New York A new report, including an interview with a senior Fatah terror leader, reveals that American-run programs for training armed forces belonging to Fatah chief and Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas government have been instrumental in the success of the Palestinian terrorist campaign. The terror campaign began in September 2000 and has claimed the lives of over one thousand Israelis and maimed and injured thousands more. Additionally, a new training program for PA forces which will include a course in the use of weapons and which will cost $86.5 million, deriving from funds voted by the U.S. Congress in April, has been announced by the State Department. The course was instituted under an agreement signed this month by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The report quotes, Abu Yousuf, leader of the Fatah military unit, Force 17, which serves as de facto police units in Judea and Samaria, who stated plainly that I do not think that the operations of the Palestinian resistance would have been so successful and would have killed more than one thousand Israelis since 2000 and defeated the Israelis in Gaza without these [American] trainings ( New York Sun, August 21).
Abu Yousuf received American training in Jericho in 1999 as a member of the PAs Preventative Security Service. He is a chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Ramallah, where he is accused of participating in terrorism, including recent shootings, attacks against Israeli forces operating in the city, and a shooting attack in northern Samaria in December 2000 that killed the leader of the ultranationalist Kahane Chai organization, Benyamin Kahane. Following the Kahane murder, Yousuf sought and obtained refuge from Yasser Arafat, who allowed him to live under his protection in his Ramallah presidential compound, the Muqata, where he still lives.
As part of the now-defunct Oslo peace process, the United States undertook to train PA forces in order to improve their ability to combat terrorism and maintain law and order in PA areas. Instead, the training has only greatly increased the effectiveness of these same PA units in carrying out terrorist assaults upon Israel. The U.S. also has longstanding training programs at a base in Jericho for members of Force 17 as for the Preventative Security Service. Many members of Force 17 and the Preventative Security Service also openly serve in Fatahs Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the recognized terrorist group which took credit along with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group for every suicide bombing in Israel between 2005 and 2006. The Brigades is responsible for more terrorism from the West Bank than any other Palestinian Arab organization, including Hamas.
To this day, the Fatah Constitution labels Zionism racism (Article 7); calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 12); declares that this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and advocates the use of terrorism as an indispensable part of the struggle to achieve that goal (Article 19).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, This deeply mistaken idea of continuing training for Mahmoud Abbas forces is but the latest installment in the mistaken Bush Administration policy of pretending that the Palestinians have responsible and moderate leadership in Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah. Since Abbas has not jailed terrorists, confiscated illegal weapons, or closed the bomb factories, or ended the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps that feed terrorism, this move is simply wrong and counter-productive as well as being a misuse of American taxpayers money. The truth is that Abbas Fatah, especially the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, are just as much involved in suicide bombing and other acts of terrorism as Hamas, the Popular Front, the Popular Resistance Committees and other Palestinian Arab terrorism groups. Both Fatah and Hamas have each murdered nearly 500 Israelis in nearly 7 years of suicide bombing and terrorism.
It is vital that the United States and Israel cease the policy of funding, arming and diplomatically supporting Abbas and Fatah, which has ensured that the PA remains an unreformed terrorist regime. It is, after all, Abbas and Fatah which retain control over the content of Palestinian textbooks and the media, both of which promote hatred of Jews, Israel, Christians and America. The U.S. and Israel are making the same mistake they made when they falsely stated that Yasser Arafat was a moderate peacemaker, and on that false premise made concessions to his Fatah regime which resulted in a surge of terrorism and placed Israel in greater danger. Abbas has done nothing to merit our support. It is vital that we do not decide at this moment to continue faster in the same wrong direction of trying further to empower Abbas. Until and unless Abbas take steps to fulfill all Palestinian obligations under the Oslo Agreements, there should be neither diplomatic, financial or military support nor other rewards and concessions for Abbas and the PA.