Are the Palestinian Arabs Fulfilling President Bush’s Conditions for Statehood? A Survey of Week #1: June 25-July 1, 2002
News
July 1, 2002


THE BUSH PLAN:


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.


This report analyzes Palestinian Arab actions during the first week following President Bush’s speech, June 25-July 1, 2002.



I. “Dismantle the Terrorist Infrastructure”


What They Must Do: President Bush said that the Palestinian Arabs must “engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure.” Those terms were previously defined in the Oslo and Wye accords as including arresting and imprisoning terrorists; shutting down bomb factories; seizing terrorists’ weapons; extraditing terrorists to Israel; punishing factions of the PLO that engage in terrorism; and outlawing terrorist groups.



What They Did During Week #1:


A. No Terrorists Arrested: There were no reports of terrorists being arrested or imprisoned. On the contrary, Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, whom the Palestinian Authority (PA) had claimed to have placed in “house arrest” a week earlier, openly took part in a Hamas rally in Gaza on June 28. Yassin told reporters, “I was informed of no house arrest order. I went out of my house, behaving normally, and no one stopped me.”1 The Washington Post reported: “Palestinian police monitoring the demonstration made no attempt to detain Yassin.” It would have been impossible for the police not to notice him, as photos from the rally show the sheikh, garbed in his distinctive white robes, being driven slowly around the rally in an automobile surrounded by his entourage of armed followers.2 Among those featured at the rally was a 10 year-old boy dressed as a suicide bomber.3


B. No Terrorists Extradited: The PA continued to ignore Israel’s 45 requests for the extradition of terrorists.


C. No Terror Groups Outlawed: The PA did not outlaw Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, or any other terrorist groups.


D. No Terrorists’ Weapons Seize: There were no reports of the PA seizing terrorists’ weapons. By contrast, Israeli forces in Hebron seized 5,000 of the terrorists’ weapons during the week.4


E. No Closure of Bomb Factories: There were no reports of the PA shutting down any bomb factories. By contrast, Israeli forces in Hebron discovered a bomb factory containing several explosive belts ready to be mounted on suicide bombers.5


F. No Punishing of PLO Terror Factions: 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).


G. New Terrorist Attacks: Throughout Week #1, Israeli forces were engaged in “Operation Determined Stand,” resulting in a sharp decrease in terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, there were at least 20 terrorist attacks, in which 6 Israelis were wounded:


June 25: Terrorists shot and wounded a resident of Ma’aleh Hever…Terrorists threw a firebomb at Israelis near Beit Hadassah, in Hebron…PA police officers opened fire at Israeli troops pursuing terrorists in Hebron…PA police officers opened fire at Israeli troops pursuing terrorists in Ramallah.


June 26: A mortar shell fired by terrorists slammed into a Jewish home in northern Gaza…Terrorists attacked Israeli forces in Jenin…Terrorists threw bombs at Israeli forces in Balata, near Shechem [Nablus]… Terrorists set off a bomb near Israeli forces in Hebron, wounding one soldier…A terrorist attacked Israeli soldiers near the Karni Checkpoint.


June 27: Terrorists shot at Israeli soldiers north of the Karni Checkpoint…In Balata, near Shechem [Nablus], terrorists attacked Israeli soldiers.


June 28: Terrorists firebombed a Jewish home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon HaNetziv…A mortar shell was fired toward the Jewish town of Kfar Darom, in the Gaza Strip…Terrorists attacked Israeli forces in al-Farah, near Jenin.


June 29: Four mortar shells were fired by terrorists at Jewish towns in southern Gush Katif.


June 30: Terrorists shot at an Israeli motorist near Kisufim in Gush Katif … Terrorists detonated a remote control bomb against an Israeli train southeast of Tel Aviv, wounding four Israelis …Terrorists attacked Israeli forces in al-Farah, near Jenin.


July 1: Terrorists shot at Israeli soldiers in Rafiah … A bomb was planted in the town of Givat Ze’ev.



II. “End Incitement”


What They Must Do: President Bush stated that the Palestinian Arabs must “end incitement to violence in official media and publicly denounce homicide bombings.”


