ZOA troubled by Clinton demands
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed strong criticism and concern over Secretary of State Hillary Clintons recent remarks to not allow Jews to build additional homes or any other Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem; reiterating support for creating a Palestinian state when the Palestinian-controlled territories are in effect a two-headed monster comprising the terror-promoting, glorifying and sponsoring Palestinian Authority (PA) of Mahmoud Abbas in Judea and Samaria and the Iranian armed and funded, genocidal Hamas, which controls Gaza. At the same time, she is asking nothing of the Palestinians in return for these historic and monumental Israeli concessions, which would endanger its security, while giving away part of its ancient, holy Jewish land.
Israel has not constructed a single new settlement or community in Judea and Samaria since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993. They have only added new homes within the boundaries of communities that already existed at the time of Oslo. The land on which Jews live in Judea and Samaria comprises less than 10 percent of the total area in question, while PA-controlled territory comprises 42 percent of Judea and Samaria. Together with Hamas-controlled Gaza, 99 percent of Palestinians live in these areas.
Secretary Clinton made the following statement in an interview on the al-Jazeera cable television network on May 19:
· Demands total freeze on all Jewish growth and construction in Judea and Samaria: First, we want to see a stop to settlement construction, additions, natural growth any kind of settlement activity. That is what the President has called for. We also are going to be pushing for a two-state solution which, by its very name, implies borders that have to be agreed to. And we expect to see two states living side by side, a state for the Palestinians that will be sovereign and within which the Palestinians will have the authorities that come with being in charge of a state with respect to such activities as settlements. So its really a two-step effort here. We want to see a stop now, and then, as part of this intensive engagement that Senator Mitchell is leading for us, we want to move toward a two-state solution with borders for the Palestinians.
· Reiterates intention to create a Palestinian state: the President underscored our commitment to a two-state solution and also called for a stop to the settlements. We have made that very clear. I reinforced that last night at a dinner that I hosted for Prime Minister Netanyahu.
· Reiterates weak conditions for recognizing Hamas terrorist group and including it in negotiations: I believe that Hamas has to comply with not only the Quartet principles but the underlying principles of the Arab Peace Initiative. You cannot expect either Fatah or the Israelis or Arabs who wish to see this matter resolved, with a two-state solution, to work with a group that does not believe in the outcome of these efforts. And in any peace negotiation that Im aware of anywhere in the world, groups that are resistance groups, insurgent groups, guerilla groups, when they come to the peace table have to commit to peace. And we would expect Hamas to recognize Israels right to exist, to renounce violence as the way to the achievement of a homeland for the Palestinian people, and to recognize the prior agreements that have been entered into by the Palestinians either through the PLO or the PA.
· Asserts Palestinians seek reasonable, peaceful goals: My hope is that I will see, you will see Palestinian children in their own state having a chance to lead normal lives, being given the opportunity to fulfill their own God-given potential, to get an education, to get the healthcare they need, to have good jobs and pursue their dreams. I dont want to see them consigned to years more of conflict that just destroys that future We think that the Palestinian Authority is ready to be a partner. We believe through our efforts we will get the Israelis to make the kind of commitment to a two-state solution that is absolutely necessary. We know that many leaders in the Arab world see this in a different way, as the Arab Peace Initiative suggests. So lets try to bring people to that recognition, and that includes Hamas. (Interview With Abderrahim Foukara of Al Jazeera, State Department, Washington D.C., May 19, 2009).
The ZOA notes that Secretary Clintons words diverge sharply from her previous positions as Democratic U.S. Senator from New York, when she spoke of the absolute need for Palestinians to end incitement to hatred and murder as being a prerequisite for any progress on peace-making and also affirmed the indivisibility of Jerusalem under Israeli rule and thus the right of Jews to live and build homes in any part of it.
Hillary Clintons troubling transformation on Israel, as evidenced by previous statements:
· October 2003: How can you think about building a better future, no matter what your political views, if you indoctrinate your children to a culture of death? Clinton said she supports conditioning aid to the PA on a cessation of propaganda and hateful rhetoric in textbooks and the media, and that she has written to US President George W. Bush urging him to demand an end to official Palestinian anti-Semitism and the promotion of terrorism as a pre-condition to resuming Middle East peace talks It is clear that the Palestinian Authority, as we see on PATV, is complicit in terrorist attacks, she said. This is not Hamas [running the television station]. This is the Palestinian Authority. (Melissa Radler, Sen. Clinton blasts PA for teaching children hate, Jerusalem Post, October 31, 2003).
