Abbas Condemns Israeli Retaliation Against Terrorists While Naming Terrorist As Head Of Security Force
May 30, 2006

New York – Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas today condemned Israel for retaliating against Palestinian terrorists in Gaza last night while also naming a wanted terrorist and murderer, Mahmoud Damra, as head of the Palestinian security force, Force 17, in Judea and Samaria. Abbas was described as condemning as a “barbarous slaughter” the killing last night by Israel Defense Force (IDF) special forces of four Palestinian terrorists and the wounding of a further eight in the northern Gaza village of Beit Lahiya who were on their way to carry out Qassem rocket attacks against Israel. This was the first Israeli ground incursion into Gaza since unilaterally withdrawing from there last year.

The official PA media, controlled by Abbas’ Fatah party, roundly condemned, not the terrorists who had been attempting to attack Israel, but Israel for eliminating the terrorists, who were described as “martyrs,” “citizens” and “resisters.” The ‘Voice of Palestine’ anchorman, Nizar Al-Ghul, stated, “Planes of the Israeli occupation shot at a group of four resisters in Beit Lahiya, killing four of them … President Mahmoud Abbas strongly condemned the barbarous slaughter” (Voice of Palestine, May 30).

According to Dr. Michael Widlanski, a former journalist at the New York Times, Atlanta Constitution and Jerusalem Post who specializes in Arab politics and media, “It was the fourth day in a row that Dr. Abbas and his strongly controlled media have lionized those shooting at Israel, while calling Israeli leaders ‘war criminals’” (Independent Media Review & Analysis, May 30). In recent days, there has been an average of 3 — 5 rocket attacks into Israel as well as several efforts by suicide bombers to enter Israel to massacre Israeli civilians each week, yet Abbas and the PA media have condemned neither the rocket attacks nor the attempted infiltration of Israel by suicide bombers, both of which have in some cases be carried out by members of Abbas’ own Fatah party.

Mahmoud Damra, named by Abbas today to command Force 17, is wanted by Israel for leading shooting and roadside bomb attacks against Israelis, including the killing of IDF soldiers near Neve Tzuf in 2000 and of an Israeli citizen near Tapuach, in Samaria, in 2001. Damra served under Yasser Arafat in order to escape Israeli arrest (Arutz 7, May 30).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Mahmoud Abbas deserves the strongest and clearest condemnation of the United States and the civilized world for condemning the killing of terrorists he himself should be hunting down and for appointing a wanted terrorist with blood on his hands to head a major Palestinian security force.

“Abbas has never once condemned Palestinian terrorist acts killing and maiming Israeli men, women and children as a ‘barbarous slaughter.’ Worse, he names a wanted terrorist and murderer, Mahmoud Damra, as head of a major Palestinian security force. Could there be any clearer indication than that provided by these words and deeds of the sham of Abbas’ moderation?

“These developments are merely the latest that demonstrate that Abbas and Fatah are little different from Hamas. Both Fatah and Hamas have charters that call for destroying Israel and for using terrorism against innocent Israeli civilians. Both have killed nearly five hundred Israelis each since the launching of the Palestinian terrorist campaign in September 2000. Neither as Arafat’s prime minister in 2003 nor as PA president since January 2005 has Abbas implemented PA obligations under signed agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan to arrest, imprison and extradite terrorists, close the bomb factories and end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA media, mosques, schools and youth camps that produces more terrorism.

“There can be no hope of moving towards peace unless and until the Palestinians fulfill their commitments to combat and end terrorism as well as incitement to hatred and murder within the PA. That will not happen as long as the United States and other countries praise and support Mahmoud Abbas, thereby indicating that failure to fulfill agreements carries no price.”

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