1. Opening Fire On Israeli Forces
In September 1996, Palestinian policemen opened fire on Israeli soldiers and civilians during the disturbances in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, resulting in the deaths of 15 Israelis. The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership actively instigated the rioting and took no steps to halt the armed attacks by PA police against Israeli forces. This was the most grievous violation of the Oslo accords to date by the Palestinians. As Joel Singer, legal advisor to Prime Ministers Rabin and Peres and one of the chief architects of the Oslo accords, put it, "The Palestinian policemen committed a very, very serious violation of one of the basic principles in the agreement with Israel. Nothing can justify such behavior." (Near East Report, October 21, 1996). The accords require that the Palestinian police act to prevent violence and cooperate with Israeli security forces (see, for example, Annex I, Article II). The conceptual foundation of the Oslo Accords is the rejection of violence and force as tools in the conduct of bilateral relations. By initiating violence against Israelis, the PA has violated a cornerstone of the agreement.
2. Failure To Confiscate Illegal Arms And Disarm And
The PA is obligated to disarm and disband all militias operating in the autonomous areas and to confiscate all unlicensed weapons (Article XIV; and Annex I, Articles II (1) and XI). Nevertheless, five militias - Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, the DFLP and Fatah - continue to remain armed, and the PA has refused to disarm them. The PA has failed to undertake a systematic crackdown on illegal weapons, and has confiscated just a few hundred of the tens of thousand of weapons circulating in the autonomous areas. The PA's violation of these provisions of the accord have allowed terror groups to remain active and well-armed and to carry out deadly attacks against Israelis.
3. Failure To Extradite Suspected Terrorists To Israel
The PA is required to turn over for trial all suspects whose extradition is requested by Israel (Annex IV, Article II(7)), yet they have not extradited any of the 19 terror suspects whom Israel has sought for crimes such as murder and attempted murder. By failing to turn over wanted suspects to Israel, the PA has allowed terrorists to go unpunished, thereby encouraging others to carry out attacks in the knowledge that they will not have to answer for their actions.
4. Incitement To Violence Against Israel
The PA leadership is obligated to refrain from incitement to violence, as part of their commitment to foster mutual understanding and to combat terrorism Article XXII). Nonetheless, PA Chairman Yasser Arafat has repeatedly called for jihad (holy war) against Israel, praised prominent terrorists such as Yihya Ayyash "the Engineer" and encouraged acts of violence against Israelis. On October 21, 1996, Arafat met with a delegation of Hebron Arab notables, and in response to their complaints about the presence of Jewish settlers in the city, he rebuked them, saying. "What, have you run out of stones in Hebron?" (Voice of Israel, October 22, 1996). Previously , on August 6, 1996, Arafat called Israel a "demon" and urged Arabs to use "all means" at their disposal to fight Israel (The New York Times, August 7, 1996). Speaking before Palestinian forces in Gaza on September 24, 1996, Arafat said, "They will fight for Allah, and they will kill and be killed../...Palestine is our land and Jerusalem is our capital" (Maariv, October 4, 1996). Incitement by Arafat and other senior PA officials encourages violence and undermines attempts to foster peace and mutual understanding.
5. Failure To Change The PLO Covenant
The PLO was obligated to amend the clauses in the Palestinian National Covenant which called for the destruction of Israel no later than May 7, 1996 (Article XXXII(9)). On April 24, 1996, the PLO's Palestinian National Council (PNC) met and approved such an amendment in principle, yet "the vote did not actually change the covenant but gave authority to a PNC legal committee to do so or to draw up a completely new charter within six months, " (The Jerusalem Post, April 25, 1996). Six months have passed, and no such changes have been made, nor has the PLO specified which particular articles will be changed, how they will be changed or when the changes will go into effect. By leaving the Covenant intact, the PLO sends a clear message that is has not renounced violence nor accepted Israel's right to exist.
6. Opening PA Offices In Jerusalem
The PA is required to locate all of its offices and ministries exclusively in areas under its jurisdiction (Article I(7)). Nevertheless, the PA has violated this provision by maintaining offices such as the Orient House in Jerusalem. The PA Ministry of Religious Affairs and the PA Office of the Mufti are both located in Jerusalem, and several other PA office operate in other sections of the city. In addition, Palestinian policemen operate in Jerusalem, in contravention of the agreements. They have been involved in activities such as kidnapping, torturing, and killing human-rights activists, journalists and suspected collaborators with Israel and punishing perpetrators of "moral crimes."
7. Recruiting Terrorists To Serve In The Palestinian
The PA is required to summit a list of all potential police recruits to Israel for approval (Annex I, Article IV(4)) to forestall the possibility that members of terrorist groups will join the PA security services. The PA has consistently failed to provide comprehensive listings of potential recruits to Israel and has proceeded to recruit policemen without prior Israeli consent. In several instances, the PA has draftd wanted terrorists to serve in the security forces. Abd al-Majid Doudin, who helped plan the suicide bombing in Jerusalem on August 21, 1995, was convicted and sentenced by a PA court to 12 years imprisonment, but was subsequently freed and hired by the Palestinian police in Jericho. Similarly, Rajah and Amr Abu-Sita, who murdered Uri Megidish on March 8, 1993 and whose extradition was requested by Israel, were drafted to serve in the PA police in Gaza, (Yediot Ahronot, June 24, 1994). Such steps by the PA endanger the prospects for cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces and pose a security threat by providing terrorists with access to weapons and intelligence information.
8. Exceeding The Limit On The Number Of Palestinian
Under the Gaza-Jericho accord of May 1994, the PA was permitted to deploy a total of 9,000 policemen (Annex I, Article III(3)), but in actuality the number of Palestinian policemen was nearly 20,000. Under Oslo 2, the PA my deploy up to 24,000 policemen in Areas A and B, including Gaza, (Annex I, Article IV(3)), yet they have exceeded this figure by at least 10,0000. Reports in late September 1996 suggest that the PA security forces may exceed 50,000 men.
9. Abuse Of Human Rights And The Rule Of Law
The PA is obligated to conduct its affairs "with due regard to internationally-accepted norms and principles of human rights and the rule of law" (Article XIX). As various international human rights groups, such as Amnesty and Middle East Watch have pointed out, the PA security forces have systematically utilized arbitrary arrests, detention and torture. Human rights activists, such as Bassam Eid, have been abducted by PA security agents, and freedom of the press has been virtually eliminated, with no criticism of the regime tolerated in the Palestinian media.
10. Conduct Of Foreign Relations
The agreements explicitly forbid the PA from conducting foreign relations, allowing instead the PLO to conduct relations on the PA's behalf for a limited set of purposes, such as concluding economic and cultural agreements (Article IX). Nevertheless, the PA has violated this provision and engaged repeatedly in diplomacy on the bilateral, multilateral (i.e. Arab League) and international (i.e. United Nations) levels.
Communicated by the Prime Minister's Office
Jerusalem, 24 October, 1996
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Associate
IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-904719/Fax 972-9-911645