ZOA Praises President Bush For Defending Israel’s Demand That Arafat Surrender Terrorists In Ramallah & Bethlehem
April 19, 2002

Bush Also Calls Sharon
“A Man of Peace”

NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly praised President Bush’s statements describing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as “a man of peace” and defending Israel’sdemand that Yasir Arafat surrender the terrorists whom he is sheltering in his Ramallah headquarters and who have taken over the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

President Bush said on April 18, 2002, “I do believe Ariel Sharon is a man of peace,” and urged Arafat to “not only denounce violence but take action to act against those who continue to encourage violence and perform acts of terrorism and violence.”

Despite the President’s appeal, Arafat continues to refuse to outlaw and disarm terrorist groups or to surrender terrorists for prosecution, as the Oslo and Wye accords require.

Referring to the terrorists who murdered Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi last year, Mr. Bush said: “They’re housed in the basement where Colin [Powell] visited Mr. Arafat…These people are accused of killing a Cabinet official of the Israeli government. And I can understand why the prime minister wants them brought to justice. They should be brought to justice if they killed this man in cold blood.” The President referred to the five killers as “the Ze’evi five.” Regarding the terrorists in the Church of the Nativity, Mr. Bush said, “Once the people are out of the Church of Nativity, Israel will leave.”

The Israeli government revealed on April 9, 2002, that among the approximately 250 terrorists holed up in the Church of the Nativity are Ibrahim Abyat and Ismail Hamdan, prominent members of Arafat’s Fatah Tanzim who were involved in numerous terrorist attacks, including the kidnap-murder of a 72 year-old U.S. citizen, Avi Boaz, near Bethlehem on January 15, 2002. They abducted Boaz at a Palestinian Authority checkpoint, where Boaz had showed the PA policemen his U.S. passport. The ZOA is urging the Bush administration to indict Abyat and Hamdan and transfer them to the U.S. for trial.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “We strongly applaud President Bush’s recognition that it is Israel which seeks peace and it is the Palestinian Arabs who sponsor terrorism and shelter terrorists. We salute his powerful statement of moral clarity and leadership in the fight against terrorism, which must be waged from Kabul to Ramallah and everywhere else where terrorists operate.”

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