New York — Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas has reaffirmed his extremist credentials by reiterating his adherence to the principles and goals of Yasser Arafat and reiterating his demand for the implementation of the so-called ‘right of return’, whereby Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendents would flood Israel. In a speech delivered to a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the death of Arafat, Abbas, often described in the international media as a “moderate,” said that, “The Palestinian leadership won’t stray from Arafat’s path” and that Palestinians would never change the principles and goals of Yasser Arafat. Yasser Arafat conducted terrorism against Israel for decades, refused to accept the establishment of a Palestinian state and was shunned by President George W. Bush, who called in June 2002 for Palestinian leadership untainted by terrorism and corruption.
Abbas stated regarding the ‘right of return’ that “We won’t give up on this issue” and recalled that the Palestinians had refused all projects of settling the Palestinians in any other country. He also demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners, many of them terrorists with blood on their hands, adding that there “Won’t be peace even if just ten thousand Palestinians are still imprisoned in Israeli jails” ( Yediot Ahronot, November 12; Israel National News, November 12). Additionally, Abbas reiterated the Palestinian demand that Jerusalem is the permanent capital of the Palestinian state and asserted that Israeli control over the city was illegal and should be ended (WAFA-PLO News Agency, November 11).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Mahmoud Abbas’ declaration of fidelity to the principles and goals of arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat signals his continuing extremism and helps explain why terrorism continues to thrive within the Palestinian Authority. His words about being faithful to Arafat’s goals, supporting the legally baseless so-called ‘right of return’ and opposing all proposals for resettling Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants mirror the statements he made when he was seeking the PA presidency after Arafat’s death in November 2004. These statements show that he has not changed. But what would one expect of someone who co-founded the Fatah terrorist movement with Arafat, served as Arafat’s deputy for 40 years, financed the Munich massacre and wrote a PhD and published a book denying the Holocaust?
“Under Abbas, the PA has not fulfilled its commitments under signed agreements with Israel and also the 2003 Roadmap peace plan to fight, arrest, extradite and jail terrorists and confiscate their weaponry and end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps that feeds it. Instead of combating terrorism and hatred, he condemns Israel for conducting legitimate Israeli military operations to eliminate Palestinian terrorists. Only last month, he condemned as a ‘heinous massacre’ the killing by Israel of seven Palestinian terrorists belonging to the Popular Resistance Committees terrorist group. He refers to terrorists as ‘heroes fighting for freedom’ and rebuffed President Bush’s call at the 2005 Aqaba summit to accept Israel publicly as a Jewish state. Abbas has also declared last month that neither Fatah nor Hamas need recognize Israel. He has approved legislation granting benefits to the families of suicide bombers and other terrorists. Whatever else he is, he is not a moderate or peace-maker. As long as people, including the Bush Administration, continue to whitewash Abbas and ignore his anti-peace actions, there is no chance that he will begin to change and do what’s necessary to have any chance for a real peace.”