ZOA Opposes Olmert Unilateral Retreat Plan & Is Puzzled By His Praise Of Mahmoud Abbas
May 24, 2006

Olmert & Bush meet

New York – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed its opposition to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s plan for further unilateral retreats/evacuations in Judea and Samaria as presented by Olmert in his joint White House press conference yesterday with President George W. Bush. The ZOA is also perplexed by his words of profuse praise for Palestinian Authority (PA) president, Mahmoud Abbas. Olmert’s plan is to forcibly remove 60,000 Jewish men, women and children from their homes and schools in Judea and Samaria while giving away over 90% of this area to the Hamas/PA terrorist regime. In addition to being a terrorist regime, the Hamas/PA is allied to the anti-American regimes in Iran and Syria.

A major study by the respected Washington, D.C. think-tank, the Center for Security Policy, has outlined the foreseeable consequences of further unilateral Israeli withdrawals in Judea and Samaria in these terms:

  • It will endanger U.S. military assets warehoused in Israel and Jordan.
  • It will endanger the land supply routes to U.S. forces in Iraq.
  • It would enable the terror forces combating the U.S. in Iraq to establish training bases in the West Bank.
  • Iran and al-Qaeda will likely establish an operational base in the West Bank .
  • It would enhance the prestige of Hamas and the states and movements that sponsor Palestinian terror groups. This reward of terror will only encourage more terror.
  • Major Israeli population centers will be within missile, rocket, and mortar range, endangering the lives of millions of Israeli citizens.

A selection of others who oppose Olmert’s plan include:

  • James Woolsey, former Director of the CIA: “The approach Israel is preparing to take in the West Bank was tried in Gaza and has failed utterly. The Israeli withdrawal of last year has produced the worst set of results imaginable.” (Wall Street Journal , May 23). ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Clearly we can expect a similar disastrous experience in making further unilateral withdrawals in Judea and Samaria.” Woolsey also wrote: ” Israel is not the only pro-Western country that would be threatened [by this plan]. How does moderate Jordan, with its Palestinian majority, survive if bordered by a West Bank terrorist state? Israeli concessions will also make the U.S. look weak because it will be inferred that we have urged them, and will suggest that we are reverting to earlier behavior patterns – fleeing Lebanon in 1983, acquiescing in Saddam’s destruction of the Kurdish and Shiite rebels in 1991, fleeing Somalia in 1993, etc. Three major Israeli efforts at accommodation in the last 13 years have not worked. [The Oslo Accords, the Lebanon withdrawal, Ehud Barak’s peace offer to Arafat]” (Wall Street Journal, May 23).
  • Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon, former Israel Defense Force (DF) Chief of Staff: “I do not see any prospect for peace and reconciliation on the Palestinian side … Under no circumstances should we surrender to terror. As long as they see our appeasement policy, they will continue” (Speech to ZOA, May 8).
  • Ari Shavit, distinguished Israeli journalist for the left-wing Haaretz, known as the New York Times of Israel: “It is not just the stability of Israel that Olmert is endangering. He is also endangering the regional stability. A Hamas state will accelerate Jordan’s collapse… Egypt will also be threatened… Olmert’s plan will be supporting not only anti-Israel terror, but also the anti-Western revolutionary movement. [Olmert’s] radical unilateral process will disrupt the American strategy in the area and will bury U.S. President George W. Bush’s dream of stability and democracy in the Middle East. … The history books will record Olmert’s unconditional withdrawal as the unconditional surrender of Zionism” (Haaretz, March 15).
  • Caroline Glick, Deputy Managing Editor of the Jerusalem Post: “Olmert will present a plan that provides a strategic victory to the forces of global jihad in a war they wage not only against Israel but against the US and the Western world as a whole because they will see Israel destroying itself under the gun of their terror and enabling the establishment of yet another base for global terrorists” (Jerusalem Post, May 22).
  • Daniel Pipes, Middle East scholar and Director of the Middle East Forum, “I appeal to the Bush administration to recognize how wretchedly the Gaza withdrawal is turning out, to look beyond the easy attractions of another Israeli retreat, and to be aware of the dangers of a unilateral retreat by Israel on the West Bank for it, for Jordan, and for the United States” (New York Sun, May 16).

Olmert praised Abbas instead of condemning Abbas

In the Bush-Olmert press conference, Olmert also lavished extraordinary praise on Mahmoud Abbas, stating that, “I say time and again that we accept the sincerity of Mahmoud Abbas as the elected President of the Palestinian Authority. He is genuine, he is sincere, and we hope that he will have the power to be able to meet the requirements necessary for negotiations between us and the Palestinians.” Olmert also said in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that “I respect Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. He’s a genuine person, and I know that he’s opposed to terror and, had it depended on him, he would have accepted all the basic principles that are the guidelines for future negotiations between us and the Palestinians” (CNN, May 21).

