New York, September 29, 2014:
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized President Barack Obama’s for his baseless and offensive claim, contained in his address to the United Nations General Assembly, that “the violence engulfing the region today has made too many Israelis ready to abandon the hard work of peace.” In his address, President Obama said:
“The situation in Iraq, Syria and Libya should cure anyone of the illusion that this conflict is the main source of problems in the region; for far too long, it has been used in part as a way to distract people from problems at home. And the violence engulfing the region today has made too many Israelis ready to abandon the hard work of peace. But let’s be clear: the status quo in the West Bank and Gaza is not sustainable. We cannot afford to turn away from this effort – not when rockets are fired at innocent Israelis, or the lives of so many Palestinian children are taken from us in Gaza. So long as I am President, we will stand up for the principle that Israelis, Palestinians, the region, and the world will be more just with two states living side by side, in peace and security” (‘Remarks As Prepared for Delivery by President Barack Obama, Address to the United Nations General Assembly,’ September 24, 2014).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is remarkable that President Obama can deduce from current Middle Eastern developments and realities that Israel is to be chided for not pursuing peace.
“In fact, it is the PA which has made not a single concession, while continuing unabated with its glorification of terrorists, incitement to hatred and murder, denial of Jewish history in Israel, non-acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state and publicly stating that a future Palestinian state will never allow Jews.
“This is, moreover, Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) which does not put Israel on its maps and atlases and which has concluded a unity regime agreement with Hamas, the U.S.- and European Union-listed terrorist organization that calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews. This is a PA that has refused without counter-offer U.S. and Israeli offers of Palestinian statehood throughout virtually the whole of Judea/Samaria, all of Gaza and half of Jerusalem in 2000 and again in 2008.
“The P.A. rejection of peace with Israel is not ancient history; it is present reality. Israel has already given away all of Gaza, half of Judea/Samaria to the PA, despite the PA’s bad faith and lack of concessions and desire for peace.
“President Obama was wrong to say that the Middle East was moving away from terrorism and instability. He was wrong to promote radical Islamic movements like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which brought only more instability and problems. And he was wrong to suggest that producing an Israeli/Palestinian peace was so central to dealing with other regional problems.
“Instead of admitting his errors, President Obama has chided Israel for supposedly tiring of peace, even as he now rightly claims that the Israeli/Palestinian issue is not the heart of the Middle East’s problems at all –– a position the ZOA has long argued.
“Israel has just been assaulted by 4,000 rockets from Gaza, launched by Hamas, part of Abbas’ PA which is supposedly dedicated to making peace with Israel. Abbas’ PA has refused negotiations throughout virtually the entire five and half years of the Obama presidency. Israel agreed to free blood-soaked terrorists ––– in itself an anti-peace, pro-terror demand by the PA –– just to get the PA to the negotiating table. And yet President Obama claims that ‘too many Israelis’ –– presumably meaning its government –– isn’t seeking peace.
“This is a factually-challenged refrain with President Obama. Just remember how, in January 2010, even after Israel had agreed to freeze Jewish construction in Judea/Samaria for 10 months and accepted in-principle Palestinian statehood, while Abbas’s PA had made no concessions at all, President Obama said Israel hadn’t taken any ‘bold gestures.’
“Also remember that, in a March 2011 meeting with Jewish leaders, which I attended, President Obama contended that ‘Israel’s [Palestinian] partner is sincere in wanting a peaceful settlement,’ while asking his Jewish interlocutors to ‘speak to your Israeli friends and relatives and search your souls to determine how badly do you really want peace … Israelis think this peace process is overrated.’
“And also recall that, in March 2014, President Obama threatened Israel for not being sufficiently forthcoming on his proposals for a PA state on the 1949 armistice lines plus agreed swaps, while whitewashing the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s Mahmoud Abbas –– who has consistently honored and glorified Jew-killing terrorists, refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, end incitement to hatred and murder or arrest terrorists and ban terrorist groups –– as a peacemaker.
“This merely confirms President Obama’s continuing bias against Israel and strong favoritism towards the PA, despite the fact that Israel is America’s most reliable ally in the world.”