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      Bush Condemns, Arafat Controls

      U.S. President George Bush phoned PA Prime Minister Abu Mazen today, for the first time. Bush emphasized the need for both sides to fight terrorism - though he did not mention Abu Mazen's previous history of support for terrorism.
      First Publish: 5/20/2003, 7:25 PM

      U.S. President George Bush phoned PA Prime Minister Abu Mazen today, for the first time. A White House spokesman termed the talk "friendly and full of hope." Bush repeated his "vision of two states side-by-side," and emphasized the need for both sides to fight terrorism. He did not mention the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed - and which was funded by Abu Mazen.

      Bush condemned the Afula attack, but said that he continues to be obligated to the above vision. U.S. Administration sources said that the PA must certainly take action against terrorism, while Israel must carefully consider its response to the attacks.

      In the meantime, Israel's response has added up only to not removing the closure from the Arab areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The expulsion of Arafat, who is widely assumed to be behind the recent wave of terrorism, is still not on the agenda - though it continues to be debated.

      Haggai Huberman reported today that Arafat retains financial control in the PA, preventing the widely respected Salam Fayad from "handling its monetary matters with transparency and efficiency the way the world expected him to." Huberman added that there are even indications that Arafat is directly funding the Fatah's terrorist groups, the Al Aksa Brigades. "There is information that Arafat is funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to Tanzim and Al Aksa, via the Supreme Command - which is headed by Marwan Barghouti's successor, Hussan A-Sheikh. Some of this money comes from all sorts of import fees and monopoly charges that Arafat continues to collect... Obviously, when Israel gives money to the PA specifically for teachers' salaries or hospitals, PA monies that would have been used for those purposes can now be used for terrorism."