NEW YORK – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly condemned two new State Department reports which ignore the overwhelming evidence that Yasir Arafat has been the leader of the Palestinian Arab terrorist campaign he launched in September 2000, during which he has been ordering, financing, and harboring killers of Jews.
In a letter to President Bush and Secretary of State Powell, ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, Chairman of the Board Dr. Alan Mazurek, and National Executive Committee chairman Dr. Michael Goldblatt wrote:
Once again, the State Department is misleading Congress and the American public by whitewashing Arafats murder of Jews. Despite the capture, in January, of Arafats 50-ton ship of terror weapons, and the capture, in April, of truckloads of documents signed by Arafat in which he orders terrorism and pays individual terrorists, the State Department continues to pretend that Arafat is innocent. The State Department also ignores the culture of anti-Jewish hatred and violence in Arafats school textbooks, in the 90 PA-sponsored summer camps, and in sermons by PA-appointed clergymen.
The State Departments policy is to protect Arafats image so that it can continue pressuring Israel to make one-sided concessions to him. This policy sends a message to Arafat and other Arab terrorists that the United States will tolerate his mass murder of Israeli men, women, and children, and that the U.S. will not respond strongly even to the murders of 29 of its own citizens by Palestinian Arab terrorists since 1993.
This is painfully reminiscent of how the United States refused to take any serious steps to respond to Kristallnacht, when the Nazis murdered Jews and destroyed thousands of synagogues and Jewish stores in 1938. Americas apathy sent a message to Hitler that he could persecute and murder Jews with no interference from the United States. In some ways, the U.S. response to Arafat is even more troubling, since the Bush administration is, in effect, rewarding Arafats terrorism by giving the Palestinian Arabs an extra $50-million (in addition to the annual $100-million) and by helping to prop up the Palestinian Authority police force, which itself is involved in perpetrating terrorism against Jews.
This policy tramples President Bushs own doctrine of zero tolerance for terrorism, and actually increases the likelihood of terrorism against the U.S. and the rest of the West, for if suicide bombers succeed in Israel, they will inevitably strike in America as well.
The first of the two new State Department reports is a biannual report, mandated by the PLO Commitments Compliance Act, which requires the State Department to analyze whether the PLO (and its subdivision, the Palestinian Authority) has complied with commitments it has made to Israel and the United States.
1. Whitewashes Arafats Role in Murdering Jews: The report notes that elements with varying degrees of affiliation with Arafats groups committed acts of violence, but the report then asserts: There is no conclusive evidence that these elements acted with the prior approval and encouragement of the PLO and PA leaderships. (p.2) Incredibly, the report ignores the truckloads of evidence found by Israel in PA offices in April 2002, including numerous documents signed by Arafat, in which he orders terrorism and pays individual terrorists. The State Department also ignores the culture of anti-Jewish hatred and violence in Arafats school textbooks, in the 90 PA-sponsored summer camps, and in sermons by PA-appointed clergymen.
2. Uses National Security Excuse to Avoid Calling Arafat a Terrorist: The report weakly criticizes the Palestinian leadership for failing to consistently and effectively call on Palestinians to refrain from violence (actually the PA leadership did not issue such calls at all), and notes that the PA leaders did not assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel to assure their compliance, and did not make an effort to discipline PA and PLO officials who instigated or engaged in violence. (p.3) It states that even when the PA has arrested terrorists suspects, often those arrested were quickly released or were kept under questionable conditions of arrest (such as house arrest) in which the detained person was kept in comfortable surroundings and allowed to stay in touch with associates. (p.7) Moreover, the report admits that some senior PLO and PA leaders did little to preventand may even have encouraged an atmosphere of incitement to violence in the Palestinian media and through the public statements of Palestinian officials (p.3) and The PA has in some important respects at least tolerated an atmosphere that promoted or supported the use of violence. Some programs broadcast on the PA and PLO controlled or influenced mass media had the effect of inciting Palestinians to violence. (p.4)
Despite these admissions, the report refuses to reach a conclusion as to whether or not the PLO/PA is complying with its commitments, on the grounds that To make such an explicit determination at this time would not serve the national security interests of the United States. Thus, because it is unable to state truthfully that the PLO/PA is complying, the State Department uses the national security excuse to avoid admitting that the PLO/PA is not complying.
3. Whitewashes Arafats Words of War: The report repeatedly quotes speeches by Arafat in which he claimed to want peace, but it does not quote any of Arafats constant speeches calling for jihad (Islamic holy war); urging one million martyrs to march to Jerusalem; and assuring Arab audiences that he adheres to the PLOs 1974 strategy of destroying Israel in phases, comparing his actions to a 7th-century peace agreement which Mohammed signed, and then tore up when it was no longer militarily advantageous to abide by it.
4. Moral Equivalency: The report states sustained violence between Israelis and Palestinians broke out on September 28, 2000. This choice of wording implies moral equivalency between the two sides; the report does not acknowledge that it was the PA which was responsible for starting, and continuing, the mass terrorism against Israel. Furthermore, the report states that during the period covered by the report, 114 Israelis were killed and 1022 Israelis were wounded in violent incidents 394 Palestinians were killed and 2,223 were wounded. The report gives no indication that the Palestinian Arabs are the aggressors, intentionally murdering Jews; while the Israelis have harmed Palestinian Arabs only in self-defense, or by accident while responding to Arab attacks.
5. Whitewashes Tanzim-Fatah Ties: The report refers to the Tanzim, but never acknowledges that the Tanzim are part of Arafats Fatah movement. (Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti was asked by the Israeli news agency IMRA on Oct. 3, 2000, The Tanzim are part of the Fatah organization? He replied: Yes, it is the Fatah organization. AIPACs Near East Report [Nov. 27, 2000 & July 9, 2001] stated: The Tanzim is the armed militia of Fatah Arafat met with leaders of the Tanzim on September 29 , the day the Palestinian violence began, and ordered them to initiate attacks.)
