Former (And Future?) U.S. Envoy Dennis Ross Largely Blames Israel For Lack Of Reforms Among Palestinian Arabs
March 16, 2004

NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is troubled and disappointed that former U.S. Mideast envoy Dennis Ross is largely blaming Israel for the lack of reforms among the Palestinian Arabs.

Ross’s stance takes on potentially greater importance because the New York Times reported on March 1, 2004, that U.S. Senator John Kerry regards Ross as a potential future U.S. envoy to the Israel-Palestinian Authority negotiations.

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on March 15, 2004, Ross wrote:

  • Ross blames “Israeli control” for “Palestinian anger” and “lack of reform.” Instead of insisting that the Palestinian Arabs take responsibility for their own behavior, Ross largely blames Israel for Palestinian Arab violence and corruption, asserting that “the Palestinian reform movement” whose existence is mostly wishful thinking “withers under the weight of the Israeli siege and the chaos that Arafat cultivates.” He claims that “pervasive Israeli control … produces deep anger among Palestinians and keeps the reformers on the defensive.” False. Whatever “control” Israel is forced to exercise is in response to Palestinian Arab terror, not the other way around. Moreover, Ross fails to acknowledge that the Palestinian Arabs’ “anger” is caused by the Palestinian Authority’s constant incitement of anti-Jewish hatred and murder in its official media, schools, speeches, and religious sermons.

  • Ross’s article ignores the fundamental problem: the Palestinian Arabs do not accept Israel’s right to exist within any borders. He does not mention that the official maps appearing in PA offices, in the textbooks used in PA schools, and the PA’s official letterhead label all of Israel not just Judea-Samaria-Gaza as “Palestine.” Likewise PA officials’ speeches, the sermons by PA-appointed clergymen, and the teachings in PA children’s summer camps promote the idea that all of Israel is “Palestine.”

  • Ross sees Arab terror and Israeli self-defense as morally equivalent. Ross writes: “Israel-Palestinian relations are frozen in a pattern of terror, siege and hopelessness.” Thus, in Ross’s formulation, there is moral equivalency between Palestinian Arab terror and Israeli “sieges” meaning when Israel temporarily surrounds terrorists and their supporters in order to keep them from entering Israeli territory to murder Jews. This is another outrageous falsehood, demonstrating that when it comes to the Arab war against Israel, Ross seems unable to distinguish between murder and self-defense.

  • The PA must crack down on terror—but only after Israel withdraws. Ross writes that the U.S. should be “making clear to Palestinians…what is expected of them after withdrawal.” He makes no mention of anything they should be required to do before the withdrawal thus he would hand Gaza to the PA even if it does nothing to fight terror. If the PA is refusing to make concessions even before it gets the land, in order to get the land, why should anyone think the PA will make concessions after they obtain it?

Contrast this with Ross’s op-ed in the Washington Post on Dec.16, 2001, in which he said the U.S. should give the PA a 96-hour deadline to “make a concerted effort to shut down the bomb-making and mortar-producing factories in the West Bank and Gaza” and PA chairman Yasir Arafat must “make not simply issue a statement in Arabic in which he denounces terror [and] declares that the PA will not tolerate terror and will arrest all involved in its planning, organization and execution.” Ross wrote that the PA should have to “report to U.S. officials every 12 hours on their progress,” the U.S. would “be the judge of whether he has fulfilled the demands,” and if the demands were not met, “the United States will suspend its relations with the Palestinian Authority until such time as the demands are met.”

  • Ross wants the U.S. and Europe to pour even more money into the corrupt and terror- sponsoring Palestinian Authority. For the past ten years, with Ross’s active encouragement, the international community has given the Palestinian Authority billions of dollars. The U.S. alone has contributed over $1-billion to the Palestinian Arabs, and the Bush administration recently increased its annual aid allotment from $100-million to $215-million. The aid has continued despite massive evidence that some of the funds were used for terrorism, and that much of the money was misappropriated or stolen by PA officials. Now, Ross writes in his Wall Street Journal article that “the Europeans should join the U.S. and others in spearheading a broad construction effort” an even larger “infusion of funds” into the PA. This would be throwing good money after bad. Ross’s theory that giving the PA money would encourage peace has been proven wrong since the Oslo process began ten years ago.

