Reliapundit was on the story early and sees this claim, following on the heels of the kidnapping of an IDF soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit, as an attempt--backed by Iran--to provoke war and divert attention from Iraq and Afghanistan on the one hand and Iran's nuclear program on the other.
According to Haaretz, Israel is asking Kofi Annan and Secretary of State Rice to apply pressure on Abbas to secure Shalit's release, the idea being that the abduction is a test of Abbas' leadership and he should stay in Gaza to see that the crisis is resolved.
Even if Abbas is able to pull this off, that still leaves the WMD claim. What are the chances that the West will then expect Israel to sit still with such a threat, even unverified, on its doorstep and rely once again on negotiations.
Captain's Quarters makes two interesting points:
1. Either Al Aksa is bluffing--big mistake, or they really have the weapons--in which case "they have just signed the death warrants of both Hamas and Fatah and quite possibly the Palestinian Authority," the idea being that faced with real Genocide, Israel has no option but to defend herself to the full extent possible. In such a case, according to the Captain, even the West will not stand in Israel's way.
2. According to Al Aksa, these weapons were 3 years in the making. Since they do not have the wherewithal to manufacture this stuff, it must have been acquired. That would point to Syria, rumored to having acquired stockpiles of WMD from Iraq prior to the American invasion. In that case:
The Palestinians have just tipped us off to where the WMD went, and now we know where at least some it may have ended up. The Israelis may not be alone in marching through Gaza and the West Bank.A Blog For All notes that the various International Laws the Palestinian terrorists have broken don't seem to matter to them very much. Of course, for that matter, no one in the West seems to be making much of that point either--though Justice Minister Ramon's comments this past Thursday come to mind.
A different reaction comes from Riehl World View:
I wouldn't be surprised if the group claims this isn't their doing and it's actually an Israeli intelligence operation meant to justify any possible incursion into Gaza. In any event, I fail to see the wisdom in announcing one has such weaponry if you haven't or aren't intending to use it. It doesn't make sense.Back in December 2003, in an article for Frontpage, Emanuel Winston wrote about the various possible consequences of the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state on the other side of the Security Fence:
6. WMD, Weapons of Mass Destruction. Since the territory abandoned by Sharon will now be free of Israelis patrols or the IDF's snap raids, the Arab Palestinians can import WMD - including NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical). Hezb-Allah, Al Qaeda, PFLP, PLO, Tanzim, Al Aksa Brigades, Hamas, et al will have no problem in acquiring NBC - WMD (Weapons of Mass Death) from Iran and Syria which would easily pass into Arab Palestinian hands - and may already have. Israeli intelligence definitely knows that of the 10,000 missiles on the Lebanese border in the zone abandoned by Barak, a substantial number have chemical warheads.Didn't take long. The Palestinians don't even have a state yet and not only have they been recognized by the Red Cross, they also now claim to have the ability to destroy life en masse as well.
See also Jerusalem Post: Al-Aksa claims biological, chemical capabilities