Posted by: Morton A. Klein
October 19, 2004

State Department Criticizes PA For Failing To Arrest Killers Of Three Americans – But U.S. Still Takes No Action

NEW YORK- The State Department has criticized the Palestinian Authority for failing to arrest the terrorists who murdered three Americans in Gaza last year — but once again, the State Department has offered only verbal condemnation and has taken no concrete steps to pressure the PA.

Noting that October 15 was the anniversary of the murders, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said: “We have consistently demanded that the Palestinian Authority take action to locate, apprehend and bring to justice the killers of our three colleagues there. And I would just point out, as we’ve said before, that the Palestinian Authority’s performance on this issue has been unacceptable to us. We haven’t seen them demonstrate either the will, much less the capacity, to investigate the case seriously. We have seen statements from time to time by Palestinian officials that they know who did it, and if that’s true then they should take immediate action to arrest and prosecute whoever did it.” (

Yet the State Department still favors continuing the $215-million in annual U.S. aid to the Palestinian Arabs; still favors establishing a sovereign Palestinian Arab state; is still pressuring Israel to make one-sided concessions such as halting all construction in Jewish neighborhoods in Judea-Samaria; and is still pressuring Israel to refrain from harming Yasir Arafat.

Morton A. Klein, National President of the Zionist Organization of America: “Richard Boucher is correct that the PA’s failure to capture the killers is ‘unacceptable.’ But what is the U.S. going to do about it? Criticizing the PA but continuing to give it $215-million each year sends a message that there will be no real consequences if the PA continues to let the killers go free.”

Musa Arafat, the head of PA Military Intelligence and a cousin of PA chairman Yasir Arafat, told Reuters on September 22, 2004 that “Palestinian security forces know who was behind the killing of three Americans in Gaza nearly a year ago but cannot act against the factions while fighting with Israel continues.”

The three murdered Americans were John Branchizio, 37, of Texas, John Linde Jr., 30, of Missouri, and Mark Parsons, 31, of New Jersey. They were security personnel guarding a convoy of U.S. diplomatic vehicles that was attacked by Palestinian Arab terrorist at the Beit Hanoun junction in the Gaza Strip on October 15, 2003.

The PA official’s admission came two months after State Department official David Satterfield said at a Senate hearing (on July 20, 2004), regarding the PA’s failure to arrest the killers: “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.”