Bin Laden urged associates to stress Palestinian cause

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Osama bin Laden chided terrorists in his network for not making the Palestinian cause a primary issue.

"It was necessary to discuss Palestine first," the terrorist leader, assassinated last year in a U.S. operation, said after a December 2009 suicide attack on a CIA base in Afghanistan.

The attackers instead had said the attack was revenge for killing a Pakistani Taliban leader.

That statement and others like it were in a cache of documents made available by U.S. authorities to the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, who included them in a column on Friday.

Bin Laden did not make Palestine an issue until the early 2000s, focusing in  the 1990s on the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia as his primary reason for targeting Americans. Some analysts have suggested that his decision to emphasize Palestine was tactical, made in the wake of the attention generated by the second intifada. Ignatius’ revelations suggest the terrorist leader had come to attach ideological import to the issue.

The al-Qaida leader also said that President Obama’s decision to abandon the language of his predecessor, George W. Bush, who described a "war on terror," had damaged the terrorist organization. He said Obama officials "have largely stopped using the phrase ‘the war on terror’ in the context of not wanting to provoke Muslims."

By naming al-Qaida as the enemy, the Obama administration had diminished its popularity, he said.

Bin Laden’s spokesman, Adam Gadahn, advised him to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks with a video statement to U.S. media — but not to the Fox News Channel.

"As for Fox News, let her die in her anger," said the former Adam Pearlman, an American born a Christian, and whose grandfather was Jewish.

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