What They Did During Week #1:


* New Video Glorifies ‘Martyrdom’: On June 27, a new video debuted on PA Television. It features an actor portraying a Palestinian Arab man who is captured during an attempted attack on Israelis. As Israelis prepare to kill him, he is greeted by a large group of beautiful young Arab women (actresses) who smile alluringly and beckon to him. He is then shown smiling in paradise while the women caress him. The video is being aired “in the afternoon for maximum viewing by Palestinian children.”6


* PA Sheikh Threatens U.S.:In a sermon broadcast on PA Television on June 28, a prominent clergyman, Ahmed Abdul Razek, declared: “A divine blow will be dealt soon to the U.S. and Israel, by Allah’s will. The believers will rejoice with Allah’s victory.”7


* Toddler Dressed as Suicide Bomber: In a disturbing new example of the extent to which support for violence has permeated Palestinian Arab culture, Israeli forces searching an Arab home in Hebron discovered a photo of a toddler dressed as a suicide bomber. Some Palestinian Arab spokesmen claimed that the photo was fake, but the child’s cousin and uncle told reporters it was authentic.8 PA cabinet minister Ghassan Khatib said Israel released the photo “to tell the world that the Palestinians are teaching their children how to hate Israel and how to act against Israel and I just want to say that is correct.”9



III. “Elect New Leaders Not Compromised by Terror”


What They Must Do: President Bush stated that the Palestinian Arabs must hold “fair multiparty elections by the end of the year, with national elections to follow,” in which they “elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror.”


What They Did During Week #1: Yasir Arafat and other PA officials unequivocally rejected President Bush’s call for new Palestinian Arab leadership. Arafat said: “This is what my people will decide. They are the only ones who can determine this.”10


The PA announced that it will hold elections for chairman of the PA and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in January 2003, if Israel withdraws from various parts of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.11 It remains to be seen whether those elections, if held, will be free and fair, as President Bush has urged, or will be marred by ballot-stuffing and intimidation of voters and potential non-PLO candidates, as were the last PA elections, in 1996.



IV. “Build Democracy Based on Tolerance and Liberty”


What They Must Do: President Bush said that the Palestinian Arabs must “build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty,” with “a new constitution” and “a truly independent judiciary. He said they must “confront corruption,” and “the Palestinian parliament should have the full authority of a legislative body.” They must implement “market economics,” and create “a vibrant economy where honest enterprise is encouraged by honest government.” In addition, there must be “an externally supervised effort to rebuild and reform the Palestinian security services” with “clear lines of authority and accountability and a unified chain of command.”


What They Did During Week #1:


On June 26, the PA announced that it planned to initiate a 100-day plan of reforms in various aspects of its governing process and structure.12 Whether those reforms will be meaningful and lead to true democracy, as President Bush has urged, remains to be seen.


The PA security services initiated no reforms to prevent its members from engaging in terrorism. On the contrary, there were many indications that the PA security services continue to be involved in terrorism even after President Bush’s speech. When Israeli forces entered Hebron and Ramallah in pursuit of terrorists on June 25, PA police officers in both cities, instead of helping to capture the terrorists, opened fire on the Israelis.13 Israeli forces in Hebron discovered hundreds of explosive charges in the offices of the PA General Intelligence and the PA Preventive Security Service.14


1 New York Times, June 29, 2002
2 New York Times, June 29, 2002
3 Washington Post, June 29, 2002
4 Israel Television, June 28, 2002
5 IDF Spokesman, June 30, 2002
6 Media Line/Prof. Michael Widlanski, Hebrew University, June 27, 2002
7 Palestinian Media watch, June 30, 2002
8 Reuters, June 28, 2002; New York Times, June 29, 2002
9 New York Times, June 29, 2002
10 Washington Post, June 26, 2002
11 New York Times, June 27, 2002
12 New York Times, June 27, 2002
13 New York Times, June 27, 2002; Israel Radio, June 26, 2002.
14 IDF Spokesman, June 30, 2002




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