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memri
August 28, 2002 No.
415

Palestinian Authority and Iraqi Media on Iraqi Support of the Intifada

Since early 2002, Saddam Hussein has been trying to be on the forefront of Arab support of the Intifada. Recently, Palestinian Authority newspapers began reporting on this phenomenon. The following are excerpts from such a report, as well as a speech by Saddam espousing Arab support for the Intifada:

Palestinian Authority Media Praises Saddam's Support
The Palestinian Authority (PA) daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported on an event held by the Iraqi-sponsored Arab Liberation Front[1] in the Hebron home of the family of Marwan Zalum,[2] the commander of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (killed by Israel in April 2002). During the event, donations from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein were distributed to other families of martyrs.

This was not the first time that donations from Saddam Hussein were distributed in the territories, but it was the first time the PA press reported on it extensively.[3] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida cited the statements of support and gratitude for Saddam expressed by the organizers and participants, and their calls to continue in the path of martyrs. The paper also reported that during the event $10,000 was given to each of the 12 families.[4]

An Arab Liberation Front representative praised the prominent role martyrs had played and still play in developing the Palestinian national struggle, calling them "role models." He also described the activities [carried out by] the martyr Zalum, which resulted in his martyrdom.

Al-Hajj Rateb Al-'Amleh, a leader of the Arab Liberation Front, expressed the feelings of friendship that Saddam Hussein harbors for the families of martyrs and for Palestinian fighters, and stressed the need to unite around "resisting the enemy until liberation."

Fahmi Shahin, representative of the [Palestinian Communist] People's Party, thanked the Iraqi leadership and people in the name of the [Palestinian] political forces.

'Abbas Zaki, member of the Fatah Central Committee and of the Palestinian Legislative Council, gave a detailed analysis of "Saddam's inspiring qualities of leadership" that should be imitated. Zaki also analyzed martyr Marwan Zalum's qualities of leadership and warfare, and stated that Zalum's "eyes were always lifted aloft to martyrdom, and not towards [obtaining] a job."

On behalf of the martyrs' families, Dr. Yunes Zalum thanked Saddam Hussein for his Pan-Arab stand and called for uniting around the Iraqi leadership and the Iraqi people.[5]

Saddam on His Determination to Support the Intifada
In a meeting in Baghdad (March 2002) with PLO Political Bureau Chief Farouq Al-Qaddoumi, Fatah Central Committee member 'Abbas Zaki, and the head of the Arab Department of the PLO Political Bureau Omar Al-Shak'a, Saddam Hussein elaborated on his determination to support the Intifada:

"The Intifada demands steadfastness. We have asked the [Arab] politicians not to pretend they know better than the Palestinian people what they want and what the fighters want, but to cooperate with them… It is their duty to be [the Palestinians'] partners in blood, money, and weapons, as [if they share] a common fate."

"They have the right to consult with Palestine and its people, but not to take their place… [Only] when we bear arms, shed blood, and rebuild what has been destroyed will we have the right to a status nearly equal to that of the representative of the Palestinian people in discussing their problem…"

"…The Palestinian people does not need more plans. We are not interested in [more] plans. Our basic plan is to support the Palestinian people in [its] armed fighting. If we are incapable of offering aid to the armies, our support should be by [giving] money or buying them arms, or by giving Muslims and Arabs the option of volunteering [to help the Palestinian people]."

"…As far as Iraq is concerned, we are like any Palestinian district. Nothing prevents us from giving [Palestine] everything we can. We are glad about the spirit of the Palestinian people's martyrdom and heroism. I think many were surprised by it. By Allah, what the Palestinian people have done surpasses my expectations."

"At first we made $5 million available to help the wounded and the families of the Palestinian martyrs. After a short time, the man in charge of [distributing the money] came to us and said that the sum [allocated] was finished. I told him: 'How can you say this? Keep [distributing money] even if we reach a state where we must sell the clothes off our backs'…"

"May Allah include us among the liberators. I am happy that the martyrdom operations are carried out by the Fatah organization [as well]… Stopping the Intifada is heresy, and any attempt to stop it from outside is heresy, a crime, and a conspiracy against the Palestinian people…"

"Greet Abu Ammar [i.e. Yasser Arafat], tell him that we greet him and greet the Palestinian leadership, the Palestinian people, and Abu Ammar… Greet all the Palestinians, those living and the martyrs. May Allah have mercy upon them. Tell them that Saddam Hussein says that Arafat can consider Iraq's capabilities to be Palestine's capabilities, and his decisions will be binding [upon us]."[6]

'Iraq and the Palestinians Will Defeat Their Evil Enemies'
Another reference to Iraqi support of the PA came from 'Izat Ibrahim, deputy chairman of the Iraqi Revolutionary Leadership, during Al-Qaddoumi's last visit to Iraq: "The battle of Iraq and [the battle of] Palestine are one battle against their historic enemies. The martyrs in Iraq and in Palestine are martyrs of the first rank, as they fight, with their pure, noble souls, against the ones who conquered their land, their honor, for their survival, their history, and their civilization… against the most arrogant force of evil, oppression, and aggression on the face of the earth."[7]


[1] A Palestinian pro-Iraqi Ba'thists Pan-Arab organization.

[2] In an interview for the London-published Hamas monthly Falastin Al-Muslima, Zalum's wife said that it was her husband who had dispatched the female suicide bomber 'Andalib Taqatqa, who blew herself up in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda marketplace in February 2002. See: Falastin Al-Muslima (London), July 2002.

[3] Donations from Saddam Hussein were given to families whose homes were destroyed in Jenin; see Al-Quds (Palestinian Authority), March 22, 2002. Eleven Gaza Strip martyrs' families received donations, Al-Quds (PA), June 14, 2002. Eighteen Hebron martyrs' families received donations, see Al-Quds (PA), August 4, 2002.

[4] The martyrs were: Marwan Kiad Zalum, Samir Abu Rajab Al-Tamimi (who was killed together with Zalum), Shadi Ahmad Abd Al-Mu'ti 'Arafa, Burhan Muhammad Ibrahim Al-Haimuni, Ya'qub Fathi Rabi' Dukeidek (from the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades), Abd Al-Ghani Feysal Sha'ban Mujahid, Ayman Saleh Muhammad Hussein Muhanna, Rawan Abd Al-Qader Isma'il Al-Jibrini, Majdi Fadhl 'Ali Hamed Al-'Uwiwi (from the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades), Muhammad 'Abd Al-Salam Dhiab Da'na, Nabil Muhammad Hashem Khalil Al-Natshe (an Islamic Jihad activist) and Hatem Yakin 'Aayesh Al-Shuweiki.

[5] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), August 13, 2002.

[6] Al-Qadisiyya (Iraq), March 4, 2002.

[7] Iraqi News Agency, August 16, 2002.