NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is deeply troubled by a report that the U.S. official in charge of monitoring Palestinian Arab compliance with the Bush Road Map plan has accepted the Palestinian Authoritys implausible claim that it is unable to wage war against terrorist groups.
The Israeli daily Haaretz reported (August 7, 2003) that some Israeli officials say the U.S. monitoring chief, John Wolf, has a tendency to lean toward the Palestinians. These officials revealed that during a recent meeting involving Israeli and Palestinian security officials, the Palestinian delegates claimed they lack the wherewithal to take steps against terror. The Israelis countered, claiming the PA has means sufficient to crack down on terror. Wolf intervened, saying, I know they are unable to wage war on terror.
Haaretz also reported that Wolfs work plan for monitoring Israeli compliance with the Road Map includes a section in which Israels behavior is being judged in part on refraining from actions which harm trust, such as releasing Palestinian prisoners even though there is no requirement whatsoever in the Road Map that Israel release imprisoned Palestinian Arabs.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: The Palestinian Authority has thirteen security forces, which are well-armed and have been trained by the CIA. The claim that they are unable to fight terrorists is absurd. They can arrest terrorists. They can confiscate weapons. They can shut down terror training camps. But PA prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) refuses to do so, in blatant violation of the Road Map. He refuses to take even such minimal steps as changing the names of streets, schools, and summer camps that are named after terrorists. Why doesnt John Wolfs work plan include any monitoring of the PAs policy of encouraging terrorism by publicly glorifying terrorists?
The ZOA previously pointed out that a senior member of Wolfs team, Deputy Undersecretary of State David Satterfield, has expressed strong pro-Arab bias in the past. While touring southern Lebanon in December 1998, Satterfield was asked by reporters about attacks launched by Hezbollah against Israel. (Hezbollah is on the U.S. list of terrorist groups; its attacks include the 1983 car-bomb massacre of 241 Marines in Lebanon.) According to the Arab newspaper Al-Nahar (Dec. 4, 1998), he replied: We make a distinction between resistance and terror. We dont think that this resistance is terrorism.
When a correspondent for the Journal of Counterterrorism asked the State Department for its response, a spokesman refused to answer whether Satterfields comments were in line with State Department policy or not. He did not deny that Satterfield made the statement. (Vol.6, No.2, p.26)