The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has written to President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, opposing the Bush Administration for pressuring Israel to desist from defending its territory and the lives of its citizens by launching a long-overdue military offensive, Operation Hot Winter, against terrorist installations in Gaza. Israel sent it forces into Gaza on Saturday but prematurely pulled them out yesterday, leading Center for Security Policy (Washington) Middle East analyst and Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick to write that, “It is obvious that in suspending Operation ‘Hot Winter’ in Gaza, the Olmert-Livni-Barak government essentially crumpled in the face of pressure from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President George W. Bush. Sunday night the White House issued a press release demanding that Israel end its operations in Gaza and return to the negotiating table with Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas” (Caroline Glick, ‘Our World: Sound and fury signifying incompetence,’ Jerusalem Post, March 3, 2008).
In a letter signed by National President Morton A. Klein, Chairman of the Board Dr. Michael Goldblatt, Chairman of Executive Committee Dr. Alan Mazurek, Treasurer Henry Schwartz and Executive Director Stanley Kessock, the ZOA wrote, “We are frankly appalled that the Administration has seen fit to pressure Israel, a close and democratic ally, from taking long-overdue and legitimate military action against Islamist terrorist groups in Gaza that have been victimizing the Israeli population by firing rockets and mortars incessantly into Israeli towns, killing dozens, maiming hundreds and traumatizing thousands. These are the same types of terror groups that are murdering American personnel and others in Iraq.
The letter continues, “We cannot understand and would wish to hear explained why this Administration, often referred to as ‘the best friend Israel has ever had,’ is pressuring the elected Israeli government from taking legitimate military action aimed at protecting Israeli civilians from a recognized terror regime that has been killing and wounding Israelis. After all, in only the past month, the terrorists in Gaza have been firing some 50 rockets and katyushas a day into Israel, hitting Israeli homes as far north as Ashkelon, a large port city which incidentally possesses major national infrastructures. Some 250,000 Israelis have come within the range of these rockets and mortars. Now, after showing tremendous restraint for over two years, Israel acts and its ally, the Bush Administration pressures it to curtail its legitimate operations.
“If the situation was reversed, and it was American homes and cities that were being fired upon from Mexico or Canada, is there the slightest doubt that the U.S. would send forces into these places to end the assault? Is there any doubt that the U.S. would not wait two years to do so? Are the lives of Israelis civilians any less precious than those of American civilians?
“In 1970, Jordan used massive military force to eject the PLO forces in its country when it was simply threatened by them, killing thousands in several days. It did not even wait for rockets to fall on its people. The Bush Administration owes an explanation to Israel and American Jewry as to why it is trying to shackle Israel‘s hands in legitimately exercising its right to self-defense after two years of thankless efforts to find other solutions to the problem.
“President Bush and Secretary Rice, Israel is fighting the war on Islamist terror, as is the United States. Let Israel protect its citizens. This only helps America in our common cause of combating Islamist terror.”
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The Zionist Organization of America, founded in 1897, is the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations, educates the American public and Congress about the dangers that Israel faces, and combats anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses. Its past presidents have included Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and Rabbi Dr. Abba Hillel Silver.