Communicated by the Office of het Prime Minister of Israel
Excerpt of a September 24, 1998 interview with Muhammad Dahlan, head of
the Palestinian Preventive Security Service in Gaza, which was conducted by the
official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda.
It is not correct to criticize the Preventive Security Service for not accepting
into its ranks people who are not members of Fatah.
We have enlisted into the ranks of the Preventive Security Service many of our
brothers active in other organizations opposed to the agreement and I have considered
this to be a personal goal. Matters reached the point where we engaged in a huge
political battle with the Americans and the Israelis over the enlistment of some 25
members of the Hamas military wing, which was done as part of our overall
responsibility toward all members of the Palestinian people.
Israel accuses them of being the hard-core military infrastructure of the Izz a-Din
Al-Kassam brigades .
We arrested them in the past for various security-related matters, but we saw no
reason to continue to detain them. Since the Israeli Prime Minister contested the
matter, we made a historic, national decision to protect them. We said very clearly to
the Israelis that an attack on any of them would be an attack on the entire Palestinian
Preventive Security Service. Thus, we protected them and gave them the opportunity
for an honorable life.