NEW YORK- The Bush administration has for the first time publicly acknowledged that the Palestinian Authority’s failure to capture Palestinian Arab murderers of Americans is the result of a deliberate political decision by the PA to refrain from capturing them.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (July 20, 2004) reported that David Satterfield, the second- in-charge at the State Department’s Near East desk, was asked at a Senate hearing on July 20, 2004 about the failure of the Palestinian Authority to arrest the terrorists who attacked a U.S. diplomatic convoy in Gaza in October 2003, killing three American security personnel. Satterfield replied: There has been no satisfactory resolution of this case. We can only conclude that there has been a political decision taken by the chairman to block further progress in this investigation.
Until now, the Bush administration had maintained that the PA was trying, but was unable, to capture the terrorists involved in the murders of 51 American citizens in Israel and the territories since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993.
The ZOA is urging the Bush administration to respond with steps such as:
* Withdraw its opposition to the Koby Mandell Act, which would create a special office in the Justice Department to focus on capturing Palestinian Arab murderers of Americans.
* Demand that the PA hand over Abd Al-Aziz Awda, whom the U.S. indicted in February 2003 as the founder and spiritual leader of an Islamic Jihad terror cell whose victims included Alisa Flatow of West Orange, NJ, a 20 year-old Brandeis University junior, who was murdered in a bombing near Kfar Darom on April 9, 1995; and Shoshana Ben-Yishai, 16, of Queens, NY, who was murdered in a shooting attack on a bus in Jerusalem on November 9, 2001. Awda is head of the Al Qassam Mosque in the PA-controlled Gaza Strip.
* Place advertisements in Palestinian Arab newspapers, offering monetary rewards for the information leading to the capture of Palestinian Arab murderers of Americans. The State Department offers such rewards on its web site, but has not advertised them among the Palestinian Arabs themselves — even though in other cases of overseas murders of Americans, ads are routinely placed in local newspapers.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: Assistant Secretary Satterfield’s statement completely changes the nature of the issue of the Palestinian Authority’s failure to capture murderers of Americans. The administration now admits this is a deliberate PA policy — this means the PA has consciously chosen to side with killers of Americans. By President Bush’s own definition, this makes the PA regime hostile to the United States, and it should be treated as such — not given $213-million in U.S. aid and offered a sovereign state.