Free Imad Sa'ad

Why has the PA sentenced to death a policeman who helped catch terrorists?

gallows 88 (photo credit:)
gallows 88
(photo credit: )
Imad Sa'ad is a 25-year old Palestinian Authority (PA) police officer who has been arrested by Mahmoud Abbas's forces for providing Israel with information about the whereabouts of four accused Palestinian terrorists. The PA had been unwilling to hand over to Israel the four men whom Sa'ad helped it locate. For this act, Sa'ad has been convicted as a "collaborator" in a PA court in Hebron by a judge belonging to Abbas's Fatah party and sentenced to death by firing squad. Now wait a minute. The Oslo agreements require the PA to extradite to Israel wanted terrorists and to cooperate with Israel in combating terrorism. Under the 2003 road map peace plan, the PA is required to "disrupt and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere," which is exactly what Imad Sa'ad did. In fact, what Sa'ad did should be routine conduct by PA police. Instead, it is an exceptional act punishable by death. Imagine the situation if we were discussing Israel. There cannot be any doubt that, if an Israeli police officer had tipped off the PA about an impending terror attack by a Jew upon Palestinians, Israel would be honoring him as a hero. It would certainly not be arresting him and sentencing him to death - and there would be (correctly) outrage if it did. Yet, the PA is doing precisely this - and has done so many times in the past. FAR FROM cooperating in the fight against terrorism, the PA has a long record of executing what it terms "collaborators." Amnesty International reported in 2003 that "Scores of Palestinians suspected of 'collaboration' with Israeli intelligence services were unlawfully killed. Most of these killings seemed to have been carried out by members of armed groups or by armed individuals. Some appeared to be extrajudicial executions carried out by members of Palestinian security services. The PA consistently failed to investigate these killings and none of the perpetrators was brought to justice." Despite this episode and Abbas's continuing promotion of terrorism, refusal to arrest terrorists, and incitement to hatred and violence within the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps, President George W. Bush persists in saying of Mahmoud Abbas that "The president is a man of peace... He's a man of vision. He rejects the idea of using violence to achieve objectives." Also, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praised Mahmoud Abbas this week while visiting Ramallah, and particularly his leadership of the security services, saying, "It takes some time to deal with the effects of the intifada, but a lot of it has to do with responsible actions by the Palestinian government and the Palestinian Authority which are really now in place... And because of that, I think you are going to see improvements on the West Bank." This is unmerited praise, to put it mildly. Instead, this event should serve as a clear, straightforward litmus test: Does Mahmoud Abbas support preventing terrorism and jailing terrorists? Is he opposed to terrorism? Does he regard terrorism as the enemy of the peace to which he tells Western audiences he is dedicated? If so, he should be applauding and honoring Imad Sa'ad for doing his duty in fighting terror and assisting the Israelis in doing so, as per the PA's signed obligations under Oslo and the road map. At the very least, he should be immediately releasing Imad Sa'ad from prison. In reality, he has done the opposite and may even have him executed. IRONICALLY, AT the very time Abbas' court sentences to death a Palestinian who fulfilled a Palestinian signed obligation to cooperate in the fight against terrorism, Abbas continues to demand that Israel release terrorists it has succeeded in arresting. If Abbas was the man of peace and moderation that he is incessantly described as being by President Bush and Secretary Rice and Prime Minister Olmert, why would he be imprisoning someone who fights terror while demanding that jailed terrorists go free? In the past Yasser Arafat executed swiftly several so-called "collaborators." During the intifada, he threatened the late Elias Freij, then the mayor of Bethlehem, with "ten bullets in the chest" for the sin of calling publicly for stopping the violence. We see now that Mahmoud Abbas is little different from Arafat. If the PA does not release Sa'ad, Israel and the US should immediately cease all aid and break off talks with Abbas and the PA. There is no sense or morality in having peace negotiations with someone who arrests or executes those who help fight terrorists while protecting real terrorists, inciting hatred and murder that feed terrorism and demanding that jailed terrorists go free. The writer is national president of the Zionist Organization of America.