Are the Palestinian Arabs Fulfilling President Bush’s Conditions for Statehood? A Survey of Week #37: March 4, 2003 – March 10, 2003
March 12, 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 37th week following President Bush’s speech, March 4 – March 10, 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 #37:

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 the Al-Pavar camp near Hebron on March 1 discovered a weapons-manufacturing laboratory.

Israeli forces operating near the Sha-Anur camp on March 1 uncovered a weapons depot containing artillery, rifle magazines, and ammunition. Israeli forces operating in Gaza on March 5 discovered a quantity of rifles, grenades, explosives belts, bombs, anti-tank launchers, anti-tank missiles and mortar rocket launchers in a home in the Jabaliya camp. They also discovered a weapons-manufacturing laboratory with four lathes in a nearby building. Israeli forces operating west of Jenin on March 5 uncovered a cache of six large explosive devices. Israeli forces operating in Shechem (Nablus) on March 7 discovered a weapons cache that included mortar shells, ammunition, and bombs.

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 #37, March 4 – March 10, 2003, there were at least 34 terrorist attacks or attempted attacks, in which 20 people were murdered and 54 wounded:

March 4: Shooting attack on Jewish residents of Hebron… Stabbing attack on an Israeli teenager in Arad; one wounded .. Firebomb attack on Israeli soldiers in Jenin … Grenades thrown and shots fired at Israeli soldiers in Shechem (Nablus) … Attack on Israeli motorists near the village of Luban A-Sharkiye.

March 5: Suicide bombing on a bus in Haifa; 17 murdered —most of them schoolchildren— and 39 wounded … Grenades thrown and missiles launched at Israeli soldiers in Gaza.

March 6: Rocket fired at Sderot … Two rockets fired at Netzarim … Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in Bethlehem; one wounded … Grenades thrown and shots fired at Israeli soldiers along the Egypt-Israel border … Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in Jenin; one wounded.

March 7: Shooting attack in Kiryat Arba; two murdered, five wounded … Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in northern Gaza … Terrorist intercepted on his way to an attack near Hamra … Three rockets fired at Sderot … Attacks on Israeli motorists on the Modi’in-Jerusalem road; one wounded … Grenades thrown and shots fired at Israeli soldiers along the Egypt-Israel border … Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers near Gadid … Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in Ramallah … Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers near Jenin … Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in Shechem (Nablus) … Terrorist intercepted on his way to an attack in Negohot.

March 8: Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in Gaza … Shooting attack on an Israeli Army outpost near Rafah …Shooting attack on the community of Gadid.

March 9: Four rockets fired at Sderot … Shooting attack on Israelis near Khan Yunis; one wounded … Attack on Israeli soldiers near Hebron; one wounded … Shooting attack on an Israeli motorist near Netzer Hazani.

March 10: Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in Hebron; one murdered, four wounded … Two terrorists intercepted on their way to an attack near Kfar Darom … Suicide terrorist intercepted while preparing for an attack near Shechem (Nablus) … Suicide terrorist intercepted while preparing for an attack near Bethlehem.

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 #37:

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, official PA Television on March 7, 2003 broadcast a live, 44-minute sermon from Sheikh Ijlin Mosque in Gaza, in which Sheikh Muhammad Jamal Abu-al-Hannud declared that “the forces of aggression and evil are being massed to destroy everything in Arab, Muslim Iraq.”

Also on March 7, 2003, official PA Radio broadcast a live, 34-minute sermon from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, in which Sheikh Yusuf Abu-Sunaynah said that “certain forces in the world have established the New World Order to spread destruction and to plunder nations’ wealth…American and British leaders…use the issue of terrorism as an excuse to strike Islam and are planning to target the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after Iraq and to spread Israel’s hegemony over the region in order to realize the Zionist dream.” He concluded: “O Allah, protect Muslims in Iraq and Palestine. O Allah, deal with the United States, its fleets, and its planes.” (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 #37: 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 #37:

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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