JERUSALEM – Israel’s Shin Bet security service announced Wednesday it had arrested members of two large Hamas terrorist cells in the West Bank planning mass casualty suicide bombings and other attacks inside Israel.
Most of the suspects in both cells were students at Al Quds University in Abu Dis, which is partnered with Bard College in New York. Abu Dis is a West Bank village near Jerusalem.
The Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences, located in Abu Dis, is a branch of Al Quds that “represents the first dual-degree program between US and Palestinian institutions of higher education.”
Al-Quds Bard College is also partnered with billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Institute and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The Al Quds board of trustees has included Rashid Khalidi, who taught there for 16 years before he became the Edward Said Professor of Arab studies at Columbia University.
Khalidi, a harsh critic of Israel, was a close personal friend to Barack Obama when the two taught together at the University of Chicago. Khalidi lectured at UC until 2003 while Obama taught law there from 1993 until his election to the Senate in 2004.
Khalidi’s wife, Mona, was president of the Arab American Action Network, or AAAN. The group received financing from the Woods Fund, a Chicago nonprofit where Obama served as a paid director from 1999 to Dec. 11, 2002. Obama sat on the Woods Fund board alongside Bill Ayers, the unrepentant former member of the Weather Underground domestic terrorist group.
Khalidi and Obama reportedly lived in nearby faculty residential zones and the two families dined together a number of times.
In 2003, Obama reportedly provided a glowing testimonial for Khalidi when the professor left UC to take a new position at Columbia University.
Mass-casualty suicide bombings
Earlier on Wednesday, the Shin Bet announced it had carried out a joint operation with the IDF and Israel Police in which 25 Hamas members were arrested as part of a terrorist cell based in Abu Dis, a West Bank village near Jerusalem. Most of the suspects were students at Al Quds University in Abu Dis.
The cell was led by a 24-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank named Ahmed Azam, who set up an explosives lab in a rented apartment in Abu Dis, according to the Shin Bet indictment.
During the course of the investigation, a second cell consisting largely of Al Quds students was discovered in Bethlehem, including some who had been successfully recruited to carry out suicide bombings.
The Shin Bet announced that Azzam was working on behalf of Hamas in Gaza “to set up a military infrastructure that would carry out bombing attacks against Israeli targets.”
Azzam “was in continuous contact with his operators in the Gaza Strip, who trained him to be an explosives expert for the purpose of manufacturing bomb vests and explosive devices,” the Shin Bet statement said.
“In accordance with instructions passed on to Azam, he recruited a number of additional operatives studying with him at the Abu Dis university in order to purchase material to produce explosives, rent apartments, recruit suicide bombers, and get them to infiltrate Israel.”
The Shin Bet said an examination of the lab discovered in Azzam’s apartment found “it was ready to manufacture explosives of different types, in significant quantities.”
The Shin Bet said it had seized raw materials for making bombs, including materials banned in Israel.
Soros ties, anti-Israel groups
Al Quds University, meanwhile, was partnered with Brandeis until November 2013, when a demonstration took place on campus involving “demonstrators wearing black military gear, armed with fake automatic weapons, and who marched while waving flags and raising the traditional Nazi salute.”
Brandeis suspended its partnership after Al Quds President Sari Nusseibeh refused to issue an unequivocal condemnation of the militant demonstration. Instead, Nusseibeh condemned “extremist Jews” for exploiting the scene of a “mock military display” on the campus.
Nusseibeh went on to blame the Holocaust for Israel’s founding and an alleged “enduring Palestinian catastrophe:”
These occurrences allow some people to capitalize on events in ways that misrepresent the university as promoting inhumane, anti-Semitic, fascist, and Nazi ideologies. Without these ideologies, there would not have been the massacre of the Jewish people in Europe; without the massacre, there would not have been the enduring Palestinian catastrophe.
Bard itself has come under fire for allegedly hosting anti-Israel groups. One such organization, the International Solidarity Movement, formed a group at Bard. According to the Anti Defemation League, Bard’s ISM in 2010 held “seven different anti-Israel events in conjunction with Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW).” The ISM is known for serving as human shields to obstruct Israel’s counter-terrorism measures.
Bard also has a longstanding partnership with the Central European University (CEU), a graduate level institution located in Budapest, Hungary. CEU was founded by Soros.
Spokesmen for both Bard and Al Quds did not immediately respond to a request from Breitbart Jerusalem seeking comment.
With research by Brenda J. Elliott.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.