By Mark Lavie, December 6, 2002
JERUSALEM – The Palestinian Authority has violated its commitment to work
against violence and has thrown into question its acceptance of Israel, but
President Bush will not impose sanctions as a result, according to a White
House document obtained by the Associated Press yesterday.
The White House document includes a cover memorandum, dated Nov. 29 and
signed by Mr. Bush, waiving sanctions against the Palestine Liberation
Organization (PLO) office in Washington “in the national security interest of the
United States.” The sanctions could have included downgrading or closing the office.
The 12-page report that follows says that the PLO and Palestinian Authority
have violated key commitments made to the United States in the framework of
the 1993 Palestinian-Israeli interim peace accords that led to allowing the PLO
to open its office in the U.S. capital.
The report, in effect, blames the Palestinians for more than two years of
violence, charging that the Palestinian Authority and the PLO have not taken
steps to stop militants, and mirrors Israeli charges.
Palestinian Cabinet Minister Saeb Erekat said that he had seen excerpts of the
document and called it “unfair and unacceptable.”
Though the Palestinians have not rescinded their recognition of Israel, the report
says that their “failure to take action against terror groups has called into
question their commitment of recognizing Israel’s right to exist in peace and security.”
The report blames the Palestinian leadership for “failure to take action against,
and in some cases the provision of support for terrorist groups and others
engaged in violence.”
The Palestinian Authority “has not taken sufficient steps to prevent
violence by PA personnel,” it says.
It concludes that the Palestinian leadership has “not complied” with its promise
of “renunciation of the use of terrorism and all other acts of violence” or its
commitments to “prevent violations and discipline violators” and ensure the
compliance of “all PLO elements and personnel.”
The report says that there is no conclusive evidence that militants carried out
attacks with the specific approval of Palestinian authorities. But “it is clear that
these armed elements were not disciplined.”
However, Mr. Bush concluded that it was not in U.S. interests to impose
sanctions by downgrading or closing the PLO office in Washington because the
United States “must maintain contacts with all sides” while “encouraging a new
Palestinian leadership and reform of Palestinian institutions.”
The report is produced twice a year by the White House and transferred to the
State Department, which brings it to the attention of Congress, under terms of
maintaining the PLO office in Washington.