September 24, 2001
WASHINGTON (September 24) – A semi-annual State Department report
evaluating Palestinian compliance with past Israeli-Palestinian accords says
senior PLO and Palestinian Authority leaders did little to prevent, and may have
even encouraged, an atmosphere of incitement to violence in violation of past
“The PLO did not abide in a clear and sustained manner by its commitment to
‘call on Palestinians to refrain from violence,’ ” the report says.
The report, issued in accordance with the PLO Commitments Compliance Act of
1989 and covering the period of December 15, 2000, through June 15, 2001,
was quietly sent to the White House and congressional leaders on September
12, the day after the terrorist attacks on the US.
A copy was obtained by The Jerusalem Post over the weekend.
The previous report, released in April, said it was impossible to say if
the PA or PLO sanctioned violent acts.
While the new report says there is “no conclusive evidence” that the senior
PLO or PA leadership was involved in planning or approving specific acts of
violence, it suggests the Palestinian leadership gave de facto consent by
encouraging and failing to halt violence throughout most of the reporting period.
“Available evidence indicates that elements within the PLO, specifically Tanzim,
Force 17, and members of other security forces, were involved in acts of
violence against Israelis. While there is no conclusive evidence that these
elements acted with the prior approval and encouragement of the PLO and PA
leaderships, it is clear that these armed elements were not disciplined.”
“Equally important, there was no serious and sustained effort by the senior
leadership to prevent acts of violence through clear instructions nor to assume
responsibility over these elements to assure their compliance until very late in
the reporting period.”
“Moreover, senior PLO and PA leaders did little to prevent – and may even have
encouraged – an atmosphere of incitement to violence in the Palestinian media
and through the public statements of Palestinian officials.”
The report repeatedly says the PLO did not assume responsibility over all of its
personnel in violation of past accords and says: “It was clear that some
elements of the PA security forces and Chairman Arafat’s Fatah faction
within the PLO were deeply involved in the violence.”
It also cites allegations by Israeli security officials that Force 17 acted as the
senior PA leadership’s liaison with extremist groups, including Hamas and
The report’s release coincided with urging from the Bush administration to
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to renew a dialogue with Arafat.
The document, known as the PLOCCA report, is meant to serve as a guide for
the administration regarding its relations with the PA. But as coalition building
for the new war on terrorism emerges as the administration’s sole diplomatic
goal, officials are more keen to have cooperation from Arafat in fighting terrorist
cells than to penalize him in some way for violations of past Israeli-Palestinian
David Schenker, a Palestinian affairs analyst at the Washington Institute for
Near East Policy, called the latest report an “improvement” over the one
released in April. But he cited several aspects as problematic.
Among the shortcomings, Schenker said, are that specific Fatah leaders are not
mentioned by name or held accountable; the report neglects to mention that
Fatah has publicly called for a reinstitution of the Arab boycott against Israel in
violation of past accords; the report makes no mention of the National Islamic
Forces, the leading coordinating body of violence, in which Fatah plays a major
role, and the report does not mention Arafat’s refusal to detain Hamas or
Islamic Jihad terrorists who have carried out attacks on Israelis.
The report also takes an inappropriate qualified tone when it comes to
Palestinian incitement, Schenker said.
While it says that some programs broadcast on PA and PLO-controlled or
influenced mass media had the effect of inciting Palestinians to violence, it adds
that some of the broadcasts were “accused” of glorifying martyrdom and
legitimizing the use of violence, rather than stating with certainty that such
programs did so.