November 22, 2004
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Attn: NEWS EDITOR
ZOA CRITICIZES POWELL FOR ACCEPTING PA'S EMBRACE OF
HAMAS; TERRORISTS SHOULD BE CRUSHED, NOT CODDLED
NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly
criticized Secretary of State Powell for his statements accepting the
Palestinian Authority's offers to give Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists a
role in upcoming Palestinian Arab elections.
At a press conference on November 22, 2004, in Jericho
(www.state.gov/secretary/rm/38565.htm) Powell was asked about the PA's
friendly overtures to groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and he
replied: "With respect to Palestinian organizations, what I heard from the
Palestinian leadership is they are working hard with all of them to try to
draw them into the political process and away from any acts of terror or
violence that would essentially stop the political process. Some
organizations will be easier to manage than others, but they are working
with all, and trying to find ways to integrate those that have had a violent
history into this process, by getting them to abandon that history, turn in
their weapons, and find ways to absorb them, and to absorb them safely, for
their own safety and for the safety of the society."
Powell's remarks follow an earlier report in the New York Times
(Nov.16, 2004), that new PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met yesterday with Hamas
and Islamic Jihad terrorist leaders and "urged the militant groups Hamas and
Islamic Jihad to join in elections in the governing Palestinian Authority
... Abbas did not even raise one central question, whether Palestinians
should stop attacks against Israelis, participants in the meeting said."
Similarly, when Abbas served as prime minister of the Palestinian
Authority in 2003, he offered cabinet seats to Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: "After World War II, the
U.S. insisted that Germany outlaw and dismantle the Nazi Party. The U.S.
would certainly never allow Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda movement to take part
in elections in Afghanistan. It would not allow Saddam Hussein or any
member of his Ba'ath Party to run for president in the upcoming Iraqi
elections. Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which are on the U.S. terror list
because they have murdered hundreds of Israelis and Americans, should not be
allowed to take part in Palestinian Arab elections. They should be outlawed
and dismantled, not given legitimacy and a chance to gain power. Why is
Secretary Powell worried about the "safety" of the terrorists? He should be
demanding that they be jailed, not looking for ways to 'absorb them
* * *
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.