6. Whitewashes Al Aqsa-Fatah Ties: The report repeatedly refers to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, but never acknowledges that the Brigade is part of Fatah. (PA Preventive Security Chief Jibril Rajoub has said, The Al Aqksa Brigades are the noblest phenomenon in the history of Fatah [Haaretz, May 18, 2002]; Al Aqsa leader Maslama Thabet has said Our group is an integral part of Fatah and that it is following the orders of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat [USA Today, March 14, 2002].)
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The second new State Department report is the just-released 2001 edition of the annual Patterns of Global Terrorism.
1. Whitewashes the Ship of Terror: Although the report technically covers only those events that took place in the year 2001, it appropriately makes reference to the Israeli capture, in January 2002, of the Karine-A, the PAs Ship of Terror carrying 50 tons of Iranian weapons bound for the PA. However, the report refuses to acknowledge the PAs role in the ship, stating only: In January 2002, Israeli forces boarded the vessel Karine-A in the Red Sea and uncovered nearly 50 tons Iranian arms, including the Katyusha missiles, apparently bound for militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This, despite the fact that the ship had been purchased by the PAs chief financial officer; it was being sailed by a crew of PA naval officers; the captain admitted that the PA leadership organized the ship; and President Bush himself said that Arafat was responsible, describing the ship as evidence that Arafat himself was enhancing terror. (New York Times, Jan. 26, 2002)
2. Covers Up Palestinian Arab Response to 9/11: The report states that Arafat forcefully denounced the September 11 attacks. The report does not acknowledge the mass Palestinian Arab celebrations of the bombings. The report does not acknowledge any of the many statements in the official PA media condemning the U.S. counter-terror action in Afghanistan.
3. Blames Israel for PA Not Fighting Terror: The report blames Israel for the PAs failure to fight terrorism. In its section on alleged PA efforts to combat terrorism, the report states: Israels destruction of the PAs security infrastructure contributed to the ineffectiveness of the PA. This ignores the fact that the PA has been refusing to fight terrorism even before Israel struck at the PA infrastructure and, indeed, throughout the entire eight years since the PA was created in 1994; it also ignores the fact that the security infrastructure which Israel struck was itself used as part of the terrorism support network.
4. Moral Equivalency: The report states that Israeli-Palestinian violence escalated in 2001 This choice of wording implies moral equivalency between the two sides; the report does not acknowledge that it was the PA which was responsible for starting, and continuing, the mass terrorism against Israel.
5. Whitewashes Tanzim-Fatah Ties: The report states: Tanzim is made up of small and loosely organized cells of militants drawn from the street-level membership of Fatah. It never acknowledges that the Tanzim are, in fact, part of Arafats Fatah movement. (Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti was asked by the Israeli news agency IMRA on Oct. 3, 2000, The Tanzim are part of the Fatah organization? He replied: Yes, it is the Fatah organization. AIPACs Near East Report [Nov. 27, 2000 & July 9, 2001] stated: The Tanzim is the armed militia of Fatah Arafat met with leaders of the Tanzim on September 29 , the day the Palestinian violence began, and ordered them to initiate attacks.)
6. Whitewashes Al Aqsa-Fatah Ties: The report repeatedly refers to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, but never acknowledges that the Brigade is part of Fatah. (PA Preventive Security Chief Jibril Rajoub has said, The Al Aqsa Brigades are the noblest phenomenon in the history of Fatah [Haaretz, May 18, 2002]; Al Aqsa leader Maslama Thabet has said Our group is an integral part of Fatah and that it is following the orders of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat [USA Today, March 14, 2002].)
7. Whitewashes PFLP-Arafat Ties: The report refers to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which has carried out numerous terrorist attacks, including the October 2001 murder of Israels Minister of Tourism. The report does not mention that the PFLP is a member-organization of Arafats PLO, and Arafat has never expelled (or even suspended) the PFLP from the PLO, despite its terrorism.
8. Exaggerates PA Opposition to Terrorism: The report states that PA counterterrorism activities remained sporadic throughout the year, thus whitewashing the fact that there was no PA counterterrorism and ignoring the fact that the PA security forces themselves carried out numerous terrorist attacks against Israel.
9. Ignores PAs Support for Terrorism: The report makes no mention of the fact that the official PA media regularly encourages terrorism; Arafat and other senior PA officials, in their speeches, support terrorism and praise terrorists as heroes, martyrs, and stars; the PA provides financial rewards to the families of terrorists, and serves as the conduit for Iraqi payments of $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers; the PA provides salaries to terrorists imprisoned in Israel; and streets and parks in PA territory are named after prominent terrorists.
10. Ignores Al Qaeda Presence in PA Territory: The report states: There is no known al-Qaida presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The report ignores the fact that on September 23, 2001, the New York Times quoted a senior American official as saying that earlier that year, the Israeli authorities discovered an Al Qaeda cell in Gaza.
11. Omits Most Terrorist Attacks Against Israel: The report includes a chronology of what it calls Significant Terrorist Attacks in 2001, which it defines as attacks involving loss of life or serious injury to persons, abduction or kidnapping of persons [or] major property damage. The list consists of 123 attacks that took place in various countries. Of those, eight were Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks against Israelis. However, the web site of the Israeli Foreign Ministry has a list of terrorist attacks against Israel in 2001 which contains 86 attacks that fit the State Departments definition as significant including the murder of Israels Minister of Tourism yet, for some reason, were not included in the State Department report.