NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed concern over the fact that one of the leaders of the U.S. monitoring group sent to oversee implementation of President Bushs Road Map plan, has justified some acts of Arab terrorism against Israel.
Deputy Undersecretary of State David Satterfield, who has arrived in as one of the leaders of the monitoring team, made his controversial statements while touring southern Lebanon in December 1998. He was asked by reporters about attacks launched by Hezbollah against Israel. (Hezbollah is on the U.S. list of terrorist groups; its attacks include the 1983 car-bomb massacre of 241 Marines in Lebanon.) According to the Arab newspaper Al-Nahar (Dec. 4, 1998), he replied: We make a distinction between resistance and terror. We dont think that this resistance is terrorism.
When a correspondent for the Journal of Counterterrorism asked the State Department for its response, a spokesman refused to answer whether Satterfields comments were in line with State Department policy or not. He did not deny that Satterfield made the statement. (Vol.6, No.2, p.26)
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: David Satterfields record raises troubling questions about his ability to remain fair and impartial. Will he acknowledge Palestinian Arab violations of the Road Map, or will he follow the traditional State Department approach of whitewashing such violations in order to advance the negotiating process? Will he ignore some terrorist attacks on the grounds that they are legitimate resistance?
The ZOA notes that the Palestinian Authority claims that Palestinian Arab attacks against Israelis are resistance, not terrorism and therefore justified. PA Minister of Information Nabil Amr said (Doha Al-Jazira Television, June 14, 2003): As regards the word terrorism, I do not know why when the Palestinians denounce the word terrorism, certain people think that this means resistance. There is no text anywhere that says that the Palestinian peoples resistance is terrorism, which we denounce Yes, we denounce terrorism. Anyone who says that denouncing terrorism means denouncing resistance is doing an injustice to legitimate resistance and is in effect labeling it with terrorism.
Abu Mazen, in his first press conference (Doha Al-Jazira Television, June 3, 2003), was asked about his previous statements suggesting a temporary halt to some types of terrorist attacks. He replied: We called for ending the militarization of the intifada. Nobody can prevent people from expressing the popular stand through peaceful means, as was the case in the first intifada. That peaceful intifada actually included thousands of firebomb attacks, stabbings, and stonings; steering a bus into a ravine off the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, murdering 16 people (including an American woman, attorney Rita Levine of Philadelphia) [July 1989]; hijacking a Beersheba bus and murdering 3 passengers [March 1988]; grenade attack on the Haifa mall, wounding 25 people. [August 1988]