ZOA: U.S. Should End Talks & Aid To PA’s Abbas If PA Doesn’t Release Imad Sa’ad, Who Assisted Israel Against Terrorists
May 9, 2008



The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called upon the Bush Administration and the Olmert government to cease aid and break off negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) if the PA does not release or executes Imad Sa’ad, a PA police officer who has been arrested for providing Israel with information about the whereabouts of four accused Palestinian terrorists, and accused of being a “collaborator.” Mr. Sa’ad, 25, was convicted on this charge and sentenced to death by firing squad in a PA court in Hebron by a judge belonging to Abbas’ Fatah party. The PA had been unwilling to hand over to Israel the four men whom Sa’ad helped it locate. The Oslo agreements require the PA to extradite to Israel wanted terrorists and to generally cooperate with Israel in combating terrorism.


There could be no doubt that if an Israeli police officer had tipped off the PA about an impending terror attack by a Jew upon Palestinians, Israel would be honoring him as a hero, not damning him as a “collaborator” and sentencing him to death.


Under the 2003 Roadmap peace plan, the PA is required to “disrupt and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere,” which is exactly what Imad Sa’ad did. The PA has a long record of executing what it terms ‘collaborators.’ Amnesty International reported in 2003 that “Scores of Palestinians suspected of “collaboration” with Israeli intelligence services were unlawfully killed. Most of these killings seemed to have been carried out by members of armed groups or by armed individuals. Some appeared to be extrajudicial executions carried out by members of Palestinian security services. The PA consistently failed to investigate these killings and none of the perpetrators was brought to justice.”


A former Soviet refusenik and human rights campaigner, Ida Nudel, has been campaigning vigorously for President George W. Bush to intervene to save Sa’ad’s life. The director of the Israel Law Center, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, has also written to President George W. Bush saying, “Sa’ad’s crime was simply reporting to Israeli authorities on the whereabouts of four fugitive Palestinian gunmen that the PA was unwilling to arrest … Fortunately, the security services were able to utilize the information and take out the terrorists before they could unleash any further attacks on Israeli civilians. This operation saved the lives of scores of Israelis and other innocent victims. It is no different than the recent preventive American army attack on Al Qaeda terrorists in Somalia. However, for assisting in this operation, Sa’ad was arrested and sentenced to death by a Palestinian firing squad.”


Despite this episode and Abbas’ continuing promotion of terrorism, refusal to arrest terrorists, and incitement to hatred and violence within the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps, President George W. Bush persists in saying of Mahmoud Abbas that “The president is a man of peace … He’s a man of vision. He rejects the idea of using violence to achieve objectives” (Jeff Jacoby, ‘Who will save Imad Sa’ad?Boston Globe, May 7, 2008).


Also, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praised Mahmoud Abbas this week while visiting Ramallah, and particularly his leadership of the security services, saying, “It takes some time to deal with the effects of the Intifada, but a lot of it has to do with responsible actions by the Palestinian government and the Palestinian Authority which are really now in place … And because of that, I think you are going to see improvements on the West Bank” (Eli Lake, ‘Appeal Is Made to Bush To Save Arab Accused of Helping Israel,’ New York Sun, May 5, 2008).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Here is a clear, straightforward litmus test: Does Mahmoud Abbas support preventing terrorism and jailing terrorists? Is he opposed to terrorism? Does he regard terrorism as the enemy of the peace, to which he tells Western audiences he is dedicated? If so, he should be applauding and honoring Imad Sa’ad for doing his duty in fighting terror and assisting the Israelis in doing so, as per the PA’s signed obligations under Oslo and the Roadmap. At the very least, he should be immediately releasing Imad Sa’ad from prison. In reality, he has done the opposite and may even have him executed. If he does not release Sa’ad, Israel and the U.S. should immediately cease all aid and break off talks with Abbas and the PA. There is no sense or morality in having peace negotiations with someone who arrests or executes those who help fight terrorists.”


“This brings to mind that, at the very time Abbas’ court sentences to death a Palestinian who fulfilled a Palestinian signed obligation to cooperate in the fight against terrorism, Abbas continues to demand that Israel release terrorists it has succeeded in arresting. If Abbas was the man of peace and moderate that he is incessantly described as being by President Bush and Secretary Rice and Prime Minister Olmert, why would he be imprisoning someone who fights terror while demanding that jailed terrorists go free? If he wants a peaceful solution, he would be decorating Imad Sa’ad, not sentencing him to death. If he was a moderate, the last thing Abbas would want is more terrorists roaming the streets of the PA and he would applaud Israel‘s efforts. In reality, he does the exact opposite.


“In the past Yasser Arafat executed swiftly several so-called ‘collaborators.’ During the intifadah, he threatened the late Elias Freij, then the mayor of Bethlehem, with ‘ten bullets in the chest’ for the sin of calling publicly for stopping the violence. We see now that Mahmoud Abbas is little different from Arafat.”

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