March 12, 1997
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is urging the
Clinton administration to protest Yasir Arafat’s latest mass release of
imprisoned Arab terrorists.
According to the Israeli daily Ha’aretz (March 6, 1997), former
cabinet minister Benjamin Begin revealed that Arafat recently set free “120
terrorists who are on a list of terrorists that Israel presented to the
Palestinian Authority, asking that they not be released.”
This follows Arafat’s recent release of Sheikh Ahmed Nimar, a Hamas
leader who had been detained after the wave of Hamas suicide bombings that
killed 59 Israelis earlier this year.
“Arafat’s constant release of Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders and
members sends a message to those groups that the PLO will only briefly
detain them if they attack Israelis,” said ZOA National President Morton A.
Klein. “The U.S. should use its $500-million in aid to the PLO as leverage
to press Arafat to stop releasing terrorists.”
Other similar actions by Arafat and the PLO in recent months:
- In mid-October 1996, the PLO set free 45 Hamas terrorists.
The Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported on October 8, 1996, that the
PLO police, under direct orders from Arafat, were continuing to “release
detained Palestinians, mainly from Hamas.”
The PLO set free 110 Islamic Jihad and Hamas members, including
26 from Ramallah, over the weekend of Aug.31-Sept. 1, 1996.
On August 25, 1996, Arafat ordered the release of 17 terrorists
who were being detained in Jenin. (Ha’aretz, Aug.26, 1996)
- Arafat ordered the release of Hamas leader Sheikh Hassan Yussef
on August 24. (Israeli Army Radio, August 24, 1996)
As early as April 3, 1996, Ha’aretz reported that the PLO had
already “released most of the Hamas activists that they arrested after the
Tel Aviv bombing.”