ZOA Criticizes Secretary Rice For Criticizing Israel’s Residential Housing Project In Jerusalem
December 18, 2007

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for joining in criticism of Israel expressed by the other three members of the Middle East ‘Quartet’ – the European Union, Russia and the United Nations – over plans to proceed with construction of 300 residential housing units in Har Homa, a suburb in the eastern half of Jerusalem. Secretary Rice yesterday joined U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, EU foreign-policy chief Javier Solana and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in opposing the plan. The Quartet expressed “concern” over the recent announcement of the housing development, saying, “The Quartet called on both parties to make progress on their Phase One road-map obligations, including an Israeli freeze on settlements, removal of unauthorized outposts and opening of East Jerusalem institutions.”

Diplomats in Paris reportedly claim that Israel’s decision to keep building threatens to undermine last month’s peace conference in Annapolis. A U.S. official stated, “We don’t like chastising people, but we don’t want people to do anything to make us chastise them” while Palestinian authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas said, “If we want to launch serious talks to end the conflict, as we and the world have decided to do, then how can a key party pursue settlement activity and expansion?” (Washington Times , December 18, 2007).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is deeply regrettable that Secretary Rice decided to join other members of the Quartet in this counter-productive statement. Indeed, it is extraordinary that Rice criticizes Israel, America’s staunch ally, making it seem that a Jerusalem housing project is the reason for the absence of peace when the actual reason is Palestinian extremism, terrorism and incitement to hatred and murder against Israel. Yet Rice has said nothing about Abbas’ post-Annapolis actions.

“In fact, Rice has ignored ongoing, basic and serious Palestinian violations that occur every day and expose the true hindrance to peace. She has ignored the continual PA incitement to hatred and murder and failure to arrest terrorists. Since Annapolis, she has not condemned Abbas and his subordinates stating publicly that they will not accept Israel as a Jewish state. She has been silent on the fact that Abbas has said nothing about the eight rockets per day on average fired into Israel (or about the fact that Abbas condemns Israeli strikes on terrorists firing rockets). She says nothing about the PA media broadcasting a program that glorified Adolf Hitler. She said nothing about the PA TV showing a map of Israel painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag labeled ‘Palestine.’ She has said nothing of the fact that PA officials have stated they will fight alongside Hamas if Israel takes long overdue action against the terrorist forces in Gaza.

“Imagine if Pakistan said it would join Al-Qaeda fighting against India if India launches an offensive against Al Qaeda. Would Secretary Rice tolerate such a statement from Pakistan? Of course not – only Abbas and the PA receive this unmerited and astonishing indulgence.

“Yet, when Israel commissions a housing project, Rice is very vocal in her criticism. This is not the conduct of an ally.”

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