Media reports have repeatedly named six Palestinian Authority officials as the individuals most likely to succeed Yasir Arafat as chairman of the PA. (Two of them, Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Qurei, were recently mentioned by Arafat himself as possible successors – see Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Feb. 8, 2002.)
1. MAHMOUD ABBAS Abbas, 65, also known as Abu Mazen, is second-in-command at the Palestinian Authority. He has not publicly criticized the PAs 17-month long terrorist war against Israel.
Nazis may not have killed six million Jews: Abbas is the author of a book called The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and the Zionist Movement, in which he asserts that there is no definitive proof that the Nazis murdered six million Jews; that Jewish leaders have exaggerated the number of Holocaust deaths in order to reap financial gains; and that the Zionist movement collaborated with the Nazis to murder Jews in order to gain sympathy for the creation of the State of Israel. (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 26, 1995)
2. AHMED QUREI Qurei, 63, is Speaker of Arafats Palestinian Legislative Council. He has not publicly criticized the PAs 17-month long terrorist war against Israel.
Threatening mass violence against Israel: Qurei, in an interview with the Tunisian newspaper Al Sabach (quoted in Haaretz, Dec. 6, 1996) said: If Israel does not honor the agreements, the Palestinians will also ask for Haifa, Jaffa, and Safed [cities within Israels pre-1967 borders] The response to the continuation of the occupation will be more dangerous than the intifada the arms available and the organizing is better than in the past The alternative to peace will be bad for the Israelis, something which they do not want. The Palestinian people will oppose the occupation, from children to adults, including the Palestinian police. The Israelis must know that the Palestinians have many options and choices.
Israeli flag-burning demonstration: Qurei walked over a freshly burned Israeli flag during a protest in Ramallah [on July 12, 1997] A TV camera caught Palestinian protesters burning an Israeli flag as leading Palestinian Authority and PLO officials watched. Witnesses said Qurei smiled as he watched two Palestinian men burn the flag and then stepped over its charred remains. [Cabinet Secretary Danny] Naveh called the act disgraceful and said it angered all Israelis and Jews. (Jerusalem Post, July 13, 1997)
Lied about Arafats anti-Israel speeches: When asked in 1995 about Arafats many anti-Israel speeches, Qurei replied that Arafat never made any such speeches. (Moment, August 1995)
Balfour Declaration a mistake: In November 2002, during a visit to the region by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Qurei said he hoped Blair would take steps to correct the historic mistake that Britain committed against Palestinians through the Balfour Declaration in 1917. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 14, 2001) [The Balfour Declaration was Britains pledge to help create a Jewish National Home in the Land of Israel. Calling it a mistake is tantamount to saying that the creation of the State of Israel was a mistake.]
3. MARWAN BARGHOUTI Barghouti, 42, has been secretary-general of Arafats Fatah movement (the largest member-organization of the PLO) in Judea-Samaria since 1994. Barghouti actually lost in the last election for Fatah secretary-general, but Arafat canceled the election results so that Barghouti could remain in power. Since 1996, Barghouti has also served as a member of Arafats Palestinian Legislative Council, representing the Ramallah district.
Jailed for anti-Israel terrorism: During the 1980s, Barghouti was leader of the student body at Bir Zeit University. He served a prison sentence in Israel because of his terrorist activities, and was then deported to Jordan in 1987.
In charge of the terror war against Israel: According to Avi Dichter, director of the Israels General Security Services, Barghouti is in charge of the ongoing terrorist war against Israel and is on Israels list wanted terrorists. (Jerusalem Post, July 18, 2001)
Israel seeks Barghoutis extradition: On September 23, 2001, the Israeli government formally asked the PA to surrender Barghouti for prosecution. (Jerusalem Post, Sept.24, 2001)
Arafats Fatah is same as its Tanzim terrorist war: Asked about the relationship between Fattah and the Tanzim units that carry out much of the violence, Barghouti replied: All of the Fatah is the Tanzim. We have the structure. I am the General Secretary of the Tanzim in the West Bank. (IMRA, Oct.3, 2000) Similarly, when asked by the New York Jewish Week (July 13, 2001) What is the difference between Fatah and Tanzim?, Barghouti replied: There is no difference; they are the same thing.
Supports violence in Tel Aviv as well as in Judea-Samaria: Barghouti has said that Palestinian Arabs have the right to resist Israeli occupation within the 1967 borders. (Jerusalem Times, Dec.14, 2001) In a discussion with Haaretz (Nov.9, 2001) about whether Fatah would restrict its terrorism to Area A, that is, the Judea-Samaria-Gaza territories, Barghouti replied: For me, Ramallah and Tel Aviv are now Area A. The same.
Supports drive-by shootings to murder Jews: Asked about drive-by shootings by Palestinian Arabs against Israeli vehicles, Barghouti said its self-defense. Interviewer: Its self-defense to shoot people traveling on a road? Barghouti: Of course. (New York Jewish Week, July 13, 2001)
More statements promoting murder of Jews: On April 16, 1998, Arafats official Voice of Palestine radio station broadcast a speech by Marwan Barghouti, in which he said: The rifle of Fatah, the rifle carried by the Palestinian people which ignited the revolution, will not be buried Brothers and sisters, I swear, I swear, I swear by the blood of the jihad and the blood of our nations martyrs.
In an interview with the Israeli news agency IMRA on May 17, 1998, Barghouti was asked about recent Palestinian Arab demonstrations in which models of Israeli towns in the territories were exploded:
IMRA: Blowing up models of settlements is in order to encourage people to resist the settlements?
Barghouti: Yes. And I think that we have the legitimacy to resist the settlement policy.
IMRA: To blow up settlements?
Barghouti: To fight, to resist the settlements.
IMRA: So that would include blowing them up.
Barghouti: Everything. Because the settlement policy is terrorism. We have the right to fight against the terrorism.
In 1997, Barghouti said: It is peaceful to throw stones. (Jerusalem Post, April 2, 1997) He also said: It also isnt written there [in the Oslo accords] that there has to be an end to the armed struggle. (Haaretz, March 30, 1997) On October 9, 1994, Palestinian Arab terrorists machine-gunned cafe-goers in downtown Jerusalem, killing two and wounding 13. Barghouti avoided comment when asked about the attack. (Jerusalem Post, October 11, 1994)