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Are the Palestinian Arabs Fulfilling President Bush’s Conditions for Statehood? A Survey of Week #26: December 17 – December 23, 2002

ZOA December 24, 2002

THE BUSH PLAN:

    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.

    This report analyzes
Palestinian Arab actions during the 26th week following President Bush’s
speech, Dec. 17 – Dec. 23, 2002.

I. “Dismantle the Terrorist
Infrastructure”


What They Must Do: President Bush said that
the Palestinian Arabs must “engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists
and ismantle their infrastructure.” Those terms were previously defined in the
Oslo and Wye accords as including arresting and imprisoning terrorists;
shutting down bomb factories; seizing terrorists’ weapons; extraditing
terrorists to Israel; punishing factions of the PLO that engage in terrorism;
and outlawing terrorist groups.

    The Bush
administration has also said that in rebuilding its police and security forces,
the PA must reform them so that they fight against terrorists instead of taking
part in terrorism. The training, under the supervision of U.S., Egyptian, and
Jordanian security officials, began on September 19, 2002; however, Israel has
protested the fact that at least 100 of the 150 PA security officers
participating in the course “were involved in attacks on Israeli civilians.”
(Middle East Newsline, September 17, 2002)

What They Did During
Week #26:


A. No Terrorists Arrested: There were no reports
of terrorists being arrested or imprisoned.

B. No Terrorists
Extradited: The PA continued to ignore Israel’s 45 requests for the extradition
of terrorists.

C. No Terror Groups Outlawed: The PA did not
outlaw Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, or any other terrorist groups.


D.
No Terrorists’ Weapons Seized: There were no reports of the PA seizing
terrorists’ weapons. By contrast, in Rafiah on December 22, Israeli forces
discovered ready-to-detonate bombs in a private house, and an entrance to a
tunnel to Egypt that was used for smuggling weapons to the PA.


E.
No Closing of Bomb Factories: There were no reports of the PA shutting
down any bomb factories.

F. No Punishing of PLO Terror
Factions: 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).

G. New Terrorist Attacks: Throughout Week #26, Israeli
forces were engaged in “Operation Determined Stand,” resulting in a sharp
decrease in terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, during Dec.17-Dec.23, 2002, there
were at least 17 terrorist attacks or attempted attacks, in which 1 people and
murdered and 5 wounded:

December 17: A terrorist with an
explosives belt was intercepted while trying to attack the Israeli Army’s
“Tarmit” outpost near the Egyptian border … Shooting attack near the Egyptian
border; two senior officials of the Defense Ministry’s Construction Department
were wounded … Shooting attacks on Israeli soldiers near the Egyptian border
… A bomb discovered in Hebron … Shooting attack on Israeli motorists near
Netzarim … Attack on Israeli Army vehicles in the Central Region.


December 18: Firebomb attack on Israeli soldiers in Shechem (Nablus);
two wounded … Shooting attack on an Israeli motorist near Morag … Bombs
found near Morag … Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in Rafiah.


December 19: Bomb discovered in the Morag greenhouse.


December 20: Shooting attack on Israeli motorists near Netzar Hazani;
the townÆs rabbi was killed.

December 21: Grenade attack
on Israeli soldiers near Morag; one wounded … Shooting attack on a German
diplomat in Jenin.

December 22: Two Hamas terrorists
intercepted near Jenin on their way to carry out an attack … Shooting attack
on Israeli soldiers in Gaza.

December 23: Shooting attack on
Israeli soldiers in Rafiah.


II. “End Incitement”


What They Must Do: President Bush stated that the Palestinian Arabs
must “end incitement to violence in official media and publicly denounce
homicide bombings.”

What They Did During Week #26:


    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.

    For example, at a PA-sponsored ceremony
in Gaza on December 18, titled “Palestine and Iraq in the Same Trench”, 25
families of Palestinian Arab ômartyrsö received grants from Saddam
Hussein totaling $280,000. Sketches of Arafat and Saddam Hussein appeared
together on a poster beside the Iraqi and PA flags. During the ceremony,
support was expressed for Iraq in its coming battle with the United States and
one of the speakers, the poet Omar Halil Omar, “praised the role of Iraq and
the Commander Saddam Hussein, and stressed that Iraq’s land will be a graveyard
for the American soldiers,ö according to the official PA newspaper
Al-Hayat Al- Jadida, Dec. 19, 2002, as quoted by Palestinian Media Watch.



III. “Elect New Leaders Not Compromised by Terror”


What They Must Do: President Bush stated that the Palestinian Arabs must hold
“fair multiparty elections by the end of the year, with national elections to
follow,” in which they “elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror.”


What They Did During Week #26: The PA has announced that it
will hold elections for chairman of the PA and members of the Palestinian
Legislative Council on January 20, 2003, if Israel withdraws from various parts
of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. (New York Times, June 27, 2002) It remains to be
seen whether those elections, if held, will be free and fair, as President Bush
has urged, or will be marred by ballot-stuffing and intimidation of voters and
potential non-PLO candidates, as were the last PA elections, in 1996.



IV. “Build Democracy Based on Tolerance and Liberty”


What They Must Do: President Bush said that the Palestinian
Arabs must “build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty,” with
“a new constitution” and “a truly independent judiciary. He said they must
“confront corruption,” and “the Palestinian parliament should have the full
authority of a legislative body.” They must implement “market economics,” and
create “a vibrant economy where honest enterprise is encouraged by honest
government.” In addition, there must be “an externally supervised effort to
rebuild and reform the Palestinian security services” with “clear lines of
authority and accountability and a unified chain of command.”

What
They Did During Week #26:


    The PA continues to
claim that it is in the process of implementing what it describes as its
“reform plan,” but experts doubt that the reforms will be genuine. Robert
Satloff of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said of the plan:
“While it offers promising elements of change, the plan is only likely to
strengthen the unacceptable status quo.”(Middle East Newsline, July 9, 2002) On
October 29, 2002, Arafat announced the appointment of a new cabinet; however,
16 of the 19 cabinet members had likewise been members of the outgoing cabinet.
(New York Times, October 30, 2002)

    Furthermore, on
October 29, 2002, the PA announced it had condemned to death an Arab
human-rights worker (Heidar Mahmoud Hussein Ghanim, an employee of the leftwing
Israeli group Btselem) for “spying for Israel.”

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