May 16th, 2008
09:57 AM ET

Bin Laden and Palestine

A frame grab from new video featuring an audio statement from Osama bin Laden to the people of the West about Israel's 60th anniversary.

A frame grab from new video featuring an audio statement from Osama bin Laden to the people of the West about Israel's 60th anniversary.

Peter Bergen
CNN National Security Analyst

Less than a day after Republican presidential candidate John McCain promised that if he won the presidency Osama bin Laden would be captured or killed by 2013, a message from al Qaeda’s leader appeared on jihadist websites reminding the world that he is alive and well.

Bin Laden’s audiotape message commented on the recent 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel; promised that he would fight for the liberation of Palestine, and told his Muslim listeners that they have a duty to help in that effort.

Was the audiotape an attempt by bin Laden to remain relevant by pushing on the issue that remains a hot button for most Muslims? After 9/11 some commentators said that the Palestinian issue was something that bin Laden had recently adopted in order to appeal to a wide range of Muslims. This is false.

When al Qaeda’s leader declared war on the United States publicly for the first time in August 1996
part of his rationale concerned the Palestinian issue:

“My Muslim Brothers: The money you pay to buy American goods will be transformed into bullets and used against our brothers in Palestine…I feel still the pain of [the loss of] Al-Quds in my internal organs; (Al Quds, the site of the third holiest place of pilgrimage in Islam, was annexed to Israel in 1967.)

Despite the fact the bin Laden has long been preoccupied by the Palestinian issue, al Qaeda has done little concrete to advance the cause of Palestine. Part of the reason for that is al Qaeda’s leaders have for years been critical of Palestinian figures such as Yasser Arafat, who they despised for being a “secularist” and the leadership of Hamas which they have criticized for taking part in elections. For its part, Hamas has also publicly distanced itself from al Qaeda.

Despite the animosity between al Qaeda and Hamas, what may emerge in the Palestinian Authority are small, ultraviolent groups inspired by bin Laden’s messages that are more militant than Hamas. A similar phenomenon occurred in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon recently with the emergence of violent al Qaeda-like groups such as Fatah al-Islam. Needless to say, al Qaeda-like groups emerging in Gaza would further complicate matters for the Palestinians and Israelis.

Filed under: Israel • Osama bin Laden • Palestine • Peter Bergen • War on Terror
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. mohamed

    people are wondering about the Palestinians keeping fighting and loosing but never quit. It is so simple "one never quit his land and always seeks justice for his "dead, tortured and raped" relatives".

    May 16, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  2. shaukat

    its high time the world gives Palestinian their right , its being going on for to long ,just coz of united states support israel , usa is much responsible for the bloodshed in middle east , usa provides funds for israel for military which kills womens ,childern and the west media is also to blame example 1 israelies dies its a breaking news and 1000 Palestinian dies u ppl dont even bother to mention it , my dear brother ameriacan its time to end this injustice u ppl should start the creation of plastine not on isrealies terms but on united nations terms

    May 16, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  3. Jim

    If Bush, McCain and Bin Laden are for an independent Palestinian state as they say, perhaps they should talk with Israel about making it happen not fighting. The Bush oil family are good friends with the Bin Laden oil family. The religious choice between Palestinians should be a choice of their own. Protestants and Catholics have fought in Ireland for years but that didn't solve their differences.

    Killing Osama Bin Laden will not end the desire for Palestine and Israel to occupy the same piece of land they have fought over for thousands of years. Killing Sadam changed nothing in Iraq. Should Osama leave the scene without a solution between the nations the fight will go on without him.

    The war is about different ideas and beliefs not particular people. War is not a solution to differences in ideas. Sometimes we just have to agree to disagree and move on to embrace our common human needs.

    We waste resources we cannot replace, destroy our environment and heat our planet resulting in human suffering like we have never seen in the face of the greed of the past. This will cause the current conflict of thousands of years to pale as the entire human race fights for survival. We have just had to protect polar bears from becoming extinct as the polar ice caps melt away.