· February 2007: we must stop the propaganda to which Palestinian children are being exposed. That must be a priority for all people who care about children, who care about the kind of peace, stability, safety and security that Israel deserves to be guaranteed I have been speaking out against the incitement of hate and violence in Palestinian textbooks for years. In 2000 I joined Nobel peace prize winner Elie Wiesel in New York to denounce the lessons of hatred and violence that are part of the curricula in Palestinian schools. I wrote, with my colleague Senator Schumer, a letter to President Bush, urging his Administration to do everything in its power to persuade the Palestinians to reverse their hateful rhetoric and embrace the opportunity to move toward a strong and lasting peace in the region these children deserves [sic] an education that instills respect for life and peace instead of glorifying death and violence This propaganda is dangerous. You know, words really matter … Because in idealizing for children a world without Israel, children are taught never to accept the reality of the State of Israel, never to strive for a better future that would hold out the promise of peace and security to them … This has dire consequences for prospects of peace for generations to come I believe education is one of the keys to lasting peace and security in the Middle East and the greater region We cannot build a peaceful, stable, safe future on such a hate-filled violent and radical foundation. In the years since, I and others – who have been doing it long before I did in 2000 raised this issue, there has still not been an adequate repudiation of this by the Palestinian Authority And I worry about the chance for peace when the next generation is learning that fighting Israel is a glorious, religious battle for Islam. (Hillary Clinton’s full statement introducing PMW’s report on Palestinian schoolbook, US Senate Building, February 8, 2007, Palestinian Media Watch, February 8, 2007).
· September 2007: I personally consider Jerusalem the eternal and indivisible capital of Israel. [Citing then-Senator Clintons paper, Hillary Clinton: A Long History of Strong and Steadfast Leadership for the U.S.-Israel Relationship], Hillary Clinton believes that Israels right to exist in safety as a Jewish state, with defensible borders and an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, secure from violence and terrorism, must never be questioned ( New York Sun, September 17, 2007).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, The ZOA opposes Secretary Clintons emphatic call for the ending of Jewish growth and construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. We repudiate the proposition that Jews, because they are Jews, may not move to or live in Judea and Samaria, the religious, historical and political heartland of the Jewish people, as it has been from the Bible to the Jewish nation-state 2000 years ago, to the Balfour Declaration to the League of Nations, which reiterated the fact that this is the Jewish homeland. On what basis is it said that 300,000 Jews cannot live among 2 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, when 1.2 million Arabs can live among 6 million Jews in Israel proper?
It is important to remember that Secretary Clinton was not talking here merely of unauthorized Jewish construction and if she had, it would have been only proper to include a call for a cessation of all unauthorized Arab construction as well, something she did not do when addressing that matter some weeks ago.
We note with concern, as the quotations provided above show, that Secretary Clintons words diverge sharply from her previous positions as Democratic U.S. Senator from New York. Then, her position were very different: she affirmed that it was nothing less than prerequisite for peace that the PA end incitement to hatred and murder in their media, mosques, schools and youth camps. She was explicit that Jerusalem should remain undivided under Israeli rule. Yet today, she demands that Israel stop allowing Jews to build homes in parts of the city.
Tragically, the entire Oslo process and its aftermath are replete with U.S. leaders expressing the need for Palestinians to end terror and incitement but, 16 years later, the process continues despite the complete absence of performance. It is illogical, unjust and dangerous for the Obama Administration Obama to be demanding major, one-sided concessions from Israel and asking nothing specific or tangible of the PA.
Worse, Secretary Clinton is reiterating the inadequate, weak conditions placed on Hamas for being legitimized and made a negotiating partner. The idea that the U.S. should deal with Hamas, an organization committed in its Charter to the destruction of Israel (Article 12) and the murder of Jews (Article 7), if it meets the three conditions just restated by Secretary Clinton is based on the extraordinarily naïve or malign idea that a bloodthirsty group of terrorists can become responsible and acceptable peace partners provided that they utter the right words on a few occasions when the cameras are rolling.
