ZOA Protests Remark By U.S. Official Implicitly Justifying European Aid To Hamas Terrorists
September 30, 2003

And Powell Said Hamas
Does Some “Good Works”

NEW YORK- An official of the Bush administration has justified European aid to Hamas on the grounds that Hamas provides “extensive basic services to the Palestinian population”—which clearly contradicts President Bush’s recent statement that all of Hamas must be dismantled.

Assistant Secretary of State E. Anthony Wayne, said (Associated Press, Sept. 24, 2003) that it is a “delicate matter” for the U.S. to press European countries to stop funding Hamas, because “Even as we try to shut off the flow to Hamas, it is important to remember that a significant portion of this money has gone to provide extensive basic services to the Palestinian population — services the Palestinian Authority does not yet have the resources to step in and provide.”

Morton A. Klein, National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), said: “It is absolutely mind-boggling that a U.S. official would make a distinction between Hamas’s ‘terrorist wing’ and its ‘social services’. Hitler’s Nazis provided some basic services to the German population—does that make them any less evil? During the years that the Ku Klux Klan was regularly murdering African-Americans, if it had sponsored a hot lunch program for children, would that make it any less of a racist terror organization? If a Mafia killer is good to his family and helps his church and neighbors, does that make him any less of a murderer, who must be stopped? If Al Qaeda opens a hospital or a school, would the U.S. consider it justified for other governments to give funds to Bin Laden?”

Assistant Secretary Wayne’s statement sends a message that the United States thinks Hamas is not really an evil terrorist group that must be totally eliminated.

The ZOA notes that Lebanese President Emile Lahoud has announced (Ha’aretz, Sept. 26, 2003) that Lebanon will not comply with a U.S. request to freeze the Lebanese bank accounts of Hamas, on the grounds that “Palestinian resistance results from the Israeli occupation, and while there is occupation there must be resistance.” Yet the Bush administration has been silent in response to Lahoud’s declaration.

The statement by Assistant Secretary Wayne seems to dovetail with recent remarks by Secretary of State Colin Powell that the U.S. is not insisting on dismantling Hamas.

During an interview on Egypt’s Nile Television on August 12, 2003, the interviewer remarked, “When you ask the Palestinian Authority to go after Hamas and Islamic Jihad and others or to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, for Israel it’s clear they mean an all-out war against Hamas, but I’m not that sure what you mean by this.”

Powell replied: “I didn’t call for an all-out war against [Hamas]— I’m asking Hamas [to stop attacking Israel].”

In a similar vein, Secretary Powell said on July 1, 2003, that Hamas could be “converted” from its terrorist ways: “We are going to have to convert this kind of organization [Hamas] into organizations that are no longer interested in using terror as a political weapon.” (Fox TV interview, 7/1/03) And at a press conference on July 24, 2003, Powell said: “If an organization that has a terrorist component to it, a terrorist wing to it, totally abandons that, gives it up, and there’s no question in anyone’s mind that that is part of its past, then that is a different organization.” And he went on to say that Hamas “has a social wing to it that does things for people in need” and does “good works.”

Powell’s soft line on Hamas contradicts what President Bush said at a press conference with European Union leaders on June 25, 2003: “In order for there to be peace in the Middle East, we must see organizations such as Hamas dismantled.” (AP, 6/25/03)

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