The day after the armed forces of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas shared credit for the bombing of a bakery in the Israeli port city of Eilat, which claimed the lives of three young Israelis, President Bush announced an aid package to Abbas’ armed forces.

Following that Bush announcement, Israel’s leading news internet magazine, a Hebrew news blog located at http://nfc.co.il, ran an unusual newsworthy headline: “Terror Attacks with U.S. funding.” The news item noted that Abbas’ armed forces had been strongly armed by Egypt and by Jordan in the past few months, in coordination with the U.S. government, which has made it a matter of policy to strengthen Abbas. Egypt armed 1,900 troops of Abbas’ militias, while Jordan armed 3,000 troops loyal to Abbas.

Senior White House official Elliott Abrams made it clear that since Hamas took formal control of the Palestinian Authority in January 2006, the U.S. would do everything in its power to support and arm the forces loyal to Abbas, even though Abbas has made it his policy goal to unite his armed forces of Fatah with the armed forces of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and all of the Palestinian organizations still at war with Israel.

To that end, the American government helped establish training camps for Abbas’ armed forces in Ramallah and in Jericho, with the help of the British government.

However, senior policymakers at the Pentagon have been critical of the Bush administration’s decision to arm Abbas’ troops. One Pentagon official has told the Israeli media that “not only will Abbas’ troops turn on Israel – they will also turn on Jordan, the majority of whose population remain Palestinian Arabs.”

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was quoted by Pentagon sources as advising President Bush that any and all attempts to arm Abbas against Islamic forces would also increase enmity toward U.S. interests in Islamic countries and not serve U.S. interests in the war in Iraq. Pentagon officials also note that senior policy advisors at the CIA also warned against the Bush program to aid Abbas and were overruled.

Senior officials of the Israel National Security Council have also stated, off the record, that any U.S. attempt to arm Abbas would only strengthen, unite and inspire the Islamic forces under the leadership of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who would see this as a blatant attempt of U.S./Western/Christian interests to establish a new imperial stronghold in the Middle East.

Ironically, the reason why Hamas assumed power in the Palestinian Authority was the Bush administration’s insistence that democratic elections take place in the Palestinian Arab entity. While both Abbas’ Fatah faction and the Islamic factions maintain the same goals of regaining all of Palestine, and not just the West Bank and Gaza, the whereabouts of the six billion dollars of foreign aid and the mystery of the missing billions from Arafat’s bank account have created a situation that no amount of aid to Abbas will ever win credibility for Abbas in the Palestinian Authority constituency. Abbas is and was the protégé of Yassir Arafat, and he is rightfully viewed by the Palestinian Arab people as the man most responsible for the graft and corruption in the Palestinian public domain. After all, stealing from the public trust is viewed by Islam as stealing from Allah.

George W. Bush, a deeply religious person, should understand that his choice to back a movement that is most closely associated with rampant corruption cannot be a wise or moral choice for his legacy to be respected in the Middle East.

©The Bulletin 2007

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.