New York — The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly criticized the Bush Administration for demanding that Israel not respond in any serious way to the murder of Israelis by Palestinian Arabs. The New York Times reported (8/7/05) that U.S. General William Ward, who is working on reforming Palestinian security services, “confirmed that American pressure helped stop the Israeli military two weeks ago, when it was poised to go into Gaza after a suicide bombing and rocket and mortar attacks that killed six Israeli civilians. Ward predicted that there would be similar discussions should the possibility arise again.”
ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, “This pressure by the Bush Administration to stop the Jewish state of Israel from appropriately responding to Palestinian Arab terror has repeatedly occurred throughout his administration. Only last week, Sec’y of State Condoleezza Rice demanded that Israel ‘exercise restraint’ in responding to the murder of Jews by Palestinians, while at the same time demanding that Israel transfer combat support equipment, weapons and ammunition to the Palestinian Authority. (Ma’ariv, 7/29/05)
“We also remember Sec’y of State Colin Powell’s condemnation of Israel’s response to Palestinian attacks on Israeli citizens as being ‘excessive and disproportionate.’ (4/14/01) Powell also said of Israeli killings of Hamas leaders ‘We have spoken out and condemned this targeted killing; this kind of response is too aggressive.’ (CNN – 8/1/01)
“We also will never forget President George Bush himself publicly criticizing Israel for killing the two Hamas terror leaders, Sheikh Yassin and Dr. Rantisi saying it was ‘unhelpful’. His spokesman Scott McClelland said Israel ‘should exercise restraint (3/22/04), and State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, ‘we find the killing of Yassin not an act of self-defense we find it deeply troubling.'” (3/22/04)
The Sunday New York Times article begins by saying, “The Bush Administration has increased pressure on the Israeli government according to American, Israeli and international officials.” It continues by saying, “Israeli officials, who agreed to speak only on background because of the sensitivity of the topic, acknowledged the new pressure from Washington Ms. Condoleezza Rice in particular has been forceful and even abrupt in her dealings with senior Israeli officials including the foreign and defense ministers, Silvan Shalom and Shaul Mofay. On her recent trip here, she treated meetings with them in their offices as her meetings, taking control of the agenda and even announcing when the meetings would end, the Israeli officials said.”
Two weeks ago, the Israeli Ha’aretz reported on her meeting with Israeli officials saying Rice was “full of demands on Israel, she ticked us all off she twisted our aim and said we had to make all kinds of concessions to Mazen.” They added that Rice “ranted and raved” against Israel, but when it came to PLO Chief Abbas she “praised his leadership abilities and his war on terror.”
Klein added, “It is becoming more and more clear that Rice and President Bush are not fair to Israel in the U.S. 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.
“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.
“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.”