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memri
February 8, 2018 No.
7322

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades Establish 'Yasser Arafat' Military Base In Gaza, Announces: No One Will Take the Weapons Of Resistance From Us, Fatah Is True To The Path Of Armed Struggle

On December 2, 2017, a faction named after "the martyr Nidal Al-'Amoudi"[1] within the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades announced the establishment of "The Martyr Yasser Arafat Base, the first Fatah movement military base in the Gaza Strip." According to the announcement, the base is intended for the training of fighters for the continuation "of the armed struggle."[2] 

This faction of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades views itself as part of the Fatah movement in Gaza; however, it does not accept Fatah's current leadership, headed by Mahmoud 'Abbas, and instead supports his political rival Muhammad Dahlan.[3] It is possible that the establishment of this military base was intended to strengthen the military might and status of Muhammad Dahlan's supporters in the Gaza Strip.

The faction's spokesman "Abu Muhammad" discussed the establishment of the base in statements to the Filastin newspaper, which is published in Gaza and identified with Hamas, and also during a telephone interview with the Gaza Alkofiya television channel, which is identified with Muhammad Dahlan's camp, and which is known for its opposition to 'Abbas. In his statements, Abu Muhammad stressed that "no one, whoever he may be, will be able to take the weapons from the resistance" and that "we must defeat the enemy [and drive him out] of our occupied lands, those that were occupied in 1948 and those in the West Bank."[4]

On the occasion of Fatah Day (the 53rd anniversary of Fatah's founding), which took place on December 31, 2017, the Nidal Al-'Amoudi faction released a video in which Abu Muhammad announced that the faction had trained fighters at the Yasser Arafat base for the campaign in Jerusalem.[5]

This report reviews the announcement of the establishment of the base and provides excerpts from the spokesman's statements:

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades: A Base In Gaza To Train Fighters In "The Path of The Armed Struggle And The Pure Rifle"

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades announcement of the opening of the new military base in Gaza, posted on the base's official Facebook page, stated: "The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades-Palestine, the Brigade of the Martyr Nidal Al-'Amoudi, has opened its first military base named 'The [Martyr] Yasser Arafat Military Base.' From today, [this base] will start to prepare hundreds of [candidates for recruitment]... to train and equip them in all types of military skills [and to give them] the ability to defend the path of armed struggle and of the pure rifle. This is in order to complete the project of expelling the occupation from all the lands of occupied Palestine. Today we pledge to our people [that we will] continue [the struggle] until the complete liberation of our holy places."[6]


Insignias of Fatah and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades from the official Facebook page of the "Yasser Arafat Military Base"(Source: Facebook.com/636266063210483, December 2, 2017)


The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades Nidal Al-'Amoudi Battalion on parade (Source: Nedal.net, December 2, 2017)


The writing on the flag reads: "The Military Academy of the [Armed] Struggle" (Source: Nedal.net, December 2, 2017)

Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades Spokesman: No One Will Take Our Weapons From Us; Fatah Is True To The Path Of Armed Struggle

When speaking to the Filastin newspaper, which is identified with Hamas, spokesman Abu Muhammad stressed: "No one, whoever he may be, will be able to take the weapons from the resistance. Gaza will not be like the West Bank, where the occupation can enter whenever it wishes... Here in the Gaza Strip, all factions of the resistance are ready to prevent any Zionist from entering the Strip... just as the occupation forces were defeated [and driven out] of Gaza under the blows of the resistance, so we must defeat the enemy [and drive him out] of our occupied lands, from the lands that were occupied in 1948, and also from the West Bank."

Abu Muhammad explained that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades military base will be used for military training and preparation of the organization's fighters, and is intended "to train the Brigades' fighters in every type of military profession [and grant them] the ability to defend the path of armed struggle against any who may try to abandon or distance himself from this path..." He added that "the Fatah movement remains true to its path, and it continues [to adhere to] the path of armed struggle, the path of Yasser Arafat and all the martyrs" and that "the Israeli occupation should prepare for a great confrontation."

He stated: "No one, whoever he may be, whether at the level of command, whether a member of the Central Committee, or [any other rank] in the Fatah movement will dare to demand that we relinquish our weapons of resistance, as long as our land is occupied, the right to resistance – that is anchored in all the international laws – is ours, so that we can respond to [the deeds of] the Zionist enemy." Abu Muhammad stressed that the resistance will continue "until the liberation of all the land occupied by the Zionist enemy" and that the weapon of resistance is "undeniably national" and it is also what will release the Palestinian prisoners from the Israeli prisons.


