Op-Ed: Arafat’s New Prime Minister Is Not a “Moderate”by Gary Bauer, President, American Values and Morton A. Klein, National President of the ZOA
April 22, 2003

Yasir Arafat’s appointment of his second-in-command, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority has been greeted by the Bush administration with effusive praise of his supposed “moderation” and even hints of an invitation to Abbas to visit the White House in the near future.

By giving their nod of approval, the administration would be offering this terrorist wolf the sheep’s clothing of credibility he needs to become a key leader and dangerous player in a negotiating process too full of such insincere figures.

According to U.S. officials, the appointment of Abbas fulfills President Bush’s requirement, in his June 2002 speech, that the Palestinian Arabs choose “new leaders, not compromised by terror.” The administration is ready to move forward with its “Road Map” to the creation of a Palestinian Arab state with Abbas —a co-founder of the terrorist Fatah group— as its leader.

Yet Abbas’s own statements and actions demonstrate that he is just as much a terrorist and hate-monger as his boss, Arafat.

To begin with, Abbas continues to support the murder of Israelis beyond the pre-1967 borders. When asked by the Arab newspaper Alsharq Al-Awsat on March 3, 2003 about talks between the PA and Hamas, Abbas said: “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.”

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.”

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.

There is nothing “moderate” about Abbas’s view that for tactical reasons, the Palestinian Arabs should temporarily restrict their murder targets to those beyond the pre-1967 border. That’s no more “moderate” than Pharoah, in ancient Egypt, restricting his mass murder to Jewish boys while sparing Jewish girls.

It is also important to note that Abbas wrote a book in 1983, called The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and the Zionist Movement, in which he stated that the Nazis may actually have killed “only a few hundred thousand” Jews, not six million; that Zionist leaders “give permission to every racist in the world, led by Hitler and the Nazis, to treat Jews as they wish, so long as it guarantees immigration to Palestine”; and that “the interest of the Zionist movement is to inflate this figure [from several hundred thousand to 6 million] so that their gains will be greater.” (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 26, 1995) Abbas’s enmity toward Jews is further demonstrated by his recent statements claiming that the ancient Jewish Temple was never in Jerusalem.

When Croatian president Franjo Tudjman expressed doubts that the Holocaust happened, the international community condemned him and he publicly apologized and retracted his statements. When Austrian extremist Jorg Haider praised the SS, he became the object of scorn and derision throughout the civilized world. Why is Mahmoud Abbas treated differently?

The strongest indication that Abbas is no “moderate” is the fact that during the first weeks since becoming prime minister, he has taken absolutely no steps to stop the ongoing Palestinian Arab terrorist war against Israel. He has not outlawed or punished any terrorist groups. He has not ordered the PA security forces to stop shooting at Israelis, to seize weapons from other terrorist groups, or to shut down their bomb factories and training camps. During Abbas’s first two weeks in power, there were at least 41 terrorist attacks or attempted attacks, in which 2 Israelis were murdered and 46 wounded.

In fact, on April 1, Abbas held a three-hour meeting with Hamas terror leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi. The New York Times reported that Rantisi called the meeting “positive” and said Abbas “made no demands” on Hamas —even though Rantisi, in the meeting, “emphasized the importance of continuing what he called ‘the resistance’ in Israel and the occupied territories.” According to media reports, Abbas offered to give Hamas the Education Ministry in his cabinet—meaning that Hamas would control what is taught to all Palestinian Arab children.

Under Abbas, anti-Jewish and anti-American incitement in the official PA media have continued at full blast. For example, on March 21, official PA Radio broadcast a sermon by Sheikh Muhammad Hussein in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, in which he condemned America’s troops and proclaimed: “O Allah, kill them all and leave no one alive.” And under Abbas’s watch, a public square in the PA-controlled city of Jenin has been renamed in honor of the Iraqi suicide bomber who murdered four American soldiers.

Mahmoud Abbas is an unreformed terrorist, as well as a Holocaust-denier and deserves international condemnation for those acts. It would be a mistake for the Bush White House to welcome him with open arms and assist in providing him with a sovereign state from which to continue the spread of terrorism to Israel and to the world at large. We would never accept the appointment of Saddam Hussein’s second-in-command to rule Iraq; why should we accept Arafat’s?

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