- The Washington Times - Friday, December 12, 2003

This week, the International donor community has been gathered in Rome to approve another contribution of $1.2 billion to the Palestinian Authority for the 2004 budget. The United States, Japan, the European Union and Norway, are the biggest contributors, joined by the Arab League countries and the International Monetary Fund. In the meantime, the World Bank last week granted it $15 million, and the European Union gave $40 million more in assistance to the PA for “reforms and emergency economic aid.”

But giving any money to the PA before it fully accounts for the more than $6 billion already has received in aid since 1993 could facilitate the ongoing PA terror activities.

In news reports from Saudi Arabia, the chief of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank, Zekariya Zubeidi, stated that, “the Brigades are backed by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s Fatah and the faction stipend is a welcome supplement to police wages.”

And the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is not the only terror organization backed by Mr. Arafat. Oman Mansur al-Hadiri, a Hamas operative who took part in preparations for the Passover homicide bombing at the Park Hotel in Netanya in March 2002, was killed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) prior to the bombing. In a condolence telegram signed by Yasser Arafat to his family, Mr. Arafat wrote: “Among the [religious Muslim] believers, there are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah: some of them [have already fulfilled their vows and] found their death [in battle]; and some still wait [their turn]. However, they have not in any way broken [their vows]. [Surah 33 (al-Ahxab), Verse 23].”

Mr. Arafat signed this telegram as: “President of the State of Palestine; chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization; head of the Palestine National Authority.” This document was found by the IDF at the al-Ihsan Charitable Society in Tulkarm, which fronts for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Mr. Arafat’s use of religious Islamic terminology is not limited to this letter. He often uses religious verses in his speeches and broadcast interviews to publicly praise and encourage homicide bombers. Similar verses of the Koran can be found on posters glorifying the shaheeds (homicide bombers), in supermarkets, public spaces, schools and on television programs.

Despite this evidence and thousands of Palestinian documents captured by the IDF, demonstrating Mr. Arafat’s and the PA’s complicity in funding and encouraging terrorist attacks against Israel that continue to be provided to the U.S., the European Union, the United Nations and other international organizations, the money keeps pouring into the PA coffers.

On Sept. 20, 2001, President Bush declared: “The only way to defeat terrorism… is to stop it, eliminate it, and destroy it where it grows…. Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.” But not even the killing of U.S. citizens while attacking Israeli civilians, is enough to bring those responsible to justice — first and foremost their leader, Yasser Arafat. And he, unlike Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, is not hiding.

Moreover, instead of stopping the funds to the terror enterprise created and still run by Mr. Arafat, the international donor community, led by the Europeans, keeps filling the PA war chest with billions of dollars. There is ample evidence that since 1993, Mr. Arafat and the PA have continued to abuse the billion granted to them on behalf of the Palestinian people, and that some of this money was used for the upkeep of their terror agenda and infrastructure.

Before granting any further aid to Mr. Arafat’s puppet PA, the international donor community, the U.S. and the EU Parliament should demand full accountability from the PA on how it spent the billion it received in aid, and demand return of the missing funds to the Palestinian people for whom they were intended.

Unless these demands are met, no more aid should be given. If it is granted anyway, and the PA continues funding terrorism, the international donors should be held legally accountable.

Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of “Funding Evil; How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It” (2003), is director of the New York-based American Center for Democracy.


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