In Arafat's Footsteps
By: Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, May 26, 2005
"Abu Mazen talks about how important it is to stop terrorism, however, he considers all terrorists that have committed atrocities against Israel, as heroes,” said Brig-Gen. Yossi Kupperwasser, Chief Intelligence Analyst for the IDF, yesterday morning. He continued, “He [Abu Mazen] says that terrorism is not good, however, he takes no actions whatsoever to stop terrorism.” In fact, the Palestinian Authority (PA) under Abu Mazen “is not interested in implementing arrests, disarming terrorist groups from their weapons, punishing terrorists, or stopping the smuggling of weaponry.” Indeed, according to Prime Minister Sharon earlier this week, “terrorist activities have not yet ceased. The smuggling of weapons and arms production continues, and there is no real prevention of terrorist actions.”
Moreover, Mahmoud Abbas, who is better known under his nom de guerre, Abu Mazen, is continuing in Arafat’s footsteps and has done nothing to change the culture of hatred towards Israel that prevails in the Palestinian territories and encourages continuing terror attacks against Israel. According to Amnesty International’s recent report, “Palestinian armed groups have repeatedly shown total disregard for the most fundamental human rights, notably the right to life, by deliberately targeting Israeli civilians and by using Palestinian children in armed attacks.”
Even the reforms of the PA’s thirteen Security Services/terrorist organizations which were demanded by the United States, did not result in the dismantling of these terror organizations. Instead, Abbas continues to protect the terrorists by legitimizing them and by funding their activities from the PA’s budget. By combining the thirteen Security/terrorist organizations, Abbas has now created three military forces, which like their predecessors, continue to engage in terrorism, firing rockets almost daily on Israeli communities in the Negev.
The reform of the financial mismanagement of the PA is not fairing much better, despite years of demands for reform by the US and the EU. According to James Wolfensohn, the outgoing World Bank chief and the special envoy of the Quartet, the “Financial management within the Palestinian Authority…needs to demonstrate…security of management and…prudence of management and…transparency in expenditures…” But if the past is any indication, do not expect that the donors will stop financing the PA. Only last month, former commissioner Christopher Patten’s assistant Emma Unwin disclosed that “when we started giving direct budgetary assistance at the end of 2002 [after the start of the Intifada], we were dealing with a Palestinian Authority that had a very untransparent system of financial management.” This, however, did not prevent them from giving the PA’s “untransparent system” more than $2.5 billion of European taxpayers’ money, which in turn enabled the Palestinians to continue with their Intifada.
Observing the situation, one cannot escape the conclusion that we have seen and heard all this before. The only difference is that then it was Arafat and now it is Mahmoud Abbas that is giving us the run-around; and like the world did with Arafat before, it is giving Abbas a leeway, hoping that he, unlike Arafat, will fulfill his promises. But, judging by Abbas’ performance thus far, one should have little doubt that Abbas is nothing more than Arafat’s clone, only better spoken and better dressed.
Prime Minister Sharon stated, “Progress towards the Roadmap can be achieved only after the terrorist organizations are dismantled. Appeasing the terrorists and engaging them into the Palestinian political system will only strengthen them.”
Yet the U.S. is pressuring Israel to continue to appease the Palestinians despite the complete lack of action on the Palestinian’s side to fulfill any of their commitments to Israel. Moreover, when President Bush meets with Abu-Mazen tomorrow, he is about to offer more money directly to the still opaque Palestinian Authority. So now, American taxpayers’ money, too, is about to join the money that goes from the Europeans to the Palestinians to advance the unchanged and yet unchallenged terror agenda of the PA. One would have expected that President Bush had learned from his previous experience of trusting Abbas and giving him money. Soon after the President waived the law that banned direct US aid to the PA, showing confidence in Abbas’ administration in 2003, the terror and violence continued and Abbas had to resign. With Arafat gone, Abbas is unlikely to resign now, but there is little doubt that the violence will continue.
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, is Director of the American Center for Democracy (www.public-integrity.org), author of Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed - and How to Stop It, and a member of the Committee on the Present Danger.
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