NEW YORK – Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is permitting the Hamas terrorist organization to use the so-called cease-fire to develop even more powerful missiles to murder Israelisyet the Bush administration is still not pressuring the PA to act against Hamas.
Middle East Newsline reports (July 31, 2003): Israeli military intelligence officials said Hamas has been firing the new missile as part of efforts to develop a Kassam with a range of up to 20 kilometers. The officials said the missile firings take place nearly nightly north of Gaza City toward the Mediterranean Sea. Hamas has sought to develop a missile with a range long enough to strike a major Israeli city. The officials said the Hamas target appears to be Ashkelon, the city closest to the Gaza Strip. Ashkelon also contains a major power station. We know that this missile can reach a range of 14 kilometers, an Israeli official said. But Hamas wants something that can strike Ashkelon from the northern Gaza Strip and this would require a range of at least 20 kilometers.
The MENL report follows other, similar reports about Hamas using the cease-fire to restock its arsenal and develop new weapons. A senior Israeli Army officer told the Jerusalem Post (July 21, 2003) that Hamas is utilizing the cease-fire to build more than 1,000 Kassam rockets The Palestinian Authority is doing nothing to stop the smuggling of huge amounts of arms, weapons, and ammunition Sometimes they arrest a militant under the most comfortable conditions possible and release him within hours. The longest a militant has been held, is four days.
The ZOA points out that during the four weeks since the cease-fire was announced, there were 86 Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks or attempted attacks, in which 3 Israelis were murdered and 16 wounded. During the 13 weeks since the Road Map was issued, there were 363 attacks or attempted attacks, in which 52 Israelis were murdered and 320 wounded.
Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said recently that Abu Mazen still refuses to dismantle the terrorist groups: Hes acting on this issue [dismantling terror groups] the same way that Arafat acted in the last 10 years, when he committed himself time after time in all the agreements that were signed. Abu Mazen has not yet internalized the need to do this. (Haaretz, July 24, 2003) According to the PAs own official web site, Abu Mazen said in Cairo on July 23, 2003: Cracking down on Hamas, Jihad and the Palestinian organizations is not an option at all. (www.palestine-pmc.com/details.asp?cat=1&id=936)
Morton A. Klein, National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), said: The only difference between Abu Mazen and Yasir Arafat is that he wears a suit and shaves. The so-called cease-fire is not a step towards peaceit is allowing the Palestinian Arabs to prepare the next steps for their continuing terrorist war. The Bush administration should insist that the PA fulfill President Bushs Road Map requirement that it immediately dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure.