HAMAS: THEN AND NOW
How America Has Dealt With The Busiest Palestinian Terrorist Group
By Yonatan Silverman email@example.com
On December 4, 2001, The New York Times reported that President Bush ordered the closing of the Holy
Land Foundation. Based in Richardson Texas, until the government froze its assets, Holy Land boasted that
it was the largest Islamic charity organization in the United States, raising some $13 million last year alone.
But Holy Land's actual purpose was far from charitable. It served principally for channeling funds to the
Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas. Far from being a charity, the president said, the Holy Land
Foundation raised money to "indoctrinate children to grow up into suicide bombers," then supported the
bombers' families after deadly suicide missions.
Treasury Secretary O'Neill who stood with the president when this dramatic announcement was made said
the foundation "masquerades as a charity." In soliciting money from often well-meaning and unsuspecting
donors, the foundation is operated by "scam artists who prey on their benevolence," the Secretary said. Two
other financial groups which the government closed due to their ties with Hamas are Al Aqsa International
Bank, based in Palestinian-controlled territory, and the Beit El-Mal Holdings Company, an investment group
in the West Bank and Gaza.
Attorney General John Ashcroft, who also appeared with the president, said the United States "will not be
used as a staging ground for terrorist operations," and that people plotting Mideast terror would not be
tolerated in America any more than the people who plotted attacks like those of Sept. 11.
The Holy Land Foundation denied that the charity is a front for Hamas or that the foundation has tried to
help the militants by providing assistance to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. "Our foundation
helps people in need," said Dalal Mohammed, a spokeswoman for the organization. "We don't do a test on
whether families are in a criminal situation."
According to The New York Times, the decision to act against agencies in the United States and abroad that
are seen as Hamas financial supporters reflects the administration's determination to take more than
symbolic action to cut off funds for such groups. According to government documents, Washington has been
investigating the Holy Land Foundation since 1996.
Israel, contending that the Holy Land foundation was a front for Hamas, closed it and four other charities in
May 1997. Two years ago the family of an American killed in a terrorist attack in Israel filed a civil suit
against Holy Land, seeking monetary damages in what the suit contended was the group's support of
The United States began addressing the foundation's fund-raising in August 2000, when the State
Department asked the Agency for International Development (A.I.D.) to withdraw its registration from the
foundation, saying it had ties to Hamas. The registration made Holy Land eligible for relief goods through
Although Hamas is now on the State Department list of terrorist organizations, and the Bush administration
is taking aggressive action against the organization in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the entire
United States attitude toward Hamas was radically different a few years ago, oddly forgiving, despite the
numerous terror attacks against Israelis for which it took responsibility.
Following the Hamas suicide bombing of bus #5 on Dizengoff St. in October, 1994, Nahum Barnea, one of
Yediot Ahronot's leading analysts, stated an unusually bleak outlook on the event: "Rabin has no solution to
the problem of Hamas. The army also has no solution. All of the grand acts of revenge being discussed --
mass expulsions, army action in Gaza, a massive operation in Lebanon -- were summarily rejected
yesterday. They have no real benefit, except perhaps to satisfy a temporary craving in the public mind. That
is the bitter truth. Rabin knew that already in London. He came back and heard it from his people...He knows
there is no reply for the moment to Hamas terror..." (Yediot Ahronot. October 21, 1994. page 1, section b.)
Giving the accuracy of Barnea's outlook the benefit of the doubt, and barring an unmitigated Israeli military
response to Hamas, the question begs to be asked: What was a proper political response to Hamas? What
could be done through normal democratic political channels to apply pressure on the Hamas organization,
and compel it to cease its policy of wanton murder and terror?
In Israel per se, normal political options for dealing with Hamas were -- and still are -- nonexistent. The
Hamas charter, a thirty-page document published in August 1988, is a monument of unalloyed Islamic
hostility towards the Jewish state; fanatically unbending in its aim of returning Palestine to its "rightful" status
as an Islamic Waqf (religious trust), through violence. "The ownership of the land by its owners is only one of
usufruct, and this Waqf will endure as long as Heaven and earth last. Any demarche in violation of this law
of Islam, with regard to Palestine, is baseless and reflects on its perpetrators" (The Covenant of Hamas, Aug
1988, Article Eleven, page 7).
Whereas for years, voices on the left in Israeli politics called for dialogue with the PLO, no one in his right
mind has ever made similar pleas where Hamas is concerned, then or now.
