New York – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has again strongly criticized U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for dangerous and unreasonable demands she is making on Israel.
In an article by senior journalist Yoel Marcus of the prestigious left-wing Israel daily Ha’aretz, he quotes inside sources who attended Rice’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his aides. They told Marcus, Rice was “full of demands on Israel, she ticked us all off she twisted our arm and said we had to make all kinds of concessions to Mazen.” Rice demanded that Israel, “must supply the Palestinian Authority with weapons and ammunition, speed up the lines at checkpoints.”
They added that Rice “ranted and raved” and “demanded that Israel exercise restraint in responding to Palestinian Arab terror” that has murdered 1500 Israelis and maimed over 10,000.
But when it came to PLO Chief Mahmoud Abbas, she “praised his leadership abilities and his war on terror.”
The following is a fuller version of the Ha’aretz article.
“Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Sharon’s ranch, with its sheep, cows and rolling green pastures, could have come straight out of a kitschy American sitcom set on a farm down South. The family sits around a dinner table piled high with wholesome food and showers one another with love. Only in this case, the honored guest ate little and talked a lot, and what she had to say was enough to put everyone off dessert, even though finishing with halvah has become a tradition.
“In public, Condi was all smiles. But in private, she showed herself to be one tough cookie, full of demands on Israel. ‘She ticked us all off,’ said an insider. ‘The chutzpah of that woman. The way she totally ignored Sharon’s critical problems at home. The way she twisted our arm and said we had to make all kinds of concessions and gestures to strengthen Abu Mazen.’
“This time, Rice’s demands did not go through the Weissglas filtering system. There was no sugar to sweeten the pill or make it easier to swallow. There was no beating around the bush. Israel, she said, must supply the Palestinian Authority with weapons and ammunition. It must speed up the lines at checkpoints. It must be nice to Abu Mazen’s buddies and allow them to operate. As if the missiles and the Qassam rockets fired at Israeli towns every day were our doing. As if the chairman of the PA deserves some kind of compensation.
“One participant said Rice spoke like a teacher scolding her students. She demanded that Israel exercise restraint in responding to terror and let Abu Mazen fight Hamas, lest all of Gaza fall into its clutches. As if Israel were standing in his way. When she visited the Palestinians, she praised Abu Mazen’s leadership abilities and his “war on terror.” In Israel, she went on about how weak and frail he is, and urged us to strengthen him. As if Israel were Leader Remodeling Inc .
” In Abu Mazen’s case, all we see is a man incapable of carrying out his most elementary obligation — cracking down and disarming the terrorist organizations. With Israel taking its first historic step to leave the territories, one might expect something different.
“Some say that a man like Abu Mazen, who has been a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization for decades and is still one of its heads, couldn’t be a weakling who needs crutches to get by. They are sure he can do more than he pretends he can. We’ve seen this type before
“If he is really so weak that he can’t curb terror, can’t discuss compromise and can’t come up with any painful concessions on his side, then he is not a worthy partner.
“Rice can rant and rave until the cows come home, but we have no factory for remodeling Palestinian leaders. We can barely manage with our own shoddy goods.”
ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, “This disturbing article about Sec’y Rice makes clear that Rice and President Bush are not fair to Israel in their approach to the Arab war against Israel. They seem to be on the side of Abbas and his terrorist regime. The U.S., in fact, should be on Israel’s side. Israel is their loyal, democratic peace-loving ally while the PA has shown themselves to be terrorist dictators, who don’t fight terror or end incitement against Israel.”
“President Bush and Sec’y Rice should be aware that Americans support Israel and understand its difficult situation. A recent McLaughlin & Associates poll commissioned by ZOA showed that by a margin of 3 to 1, Americans believe that a Palestinian state’s goal will be the destruction of Israel — not peace with Israel. Americans also oppose U.S. aid to the Palestinians by 80% to 12%. And by a margin of 63% to 5%, Americans believe Jerusalem should remain under Israeli sovereignty.
“We assume that President Bush is directing the demands that Rice is making on Israel and directing the praise she lavishes on Abbas. If this is not the case, we urge President Bush to distance himself from Rice’s remarks and make it clear that her positions are not his positions. These are certainly not the types of remarks one would expect from an administration that claims is the ‘best friend Israel ever had.’ In light of these and other troubling episodes, we are concerned about the possible influence that the Bush family’s close friend, James Baker, may be having on the President.
“Especially during an era of international radical Islamic terror, President Bush and Sec’y Rice should not be demanding that Israel exercise restraint against Palestinian terror while complimenting the regime that allows or promotes terror.
“We remember too well these types of comments by Colin Powell. And Rice is following in Powell’s footsteps. Her hostility also brings back memories of President Bush’s public criticism of Israel for killing Hamas leaders Rantisi and Yassin. We thought that might have been on aberration. Now we’re not so sure.
“In borrowing a similar phrase Elie Wiesel used in front of President Reagan, I would like to say, ‘Mr. Bush, your place is with the victims of Islamic terror, the democratic State of Israel, not with the perpetrators and facilitators of terror, Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.’ Mr. Bush, stop appeasing the Palestinian Authority, stop pressuring Israel, and start pressuring the Palestinian Authority.”