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Veering Off the Road Map By: Morton A. Klein
ZOA.org | Wednesday, October 08, 2003


BACKGROUND:

On June 24, 2002, President Bush set forth the conditions that the Palestinian Arabs must fulfill in order to merit U.S. support for the creation of a Palestinian Arab state. Among the major obligations are that the Palestinian Arabs must "dismantle the terrorist infrastructure," "end incitement," "elect new leaders not compromised by terror," and unequivocally embrace democracy and free market economics. None of those conditions were fulfilled.

In March 2003, Yasser Arafat chose Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), the number two man in the PLO since the 1960s, as the new prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. Mazen took office on April 29, 2003. Less than a day later, the Bush administration unveiled its "Road Map" plan, which set forth conditions that the Palestinian Arabs must fulfill prior to the creation of a Palestinian Arab state.

On September 6, 2003, Abbas resigned; the next day, Arafat named his replacement-- Ahmed Qurei, speaker of the PA's Legislative Council and number three man in the PLO. On October 6, 2003, Qurei was officially named prime minister of the PA.

The Road Map requires the Palestinian Arabs to undertake concrete steps to combat terrorist groups and democratize Palestinian Arab society. Those obligations, which are quoted below, were supposed to have been fulfilled during Phase 1 of the Road Map, which concluded at the end of May 2003, but they were not.

This report analyzes Palestinian Arab violations of those obligations during the 23rd week following the unveiling of the Road Map plan, Sept. 30 - Oct. 6, 2003.


I. "Cease All Violence"

What They Are Required to Do: The Road Map states: "In Phase 1 [May 2003], the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence." They did not do so.

What They Did During Week #23: During week #23, Sept. 30 - Oct.6, 2003, there were at least 16 terrorist attacks or attempted attacks, in which 19 people were murdered and 67 wounded.

(During the first 23 weeks since the Road Map was issued, there have been a total of 555 Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks or attempted attacks, in which 115 people were murdered and 610 wounded.)

September 30: Bomb attack on an Israeli Army patrol near Netzer Hazanni.

October 1: Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers near Rafiah ... Grenade attack on Israeli soldiers near Rafiah.

October 2: Car bomb intercepted near Shechem (Nablus).

October 3: Attack on Israelis in Hebron; two wounded ... Attack on Israeli motorists near Beitar Illit ... Two shooting attacks on Rafah Yam ...Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers near the Israel-Egypt border ... Three anti-tank missiles fired at Israeli soldiers near Rafiah ... Three mortar rockets fired at an Israeli neighborhood in Gush Katif.

October 4: Suicide bombing in a Haifa restaurant; 19 murdered, 65 wounded ... Bomb planted near Rafiah ... Bomb planted near the Sufa Crossing perimeter fence.

October 5: Mortar rockets fired at Morag.

October 6: Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in Gaza.


II. "Call for Recognizing Israel and Ending Violence"

What They Are Required to Do: The Road Map obligates the Palestinian Arabs to "issue an unequivocal statement reiterating Israel's right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional cease-fire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere."

What They Did During Week #23: No such statement was issued. On June 4, speaking at the Aqaba summit, then-prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) said, "We repeat our renunciation of terrorism against the Israelis wherever they might be." But PA Minister of Information Nabil Amr explained (Doha Al-Jazira Television, June 14, 2003): "As regards the word 'terrorism', I do not know why when the Palestinians denounce the word terrorism, certain people think that this means resistance. There is no text anywhere that says that the Palestinian people's resistance is terrorism, which we denounce...Yes, we denounce terrorism. Anyone who says that denouncing terrorism means denouncing resistance is doing an injustice to legitimate resistance and is in effect labeling it with terrorism."


III. "Arrest, Disrupt, and Restrain Terrorists"

What They Are Required to Do: The Road Map obligates the Palestinian Arabs to "undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere."

What They Did During Week #23: In July 2003, there were several media reports of small numbers of terrorists being arrested by the PA, but then quickly released. The Jerusalem Post reported on July 21, 2003, that a senior Israeli Army official "said sometimes 'they [the PA police] arrest a militant under the most comfortable conditions possible and release him' within hours. The longest a militant has been held, he said, is four days." There have been no additional reports of arrests since July.