On account of the paradoxical obstacles that have always prevented unrestrained military or even modest
political solutions to the Hamas problem in Israel, the situation logically required the organization and
implementation of aggressive strategies on the part of Israel's supporters in America. Articulate leaders and
spokesmen should have been rallying people to oppose Hamas and Islamic terror, as they once did against
the PLO and Palestinian terror. Tough legislation prohibiting Hamas members from crossing U.S. borders to
raise needed support here for their murderous aims should have been high on the agenda in Washington,
as it once was in the days when the U.S. Congresss outlawed PLO members as terrorists. The bitter
ideological conflict between Hamas and its charter based on total submission to Islamic "Sharia" vs. Israeli
Western-style democracy should have created a storm of debate and controversy in the public arena.
Arguments pro and con should have been circulating and creating controversy, as was the case when the
spotlight was on the PLO and its oft-proclaimed objective of bringing about Israel's destruction.
One reason perhaps, is that Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin's circle of influence has always
been confined strictly to Gaza and the West Bank, whereas Yasser Arafat, on the other hand, always fought
to expand his circle and be recognized as a world figure in the fight for Palestinian rights. Arafat's wider
recognition, alone, and the constant churning of the well-oiled PLO public relations and propaganda
apparatus worldwide ensured that the controversy between Israel and the PLO would always have its day in
the sun, practically every day. And when Palestinian terrorists took part in murderous operations like jet
hijackings and so on, their aim in terms of riveting world public attention was achieved.
Widespread vocal reactions to PLO terror always followed every act of terror, and kept the air of controversy
surrounding the Arab-Israeli conflict constantly stirring. Hamas, for its part, has no high key public profile
whatsoever, no international press offices, no recognized figure (like Arafat) beating its drum in public.
Hamas is known solely for its brutal and fanatic acts of violence against Israelis, and its adherence to
Such a profile, married as it often is, to the boyish, even pious, faces of their 20 year-old suicide bombers,
does not lend itself easily to debate or controversy. Moreover, the shock of the mass murders they commit is
such that it even disperses bitter, hard core hatred from the average mind.
For the most part here in America, Jews and non-Jews alike generally don't want to know or focus too much
on Hamas, precisely because people are terrorized by the vicious murders and suicide attacks which have
become their stock in trade. The repeated acts of brutality have alienated people; made them uncomfortable
with the idea of addressing Hamas with all seriousness in public.
Such was never the case with the PLO. The PLO and Arafat were always generously dished out as food for
thought and open argument in their day. People always took sides in discussing the problem Arafat and the
PLO represented. In the case of Hamas, and Islamic terror in general, however, until September 11, people
averted their eyes. Even though in the case of Islamic terror, in 1990s America and also now, the only flag
the Palestinian terrorists were waving is terror. Their objective has nothing to do with international diplomacy
or anything of the sort. Hamas would not dream of obtaining United Nations Observer Status, for instance.
Terror is their only stock in trade, not public relations. And the aim of terror per se is to silence people. In
1990s America, unfortunately, the Islamic terrorists were achieving that objective.
It is possible to date the start of this process with the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1990. The cell of
Muslim fanatics from New Jersey who murdered him surely knew what they were doing. They wanted his
views out of the picture, and assumed there was no one who would step into his shoes as an aggressive
molder of public opinion against murderers of Jews.
Even now, more than a decade later, the Islamic extremists headed by Sheikh Abdel Rahman, seem to have
called the shots correctly. No one in a position of authority in the Jewish world has emerged who takes
rhetorical aim at Arab violence, with such deadly precision, as Rabbi Kahane did.
The ongoing threat of Hamas terror continues to touch every soul in Israel. Moreover, in terms of sheer
terror, Hamas is surely as formidable an operator as the PLO was in its day, and deserving as much
aggressive opposition among Israel supporters as was devoted against the PLO in its day. But despite the
terrible cost in Jewish blood shed with impunity by Hamas in the last period -- scores of Israelis have been
killed in Hamas suicide attacks since Israel signed the Oslo Accords with the Palestine Liberation
Organization in September 1993 -- and the urgent need for some coordinated political effort to crush
ongoing Hamas activities here in the U.S., there was no organizing of anti-Hamas protest demonstrations,
no sharp polemical attacks, or any ratified legislation. In 1990s America the Hamas problem was met with
practically nothing but silence and the most perplexing inertia.
