A Hamas terrorist who took part in the recent pogrom was found to have plans for creating a cyanide-based chemical weapon, President Isaac Herzog has revealed. But perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised since Palestinian Arab terrorists have tried it previously—in 1944.
President Herzog said that other documents found on the terrorists included “extensive plans to target an elementary school and a youth center and kill as many people as possible” and “manuals with instructions on how to torture and kidnap those they found.”
The document describing how to prepare “a device for dispersing cyanide agents” is eerily reminiscent of a 1944 plot masterminded by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini, the political leader and senior Muslim religious authority of the Palestinian Arabs.
During the 1920s and 1930s, the Mufti instigated mass Arab violence against the Jews and British authorities in Mandatory Palestine. Then he fled to Baghdad, where, in 1941, he helped engineer a short-lived pro-Nazi coup.
After a short stay in Tehran—where he holed up in the Japanese embassy—the Mufti headed to Rome, where he was warmly welcomed by Mussolini. Then, it was on to Berlin, together with a large entourage of aides and advisers.
Throughout the Holocaust years, Husseini remained in the Nazi capital, on the Nazis’ payroll. He met with Hitler. He recorded pro-Nazi radio broadcasts that were beamed to the Arab world. He recruited Bosnian Muslims to join an all-Muslim unit of the SS; thirty-eight of its officers were later tried as war criminals.
Leaflets authored by Nazi propagandists and translated into Arabic by the Mufti’s staff were dropped by German planes over Arab regions of Palestine. Some featured headlines such as “Kill the Jews and the British!” and were printed on the back of facsimile British pounds or American dollars, so they looked like money and immediately attracted attention.
Some of the Mufti’s broadcasts and leaflets promised that those who attacked Jews would be rewarded with “the most beautiful of the Jewish girls” after Palestine’s Jewish community was conquered. It is especially chilling to think of that message in the aftermath of the sexual assaults committed by Hamas terrorists during the recent pogrom.
In May 1943, Husseini caught wind of a Nazi plan to permit 4,000 Jewish children, accompanied by 500 adults, to travel to Palestine in exchange for the release of 20,000 German prisoners of war. The Germans and the British had agreed to the exchange, but the Germans backed down when the Mufti objected. The children were instead sent to Auschwitz.
Sabotage squads organized by the Mufti for the Germans were parachuted behind Allied lines both in Europe and the Middle East. In 1944, one such squad parachuted into Mandatory Palestine.
The details of that mission were chronicled in the 1983 book The Quest for the Red Prince by Michael Bar-Zohar, a Labor Party Knesset Member and journalist Eitan Haber, who was later Yitzhak Rabin’s senior speechwriter.
The five parachutists were armed with maps of Tel Aviv and canisters of “a fine white powder.” Their instructions were to dump the powder into Tel Aviv’s water system.
The squad was captured before it could carry out its plan, and the powder canisters were sent to a police laboratory for analysis. “I remember how amazed we all were,” district police commander Fayiz Bey Idrissi recalled. “The laboratory report stated that each container held enough poison to kill 25,000 people, and there were at least ten containers.” The population of Tel Aviv at the time was approximately 200,000.
Today, there are two schools in Hamas-controlled Gaza named in honor of Hassan Salameh, one of the five would-be poisoners. There is also a school named after the Mufti in the Palestinian Authority-governed city of El Bireh.
((Dr. Medoff is the founding director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies and the author of more than 20 books about Jewish history and the Holocaust. His most recent book, America and the Holocaust: A Documentary History, was published by the Jewish Publication Society of America / University of Nebraska Press. And available on Amazon, as are his other books)