    Wake up. Humans of all nations, skin color, ancestry and beliefs have more in common in our humanity. We will need to embrace our humanity before our existance is only a memory locked in the rocks of this planet as many powerful creatures and civilizations of the past are remembered.

    May 16, 2008 at 1:33 pm |
  4. Marc in Toronto

    If Americans are serious about catching Osama Bin Laden I suggest they offer;

    A 10 BILLION DOLLAR REWARD for his capture. The current offer of 25 million is not enough. Drop wanted dead or alive ads in all areas that it's anticipated he might be in these days. MONEY TALKS.

    10 BILLION DOLLARS would be a bargain compared to the costs of doing business as usual.

    May 16, 2008 at 1:26 pm |
  5. Tina

    I don't know, but it seems to me to fight 5 more years over there will not end terrosrist and the osbl groups. If it hasn't happened yet, I wonder what makes McCain think he can fix it. It all goes back to the question of why we are over there. I think we are over there for 10% finding Osama and breaking up terrerist groups and 90% something other stuff. Does anybody really know?

    May 16, 2008 at 1:16 pm |
  6. Mike in NYC

    Cindy wrote:

    "He always seems to release a tape when something major is happening. He just has that timing right on spot....I can’t see how he can get these tapes out yet we still can’t find him...."

    Makes you wonder if these tapes are really what they say they are.

    May 16, 2008 at 12:45 pm |
  7. bryant Chamberlain

    Anderson, Proverbs 16:14 says The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man pacify it or appease. 14:34 says Righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people. I believe our nation and leaders have lost or forgotten about God, why not ask him what is right.

    May 16, 2008 at 12:41 pm |
  8. Gurman Bal

    Comments such as "The Palestinians have engaged in violence/terrorism/confrontation" are crude generalizations that blame the victim.

    The Palestinians have lived in tents and refugee camps since 1948! That is astounding.

    America's ability to project global power: Iraq Parts I & II, Afghanistan, humanitarian relief efforts, trade, etc. must truly frustrate many Palestinians because for all our power, we have not yet enabled the creation of a Palestinian nation.

    That is the crux of the matter: a home for these homeless people. Now!

    May 16, 2008 at 12:30 pm |
  9. Saani Tucker

    why is it that when ever the republicans are down a bin laden tape comes out. dekalb IL

    May 16, 2008 at 12:30 pm |
  10. Justin, Chicago

    What? The last time I remember bin Laden released a tape was 4 years ago during the Bush reelection. Is it just me or doesn’t it look obvious that Al Qaeda is working for the Republicans.

    May 16, 2008 at 12:27 pm |
  11. b. zakiyyah

    the president makes stupid remarks about american senators and UO POPS BIN LADEN. HE MUST BE SAYING TO HIMSELF "LIFE IS HARD, BUT IT'S EVEN HARDER WHEN YOU'RE STUPID"

    May 16, 2008 at 11:58 am |
  12. Gordon Leeuwrik

    Mr. Siegel, the Israelis have received $3B/year in aid plus weapons and ammunition from the USA. Would they have been able to build themselves into such a wonderful modern state without this? Additionally, if they are such a wonderful nation providing technology and medicine to the world, could they please give the USA taxpayers a break and indicate to the next president that they don't need this handout.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:48 am |
  13. Art

    Ok. Why have we not caught this guy? Well it is simple. The US does not want him caught. If he is caught the war against terrorism is over. This government wants to keep Americans stimulated on issues of fear to make this country run.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:48 am |
  14. Travis (Canada)

    Better go hide Bin Laden. John McCain says he's going to have your butt by 2013. That bode this question, if McSame knows where you are, why isn't he the great liberator and finding you now....oh my, politics.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:46 am |
  15. Anthony Oweh

    * brave dont hide*

    May 16, 2008 at 11:41 am |
  16. Marsha

    America ! Here they go again. The Republicans have no focus , no direction and no plan. Now it is time for them to do what they do best, scare the masses and divert attention from the real issues. Be weary of this Bin Ladin tape, check out the timing.The tape comes the day after Bush's attemps to scare America and Israel about Barack Obama. Hey ! whatever happened to the "Terror Elerts", what is the code for today? We used to see them every day, now they seemed to have dissapeared after the 2004 Presidential Election. I suspect the Boogey Man will be making more frequent visits between now and November.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:41 am |
  17. Bob

    CNN, why did you twist the title of your front page to slant it? According to your own article, Bin Laden's statement was titled "The Causes of Conflict on the 60th Anniversary of the State of Israeli Occupation". That was the point of his statements.

