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Facts and Logic About
the Middle East
P.O. Box 590359
San Francisco, CA 94159
January 4, 2005
Friend of FLAME:
In last week's issue of the Hotline, we expressed very guarded optimism
about the ability of Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen) to break with the
Yasser Arafat legacy of deception, lies, corruption and terror. Over
the last few days, Abbas was in the militant hotbed of Jenin in the
West Bank courting the favor of armed militants and later was in Gaza
doing more of the same. His words in Arabic were in distinct contrast
to what he has been mouthing in English to the Western world
an old Arafat trick.
According to the Associated Press, "Mahmoud Abbas, the leading
candidate for the Palestinian presidency, campaigned Thursday in Jenin
refugee camp, where he was lifted on the shoulders of gunmen and received
by Zakariya Zubeidi, a leader of the local Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades
and one of Israel's most wanted men." While Abbas has criticized
Palestinian violence and called Intifada II a mistake, his latest pronouncements
in Arabic didn't sound like those of a peacemaker. Abbas hailed terrorists
as heroes deserving of protection and says he has no plans to crack
down on them once he is elected. Zubeidi brashly declared that the Intifada
continues unabated, and Zubeidi's brother was arrested by the Israeli
army as he attempted to elude a roadblock.
Before the Palestinian people, Abbas also continues to insist on the
so-called "right of return" of Palestinian refugees from Israel
in 1947 and some four million of their descendents, whom the Arab world
has refused to take in or support in their squalid camps. This unrealistic
demand was the decisive conversation-ender between Arafat and Israeli
PM Ehud Barak, and it will continue to block any meaningful peace
all of which Abbas knows full well. (For background on the absurd
notion of Palestinian return, see the FLAME ad at http://www.factsandlogic.org/ad_80.html.)
In addition, for the record, Abbas also insists on no compromise on
the Palestinian territorial demand for a full return to 1967 borders
(which would not only make Israel indefensible, but would also exclude hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in the Jerusalem suburbs). He also refuses to commit to substantive action against terrorism. Let us not forget
that the steadfast goal of the armed groups whom Abbas courts in Jenin
and Gaza is a Palestinian state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean
Sea, with no Jews in between. This is nothing more than the old Arafat
recipe of deception stringing along Israel and the West with
talk of moderation and democratization while simultaneously encouraging
militants to continue terrorist violence with the ultimate goal of Israel's
Abbas may sing in a different key, but so far the lyrics still sound
just like Arafat's greatest hit. We will do well to listen carefully
(and even respectfully) to Abbas, but it is his actions we must
soberly judge, not words spoken with a forked tongue.
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