IV. "Confiscate Terrorists' Weapons"

What They Are Required to Do: The Road Map obligates the Palestinian Arabs to "commence confiscation of illegal weapons."

What They Did During Week #23: On August 24, 2003, in response to U.S. pressure, the PA announced that it had sealed up several underground tunnels used to smuggle weapons from Egypt to Palestinian Arab terrorists in Gaza. But Israeli government spokesman Dr. Dore Gold said: "The way to deal with the tunnels, which have been the main conduit for smuggling weapons, is to blow them up, and not shovel some sand at the Rafah exit point in front of a bunch of cameras. It's more for show than it is a turning point in Palestinian security policy." (New York Times, Aug. 24, 2003) There have been no subsequent reports of any tunnel shutdowns.

Similarly, in mid-July, there were media reports that PA security forces had confiscated 20 illegal weapons from individuals in Gaza. Israel Radio reported on July 12 that the individuals were common criminals, not terrorists. On July 14, after media reports claiming that PA policemen were searching cars for weapons, a "senior PA security official" denied the reports, telling the Jerusalem Post: "What you saw on television was not real; it was part of a drill. We carried out an exercise with the participation of 600 policemen. That's all." (Jerusalem Post, July 15, 2003) There have been no subsequent reports of any confiscations.


V. "Dismantle the Terrorist Infrastructure"

What They Are Required to Do: The Road Map obligates the Palestinian Arabs to carry out the "dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure."

What They Did During Week #23: The PA did not outlaw Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, or any other terrorist groups; there were no reports of the PA shutting down any bomb factories or terrorists' training camps; the PA continued to ignore Israel's 45 requests for the extradition of terrorists; there were no reports of the PLO leadership punishing PLO factions that are engaged in terrorism, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).


VI. "End All Incitement"

What They Are Required to Do: The Road Map requires that "all official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel."

What They Did During Week #23: The PA's official newspapers, television, and radio continued to broadcast a steady stream of anti-Israel, anti-American, and pro-violence incitement, and PA officials continued to make inciting statements. In addition, there was no change in the PA's policy of inciting support for terror by publicly praising terrorists, naming streets after them, and paying salaries to imprisoned terrorists and their families.

For example, on September 30, 2003, the official PA newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah, published a cartoon glorifying anti-Israel violence. It celebrated the beginning of the fourth years of the Palestinian Arab war against Israel, showing a huge Arab arm with an Israeli squirming in pain, trapped in its fist. The harm has three large muscles, representing the first three years of the war, and then a fourth, smaller muscle that is just beginning to grow. (Courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch)


VII. "End Arab States' Support for Terror"

What They Are Required to Do: The Road Map states that during May 2003, "Arab states cut off public and private funding and all other forms of support for groups supporting and engaging in violence and terror."

What They Did During Week #23: There were no reports of any Arab states cutting off their support for Palestinian Arab terrorist groups. On the contrary, the Palestinian Arab newspaper Jerusalem Times reported on September 18, 2003, that Jordan, which had previously acceded to a U.S. request to "refrain from dealing" with Hamas leaders and Hamas support groups and freeze their bank accounts, has now "retracted its decision."


VIII. "Consolidate Security Forces"

What They Are Required to Do: The Road Map obligates the Palestinian Arabs to undertake "consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption"; and "all Palestinian security organizations are consolidated into three services reporting to an empowered interior minister."

What They Did During Week #23: The Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported on May 5, 2003, that "five different PA security organizations, including Force 17 and the General Intelligence, remain under the direct command of Chairman Yasser Arafat" and have not been consolidated under the control of the Interior Minister. Military Intelligence, the National Security Forces, and the naval forces are also under Arafat's control. Only the remaining two security agencies are under the Interior Minister. Arafat's five are under the control of a newly-created agency, the National Security Council, chaired by Arafat and his close aide Hanni al-Hassan.


IX. "Institute Democratic Reforms"

What They Are Required to Do: The Road Map requires the Palestinian Arabs to undertake a number of steps to transform their brutal, corrupt dictatorial regime into a full-fledged democracy, including "action on a credible process to draft constitution for Palestinian statehood"; the holding of "free, open, and fair elections"; and "steps to achieve genuine separation of powers, including any necessary Palestinian legal reforms for this purpose."

What They Did During Week #23: No such steps were taken.

Morton A. Klein is the National President of the Zionist Organization of America.


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