Popular Resistance Committee

Shin Bet chief Diskin emphasized last week that the radical Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) poses a greater danger to Israel than Hamas. This concept gives a comprehensive description of the organization.
Definition

The term Popular Resistance Committee (PRC)1, refers to a Palestinian terrorist organization, formed in the year 2000, which is comprised of former members of various Palestinian organizations. The PRC does not have a political or social platform and is infamous solely for its engagement in terrorism against Israel.

Background

The PRC was formed by former Fatah and Tanzim member Jamal Abu Samhadana2. It is comprised of former members of Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian organizations. Its main power base is in the Gaza Strip, although it also has a number of cells in the West Bank.

The PRC is responsible for dozens of attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets, most notably the strike on the Kerem Shalom border crossing that led to the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit in June 2006.3 The PRC and its operational-terrorist wing, the Salah al-Din Brigades, are thought to receive funding and support from Hizbullah4 and are known to have close ties to Hamas who they supported in the PA elections.

Since its electoral victory (1/06), Hamas has used the PRC as a subcontractor for the execution of terror attacks.5 In addition, Hamas appointed PRC leader Jamal Abu Samhadana as head of the PA's Interior and National Security Ministry, an action that provoked harsh criticism from Abu Mazen.6

In late June 2006, the IDF killed Samhadana in an aerial attack on a PRC training camp.

Ideology

The PRC's raison d'être is the uncompromising struggle against Israel.

As opposed to other Palestinian organizations, the PRC does not have a political or social platform. Its membership is made up of both secular and religious terror groups. Despite this, PRC leaders often use radical Islamist and anti-Western terminology to justify their actions.7

The political vision of the PRC remains unclear. Before the elections for the position of Chairman of the Palestinian Authority (1/05), PRC founder Samhadana stated that the minimum principles needed to be held by any Palestinian leader are: the return to 1967 borders, Jerusalem as the capital, and the right of return for refugees.8

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1 لجان المقاومة الشعبية
2 For more information, see: Hanan Greenberg, YNET, 06/09/06, full article.
3 Additional terror attacks include the shooting of Tali Hatuel and her 4 daughters, and the kidnapping and murder of Eliyahu Asheri. The PRC is also considered responsible for the attack on a US diplomatic convoy in Beit Hanoun, killing three security guards and severely wounding a diplomat.

4 See: Walla, 07/28/06, full article (Hebrew).

6 Conal Urquhart, Guardian, 4/22/06, full article.

7 In an interview to the British Sunday Times, PRC founder Samhadana emphasized the importance of resistance, stating: "We have only one enemy, the Jews. I will continue to carry my gun with me and push the trigger any time I need to defend my people…Resistance must continue. The Palestinian organizations that are active today will become the future Palestinian army." In another interview to AP he told an American journalist in May 2006: "We are happy when any American soldier is killed anywhere in the world, because the American Army is an aggressor against all the people in the world, particularly the Arab and Muslim worlds." (Sam Knight, London Times, 06/09/06, full article.

8 Amira Hass, Haaretz, 01/10/05, full article.