ZOA Deeply Troubled By Bush’s Statement Criticizing Israel For Striking Terrorist Leader
June 10, 2003

29 Americans Murdered
by Hamas Since 1993

NEW YORK- President Bush’s criticism of Israel for attempting to eliminate a senior Hamas terrorist leader is a blatant contradiction of his own declared policy of pursuing and eliminating terrorists wherever they may be, the Zionist Organization of America points out.

President Bush said that he is “deeply troubled” by Israel’s attempt to eliminate Hamas leader and mass-murderer Abdul-Aziz Rantisi, and that the action “does not contribute to the security of Israel”—even though Hamas is responsible for the murders of hundreds of innocent Israelis and Americans. Twenty-nine of the 39 Americans murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists since 1993 were murdered by Hamas. (Of the remainder, 7 were murdered by Fatah; 2 by Islamic Jihad; and 1 by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, chairman of the board Dr. Alan Mazurek, and Dr. Michael Goldblatt, chairman of the National Executive Committee, expressed deep concern over the president’s statement, saying:

“Mr. President, we are deeply troubled that you are criticizing Israel for taking action against the leader of a group that is on America’s own list of terrorist groups. What is the difference between your call to “get Bin Laden dead or alive” and Israel’s pursuit of the Bin Ladens of Hamas?

“Just as America”s elimination of terrorist leaders in Afghanistan and Iraq contributes to America’s security, Israel’s elimination of terrorist leaders in Gaza —just a few miles from Israel’s major population centers— clearly and directly contributes to Israel’s security.

“Terrorist leaders will derive great comfort from knowing that they can count on the United States to criticize and pressure Israel against their attempts to strike at Hamas mass murderers.

“As the Israeli government pointed out, Rantisi ‘has preached and directed murder, sabotage, terror and incitement for many years … [I]t is Hamas’s “political echelon” [of which Rantisi is leader] which directs, instructs and determines policy, including terrorist activity….The Palestinian Authority has been well aware of Rantisi’s activities for some time but is taking no action to stop them. Thus, the State of Israel has been compelled to protect its citizens and try to halt this arch-terrorist’s murderous actions, the danger of which is increasing.’

“Mr. President, we at the ZOA are also surprised and disappointed that you have refrained from criticizing PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) for his failure to abide by the Road Map requirements to dismantle Hamas, arrest its members, and confiscate its weapons. It is Abu Mazen’s refusal to fulfill those requirements which forces Israel to take action. You should be putting the blame where it belongs—on the terrorist regime of Abu Mazen.”

The ZOA notes that President Bush’s criticism of Israel is the latest in a series of actions by the Bush administration that involve criticizing and pressuring Israel, including:

* Pressuring Israel to withdraw its forces from areas of Judea-Samaria where they are pursuing terrorists.

* Pressuring Israel to loosen its checkpoints and closures, even though that would make it easier for Palestinian Arab terrorists to attack Israel.

* Pressuring Israel to release imprisoned Palestinian Arab terrorists.

* Pressuring Israel to restrict and eventually dismantle Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria- Gaza, even though the Bush administration has never called for action against the much more widespread, and illegal, Arab construction in those territories.

* Pressuring Israel to accept the creation of a Palestinian Arab state, even though President Bush vowed to put an end to terrorist states.

* Publicly criticizing Israel for trying to eliminate terrorist leaders exactly as the U.S. has been eliminating terrorist leaders in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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