ZOA Dismayed By Secretary Rice’s Undeserved Praise Of Abbas’ ‘Anti-Terror Steps’ And Criticism Of Israel
July 25, 2005

New York – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly criticized U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s undeserved praise of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chief Mahmoud Abbas’ “important steps cracking down on violence” especially at a time when Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks against Israelis are actually increasing, and also expressed deep concern of Rice’s chastising Israel’s actions.

Rice said, “I want to take this opportunity to commend President Abbas and his leadership as well as that of his government for their ongoing efforts to enforce the rule of law in the West Bank and Gaza. These efforts demonstrate the Palestinian leadership’s commitment to ensuring security and cracking down on those who perpetrate violent attacks that only delay the achievement of a Palestinian State. President Abbas has taken actions with the active support of all those in the region and the international community to support a future of peace… Important steps have been taken (by Abbas)…”

ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, “We are deeply perplexed by Rice’s strong praise of Abbas’ alleged actions against terrorism. What actions? He hasn’t disarmed or dismantled any terror groups. He hasn’t stopped incitement against Jews and Israel in his media, schools, or mosques. He hasn’t changed the names of the schools, streets, and sports teams presently named after suicide bombers. He hasn’t stopped smuggling in weapons from the Sinai to Gaza and he hasn’t closed the bomb factories.

“In addition he has hired 350 Hamas members into his police force. (Hamas is on the U.S. list of terrorist groups) He has invited Hamas to join his government even though the Hamas charter calls on the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews, while calling every Jew a Nazi. And he has invited all the Palestinian Arab terror leaders to move from Syria to Gaza after Israel leaves.

“Not to mention that in the last three months almost half of the attacks and aborted attacks against Israel are from Fatah, the terrorist group Abbas heads. In the youth wing of Israel’s prison system there are more than 130 young Palestinian terrorists, most of them from the Fatah group. Only this weekend 2 more Jews were murdered, and how does Abbas respond.

“Fourteen hours after the murder, he released a statement (he did not appear in person) saying, ‘These attacks threaten our national security and undermine our credibility in the international arena.’ Abbas didn’t mention Hamas or Fatah and he didn’t condemn the murders as immoral, only as counterproductive to the Palestinian cause. His official PA news service called the killers ‘heroic martyrs’ and referred to the murders as a resistance operation. And for all this, he earns praise from President Bush’s State Department. For Shame. This is a time to condemn and put pressure on Abbas, not to lavish praise on him.

“Yet, when it came to the Israelis, who are unilaterally removing 10,000 Jews from their homes and businesses and giving the land to the PA, Rice has less than kind words. She said, ‘…when the Israelis withdraw from Gaza it cannot be sealed or isolated area, with the Palestinian people closed in after that withdrawal. We are committed to connectivity between Gaza and the West Bank, and we are committed to openness and freedom of movement for the Palestinian people…We have been very clear about the Israeli obligations under the Roadmap not to try and do anything that will prejudge a final status outcome.

“We’ve expressed our deep concern about the route of the wall particularly around Jerusalem and we have expressed the American policy on settlement activity remains that it should stop. We will continue to work towards exactly that…The principle that the United States is operating on is that Gaza is going to be Palestinian and that means that the Palestinian people have to experience freedom of movement in Gaza. It is also the case that there has to be a link between Gaza and the West Bank and it has to be the case…that there needs to be greater freedom of movement in the West Bank itself.’ Even when it came to the issue of Israel’s borders, Rice said that any retention of land beyond the 1949 armistice line must be agreed to by the Palestinian Authority. Rice also said Israel must not decide on the so-called refugee issue without Palestinian Arab approval.

“So there it is, when it comes to Israel, she demands adherence to the Roadmap, reduced or no checkpoints, stop building homes anywhere in Judea and Samaria or Eastern Jerusalem, condemns the security fence, demands contiguity and states that Israel cannot keep any land past the 1949 armistice line without Palestinian Arab approval. All these demands of Israel are before Abbas has fulfilled a single sentence of the Roadmap.

“This type of approach only encourages Abbas to do nothing and only harms the security of Israel’s only real ally in the Mideast, Israel.”

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