Turkey-based Hamas Leader Well Known to US Law Enforcement

IPT News
December 19, 2014

1105It has been a busy year of plotting death and destruction for Hamas leadership. As we noted Thursday, Hamas has three key operating bases in three separate locations – Gaza, Qatar and Turkey.

The Turkish operation may be the most active in plotting terror attacks. And the man who runs that base, Saleh Al-Arouri, has risen to prominence as a result. Al-Arouri has been linked to a series of terrorist plots and attacks primarily aimed at West Bank targets, an area where the terrorist group hopes to regain strength and popular support.

As a new Investigative Project on Terrorism report on Al-Arouri shows, while his infamy may be relatively new, his efforts to help Hamas foment terror date back years and are well known among American prosecutors and investigators.

Al-Arouri is a longtime Hamas military commander who operates openly in Turkey, a NATO member country and ostensibly an ally of the United States and the West.

He was the first Hamas official to acknowledge the group’s responsibility for the June abduction and murder of three Jewish teenagers in Israel.

Naftali Fraenkel, one of the murdered teens, was a U.S. citizen. The U.S. government is authorized to investigate and prosecute murder and attempted murder of U.S. citizens committed in foreign countries under Title 18, Section 2332 of the United States Code. This statutory authority is the basis for the FBI and other federal agencies to investigate many foreign terror attacks against U.S. citizens and for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to bring U.S. criminal charges against the perpetrators of such attacks.

U.S. law allows victims of foreign terror attacks to sue those responsible. Foreign state sponsors of terrorism that are officially designated as such by the U.S. governmentalso can be civilly liable for terror actions against the U.S. Turkey, of course, is not a U.S. designated state sponsor of terrorism.

In August, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the founder and director of the Israeli NGO law center Shurat HaDin, wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting the U.S. government investigate, prosecute and extradite Al-Arouri from Turkey on charges related to Fraenkel’s murder.

Such legal action would not be the first time Al-Arouri’s name appeared in federal court proceedings. In 2003, three Hamas operatives were indicted in Chicago for a racketeering conspiracy. Those operatives were Hamas political leader Mousa Abu Marzook, and Chicago residents Muhammad Salah and Abdelhaleem Ashqar. Marzook was in Syria and was never tried under the indictment. Salah and Ashqar were ultimately convicted of obstruction and contempt violations and sentenced to prison terms.

Al-Arouri was named among the “Hamas Co-Conspirators” in a superseding indictment in that case. Al-Arouri was described as a high-ranking Hamas military leader dating back to his role as a Hamas student cell leader at Hebron University in the early 1990s.” He received “tens of thousands of dollars for Hamas-related activities” from Salah which were used to buy weapons for terrorist attacks, the indictment said.

In addition, Al-Arouri appears in a 1999 federal court ruling involving a civil forfeiture action against Muhammad Salah. The court order described a 1992 trip Salah took to Israel and the Palestinian territories. There, he “funneled approximately $100,000 to an alleged HAMAS operative, Salah Al-Arouri, which, according to both Salah and Al-Arouri, was used to purchase weapons. Al-Arouri allegedly admitted to Israeli officials that he gave an individual named Musa Dudin approximately $45,000 of the money he received from Salah so that Dudin could purchase weapons in September 1992. Al-Arouri further related that Dudin purchased the weapons as planned and that these weapons were subsequently used in terrorist attacks, including a suicide attack resulting in the murder of an Israeli soldier in Hebron in October 1992.”

That was among a series of terrorist attacks “supported with weapons and money provided by Al-Arouri with funds he received from Salah” that led Israel to deport 415 Hamas operatives to Lebanon in December 1992, the court ruling noted.

As mentioned, Al-Arouri operates openly in Turkey. The first statement admitting that Hamas was responsible for kidnapping Fraenkel and two other students came during an August gathering of Islamic clerics. From that base, Israeli officials say, Al-Arouri also plotted a coup against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. If Al-Arouri succeeded, it would dramatically threaten U.S. national security interests in the region.

