Aid increase despite Abbas refusing direct talks with Israel
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) opposes the Obama Administrations $400 million increase in aid to the unreconstructed, anti-peace Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) of Mahmoud Abbas, bringing U.S. aid up to $1.3 billion this year, DOUBLE THE AMOUNT President George W. Bush gave to the PA. In a press conference in Washington, D.C. yesterday with Abbas, President Barack Obama announced an increase of $400 million in aid to Palestinians, including in Gaza (Remarks by President Obama and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority after Meeting Oval Office, June 9, 2010). This is a serious mistake, rewarding Abbas and Fatah even though they have refused direct talks with Israel and fulfilled none of their obligations under the Oslo agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan and should be therefore be held accountable by President Obama. Only in recent days, Israeli forces intercepted and killed terrorists belonging to Fatahs own terrorist wing, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, who tried to enter Israel to carry out an attack. It is also especially wrong to increase aid to Abbas only days after he joined in the demonization of Israel by hostile Arab regimes for its interception of the Gaza flotilla ship carrying violent Hamas supporters who attacked Israelis who had boarded to inspect it, blaming Israel for what he called a massacre.
Fatahs Constitution calls to this day for the destruction of Israel (Article 12) and the use of terrorism as an indispensible element in the struggle to achieve that goal (Article 19). Armed Fatah terrorist groups belonging to Fatah, like the Tanzim and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, have killed over 600 Israeli civilians in the past decade in numerous suicide bombings, roadside bombs, drive-by shootings and other attacks.
The PA continues to incite hatred and murder against Israel in the PA-controlled, mosques, media, schools and youth camps. Last month, Fatah sponsored a football tournament named after veteran Fatah terrorist leader Khalil al-Wazir, known by his nom de guerre Abu Jihad. A few weeks ago, Abbas-controlled PA TV called Israelis thieves and advised them to return to Europe & Ethiopia, the PA TV narrator stating, This is my homeland; go back to your homeland! (PA TV (Fatah), May 4 and 7, 2010, translation courtesy of Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, PA to Israelis: Go to Europe and Ethiopia – Israel is stolen land, Palestinian Media Watch bulletin, May 11, 2010). Also last month, PA TV broadcast a childrens program Katakit (Chicks) in which the children in the studio told of their visits to Israeli towns which were described as being in the state of Palestine (PA TV (Fatah), May 16, 2010, translation courtesy of Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, PA TV again to children: All Israel is Palestine, Palestinian Media Watch bulletin, May 18, 2010). Yet, only yesterday, at the same press conference at which President Obama announced the increase in aid, Abbas publicly lied to him, absurdly claiming I say in front of you, Mr. President, that we have nothing to do with incitement against Israel, and were not doing that.
Senior Fatah figures from Abbas down have stated plainly that the Fatah movement that controls the PA has not and will not accept Israel as Jewish state; adheres to a phased strategy of seeking a Palestinian state alongside Israel as a first step towards eliminating it; and supports terrorism:
· Mahmoud Abbas, PA president and Fatah chairman: I say this clearly: I do not accept the Jewish State, call it what you will (Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, Mahmoud Abbas: I do not accept the Jewish State, call it what you will, Palestinian Media Watch, April 28, 2009).
· Abbas: Alluding to the dispute over whether the Palestinian government should recognize Israel and abide by past Palestinian agreements, Abbas noted that forces dont need to accept what the government accepts, and we say that the government has to accept the international legitimacy. (Abbas calls for all-inclusive unity government, Maan News [Palestinian wire service], April 27, 2009).
· Abbas: The Palestinians do not accept the formula that the state of Israel is a Jewish state. (David Bedein, Olmert reports to Israel Cabinet Meeting, Bulletin [Philadelphia], December 3, 2007).
· Abbas: 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, Itamar Marcus & Barbara Crook, Abbas dupes US: Recognition is functional, not inherent, Palestinian Media Watch, October 5, 2006).
· Abbas: [W]ith the will and determination of its sons, Fatah has and will continue. We will not give up our principles and we have said that rifles should be directed against the occupation . We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation (Khaled Abu Toameh, Abbas: Aim guns against occupation, Jerusalem Post, January 11, 2007).
· Muhammad Dahlan, former commander of Fatah forces in Gaza: [Hamas says] that the Fatah movement wants Hamas to recognize Israel. This is a gross deception. And I want to say for the thousandth time, in my own name and in the name of all of my fellow members of the Fatah movement: We do not demand that the Hamas movement recognize Israel. On the contrary, we demand of the Hamas movement not to recognize Israel, because the Fatah movement does not recognize Israel, even today (Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, Western funders misled: Fatah still refuses to recognize Israel, PAs recognition only to receive international aid, Palestinian Media Watch, March 17, 2009).
· Najat Abu-Bakr, Fatah MP in PA legislature: Confirmed that Fatahs goal remains the destruction of Israel, but that their political plan is to focus on the West Bank and Gaza Strip: It doesnt mean that we dont want the 1948 borders [all of Israel] … but our current political program is to say that we want the 1967 borders. (PA TV, Aug. 25 2008, Najat Abu Bakr Ribat 1948, Palestinian Media Watch, July 12, 2009].
· Abu Ahmed, Fatah commander: The base of our Fatah movement keeps dreaming of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jaffa and Acco. …There is no change in our official position. Fatah as a movement never recognized Israel (David Bedein, The American Sanitizing of a Terrorist Group, Israel National News, October 5, 2006).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, ZOA strongly opposes this increase in aid to Abbas and the PA, because it rewards the PAs continuing refusal to have direct talks with Israel, continues to promote hatred of Israel and Jews in every aspect of their society and has outrageously called Israeli self-defense in connection with the Gaza flotilla a massacre. By this increase, President Obama ignores the issue of Palestinian incitement even while pretending to address it. There can be no hope of Palestinian moderation or reform if there is no accountability and unmerited rewards lavished upon the PA.
ZOA is aware that President Obama said in this press conference, as he has said on a few other occasions, that the Palestinians must deal with incitement, but at no point has he made an ending of Palestinian incitement a precondition for further U.S. aid to the PA, as it should be.
Accordingly, not only has President Obama not suspended aid to the PA for failing to end support for terrorism, rejection of Israel and incitement to hatred and murder, but he has now hugely increased U.S. aid, once again ignored continued incitement and praised Abbas for undemonstrated, non-existent moderation.
The Obama Administration must cease to protect Abbas, prime minister Salaam Fayyad and the PA from exposure as purveyors of hate and inciters of violence, publicly condemn the PA for its incitement and make further U.S. aid to the PA conditional on incitement being ended. President Obama has not. In May, Obama said that he intended to hold both sides accountable for actions that undermine trust during the talks but he has ignored all instances of PA incitement since that date and instead simply rewarded the PA with a lavish increase in U.S. taxpayer funds.
It is past time for the Obama Administration to honor its commitment to hold Palestinian leaders accountable for incitement to violence and hatred. This requires withholding aid, not continuing it and increasing it.
We urge all supporters of Israel to contact the White House (P: P: 202-456-1111; F: 202-456-2461; E: firstname.lastname@example.org) and their Members of Congress and Senators to express their criticism and concern at this unwarranted increase in aid to Abbas PA. House and Senate members can be reached through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and through our website.