Are the Palestinian Arabs Fulfilling President Bush’s Conditions for Statehood? A Survey of Week #34: Feb.11 – Feb.17, 2003
News
February 20, 2003


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 34th week following President Bush’s speech, February 11 through February 17, 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 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 Sept. 19, 2002; however, Israel has protested the fact that at least 100 of the 150 PA security officers in the course “were involved in attacks on Israeli civilians.” (Middle East Newsline, Sept. 17, 2002)


What They Did During Week #34:


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 the Kabatya region on February 13 discovered and dismantled a large bomb, and Israeli forces searching Tulkarm on February 17 found and seized a cache of mortar rocket shells.


E. No Closing of Bomb Factories: There were no reports of the PA shutting down any bomb factories. By contrast, on February 14, Israeli forces operating in Tulkarm uncovered and dismantled a laboratory for the preparation of suicide-bomb explosives vests.


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 #34, February 11-17, 2003, there were at least 24 terrorist attacks or attempted attacks, in which 5 people were murdered and 4 were wounded:


February 11: Terrorist intercepted attempting to infiltrate the security fence at the Kisufim Crossing … Fatah-Tanzim terrorist intercepted in Shechem (Nablus) on his way to carry out an attack … Six terrorists captured in Shechem (Nablus) while planning a suicide bombing … Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in Bethlehem; one murdered … Bomb attack on Border Guards in Bethlehem.


February 12: Two terrorists intercepted on their way to plant a bomb in the town of Dugit … A terrorist with an explosives-vest intercepted at the Orchen Junction … A terrorist wearing an explosives-vest intercepted near Kedumim … Firebombs thrown at Israelis at the Yakir Junction in Samaria … Shooting attack on an Israeli Army base in the northern Jordan Valley … Mortar rocket attack on an Israeli Army outpost in Gaza.


February 13: Terrorist intercepted planting bombs at the entrance to Netzarim … Bomb attack on Israeli soldiers in central Gaza … Attempted bomb attack against Israeli soldiers in Beit Fajah, south of Bethlehem.


February 14: Bomb attack on Israeli soldiers in Gaza; four murdered.


February 15: Stabbing attack in the Old City section of Jerusalem; three wounded.


February 16: Shooting attack by DFLP terrorists against Israeli soldiers in Shechem (Nablus); one wounded … Shooting attack on an Israeli bus near Kiryat Arba … Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in Gaza.


February 17: Israeli motorists attacked while traveling near Shilo … Firebombs thrown at the town of Matan … Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in Gaza … Three suicide terrorists intercepted in Bethlehem … Terrorist intercepted on his way to carry out an attack in Jerusalem.



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 #34:


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.



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 #34:


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 #34:


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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