Israel Highlights Hamas Links with Chechen Terrorism

TEL-AVIV (RIA Novosti) — An Israeli non-governmental organization involved with information on terrorism has published a report on the links between Hamas and Chechen terrorist organizations following the Russian president’s decision to offer an invitation to the radical Islamic group.

A link to the document, which claims the group that won the Palestinian parliamentary elections in January, identifies ideologically with Chechen terrorist Shamil Basayev, has been published on the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Web site alongside a report on Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s response to Vladimir Putin’s invitation.

The report by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies was published Friday, the day after Putin’s invitation, and shows on its front page a poster distributed by Hamas, with pictures of five Chechen terrorist leaders, along with Osama bin Laden.

The poster, entitled Chechnya, Afghanistan, the Balkans, Kashmir, Palestine, Lebanon "was taken from a CD distributed by Hamas, in our assessment to institutions in the PA-administered territories, especially educational institutions," the report says.

At the bottom of the poster is a message referring to the "oppressed minority of Muslims" living in the countries listed. "It is an explicit message of violence, in which Hamas goes beyond its Islamic-Palestinian identity and encourages international Islamic terrorism," the NGO said.

The document shows several other examples of Hamas propaganda with similar messages. These include a CD calling Khattab, a terrorist killed in Chechnya, a martyr for Islam, and a CD entitled "The Russian Hell" containing the message to Russian soldiers: "Fire is waiting for you in the next world, and the Chechens in this."

"It should be noted that ideologically Hamas is completely hostile to the Russian regime in that it identifies with the Chechen separatists, regarding them as part of the global jihad, and supports them in their terrorist activities," the report says.

Russia’s announcement that it plans to invite Hamas has been supported by France, which is also involved in the Quartet (the EU, the U.S., Russia, and the UN) on the Middle East, which has urged Hamas to renounce violence and to accept Israel’s right to exist.

On Friday Tzipi Livni said: "Hamas is a terrorist organization and must be treated as such… the decision by the Quartet, of which Russia is a member, sets preliminary conditions which must be met if the Palestinian Authority is to be able to achieve legitimacy. These conditions are fundamental and basic and are not negotiable, and the Palestinians must accept them unequivocally, just as they are."

The Israeli foreign minister told the Cabinet on Sunday that Russia’s invitation created a danger of Hamas gaining legitimacy in the international community without meeting any of the conditions set out by world leaders.