NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America strongly protests the Bush administrations growing pressure on Israel to accept the Road Map despite the dangers it poses to Israels security; to ease up checkpoints that screen out terrorists; to release imprisoned terrorists; and to begin expelling Jews from parts of Judea-Samaria and Gaza.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said:
It is troubling that at a time when America is raising its own guard against terrorism, the Bush administration is pressuring Israel to take steps that would result in Israel lowering its guard against terror.
Instead of pressuring Americas ally, Israel, to risk the lives of its citizens by making dangerous concessions to terrorists, the Bush administration should be pressuring the terrorist Palestinian Authority regime to finally do what the Oslo accords and Road Map require: arrest terrorists, outlaw terrorist groups, confiscate their tens of thousands of weapons, shut down their training camps, stop paying terrorists families, and stop glorifying terrorists in the PA-controlled media, schools, summer camps, and mosques.
The Bush administrations pressure on Israel has been growing in recent days, according to media reports:
* The Bush administration is demanding Israel formally accept the road map (Haaretz, May 22, 2003). In meetings with Israeli officials in recent days, Bush aides have looking for some artful language that would allow Mr. Sharon to endorse the plan [while] making it possible for him to tell his fractious Cabinet that he had not really endorsed it in its entirety (New York Times, May 22, 2003) in other words, the Bush administration is urging Prime Minister Sharon to mislead his own cabinet.
* The Bush administration is demanding that Israel pull back its forces in parts of Gaza and ease checkpoints and closures (New York Times, May 22, 2003) in other words, the Bush administration is demanding steps that would make it easier for Palestinian Arab terrorists to attack Israel.
* The Bush administration is pressing Israel to agree to releasing Palestinian prisoners (New York Times, May 22, 2003) that is, to release from prison Palestinian Arabs involved in terrorist activity.
* The Bush administration is also demanding that Sharon dismantle the illegal outposts in the West Bank (Haaretz, May 22, 2003) Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley and National Security Council Middle East Affairs director Elliott Abrams recently took a helicopter trip across Judea and Samaria in order to get a birds eye view of Jewish settlements to see which ones would eventually be frozen or even dismantled as part of the peace negotiations (New York Times, May 21, 2003)
For U.S. officials to be selecting which Jews to throw out of their homes and off their land sends a message to the Arabs that they do not need to compromise or even negotiate seriously, since the U.S. has already adopted the Arab position that the Jews should be expelled. Furthermore, it smacks of a racist double standard, with Jews in the territories targeted for restrictions or expulsion, while nothing is said about Arab construction in those territories, which is proceeding at ten times the rate of Jewish construction.