Obama Should Cut Off Aid to Abbas Fatah, Which Praised This Attack
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is horrified by the latest terrorist attack on Israel, in which Israeli cars and buses on the highway between Beersheba and Eilat in southern Israel were targeted in a terrorist attacks that was launched from across the Egyptian border. The attacks have claimed the lives of seven Israelis and wounded at least 25 more. The attack took place near an Egyptian army outpost, from which Egyptian soldiers apparently did not intervene to stop the attack. According to eye witnesses, several of the terrorists were wearing Egyptian army uniforms. The ZOA has described this attack as being at least in part a product of changed conditions in Egypt and symptomatic of the countrys new political leadership and climate, which was ill-advisedly championed by President Barack Obama, leading to removal of the regime of Hosni Mubarak.
Some twenty terrorists from Gaza crossed into Sinai, using Egyptian vehicles. In a three-pronged assault, the terrorists used mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and an anti-tank missile to attack Israeli commuters and an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) patrol. There were also reports of mortar fire from Egypt into Israel. The combined attacks claimed the lives of four members of a Jewish family, including two children (aged four and six) travelling in a car, and a further three Israeli soldiers travelling on board a bus. Approximately twenty-five more Israelis were wounded. Israeli forces killed seven of the terrorists. It is thought that other terrorist cells involved in the attack may still be at large on either or both sides of the Egyptian-Israeli border. In response, the IDF struck at the terrorist group believed to be behind the attacks, the Popular Resistance Committee, an al-Qaeda affiliate, killing its chief, Kamal al-Nairab and five other terrorists (Yacov Katz, 7 dead in terror attacks; IDF still looking for terrorists, Jerusalem Post, August 18, 2011).
The websites of both Mahmoud Abbas Fatah and the Hamas terrorist group, with which it signed a unity government agreement earlier this year, praised the terrorist attacks and its perpetrators. As eminent Middle East scholar Barry Rubin noted, Nobody [among the Palestinians] is critical of the attacks. One Fatah site has such remarks as: Our Lord is with the heroes; [I] call for resistance in the Gaza with rocket fire and suicide bombings and the Glory of God and His Messenger; Tribute to the Heroes of each attack and no matter what their affiliation; God is great and victory is coming (Barry Rubin, News Flash: New Phase in War as Terrorists Cross Egypt-Israel Border, Many Dead, Pajamas Media, August 18, 2011).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, We grieve for the loss of innocent Jewish lives in Israel today. It is clear that where opportunity opens for Palestinian and other Arab terrorists to murder Jews, it is immediately taken up with the full-throated praise and admiration of Abbas Fatah and Hamas.
Previously, the Egyptian-Israeli border was the scene of relatively few terrorist attacks. While there have been many attempts at terrorist infiltration from Egypt into Israel during the Mubarak era, we generally saw that Egypt did not encourage or collude in such attacks, even if Egyptian forces often failed to root out such terrorists operating in Sinai or smuggling arms into Gaza as aggressively as they could.
All this changed earlier this year when the Obama Administration pressured the Mubarak regime to relinquish power due to public protests in the country. On January 31, 2011, President Obama declared that transition in Egypt should come now, with as many elements involved as possible, including what then-White House press secretary Robert Gibbs obliquely called non-secular actors a clear allusion to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. As the ZOA maintained at the time, this was a serious mistake.
We said this, fully aware of the fact that the Mubarak regime was a dictatorial, repressive, corrupt regime that, among many other terrible things, enables some of the worst anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda in the Arab and Muslim worlds. Indeed, the ZOA frequently criticized the Mubarak regime for enabling incitement against Jews and Israel, its promotion of anti-American sentiment, its blind eye towards weapons smuggling into Gaza and much else. But we were also aware that the choice is between bad and worse and that those who follow Mubarak would most prove still worse. As Barry Rubin put it, For more than 30 years the Egyptian government ensured peace along the desolate border between the two countries. Now, it seems, Egyptian forces are not preventing terrorists from Gaza from infiltrating Sinai and then Israel in order to murder Israelis.
The Obama Administration should have used its leverage to pressure Mubarak to carry out specific reforms but it should not have enabled and strengthened anti-American, anti-Israel, Islamist forces in Egypt that may one day in the not too distant future assume power in Cairo.
Today in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood may end up controlling a third or more of the seats in the Egyptian legislature and even the secular political forces have exhibited extreme anti-Israel hatred and may end up aligning with it. It is noteworthy that, the Egyptian-Israeli oil pipeline has been repeatedly blown up since the departure of Mubarak, just as it is noteworthy in the case of todays terror attack that the terrorists appear to have entered Sinai without difficulty, made use of Egyptian uniforms and may even have launched one of the attacks from an Egyptian army post.
How tragic that the Obama Administrations short-sighted and inept policy on Egypt helped to bring about todays volatile and dangerous situation which has enabled terrorists to carry out attacks which were once discouraged and prevented by Egyptian forces.
We are also appalled, though scarcely surprised, that Mahmoud Abbas Fatah has been busy expressing obscene praise for this latest terrorist attack. We renew our call upon the Obama Administration to cut aid to Abbas Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) and to strongly condemn Fatahs praise of these vile murders and murderers.