Telephone interview with Abu Muhammad on the Alkofiya television channel (Source: Facebook.com/alkofiyatv, December 2, 2017)

During Military Escalation In The Gaza Strip, We Establish A Joint Operations Room With The Hamas Military Wing And The Other Factions Of The Resistance

Referring to the military escalation between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip in the last few weeks, Abu Muhammad clarified that in the event of any escalation, "a joint Operations Room for all factions of the resistance [is established], starting with the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades – the military wing of Hamas – and ending with all the factions of the resistance, for the purpose of consolidating a position and a response mechanism to the Zionist aggression." He added that "the response to every crime that the Zionist occupation commits against our people in the Strip" will be in the framework of a general agreement among the resistance factions.

In conclusion, Abu Muhammad explained that the Nidal Al-'Amoudi Battalion would continue to improve its military capabilities and that the new military base "has already started to train hundreds of fighters." All recruits, he said, receive "religious, ideological, and revolutionary indoctrination," and hone their abilities. Later on, he added, the new recruits will appear before a committee that will select those eligible to participate in a military course, after they undergo comprehensive medical examinations.[7]

 


New recruits to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, at the new Yasser Arafat military training base (Source: nedal.net, December 2, 2017)

Nidal Al-'Amoudi Faction In Fatah Day Video: At The Yasser Arafat Base We Trained Fighters Who Will Reach Jerusalem

As stated, on the occasion of Fatah Day (the 53rd anniversary of Fatah's founding), on December 31, the Nidal Al-'Amoudi faction released a video message by Abu Muhammad. With several masked fighters beside him, he declared that the faction had trained fighters at the Yasser Arafat base for the campaign in Jerusalem, and that the day was near when Yasser Arafat's vision would come true, and "one of our boys and one of our girls will raise the flag of Palestine over the walls of Jerusalem."[8]


Abu Muhammad in the Fatah Day video

The Gazan Alkofiya television channel aired a report on the Yasser Arafat base that drew a connection between Fatah's historic armed struggle and the current armed struggle of the Nidal Al-'Amoudi faction. The report noted that, in Fatah's early days, military training had taken place in various Arab countries that were sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, and that the Yasser Arafat base is the first base on Palestinian soil to train Fatah fighters for the armed struggle, which is the only way to liberate Palestine and found an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital. The reporter interviewed one of the faction's commanders, Abu Mahmoud, who said that the first phase of training involves inculcating the revolutionary vision of Fatah's founders, based on armed struggle, and added the Al-Aqsa Brigades are now an integral part of the Fatah movement. "The rifle is the symbol of courage and honor of our Palestinian people," he stated.[9]


Nidal Al-'Amoudi faction commander Abu Mahmoud (image: Nedal.net, January 1, 2018)


Alkofiya reporter at the gate of the Yasser Arafat base (image: Nedal.net, January 1, 2018)

 


[1] A senior Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades commander from the Gaza Strip who was killed in 2008.

[2] Nedal.net, December 2, 2017.

[3] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5800, Fatah's Military Arm, The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades: We Have Fired Rockets Into Israel From Gaza – And Will Continue To Do So, July 18, 2014. For documentation of a February 2017 military exercises of the Nidal Al-'Amoudi Battalion from February 2017, including the simulation of the kidnapping of an IDF soldier, see MEMRI TV Clip No. 5904, Militants Of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades Demonstrate Skills During Course Graduation, Simulate Capture Of Israeli Soldier, February 5, 2017.

[4] Facebook.com/alkofiyatv, December 2, 2017; Filastin (Gaza), December 3, 2017.

[5] Nedal.net, December 31, 2017.

[6] Facebook.com/636266063210483, December 2, 2017; Nedal.net, December 2, 2017.

[7] Filastin (Gaza), December 3, 2017.

[8] Nedal.net, December 31, 2017.

It should be noted that the video has been removed from the Nidal Al-'Amoudi website. It can be viewed on the faction's social media pages, as well as on pages on the Russian Odnoklassniki social network that post the faction's videos on a regular basis (see e.g., ok.ru/profile/577496125634, January 3, 2018).  

[9] Nedal.net, January 1, 2018.