President Bush Again Praises PA’s Abbas For “Confronting” Terror While Abbas Declares Death Of Terrorist Chief Habash As A “Great Loss”
January 30, 2008

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is disappointed President George W. Bush once again praised Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas as a moderate who opposes and fights terrorism, even as Abbas’ PA was observing a three day period of official mourning for the death of the founder and former leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) George Habash. Abbas also praised Habash as an “historic leader” and ordered PA flags to fly at half-mast (USA Today, January 26, 2008). Abbas said in a statement, “The death of this historic leader is a great loss for the Palestinian cause and for the Palestinian people for whom he fought for 60 years” (Daily Star [Beirut], January 28, 2008). Abbas’ own PLO Mission in the U.S. also issued a public statement praising Habash as a great Palestinian leader and mourning his loss. Yet, President Bush claimed in his State of the Union address that, “Palestinians have elected a president who recognizes that confronting terror is essential to achieving a state where his people can live in dignity and at peace with Israel” (‘President Bush Delivers State of the Union Address,’ January 28, 2008).

Habash was 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’s PFLP has been responsible for numerous acts of terrorism, including the 1970 blowing up of Swissair flight bound for Israel, killing all 47 people on board; the 1970 hijacking of three civilian airliners, including a Pan Am airliner, to Jordan; the 1972 massacre of 27 Israelis at Israel’s Lod (later Ben Gurion) Airport; the 1976 hijacking of an Air France airliner to Entebbe; the 2001 assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rechavam Ze’evi and several suicide bombings in Israel in recent years.

Mahmoud Abbas in his own words:

  • On recognizing Israel: “It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel” (Al-Arabiya [Dubai] and PA TV, October 3, 2006).

  • Fighting Israel: “We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation … Our rifles, all our rifles are aimed at The Occupation” (Jerusalem Post, January 11, 2007; Independent Media & Review Analysis, January 12, 2007).

  • On Jews: “The sons of Israel are corrupting humanity on earth” (World Net Daily, January 11, 2007).

  • On Israel: “the Zionist enemy” (Associated Press, January 4, 2005;, January 7, 2005).

  • 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 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).

  • On Yasser Arafat: “It is our duty to implement the principles of Yasser Arafat” (Haaretz, January 3, 2005); “We will continue in the path of the late president until we fulfill all his dreams” (Agence France-Presse, November 11, 2005); “The Palestinian leadership won’t stray from Arafat’s path” (Yediot Ahronot, November 11, 2006)

  • On disarming Palestinian terrorists: a “red line” that must not be crossed (Washington Times, January 3, 2005)

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

  • On the so-called ‘right of return’ of Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants which, if implemented would end Israel as a Jewish state: “The issue of the refugees is non-negotiable” (Jerusalem Post, January 11, 2007).

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

  • Saddam Hussein: “Saddam Hussein has entered history as a symbol of Pan-Arab nationalism” (Independent Media Review and Analysis , December 31, 2006).

Mahmoud Abbas’ acts:

  • Holocaust denial: He wrote a PhD thesis and published a book denying the Holocaust.

  • Terrorist group Fatah: He co-founded with arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat the terrorist group Fatah, whose Constitution to this day calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 12) and the use of terrorism against Israelis as an indispensable part of the struggle to achieve that goal (Article 19).

  • Funding terrorism: as senior PLO official, he funded the Munich massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes in 1972.

  • Terror & incitement to violence: He has refused to implement the signed Oslo agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan which requires him 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.

  • Terrorists’ plan for more violence: In May 2006, he endorsed the so-called ‘Prisoners’ Plan’, a document produced by jailed Palestinian terrorists, that endorses continued terrorism against Israel, legitimizes the murder of Jews, does not accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state, abrogates Palestinian obligations under the signed Oslo agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan, and insists on the ‘right of return.’

  • Money for suicide bombers’ families: In December 2005, he approved legislation mandating financial benefits to be paid to families of killed Palestinian terrorists.