THE ORIGINAL ANTI-HAMAS BILL
There was actually one anti-Hamas assault on the legislative front; a bill (H.R. 1279) proposed by Florida
Democrat Peter Deutsch in the House of Representatives in March 1993, just after the World Trade Center
In brief, the bill called for amending the Immigration and Nationality Act, by adding at the end of the section
on terrorist activities the following language: "An alien who is a member, officer, official representative, or
spokesperson of Hamas (commonly known as the Islamic Resistance Movement) is considered for
purposes of this Act, to be engaged in terrorist activity."
Members of Hamas would thereby be ineligible to receive visas and excluded from admission to the U.S. In
his testimony about the bill before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on International Law, Immigration and
Refugees in February 1993, Deutsch stated among other things, that: "Beginning with the 1992 State
Department report 'Patterns of Global Terrorism', the United States officially recognized Hamas as a terrorist
organization. In addition, Iran who is cited in the same report as the 'world's principle sponsor of extremist
Palestinian and Islamic groups, providing them with funds, weapons, and training,' is known to provide
Hamas with anywhere between $15 - $20 million dollars per year. This is a large portion of the Hamas
budget, the balance of which is raised abroad..."
In February, 1994 there was a subsequent hearing on Deutsch's important bill in the House Judiciary
Subcommittee. A superficial item from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), which appeared in a handful of
local Jewish papers, was the only clue about the hearing the Jewish community received last year. So, it
was more than likely that the vast majority of Jews in America never heard anything about Deutsch's
proposed anti-Hamas bill, and had no information on which to base an opinion about it. The tiny JTA story
also mentioned, in two words, that the State Dept. representative who testified about the bill expressed
opposition to it.
In her full testimony, the State Dept. representative (Ms. Mary Ryan) about H.R. 1279, February 23, 1994,
10:00 AM, in the House Subcommittee on International Law, Immigration and Refugees, enumerated the
reasons for the State Dept's opposition.
Firstly, Ms. Ryan pointed out that "Prior to the revision of the grounds of exclusion by the Immigration Act of
1990, mere membership in a terrorist organization did constitute a ground of exclusion under section
212(a)(28)(F) of the Act..." It would appear, therefore, that the tough U.S. laws barring members of terrorist
organizations, like the PLO, had undergone fundamental alterations since 1990. Ms. Ryan went on to
explain: "Beginning in 1977, with the enactment of the "McGovern Amendment", the Congress began a
move away from exclusion by reason of mere membership or affiliation. In the early 1980s there arose much
public and Congressional concern over, and criticism of, what were referred to as "ideological exclusions".
After a number of years of intense scrutiny of the subject and anguished controversy, the Congress working
with the Executive Branch revised the "ideological exclusion" grounds. The proponents of the revision were
determined to eliminate from immigration law "excludabililty because of membership, affiliation statements or
So, in place of the blanket prohibition against membership in a terrorist organization, the new provision, as
Ms. Ryan proceeded to elaborate, only covered aliens who have actually perpetrated terrorist acts or
participated in them to some measure: "Section 212(a)(3)(B) provides for the exclusion of aliens who have
engaged in terrorist acts in the past or intend to do so in the United States." As part of the effort to avoid
exclusions because of memberships affiliations beliefs or statements, the proponents of change included
definitions both of "terrorist act" and of "engaging in". These definitions may or may not be perfect, but they
show a clear intent to apply the exclusion only to the actual perpetration of terrorist acts or to actions taken
in furtherance of the perpetration of such acts.
THE STATE DEPARTMENT'S POSITION
Thus, the scene was set specifically for the State Dept. position on the new anti-Hamas bill, H.R. 1279 itself:
"H.R. 1279 provides that "an alien who is a member, officer, official, representative or spokesperson of
Hamas...is considered (for purposes of the terrorist exclusion) to be engaged in terrorist activity." It tracks
the wording of the existing provision concerning the PLO, except that it also encompasses members.
Consistent with the structure of the terrorist provision and the way in which the PLO provision is applied, the
effect of this provision would be to make all aliens who are current members/officers representatives and
spokespersons of Hamas excludable."
