ZOA Calls On PM Olmert To Demand Apology From Abbas For Honoring Deceased Terrorist Leader George Habash
January 28, 2008

Israeli Arab MKs praise Habash and attend his funeral

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called upon Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to demand an apology from Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas for honoring George Habash, the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), by declaring a three-day period of mourning and praising him as an “historic leader” (USA Today, January 26, 2008). In a letter signed by National President Morton A. Klein, Chairman of the Board Dr. Michael Goldblatt, Chairman of Executive Committee Dr. Alan Mazurek, Treasurer Henry Schwartz and Executive Director Stanley Kessock, the ZOA has urged Prime Minister Olmert to demand “as a condition of all future negotiations with Abbas’ PA, that Mahmoud Abbas apologize to Israel for blatantly honoring a veteran Palestinian terrorist leader and head of an organization which to this day is openly committed to destroying Israel as a Jewish state and who had on his hands the blood of hundreds of innocent Jewish lives.”

Habash, who founded the PFLP, died over the weekend in Jordan. The PFLP was the largest group after Fatah within the Palestine Liberation Organization, and carried out numerous terror attacks including the following:

1968: Hijacking of El Al flight from Rome to Lod airport in Israel, diverted to Algiers, where 21 passengers and 11 crew members were held for 39 days.

  • 1968: Firing on an El Al passenger jet in Athens about to take off for New York, killing an Israeli mechanic.

  • 1969: Attack on El Al airliner at Zürich airport, killing the co-pilot and wounding the pilot.

  • 1969: Bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket, killing two Israelis and wounding twenty others.

  • 1969: Hijacking of a TWA flight from Los Angeles to Damascus by a PFLP cell led by Leila Khaled. Two Israeli passengers were held for 44 days.

  • 1970: Attacks a bus containing El Al passengers at Munich airport, killing one passenger and wounding 11.

  • 1970: Bombs in mid-air a Swissair flight bound for Israel, killing all 47 people on board.

  • 1970: Hijacks four passenger aircraft from Pan Am, TWA and Swissair diverting them to Cairo and Zarqa, Jordan and then blowing them up in front of the world media.

  • 1972: PFLP terrorists massacre 27 Israelis, including Professor Aharon Katzir, at Israel’s Lod (later Ben Gurion) Airport.

  • 1975: In as raid led by Carlos the Jackal, PFLP seizes the OPEC office in Vienna, taking 60 hostages before being flown to safety in the Arab world.

  • 1976: PFLP and Baader-Meinhof terrorists seize an Air France flight and hold its passengers and crew hostage at Entebbe, Uganda, until the latter are rescued by Israeli commandos.

  • 1981: Abducted and threatened four American journalists in Beirut in 1981 (two from the New York Times, one from the Washington Post and one from Newsweek).

  • 2001: Murders Meir Lixenberg, councillor and head of security in four settlements, who was shot while travelling in his car.

  • 2001: PFLP terrorists assassinated Rehavam Ze’evi, Israeli Minister of Tourism.

  • 2001 Carries out suicide bombing in Karnei Shomron, killing three.

  • 2001: Carries out suicide bombing in a Netanya market, killing three.

  • 2003: Carries out a suicide bombing in the bus station at Geha Junction in Petah Tiqva, killing four.

  • 2004: Carries out a suicide bombing in the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, killing three.

Previous statements by Mahmoud Abbas honoring and supporting terrorists:

  • On suicide bombers: “Allah loves the martyr” (Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2005).

  • On wanted Palestinian terrorists: “heroes fighting for freedom” (Age [Melbourne], January 3, 2005); “Israel calls them murderers, we call them strugglers” (Jerusalem Post, December 25, 2004).

  • On Palestinian terrorist leaders Yasser Arafat, Hamas’ Ahmad Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Fathi Shikaki: “martyrs” (Palestinian Media Center, September 9, 2005)

  • On jailed Palestinian terrorists: “our heroes.” (Israel National News, May 26, 2006).

  • On the Lebanese terrorist group Hizballah: A source of pride and sets an example for the “Arab resistance” (Jerusalem Post, August 6, 2006).

  • On Hamas: “We must unite the Hamas and Fatah blood in the struggle against Israel as we did at the beginning of the intifada. We want a political partnership with Hamas” (Jerusalem Post, February 5, 2007).

Israeli Arab Members of Knesset (MKs) Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) and Jamal Zahalka (Balad) traveled to Amman with other members of Zahalka’s party to attend Habash’s funeral. Tibi praised Habash, saying, “He was one of the most prominent leaders of the PLO and always fought for independence.” Zahalka also praised Habash, saying, “I did not know the man personally, but he was one of the most important Palestinian leaders in the 20th century” (Yediot Ahronot, January 27, 2008). MK Tzvi Hendel (National Union) condemned the two Arab MKs, saying, “Knesset Members who openly mourn and support one of the worst terrorists of our generation need to be thrown out of the Knesset” while MK Esterina Tartman (Yisrael Beiteinu) stated, “Israeli Arab MKs show contempt for the State of Israel; they believe in murder, in the destruction of the State of Israel and the obliteration of the Jewish People” (Israel National News, January 28, 2008).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Unfortunately, this latest outrage committed by Mahmoud Abbas only underscores his complete unsuitability as a peace-partner for Israel. Self-evidently, he is not a moderate who is genuinely interested in reaching a peace agreement with Israel. We should not however be surprised that Abbas has shown his true hand by publicly proclaiming his admiration and respect for a veteran terrorist leader like George Habash. As the statements we have cited above show, Abbas has made statements honoring other terrorist leaders, including Hamas’ Sheikh Ahmad Yassin. It is no surprise at all that Abbas’ praise for Habash was also echoed by Hamas officials.

“The world, especially Israel and the United States, must ask what decent purpose is served by their praise, financial and diplomatic support for Mahmoud Abbas, who has praised a variety of Palestinian terrorist leaders who have Jewish blood dripping from their hands. It is clear that Abbas is but another Palestinian admirer, supporter, enabler and sympathizer of terrorism who wears a Western business suit.”

“We also urge the Olmert government to start dealing with the problem of disloyal, seditious Arab MKs who openly side with the terrorists who murder Jews and to take all actions that are legally appropriate to address it. The issue of the extremism of the Israeli Arab politicians and organizations is something the ZOA has highlighted before because we believe the issue is being swept under the rug. This obscene attendance of Habash’s funeral by MKs Tibi and Zahalka should be a wake-up call to all Israelis and to all who care for Israel.”

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