Last week IMRA [Independent Media Review and Analyis] noted that a proper understanding of call by Chairman Yasser Arafat that earned US President Bush’s praise is that the Palestinians should continue killing soldiers and Israelis residing beyond the Green Line.
IMRA brought this to the attention of Paul Patin Press Attache – U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv.
In the response below, Mr. Patin provides a response from Washington that Arafat did not call for continued attacks beyond the Green Line.
This morning, Ahmad Abdul Rahman, Cabinet Secretary of the Palestinian Authority clarified the position of the PA regarding attacks, explaining that “activities are to be limited to the areas of 1967” without any limitation or qualification attached to this activity. His words, first broadcast in Arabic and then translated into Hebrew, were broadcast this morning on Israel Radio by Arab Affair Correspondent Avi Yissakharov.
Within hours an Israeli was murdered by his Palestinain employee in the Gaza Strip.
One can only hope that one day the State Department will abandon its “say it ain’t so” approach to the Palestinian Authority – a stance they have taken from the very start of Oslo when they regularly issued compliance reports to the U.S. Senate that can be best described as barefaced lies that the Palestinians were completely complying with Oslo.
The material below appears in reverse chronological order:
Response from Paul Patin Press Attache – U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv
From: “Patin, Paul”
Sent: Friday, May 10, 2002 8:46 a.m.
Subject: FW: Arafat calls to stop attacks on civilians but keep fighting army and Israelis beyond the Green Line
Good morning Dr. Lerner, I have checked with Washington about this matter. Our position is that we note the recent steps taken by Chairman Arafat following the heinous terrorist bombing on Tuesday that left 15 Israelis dead, including the arrest of 14 Hamas operatives in Gaza, his condemnation of the attack, and his instructions to confront and prevent terrorist actions against Israelis. These are steps in the right direction – steps which the President clearly welcomed the day before yesterday – and Chairman Arafat must show leadership by continuing to signal clearly to his people that terror and violence cannot help the Palestinians achieve their national aspirations, and move decisively to confront terror and violence.
We do not subscribe to the interpretation that Chairman Arafat was, in the translation that you forwarded to me yesterday, actually calling on Palestinians to attack Israeli settlers and soldiers in the occupied territories or the West Bank or Judea and Samaria or whatever term you prefer. If we did believe that Chairman Arafat were calling on Palestinians to attack Israelis, then we would condemn it. Our position is that Chairman Arafat has not done enough to confront terror and violence, and that he must exercise leadership and do so – oppose and confront all violence, that is.
I hope this helps.
Dr. Lerner, Having read this, and before having sent it to Washington, one thought does occur to me, which I suspect will occur to people in Washington as well – The IMRA commentary says “according to the Palestinians… ” which Palestinians? All Palestinians? Is this official PA policy? How and where is this enshrined? We know that some Palestinians feel this way, but that’s not the same as saying that Arafat is calling on Palestinian security forces to attack any Israelis east of the green line. That is one interpretation. In any case, I will point this out to Washington and solicit a response. Sincerely,
Paul Patin Press Attache
U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv
Message to Paul Patin Press Attache U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv from IMRA
Original Message—– From: firstname.lastname@example.org[mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, May 09, 2002 1:39 p.m.
To: Patin, Paul
Subject: Arafat calls to stop attacks on civilians but keep fighting army and Israelis beyond the Green Line
Dear Mr. Paten –
Further to our telephone conversation.
Look forward to your comments to this item.
Best regards, Dr. Aaron Lerner – IMRA
Text: Arafat calls to stop attacks on civilians but keep fighting army and Israelis beyond the Green Line
[IMRA: The following is the text of the declaration by Yasser Arafat that US President George Bush said he read and praised. It should be noted that under Oslo Yasser Arafat solemnly committed the Palestinian People not to use violence. There is no “loophole” for killing soldiers or Israelis beyond the Green Line.
Unfortunately, it would appear that President Bush, by his praise, gives a green light to the Palestinians to continue murdering Israeli security forces as well as Israeli civilians beyond the 1967 line. According to the Palestinians, the very presence of Israelis beyond the Green Line (including inside the Old City of Jerusalem) constitutes “aggression”, so this statement, that Mr. Bush finds so promising, is actually a call to arms against even the Jews praying at the Western Wall.]
President Arafat: Palestinian Commitment to Fighting Terrorism Unwavering http://www.palestine-pmc.com/statments/2002/may/stat-8a-5-02.html I call on and request the important deployment of an international force to help us put an end to the aggression, help us, and impose peace May 8, 2002 Palestine Media Center-PMC
President Yasser Arafat issued the following statement today, condemning the terrorist attack against Israeli civilians, which took place last night.
Below is a transcript of the statement’s translated version:
As President of the Palestine Liberation and the Palestine National Authority, I reiterate my commitment to and sharing with the United States of American and the international community in their fight against terrorism. I have issued my orders to the Palestinian security forces to confront and obstruct any terrorist act against Israeli civilians from any Palestinian party while concurrently and in parallel, [I have instructed them] to confront any aggression against Palestinian civilians by the Israeli army and settlers, which we completely condemn [as well].
I call on the United States and President Bush as well as the international community to provide for the needed protection and support to the Palestinian security forces, whose infrastructure was destroyed by the Israeli occupation, so that they can carry out their duties and execute the orders issued to them to definitely eliminate any attempt to carry out a terrorist attack against Israeli and Palestinian civilians as a political means to reach the goals defined for it. With our commitment to the war against terrorism, I call on and request the important deployment of an international force to help us put an end to the aggression, help us, and impose peace.