Israelis say documents link Arafat to terrorists
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The Israeli army Thursday released two sets of documents that it says link Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat to terrorism, while the Palestinians said they are fakes.
"I think it's up to Israel to prove that they're real," said Palestine Liberation Organization legal adviser Diana Buttu. "The Israeli government, over the past week, has denied freedom of the press. Israeli journalists themselves are saying that they're unable to verify any of the claims made by the Israeli government or investigate any of the claims of the Israeli government."
The Israel Defense Forces contend the documents were found in Arafat's Ramallah, West Bank, compound and are part of truckloads of documents Israel is looking over.
"What we found in the documents are Arafat's signature, paying out funds to terrorists," said IDF Col. Miri Eisen.
In one, Hussein al Sheik, a senior Fatah activist, asked Arafat that $2,500 be divided among three people: Ra'ad el Karmi, the now-assassinated former commander of the Tanzim in Tulkarem; Ziad Muhamed Daas, commander of a group in the Fatah Tanzim in Tulkarem that masterminded the attack on the bat mitzah ceremony in Hadera, Israel; and Amar Qadan, a senior activist of presidential security Force 16 in Ramallah.
Arafat signed the document under the handwritten note, "Allocate $600 to each of them," Israel said. The Tanzim is a military wing of Arafat's Fatah. Israel refers to it as Arafat's militia.
The other document released by the IDF is said to be a fax, sent September 19 from Karmi to Marwan Barghouti, top Fatah leader, requesting money for 12 people, all on Israel's wanted list. Barghouti recommended $1,000 for each, and sent the fax to Arafat, who wrote "please allocate $350 to each" and signed his name on the side of the document, according to the Israelis.
The names on the list are Jamil Hamad Adwan, Majid Yussuf Subhi Jarad, Mahmud Raleb Mahmud Altahel, Mannsur Saleh Sharim, Subhi Yussuf Jarad, Iyad Abed Al Rahim Jarad, Hazem Wael Subhi Hetab, Ahmed Sameh Al Adrisi, Sami Mahmud Dib Sabeh, Iyad Nasser, Marad Mustafa Abed Al Rahman Abdu, and Muhamed Sharif Zidan.
Eisen said: "The bottom line is that we have direct funding here of the money which was requested directly to Arafat by him with his own signature given to these people who are known terrorists."
When asked about claims by Palestinians that Israel is fabricating such documents, Eisen said. "I stand here as an officer in military intelligence of the IDF of our own credibility as a state. We're a democratic state and we do not fabricate lies. We found this within the compound that we entered over the last weekend and stand by these documents."
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