    But you seem intent on reinforcing ludicrous claim that Al Qaeda's reason for their 9/11 attack was because "they hate our freedoms and values". Al Qaeda has repeatedly explained that their attack was in response to our foreign policy of supporting middle east dictators and unconditional support for Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands (in opposition to many UN mandates).

    Al Qaeda is clearly a radical organization with extremist views and actions. But we cannot win against an enemy if we keep lying to our own people about why they are fighting us.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:40 am |
  18. Marcia

    Sixty years ago the West, in the throes of post Holocaust guilt, supported the creation of the Israeli state in a manner that totally ignored the rights of the current occupants of the land. This is an example of the typical blindness of the west to peoples of color: the Zionist returners were whiter than the Palestinians.

    How different might history have been had the Jewish state been created in Montana (for example), with UN-negotiated treaties favorable to Palestine ensuring the right of peoples of all faiths to make pilgrimage to the historic sites of the holy land.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:39 am |
  19. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    When will the new show a new picture of Bin Laden. You give his people hope when they see a picture like the one on this article looking young or you see him walking down the hill with stick. Find some new pictures or videos PLEASE

    May 16, 2008 at 11:39 am |
  20. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This propaganda serves no purpose. 8 years and not captured by this Bush administration and America is still no safer. You figure it out for yourself.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:37 am |
  21. Mickey

    I may be way off base, but the picture that is posted on CNN seems like the face is a little younger and the beard compared to previous photos had a lot more gray. Does anyone else think this is a different man but only looks a lot like Bin Laden? Maybe it is just the profile that throws it off for me.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:35 am |
  22. Zach

    Christopher: Good point; Bin Laden only makes things seem more lop-sided when he gives the issue an even more extremist stigma. However, there is also a few other reasons to be considered as to why the issue is seen as Good against Evil. Obviously western media plays a part but there's also Israel's persistent offers for peace–even following a war in which they were attacked–followed by aggression and terrorism. There are valid reasons as to why the western world sees the struggle as Good against Evil; and as someone who desperately wants peace in Israel it is disheartening but just a matter of fact, in my opinion.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:34 am |
  23. Jason-KY

    Thanks GW. We really need to have a person like this around to remind us that we did not do what needed to be done in the first place.

    I'm glad FDR and Truman had their priorities straight. I would hate to see the world today if we had let Hitler and Japan off the hook.

    Once again thanks alot GW, each of our fallen heros thank you from the bottom of our hearts, oh yea the First Responders of NY also thank you. Idiot.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:34 am |
  24. Kevin

    Well I thought bush said we did not have to worry about bin Laden, or was he wrong again.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:32 am |
  25. Anthony Oweh

    It baffles me to hear the Coward call Bin laden calling on his partners-in-crime to liberate the people of Palestine when he is in a hide out.
    Brave people hide and urging people to kill all in the name of seing his so called 12 Virgins. Why doesn't he want to meet these so called 12 virgins if there is anything of such........hmmmmmmmmm all you that believes and follow his satanic doctrines should for once ask yourselves these questions before you engage yourselves in self destruction. Please laden or whatever you call yourself, come out of your self prison, in order to lead your followers to liberate your over grown beard to make you look human again.

    Anthony from Dallas TX

    May 16, 2008 at 11:32 am |
  26. Ruth -Az

    Has anybody noticed that every time we are in a major election year vidio's start to surfacing about messages from bin Laden.
    I wonder, will this frighten people enough into voting for a president who will give us another 4 years of the current administration.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:32 am |
  27. Pete

    I do not care to see him on the cover of CNN ever again...he's nothing more than a murderer...

