NEW YORK- While some in the West have been praising PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas as a “moderate,” Abbas spent part of last week in Damascus holding friendly meetings with the leaders of groups that are on the official U.S. list of terrorist groups, and who call for Israel’s destruction, and with the pro-terrorist Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
Abbas, together with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and PA Foreign Minister Nabil Sha’ath, met in Damascus on Dec. 6, 2004, with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shalah, and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command leader Ahmed Jibril (all three groups are on the U.S. terrorist list), as well as Nayef Hawatmeh, head of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Afterwards, Sha’ath announced that “There are no differences over the objectives” between the PA and the terrorist groups. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 10, 2004)
They also met with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and announced afterwards that the PA and Syria achieved “a historic reconciliation.” (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 7, 2004)
Syria is on the U.S. list of terror-sponsoring regimes, and the Bush administration recently imposed some economic sanctions on Syria because of its terrorist activities. In addition to harboring Palestinian Arab terrorist groups, it has been widely reported that the Syrian regime has been assisting terrorists who are attacking American troops in Iraq.
Morton A. Klein, National President of the Zionist Organization of America, said: “If Abbas was truly a ‘moderate’, he would regard pro-terrorist Syria and groups like Hamas as his enemies, not his brothers and comrades. Abbas’s warm relations with these mass murderers shows that after forty years as Yasir Arafat’s right-hand man, Abbas has still not sincerely changed from terrorist to peacemaker. Here the soon-to-be chairman of the PA meets with the most vicious anti-Israel terrorist groups, whose written objective is the destruction of Israel — and yet the world is silent.”