With major news organizations around the globe focusing on the potential cease-fire proposed by Palestinian leader and Holocaust denier Mahmoud Abbas, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) reminds American and Israeli foreign policy leaders that such agreements are hardly new and will not work without serious reforms in the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian Arab community.
Weve all been here before, said Morton A. Klein, National President of ZOA. If Abbas does not dismantle and disarm the terror groups, arrest the terrorists, stop the vicious incitement that promotes the hatred and murder of Israelis in the Arab media, schools, childrens camps, speeches and sermons, any cease-fire will likely fail, because otherwise, they can turn the terrorist apparatus on and off like a spigot.
Said David Hacham, an Israeli reserve colonel who advises the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Palestinian issues, All these promises about what the Palestinian forces can do are like a check that can bounce at any moment. (Los Angeles Times, Jan. 23).
In fact, regarding Abbas current efforts, a local spokesman for Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades even told Reuters, This is not a cease-fire. This is a Palestinian tactic to avoid giving the enemy any pretext to escalate the situation during the dialogue which would foil it. (The New York Times, Jan, 24).
Such shifts in semantics and commitment are part of a long tradition. Hamas and Islamic Jihad, for example, rejected a proposal made under Egyptian auspices in January 2003. Our position is clear: there can be no cease-fire with Israel,(Jerusalem Post, 2003). Only weeks later, when a Palestinian official said the leadership had accepted a one-year truce, the PFLP, Islamic Jihad, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and Hamas all announced that they had no intention of ending the violence, and planned to intensify their attacks. (Jerusalem Post, January 19 and February 22, 2003).
As far as trusting Abbas commitment to a long-term end of terrorism against Israelis, we only need to see his comments in Saudi Arabia on December 15, 2004 when he said, I dont want my comment on the demilitarization of the uprising to be misunderstood . All I meant is that we are in a phase that does not necessitate arms because we want to negotiate. (UPI, Dec. 15)
Last year Abbas said, We did not say, however, that we are giving up the armed struggle. The Palestinian people have a right to oppose, using all means at their disposal to protect their existence. (Alsharak Alawast, March 3, 2003).
Some may be shocked by Abbas comments, but not if we remember that Abbas was Arafats top deputy for 40 years, co-founder of the terror group Fatah, financier of the Munich massacre, and a Holocaust denier.
Any breaks in horrific attacks on Israelis are, of course, welcome, said Klein. But without real institutional reforms such cease-fires cannot be depended on. This is why we are urging the Bush Administration not to negotiate with Abbas, and not to have U.S. funds sent to the Palestinian Authority until serious, lasting reforms are implemented.