Is Al Qaeda in Palestine?

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," October 4, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: "The Big Story" has details on a new terror video surfacing on the Internet.

A group calling itself "Al Qaeda in Palestine" posted the video on an Islamic Web site. The five-minute clip denounces those who "work in the service of Jews." The man in it also states his speech is directed against those who announce blasphemy against Islam and who are allied with the enemies of God and religion.

The video comes as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held a news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.

So, what is the message they're trying to send and does this mean that Al Qaeda is branching out to a new area? Terrorism expert David Katz joins me now.

I think we're used to the idea that Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan, it's in Iraq, it was here, it was in Germany, it's in Europe. Do we now have to worry about it being in the Palestinian territories?

DAVID KATZ, TERRORISM EXPERT: I think probably not. I think on balance, Al Qaeda has never really — except for purely P.R. purposes — they don't take an interest in the Palestinian cause. Plus the fact that Hamas, Fatah, they're so well entrenched. I don't see them just sitting idly by while Al Qaeda moves into their neighborhood. I don't think that is going to happen.

GIBSON: They wouldn't be natural allies?

KATZ: No, they wouldn't. There's the animus between the Sunni-Shia rift, No. 1. And No. 2, you know, what it comes down to is division of power and division of resource and ultimately money and Fatah and Hamas, they are going neck and neck at it now. Al Qaeda may feel they can capitalize on that rift, but I think when it comes down to it the Palestinians are not going to permit that to happen.

GIBSON: Even, you know, when I saw this story today, I thought, well what else is new. You would expect Al Qaeda to be there. Anywhere you can confront the West, you can confront America, you can confront the Israelis, you'd expect them to be there and in a way it's counterintuitive to hear you, an expert, say no, they're not there.

KATZ: They would love to be there because that's their stock and trade, disrupting otherwise — if there's any hope for peace, any possible diplomatic solution to a problem, they want to be in it and disrupt that. However, the difference here is that you have two entrenched organizations, Fatah and Hamas. I don't see them saying, OK, well look, you just move in, take a little portion and we'll relinquish our portion.

Each one of them are thumping their chest and trying to gain supremacy. And if you look at this tape, when it came out, it was very interesting, it was almost pushing the Hamas line, denouncing corruption in the P.A. And that really was the impetus to drive Hamas into power. I'm not so sure that this is a legitimate Al Qaeda operative.

This could be, you know, just Hamas attempting to defer some suspicion, whether who killed who and — at this point it's unclear, but I don't see them getting a foothold in the territories like that.

GIBSON: All right. Appreciate it. David Katz, terrorism expert. Keep an eye on Al Qaeda wherever they are. David, thank you.

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