January 10, 2005
NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly condemned the first speech of Mahmoud Abbas, newly-elected leader of the Palestinian Authority where he said, “We offer this victory to the soul of brother martyr Yasir Arafat and to our martyrs (suicide bombers) and to 11,000 prisoners” in Israeli jails. He also said, “the little jihad (holy war) has ended, and now the big jihad’s beginning.” In his victory speech, Mr. Abbas also pledged to work for the release of all Palestinian Arabs in Israeli jails and to protect Palestinian Arabs wanted by Israel for their role in terror attacks.
The Palestinian Arab crowds responded by chanting “A Million Shahids (martyrs-suicide bombers) marching to Jerusalem.” During his campaign, Abbas was regularly greeted with chants “We will give you our blood and our soul.”
Other disturbing news has surfaced concerning actions before the election. The Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported that Abbas gave at least $100,000 to wanted terrorists during the Palestinian Authority election campaign. The New York Sun reported that “one of the reasons none of the other candidates received much support is intimidation by the PA. ‘People are afraid to be seen even reading their campaign literature’ said one Palestinian; the message that the people have received from various leaders of the PA is that if they vote for a candidate other than Mr. Abbas, they will either lose jobs they already have in the PA or will not be hired by the PA in the future. (The PA is the largest employer in Judea, Samaria and Gaza).”
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza has alleged massive fraud. The independent human rights group petitioned the Palestinian courts to cancel the election results. They allege that thousands of people voted twice. The New York Sun reported that Palestinian Arab sources in the West Bank claimed that Fatah party activists were rounded up to vote in the afternoon and re-vote in the evening in order to obtain a large mandate for Abbas.
ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, “We are deeply disturbed by Abbas’ statement during the campaign saying he will implement Arafat’s policies, praising terrorists as ‘heroes,’ demanding that all Palestinian Arab ‘refugees’ to be allowed to move to Israel, referring to Israel as the ‘Zionist Enemy,’ and stating he will not crack down on Palestinian terror groups. Recently, he even met with all the major terrorist leaders, proclaiming they have the same objectives.
“Analysts and leaders actually claimed this was merely pre-election talk. Now in his first post-election speech, Abbas has made it crystal clear, his policies and platform doesn’t differ from Arafat’s.
“Should we be surprised? Abbas was Arafat’s top Deputy for 40 years, co-founded the terror group Fatah (which calls for the ‘eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence…and for demolishing the Zionist state’) and wrote a Ph.D. thesis denying the Holocaust’s occurrence. Abbas also worked to provide the funds for the Munich massacre in which 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists during the 1972 Olympics, and was also intimately involved in the Ma’alot massacre of 22 Israeli children.”
The ZOA urges that no more U.S. funds should go to the PA and that there should be no consideration of negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas until he arrests terrorists, closes the bomb factories, gets rid of illegal weapons, changes the Palestinian Authority maps to show Israel, publicly supports Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, ends all the promotion of hatred and murder of Jews in the Palestinian Authority’s textbooks, media, children’s camps and mosques. Most people were fooled by Arafat and Oslo. Let’s not be fooled again by Abbas.
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The Zionist Organization of America, founded in 1897, is the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations, educates the American public and Congress about the dangers that Israel faces, and combats anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses. Its past presidents have included Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and Rabbi Dr. Abba Hillel Silver.