  • Demands that Israelis “get out of Palestinian lives” even though they’re not in them, in the first place. Ross writes that “Israelis in both Gaza and the West Bank [must get] out of Palestinian lives…” More than 98% of the Palestinian Arabs live under the rule of the Palestinian Authority, not Israel. The only time Israeli forces go into the territories is for self-defense, to try and stop the terrorists. If there was no terrorism, Israeli forces would never have to enter PA-controlled territories.

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The ZOA notes that Ross has a long record of showing more sympathy for Arab positions than for Israel’s positions:

  • New Republic: Ross Implementing Baker’s Anti-Israel Agenda: An investigative report in The New Republic (July 8, 1996) by the respected journalist Jacob Heilbrunn, titled “The Arabist: Dennis Ross and the Endless Peace Process,” wrote that “after serving as James Baker’s right-hand man in the Bush administration, Ross became chief U.S. envoy to the Arab-Israeli talks in the Clinton administration,” where he continued “executing Baker’s anti-Israel agenda.” Heilbrunn concluded that Ross’s vision of a Mideast peace agreement “rested on pressuring Israel.”

  • Moment Article Called Ross a “Jewish Arabist”: Ross was described as a “Jewish Arabist” in an article in Moment magazine (April 1991) by former Near East Report editor Eric Rozenman. He wrote that Ross was responsible for shaping the Bush-Baker policy that was “indifferent to what Israel claimed as vital interests and undiplomatically hostile to Israel’s prime minister” and had made it “the least sympathetic American government toward Israel in that country’s 43 years.”

  • Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir: Ross More Sympathetic to Arab Positions: Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir has said in his dealings with Ross, that Ross was consistently more sympathetic to Arab positions than Israel’s positions.

  • Ross Admitted He Ignored Palestinian Arab Violations: Ross has publicly admitted that he consciously ignored Palestinian Arab violations of the Oslo accords in order to preserve the facade of the “peace process.” He told the Australia Jewish Review on June 15, 2001: “We…became so preoccupied with this process that the process took on a life of its own. It had self-sustaining justification. Every time there was a behavior, or an incident, or an event that was inconsistent with what the process was supposed to be about, the impulse was to rationalize it, finesse it, find a way around it and not allow it to break the process, because the process seemed to have promise … I admit that I did not take into consideration the gravity of Palestinian incitement. I was too liberal on the subject.” Yet to this day, Ross continues to demand that Israel make concessions to the Palestinian Authority, regardless of the PA’s violations and regardless of its continuing pro-terror, anti-peace actions.

  • Ross Brought Fatah Terrorists to Washington: In October 2003, Ross brought three officials of Yasir Arafat’s terrorist Fatah movement to Washington, where he presented them as moderates and arranged for them to meet with Members of Congress and journalists. Keep in mind that these were three representatives of an organization which at that time, and today, has been waging continual terrorist warfare against Israel, murdering Israeli men, women, and children and American citizens, as well.

    One of the three, Hatim Abdel Qader, said that part of the purpose of the visit was to inform Americans that “the dismantling of the Palestinian [terrorist] organizations [as required by the Bush Road Map] is irrelevant.” (Al Jazeera, Qatar, Oct.21, 2003) In a recent interview, Qader said: “As for the military factions, these are groups that we will never renounce because they are our weapon.” (Al Quds, May 15, 2003) Asked if he rejects “the suicide operations in Israel,” Qader replied: “We do not reject the suicide operations, but these actions must be carried out in a way that fits the goals.” (Al Quds, May 15, 2003) Another of the Fatah trio, Qadura Fares, is founder and head of the “Palestinian Prisoners Club,” which supports and glorifies Palestinian Arab terrorists imprisoned in Israel. Fares has said he rejects the recent “Geneva Understandings” document “because it acknowledges that Israel is a Jewish state.” (Al-Hayat, London, Oct.14, 2003)

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