Translated by Reuven Paz, ICT, from “al-Ayam” (Qatar), 23/4/96.
The Interior and Justice Ministers of the 22 Arab States within the League of Arab States, signed on April 22nd 1998, for the first time, an accord to fight Terrorism and Extremism. The accord was described by the Secretary of the League as a unique achievement.
This accord was achieved after two years of intensive discussions on different levels, on the initiative of the Egyptian regime. It is aimed mainly against Radical and Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorism, which is partially assisted by various Arab states.
An interesting point in the accord is the fact that there is no procedure to arrive at common judicial rules nor to create a common judicial institution. Rather the emphasis is on the judicial independence of every state. There is also no procedure to build a common apparatus for Counter-Terrorism, such as were established in the past for the coordination of the war against Israel or the economic Arab boycott over Israel. This is probably due to an absence of Arab unity in the 1990s and the differences of opinion among the various states concerning Islamic Law.
The only reference here to Israel is the differentiation between Terrorism and the struggle against occupation. It gives legitimacy to Palestinian Islamic Terrorism against Israel by organizations some of which are colleagues of terrorist groups in the Arab states or sponsored by other Arab regimes.
What importance this accord has lies in the fact that it was signed after so long a debate. We cannot estimate that it will have any real effect on Islamic Terrorist activity. There are too many contradictory interests between various Arab states, in which the Islamists are involved.