March 21, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10534

Warm Welcome In Palestinian Authority For Planner Of 2002 'Karine A' Operation Smuggling Weapons From Iran To Gaza, Recently Released From Israeli Prison

March 21, 2023
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 10534

Fouad Al-Shubaki, a senior official in Fatah and in the security apparatuses of the Palestinian Authority (PA), was recently released from an Israeli prison after serving 17 years. Al-Shubaki, who was close to the late PA chairman Yasser Arafat, is considered to be the planner of the 2002 operation smuggling weapons from Iran to Gaza on the Karine A freighter. On Arafat's orders, he played a key role in purchasing weapons for the PA security apparatuses and Fatah's military wing, and in the attempt to ship them from Iran to Gaza.

The ship, which was captured by the Israeli army on January 3, 2002, was found to be carrying 50 tons of rockets and rocket launchers, mortars, anti-tank missiles, mines, explosives, sniper rifles, machine guns, rifles, bullets, grenades, and more.[1] Al-Shubaki purchased the weapons with millions of dollars in aid money sent to the PA from the international community and Arab countries, with the aim of transferring them to the Palestinian terrorist organizations.

Some of the weapons found aboard the Karine A (Source: Al-Ayyam, PA, January 4, 2022)

Upon his release from prison, Al-Shubaki was received with great honor, like other newly released senior terrorists, by the PA and the Fatah movement, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas.[2] Articles in the Palestinian press about his release highlighted "General" Al-Shubaki's military background and praised the Karine A operation, depicting him as part of the Palestinian resistance during the Second Intifada.

This report reviews how the PA and Fatah marked Fouad Al-Shubaki's release from Israeli prison:

Warm Welcome From PA And Fatah Leadership For Al-Shubaki

The leadership of the PA and Fatah gave Al-Shubaki a hero's welcome with recognition of his military activity. Furthermore, in their speeches marking his release from prison, senior Palestinian officials mentioned that the Palestinian prisoners are considered national heroes.

PA President And Fatah Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Honors Fouad Al-Shubaki

PA President and Fatah Chairman Mahmoud Abbas received Al-Shubaki at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah, in the presence of senior Palestinian officials. He welcomed "the oldest prisoner" on his release, stating: "The issue of the prisoners holds a special place in the priorities of the Palestinian leadership, which aspires to release all the prisoners and detainees in the prisons of the occupation."[3]

President Mahmoud Abbas and senior Fatah movement officials receive Fouad Al-Shubaki (Source:, March 13, 2023.)

Abbas and Al-Shubaki (Source:, March 13, 2023)

Fatah Deputy Chairman Praises Al-Shubaki: Our Revolution Needs Your Wisdom And Experience

Fatah Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Al-Aloul, who received Fouad Al-Shubaki upon his arrival in Ramallah after his release, stated, in the presence of senior Palestinian officials and a large crowd:  "We are very happy today to welcome the commander, General Fouad Al-Shubaki, who has been part of the Palestinian path of struggle since its inception. We all remember that he [was active] every minute, in every arena, and we are proud of him, of 'Abu Hazzem'... He spent 17 years in prison and left it [still] believing he must complete the revolution, even as the occupation attempts to pressure the Palestinian people [and] distract them from their objectives by means of murder, making them martyrs, or imprisonment. But the prisoners win their freedom when they are faithful to their principles...

"No sacrifice is equivalent in any manner to the sacrifice of the prisoners, for it is the sacrifice of [personal] freedom for the sake of the freedom of the homeland and for the sake of the freedom of the Palestinian people. The entire Palestinian people embraces the oldest prisoner Fouad Al-Shubaki. We are all proud of you and for our revolution we need the experience that you have accumulated and your wisdom. We will continue to work for the sake of freedom and for the independence of Palestine."[4]

Fouad Al-Shubaki lays a wreath on Yasser Arafat's grave in Ramallah; to the right is Fatah Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Al-Aloul (Source:, March 13, 2023)

Al-Shubaki laid a wreath on Yasser Arafat's grave in Ramallah and said: "Our lives are cheap when compared to the redemption of our homeland and our people, and our loyalty to the hundreds and even thousands of martyrs who were killed for [our] freedom... The struggle must continue until the liberation of our homeland, and for the sake of the prisoners, who are potential martyrs in the jails of the occupation, toward whose freedom we must work... We will continue the path of the martyr President Yasser Arafat until we gain liberty for the prisoners, for all our people, and for our homeland."[5]

Poster on the Facebook page of the PA national security apparatus: "General Fouad Al-Shubaki is Freed After 17 Years" (Source:, March 11, 2023)

Articles In Palestinian Press Praise Al-Shubaki And The Violence Of The Second Intifada

Articles in the Palestinian press following Al-Shubaki's release from prison praised "the general" and "the hero" Al-Shubaki, and justified the terrorist attacks of the Second Intifada, often noting that the arms and ammunition aboard the Karine A were intended for those who carried out these attacks.

