NEW YORK – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly criticized the State Department for refusing to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority were the sponsors of the “ship of terror” that tried to bring 80 tons of weapons to the PA.
– The captain of the ship, Omar Akawi, has publicly admitted that he was assigned to the mission by a senior Palestinian Authority official in Greece, Adal Awadallah.
– The ship is owned by the PA.
– The captain and senior crew members were all PA naval officials, and the captain is a 25-year veteran of Arafat’s own Fatah movement.
– The ship was sailing towards the PA-occupied Gaza Strip.
The Jerusalem Post reported (Jan. 8, 2002): “U.S. officials are concerned that a definitive link between the PA and the ship could thwart their efforts to foster fresh talks and would make it harder for the Bush administration to persuade Israel to continue to deal with Arafat. Israel Army Radio, quoting “American sources,” reported (Jan. 8, 2002) that it is “clear to the US government” that the ship “was destined for the Palestinian Authority,” but the U.S. has refrained from issuing a statement indicating such in order to restrain potential Israeli military or diplomatic response directed at the PA.”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “The State Department’s position is completely at odds with President Bush’s declared policy of ‘zero tolerance’ for terrorism and sponsors of terrorism. We urge Bush’s State Department to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that Arafat and the PA are the sponsors of the ship of terror, and that Arafat’s PA is a terrorist regime with which the U.S. should have no relations.”