Bush Thanked Abu Mazen For Arresting A Terrorist, But Is Silent Over Mazen Releasing That Terrorist
July 14, 2003

NEW YORK- President Bush personally thanked Palestinian Authority prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) for arresting a terrorist involved in a rocket attack on Israel—yet Bush has said nothing about the fact that the PA has already set the terrorist free.

On July 3, 2003, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said that Bush had personally telephoned Abu Mazen and “thanked Prime Minister Abbas, and expressed his appreciation, for the arrest the Palestinian Authority has made of one of the individuals responsible for the rocket attack into Israel from the Gaza Strip.” (Associated Press, July 3, 2003)

But the chief of Israeli Military Intelligence, Major General Aharon Zeevi Farkash, told Israel Radio (July 6, 2003) that “while the PA detained some terrorists suspected of attacking Israeli targets in the Gaza Strip since the PA took security responsibility in the Gaza Strip that they released the terrorists after talking with them.” (Translation courtesy of IMRA)

On July 7, the New York Times reported that two of the nine terrorists arrested in connection with the rocket attacks had already been released. On July 8, the New York Times reported that the remaining seven have also been released. Yet there have been no statements from the White House indicating that President Bush has telephoned Abu Mazen to protest the releases.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “Abu Mazen’s release of these terrorists, just days after President Bush praised Abu Mazen for arresting them, is a direct slap in the face of the United States. It is a classic example of the Palestinian Authority’s ‘revolving door justice’—they arrest a few terrorists in order to impress President Bush and the media, then quietly release them when the television cameras turn away. By remaining silent in the face of Abu Mazen’s release of the terrorists, the Bush administration indicates that it has not learned the lesson of the failed Oslo accords— that ignoring Palestinian Arab violations only encourages more violations and keeps us further from real peace.”

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