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Likoed Nederland

PLO’s Continuing Military Buildupis Reason For Serious Concern

Vrijdag, April 25, 1997 / Last Modified: Zondag, Januari 14, 2018

April 25, 1997

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed
alarm over continuing reports that the PLO is engaging in a massive
military buildup.

Major-General Shlomo Yanai, chief of the Israeli Army’s Southern
Command, said on April 25, 1997 that “senior Palestinian Authority
officials are taking advantage of their VIP status to smuggle weaponry into
PA-controlled areas in Gaza.” (SNS News Service, April 25, 1997)

At the same time, the PLO has “established factories for
manufacturing ammunition, including a plant which produces hand grenades,”
according to the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot (April 15, 1997). The Oslo
accords prohibit the PLO from having offensive weapons, such as hand

The Yediot Ahronot report also noted that “the establishment of the
factories is but one in a series of actions taken by the Palestinian
Authority with the aim of increasing the quantity and types of forbidden
weaponry in their possession,” including the illegal transfer of
“submachine guns and other light weapons” from other countries to
PLO-controlled territory.

Earlier this year, Israel Television reported (Jan. 6, 1997) that
“hand grenades, shells, and possibly even Katyusha rockets are being
manufactured [by the PLO] within Gaza.” Labor Party Knesset Member Dalia
Itzik said that the reports were “very disturbing and, if proven true,
constitute a violation of the Oslo agreement.”

Meanwhile, the Israeli radio station Arutz 7 reported on April 3,
1997, that “senior Israeli military officials” have confirmed that the PLO
now possesses a variety of illegal missiles. This follows a report in Time
magazine (Dec.8, 1996) that “Yasser Arafat’s security forces are working
around the clock to obtain an arsenal of anti-tank and anti-aircraft
missiles–weapons they are forbidden to have under the Oslo accords…
Palestinian security officials deny any official involvement in weapons
smuggling but acknowledge that their forces already possess dozens of LAW
anti-tank missiles confiscated from or donated by local Islamic militants.”

Senior Israeli Army officers then confirmed to the Israeli daily
Ha’aretz (Dec.11, 1996) that “the Palestinian Authority has not only LAW
missiles but also Saggar missiles and anti-aircraft missiles.”

The Israeli daily Ma’ariv, on December 13, 1996, quoted
“Palestinian sources” as saying that the PLO has LAW missiles as well as
rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and that “most of the weapons have been
smuggled in, principally via the sea to Gaza.” A follow-up report by
Ma’ariv, on January 7, 1997, found that “the Palestinian forces have large
amounts of weaponry, among them anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, such
as Katyushas and RPGs.”

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “As a sponsor of the
Oslo accords, the Clinton administration should be investigating these
reports and do everything in its power to prevent the PLO from acquiring or
manufacturing these prohibited weapons. American taxpayers have a right to
know if the $500-million in U.S. aid to the PLO being used to finance
illegal PLO weapons acquisitions.”

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