Despite this woeful record of extremism, President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have repeatedly praised Abbas for moderation and peace-making:

  • President Bush: “I strongly support the creation of a Palestinian state. I believe it’s in the interests of the Palestinian people, I believe it’s in the interests of Israel to have a democracy living side-by — democracies living side-by-side in peace. And the fundamental question that I ask is, is their leadership that share the vision and are willing to work hard to achieve the vision? And if the answer to that question is yes, the United States of America will be a strong partner in implementing the vision. I have known the President for quite a while. I am convinced that he is dedicated to the formation of a Palestinian democracy that will live in peace with their neighbor, Israel … I appreciate the fact that you’re fighting the extremists who don’t share the same kind of view. And I believe that the vision of two states, side-by-side in peace, is achievable.” (‘Bush statement with Abbas at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York,’ New York, September 24, 2007).

  • Secretary Rice: “I want everyone to know, particularly the Palestinian people, how much we admire the leadership of President Abbas as a leader of the Palestinian people … we’ve made a lot of progress over recent years in particular because of the hard work of President Abbas” ( ‘Press Availability with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas,’ January 12, 2007).

  • President Bush: “I fully understand that in order to achieve this [peace] vision, there must be leaders willing to speak out and act on behalf of people who yearn for peace, and you are such a leader, Mr. President. I can’t thank you enough for the courage you have shown” (Meeting with Abbas in New York, ‘President Bush Meets with President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority,’ Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York, September 20, 2006).

  • President Bush: “President Abbas is committed to peace” (Address to UN General Assembly, ‘President Bush Addresses United Nations General Assembly,’ New York, September 19, 2006).

  • Secretary Rice: “I want to take this opportunity to commend President Abbas and his leadership as well as that of his government for their ongoing efforts to enforce the rule of law in the West Bank and in Gaza. These efforts demonstrate the Palestinian leadership’s commitment to ensuring security and tracking down those who perpetrate violent attacks that only delay the achievement of a Palestinian state. There is much work to be done, but President Abbas has taken these actions with the active support of all those in the region and the international community to support a future of peace” (Press conference with Abbas, ‘Remarks Following Meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas,’ Ramallah, July 23, 2005).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is disappointing that President Bush could have uttered his latest words of praise for Abbas at the very moment that Abbas had declared throughout the PA a three-day period of official mourning for a bloodthirsty terrorist with a long history of massacring scores of civilians in mid-air and on the ground.

“Why does the President and Secretary of State speak of his courage, commitment to peace and progress? To what courage, commitment to peace or progress are they referring? Abbas certainly has not implemented the signed Oslo agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan which requires him 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. He has not renamed the streets, schools and sports teams that have been named in honor of suicide bombers and other mass murderers of Israelis. He has not put Israel in the official maps, atlases and textbooks published by or used in the PA.

“Abbas’ record of words and deeds cannot actually surprise anyone except those who willfully ignore his record. Denying or ignoring it displays the same short-sighted attitude that has been responsible for the many failures of the Oslo process and beyond, especially the constant ignoring of PA violations of signed agreements and the continuing terrorism and incitement to hatred and murder within the PA. The ZOA has noted before that, in this mad rush to set up a Palestinian Arab state, the U.S. is ignoring the plain evidence of Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah’s unreconstructed extremism and to proclaim a terror-sponsoring entity that educates its children for ‘martyrdom’ and mass murder as a group of peace-seeking moderates. No matter what Abbas’ PA does — whether funding Hamas military personnel; appointing terrorists to senior commands , glorifying terrorists in the PA media , naming PA institutions after terrorists, shielding wanted terrorists in Abbas’ presidential compound; approving legislation providing for funds for the family’s of dead terrorists — the Bush Administration has continued to call Abbas and the PA moderates.

“We call upon the Bush Administration to reconsider its misplaced praise of Abbas and the PA regime and start telling the truth about Mahmoud Abbas; to cut all ties with him and the PA and to cease discussing any plans for rewards and concessions to the PA until it rescinds the Fatah Constitution, acts on its 14-year old commitments to fight, jail and extradite terrorists and end the incitement to hatred and murder of Israelis in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps that feeds terrorism.”

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