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Monday, March 20, 2006

UAE aids kin of Palestinian 'martyrs'

These are the people who wanted to run America's ports. I cannot understand what President Bush was thinking (and why he spent political capital sticking with this crazy deal once the truth came out). For the record, I voted for President Bush in 2000 and 2004 and would do so again. But he was wrong on this issue.

In the last four years the United Arab Emirates has provided substantial financial support, through its Red Crescent Society, to families of Palestinians, militants as well as civilians, who have been wounded or killed by Israeli forces, according to Red Crescent documents.

The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven small states including Dubai, where a government-owned company was due to take over some American port operations. Facing intense congressional opposition, the company said last week that it would sell its operations in the United States to an unrelated American company within six months.

Glimpse inside

In 2002 and 2003, the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Society, a quasi-governmental organization, made donations to Palestinian charities that included social groups associated with Hamas, the radical Islamic organization that won Palestinian parliamentary elections and has long been designated a terrorist organization by the United States.

A glimpse inside the Emirates aid programs comes from documents provided to the New York Times by Gary M. Osen, an American lawyer litigating cases in the U.S. federal courts on behalf of American victims of Palestinian terror attacks. The documents include unclassified materials seized by Israeli forces from Palestinian organizations in the West Bank.

The records include international financial transfers from the Emirates Red Crescent Society as well as budget and program reports from its Jerusalem branch, which handles programs in the Palestinian territories. They indicate differences between American and Emirate views of Palestinian violence, although President Bush has said the countries see eye to eye on fighting terrorism.

In 2002, according to a spreadsheet of the budget, the UAE Friends Society in Jerusalem, the local branch of the Red Crescent, designated $100,000 to pay 50 annual stipends of $2,000 under a "martyrs' families sponsorship" program. [For a 'Palestinian' in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, $2000 is a huge amount of money. And this was not the only source of support for 'martyrs.' Remember Saddam Hussein. CiJ]

Officials from the government and the Red Crescent Society said "martyrs" referred to any Palestinian who had died in the conflict with Israel, including civilians and armed fighters.

In one case, the documents show, the Emirates Red Crescent provided cash payments to the wife and two children of Anwar Awni Mustafa Abdel Ghani, who was identified in a news release on Feb. 15, 2002, from Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a militant organization, as a mujahid, or fighter, for the group. The news release indicates that Abdel Ghani was killed in a clash that day with Israeli forces.


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