ZOA Criticizes U.S. Ambassador Kurtzer For Again Pressuring Israel
July 2, 2004

NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly protests the latest attempt by the Bush administration’s top official in Israel, Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer, to pressure Israel into making more one-sided concessions to the Palestinian Arabs.

The Associated Press reported (July 1, 2004) that Ambassador Kurtzer has been pressing Israel “to fulfill a commitment to dismantle the outposts” set up by some Jewish residents of Judea-Samaria.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “While Ambassador Kurtzer rushes to criticize and pressure Israel over a tiny number of outposts, he never publicly criticizes the Palestinian Authority for violating every one of its commitments in the Bush Road Map plan, such as its commitments to stop terrorism, arrest terrorists, disarm terrorist groups and stop anti-Israel incitements. It is also incredible that Kurtzer constantly focuses on Jewish construction in Judea-Samaria, when the Arabs are building at ten times the rate of the Jews in those territories yet he never says a word about those Arab settlements.”

Additional examples of Kurtzer’s pressure on Israel:

* According to the Israeli daily Ha’aretz (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) government’s ambassador to Washington, Itamar Rabinovich, has described a “stormy dispute” between Kurtzer and the head of Israel’s 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. (Ha’aretz, 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.” (Ha’aretz, 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. Kurtzer’s poor relations with Jerusalem’s 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.’”

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