ZOA: PA Violations of Road Map Plan - May 20, 2003 - May 26, 2003
On June 24, 2002, President Bush set forth the conditions that the Palestinian Arabs must fulfill in order to merit U.S. support for the creation of a Palestinian Arab state. Among the major obligations are that the Palestinian Arabs must "dismantle the terrorist infrastructure," "end incitement," "elect new leaders not compromised by terror," and unequivocally embrace democracy and free market economics. None of those conditions were fulfilled.
In March 2003, Yasir Arafat chose Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), the number two man in the PLO since the 1960s, as the new prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. Mazen took office on April 29, 2003. Less than a day later, the Bush administration unveiled its "Road Map" plan, which set forth conditions that the Palestinian Arabs must fulfill prior to the creation of a Palestinian Arab state.
The Road Map stipulates that during the month of May 2003, the Palestinian Arabs must undertake a series of concrete steps to combat terrorist groups and democratize Palestinian Arab society. Those obligations are quoted below.
I. "Cease All Violence"
What They Must Do During May 2003: The Road Map states: "In Phase 1 [May 2003], the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence."
What They Did During Week #4: During week #4, May 20 - May 26, 2003, there were at least 26 terrorist attacks or attempted attacks, in which 3 people were wounded. (During the first four weeks since Abu Mazen became prime minister and the Road Map was published, there have been a total of 98 Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks or attempted attacks, in which 17 people were murdered and 164 wounded.)
[skipped long list of terror attacks - hs]
II. "Call for Recognizing Israel and Ending Violence"
What They Must Do During May 2003: The Road Map obligates the Palestinian Arabs to "issue an unequivocal statement reiterating Israel's right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional cease-fire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere."
What They Did During Week #4: No such statement was issued by any Palestinian Arab leader.
After the suicide bombing in Jerusalem in which 7 people were murdered and 21 wounded, the PA issued a statement saying: "In the wake of the suicide bombings in occupied East Jerusalem, the Palestinian leadership condemned all acts of violence perpetrated against Israeli and Palestinian civilians and called for a halt to all attacks against civilians everywhere, with no exceptions." However, the PA does not regard Israelis beyond the 1967 borders as "civilians"; it characterizes them as "settlers" and as legitimate targets for violent Arab attacks. Since the bombing took place in the French Hill section of Jerusalem, which is just beyond the 1967 border -- "occupied East Jerusalem" as the PA put it-- the PA would consider its victims "settlers" rather than "civilians."
In his first speech as prime minister, delivered before the Palestinian Legislative Council on April 29, 2003, Abu Mazen made reference to "the need to end the Arab-Israeli conflict peacefully" but did not issue an unequivocal statement about Israel's right to exist in peace and security." Nearly all references to Israel in his speech referred to "Israeli aggression" and the like. Nor did Abu Mazen's speech call for an end to violence against Israelis anywhere; he said: "We denounce terrorism by any party and in all its shapes and forms both because of our religious and moral traditions and because we are convinced that such methods do not lend support to a just cause like ours, but rather destroy it." However, since Abu Mazen and other PA officials have never regarded the murder of Israelis as terrorism but rather as "legitimate resistance," his statement cannot be considered a call to Palestinian Arabs to stop murdering Israelis.
In addition, as recently as March 3, 2003, Mazen told the newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that the murder of Jews beyond the pre-1967 border is legitimate because it constitutes an act of opposition to "the occupation."
III. "Arrest, Disrupt, and Restrain Terrorists"
What They Must Do During May 2003: The Road Map obligates the Palestinian Arabs to "undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere."
What They Did During Week #4: There were no reports of any arrests of terrorists by the Palestinian Authority.
IV. "Confiscate Terrorists' Weapons"
What They Must Do During May 2003: The Road Map obligates the Palestinian Arabs to "commence confiscation of illegal weapons."
