The Israeli army on Tuesday said a Palestinian boy carrying an explosive belt was captured at a roadblock outside the northern West Bank town of Nablus.

 

The army earlier contacted foreign correspondents in Israel, briefing them on the incident and asking them to cover the story.

 

The occupation army made a similar claim about another boy being captured, prompting speculations that the Israeli Shin Bet might be behind these reports for the purpose of besmirching the Palestinian image prior to President Mahmoud Abbas's visit to Washington.

 

"I am 100% sure that these incidents are fabricated from A to Z by the Shin Bet," said Ahmed Subh, Director-General of the Palestinian Ministry of Information.

 

Influence

 

Speaking to Aljazeera.net on Wednesday, Subh accused the Israeli authorities of seeking to influence Abbas's talks in Washington by showing that the PA is not doing enough to control resistance fighters.

 

"We must note that these concocted stories are timed to coincide with important political events," said Subh. "They are meant to serve and justify the overall Israeli posture, especially the unmitigated theft of Palestinian land and Israel's refusal to take its troops and tanks from Palestinian towns."

 

Palestinians doubt veracity of
Israeli version of arrests

Subh pointed out that the Palestinian security apparatus has conducted a "thorough and comprehensive investigation" into Israeli allegations and found out that the whole thing was a sheer fabrication. 

 

"Their families told us that anonymous persons gave them money and explosive belts and promised them that they wouldn't be imprisoned."

 

"It is crystal clear that these anonymous persons are Shin Bet agents, Palestinian organisations are smarter than sending boys with explosives to pass through Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks."

       

Abdul Sattar Kassem, Professor of Political Science at Al-Najah University, told Aljazeera.net he was convinced that Israeli was recruiting Palestinian teenagers for its hasbara (propaganda) efforts.

 

He said that capturing Palestinian youngsters while carrying explosives on Israeli army checkpoints was becoming a phenomenon of late.

 

TV cameras

 

Kassem noted that TV cameras and Israeli reporters were always brought there each time a Palestinian boy was "captured" with an "explosive belt."

 

"It is very hard to believe the Israeli story due to the striking dumbness of those alleged freedom fighters. At least the organisations that Israeli accuses of responsibility should have learned from their repeated failures."

 

"It is very hard to believe the Israeli story due to the striking dumbness of those alleged freedom fighters"

Abdul Sattar Kassem,
Al-Najah university

"I would like to say that rational analysis of how these teenagers are caught and displayed on TV give strong indications of Israeli indulgence in recruiting teenagers."

 

Aljazeera.net asked the Israeli army spokesman Eitan Arusi why would Palestinian resistance groups do such a stupid thing as sending kids carrying bombs through army checkpoints, knowing well the kids would be arrested.

 

Arusi said he didn't know.

 

"You should direct this question to the terrorist groups, not to me."

 

Arusi insisted that the reports were authentic, saying the army wouldn't indulge in any "foul-play".

 

But the bulk of the Israeli media, including newspapers such as Ha'aretz, have refused to highlight or even report the latest alleged incident near Nablus.