Who assassinated Mussa Arafat and why?

Two days ago Mussa Arafat (the cousin of the late Yasser Arafat) was assassinated after a 45-minute shoot out. While all this was going on no police turned up, which indicates that someone at the top wanted his removal. Who and what is behind this killing?

“The voice is Jacob's voice, (Sharon) but the hands are the hands of Esau.” (Mohammed Dahalan, Palestinian Minister for Civilian Affairs)


Two days ago at 4 o’clock in the morning dozens of armed men attacked the house of Mussa Arafat (the cousin of the late Yasser Arafat) in Gaza located next to the house of the president Abu Mazen. After a 45-minute shooting raid they took him out onto the street and killed him.

It did not take long time and the bourgeois media informed us that the Popular Revolutionary Committees – known also as the Nasir Salah al-Din Brigades, claimed responsibility. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (September 7, 2005), “A militant coalition, the Popular Resistance Committees, claimed responsibility for Arafat's death and for kidnapping his son, Manhal, a senior Palestinian security official. A spokesman for the PRC said that the organization was, “questioning Moussa's son, Manhal, over his father's crimes and he will be sentenced according to Allah's law”.”

It is incredible that during a 45-minute shoot out not one policeman appeared during the entire operation. How could this happen?

The first clue came from Brigadier Maher Fares, director of military intelligence in Nablus who doubted the ability of the al-Nasir Salah al-Din Brigades to carry out such an offensive. In an interview with Al Jazeera (September 7, 2005) he said: "The killing involved the firing of rocket-propelled grenades and detonation of explosive devices. The clashes lasted for around 45 minutes despite the proximity of Mussa Arafat's house to the headquarters of President Abbas and other security departments… This means that there is a clear inadequacy in the efforts of the Palestinian Interior Ministry and all security apparatuses in the area.”

Late at night we were informed by the same media that following a meeting with representatives of Egypt and the PA, the PRC withdrew this declaration.

What the capitalist mass media conveniently forgot to mention throughout the entire day ‑ but was forced to admit later ‑ is that the organisation that took responsibility is a small faction located in Gaza that is in opposition to the main group centred in Raffah and that Abu Abir, the person who made the statement, had been removed from his position as spokesperson for the PCR months ago.

Mussa Arafat was hated by many Palestinians because of his corruption and brutality. When he was the head of the military intelligence he became a close friend of Kamal Hammed, a rich contractor and a known collaborator with Israel. He was the person who provided his cousin Ossama Hammed the mobile phone that blew up Yeiha Ayash the “engineer.”

Many had a motivation to kill Mussa Arafat, but having a motivation is not enough. The assassins needed the means and the protection of the PA apparatus in Gaza, in order to be able to carry out such an operation undisturbed.

It is not too difficult to know see which organization this could be. On August 16, the courageous reporter Amira Has wrote: “Thousands of PA police were seen ready to assist the Israeli evacuation. However, these same police were not to be seen any where while Dahalan’s death squads, dressed in black and armed with Kalashnikovs were terrorizing the people of Gaza."(Haaretz, August 16, 2005)

Yesterday Arnon Regular, writing in the Haaretz provided us with more information: “The only question that can be answered now is who gains the most from the assassination. And the answer is Palestinian Minister for Civilian Affairs Mohammed Dahalan, the patron of the Preventative Security apparatus, and its head, Rashid Abu-Shabak, who for the past two years have been waging a sophisticated war to the death against Moussa Arafat and his late patron, Yasser Arafat.”

“The ‘death squads’ of Preventative Security official Nabil Tamus and other mercenaries in the Gaza Strip have clashed consistently over the past two years with the ‘hell squads’ of Moussa Arafat's son, who was abducted yesterday when his father was killed. At least three previous attempts have been made on Moussa Arafat's life, and the sides have been involved in numerous confrontations and street battles in the Strip during this time.”

It is no secret who is behind Dahalan. On April 23, 2003 the BBC informed us that, “The former Preventative Security Chief for the Gaza Strip is one of the youngest Palestinian leaders and has the confidence of the United States and, to some extent, Israel. He is, according to Israeli media, the only Palestinian besides Mr Arafat to have been granted a private meeting with former US President Bill Clinton. Mr Dahalan is someone the Israelis feel they could do business with.”

Is it even possible that the Prime Minister of Israel, Sharon would have an interest in the killing of Mussa Arafat? Anyone who is familiar with the massacres of Sabra and Shatila would at least recognize the fingerprints.

So what kind of deal can the Israeli government have made with Dahalan in this case?

An explanation can be found in an article I wrote on August 21, Israel: The withdrawal from Gaza ... a step towards peace? There I pointed out the following:

“The tension is growing both within Fatah and between Fatah and Hamas. Last week, Faruk el Kadumi, Chairman of Fatah’s Central Committee and Chief of the Political Department, issued an order from Tunisia to remove all commanders and employees from the Palestinian security forces which are controlled by Dahalan, a man who has been groomed by British and US imperialism. He also ordered that those removed should be replaced by a new militia totally subordinate to the Palestinian revolutionary struggle. This is a clear challenge to the PA and to Abu Mazen (Abbas), who is increasingly seen by a growing number of Palestinians as a collaborator of Sharon. This statement is in support of the forces of armed opposition within Gaza. Two weeks ago, he also called for the organization of a popular militia of all the forces opposed to Abu Mazen. These include members of Fatah, Tanzim, and people like Musa Arafat, who has some control over military intelligence. During the last few weeks there have been incidents where forces loyal to Dahalan and those opposed to him have exchanged fire…

“Let us be clear. The evacuation of Gaza is no more than a bone that US imperialism has thrown to the masses in a desperate attempt to gain industrial peace while it continues to occupy Iraq and while Israel continues to build settlements in the West Bank. The Road Map to Peace in the Middle East is in ruins, and with instability spreading from Iraq throughout the whole region like a plague, the US is desperate to appear to be doing something, to appear to be trying to put out the flames.

“The withdrawal from Gaza will only serve to cause further division between Israelis and Palestinians. It will also increase the tensions amongst Palestinians themselves. People will notice that as Israel withdraws from Gaza, more settlements are being built in the West Bank. This will fuel the desire amongst Palestinians for the return of both the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This will drive many into the open arms of the militants. Already the militants in Gaza are making public displays of strength. The strong arm of the Israeli state in Gaza will be replaced with the collaborationist PA of Abbas, who will be forced to fight the militants to keep Israel happy.

“The withdrawal will also foster divisions amongst Israelis as well. The withdrawal has divided Israel as it has never been divided before. Bush and Sharon, and their mouthpieces in the bourgeois media are trying to present the withdrawal from Gaza as a concrete step towards peace. Some even whisper that it may be a step towards the creation of a Palestinian state. The disengagement plan will achieve neither. The Palestinian Authority, in becoming the long arm of the Israeli state, will not have the support to exert its control. The withdrawal from Gaza will only serve to fuel future conflicts.

“There is no way that the Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace as long as capitalism continues to exist. The state of Israel, backed by the US, will never give up on East Jerusalem, will never give up on the large blocks of settlements, will never solve the question of the refugees, and will never free all of the Palestinian prisoners. The only way to end this vicious circle of blood is the road of Bolshevism, the road of Lenin and Trotsky – the road of socialist revolution and the establishment of a Socialist Federation of the Middle East, where all nationalities, from the Kurds to the Israelis to the Palestinians can have territorial autonomy within this federation. That is the road to peace.”

Join us

If you want more information about joining the RCI, fill in this form. We will get back to you as soon as possible.