Surely, from the point of view of anyone who knows anything about Hamas violence against Jews, the aim
of the bill, as described above by Ms. Ryan, was a desirable objective. In the year following the signing of
the Oslo Accords in Washington D.C. (i.e. from September 1993 through September 1994) more Israelis,
civilians and soldiers alike, fell victim to terrorist murder than in any previous year in Israeli history. Some
sixty Israelis were murdered in the year following Oslo, and none other than Hamas was responsible for that
horrid record of atrocities. Since September 1994, sadly, the toll only increased, and the hands of Hamas
are even redder with Jewish blood. But, it would appear that the State Dept. was not swayed by such data:
"Hamas the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement devotes extensive human and financial resources to
its widespread social and welfare programs. Hamas provides Palestinians in the occupied territories with
economic assistance, health care, and education. Given this structure, we do not believe that every Hamas
member can be reasonably presumed personally to have participated in or assisted in the commission of
terrorist activities. Thus we oppose this provision as long as the word 'member' is included. We do not
otherwise object to the provision however."
As shocking as the above State Dept. position on Hamas might be; it is perhaps even more shocking that at
the time, and to this day, no one in a position of authority in the Jewish world made any attempt to correct
the damaging impression conveyed by the State Dept's Ms. Ryan. Nobody raised a finger in opposition to
the State Dept's sophistry, exonerating Hamas. Judging from Ms. Ryan's testimony, it would seem the State
Dept. simply did not view Hamas as a band of Jew murdering terrorists. According to the State Dept. Hamas
is really just involved in local charity and welfare programs, like UNRWA.
BACK TO DEUTSCH
The riddle of silence in this case also extends back to Rep. Deutsch. At the end of October 1994, following
the Hamas suicide bombing on Dizengoff St., it seemed that there could not be a more fruitful occasion to
promote a tough anti-Hamas bill. Since people hated Hamas, surely, even more following the atrocity in Tel
Aviv. So, voters would love (and vote for) a politician who vociferously supported a measure that would harm
I personally contacted Deutsch's office in Washington D.C. to appeal for Deutsch's being vociferous about
his anti-Hamas bill in his ongoing campaign for re-election in Florida. The press secretary understood the
request, but had a caveat. "We have a comfortable lead in the campaign", he said, "and don't want to rock
the boat..." When asked how come there had been practically no publicity or public support for Rep.
Deutsch's potentially valuable legislation, the press Secretary chuckled and said it was on account of the
Subcommittee Chair, Mazzoli, who was from Kentucky, and was leaving the committee, so he didn't care
The press liaison did stress however that Rep. Deutsch "still believed it was a good idea."
He also advised getting in touch with the office of Rep. Bill McCollum, also of Florida. Rep. McCollum, he
said, had a "Terrorism Caucus" that specialized in research and held seminars. The press secretary also
suggested that McCollum's Chief of Staff, Vaughn Forest, could say where things stood vis-a-vis Deutsch's
legislation and so on. There was no reply to my letter of inquiry.
The Congressional liasion to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) told me that McCollum's
"Terrorism Caucus" did do research and did hold seminars, but it wasn't a "real Caucus". Which is to say, it
didn't propose or fight for legislation. It was McCollum's pet project, more or less, and had no teeth.
During the campaign, Deutsch never mentioned his courageous sponsorship of the anti-Hamas bill. There
were never any further hearings on his bill. No one was interested in raising awareness about the bill
anywhere in the community, and the bill just died.
RICO VS. TICO
The anti-Hamas legislative approach that seemed to be the objective of lobbying efforts in the mid-1990s
relates to an adaptation of the well-known RICO (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization) statutes
into TICO (Terrorist Influenced Corrupt Organization) statutes. The passing of TICO laws would presumably
have enabled the FBI to investigate Hamas front organizations (like the UASR "United Association for
Studies and Research" in Springfield Va.) which masquerade under banal titles as charities and non-profits,
and presumably charge them with criminal involvement and complicity in terrorism upon accumulation of
evidence. But even that sort of legislation was never passed.
The fact is, even that experimental financial approach to legislating against the estimated 30 Islamic terrorist
organizations whose offices are spread around the nation, was kept quiet. One Jewish leader in a position of
high influence adamantly refused to disclose to me the details of the legislative package on which he was
working. He claimed he had made a "commitment" and was not at liberty to discuss the matter.
So, despite their continuing string of bloody atrocities, Hamas and the other Palestinian Terror groups
successfully eluded becoming the focus of controversy or legislative opposition in 1990s America. There
seemed to be nothing to catalyse intelligent arguments about them. There were no two sides (pro vs. con)
that might make a public issue, or forum for debate. Average people and leadership types alike were reticent
about knowing or saying or doing too much about this difficult problem. And so, in 1990s America nothing
was done about Hamas.
It took an Islamic terror attack on the scale of September 11 to finally cause a shift in the deafening silence.
