May 14, 2009
Will Obama’s Justice Department Prosecute Abbas for Murder?
Now that President Obama has opened the door to prosecuting Bush administration officials for legal opinions allowing waterboarding of al Qaeda leaders, it would be monumentally ironic and unjust if the door were not also open to prosecuting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for funding the murder of David Berger, the American-born member of the Israeli Olympic team slaughtered in Munich in 1972.
Berger is merely one individual on a long list of American victims of the 4-decade killing spree in which Abbas boasts of having fired the first shot. Ironically, the slain weightlifter was “a pacifist in the truest sense of the word,” according to his father Benjamin, a Cleveland-area doctor quoted in an article on ESPN.com about efforts to keep alive the memory of Berger and his teammates.
Although prosecutions of officials of the previous administration now appear less likely, the mere possibility that emergency anti-terror efforts might be punished while terrorist atrocities go un-investigated, must be an Orwellian nightmare for the families of the hundreds of American victims of Palestinian terrorism, as well as anyone who has empathy. And didn’t the President insist, on the occasion of Justice Souter’s retirement, that empathy is one of the foremost qualities he values in our system of justice? The Israeli civil rights group Shurat Hadin has spent years appealing to US and German law enforcement to investigate the role of Abbas (aka Abu Mazen) in the Munich Massacre. According to their research,
Abu Mazen, then a high ranking PLO official, provided financing for the terrorist attacks being perpetrated by Yassir Arafat’s PLO faction Fatah under the nom de guerre Black September.
Shurat Hadin is basing its information on published statements by the terrorist who masterminded the the Munich attack, Mohammed Daoud Oudeh (“Abu Daoud”). In his French-language autobiography, Palestine: From Jerusalem to Munich, Abu Daoud describes the role of Abu Mazen in providing the funds to carry out the Black September Olympic attack.
Furthermore, in an interview with journalist Don Yaeger of Sports Illustrated Magazine in August 2002, Abu Daoud reiterated his charges that Abu Mazen supplied the money for the deadly attack…
Abu Daoud’s allegations have been confirmed by sources within the Palestinian
Authority, according to Shurat Hadin.
Moreover, as Yassir Arafat’s deputy for decades, the extent of Abbas’ role in other atrocities, including the torture and execution of American diplomats Cleo A. Noel, Jr. and George Curtis in Khartoum on March 2, 1973, demands investigation.
It is possible for a terrorist to evolve into a statesman and peacemaker over the span of 3 or 4 decades, yet as Abbas proudly announced, he has not changed one iota from 1965 to today. The perception of him and his faction as moderate might be the world’s most inexplicable shared hallucination. As Jeff Jacoby reported on April 5:
In recent weeks, the Palestinian Authority has warned Arabs that it is “high treason” punishable by death to sell homes or property to Jews in Jerusalem; shut down a Palestinian youth orchestra and arrested its founder because the ensemble played for a group of elderly Israeli Holocaust survivors; and celebrated the deadliest terrorist attack in Israel’s history — a PLO bus hijacking that left 38 civilians dead — with a TV special extolling the massacre. On Thursday, after a Palestinian terrorist used an axe to murder a 13-year-old Jewish boy, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades — a wing of the supposedly “moderate” Fatah party — issued a statement claiming responsibility.
The axe murder, and the choice of such a young victim, was no aberration. Abbas’ faction seems to revel in the slaughter of children. This mindset was evident in the way the PA reacted in 2004 to the fate of Tali Hatuel, who was driving with her daughters — Hila, 11, Hadar, 9, Roni, 7, and Merav, 2 — when Palestinian terrorists shot the eight-months-pregnant mother in the stomach and shot the screaming girls repeatedly in the head. A Jerusalem Newswire headline reported at the time that the US taxpayer-funded PA “Honors Killers of Jewish Family.” The PA also called Tali Hatuel and her four daughters “terrorists.”
Similarly, when 16-year-old American Daniel Wultz died 27 days after being wounded in a Tel Aviv homicide bombing orchestrated by Abbas’ al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Abu Nasser, one of the terror gang’s leaders, gloated, “This is a gift from Allah. We wish this young dog will go directly with no transit to hell…”
Following Israel’s recent release of Samir Kuntar, whose murder victims included a 4-year-old girl whose head he bashed in, Abbas and other PA officials did not mask their excitement over Kuntar’s freedom and his deeds. The Zionist Organization of America described Abbas meeting with Kuntar in Beirut at the time, and noted:
Abbas’ meeting with Kuntar is only the latest in a series of actions by Abbas and the PA honoring Samir Kuntar. At the time of the multiple murderer’s release, Abbas personally congratulated Kuntar’s family on his release (Abbas congratulates Kuntar’s family for killer’s release,’ Haaretz, July 16, 2008). Moreover, Abbas’ Fatah party organized a celebratory rally to mark the occasion in Ramallah, while a senior advisor to Abbas, Ahmed Abdel Rahman, hailed the release of Kuntar and other terrorists by Israel saying, “This is an historic victory over Israeli arrogance” and praised Kuntar as a “big struggler” (Khaled Abu Toameh, Haniyeh: Release thousands for Schalit,’ Jerusalem Post, July 16, 2008). Additionally, Ziad abu al-Enain, director-general of the PA Ministry for Prisoner Affairs of the Salam Fayyad government and one of Fatah’s senior members in the territories, said “The Palestinians congratulate Hizbullah and its leader and send their best wishes to all the Lebanese people and to all the Palestinians upon the completion of the deal and the release of heroes, headed by the prisoners’ leader, Samir Kuntar” (Ali Waked, Abbas congratulates Kuntar’s family; Haniyeh: Israel will pay more,’ Yediot Ahronot, July 16, 2008).
Obama said in Sderot that he would not tolerate rocket attacks that endangered his own daughters. If Samir Kuntar’s beating-death victim had been Malia or Sascha Obama, rather than 4-year-old Einat Haran, and Abbas celebrated the killing, would Obama treat Abbas as a moderate peacemaker and negotiate with him? We all know the answer.
Immediately after being sworn in as president, Obama gave Abbas the unique honor of calling him before any other world leader, yet promises to “hunt down and kill” Osama bin Laden. Why the dramatic double standard? The apparent answer is that terrorists get a free pass-not to mention billions in US taxpayer dollars-when their targets are Jewish. Is there any other explanation?
At the same time that Abbas receives royal treatment, this administration is eagerly prosecuting a teenage Somali pirate who, unlike Abbas, did not kill anyone. One might argue that the difference is that Abbas is a high-profile national leader and therefore “too big to allow to fail.” Yet Panama’s dictator Manuel Noriega languishes today in prison, convicted by the US government of drug trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering-minor offenses compared with the Munich bloodbath.
Attorney-General Eric Holder has insisted, “We owe the American people a reckoning.” Vice-President Joseph Biden has emphasized, “We will not be stopped from pursuing any criminal offence that’s occurred…no one is above the law.” Both were referring to investigating US officials in connection with actions that included rare instances of waterboarding al Qaeda leaders, particularly Khalid Sheikh Mohammed after he ominously gloated that a second wave of attacks was imminent.
In the case of Abbas, is Biden correct that “no one is above the law?” And if not, in what kind of upside-down justice system is the door open to prosecuting efforts to stop terrorism, yet not open to prosecuting terrorism?
Edward Olshaker is a longtime journalist whose work has appeared in History News Network, The Jewish Press, FrontPage Magazine, and other publications.