ZOA Criticizes Sec. Rice For Praising PA Leader Abbas, Only Days After He Calls For Violence Against Israel
January 18, 2007

U.S. Sen. Specter & Major Jewish
Umbrella Group Criticize Abbas

New York — The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized Sec’y of State Condoleezza Rice for strongly praising Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas days after Abbas addressed a huge rally of his Fatah supporters in Ramallah, urging them to stop killing each other and to murder Israeli Jews instead. At the Ramallah rally, Abbas said, “We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation … Our rifles, all our rifles are aimed at The Occupation” (Jerusalem Post, January 11, 2007). Also, ” The sons of Israel are mentioned [in the Quran] as those who are corrupting humanity on earth” (World Net Daily, January 11, 2007). Yet, speaking two days later in Ramallah at a joint press conference with Abbas, Secretary Rice stated, “I want everyone to know, particularly the Palestinian people, how much we admire the leadership of President Abbas as a leader of the Palestinian people … we’ve made a lot of progress over recent years in particular because of the hard work of President Abbas” (State Department, January 12, 2007).

Other examples of strong praise for Mahmoud Abbas from the Bush Administration:

  • President George W. Bush: “I fully understand that in order to achieve this [peace] vision, there must be leaders willing to speak out and act on behalf of people who yearn for peace, and you are such a leader, Mr. President. I can’t thank you enough for the courage you have shown” (Meeting with Abbas in New York, White House, September 20, 2006).

  • Bush: “President Abbas is committed to peace” (Address to UN General Assembly, White House, September 19, 2006).

  • Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: “I want to take this opportunity to commend President Abbas and his leadership as well as that of his government for their ongoing efforts to enforce the rule of law in the West Bank and in Gaza. These efforts demonstrate the Palestinian leadership’s commitment to ensuring security and tracking down those who perpetrate violent attacks that only delay the achievement of a Palestinian state. There is much work to be done, but President Abbas has taken these actions with the active support of all those in the region and the international community to support a future of peace” (Press conference with Abbas, State Department, July 23, 2005).

US Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), in a letter to Secretary Rice, and Harold Tanner/Malcolm Hoenlein, chair and vice-chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (CPMAJO) have issued following statements in response to the Abbas speech:

Senator Specter: “If the statement attributable to Abbas is true, he is hardly the kind of person we can do business with …confront him on it, and get a satisfactory answer before transacting any business with him … If he made the statement, a repudiation is in order.”
CPMAJO: “We are deeply concerned at … Abbas’ call for violent attacks against Israel. His statements appear to continue the rejectionism of Yasser Arafat … his praise of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin is disturbing. While not living up to his responsibility to end Palestinian terrorism, he now sends a message encouraging it …This call for terror against Israelis casts doubt on the sincerity of [his] earlier statements. His extreme rhetoric also undermines [ U.S.] diplomatic efforts.”

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is simply astounding that the Bush Administration continues to lavish unmerited praise on Mahmoud Abbas as though he were some sort of moderate or peace-maker, regardless of whatever he says or does. Their praising him has not stopped even after he called for the murder of Israeli Jews. Instead, the President and Secretary of State speak of his courage, commitment to peace and progress. To what courage, commitment to peace or progress are they referring? Abbas certainly has not implemented the signed Oslo agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan which requires him to fight, arrest, extradite and jail terrorists and confiscate their weaponry and end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps that feeds it. He has not renamed the streets, schools and sports teams that have been named in honor of suicide bombers and other mass murderers of Israelis. He has not put Israel in the official maps, atlases and textbooks published by or used in the PA.

“Abbas’ misdeeds are not just sins of omission. His acts are just as extreme as his words. Last year, Abbas endorsed the so-called ‘Prisoners’ Plan’, a document produced by jailed Palestinian terrorists, that endorses continued terrorism against Israel, legitimizes the murder of Jews, does not accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state, abrogates Palestinian obligations under the signed Oslo agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan, and insists on the ‘right of return.’ Abbas has attempted to form a unity government with Hamas, whose Charter calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the murder of Jews (Article 7). In December 2005, Abbas approved legislation mandating financial benefits to be paid to families of killed Palestinian terrorists. He has stated on Palestinian Television that neither Fatah nor Hamas need recognize Israel. He has provided funds for armed units belonging to Hamas. Are these deeds evidence of courage, commitment to peace and progress, or the very opposite?

“Abbas’ record of words and deeds cannot actually surprise anyone except those who willfully ignore his record. What else would one expect from someone who co-founded with arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat the terrorist group Fatah, which calls to this day in its Constitution for the destruction of Israel (Article 12) and the use of terrorism (Article 19), served as Arafat’s deputy for 40 years and funded the Munich massacre of Israeli athletes in 1972. What would one expect from someone who wrote a PhD and published a book denying the Holocaust?

“Given Abbas’ latest speech and his long record of extremist words and deeds, Secretary Rice should not even have met with Abbas on this trip, let alone heap undeserved praise upon him. We call upon the Bush Administration to desist in whitewashing this terrorist sponsor and start telling the truth about Mahmoud Abbas; to cut all ties with him and the PA and to cease discussing any plans for rewards and concessions to the PA until it acts on its 13-year old commitments to fight, jail and extradite terrorists and end the incitement to hatred and murder of Israelis in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps that feeds terrorism.”

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