Terrorists in Israeli prisons claim to smuggle out books glorifying terror
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Senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad security prisoners serving life sentences in Israeli prisons have claimed that they succeeded in smuggling out book-related materials, a new intelligence report revealed on Tuesday.
The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said that in late December and early January, within weeks of each other, Hamas and Islamic Jihad put out competing books to glorify some of the terrorism of top prisoners in Israeli jails and former leaders.
According to the report, the prison system is investigating how writings or interviews of security prisoners could have been distributed outside of the prison walls when such activities are an independent crime.
According to the intelligence center, “the publication of these books appear to be part of activities to inculcate a culture of martyrdom within the broader Palestinian public which can connect to the glorification of bombings and other terror operations which have been carried out.”
“Cultivating the memory of terrorists, who have been killed or who are serving Israeli prison sentences, and transforming them into models to emulate is a known and regular phenomenon within Palestinian culture,” said the report.
Palestinian students supporters of the Hamas movement wave the movement’s flag during a rally at Birzeit University, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 19, 2022 (credit: FLASH90)
What was in the Hamas book?
Hamas’s January book was called Buses which Went Up in Flames, with the claim that it was written by Hassan Salame, former commander of its military wing, and who is serving 46 life sentences in Israel’s Nafha prison, said the report.
Next, the report said that the Hamas book reviews key moments in Salame’s life, including suicide bombings that he and assassinated Yahiya Ayash (formerly the Hamas chief bomb “engineer”) organized and managed.
In addition, the report said that much of the book was a reprint of a book that Hamas published in 2016, but that it included new items, allegedly from Salame.
Besides the new items from Salame, the new edition of the book has new photos of other terrorist “martyrs” and an introduction by Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh.
What was in the Islamic Jihad book?
In December 2022, Islamic Jihad published a book Following the Path of Light, in honor of the life and activities of senior terrorist Bassam al-Saadi, who was arrested in Jenin in August 2022, said the report.
Al-Saadi’s arrest was used by Islamic Jihad as an excuse to start firing rockets at Israel, leading to the August 2022 conflict Operation Breaking Dawn between Islamic Jihad in Gaza and Israel.
Hamas remained on the sidelines during that conflict.
The book dealt with major points and ideology of al-Saadi’s life before his arrest but also claims to provide a history and statements of al-Saadi during the time he has been in Israel’s prisons system.
The book was published by the organization “the Soul of Jerusalem” which assists and promotes Palestinian prisoners and their families.
Parallel book launches were held for al-Saadi’s book, both in Gaza and in Jenin.
The Meir Amit Center said that such books and the culture they support increase motivation among the young and lost generation of Palestinian teenagers and adolescents to carry out terror attacks and to join terror groups.
Through high-profile cultural events, the report said that Hamas and Islamic Jihad legitimize mass terror against Jews, neutralize fear of dying or being imprisoned by making even these outcomes seem noble and compete with each other for the most talented new recruits.
The report quoted various Palestinian officials slamming Israel’s investigation into the alleged book leaks out of prison as showing the Jewish state’s weakness, fear and its illegitimacy as an “occupier.”
The Meir Amit center is made up of former Israeli intelligence agents with strong connections to the current intelligence services, though their focus is using their special skills to uncover critical items in open-source intelligence.