ZOA Concerned About Bush Backing Away From Promises He Made To Sharon Last Month
May 7, 2004

NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is deeply disappointed that President Bush has backed away from the promises he made to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon just last month.

After meeting with Sharon, Bush had said that Israel should not have to return to the pre-1967 borders; that Palestinian Arab “refugees” from around the world should not be allowed to flood into Israel; and that Israel’s final borders should be determined in accordance with demographic realities in the area—implying that Israel should be allowed to retain portions of Judea and Samaria that have large Jewish populations.

But after meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II today (May 6, 2004), Bush said that all issues between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs have to be settled through negotiations and that the United States would not take any positions that would “prejudice” the outcome of the negotiations. He did not repeat any of the points he made to Prime Minister Sharon.

To make matters worse, President Bush also backed away from previous U.S. statements that a Palestinian Arab state would have to be a democracy. The president went out of his way to emphasize that “democracy in a Palestinian state doesn’t have to look like America or Europe, it has to be attuned to the culture of the Palestinian people, it has to be what they want.” That appeared to mean that the Bush administration no longer expects a Palestinian Arab state to be democratic in the way that the term “democracy” is ordinarily understood.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “This is simply appeasement. As Churchill warned, ‘those who appease the crocodile will simply be eaten last.’ It sends a message to Arab extremists and terrorists everywhere that if the Arab world yells and continues killing, the American president will give them what they want, even abandoning promises made to America’s only faithful and democratic ally in the Middle East, Israel. Terrorists must learn that through their actions, their agenda will go backward, not forward.”

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