A Survey of Week #13: July 22, 2003 - July 28, 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 the Palestinian Arabs are required to undertake concrete steps to combat terrorist groups and democratize Palestinian Arab society. Those obligations, which are quoted below, were supposed to have been fulfilled during Phase 1 of the Road Map, which concluded at the end of May 2003, but they were not.
This report analyzes Palestinian Arab violations of those obligations during the 13th week following the unveiling of the Road Map plan, July 22 - July 28, 2003.
I. "Cease All Violence"
What They Are Required to Do: The Road Map states: "In Phase 1 [May 2003], the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence." They did not do so. On June 29, 2003, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah issued statements saying that they would suspend attacks on Israelis for a period of 90 days if Israel ceases all counter-terror operations and releases all imprisoned terrorists.
What They Did During Week #13: During week #13, July 22 - July 28, 2003, there were at least 23 terrorist attacks, in which one person was murdered and two wounded. (During the first 13 weeks since Abu Mazen became prime minister and the Road Map was published, there have been a total of 363 Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks or attempted attacks, in which 52 people were murdered and 320 wounded.)
July 22: A terrorist was killed while preparing a bomb in Shechem (Nablus) ... Bomb attack on Israeli soldiers in southern Gaza ... Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers at the Israel-Egypt border ... Attack on an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint near Jericho.
July 23: Attack on Israeli Border police at an Israeli Army checkpoint; one wounded ... Two terrorists intercepted near Jenin while preparing a suicide bombing ... Shooting attack on an Israeli Army outpost near Neve Dekalim ... Mortar rocket fired towards an Israeli Army position in Gush Katif ... Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers near Gadid ... Two rockets fired at Kibbutz Nir-Am.
July 24: Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers south of Shechem (Nablus) ... Stabbing attack in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze'ev; one wounded ... Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers near Elon Moreh.
July 25: Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers near Jenin ... Shooting attack on an Israeli Army outpost in southern Gush Katif.
July 26: A Fatah terrorist was captured while preparing suicide bombings.
July 27: Bomb planted in Hebron ... Bombs planted near Kibbutz Merav ... Two mortar rockets fired at Netzarim.
July 28: An Israeli soldier who had been kidnapped by terrorists was found murdered ... Shooting attack on Israeli soldiers near Alei Zahav ... Bomb attack on Israeli soldiers near Tulkarm ... Shooting attack on an Israeli Army vehicle near Tulkarm.
II. "Call for Recognizing Israel and Ending Violence"
What They Are Required to Do: 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 #13: No such statement was issued. On June 4, speaking at the Aqaba summit, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) did say "we repeat our renunciation of terrorism against the Israelis wherever they might be." But PA Minister of Information Nabil Amr said (Doha Al-Jazira Television, June 14, 2003): "As regards the word 'terrorism', I do not know why when the Palestinians denounce the word terrorism, certain people think that this means resistance. There is no text anywhere that says that the Palestinian people's resistance is terrorism, which we denounce...Yes, we denounce terrorism. Anyone who says that denouncing terrorism means denouncing resistance is doing an injustice to legitimate resistance and is in effect labeling it with terrorism."
III. "Arrest, Disrupt, and Restrain Terrorists"
What They Are Required to Do: 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 #13: There have been occasional media reports of small numbers of terrorists being arrested by the PA, but then quickly released. The Jerusalem Post reported on July 21, 2003, that a senior Israeli Army official "said sometimes 'they [the PA police] arrest a militant under the most comfortable conditions possible and release him' within hours. The longest a militant has been held, he said, is four days."
IV. "Confiscate Terrorists' Weapons"
What They Are Required to Do: The Road Map obligates the Palestinian Arabs to "commence confiscation of illegal weapons."
What They Did During Week #13: In mid-July, there were media reports that PA security forces had confiscated 20 illegal weapons from individuals in Gaza. Israel Radio reported on July 12 that the individuals were common criminals, not terrorists. On July 14, after media reports claiming that PA policemen were searching cars for weapons, a "senior PA security official" denied the reports, telling the Jerusalem Post: "What you saw on television was not real; it was part of a drill. We carried out an exercise with the participation of 600 policemen. That's all." (Jerusalem Post, July 15, 2003)
By contrast, Israeli forces operating in Shechem (Nablus) on July 23 confiscated a cache of weapons, explosives, 15 pipe-bombs, iron used to manufacture shrapnel, and a 22-pound bomb.
V. "Dismantle the Terrorist Infrastructure"
What They Are Required to Do: The Road Map obligates the Palestinian Arabs to carry out the "dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure."
What They Did During Week #13: 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).
Meanwhile, the terrorist infrastructure has been growing steadily. The Jerusalem Post reported (July 21, 2003): "Hamas is utilizing the cease-fire to build more than 1,000 Kassam rockets in an effort to change the balance of power following the three-month cessation in hostilities, a senior IDF officer told reporters in the Gaza Strip ... This has sparked a fear among IDF officers that should hostilities resume, 'the opening of the next phase in the conflict will be much more violent,' according to a Gaza brigade commander.
"Much of the raw material necessary to build the rockets is smuggled in myriad tunnels underneath Rafah. From there, the source said, the weapons or bomb components are driven to Khan Yunis or Gaza City. It is in those cities, said the senior officer, that Hamas is working on a new version of the Kassam that could reach '15 kilometers or up to 20 km,' putting cities such as Ashkelon and Netivot within range.
"Some of the more lucrative tunnels whose 'engineers' earn a handsome profit from material smuggled under the Egyptian-Gaza border are believed to be 80 meters underground. 'Unfortunately,' he said, 'their digging of tunnels is much faster than our ability to stop it.'
"'Dozens of kilograms of explosives, hundreds of weapons, antitank rockets, missiles, and thousands of bullets reach terrorist organizations operating in the Rafah area, which are taking advantage of the situation to replenish their stocks and rearm,' he said.' 'The Palestinian Authority is doing nothing to stop the smuggling of huge amounts of arms, weapons, and ammunition. We estimate that there are eight to 10 tunnels currently functioning,' he said.' ...
"Negotiation has so far served as the chief PA method for preventing attacks, he said. Sometimes 'they arrest a militant under the most comfortable conditions possible and release him' within hours. The longest a militant has been held, he said, is four days.
"'There have been so many arms smuggled in that we can tell by the sheer number that we capture that there must be much more that we don't,' he said. Security sources have for months been publicly saying that the PA boasts a force of 20,000 armed security personnel in Gaza alone. "They are armed, have enough jeeps, cars, enough ammunition, and enough courts to arrest those men and take them to court," said one officer.
VI. "End All Incitement"
What They Are Required to Do: The Road Map requires that "all official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel."
What They Did During Week #13: 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.
For example, Palestinian Media Watch reported (July 20, 2003) that according to the PA-sponsored newspaper Al Ayyam (July 18, 2003), a girls summer camp run by the PA Ministry of Youth and Sports, in the city of Kalkilya, is "named after the Shahida [martyr] Wafa Idris ... about 100 girls participated [this summer] ... [At the closing ceremonies thanks were given including] to UNICEF for its support of the camps." Idris was the first woman suicide bomber. Her attack in Jerusalem on Jan. 27, 2002, murdered one person and wounded over 150.
VII. "End Arab States' Support for Terror"
What They Are Required to Do: 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 #13: There were no reports of any Arab states cutting off their support for Palestinian Arab terrorist groups.
VIII. "Consolidate Security Forces"
What They Are Required to Do: 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 #13: 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 Are Required to Do: 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 #13: No such steps were taken.