Arlene Kushner’s new book, Disclosed: Inside the Palestinian Authority and the PLO (available in the Frontpage bookstore), demonstrates the huge gulf that exists between what the Palestinian leadership says for foreign consumption and what it actually does -- and intends to do.
Kushner, an investigative journalist with the Israel Resource News Agency in Jerusalem who emigrated from the United States to Israel two years ago, warns that this knowledge gap poses a very real danger not just to Israel, but also for the United States and other Western democracies seeking a secure peace in the Middle East. And while some of the passages may arouse anger, others are downright frightening.
In her book, Kushner provides the reader with an historical overview of the PLO prior to the 1993 Oslo Accords, showing how it received assistance and learned its terrorism techniques in Cuba, Vietnam, China, Algeria and the former Soviet Union. After showing the reader how the KGB trained Palestinians in guerrilla tactics in Cuba (a relationship the PLO still actively maintains), Kushner explains how Arafat’s phased approach to destroying Israel was learned from the North Vietnamese and from the war in Algeria in the 1960s. With additional aid from the Soviet Union and former Eastern Bloc countries, as well as Red China, Iran and Iraq, the author reveals how the PLO managed to create a power base for itself in the Middle East that has affected world geopolitics for the last 40 years.
After profiting from the experience of the revolutionary world, the PLO itself then became a purveyor of terrorism techniques to other groups worldwide. Kushner provides a list of PLO-trained terrorist organizations, which includes Germany’s Baader-Meinhoff Gang, the Basque Separatists in Spain, Italy’s Red Brigades, the Japanese Red Army, the IRA and a Puerto Rican terrorist group responsible for over 100 bombings in the US. Also included among them is al-Qaida. The PLO has even trained American neo-Nazis in its camps. Kushner also shows the PLO’s unceasing support of Saddam Hussein and its perpetuation of terror despite the organization’s later acceptance by the West in a desperate attempt to effect a peace settlement.
Kushner’s book also clearly delineates how skyjackings and terrorist attacks against Israelis and their allies worldwide were discarded, as the PLO switched from the “Total Liberation” approach of immediately trying to destroy Israel to a “Phased Program,” the strategy officially in use by the PLO today in its governance of the Palestinian Authority. Kushner reveals how the “Phased Program” proves that the current peace process is really not valid by quoting Yasser Arafat: “Since we cannot defeat Israel in stages, we take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish a sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.” Western readers are unlikely ever to read or hear such quotes in the mainstream media that are spoken almost daily in Arabic in the Middle East.
Kushner then takes us into the PLO’s strategy for use in the West. The goal is to present the PLO and Palestinian Movement, along with its pan-Arab allies, a population of 250,000,000 Arabs that are constantly threatening Israel’s 4.9 million Jews with annihilation, as a struggle for “liberation.” Huwaida Arraf, a Palestinian activist and propaganda strategist explains it by saying, “Wipe out the impression that in the struggle between the Palestinians and the Zionists (Jews), the Zionist is the underdog. Now it is the Arab who is oppressed and victimized in his existence because he is not only facing the Zionists, but also world imperialism.”
And world imperialism is meant to imply the United States. This strategy includes demoralizing Israel's population by constant terrorism, killing and by destroying the Israeli economy in the process. Israel’s allies are also not immune, even when they supply millions of dollars in aid to help the Palestinian Authority.
Examples of incitement to violence are carefully detailed in the book. They were taken from Palestinian television, radio, newspapers and sermons, and originate from government-appointed religious leaders who preach to the Palestinian Authority population to: “Have no mercy on the Jews, murder them everywhere.” Children’s textbooks, the internet, even crossword puzzles in government-controlled newspapers, are geared to inciting the population to murder Jews as a means of dismantling Israel and turning it into another Muslim-dominated state.
American taxpayers, who are aware that the U.S. government just gave an additional 20 million dollars in foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority, even after its leadership refused to bring to justice the murderers of four American security people killed in a recent terrorist attack in Gaza, will probably become incensed when reading about the PLO’s finances and holdings. Besides legitimate businesses, the PLO, through various holding companies, has built, since the creation of the PA, a financial empire involved in organized crime; drugs; counterfeiting; money laundering; arms smuggling; terrorism for a price; protection rackets; and in graft on a scale that is truly shocking. The PLO even owns more than one airline as well as duty free shops that it uses for illegal financial transactions between countries. Kushner accurately lays out the organizational structure and company names that are never discussed in the mainstream media.
Meanwhile, little of this money makes its way to the average Palestinian, going instead into Arafat’s personal fortune and those of his top level cronies. Yet, foreign aid money keeps pouring in from the United States and the EU to the tune of 65 million dollars a month or more, part of which also gets stolen by the Palestinian leadership. And there is always money for weapons to kill Israelis, instead of for the necessities of life for the people the PLO claims to represent.
The PLO’s activities are also not just limited to violent acts against Israel with one random attack on Americans. The book outlines continuous acts and incitement of violence by the Palestinian Authority against the United States. Meanwhile, the CIA, under the US State Department, for the second time, is training Palestinian police in counterinsurgency tactics from bomb making to military sniping techniques that, instead of controlling terrorism, are used by Palestinians to kill American soldiers in the insurgency war in Iraq.
Kushner supplies a biography and detailed information about Yasser Arafat, but, perhaps even more informative, she also provides a Who’s Who list, with detailed profiles, of the rest of the PLO and Palestinian Authority leadership who share in Arafat’s graft and his undying passion to destroy Israel. In a disturbing picture, the key players of the PLO and PA are revealed to the reader as a gang of thieves and murderers, resembling more an international mafia rather than founding fathers of a new country soon to join the world of civilized nations. Money, murder and mayhem are their goals, definitely not a peaceful settlement. Many of these players the U.S. government has sought out as partners to ensure a peace but are shown to have a greater financial stake in war. Few books have ever described each individual within the PLO and PA leadership, along with his past and current functions, in such detail.
Likewise, all the individual terrorist groups still running around in the Palestine Authority with its blessing and financial help, such as Fatah, Hamas, Palestine Islamic Jihad, Al Aksa Martyr’s Brigades, and many others are also identified for the reader. Kushner shows how they all work in coordination under Arafat’s ultimate leadership. An organizational appendix even includes smaller factions that are seldom read or heard about in the Western media. Propaganda organizations responsible for promoting the PA abroad and for working with overseas organizations seeking to destroy Israel are also well-profiled, giving a strong overview of how sophisticated the PLO leadership is in manipulating public opinion as it undertakes activities that only can promote unending war.
Disclosed: Inside the Palestinian Authority and the PLO provides a valuable insight into and a critical understanding of the PLO leadership and the Palestinian Authority it now runs. As a result, it is an excellent primer for law enforcement personnel, students, historians, political scientists and activists interested in obtaining a detailed knowledge of these two organizations. It is also a superb book for anyone generally wanting to learn about the inner workings of the PLO.
But, in the end, Kushner’s work is a must read for anyone possessing a true desire to see peace established in the Middle East. Failure to comprehend the PLO and the PA is to run the risk of creating yet another Iran in that volatile area. As a result, Kushner deserves credit for covering her topic in one concise book. Hopefully, the world will read it before it is too late.