The folks over at the American Jewish Congress say that the State Department's inclusion of Palestinian groups on its list of “Foreign Terrorist Organizations” should reassure Israel. They are dead wrong! Those organizations are not on the other, more important list the State Department issued last week. To be sure, U.S. citizens are prohibited from financially supporting groups on the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list and all U.S. financial institutions are required to freeze the assets under their control. But the other list, the one containing those organizations whose assets are not only to be frozen but also to be otherwise aggressively targeted internationally in the war against terrorism, does not include any Palestinian groups.
An AJCongress statement issued the other day said in part:
The release by the State Department today of a list of terrorist organizations which not only includes Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda organization, but Israel's deadly enemies ? Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah ? as well, should come as reassurance to Israel's Prime Minister Sharon that in the fight against terrorism being waged by the Bush Administration, Palestinian groups have neither been forgiven nor forgotten.
Yet the list issued last week of groups to be targeted for economic strangulation in order to dry up their resources and capacity to mount new terrorist acts, did not include Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah. The point is very simple. The assets of these particular groups ? whose immediate focus is on Israel ? will not be vigorously pursued and their capacity to kill Israelis will not thereby be undermined.
Not only is this an ominous encouraging message to those miscreants to continue their terror, it also undermines the entire effort itself. As the Associated Press reports, after meeting in Washington this past weekend the world's finance ministers and central bank governors ? from the so-called G-7 nations, namely, the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada ? issued a joint statement:
We stand united in our commitment to vigorously track down and intercept the assets of terrorists and to pursue the individuals and countries suspected of financing terrorists.
The G-7 ministers went on to say that they were encouraged by the number of other countries that have agreed to join in the effort to make it harder for terrorists to use the international financial system.
The G-7 also released a one-page action plan focusing on money laundering and announced they would soon meet to develop new policies to combat terrorist financing. “We are well on the way to building an international coalition to disrupt terrorist fund-raising,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill declared. French Finance Minister Laurent Faubus said pressure had to be applied to make all countries comply with whatever standards are developed. Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown said, “We must act to cut off the finances that are the lifeblood of terrorism.”
It seems downright perverse that because it is in a selective context, the more vocal the G-7 nations are in their calls for action, the more they will serve to encourage terror.
And with the notorious symbiotic relationship between Al-Qaeda and the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah groups, the notion of an effective plan against the former without bringing the latter into the net becomes laughable. Indeed, many of the same countries that support Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah will be free to funnel funds to them as long as they eschew direct payments to Al Qaeda!
Underscoring the political nature of the State Department “listing” process, it is to be noted that the Japanese Red Army and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement were dropped from its latest list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
The reason, reportedly, is that as the list is reviewed every two years and these groups have not committed any terrorist acts since their last inclusion on the list. Yet, continued on the list is Kahane Chai (now representing a merger of the Kahane Chai and Kach group). What, pray tell, have been the even alleged “terrorist” acts of Kahane Chai in the past two years?