What They Did During Week #4: There were no reports of the PA seizing any terrorists' weapons. In his first speech as prime minister, delivered before the Palestinian Legislative Council on April 29, 2003, Abu Mazen said "the unauthorized possession of weapons, with its direct threat to the security of the population, is a major concern that will be relentlessly addressed." He did not say the weapons would be confiscated; he did not even call on Hamas and Islamic Jihad to surrender their weapons. Moreover, the phrase "unauthorized" provides a potential loophole, since the PA could "authorize" Hamas and Islamic Jihad to possess weapons.
V. "Dismantle the Terrorist Infrastructure"
What They Must Do During May 2003: The Road Map obligates the Palestinian Arabs to carry out the "dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure."
What They Did During Week #4: The PA did not outlaw Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, or any other terrorist groups; there were no reports of the PA shutting down any bomb factories or terrorists' training camps; the PA continued to ignore Israel's 45 requests for the extradition of terrorists; there were no reports of the PLO leadership punishing PLO factions that are engaged in terrorism, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).
By contrast, on May 20, Israeli forces operating in Shechem (Nablus) uncovered an explosives laboratory that manufactured material for use in suicide bombings. The laboratory contained 6 explosive belts, (3 of which were ready for use), 25kg of T.A.T.P explosives material, and additional chemicals intended for use in explosive devices. IDF forces also found a suitcase filled with explosives and ball bearings.
On May 21, Israeli Navy forces confiscated a PA-organized ship of weapons on its way from Lebanon to Gaza. Computer disks with instructions on how to construct explosives and details on intended attacks were also found aboard. Israeli officials said that PA official Adal Mugrabi, who is responsible for smuggling arms to the PA, and Fathi Razam, deputy commander of the Gaza naval police, were involved in the smuggling attempt.
VI. "End All Incitement"
What They Must Do During May 2003: The Road Map requires that "all official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel."
What They Did During Week #4: The PA's official newspapers, television, and radio continued to broadcast a steady stream of anti-Israel, anti-American, and pro-violence incitement, and PA officials continued to make inciting statements. In addition, there was no change in the PA's policy of inciting support for terror by publicly praising terrorists, naming streets after them, and paying salaries to imprisoned terrorists and their families. Moreover, in his first speech as prime minister, delivered before the Palestinian Legislative Council on April 29, 2003, Abu Mazen called the terrorists imprisoned in Israel "heroes" and demanded that they be set free.
VII. "End Arab States' Support for Terror"
What They Must Do During May 2003: The Road Map states that during May 2003, "Arab states cut off public and private funding and all other forms of support for groups supporting and engaging in violence and terror."
What They Did During Week #4: There were no reports of any Arab states cutting off their support for Palestinian Arab terrorist groups.
VIII. "Consolidate Security Forces"
What They Must Do During May 2003: The Road Map obligates the Palestinian Arabs to undertake "consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption"; and "all Palestinian security organizations are consolidated into three services reporting to an empowered interior minister."
What They Did During Week #4: The Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported on May 5, 2003, that "five different PA security organizations, including Force 17 and the General Intelligence, remain under the direct command of Chairman Yasir Arafat" and have not been consolidated under the control of the Interior Minister. Military Intelligence, the National Security Forces, and the naval forces are also under Arafat's control. Only the remaining two security agencies are under the Interior Minister. Arafat's five are under the control of a newly-created agency, the National Security Council, chaired by Arafat and his close aide Hanni al-Hassan.
IX. "Institute Democratic Reforms"
What They Must Do During May 2003: The Road Map requires the Palestinian Arabs to undertake a number of steps to transform their brutal, corrupt dictatorial regime into a full-fledged democracy, including "action on a credible process to draft constitution for Palestinian statehood"; the holding of "free, open, and fair elections"; and "steps to achieve genuine separation of powers, including any necessary Palestinian legal reforms for this purpose."
What They Did During Week #4: No such steps have yet been taken.