The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized President Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for aggressively demanding that Israel transfer combat-support equipment, weapons and ammunition to the Palestinian Authority (PA) armed forces, while at the same time demanding that Israel “exercise restraint in responding to terror.”
According to a report by Eliel Shahar in the Israeli daily Ma’ariv (Hebrew – July 29, 2005), “During her recent visit, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice aggressively asked Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz that Israel permit the transfer of combat-support equipment to the Palestinian security services. According to a source who participated in the meeting, Rice gave Mofaz a timetable: ‘I want you to give the approved list to our ambassador, Dan Kurtzer, by tomorrow afternoon,’ she announced. Mofaz replied: ‘I need to examine the matter. It may require the approval of the Cabinet. I can’t just approve this on the spot.’ ‘Then I’ll give you two days,’ she answered. ‘I’m the Minister of Defense. I have other things to deal with,’ Mofaz replied. Rice lost her patience. ‘I’m the Secretary of State, and I’m telling you that this is important.'”
ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA is deeply troubled by this perplexing demand that Israel arm the very PA police force that does nothing to stop terror attacks against Israel and even participates in some of these attacks while refusing to arrest these Palestinian Arab killers. Why should Israel arm an enemy who is at war with her. This is beyond comprehension. Not to mention that the Palestinian Arabs have already armed themselves to the teeth due to their constant smuggling of arms from Egypt into Gaza.
“Israel Radio Arab Affairs Correspondent Avi Yissakharov explained today in a live report that ‘anyone who visits the West Bank cities can readily see that they are flooded with weapons already — what with the heavily armed security forces, paramilitary forces [including forces belonging to or allied with the ruling Fatah] and others on the streets with assault rifles.’ As for the supply of bullets, Yissakharov noted the frequent heavy exchange of gunfire between various groups is a good indication that ammunition is readily available.
“The Rice/Bush position of support for and propping up of Mahmoud Abbas, Chief of the Palestinian Authority (PA) only sends a message to Abbas that he can continue to refuse to dismantle and disarm terrorist groups, arrest the terrorists or end the incitement. This Bush policy is endangering Israel and even harms our U.S. war against terror by sending a message that terror pays.
“If the statements attributed to Rice are incorrect or at odds with President Bush’s policy, the White House must make that clear. An administration that calls itself ‘the best friend Israel ever had’ should not be making such demands.”