NEW YORK – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized President Bushs statements denouncing Israels self-defense measures as not helpful and promoting the creation of a Palestinian Arab state, which inevitably would be a terrorist state.
President Bushs remarks come on the heels of his March 7 statement that Israel is allowing violence to escalate or causing violence to escalate and Secretary of State Colin Powells outrageous remark on March 6 that Israels policy is to see how many Palestinians can be killed.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: It is perplexing that President Bush takes strong action against terrorists in Afghanistan, yet he castigates Israel for taking self-defense action against terrorists in Ramallah; he forcefully denounces Saddam Husseins terrorist Iraqi regime, yet he is promoting the creation of a Palestinian Arab state that would be led by Saddams close ally Yasir Arafat and would be a mini-Iraq in Israels backyard. This administration is dead right on Afghanistan and Iraq, and dead wrong on Israel and Arafat.
Secretary Powells statement is particularly ironic in view of the fact that one of Americas top military leaders in the war in Afghanistan, Major-General Frank Hagenbeck, recently said: As long as they want to send them [Al Qaeda terrorists] here, we will kill them here. If they want to go somewhere else, we will kill them there. (Time, March 18, 2002)
President Bush, in his March 13 remarks, attempted to distinguish between Israels fight against Palestinian Arab terrorists and Americas fight against Al Qaeda terrorists, saying: Unlike our war against Al Qaeda, there is a series of agreements in place that will lead to peace. ZOA president Klein commented: Arafat has ignored or violated every agreement he has made with Israel by promoting hatred and ordering violence against Israel. When you are dealing with Arafat, agreements are irrelevant.
The ZOA president added:
Why is it that America can go half way around the world in pursuit of terrorists, but Israel is denounced if it goes a few hundred yards into Arab areas in pursuit of terrorists?
Everyone knows that if Arafats forces werent murdering Jews on a daily basis, and harboring and nurturing terrorist cells, there wouldnt be a single bullet fired from a single Israeli gun against any Arab. Israel is fighting back in self-defense against a terrorist war that Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority have launched against it.
We urge President Bush and Secretary of State Powell to recognize 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.