against it. In the early 1990s it gradually renewed its activities, and more so after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, which it strongly opposes.
15. With the rise of Islamic extremism in Palestinian society during the current violent confrontation with Israel (the second intifada), there was a renascence of activity among radical Islamic organizations, including the HuT. Another increase in the HuT's activity occurred after Hamas' rise to power (2006-2007), in our assessment because some of the radical Islamic Palestinian populace was disappointed with the Hamas government .
16. The HuT has focal points of support in the Jerusalem-Ramallah-Hebron region . There is a particularly hard core of activists in Jerusalem who regularly pray in the mosques on the Temple Mount . They have been involved in violent events during visits of Muslim rulers or Christians to the Temple Mount , including the July 1999 visit of the Turkish president, the March 2000 visit of the Pope, the December 2003 visit of Ahmad Maher, the Egyptian foreign minister, and the May 2005 visit of American First Lady Laura Bush.
17. Unlike its previous clandestine activities, in recent years the HuT has often been in the public eye , especially in its power centers of Jerusalem , Ramallah and Hebron . Breaking with the past, it has now begun to involve itself publicly in welfare issues aimed to broaden its power base within Palestinian society . The following are some examples of its activities during the past two years (in addition to the recent mass rallies):
1) Jerusalem-Ramallah : On July 18, 2007 the HuT distributed a flyer harshly critical of the violent confrontations between Fatah and Hamas; on July 15 the party held a large rally at the mosque in Al-‘Eizariya in East Jerusalem; on October 25, 2006 HuT student activists held a rally at Beir Zeit University to condemn the anti-Muhammad cartoons printed in Denmark and the harm being done by the Americans to the Iraqi people; in August 2006 the party held a rally in Al-Bireh attended by 3,000 people (among whom were activists from Hebron and Nablus, and Israeli Arabs).
2) The Hebron region : In May 2007 the HuT led a campaign against the establishment of a new missionary school in Hebron; on August 26, 2006, it held a mass rally (attended by 15,000 people) to mark the anniversary of the fall of the last Caliph; party activists called upon the populace to boycott the local municipal elections in the Palestinian Authority (2004-2005) and the Palestinian presidential elections (January 2006), claiming they had no Islamic legitimacy; on January 28, 2006, the party led a demonstration against the damage done to the prophet Muhammad by the cartoons which appeared in Denmark; in November 2005, 450 HuT activists took over the Hebron city hall as part of a difficult but successful struggle to lower electricity rates.

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