Former Senior PA Minister: The Karine A Arms And Ammunition Ship Was Meant "To Save" The Palestinian People

'Issa Qaraqe, former Palestinian prisoner affairs minister for the PLO, published a sympathetic article in the Al-Quds daily stating that the shipment of arms and ammunition organized by Fouad Al-Shubaki was in fact intended "to save" the Palestinian people from Israel. Although the Karine A was captured by Israel, "the ship of the Palestinian consciousness wasn't stopped," and is still "full of weapons," and "on its deck are thousands of courageous young Palestinians who are rebelling." He wrote:

"After 17 years of imprisonment in the jails of the Israeli occupation, Fouad Al-Shubaki, 'Abu Hazzem,' the oldest prisoner, one of the heroes of the Karine A operation, was released. The Israelis called [the operation to capture the ship] 'Operation Noah's Ark,' perhaps because of the flood of the Israeli invasions and crimes that surpassed all imagining during the Second Intifada [which broke out] in 2000, and which necessitated [the arrival] of a rescue ship to help the Palestinian people so as to strengthen its steadfastness against the Israeli military war machine...

"Fourteen Palestinian and Arab sailors, commanded by the Palestinian prisoner Omar Akawi,[6] crossed the Red Sea, making for the Mediterranean, en route to the shores of Gaza. The waves of the burning Intifada led it through the heart of the turbulent winds. The ship hastened [its journey] when the voice of Yasser Arafat, besieged in the Muqata'a [in Ramallah], encouraged it to overcome all the obstacles – security and natural – [as did the] voice of the martyrs in the Jenin refugee camp and at the Church of the Nativity, the voices of the thousands of detainees, the besieged, the victims of the disasters, and the voice of Jerusalem as it rises up against the attacks and invasions. The ship, loaded with weapons and ammunition, responded to the cry of the occupied land, and to the schemes to erase the Palestinian issue that were exposed at the 2000 Camp David summit...

"Here he [Al-Shubaki] is in Ramallah, surveying his tremendous ship that changed the course of the Intifada. The ship is still loaded with weapons. On its deck are thousands of courageous young people who are rebelling. These are generations that will not drown in the sea, generations that present themselves at every turn. The ship of Palestinian consciousness crosses the barbed wire, destroys the protective wall that surrounds the intellect and the soul... The capture at sea of Al-Shubaki and his comrades did not stop the ship. On its deck [is gathered] a mighty people rising up. The prisons do not dissolve it, and death does not make it vanish. Noah's Ark was created to protect the Palestinians from the Israeli flood. This is the ship of life [created] with Divine inspiration."[7]

Columnist In PA Daily: Under Al-Shubaki's Supervision, The Karine A Carried Arms And Ammunition For "The Palestinian Heroes"

In his column in the PA Al-Hayat Al-Jadida daily, 'Omar Hilmi Al-Ghul praised Al-Shubaki; he too justified the terrorist activities of "the heroes" and "the resistance fighters" to whom "General 'Abu Hazzem'" had attempted to supply weapons. He wrote:

"After 17 years of continuous imprisonment, Fouad Al-Shubaki, 'Abu Hazzem,' the great warrior and sheikh of the heroic prisoners, has embraced freedom...  General 'Abu Hazzem' overcame the executioner and the passage of time, and, at age 83, stood at the head of the rows of heroic [liberated] prisoners. Despite his pains and his illnesses, [Al-Shubaki] stood firm. He supervised Operation Karine A carrying ammunition and weapons for the Palestinian heroes, the resistance fighters of the Second Intifada that broke out on September 28, 2000, after [then-Israeli opposition leader Ariel] Sharon, the Zionist murderer, desecrated the Al-Aqsa plaza and the entire [Palestinian] people rose up, because it opposed the results of the scheme [known as] Camp David 2, in July 2000, which then-[U.S.] president Bill Clinton had tried to implement.

"The distinguished president Yasser Arafat rejected [the results of the Camp David summit] and declared loudly: "No to concessions on Al-Aqsa; no to granting any right to the Zionist Jews above or below the place to which the first prayer [in Islam] was directed and [which is] the third holiest place [in Islam]; no [to granting rights to the Jews] at the [Western] Wall and to any measure of the Palestinian land'..."[8]

Fouad Al-Shubaki and the Karine A, by PA-affiliated cartoonist Osama Nazzal (Source:, March 13, 2023)


[1] See Seizing of the Palestinian weapons ship Karine A, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, January 4, 2002.

[3], March 13, 2023.

[4], March 13, 2023.

[5], March 13, 2023.

[6] Omar Akawi was a Fatah operative who was a senior officer in the PA maritime police apparatus and the acting commander of the Karine A freighter. He is still in prison in Israel.

[7] Al-Quds, (East Jerusalem), March 14, 2023.

[8] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, (PA), March 14, 2023.


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