- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Yasser Arafat's terrorist activities continue to demonstrate to the world the futility of trying to negotiate Middle East peace with a known terrorist mastermind. Continued funding from the United States offers Mr. Arafat room to manipulate his finances to further his murderous cause. It is time for the United States to stop funding this murderous regime. We can no longer sit idly by and allow taxpayer dollars to fund the murder of innocent civilians.
Once again, Palestinian terrorists have attacked and murdered innocent people in the heart of Israel. The latest attack was carried out by two homicide bombers who blew themselves up in Tel Aviv, murdering at least three persons and wounding at least 37. Earlier in the week, terrorists set off a roadside bomb adjacent to a civilian bus and then opened fire, killing eight persons and injuring 20.
This recent wave of murder comes on the heels of the latest Israeli attempt to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure in and around the Palestinian Authority. This action has been necessary because Mr. Arafat has refused to reign in the terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, operating as part of his Palestinian Authority.
Mr. Arafat is the well-established father of modern-day terrorism and has spent much of his life plotting the murder of civilians around the world. He began by forming a small organization named al-Fatah, which in 1965 launched one of the first military operations against Israel. Since then, Mr. Arafat has orchestrated five decades of terrorism and murder.
Mr. Arafat's continuous commitment to terrorism and murder underscores the immediate need to cut off U.S. taxpayer dollars that help fund his regime. I have authored legislation that will cut off all aid given directly or indirectly to the Palestinian Authority. "The Peace With Security Act," H.R. 3624, has 70 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and would impose the most severe sanctions against Mr. Arafat of any legislation introduced in the House to date.
Currently, the Palestinian Authority receives money through several U.S. and U.N. organizations. The United States, through the Agency for International Development, gives $75 million annually in aid to the Palestinian Authority in addition to the money pledged by President Clinton at the Wye River conference in 1998 ($400 million). In addition to our U.N. dues, U.S. taxpayers give more than $100 million annually to the United Nations Works Relief Agency (UNRWA.)
This agency was founded in 1950 after the first Arab-Israeli War to assist and coordinate the actions of non-governmental organizations to assist Palestinian refugees. The establishment of UNRWA was the result of the Arab world's botched attempt to destroy the newborn state of Israel and was intended to be a temporary solution to deal with displaced Palestinians. Unfortunately, over the last 50 years, UNRWA's assistance has not improved the quality of life for the Palestinian people. In fact, an extensive infrastructure of terrorist organizations exists inside many of its camps.
Under the Bush doctrine, the president mandates the use of all available resources to fight terrorism. President Bush said this will include working with our friends and allies to cut off money and to use diplomatic pressure to convince those who traffic in terrorism that they will face a mighty coalition.
It has been almost a month since the president first called on the Palestinian people to elect new leadership, acknowledging the strong link between the Palestinian Authority and terrorism.
Unfortunately, it appears from recent meetings in New York that our allies do not agree. The Russian foreign minister said that Mr. Arafat "is the legitimately elected leader of Palestine, and while he is in the capacity, we will continue to maintain our relationship with him."
This attitude is foolish and unproductive. To turn a blind eye to Mr. Arafat's thirst for terror, death and destruction is to reward him and to acknowledge that terror can gain political achievements.
Mr. Arafat has continued to display his ability to mastermind terrorism and murder innocent civilians.
Mr. Bush has stated forcefully that the Palestinian people need to elect new leaders who are not compromised by terror. The United States needs to continue to stand by its strong convictions to repudiate terrorism around the world, regardless of our allies' flawed foreign policies. The time for threats has come and gone. The time to act is now, and Congress must pass the Peace With Security Act.

Rep. Eric Cantor is a Virginia Republican.


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