Postscript August, 2003 – ISRAEL’S PRESENT DILEMMA
As the world well knows, Palestinian/Israeli peace negotiations, on the basis of the Oslo Accords, came to
an abrupt halt in the fall of 2000 with the outbreak of the armed “Al Aksa” Intifada. During this protracted
armed uprising, the incidence of terrorist acts, particularly suicide bombings on the part of the Islamic
terrorist groups, has increased dramatically. Between the fall of 2000 and the summer of 2003, 800 Israelis
have been murdered in such bombings by fanatic members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Al Aksa
Martyrs Brigades affiliated with Yasser Arafat’s Fatah.
This long series of ghastly attacks, mainly carried out on busses crowded with commuters: people traveling
to and from work, schoolchildren, and tourists, has obviously taken a heavy emotional and physical toll on
the population of Israel and its security forces.
But the bus attack that took place on August 19, 2003 was a sort of turning point.
First of all, at the end of June, the Islamic terrorist organizations arranged what they called a “hudna” with
the Palestinian Authority, which meant (ostensibly) that they would refrain from carrying out terrorist attacks
in Israel for a period of three months. They continued to carry out attacks; however smaller ones and in
Then, tragically, on the evening of August 19, a suicide bomber from Hebron, disguised in black clothing as
an ultra-orthodox Jew, boarded a bus filled with passengers who had been visiting Jerusalem’s Western
Wall. Inside his clothes he was wrapped with a belt made of a rudimentary but deadly explosive material.
When he detonated it inside the bus, the explosion killed 20 innocent people, including many infants and
children and wounded more than 100.
Such an unusually high number of children were severely wounded or killed in this attack it instantly became
known in Israel as “The Terror Attack On The Children”.
At that moment, in the spirit of the “road map” peace plan advocated by the US, UN, Russia and the
European Union, Israel had been talking to the Palestinian Authority about new concessions in the interest
of advancing a settlement. But following the August 19 attack in Jerusalem, Israel instantly pulled back from
that position, and returned to the tense situation in the occupied territories from before the so-called “hudna”.
In fact, overnight, the situation became even more tense than it was before the “hudna”.
On Aug. 20, 2003, The front page headline of Israel’s principle daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, screamed:
“PM SHARON: ‘THEY ARE ANIMALS!’”
And in a front page analysis of the situation, Yediot Ahronot’s Alex Fishman wrote: “THE RULES OF THE
GAME HAVE CHANGED. From the start it was clear that this whole “hudna” was nothing more than
borrowed time from the black market, which we were yet to repay at an exorbitant interest rate. Yesterday
this interest rate became actually murderous.”
Although both Hamas and Islamic Jihad issued posters taking responsibility for the August 19th suicide
bombing in Jerusalem, the conclusion of Israel’s security forces was that Hamas people were behind it.
That conclusion had an immediate impact on the United States administration too.
On Friday, August 22, president George W. Bush ordered a freeze on the financial assets of six leaders of
Hamas, who the United States said "command and control terrorist activity," and moved for the first time to
cut off European sources of donations to the organization.
The Treasury Department identified the six leaders as Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the leader of Hamas in Gaza;
Imad Khalil Al-Alami, a member of the Hamas Political Bureau in Damascus, Syria; Usama Hamdan, a
senior Hamas leader in Lebanon; Khalid Mishaal, head of the Hamas Political Bureau and Executive
Committee in Damascus; Mousa Abu Marzook, deputy chief of the Political Bureau in Syria; and Abdel Aziz
Rantisi, a leading Hamas spokesman in Gaza.
The European front organizations with which Bush barred U.S. financial transactions are Commite de
Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens, of France; Association de Secours Palestinien, of Switzerland;
Palestinian Relief and Development Fund, or Interpal, headquartered in Britain; Palestinian Association, in
Austria; and Sanabil Association for Relief and Development, based in Lebanon. He did so on the grounds
that they accepted donations for Hamas under false “humanitarian” pretenses and then funneled the money
into the Palestinian territories to support violence. Precisely the same reasoning that caused him to close the
offices of the Holy Land Foundation in Texas in December 2001, following the wake-up call trauma of 9/11.
In addition, according to a report in the Aug. 23 Washington Post:
“The Bush administration has been pressing Arab governments -- particularly that of Saudi Arabia -- to curb
sources of funding for Hamas and other militant groups. U.S. authorities are also leaning on European
governments to pressure Hamas.
