Are the Palestinian Arabs Fulfilling President Bush’s Conditions for Statehood? A Survey of Week #30: Jan. 14 – Jan. 20, 2003
January 20, 2003


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 30th week following President Bush’s speech, January 14 through January 20, 2003.

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.

The Bush administration has also said that in rebuilding its police and security forces, the PA must reform them so that they fight against terrorists instead of taking part in terrorism. The training, under the supervision of U.S., Egyptian, and Jordanian security officials, began on September 19, 2002; however, Israel has protested the fact that at least 100 of the 150 PA security officers participating in the course “were involved in attacks on Israeli civilians.” (Middle East Newsline, September 17, 2002)

What They Did During Week #30:

A. No Terrorists Arrested: There were no reports of terrorists being arrested or imprisoned.

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 Seized: There were no reports of the PA seizing terrorists’ weapons. By contrast, Israeli forces searching homes in Tulkarm found an explosives belt, pipe bombs, boob-trapped computer screens, materials for making explosive devices, and ammunition stored in the homes of Fatah Tanzim members.

E. No Closing of Bomb Factories: There were no reports of the PA shutting down any bomb factories.

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: During week #30, Jan.14, 2002 – Jan.20, 2003, there were at least 15 terrorist attacks or attempted attacks:

January 14: Firebomb attack on Israeli soldiers near Tulkarm … Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in Jenin … Shooting attack on an Israeli Army outpost near Rafah … Grenade attack on an Israeli Army patrol near Rafah.

January 15: A terrorist was intercepted trying to infiltrate a Jewish neighborhood in Gush Katif … A terrorist was intercepted trying to infiltrate the town of Slav … Two terrorists were captured northeast of Shechem (Nablus) while preparing a suicide bomb attack.

January 16: Three suicide bombers arrested —one in Kalkilya, two in Tulkarm — while preparing attacks … Bomb attack on a road near a Jewishtown near Gaza.

January 17: A bomb-laden terrorist boat was intercepted near the beachfront community of Dugit.

January 18: Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in Gaza.

January 19: Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in Gaza.

January 20: Shooting attack on an Israel Army outpost in Gaza.

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 #30:

The PA’s official newspapers, television, and radio continued to broadcast a steady stream of anti-Israel, anti-American, and pro-violence incitement, and PA officials continued to make inciting statements.

For example, the PA declared the week beginning January 17 “Iraq Solidarity Week,” and encouraged mass demonstrations of support for Saddam Hussein, in Gaza. Arafat’s Fatah joined hands with Hamas and other terror groups at the rallies. At one rally in Gaza, Hamas leader Abd el-Aziz Rantisi declared: “I call on Iraq to establish an army of future martyrs (suicide terrror bombers) and to prepare tens of thousands of explosive belts. Explode next to American soldiers. Blow them up in Baghdad. I call upon all Arab states to scorch the earth the Americans walk on in every Arab capital city.”

Meanwhile, the official website of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade of Yasir Arafat’s Fatah movement, reported the movement’s celebrations of the January 5, 2003 suicide bombing which murdered 23 Israelis, stating:

“[Headline]: The Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in Jenin are celebrating the success of the suicide attack. Eyewitnesses have reported that a dozens of the movement’s activists, members of the Fatah movement in Jenin and the refugee camp, have begun to shoot in the air from happiness at the success of the double suicide attack that took place on Sunday [5 Jan. 2003] in Tel Aviv. They said that the Al Aqsa activists sang through a megaphone, songs that praise the terrorists groups and fired shots in the air. They added that members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades read a message in which they emphasized [the fact] that the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility [for the suicide bombings in Tel Aviv]. The message stated that ‘those who denounce the dead, should first and foremost denounce the traitors and spies” [meaning – criticism against the stance of senior leaders of the Fatah and Palestinian Authority who disclaimed responsibility for the attack]. They emphasized that ‘we will strike every place and everywhere and at any time until the occupation is eradicated.’”

The web site contains a section dedicated to the suicide bomber Samer El-Nuri: It reads:

“[Fatah emblem] the National Palestinian Liberation Movement [sign of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades] The Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades The suicide bomber, the hero Samer El-Nuri Hero of the [suicide] attack [in Tel Aviv]

Below is the page dedicated to the suicide bomber Bruak Halifa:

Here is the translation: “[Fatah emblem] the National Palestinian Liberation Movement [sign of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades] The Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades The suicide bomber, the knight Bruak Halifa Hero of the [suicide] attack [in Tel Aviv]

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 #30:

After previously announcing that it will hold elections for chairman of the PA and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council on January 20, 2003, the PA subsequently declared that those elections will be indefinitely postponed because Israeli forces are continuing to pursue terrorists in various parts of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.

Even if those elections are eventually held, it remains to be seen if they will be free and fair, as President Bush has required, 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 #30:

Despite President Bush’s conditions, corruption continues to be the norm in the Palestinian Authority. The Jerusalem Post reported on January 2, 2003: “Palestinian Authority officials and institutions in the Gaza Strip are involved in stealing basic food supplies and medicine provided by United Nations Reliefs and Works Agency (UNRWA) and Arab countries, according to documents seized by the IDF during a recent raid on the Protective Security Service headquarters in Gaza City.

“The documents show that PA officials have been selling the food and medicine on the black market since 1996. Food distributed by UNRWA to residents of refugee camps in the Gaza Strip have made their way to private merchants, who are selling them on the black market.

“The documents also indicate that large supplies of medicine and other equipment donated by Arab countries as humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people were being sold at private pharmacies and other markets in the Gaza Strip. (…)

“[M]ost of the thefts were taking place at the Rafah border crossing and that PA Minister of Supplies Abu Ali Shahin is responsible. Shahin is one of the top leaders of Fatah in the Gaza Strip and one of Arafat’s confidants. “The Rafah crossing is controlled by the Preventive Security Service, which is cooperating with Shahin in stealing humanitarian aid, the sources said, noting that Shahin is being referred to by many Palestinians as the ‘minister of theft’”

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