Former Knesset Defense Committee
head also blasts decision
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned the approval by Ehud Olmerts government of another transfer of weaponry to Palestinian Authority (PA) president and Fatah co-founder and chairman Mahmoud Abbas, which follows an earlier one in May. The Olmert government decided yesterday to approve the transfer from Egypt of 2,000 automatic rifles, 20,000 ammunition clips and 2 million bullets to the Fatah security forces in the Gaza Strip. The former chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Yuval Steinitz, condemned the decision as a bad mistake saying, A lot of IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians will be killed with these weapons … We havent yet seen that Abbas is determined to contain terrorism, and theres a greater chance that these weapons will be used against [our] soldiers, and well have to combat terrorism (Jerusalem Post, December 28).
Predictions that arming Abbas will simply mean more guns for Palestinian terrorists attacking Israel are supported by the words of an unnamed spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a Palestinian Arab terrorist group which specializes in rocket attacks upon Israeli civilians, who stated We promise to show Israelis very soon that the weapons brought for the Presidential Guard and [PA] security forces will be used against the occupation (Israel National News, December 28).
In May 2006, the Olmert government also approved a transfer 370 assault rifles to Abbas presidential guard, Force 17. The following month, a senior Force 17 member, Abu Yousuf, did not deny that weapons from this shipment had been used in two terrorist attacks which resulted in the death of one Israeli. At that time, Yousuf forewarned in an interview that, These weapons will not be used in an internal war but against Israelis [ Israel transferred these weapons] for its own political purposes. We are not concerned with the reasons. The weapons will not be used against our brothers, only [against] Israelis (World Net Daily, June 15).
ZOA National Chairman of the Board, Dr. Michael Goldblatt said, The ZOA warned at the time of the earlier transfer of weapons and again after Abu Yousufs statement about the dangers of arms transfers to Mahmoud Abbas forces. Now the Olmert government is repeating the same tragic mistake for which Israeli civilians will pay with their lives. The Israeli government should be doing all in its power to weaken all Palestinian terrorist forces, not merely those under the control of figures other than Mahmoud Abbas. We urge the Israeli government to cease all such arms transfers and reiterate our long-standing call for it to wage a consistent and sustained counter-terrorist campaign. We further urge it to abstain from all negotiations with and concessions to the PA until and unless it fulfills all Palestinian obligations under signed agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan to cease all terrorism, arrest and extradite terrorists, confiscate illegal weaponry and close the bomb factories as well as ending the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps that feed terrorism.