NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has taken issue with President Bush’s statement that “the heart of the matter” between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs is “the need for a Palestinian democracy.” The ZOA points out that a terrorist who gets elected is still a terrorist — and the two leading candidates in the upcoming Palestinian Arab election are both veteran terrorists.
Speaking in Canada on December 1, President Bush said: “As we negotiate the details of peace [between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs], we must look to the heart of the matter, which is the need for a Palestinian democracy.” (Washington Post, Dec. 2, 2004)
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “Democracy is not the heart of the problem; the heart of the problem is Palestinian Arab terrorism, the Palestinian Arabs’ commitment to the destruction of Israel, and the Palestinian Authority’s promotion of an entire culture of anti-Jewish hatred and violence in its official media, schools, and mosques. This ‘hate process’ is succeeding — polls show the vast majority of Palestinian Arabs support suicide bombings and other violence against Israel. Although democratic elections are important, they are not enough when dealing with candidates, and a society, that promote hatred and violence. The upcoming election may be ‘democratic’, but the two leading candidates are mass-murderers. How can the election of one of these killers serve the cause of peace?”
One candidate in the 2005 election is Marwan Barghouti, founder and leader of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, which is on the U.S. list of terrorist organization. If Barghouti wins, the Bush administration will be prohibited by law from having any contact with him. Barghouti is presently serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli prison after he was convicted, in May 2004, of organizing a series of suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks in which five people were murdered — four Israelis and a Greek Orthodox monk.
The other candidate, PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas, co-founded the terrorist Fatah group and was Yasir Arafat’s right-hand man for more than four decades, helping to orchestrate countless massacres of Israelis. When he was prime minister of the Palestinian Authority last year, Abbas said that “cracking down on Hamas, Jihad and the Palestinian organizations is not an option at all” [speech in Cairo, July 23, 2003]; offered cabinet positions to leader of Hamas and Islamic Jihad [Israel Radio, March 31, 2003]; and praised the Arab terrorists imprisoned in Israel as political prisoners and heroes [speech to the Palestinian Legislative Council, April 29, 2003]. Abbas is also the author of a book denying that the Nazis murdered six million Jews. Just last month, Abbas told the PA parliament (Nov. 23, 2004): “We promise you [Arafat] that our heart will not rest until we achieve the right of return for our people” — meaning the right of millions of Arab “refugees” from around the world to flood into Israel.