Jewish leaders stress Palestinians' support of attacks

Lashing out at Palestinians who celebrated Tuesday's carnage and skyrocketing death toll in New York, American Jewish Congress president urged the international community to "reign in terror"

twin towers 88 (photo credit: )
twin towers 88
(photo credit: )
 NEW YORK (September 13) - Lashing out at Palestinians who celebrated Tuesday's carnage and skyrocketing death toll in New York, American Jewish Congress president Jack Rosen urged the international community to "reign in terror and demand justice for these vicious attacks." 

"I don't think Palestinians celebrating the death of thousands of Americans should go unchallenged," said Rosen, after images of Palestinians on the streets of Nablus and Jerusalem rejoicing and handing out candy after the attacks were broadcast around the world. 

The celebrations were quickly followed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's official condemnation of the attack. 

As recently as Tuesday, however, Palestinian Media Watch reported that suicide bombers were being lauded in a variety of PA-controlled newspapers. In its September 11 edition, the Gaza daily Al-Hayat al-Jadida called suicide bombers "the salt of the earth, the engines of history... They are the most honorable [people] among us." The statement was documented by Palestinian Media Watch in a special report released yesterday. 

"I think we need to go beyond identifying terrorists and the usual list of rogue states and get to the root of the problem. Arafat has got to be put in a position of arresting terrorists. There need to be consequences to their actions," said Rosen. 

Rosen also called on Arab countries considered moderate by the US, including Jordan and Egypt, to stand firm against terror, and he called on United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to take action against nations sheltering terrorists. 

"Those states that harbor [terrorists] and finance them, leaders who promote or permit terrorists to exist, those states need to stop funding them. I think it's time for our friends around the world to demand that this kind of activity end or we're going to stop doing business and take action," said Rosen. 

At the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Marvin Hier also urged Americans to take notice of those celebrating Tuesday's attack. "Make no mistake about it, those people who find joy amidst our suffering are the cheerleaders who keep international terrorism alive," Hier said in a release. 

Contacted Tuesday afternoon in Paris, the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Organizations, Mortimer Zuckerman, expressed shock at film he saw of Palestinian children dancing in the streets after hearing of the horrible attacks. 

"It brings home again that this is not an Arab-Israeli conflict. It is a conflict that has been widened to include Western civilization and culture," said Zuckerman. 

Miriam Shaviv adds from Jerusalem: 

The Associated Press yesterday refused to comment on reports that it had refrained from broadcasting film of Palestinians celebrating the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Tuesday following pressure from the PA. 

"I have nothing to say about this matter at this time," said AP Israel bureau chief Dan Perry. 

A foreign correspondent, however, told The Jerusalem Post that PA cabinet secretary Abdel Ahmed Rahman had threatened the AP producers that if they broadcast their pictures, "they would not be able to guarantee their safety." Rahman was not available for comment. 

The film showed Palestinian policemen celebrating and shooting into the air, in addition to civilians dancing, senior Israeli sources said. 

The film was reportedly shot in the West Bank town of Nablus, where more than 3,000 demonstrators took to the streets, and in the Balata refugee camp. 

Pictures broadcast by other foreign media outlets of Palestinians celebrating the terror attacks were mostly from east Jerusalem. No foreign crew captured on film other parades of celebration reported to have taken place in Bethlehem, Tulkarm, or the Gaza Strip. 

The PA made threats to stop foreign press from broadcasting scenes it felt reflect poorly on the Palestinians before, when Italian TV correspondent Riccardo Cristiano captured on film the lynching of two reserve soldiers by a mob of Palestinian rioters in Ramallah in October 2000. Riccardo lost both his GPO press card and his Jerusalem posting after sending a letter to the Al-Hayat al-Jadida in which he denied that the film had been shot by his own station.