NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly protested the State Departments criticism of Israel for defending itself against Palestinian Arab terrorists.
Taking action in the wake of the Jerusalem bus massacre of 21 Israelis, Israeli forces on Tuesday struck at a Hamas terrorist leader who was trying to conceal himself among civilians neighborhood near Gaza City. One bystander was inadvertently killed in the attack. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker criticized the Israeli action, saying: The killing of innocents has got to stop. We have to see an end to terror and violence, which is clearly spelled out as the first major step of the Road Map. (New York Times, Aug. 27, 2003)
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said:
It is appalling that the State Department lumps together Arab terrorism and Israeli self-defense under the category of terror and violence and killing of innocents. Why cant our State Department distinguish between those engaged in aggression and those acting in self-defense?
So long as Prime Minister Abu Mazen and the Palestinian Authority allow terrorists to remain in civilian Arab neighborhoods, it is unfortunately inevitable that some civilians will be inadvertently harmed when Israel defends itself against the terrorists just as civilians are sometimes harmed when U.S. forces battle terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. Israel has just as much right to take action against terrorists in Gaza as the U.S. forces fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq.