Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) has criticized the US House of Representatives for threatening the PA with a loss of funding should the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas participate in the Palestinian legislative elections in January. The House resolution passed last Friday called for the PA to require all groups running in the elections to disarm and recognize Israel’s right to exist. PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudayna “called on the American government not to interfere with the decisions of the [PA] parliament as it impedes the peace process and is an obstruction to achievements of peace” (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, December 18, 2005).
In its Charter, Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and for the murder of Jews (Article 7). It describes Jews as Nazis (Article 20) asserts that there is a worldwide conspiracy against Muslims led by Jews and cites the classic anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in support (Article 32). The PA sought this year to bring Hamas into government and has refused to disarm it and other Palestinian terrorist groups. This is in contravention of the 1995 Oslo II agreement, which prohibits the “nomination of any candidates, parties or coalitions” that “commit or advocate racism” or “pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful or non-democratic means” (Annex II, Article II).
The American concerns about an active terrorist group participating in a PA government have been rejected by Palestinian officials and media. This is despite the many hundreds of millions of dollars given by the EU and US to the PA. Hamas has recently released a pre-election video which states, “We succeeded, with Allah’s grace, to raise an ideological generation that loves death like our enemies love life. We will not abandon the way of Jihad and Shahada [Martyrdom] as long as one inch of our holy land is in the hands of the Jews … A day will come when our flag will fly above all the quarters of our land. Our flag will fly on the minarets of Jerusalem, and the walls of Acre, and the quarters of Haifa” (Hamas website, December 12, 2005).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is perfectly clear that the PA has no intention of fighting terrorism or accepting Israel, or else it would not be refusing to implement its obligation to exclude from elections a violent terrorist movement like Hamas, which is committed to murdering Jews and eliminating the Jewish state. If the PA genuinely meant to make peace with Israel, it would be doing no less and in fact it would be horrified at the prospect of Hamas’ participation.
“The PA’s criticism of the House of Representatives for trying to hold the PA accountable is unacceptable but hardly surprising given that PA chief Mahmoud Abbas’ own Fatah party is equally complicit in terrorism and pledged to a platform of destroying Israel as Hamas. Fatah’s existing charter calls for the “Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence” (Article 12) and says that “Armed struggle [ i.e. terrorism] is a strategy and not a tactic” (Article 19) — a program that is identical to that of Hamas.
“The ZOA applauds and strongly supports the House of Representatives for taking this step to pressure the PA to fulfill its basic obligations, including that of excluding racist, terrorist parties from elections. There should be no legitimization of Hamas until it makes an unambiguous break with its terrorist past, publicly accepts Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, ceases all terrorist acts and abrogates its Charter. Until the PA meets it obligations to fight terrorism and end incitement to hatred and murder within the PA, there should be no US aid to and negotiations with the PA.”