New York – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has written to President George W. Bush, urging him to cut ties with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, following the payment of salaries to some 5,000 armed personnel of the Islamist terrorist group, Hamas. The payments were made to members of Hamas’ special “operational force,” most of whom belong to Hamas’ Iz-al Din al-Qassem Brigades, which has carried out hundreds of terrorist attacks upon Israeli civilians, including dozens of suicide bombings. Hamas terrorism between September 2000 and December 2005 resulted in the murder of 442 Israelis and the wounding and maiming of thousands more. Hamas’ Charter calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the murder of Jews (Article 7). Hamas is a terrorist organization which appears on the US State Department list of terrorist organizations.
The salaries paid to the 5,000 Hamas terrorists came from funds the Arab League sent to Mahmoud Abbas’ office to pay the wages of 170,000 PA officials via a body operated by the European Union together with Abbas, which supervises the transfer of the payments from the Arab League. This week, it approved $89 million for payment of salaries going back to May this year (Haaretz, August 23).
In a letter signed by ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. Michael Goldblatt and Chairman of National Executive Committee Dr. Alan Mazurek, the ZOA wrote to President Bush stating , “The payment that Mahmoud Abbas has now authorized to Hamas terrorists is nothing other than sponsorship of terrorism. However, it is not surprising, because in the 17 months since Mahmoud Abbas became president of the PA, and in the seven months since Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections, there has been absolutely no action on the part of Abbas or the PA to fulfill Palestinian commitments under successive signed Oslo agreements and also under the 2003 Roadmap peace plan.
“In particular, Abbas has not fought, arrested or jailed Palestinian terrorists and confiscated their weaponry, nor has he ended the incitement to hatred and murder of Jews in the PA-controlled mosques, schools, media and youth camps. To the contrary, he has vilified Israel as the ‘Zionist enemy’ (CNN.com, January 7, 2005), described wanted terrorists as ‘heroes fighting for freedom’ (Age (Melbourne), January 3, 2005), refused openly to dismantle terrorist groups, saying that ‘With regard to dealing with the Palestinian organizations, this is our affair’ (Daily Star (Beirut), September 22, 2005) and refused to condemn terrorism against Israelis as a moral obscenity and crime, merely complained occasionally that it “harms the Palestinian interests” (New York Times, October 26, 2005).
“In short, Abbas, who wrote a PhD thesis a book denying the Holocaust, was Yasser Arafat’s senior advisor for forty years and masterminded the Munich Olympics massacre, is simply Yasser Arafat in a suit.
“Mr. President, you eloquently stated in your address to Congress following the 9/11 attacks that, ‘From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime” (Address to a Joint Session of Congress, September 20, 2001). When it comes to the PA, this guiding principle should be followed. We urge you to sever ties with Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.”
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The Zionist Organization of America, founded in 1897, is the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations, educates the American public and Congress about the dangers that Israel faces, and combats anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses. Its past presidents have included Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and Rabbi Dr. Abba Hillel Silver.