by George Whitten, Jerusalem Bureau Chief
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (Worthy News) -- As Israel continued to fight Hamas in Gaza City, Tuesday, January 6, Israeli soldiers faced the inconvenient truth that weapons used by the militant group were indirectly supplied by Israel itself, the United States, Egypt and other countries.
The weapons were originally given to the Palestinian Authority, but when Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007, militants seized thousands of rifles, pistols, mortars, as well as heavy machine guns along with a large cache of ammunition.
“This is the first step in the establishment of the Islamic state. This is Islam’s victory, Allah’s victory, and we pray to Allah for bringing us this victory,” a Hamas member told news Website Ynet in June 2007, about the cache of weapons.
Israel transferred weapons to the Palestinian Authority beginning with signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, which established a framework for peace negotiations. When the Accords were signed, Israel's late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said, the Arabs "know very well that if they use these guns against us once, at that moment the Oslo Accords will be annulled and the IDF will return to all the places that have been given to them."
More recently, in May 2006, the U.S. and Israel transferred a cache of weapons including 3,000 American-made M16 assault rifles and over a million rounds of ammunition, many of which fell into the hands of Force 17, an elite commando and special operations unit of the radical Palestinian Fatah movement, Worthy News monitored.
In an interview with the conservative World Net Daily Website in May 2006, Abu Yousuf – a senior member of Force 17, “These weapons will not be used in an internal war but against Israelis. Force 17 is proud that we were the first to lead the Palestinian people during tough times such as resistance operations [against the Israeli army during large-scale operations in northern Samaria in 2002].," he said. "We will also be the first to lead the Palestinians in the current struggle against Israeli occupation."
As recently as September 2008, Israel allowed a shipment of 1,000 rifles from Jordan to the Palestinian Authority, to help it fight Hamas in the West Bank.