    May 16, 2008 at 11:32 am |
  28. George

    When will you all come to realize, that Osama is dead, and you are being manipulated. As for the colonialist behavior of Israel, remember, the oppressed are the ones who receive additional favor from God. Sounds familiar doesn't.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:31 am |
  29. Dan

    The US should ind the individuals who are broadcasting this stuff, torture them to get the location of were these tapes are made then go in and kill him, if anybody needs a voluntier to pull the trigger let me know.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:30 am |
  30. Sol


    May 16, 2008 at 11:29 am |


    May 16, 2008 at 11:29 am |
  32. andrew stromotich

    as christopher said: The promotion of the statements of bin Laden are the type which only further fuel this Good against Evil mindset.

    i totally agree. i do not support bin laden and he does not respresent my support of the palestinian people and the end to this apartied regieme.

    as macleans magazine (canada's "time") points out:

    "Within one or two decades, the number of Muslim and Christian Arabs living under Israeli control (including in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel itself) will surpass the number of Israeli Jews. When that happens, if there is still no Palestinian state (and in the absence of large-scale ethnic cleansing), Israelis will be forced to choose between two futures. Their country will either be Jewish, but not democratic — in other words, a Jewish minority will control a land mostly inhabited by Palestinians — or Israel will be democratic, but not Jewish..."

    in order for israel to survive, aparthied must end, and it must end before it reaches the level of holocaust (israel is now engaged in starving the people of gaza in a collective punishment of civillians that has left palestinians surviving on less calories per day than even the poorest african nations)

    May 16, 2008 at 11:28 am |
  33. Yvan Tremblay

    Is he still relevant? Could he have an impact? He is just a mass murderer on the run to whom we should not give much credibility.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:28 am |
  34. Laura from PA

    Why does CNN even give Bin Laden a venue to promote his hateful message? What's wrong with you? You play right into his evil intentions. WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU!? If you want to report the news, why don't you say, "Bin Laden once again releases a tape promoting terrorism and violence. And since that's not news, will not offer a platform promoting this murderous criminal's message of hate and intolerance."

    You glorify this demon when you broadcast his evil for him. You may as well admit to being part of his terroristic network, because, in effect, that's exactly what you are! THAT'S WHAT"S WRONG WITH YOU! Reporting of this kind is unconscionable and disgusting!

    May 16, 2008 at 11:28 am |
  35. karen from philly

    I find this very suspicious that Bin Laden speaks at the same time that G Bush spoke to the Knesset.

    Bush bashes the Dems in front of the World, how disgusting and unpatriotic he is towards his fellow congressmen. He is the least patriotic of all presidents. I am really ashamed of Bush.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:27 am |
  36. Len

    This is just another message from yet another fanatical nut job trying to ispire other fanatical nut jobs in order to help him bring strict Islamic law to every inch of land that he can. It's about power – not about the power of palestinians...he doesn't give a rat's glutes about them but he does want power.

    I can't believe to this day that the richest, most powerful nation in the world cannot find this guy. Unbelieveable!! I've said it before and I'll say it again...I won't be happy until I see this guy's head on a stick on the White House lawn!

    May 16, 2008 at 11:26 am |
  37. John

    The Bin Laden family is one of the richest families in Saudi Arabia, so why is it that he does not use his wealth to promote his ideas, but rather he uses violence to create havoc in the region. I would like to see Bin Laden and his followers answer that question.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:18 am |
  38. Grant

    Nobody should be surprised that Bin Laden would issue this broadside. As other posters have written ... what is very perplexing is that this thug is still around to issue these broadsides and has a way to do it. It's just illogical that the civilized world can't capture this thug and otherwise shut him up. The ISP's who are providing bin Laden a place to post these broadsides are aiding and abetting a criminal -it is not a question of free speech. Crime is crime and these ISPs should either be co-operating with back tracking these tapes to OBL's location or be shut down.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:17 am |
  39. Annie Kate

