The Organisations and Movements Behind the Israeli/Palestinian War...
First published on www.spectator.co.nz - By Selwyn Manning
Hamas - (aka Islamic Resistance Movement) Organization and Leadership Members of HAMAS.
Hamas was formed in 1987 with the objective of replacing Israel with a Palestinian state based on Islamic principles.
The group operates mainly in the Gaza strip and the West Bank, and boasts tens of thousands of supporters throughout the Occupied Territories.
The number of hardcore members remains unknown.
Hamas used to base much of its organization in Jordan, but in 1999 Jordan's King Abdullah II closed Hamas' Political Bureau offices in Amman, and many Hamas leaders were expelled to Qatar.
Hamas has attempted to draw a firm distinction between its military wing and its recruitment and charitable activities.
The military wing is divided into two main groups with several components to each. The Palestinian Holy Fighters (Al-Majahadoun Al-Falestinioun) are responsible for armed attacks against Israeli targets, mainly in northern areas of the Gaza strip.
An important faction of this group is the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Squads, which is responsible for a majority of terrorist activities.
Another arm of Hamas known as the Security Section (Jehaz Aman)is responsible for identifying and punishing Palestinians accused of cooperating or collaborating with Israel.
This group is also in charge of upholding Islamic law among the Palestinian community.
Along with its military wing, Hamas also organizes extensive charitable and educational programs, and has built schools and hospitals throughout the Gaza strip and West Bank. These efforts have resulted in widespread support from the Palestinian population and have elevated HAMAS to a position where it poses a serious challenge to the authority of the Palestinian Liberation Organization(PLO).
The political and spiritual leader of Hamas is the charismatic quadriplegic Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, who spent several years in Israeli jails before a prisoner exchange set him free in 1997.
Yassin is considered somewhat moderate in comparison to others in the Hamas leadership.
A more militant leader, Mahmoud Abu Hanoud, was assassinated by Israel on November 23, 2001, leading to the suicide bombings of December 3 that have escalated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Hezbollah (aka Hizballah, Islamic Jihad, Revolutionary Justice Organization, Organization of the Oppressed on Earth, Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine) Organization and Leadership.
Hezbollah is a Shi'ite organization based in Lebanon dedicated to the removal of Israel from Lebanon and Palestine.
Its military wing is known as the Islamic Resistance Movement (a name also used by the military units of HAMAS).
Hezbollah has grown into a powerful cultural and political force in Lebanon, operating hospitals, schools, and even their own television station.
The group's main training bases are in the Bekka Valley of southern Lebanon, and the group maintains strongholds in the southern and western suburbs of Beirut.
Active armed members are estimated around 1000, and the group has wide-reaching support among Lebanon's Shi'ite population. Hezbollah has attempted to refashion itself as a legitimate political party in Lebanon, and has portrayed its military attacks as legitimate resistance against a military occupier (Israel).
Its tactics have included car bombs, suicide bombers, and attacks on Jewish settlements with Katuysha rockets.
The Secretary General of Hezbollah is Hassan Nasrallah, a former leader of the rival Shi'ite movement Amal.
Hezbollah has cells in Europe, Africa, South America, and North America, and it has been active in the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
The Israel Defence Force
The Israeli Defence Force is governed by the Israeli Minister of Defence and ultimately by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The IDF is accussed of human rights abuses, summary executions of suspected Palestinian terrorists, alleged suicide bombers, protesters and children.
Israel's Mossad has orchestrated an assasination policy, liquidating the Middle Eastern state's opponents.
Elie Hobeika, a key witness in the Sabra-Chatila war crimes case being pursued in a Belgian court against Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, was blown up outside his house in Beirut on Jan. 24, 2002, together with three bodyguards and a civilian bystander.
The car-bomb was the work of professional assassins in the employ of Mossad, the Israeli secret service.
The explosion occured two days after Hobeika agreed to give evidence against Sharon in Belgium.
Hobeika had met Belgian Senators Josy Dubie and Vincent van Quickenborne in east Beirut, agreeing to be a witness at any trial of Sharon for the Sabra and Chatila massacre.