Administration officials have expressed frustration that some European countries have been reluctant to
confront Hamas allies operating under charitable cover. But a senior Treasury Department official said initial
indications were that the administration will get "good cooperation" with its new effort. The official said the
administration sees "a sea change in the European attitude toward Hamas."
For its part, the New York Times reported on Aug. 23:
“A senior (State Dept.) official, speaking on condition of anonymity, insisted today that some European
nations had already signed on to the freeze. But administration officials flatly refused to say which nations
had agreed to help or even how many were involved.”
“Speaking to Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV, Hamas spokesman Abdel Aziz Rantisi called the action "a theft of
Muslim money by the Americans" and said the frozen money doesn't belong to Hamas. "Hamas does not
have any money in the U.S., Europe or even in the Arab states. President Bush has become Islam's biggest
enemy," Rantisi said in the interview.” (AP 8-23-03)
As Alex Fishman pointed out, however; for Israel, this was only the beginning.
(Yediot Ahronot 8-20-03) “Now, we have to prepare ourselves for the possibility that we will return again to
the vortex of bloodshed and days of tension and fighting that can continue for weeks, and are liable to
worsen to the point of all out war in the fashion of “Defensive Shield”
Without dealing with the Hamas leadership, the ones responsible for the “Dawa” (the administration of
civilian life – the public infrastructure of Hamas) that deals with national and military planning – a real
change will not happen.
The planned military action is coming – besides to let off steam – in order to collect a painful price from the
terrorist elements. The question being considered in the security system is the measure of the response:
that it will not slide over into destroying everything and bring about the elimination of the alternative in the
image of Palestinian Authority prime minister Abu Mazen and PA security chief Dahlan.
But it is important to deal with the terrorist infrastructure and the street activists. And therefore the IDF
Central Command has been in operation during the last two days in Nablus, Tul Karem and Jenin, in Hebron
and a long list of villages. Dozens of activists at various levels, have been arrested. And this action will
continue – days or weeks – until it will be decided otherwise.”
Deputy prime minister Ehud Olmert succinctly stated the Israeli government’s position on Aug.22
“For two months, since the cease fire began in the framework of the road map we repeatedly demanded that
the Palestinian Authority start going into action against the terrorist infrastructure and they methodically
refused. This is not a result of a deployment that is still not ripe for action, not a situation in which they are
doing all the preparations and need more time to deploy. From the first moment they announced that they
will not fight against Hamas and Islamic Jihad. And we did not think they could do something in 24 hours or
72 hours that they had not done until now. We think that this span of time is sufficient to create an
international coalition that will exert pressure and threats and create a situation in which it will be hard on us
to act. Regarding the road map – this has still essentially not been born. It is in fact supposed to follow out of
the war against terrorism. The basis of the agreement between us and the Palestinians and the Americans
is that if the Palestinians do fight against terrorism, if it will be halted and if a completely different
atmosphere prevails, then it will be possible to move on to the stages that are noted in the plan. Insofar as
these stages have not at all come about, the situation has also not come about regarding a start of the
implementation of the road map. If the conditions come about according to the parameters on which we
agreed, without pretending, with violent confrontations against those elements with whom there is no
alternative but the violent way, if such activity brings achievements and terrorism is halted – I see no reason
not to move forward in the political direction in which the government of Israel is interested.”
Alex Fishman adds (Yediot Ahronot 8-22-03):
“The Palesitnian Authority, Abu Mazen and Dahlan, succeeded in streaming into international
consciousness a feeling that the “hudna” which is an intra Palestinian conciliation agreement – is part of the
political process and the road map. Dahlan succeeded in selling to the world the idea that the Israeli demand
that the Palestinian Authority fight against terrorism now is a mistake, since it is leading to an obvious failure,
to civil war, and is harming Palestinian national interests. The world was convinced that Abu Mazen has to
be strengthened so that he can, in the future, deal with Hamas in his own ways.”
Even the Egyptians, who are aware of the ground trembling beneath the political settlement decided last
week not to send the delegation that was supposed to come to Gaza to speak with the terrorist
organizations. It seems they came to the conclusion that their involvement would not halt the worsening
situation in any case.”
Nonetheless, in order to avert an all out war in the pattern of “Defensive Shield”, Israel has continued to peg
much hope on the Palestinian Authority. Fishman quotes a “senior Israeli security source”:
“The whole Israeli military move will end at once if we see tonight that the PA is going out and conducting
arrests of hundreds of Hamas men, closing offices and collecting weapons. In such a situation, the IDF will
immediately move aside”.
“But,” concludes Fishman, “no one believes that will really happen.”