The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly condemns the recent statements by the so-called new moderate Arab Palestinian leaders, Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Qurei, praising both the goals and the principles of Yasir Arafat.
Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, Arafats Deputy for over 40 years, is expected to win the election on January 9 to succeed Yasir Arafat as Palestinian president.
The New York Times reported that Mr. Abbas, 69, who succeeded Mr. Arafat as chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, lavished praise on the terror leader in a speech given at Mr. Arafats old headquarters in Ramallah. No words of homage are sufficient to commemorate Arafats memory, Mr. Abbas said in the presence of Palestinian notables and Arab representatives. Mr. Arafat, he said, remains eternal in the minds and collective memory of our people and the Arab and Islamic people. The speech was at times interrupted by bursts from guns fired into the air by the crowd outside. (New York Times, December 21, 2004.)
Mr. Abbas further declared that Mr. Arafat would be buried in Jerusalem, and vowed, We will continue the struggle to make [Arafats] dream and our dream come true.
Ahmed Qurei, the current PA prime minister and another Arafat loyalist vowed that the new leadership would follow in Mr. Arafats footsteps saying[Arafats] principles are ours, and his goals are ours.
Further displaying his lack of moderation, Abbas said in an interview on December 9, 2004 all Palestinian refugees must have the right of return this is not an issue for debate and is a common goal of all Palestinian Arab factions. (Translation courtesy of IMRA.)
Speaking to the PA parliament on November 23, 2004, Abbas said: We promise you [Arafat] that our heart will not rest until we achieve the right of return for our people and end the tragic refugee issue.
Just as shocking as these extreme statements, we learned that Abbas, together with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and PA Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath, 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, they 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)
ZOA President Morton A. Klein said: It should not be surprising that Mahmoud Abbas, Arafats deputy for 40 years, the financier of the Munich Massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes, and a man whose Ph.D thesis claims the Holocaust never occurred, supports Arafats principals of duplicity and incitement, as well as the goal of destroying Israel by flooding it with Palestinian Arab refugees. The United States would surely never accept Saddam Husseins deputy to be the President of the new govenment in Iraq — why then are we accepting Arafats deputy, Mahmoud Abbas, as the new President of the Palestinian Authority. It is now clear that Abbas is no moderate, but simply Arafat in a suit.