The Palestinian Jihad Authority

Is the current Palestinian Authority, under the stewardship of Mahmoud ("Abu Mazen") Abbas, a terrorist entity, a terrorist-supporting regime, or a soft dictatorship struggling to control terrorists?

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

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Is the current Palestinian Authority, under the stewardship of Mahmoud ("Abu Mazen") Abbas, a terrorist entity, a terrorist-supporting regime, or a soft dictatorship struggling to control terrorists?

In January of 2003, the head of the PLO's political department, Farouk Kaddoumi, declared: "We were never different from Hamas. Strategically, there is no difference between us." He made the comment in an interview with the Nazareth-based weekly Kul Al-Arab.

The PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization, is run and controlled by Fatah, the veteran terrorist faction to which Abu Mazen belongs and which was headed by Yasser Arafat until his death. Article 12 of the Fatah constitutional document states as a goal of the organization, "Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence." Moreover, the goals are to be achieved by violence. Article 19 states, "Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated."

And the leaders of the Fatah-led PLO, given more power and international legitimacy in their guises as heads of the Palestinian Authority, have remained loyal to the organization's goals and commitments. Two recent examples of this will suffice.

On Sunday, June 12, 2005, the PA executed several men accused of "collaboration" with Israel. That is, their "crime" was assisting Israel in fighting terrorism, something the PA is committed to doing itself under the terms of the US-sponsored Roadmap. However, such behavior is perfectly logical if "armed struggle is a... decisive factor in... uprooting the Zionist existence...." Those Arabs willing to fight terrorists are then undermining the "armed struggle".

By the same token, those Arabs involved in terrorism, including suicide bombing attacks, are taking part in the "armed struggle" and are not to be fought by the PA. And that is precisely the approach taken by Abbas in practice.

Last month, the PA released Islamic Jihad terrorists arrested in connection with the February 25, 2005 Stage Club suicide bombing attack which claimed the lives of five Israelis, leaving over fifty wounded. An Israeli official said that "the revolving door" prevalent under Yasser Arafat had returned. Also last month, PA Foreign Minister Nasser Al-Qidwa announced that as long as the "Israeli occupation" continues, the PA will not disarm terrorist factions. The weapons, he explained, are not "illegal" as long as the "occupation" continues. Considering that Fatah sees the "occupation" as continuing "unless the Zionist state is demolished," it would appear that weapons in the hands of Arab terrorists will never be considered "illegal" by the PA, hence they will never be confiscated.

Recent bloodshed and confrontation between the PA and Hamas, therefore, is not over the attempts of Abbas to curb terrorism. On the contrary, as we have seen, he has no intention to do so. How can he, when "strategically, there is no difference between us"? So, what is the internecine battle over?

Hamas is demanding a cut of the Gush Katif pie after Israel uproots the thousands of Jews who live in the 20 communities in the Gaza Strip. The land there is now quite desirable, after having been transformed from dirt and sand into a veritable oasis by Israeli farmers and builders. Hamas believes that it deserves a chunk of the land, as it credits its ongoing terrorism against Israel for having chased Ariel Sharon away. The method for it to get its share of the booty, Hamas proposed to Abu Mazen, is a joint authority specifically to handle the Israeli withdrawal from Jewish Gaza. Abbas, for his part, insists that there is only one authority - and it is the PA. And the PA, he says, will take over the Jewish areas when the Israelis withdraw.

By the way, did anyone mention the casino to be built on part of the evacuated lands?

In short, there is no conflict between Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Authority that a little real estate won't fix. And that means that the creation of an Islamist terrorist state is well under way, under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas.