A few hours before his scheduled conference Tuesday with Israel’s prime minister, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and his state-controlled media issued a list of things he will demand of Israel and things he will refuse to give Israel:
The lists of demands were promulgated following two Palestinian terror operations carried out by Abbas’s own Fatah organization: a woman suicide bomber who tried to smuggle a bomb into an hospital, and a joint Fatah-Jihad attack that killed an Israeli soldier in Gaza.
In its broadcasts Tuesday morning, Voice of Palestine radio and Palestinian television declared that the lists are:
- Release from Israeli jails of all convicted Palestinian prisoners-several thousand-including those convicted of bombing, shooting and stabbing Israelis-what the Israelis call “men with blood on their hands”;
- Release from British custody in Jericho of Fouad Shoubaki, the “money-man” of Yasser Arafat, who arranged a huge arms transfer from Iran to the Palestinians aboard the transport ship ‘Karinne A’ that Israel intercepted in 2002;
- Release from British custody in Jericho of Ahma’ad Saadat, leader of the PFLP terror group that committed and admitted murdering Israeli cabinet minister Rehav’am Ze’evi in Jerusalem in 2001;
- And removal of all road blocks around Palestinian cities, as well as turning over the Gaza airport and seaport to complete Palestinian control.
For the third day in a row, Palestinian television replayed, at the top of the news, an interview with Dr. Abbas in which he reiterated that he, for his part, was not willing to lift a finger to try and disarm gun-men in Hamas, Jihad or his own Fatah party.
“We will not enter into a civil war for the sake of seizing weapons,” declared Abbas, in the interview that has been repeated for three days in a row.
According to previous agreements, Israel has already released 900 Palestinian prisoners in the last few months, several of whom immediately returned to carrying out terror operations including planned suicide attacks in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Abbas has not personally condemned any attacks on Israelis, including the February 25 nightclub attack which left five Israelis dead and 20 wounded, but has made general calls for “not attacking civilians on either side.”
Dr. Abbas has called for an end to growing internal Palestinian violence or “weapons anarchy,” stating also that attacks on Israel “are not in the Palestinian interest” at the moment.
The Abbas regime has steadfastly refused to arrest members of the Islamic Jihad organization, which carried the February suicide bombing in Tel Aviv and was thwarted in trying to carry out two more bombings there and in Jerusalem last month.
Dr. Abbas released two Jihad terrorists from jail in Jericho this month, and he has demanded the release from British custody of the high-profile prisoners Shoubaki [the arms merchant] and Sa’adat [the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine].
Report compiled by Michael Widlanski Associates.
Commissioned by the Center for Near East Policy Research.
[Permission to quote or reprint from article conditional on citing Michael Widlanski or Michael Widlanski Associates.]
Dr. Michael Widlanski is a specialist in Arab politics and communication whose doctorate dealt with the Palestinian broadcast media. He is a former reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively, at The New York Times, The Cox Newspapers-Atlanta Constitution, and The Jerusalem Post.