Are the Palestinian Arabs Fulfilling President Bush’s Conditions for Statehood? A Survey of Week #40: March 25, 2003 – March 31, 2003
April 2, 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 40th week following President Bush’s speech, March 25 – March 31, 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 #40:

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. For example, on March 27, Israeli forces uncovered a cache of bombs in Samaria, and on March 28, Israeli forces in Khan Yunis covered a weapons manufacturing plant, blocks of explosives, a Kalashnikov rifle, bullets, grenades, and an anti-tank rocket launcher.

E. No Closing of Bomb Factories: There were no reports of the PA shutting down any bomb factories. By contrast, Israeli forces uncovered an Islamic Jihad explosives laboratory in Jaljuliya on March 31, 2003.

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 #40, March 25 – March 31, 2003, there were at least 21 terrorist attacks or attempted attacks, in which 43 people were wounded:

March 25: Attack on Border Guards in eastern Jerusalem; one wounded … Attacks on Israeli motorists on the Gush Etzion-Hebron route … Shooting attack on Israeli forces near Gadid … Shooting attack on Israeli forces near Ganei Tal.

March 26: Terrorist intercepted on his way to an attack in Morag … Shooting attack on Israeli forces near Gadid … Shooting attack on a vehicle of the Kiryat Arba Municipality.

March 27: Bomb planted on a road patrolled by Israeli Army tanks in Gaza … Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers by terrorists in a PA police station in Beit Hanoun.

March 28: Shots fired at Israeli soldiers in Tulkarm.

March 29: Shots fired and grenades thrown at Israeli soldiers on the Israel-Egypt border … Shots fired at Israeli forces in Gadid … Shots fired at a home in Neve Dekalim … Bomb attack on an Israeli Army vehicle in Gaza; three wounded … Firebomb attack on an Israeli Army patrol near Shechem (Nablus).

March 30: Suicide bombing in Netanya; 38 people wounded … Shots fired by terrorists who were intercepted trying to attack Kibbutz Erez … Bombs planted underneath cars in the Erez Industrial Zone in northern Gaza.

March 31: Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in Gaza … Attach on an Israeli motorist near Beit Umar; one wounded … Firebombs thrown at Israeli motorists on the Modi’in highway.

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 #40:

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 March 23, 2003, the PA newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published a cartoon depicting a glorious Iraqi eagle with two soldiers, one American and one British, caught in its claws. (Translation courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch.) on March 27, 2003, quoted a policeman at PA headquarters saying that the news of American losses in the Iraq war made it a “big day for the Iraqi people and all the Arabs and Muslims.” The report continued:

“They have just shot down two Apache helicopters,” an excited merchant shouted hysterically as he ran out of his shop. “This is unbelievable. The Americans are losing the war. Iraq is going to be Bush’s Vietnam.” “Everyone here was happy,” the policeman said, “to see pictures of American soldiers in Iraqi custody. This is a big blow for Bush and Blair.”

The Jerusalem Post quoted one of his colleagues in Arafat’s Force 17 saying that the news made him so happy that “I felt like kissing all the people around me. Saddam has once again proven that he is a great leader, a defender of Arab rights. His men are brave. They have been able to teach the American and British dogs an unforgettable lesson.” Shortly after Saddam’s speech was aired…about 50 girls in green and white school uniforms marched toward Ramallah’s central square with signs denouncing U.S. “aggression” on Iraq. The girls were greeted by shopkeepers and others as they chanted choice sayings such as, “Oh beloved Saddam, bomb, bomb Tel Aviv;” “Oh Saddam, we love you, why don’t you annihilate all the Jews;” “Bush, soon Saddam will bury you;” and “[King] Abdullah [of Jordan], your people don’t want you, we hope you will follow your father.”

A PA journalist told the Jerusalem Post that the capture of coalition soldiers brought a sense of pride to the PA: “Until yesterday, the feeling here was bad, but when the pictures of the American prisoners and bodies of soldiers were shown on TV, there was a lot of excitement. It’s very moving to watch Arab soldiers defeating American and British soldiers and killing them.” How do they feel about Saddam? “Saddam is now more popular than ever,” the journalist said. “The feeling here is that Saddam has restored Arab confidence and dignity.”

The widely televised footage of elated Iraqi villagers and militiamen waving their rifles next to an Apache helicopter may have left some wrong impressions. “An old man with a rifle was able to shoot down one of the world’s most advanced helicopters,” one Ramallah Arab said proudly, if mistakenly. “The Iraqis are very brave and we are proud of them.”

Hassan al Kashef, a noted columnist and senior PA official, wrote [on March 26, 2003], “Iraq has presented to the Arabs and all the peoples of the world proof that it is possible to defeat the U.S. On this day, the Arabs and the rest of the world have come to learn that the U.S. is not the almighty superpower that is capable of doing anything anytime. Iraq has proven that surrendering to the will of the U.S. is the result of impotence, miscalculation and a lack of will.”

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 #40: 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.

On March 19, 2003, Arafat’s number two man, Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen) became prime minister of the PA. While PA officials claimed this fulfilled President Bush’s requirement for “new leaders not compromised by terror,” Abbas told the Arab newspaper Alsharq Al-Awsat on March 3, 2003: “We didn’t talk about a break in the armed struggle … It is our right to resist. The Intifada must continue and it is the right of the Palestinian People to resist and use all possible means in order to defends its presence and existence. I add and say that if the Israelis come to your land in order to erect a settlement then it is your right to defend what is yours.”

The interviewer then asked: “Including using arms?” Abbas replied: “All means and arms as long as they are coming to your home, as this is the right to resist. The restriction applies only to ‘Shahada -Seeking’ [suicide] operations and going out to attack in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. There is no justification to go out [of the territories] to fight the army.” Thus Abbas supports murdering all Jews in the territories, both soldiers and civilians whom he defines as “settlers”—that is, Jews who reside in (or happen to be visiting) Judea, Samaria, Gaza, the Golan, the Old City section of Jerusalem (where the Jewish Quarter, Western Wall and Temple Mount are situated), and Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Gilo, Ramat Eshkol, French Hill, and the Hebrew University campus.

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 #40:

Despite President Bush’s conditions, corruption continues to be the norm in the Palestinian Authority.

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