ZOA Supports Sharon Demanding Hamas Be Excluded From Palestinian Elections & Lawmakers Urge Bush To Do Same
September 19, 2005

Oslo forbids Hamas-type in elections

New York – The ZOA has strongly backed Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in his refusal to assist the Palestinian Authority (PA) in holding legislative elections in January if the terrorist movement Hamas is allowed to participate and has called upon President Bush to do the same. It is also a flagrant violation of the Oslo II Agreement between Israel and the PA for a Hamas candidate to run for public office. Israel’s Interim Agreement with the PA (“Oslo II”) forbids the “nomination of any candidates, parties or coalitions” that “commit or advocate racism” or “pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful or non-democratic means” (Annex II, Article II).

It is therefore wholly appropriate for Sharon to have told a group of U.S. journalists that, “We will never agree that this terrorist organization, this armed terrorist organization, will participate in the elections … We will make every effort not to help them in their elections … An armed organization doesn’t become democratic once they participate in the election.” Sharon also said specifically of Hamas that its Charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews, is “one of most terrible documents that exists” (Washington Post , September 17).

In response, Frederick Jones, spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, emphasized the U.S. view that Hamas is a terror organization, but then said that, “The decision as to who can participate in the elections is obviously up to the Palestinian Authority” (Jerusalem Post, September 17).

Last month, a bipartisan group of twenty-two lawmakers sent a letter to President Bush urging him to call on the PA President, Mahmoud Abbas, stating precisely what Hamas must do if it is to participate in elections. The lawmakers urge President Bush to call on Abbas “to do all in his power to ensure that the participation of Hamas in the upcoming elections is conditional on…revising their charter eliminating language that states that ‘the day of judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews, killing the Jews’ and removing language calling for Israel’s destruction…completely disarming, publicly renouncing terror, ceasing promoting violence and murder against Israeli and U.S. citizens…a total cessation of terrorist behavior, and the transformation of the organization away from its culture of anti-Semitism and incitement to violence.”

The lawmakers added, “To do otherwise would send the wrong message that political advancement can be secured through the use of terror and further embolden the enemies of Israel. That is simply unacceptable…allowing Hamas to operate as a terrorist organization, while allowing it to participate in the electoral process, undercuts any possibility of true democratic reform within Palestinian society.”

Members of Congress signing on to the letter included: Dan Burton (R-IN), Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Major R. Owens (D-NY), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Michael R. McNulty (D-NY), Michael Ferguson (R-NJ), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Al Green (D-TX), Mike Pence (R-IN), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), Tom Tancredo (R-CO), Steve Israel (D-NY), Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL), and Brad Sherman (D-CA).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Prime Minister Sharon is completely correct to demand that a terrorist movement like Hamas should be excluded from Palestinian elections. Moreover, the Oslo Accords explicitly forbid racist organizations that implement their aims by unlawful means to run candidates in elections. That’s why we are deeply troubled that, rather than agreeing with Sharon, a U.S. official has said that it is the PA’s decision who runs in the elections. President Bush should make clear to PA chief Mahmoud Abbas that allowing Hamas to run in any elections violates the PA’s Oslo agreements with Israel.

Hamas should be barred from participating in elections unless it makes an unambiguous break with its terrorist past, publicly accepts Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, ceases all terrorist acts and abrogates its Charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 15), the murder of Jews (Article 7), claims to be fighting a world-wide anti-Muslim conspiracy led by Jews and cites in support of its ideology the classical anti-Semitic forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Article 32). Hamas is clearly a racist, unlawful and non-democratic movement as defined and prohibited by Oslo II.

“President Bush should heed the bipartisan group of 22 lawmakers, nine of them members of the House International Relations Committee, who signed the letter urging him to pressure Abbas to exclude Hamas. They are rightly arguing that if the United States is promising $350 million to Mahmoud Abbas, then it right that the President use his influence with Abbas to prevent a terrorist organization from entering the Palestinian government fully armed and maintaining its terrorist platform. After all, how can Abbas expect to make peace with the Jewish State of Israel if a group in his government is committed to destroying the Jewish State and murdering every Jew?”

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