Kingdom Moves against Terrorism; Riyadh Attack Prompts Action
Byline: David R. Sands, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Saudi Arabia said yesterday that last month's suicide attacks in Riyadh prompted the desert kingdom to crack down on militants, cut off money to charities that fund terrorists and muzzle clerics who defend terrorism and Osama bin Laden.
But Adel al-Jubeir, a top adviser to Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Abdullah, said his nation would continue to aid Palestinian groups, even if some of the money wound up going to the families of suicide bombers or to the political wing of the violently anti-Israel Hamas group.
Mr. Jubeir told reporters at the Saudi Embassy that his government gives funds only to the Palestinian Authority and to international organizations such as the Red Cross and the United Nations, but conceded that some money may eventually underwrite local projects run by the political wing of Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Hamas, which has condemned the new U.S.-backed "road map" for a Middle East peace deal, drew an angry condemnation from the Bush administration yesterday after claiming responsibility for a suicide bombing of a bus in Jerusalem that killed 16 Israelis Wednesday.
"It is incumbent on every nation around the world to speak out and put the hammer down on Hamas, the [Palestinian Islamic Jihad], and stop funding them, stop allowing any resources to go to them," Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said.
Mr. Jubeir said his government opposed all terrorist acts targeting innocent civilians, but refused to condemn Hamas directly, saying Israel's oppressive oversight of Palestinian cities and its policy of targeted assassinations contributed at least as much to the latest cycle of Middle East violence.
"Our view has been, and remains, that we are against targeted assassination of individuals. We believe it is morally wrong," he said.
He said it is "very possible" that individual Saudis continue to fund Hamas terrorist operations, but contended that as much or more money came from American donors.
Crown Prince Abdullah Monday pledged a crackdown on the financial oversight of the Saudi-based charities.
Mr. Jubeir said yesterday that global operations for controversial Islamic charities such as the Riyadh-based Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation have been frozen, as the government readies a single central monitoring agency to determine where the money goes. …