Does the Obama Administration not recall that we went through the same charade with Yasser Arafat years ago? Then, we were asking of Arafat, as we are asking Hamas now, to utter the right words about renouncing terror, accepting Israel and renouncing incitement to hatred and murder in order to bestow recognition and legitimacy on him. Arafat did verbally renounce terrorism, accept Israels right to exist and even signed several agreements to that effect, yet he immediately continued terrorism, repeatedly called for Israels destruction in Arabic and continued incitement.
In the case of Arafat and the PLO, the U.S. demanded that they renounce the PLO Charter which, while calling for terrorism against Israel and Israels destruction, did not speak of genocide. Why, when the Hamas Charter is even worse, and its record of terror against Israel as least if not more bloodthirsty, are we not demanding that Hamas rescind its Charter?
Look where this policy of demanding words rather than deeds got us. Further back in history, in 1938, we have another example where words meant nothing. We granted Hitler negotiations and huge concessions when he simply uttered phony words of peace and in the end he consumed Czechoslovakia and we ended up with a world war and the Holocaust.
In short, getting career haters and terrorists to say certain words, or even sign certain agreements, is not a policy because, when they do, it means nothing. Therefore, even if Hamas uttered the few words that were asking of them, the result would be the same as it was when we dealt with Arafat. Words and signatures mean nothing when they come from murderers. Surely if such people are capable of murdering they are capable of lying. By restating these conditions for Hamas participation in government and negotiations, we are really asking Hamas to lie to us so we can give them recognition and financial aid.
From where comes this idea that the most despicable terrorists can be rehabilitated by uttering mere words? Current U.S. conditions for talks with Hamas are already too elastic and thus meaningless the rights words about renouncing terror, accepting past agreements and recognizing Israel would mean nothing even if Hamas was prepared to claim it was doing these things which it doesnt.
If the Obama Administration insists on these inadequate and failed criteria, at the very minimum it should be insisting on verifying them with deeds, not merely words the rescission of the Hamas Charter; the dismantling of its terror squads and bomb-making factories; the complete overhaul of its education system and media broadcasting to remove all incitement to hatred and murder against Jews, Judaism and Israel; and strict adherence to such changes for at least one year before granting it any form of recognition.
In the absence of such thorough-going change, how can we expect Hamas to be a peace partner? If a serial murderer like Charles Manson were to merely claim he had repented of his unspeakable crimes, would we suddenly drop all objections about, and feel comfortable with, our daughters dating him? If the Ku Klux Klan started issuing statements that it renounced hatred of African-Americans, would we start appointing their leaders to the boards of civil rights commissions? Of course not. The idea is laughable.
If the Obama Administration makes these criteria the touchstone for dealing with Hamas, it will only result in a victory for Islamist terrorism, including the most murderous and anti-American Palestinian elements, and help prolong the conflict. U.S. policy should have the over-arching goal of bringing the Palestinians to see their non-acceptance and murderous hostility towards Israel as wrong and counter-productive, not something that may be indulged in while earning a seat at the negotiating table.
By helping Palestinians put off the day when they genuinely reform their society to purge it of jihadist and violent, rejectionist elements, we would be worsening and prolonging the conflict, not managing or ending it.
This wrong-headed and dangerous policy to engage Hamas would, if adopted, result in a weakening of European governmental demands that Hamas accept Israel, non-violence and implementation of past signed agreements. Seeing all this, why would Palestinian terror groups committed to Israels destruction moderate or give up terror if they can simply wait out international pressure and wait for the U.S. to fold?
We urge President Obama to repudiate the notion of cutting off the growth of Jewish life and construction in Judea and Samaria and dealing with Hamas and indeed the PA until and unless both undertake the necessary steps to end terrorism, accept Israel as a Jewish state, end terrorism and incitement and perform thus for at least one year. Doing otherwise will only harm all the Presidents objectives in the Middle East to foster political moderation in the Middle East, to fight and oppose terror groups and to create the conditions for a peace settlement.