Are the Palestinian Arabs Fulfilling President Bush’s Conditions for Statehood? A Survey of Week #36: Feb.25 – March 3, 2003
March 3, 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 36th week following President Bush’s speech, February 25 through March 3, 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.

A report by the Israeli Foreign Ministry on February 20, 2003, revealed: “Documents found recently in the Gaza offices of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service (PPSS) expose not only the corruption and mismanagement of the Palestinian Authority, but also reveal the channeling of PA funds toward the financing and implementation of terrorist operation. “Among the documents found during the IDF’s Operation Guardian Fortress in Gaza were hundreds of receipts along with photocopies of cheques and other documents. These relate to the transfer of sums of money, ranging from hundreds of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, to senior and lower-level operatives and other elements. These funds, originating from the budgets of the Preventive Security apparatus and its independent sources of income were used not only for preventive security (such as intelligence gathering and preventive operations) but also to finance and initiate terrorism.”

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 #36:

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 operating in Shechem (Nablus) on March 3 uncovered an explosives vest for a suicide bomber, together with five pipebombs and ammunition.

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 #36, February 25-March 3, 2003, there were at least 28 terrorist attacks or attempted attacks, in which 7 people were wounded:

February 25: Mortar rocket fired at homes in Netzarim … A 100-kilogram bomb was discovered and dismantled in the community of Morag.

February 26: Firebomb attack on an Israeli motorist near Peduel … Two bombs discovered and dismantled in Gaza.

February 27: Explosives being prepared for a car bomb were uncovered and dismantled near Tulkarm … Bomb attack on an Israeli bus south of Kalkilya.

February 28: Anti-tank missile fired at Israeli soldiers in northern Gaza … Shooting attack on the security chief of Kiryat Arba … Shooting attack on workers near Alfei Menashe … Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers near Jenin … Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in Tulkarm.

March 1: Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in Gaza.

March 2: Ten bomb attacks on Israeli soldiers in Khan Yunis … Grenades thrown and shots fired at Israeli soldiers in Khan Yunis; two wounded … Attempted bomb attack on Israeli forces near Jenin … Shooting attack on an Israeli Army outpost near Neve Dekalim.

March 3: Mortar rockets fired at Sderot; five people wounded … Shooting attack on the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem … Attack on an Israeli bus near the Abu Ghosh Junction …

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 #36:

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, on February 23, 2003, the PA permitted Palestinian Arabs to hold a mass rally in southern Gaza in support of Iraq, in which protesters waved posters of Saddam Hussein and Yasir Arafat, and condemned what they called “American aggression.” A contingent of elementary school girls, accompanied by their teacher, participated in the rally, according to the Associated Press.

On February 27, 2003, the PA permitted Hamas and the “Brothers of Islam” to hold a rally in the Gaza neighborhood of Jabliya, in which Hamas members, according to the Israeli government, “exhibited a presentation of various weapons among them rocket capabilities meant to attacks populated Israeli areas Israeli. For this purpose a model Kassam rocket, similar to the rockets, which have attacks Israeli communities over the past few months, was presented in the rally. Hamas activists were dressed in fatigues and armed with explosive belts. They marched in front of a crowd of thousands to demonstrate their devotion to the Hamas belief in using suicide bombers against Israeli civilians. Young children were also seen dressed in Hamas military uniforms, while carrying toy weapons and stepping on a U.S. flag.”

In the February 27, 2003 edition of the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah , the editors published a poem written as an imaginary letter from a suicide bomber to his mother, in which the bomber glorifies mass murder and suicide attacks, declaring “The [explosive] belt makes me fly…[reaching] toward Allah.”

An official PA Television on February 28, 2003 broadcast a live sermon from Sheikh Ijlin Mosque in Gaza, in which Sheikh Ibrahim Mudayris declared “O Allah, cleanse our country from the filth of the Jews. O Allah, cleanse our holy places from the filth of the Jews. O Allah, save Iraq from the tragedies of war.”

On the same day, official PA Radio broadcast a live sermon from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, in which Sheikh Muhammad Husayn urged Arab regimes to take a clear stand “rejecting invasion and aggression against Iraq” and appealed to Allah “to deal with the invaders, aggressors, and arrogant oppressors.” (Translation courtesy of FBIS.)

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 #36:

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 #36:

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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