- The Washington Times - Monday, May 6, 2002

JERUSALEM (AP) Israel yesterday presented documents that it says prove Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's personal involvement in terrorism, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is to show them to President Bush in a Washington visit tomorrow.
Israeli Cabinet Minister Dan Naveh presented the 91-page book of documents and translations to reporters shortly after Mr. Sharon took off for the United States. Mr. Sharon hopes to persuade Mr. Bush to brand Mr. Arafat a terrorist and exclude him from Middle East peace moves.
Palestinians, who have labeled documents released earlier by the Israelis as forgeries, could not be reached for comment on the papers released yesterday.
Mr. Naveh said many of the documents were confiscated during Israel's military operation in the West Bank last month. During the operation, Israeli troops searched through scores of Palestinian ministry offices, often causing extensive damage.
Mr. Naveh, a member of Mr. Sharon's Likud party, said the report was proof that Israel could never negotiate with Mr. Arafat. "As long as Arafat is leader of the Palestinian Authority, then the [Palestinian] choice is not for peace," he said.
Included in the report are documents that Mr. Naveh said were copies of requests signed and approved by Mr. Arafat for funds for Palestinian militants. However, none shows a direct link between the Palestinian leadership and specific acts of violence.
One document in the booklet is a request for $2,500 for three militants, including Raed Karmi, a top commander of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, who was killed in a Jan. 14 explosion widely attributed to Israel. In a handwritten reply on the letter, Mr. Arafat wrote, "Allocate $600 for each one," and signed his name. Mr. Karmi's death set off a series of bloody strikes against Israelis.
The al-Aqsa is an offshoot of Mr. Arafat's Fatah movement that has taken responsibility for dozens of shooting and suicide-bomb attacks on Israeli citizens.
The Palestinians have said that the funds were used for political and social welfare activities.
Another document requesting funds, passed from an al-Aqsa militia leader to Mr. Arafat via recently arrested Fatah official Marwan Barghouti, also requests funds for fellow "brothers in arms," who, Israel says, are responsible for deadly attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians.
The Palestinian Authority also used funds from donor states to pay the salaries of hundreds of militants, a sum Mr. Naveh described as "tens of millions of dollars." Among the donors, Mr. Naveh mentioned the sum of $9 million a month from the European Union to the Palestinian Authority that was "used indirectly to finance terrorist acts."

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