This praise was thoroughly undeserved. In fact, Abbas deserves to be condemned, as former PM Ariel Sharon did in a meeting with Jewish leaders at Blair House in Washington D. C., on April 13, 2005 that Abbas is “not a friend of the Jewish presence in Israel; remember Abbas caused thousands of casualties of innocent Jews when he worked with Arafat; he hasn’t arrested terrorists, stopped the arms smuggling or bomb factories. I must tell you that even the PA itself smuggles weapons. No serious steps have been taken by Mazen and we can’t get to the Roadmap plan until the PA fully implements its obligations.”

Klein added, “We must also remember that Abbas was a co-founder with Yasser Arafat of Fatah, a political movement committed in its Charter to the ‘Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence’ (Article 12) and which says that ‘Armed struggle [ i.e. terrorism] is a strategy and not a tactic’ (Article 19). Abbas never rescinded the Fatah Charter. Mahmoud Abbas was Arafat’s deputy for 40 years, a mastermind of the Munich and Maalot massacres where three dozen Jews were murdered, including children, and wrote a PhD thesis and then a book denying the Holocaust and stating that Jews worked closely with the Nazis. When he was campaigning to become Palestinian president, he described Israel as ‘Zionist enemy’ and Palestinian terrorists as ‘heroes fighting for freedom.’ He also called for ‘implementing Arafat’s policies’ stating ‘the smaller jihad is over, now we must begin the big jihad.’ Abbas has conspicuously failed to condemn any terrorism committed against Israelis as immoral, referring to such attacks merely ‘as not in the Palestinian interest,’ not as barbaric crimes. Since being elected president, Abbas has not dismantled or disarmed terror groups, ended incitement, closed bomb factories, arrested terrorists or fulfilled any other obligation under the Roadmap.”

Sharon would have opposed Olmert’s plan

In his address yesterday to the US Congress, Olmert stated, “I am emboldened by the promise of continuing [Sharon’s] mission … the vision of Ariel Sharon [is] guiding my actions.” However, according to Israeli columnist and close and long-time Sharon confidante, Uri Dan, “Sharon told me there would be no unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank… There is no greater insult to Sharon than Olmert declaring he is following in Sharon’s footsteps” ( Jerusalem Post, March 7, 2006). As Sharon put it in his meeting with Jewish leaders at Blair House last year, “Only after full compliance of the Road Map by the Palestinian Authority, will we discuss the final borders and any further compromise.”

Klein said, “Olmert’s plan for further unilateral withdrawals in Judea and Samaria simply means, if implemented, that major, one-sided concessions will be made to the Hamas/PA. It will endanger US military assets in both Israel and Jordan. The terrorists fighting US forces in Iraq will be able to establish themselves in Judea and Samaria, just as Iranian and Al-Qaeda terrorists have succeeded in infiltrating into Gaza since last year’s Israeli withdrawal from there. Hamas will emerge with even a greater boost in prestige and influence than it got from last year’s Gaza withdrawal.

“An Israel that retreats in the face of terrorism is one that convinces Palestinians that terrorism pays and pays well and that no compromises and negotiations are needed because, if they carry out terrorist acts for long enough, Israel will simply cut and run. Last year’s Gaza withdrawal has not moderated Palestinians, who elected Hamas, whose Charter calls for Israel’s destruction and the murder of Jews; and it has not moderated Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel or end terrorism or the incitement to hatred and murder that feeds it. Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza are incessant, Israel’s national infrastructures in Ashkelon have been endangered by the Gaza withdrawal and the smuggling of weaponry into Gaza has dramatically increased — by more than 300 percent, according to Yuval Diskin, the head of Israel’s Shin Bet (Security Service) — since Israel handed over control of the Gaza-Egypt border.

“It is important to understand that the threat posed by both Abbas’ Fatah and Hamas is not limited to Israel. Both are strongly anti-American movements, not just Hamas, which has said ‘Americans are the enemies of the Palestinians and are a target for future attacks,’ but also Fatah, which has said ‘We will strike at the economic and civilian interests of these countries ( U.S. and others) here and abroad.’

“Prime Minister Olmert is basing his policy on a plan of unilateral withdrawals that will only endanger Israel and produce more terrorism and insecurity for Israel and he is also basing his hopes for negotiations on Mahmoud Abbas, who is simply careful not to spout Hamas-like rhetoric in English but whose action and goals are little different from Hamas. In both cases, he is making a serious mistake. Finally, giving away vast tracts of Judea and Samaria will leave Israel with no remaining assets to use as leverage on unresolved issues such as Jerusalem, ‘refugees,’ demilitarization, holy sites, water rights, and statehood.”

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