NEW YORK- Mocking President Bushs requirement that the Palestinian Arabs must have leaders who are not compromised by terror, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has again pledged his unswerving loyalty to arch-terrorist Yasir Arafat.
Abu Mazen, who co-founded the Fatah terrorist movement with Arafat and served as his second-in-command for nearly 40 years, was chosen by Arafat to serve as prime minister in April of this year. In his first speech as prime minister, delivered before the Palestinian Legislative Council on April 29, 2003, Mazen turned to Arafat and said This government, Mr. President, is your government.
In an interview with the Washington Post & Newsweek (July 27, 2003), Mazen was asked: Does Arafat have to approve the actions that you take? Abu Mazen replied: All the actions, all the actions. He is the leader of the Palestinian people.
The interviewer then asked: People are hoping you can be an independent actor. Abu Mazen replied: No, I cannot be independent. I am part of the authority.
To emphasize the point, the PAs official Palestine Media Center issued a statement on July 27, 2003, headlined: Arafat Is the Leader of the Palestinian People, PM Abbas Confirms, and then quoted from his Washington Post/Newsweek interview.
President Bush, in his June 24, 2002 Mideast speech, called on the Palestinians to elect new leaders, not compromised by terror. Likewise, the Road Map plan stipulates that the Palestinians must have a leadership acting decisively against terror.
Morton A. Klein National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), said: The Bush administration acknowledges that Arafat is a terrorist and refuses to have any dealings with him. Abu Mazens pledges of loyalty to Arafat demonstrate that he, too, is still a terrorist. He does not qualify as the kind of non-terrorist leader that President Bush has demanded. He is no more worthy of U.S. support than Saddam Husseins second-in-command.