NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly protested the latest attempt by U.S. Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer to pressure Israel into making more one-sided concessions to the Palestinian Arabs.
Ambassador Kurtzer told Israel Army Radio (as quoted by Haaretz, June 22, 2004) that Israel should dismantle settlement outposts and freeze building in other Jewish settlements, claiming Israel made commitments to do so. Kurtzer said that the alleged commitments are not as a result of any pressure from our side, so this is something that Israel undertook to do, and therefore, sure, we expect them to be fulfilled.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said:
The Israeli government has never made any decision to freeze construction in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria; on the contrary, it has specifically upheld and implemented the right of Jewish residents of those areas to build in their communities.
Ambassador Kurtzers claim that he is not pressuring Israel is extraordinary he knows that his statements, made in public to the mass media, are themselves a form of pressure on the government. He could just as easily have made his statement privately to Israeli officials, but he instead chose to go public, which increases the pressure on the Israeli government.
Additional evidence of Kurtzers pressure on Israel:
* According to the Israeli daily Haaretz (June 4, 2004), Ambassador Kurtzer met recently with Baruch Spiegel, a senior aide to Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. Kurtzer asked that Israel delay completion of the security fence surrounding Jerusalem so as not to aggravate conditions for the Palestinians in the Jerusalem metropolitan area, particularly in the Al-Ram neighborhood. Kurtzer also pressed Israel to leave sufficient crossing points in the fence to allow normal communication for Palestinians with families on both sides of the fence, particularly in areas where enclaves of Palestinian villages are scheduled to be created.
* In September 2003, the Israeli media reported that Ambassador Kurtzer said it would be unacceptable if the Israeli High Court was to rule that Migron, a disputed community in Judea-Samaria, is legal.
* In August 2001, Kurtzer publicly criticized Israel for striking at Abu Ali Mustafa, head of the terrorist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which has murdered 14 U.S. citizens and numerous Israelis. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations issued a statement on August 28, 2001, saying it was surprised and dismayed that Kurtzer felt compelled to raise the issue with Prime Minister Sharon [while] we did not hear of any similar actions when American citizens were the victims of terror attacks over the past few months.
* Kurtzer demanded that Israel stop spending government funds on Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria and Gaza, and take care of the disabled and/or economic development instead. (Washington Times, Jan.9, 2002)
* The Israeli (Labor) governments ambassador to Washington, Itamar Rabinovich, has described a stormy dispute between Kurtzer and the head of Israels negotiating team, in which Kurtzer thought that Israel was not going far enough with the Palestinians. There were sharp exchanges between them [and Kurtzer] rebuked the Israeli negotiators. (Haaretz, April 6, 2001)
* Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir has said: Kurtzer frequently pressured Israel to make one-sided concessions to the Arabs; he constantly blamed Israel for the absence of Mideast peace, and paid little or no attention to the fact that the Palestinians were carrying out terrorist attacks and openly calling for the destruction of Israel.
* Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said more than once that with Jews like Kurtzer, it is impossible to build a healthy relationship between Israel and the United States. (Haaretz, April 6, 2001)
* Morris Amitay, former executive director of AIPAC, has said: Kurtzer has a track record of pushing for Palestinian rights. He will use his Jewishness as a protective cover for his anti-Israel views. (Jewish Telegraphic Agency, March 29, 2001)
* The Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot (August 9, 1991) reported: Possibly more than any other U.S. State Department official, Kurtzer has been instrumental in promoting the goals of the Palestinians and in raising their afflictions to the center of the U.S. policymakers agenda. Kurtzers poor relations with Jerusalems political bureaus reached a new climax in 1990, when he authored a speech by James Baker strongly criticizing Israel, which was delivered at an AIPAC conference, causing a commotion among the conference participants A Jewish community leader told Kurtzer (shortly afterwards], Your children will bear the consequences of the Israeli policy you are encouraging.