    It must be hard to stay relevant when you have to hide all the time. As much as bin Laden likes attention, I think he would pick up any issue and embrace it to keep his name alive and his movement growing. Muslims are ill served by him and other extremists like him. With peace it is possible to develop areas for people to live and work; with war there is no creation except that of hate.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 16, 2008 at 11:15 am |
  40. Ron

    Why do these people (Muslims) not understand that they are dying for a coward in a cave. Wake up people , let him throw his own stones but he will not, he is very frightened the what happened to his pal Hussein will happen to himself. Hey for your sorry sake , you better stay in that cave .

    Another thing I cannot understand is that these people have been fighting for ever and keep on losing, every intelligent person knows that if you keep on losing YOU QUIT!!!

    May 16, 2008 at 11:15 am |
  41. Jerico McClure

    Good morning, I agree with the comments of what one of the other posters said. Osma Bin Laden does seem to have his timing for putting out alarming audio commentary, down perfectly. His timing is so perfect, (which seems to be during every pivital U.S. election) that it makes you wonder if he is actually secretly lying in bed with the republican party particularly, with the Bush Dynasty.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:11 am |
  42. A Khan

    I don't beleive in his statement. Because Palestine has christians, jews & muslims & they are seeking for their independence. This is also noticable that we are not finding him & his tape comes in a timely manner. This is a BIG question how this is happening.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:10 am |
  43. roger

    if Bin Laden knew he knows sorry that he does not time anymore because when this happen the end is here. It must happen so says God in the bible. Israel never will fall dow bcause it is gods folk. It will be happen like Irak with Iran. Iran is Goliath and Israel David

    May 16, 2008 at 11:08 am |
  44. Kelvin Moses

    Another reminder that Osama is still alive and President Bush's failure as a President. Every American should be outrage that this man has killed over 3000 Americans and is still free from justice Because our President had another adjenda. IRAQ

    May 16, 2008 at 11:06 am |
  45. Mik

    First, Obama should be elected,that will untie terrorist's hands.Than Bin Laden will be invited to the White House for discassing how to do it.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:02 am |
  46. Gordon Leeuwrik

    When George Bush is in Israel addressing the Knesset and calling them the "most important democracy" and "God's chosen people", is it any wonder that Bin Laden (and others) counter with a different message. First, when the occupied territories are included (which Israel dominates and controls), Israel is a theocratic democracy, meaning that you have representation in the government if you are Jewish. Second, why would God make all the different people in the world and then choose only one group to be his people? Third, why is that only in the books written by the Jewish people is it declared that God chose them to be His people?

    May 16, 2008 at 10:58 am |
  47. Christopher

    What is extremely saddening regarding this issue is that by bin Laden making these types of statements the mainstream media will take as the issue of Palestine is only one of Extremists and Terrorists. When in fact this is an issue of two cultures laying claim to one piece of land. I repeat, two cultures laying this claim. It is not a case of Good Guys against Bad Guys, these are human beings which should be treated fairly and not by double standards.

    The promotion of the statements of bin Laden are the type which only further fuel this Good against Evil mindset.

    May 16, 2008 at 10:54 am |
  48. rich siegel

    For 60 years, the Palestinians have chosen armed struggle over constructive peaceful negotiation. They murder innocent civilians, engage in terrorism and sabotage every opportunity for progress.
    It has brought them nothing but pain and misery. Israel, on the other hand, has built a first world nation that provides technology and medicine to advance the cause of civilization. Could there be a lesson here?

    May 16, 2008 at 10:49 am |
  49. Eusvank

    Did Bin Laden happen to tell the jihadists where exactly they should go to liberate/free Palestine?

    May 16, 2008 at 10:39 am |
  50. Cindy

    I was wondering when we'd hear from Osama again. He always seems to release a tape when something major is happening. He just has that timing right on spot.

    I can't see how he can get these tapes out yet we still can't find him. He is really slick!

    May 16, 2008 at 10:29 am |
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