January 2, 2012.
Mahmoud Damara, arrested in 2006 for involvement in the shooting and bombing to death Israelis, was part of Yasser Arafat’s feared Force 17 terrorist group and was one of Israel’s most wanted terrorists until he was arrested in an IDF raid in 2001. Israel freed him last October, along with more than 1,000 other terrorists and security prisoners to gain the return of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
He served only one-third of his 15-year sentence, including four years he was in jail before his conviction less than two years ago.
Force 17, besides protecting Arafat, was involved in the murder of at least eight Israelis, including soldiers and a woman civilian.. Damara ”supplied the members of the organization with armaments and defined the policies for terrorist attacks,” the IDF said after a raid on the terrorist squad in 2001.
Abbas officially appointed Damara on Monday as his special advisor on district affairs.
The appointment of the former Force 17 terrorist came a day after Abbas said “all options are on the table” if Israel does not concede to his demands for the establishment of the Palestinian Authority as a new Arab country within Israel’s borders. He also added that he does not “accept” a renewal of the Intifada.
On numerous occasions, the Palestinian Authority chairman has backed “resistance,” a code word for violent attacks on Israelis. Abbas heads the Fatah faction, which is trying to forge unity with its rival Hamas terrorist party.
The appointment of Damara is the latest in a numbner of steps that indicate Abbas is paving the way for a renewed Intifada, despite his public statments to the contrary. A week ago, he suddenly fired his seneior secuirty officer without Informing the Obama administration’s military coordinator. In his stead, he appointed an officer who is suspected of ties with the underworld.