On June 1st, 2001 a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated an explosives belt amid a crowd of youngsters outside a Tel-Aviv beachfront nightclub, killing 20 and injuring more than 120, in the most murderous terrorist attack since the beginning of the Intifadah.
The Israeli government has put the blame on Arafat's Palestinian Authority (PA), because it has given a virtual green light to attacks on Israeli civilians. At the outset of the current Palestinian uprising against Israel last September, the Palestinian Authority released some 200 Islamic terrorists from Palestinian jails in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Initially, no Palestinian movement came forth to claim responsibility for the suicide bombing at the Dolphinarium discotheque. This, according to an Israeli commentator, “is evidence of the confusion that the attack has caused among the Palestinians and their leadership. Since the start of the current Intifadah, the zealous Muslims who have carried out the attacks have usually been proud of their actions.” According to the same commentator, “the attempt now to evade responsibility stems from fear that the attack will cause serious damage to the interests of the Palestinians and their government and could lead to a turnaround in public opinion on their actions.”[Danny Rubinstein, Haaretz, June 3, 2001]
Probably for the same reason, the Palestinian media center, headed by PA Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo, strongly denounced the bombing. The Center’s announcement claimed that the Israeli government was wrong to blame the PA for the attack.
Later, at least two militant Palestinian groups—the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas—claimed responsibility for the blast. Another claim was made by the “Palestinian Hizballah,’ a name given to a “cocktail” cell made up of members of the Islamist groups and Yasser Arafat’s Fatah militants.
According to a statement released by Hamas on June 4, the suicide bomber was Sa’id Hutari, 22, from the Palestinian Autonomous town of Qalqilyah, in the West Bank. The radical Islamic movement claimed Hutari was a Hamas supporter, but stopped short of claiming responsibility for the terrorist attack. According to Palestinian Authority sources, Hutari was arrested and held for 12 days by Palestinian security forces two months ago, following a suicide bomb carried out by a friend of Hutari’s, Fadi Atallah. In the attack at Neveh Yamin two months ago, two schoolboys were killed and four wounded. [ICT Topic of the Day, March 28, 2001]
The Hizbollah television station, Al-Manar, reported that the military wing of Hamas, Iz-e-Din al-Qassam, had taken responsibility for the Tel-Aviv suicide bombing.
On June 5, the official Hamas website published a communiqu? in English, proudly taking full responsibility for the murderous attack, which was labeled a “qualitative martyrdom operation.” According to the statement, “the blast was made using a highly explosive material (Qassam-19), which was developed by Qassam Brigades’ experts in their own factories.” The Jews were threatened “to leave or perish.” [See Annex I for full text of communiqu?]
Leaders of the Islamic militant groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, subsequently expressed confidence that Arafat, even after ordering a cease-fire, would not act to stop their attacks on Israelis. “I don’t think this will happen,” said Mohammed al-Hindi, a top-ranking Islamic Jihad official in Gaza City.
This was confirmed by a senior Palestinian minister, Nabil Sha’ath, who said the Palestinian Authority has no intention of re-arresting Palestinian militants wanted for the murder of Israelis. [ICT Topic of the Day, June 6, 2001, and Haaretz, June 4, 2001]
However, in the framework of Arafat’s attempts to achieve a cease-fire and the concomitant political gains, without, however, paying the price of imprisoning the Islamist terrorists and their leaders, Hamas’ claim of responsibility became something of an embarrassment.
Thus, the PA propaganda machine has resorted to the same type of “dirty tricks” at which the Nazis had excelled more than 70 years previously. The greater the lie, the greater the chances to impress the larger public, at least the Arab and Islamic one. The Palestinian Authority has come to rely heavily on the art of the “hoax as excuse.” First, there was the hoax of the Israeli Army’s use of enriched uranium ammunition, then, the story of poisoned sweets thrown from helicopters to Palestinian children. These, and other tall tales, were followed by the story that Israel was responsible for the death of Palestinian minister Faisal Husseini in Kuwait, due to his inhalation of tear-gas during a violent demonstration in Jerusalem. After all this, it was only a small step to blaming the Israelis themselves for the suicide attack at the Tel-Aviv discotheque! Such was the claim published by the Palestine Ministry of Information on its website on June 10, 2001, based on information from some mysterious “Jewish intelligence experts.” According to the Palestinian Authority, ‘the bombing outside Pacha's Disco which killed 18 and wounded 100 was the work of Israeli fanatics.’ [see Annex II, quoted from http://www.minfo.gov.ps/press/eps_1006.htm]
And what mysterious coincidence: on the same day, the Hamas communique claiming responsibility for the bombing disappeared from its website!
We publish here the original Hamas communique and the PA “scoop” for our readers to judge.
The meaning changed from positive 'saboteur' to extremely negative 'terrorist' in the early days of the Israeli state - once the battle for independence had been won and what had been won had to be protected from others seeking to take it away by the same means. In reality the Stern Gang never disbanded at all, Pacha's Disco is lethal proof of that.