American law enforcement has the power to investigate Al-Arouri for killing Fraenkel, the American teenager. Failure to do so only enables his incessant plotting to kill people in Israel and, perhaps, his Palestinian foes.

Read the full report on Saleh Al-Arouri here.

Also see:

Judge Clears Path for Trial Against French Bank’s Hamas Accounts

by Paul Alster
Special to IPT News
March 5, 2013:

24 Americans Sue Obama, Clinton for Funding Palestinian Terrorism

By Daniel Greenfield

The plaintiffs are 24 Americans living in Israel, some of whom were injured in terrorist attacks. The defendants are Hillary Clinton and a number of State Department officials, including the head of USAID. And the lawsuit has long been overdue.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Washington, DC, contends that the State Department and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ignored Congressional safeguards and transparency requirements attached to US aid to the Palestinian Authority, thus allowing for the funneling of funds to Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the Palestine Liberation Front. It also accuses the White House of not complying with the regulations and reporting obligations governing presidential waivers which facilitate emergency funding to the Palestinians.

“I just want justice,” said Stuart Hersh, one of the plaintiffs, an elderly Jerusalem resident and victim of a terror attack on Ben Yehuda Street in the same city in 1997, which caused him brain damage and left him partially disabled. “I am against the American government indirectly financing Hamas — the very people who try to kill me,” Hersh said by telephone, adding that he differentiates between “humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people and supporting political agendas.”

Karen Bell Eisenberg, an American-Israeli who lives outside Bethlehem in the West Bank, put it this way: “I don’t begrudge Palestinian aid money. But I’m tired of my tax money [she works for an American company and pays taxes in the US] being used to fund the very people who are trying to kill me.”

The State Department, under the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, is prohibited from providing “material support” to banned terrorist groups.

“USAID’s funding of the PA, for example, is partially distributed to Gaza, where Hamas employees are paid,” Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, said.

The State Department and USAID were particularly “lax” in requiring the Palestinians to “utilize bank accounts and other transfer methods that ensure transparency.” US funds have been flowing to the terror groups as a result of this noncompliance.

The meat of the story is in the lawsuit which extensively lays out where the money has been coming from and going to.

In April 2012, Defendant Secretary of State decided to provide the Palestinian Authority (or others within the West Bank and Gaza) with the remaining approximately $192,000,000, notwithstanding that the congressional hold on that funding had not been lifted

Pursuant to President Obama’s waiver described above and(perhaps) Defendant Secretary of State’s certification described above, the United States gave to the Palestinian Authority and/or others within the West Bank and Gaza approximately $192,000,000 on April 28, 2012

In the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, the United States obligated and/or gave approximately $200,000,000 of Economic Support Fund resources directly to the Palestinian Authority

There are countless entries like these showing money being transferred either without following congressional limits and restrictions or ignoring the necessary measures to insure that the money is not going to terrorists. And Obama, by bypassing such safeguards, is effectively funding terrorism.

The Palestinian Authority does not deem certain terrorist activity as criminal activity and therefore cannot be trusted to prevent the diversion of money to terrorist or for terrorism

Upon information and belief, the Palestinian Authority pays monthly salaries to approximately 5,500 prisoners in Israeli prisons, including convicted terrorists. Despite constant budget shortages the Palestinian Authority pays over$5,000,000 a month directly to terrorists and their families for their violent and illegal services to the Palestinian Authority

Upon information and belief, a law signed and published in the official Palestinian Authority Registry in April 2011 puts on the Palestinian Authority payroll to receive a monthly salary all Palestinians and Israeli Arabs imprisoned in Israel for terror crimes. The salaries to imprisoned terrorists are in excess of the average wage paid to Palestinians

The Palestinian Authority funds the salaries for terrorists from its general budget, much of which is derived from U.S. foreign aid

Because, as alleged above, the United States’ funding is necessary for the continued operation of the Palestinian Authority’s terrorist recruitment operations, the United States is a willing participant in that recruitment operation by facilitating the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to encourage more of its civilians to become terrorists

The lawsuit rightly charges the State Department and Obama with funding terrorism. But whether anything will be done about that is another story.