NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned the statement by Secretary of State Colin Powell strongly implying that Israeli self-defense actions are the same thing as Palestinian Arab terrorism.
Interviewed on the Arabic television station Al-Jazeera on June 23, 2003, Powell was asked, Can you explain the difference you see between legitimate resistance and terrorism in the Middle East? Powell replied by saying that the recent Palestinian Arab drive-by shooting in which a 7 year-old girl was murdered is terrorism. He then added: The same thing happens on the other side when the response comes and innocent people lose their lives, young people on the Palestinian side.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said:
Secretary Powells remark could certainly be interpreted as meaning that since both Israeli and Arab civilians have died, the Israeli and Arab actions which caused those deaths are the same thing. This is false and outrageous. There is no equivalency between Palestinian Arab terror, which deliberately targets innocent civilians, and Israeli self-defense actions, which never target innocent civilians.
How and why someone dies is important. To say that Israeli and Arab casualties are the same thing is like saying that casualties caused by U.S. forces in Afghanistan are the same thing as the thousands of Americans murdered in the 9/11 attacks.
Powell Should Be Telling the Arabs That Their
Violence is Morally Wrong, Not Just Ineffective
Asked by Al-Jazeera Television Is there any legitimate resistance?, Powell refused to state that all Palestinian Arab violence is illegitimate. Instead, he argued that Palestinian Arab violence was not effective: What has this kind of resistance achieved for Palestinian people, whether you describe it as legitimate or illegitimate, whether it is terrorism or resistance, whatever you call it, let me ask the question this way, what has it achieved for the Palestinian people?
ZOA president Klein commented: The Secretary of State should be telling the Arab world, loud and clear, in no uncertain terms, that all Arab violence against Israelis is illegitimate and immoral and must stop immediately, whether or not it achieves anything.
Powells Repeated Cycle of Violence Remarks Implies
Moral Equivalency Between Terrorists & Israel
In his remarks to Al Jazeera Television, Powell repeatedly referred to Palestinian Arab terrorism and Israeli self-defense action as the cycle, as if the two are morally equivalent. Similarly, Powell said on June 22, 2003: I regret that we continue to find ourselves trapped in this action and counteraction, provocation and reaction to provocation.
ZOA president Klein said: The term cycle of violence implies a moral equivalency between Arab terrorism and Israeli self-defense. Would Secretary Powell describe Americas fight with Al Qaeda as a cycle of violence? Would he say that the only thing wrong with Al Qaeda terrorism is that it has not achieved very much for Al Qaedas cause?
Another U.S. Official Spoke of Arabs Legitimate Resistance
The ZOA notes that Deputy Undersecretary of State David Satterfield, who has been sent to Israel as one of the leaders of the U.S. team monitoring implementation of the Road Map, has made statements describing some Arab terrorism as legitimate resistance. 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)