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Palestine: The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank; its activities, its sources of funding, and its responses to persons who refuse to comply with its demands for payments; whether it accuses Palestinians of being collaborators with Israel if they refuse to pay bribes; if so, the frequency of the allegations; the method by which it informs people that someone is a collaborator; its actions against alleged collaborators (January 2008 - April 2010)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 27 April 2010
Citation / Document Symbol PSE103459.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Palestine: The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank; its activities, its sources of funding, and its responses to persons who refuse to comply with its demands for payments; whether it accuses Palestinians of being collaborators with Israel if they refuse to pay bribes; if so, the frequency of the allegations; the method by which it informs people that someone is a collaborator; its actions against alleged collaborators (January 2008 - April 2010), 27 April 2010, PSE103459.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e4381b82.html [accessed 29 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (AAMB) is also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada Martyrs' Group, Al-Aqsa Brigades, Martyrs of Al-Aqsa Group, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Battalion and Armed Militias of the Al-Aqsa Martyr Battalions (Canada 3 Apr. 2003). The website of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), an organization of the United States (US) government that gathers and analyzes intelligence related to terrorism (US 13 Feb. 2009), states that the AAMB is an organization composed of an unknown quantity of small, autonomous cells that formed during the beginning of the second Palestinian uprising, also called the al-Aqsa intifada, in September 2000 (US n.d.). The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) describes it as "a network of West Bank militias" and reports that the group is affiliated with former Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, although it is unclear whether the AAMB takes orders from Fatah's post-Arafat leadership (2 Apr. 2008). According to the NCTC, the group's objective is the removal of the Israeli military and settlers from the West Bank and the establishment of a Palestinian state consistent with secular nationalist Fatah ideology (US n.d.). The AAMB is reportedly more active in the Gaza Strip, but also prepares and carries out attacks in Israel and the West Bank (ibid.).

The NCTC reports that the AAMB initially employed small-arms attacks, but by 2002 it was employing suicide bombings within Israel; following a bombing in March 2002, the US declared the organization a "Foreign Terrorist Organization" (ibid.; US Apr. 2009, 286). Canada officially declared the AAMB a "terrorist entity" on 3 April 2003 (Canada 3 Apr. 2003).

An Al-Sharq al-Awsat article states that a senior official of the AAMB claims that the group receives "hundreds of thousands of dollars" from Hezbollah (9 Oct. 2008). The US Department of State reports that the AAMB receives aid from Iran, "mostly through Hizballah facilitators" (Apr. 2009, 287).

In 2007 and 2008, over 200 West Bank AAMB members participated in an amnesty program jointly operated by Israel and the Palestine Authority (PA), in which the militants agreed to end anti-Israeli violence and relinquish their weaponry (US n.d.). The program remained "fragile" as of August 2009 (ibid.). A 15 September 2008 Haaretz article states that the AAMB has been "all but disbanded, and most of their members have joined the PA security apparatus." A 6 January 2009 Al-Ahram Weekly article states that the PA has almost completely dismantled the AAMB.

A Jerusalem Post article states that a rabbi was killed in the northern West Bank by three former AAMB operatives who were killed by the Israeli army two days later in Nablus (8 Jan. 2010). A FoxNews article refers to the three militants as "longtime members" of the AAMB (26 Dec. 2009).

Additional information on the AAMB in the West Bank in Palestine especially concerning bribery and whether the AAMB takes action against alleged collaborators could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Al-Ahram Weekly [Cairo]. 6 January 2009. Khaled Amayreh. "Another Awful Year." [Accessed 30 Mar. 2010]

Al-Sharq al-Awsat [in Arabic]. 9 October 2008. Kifah Zibun. "Palestinian Leader Admits Getting Financial Support from Hezbollah." (BBC Monitoring Middle East 10 Oct. 2008/Factiva)

Canada. 3 April 2003. Canada Gazette. "Regulations Amending the Regulations Establishing a List of Entities." [Accessed 6 Apr. 2010]

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). 2 April 2008. Holly Fletcher. "Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade." [Accessed 16 Apr. 2010]

FoxNews. 26 December 2009. "Six Palestinians Killed in Israeli Raids Year After War Ends." [Accessed 1 Apr. 2010]

Haaretz. 15 September 2008. Avi Issacharoff. [Accessed 16 Apr. 2010]

Jerusalem Post. 8 January 2010. Ya'aqov Katz. "Israel Believes Iran, Hezbollah Forging Fatah Terror Splinter Group." (BBC Monitoring Middle East 8 Jan. 2010/Factiva)

United States (US). April 2009. Department of State. "Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade." Country Reports on Terrorism 2008. [Accessed 16 Apr. 2010]

_____. 13 February 2009. National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). "What We Do." [Accessed 8 Apr. 2010]

_____. N.d. National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). "Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade." [Accessed 1 Apr. 2010]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the Institute for Palestine Studies in Washington and the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B'Tselem) did not respond to requests for information within the time constraints of this Response.

Internet sources, including: Al-Jazeera, Al Quds Center for Political Studies, Alternative Information Center (AIC), Amnesty International (AI), Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA), British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM), Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme (FIDH), Freedom House, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B'Tselem), Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI), Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Middle East Online, Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA), Minority Rights Group (MRG), OneWorld.net, Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG), United Nations (UN) Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Washington Report on Middle East Affairs,YNetNews.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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