NEW YORK – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly criticized President Bushs statement wrongly blaming Israel for causing violence to escalate.
President Bush said on March 7, 2002, that Israel is allowing violence to escalate or causing violence to escalate. (New York Times, March 8, 2002) It comes on the heels of Secretary of State Colin Powells outrageous slur that Israels policy is to see how many Palestinians can be killed. (New York Times, March 7, 2002)
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: President Bush has it completely backwards. If Arafats forces werent murdering Jews on a daily basis, Israel would not be using any military action. Israel is neither allowing violence to escalate nor causing it to do so. Israel is fighting back in self-defense against a terrorist war that Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority have launched against it.
The ZOA president said it is incredible that the Bush administration is telling a sovereign ally under daily terrorist attacks to reduce its efforts to protect the lives of its citizens. He noted that Israels actions against Palestinian Arab terrorists are a fraction of what the U.S. is doing to combat terrorists in Afghanistan. He pointed out that if anything, Israel has been acting with a level of restraint that defies military logic, by frequently bombing empty buildings, parking lots, or runways, rather than striking more important targets that might result in casualties. Israel is undermining its own defense by doing whatever it can to avoid killing Palestinian Arabs, while the Palestinian Arabs are doing everything they can to murder as many innocent Jews as possible.
We urge President Bush and Secretary of State Powell to recognize this simple fact and acknowledge Israels right to use whatever force is necessary to defeat terrorists in Gaza and Ramallah, just as America is using whatever force is necessary to defeat terrorists in Afghanistan.