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Wednesday, April 13, 2005
ZOA Criticizes Bush for Condemning Jewish Construction While Ignoring Palestinian Construction

April 12, 2005
Contact: (212) 481-1500



The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) today criticized President
Bush for explicitly stating at a press conference with Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon on Monday, April 11, 2005, that there must be no
"Israeli expansion of settlements." Nonetheless, President Bush made no
demand that the Palestinians must end their illegal construction in Judea &
Samaria - even though they are building at over 10 times the rate of Jewish
residents of those areas. President Bush made this demand even though
Israeli building in the territories are within the boundaries of the
settlement and does not expand any such boundary.

All though it was previously believed that President Bush had
committed his support to Israel's retaining large settlement blocs such as
Maaleh Adumim, Efrat, Ariel and such areas, he now says that "any final
status agreement will be achieved only on the basis of mutually agreed
changes." Bush added that "major Israeli population centers" must only "be
taken into account in any final status negotiations." Bush is no longer, if
he ever was, unequivocally supporting Israel's retaining these large
population areas.

At the Press Conference, PM Sharon differed with Bush by arguing that
"these major Jewish areas in Judea and Samaria will be part of the state of

This Washington pressure on Israel comes despite the fact that the
Bush Administration in the past pledged not to pressure Israel. On May 21,
2000, Bush said, "In recent times, Washington has tried to make Israel
conform to its own plans and timetables, but this is not the path to peace."
In August 2000, Condoleezza Rice said, "Bush believes the US cannot force
its foreign policy on other states and that it is up to Israel to determine
what risks it takes to reach peace." Colin Powell said at the 2001 AIPAC
Policy Conference, "We will propose solutions, we will never impose

Even more troubling was hearing the President repeating the same
worn-out demands of the Arabs, without proclaiming consequences if they are
not fulfilled. Since the two-year-old Road Map was initiated, the
Palestinian Arabs have not dismantled or disarmed the terrorist groups,
arrested the terrorists, ended all the incitement to hatred and murder of
Jews, closed the bomb factories, or changed the names of the schools and the
sports teams named after Palestinian Arab suicide bombers. Instead the
Palestinian Authority (PA) has hired 350 Hamas terrorists into its police
force, blamed the Israeli occupation on suicide murders, and smuggled in
thousands of missiles, mortars, and other artillery into Gaza. President
Bush's response to all this was quadrupling the amount of aid to the PA,
calling for a Palestinian state at every opportunity, and saying the
majority of Palestinians want peace when every poll shows a majority
supports suicide bombings of Israelis.

ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, "It is disappointing that
President Bush only pressures Israel while proclaiming confidence in Abbas
as a peacemaker even though Abbas has fulfilled none of his Road Map
obligations, demands the refugee issue remain on the table, blames Israeli
actions for terrorism, refuses to call Israel a Jewish state, praises Hamas
and brings them into his government and police force, and calls Sefat,
Israel part of his country.

"The Road Map also requires that "'Arab states cut off public and
private funding and all other forms of support for groups supporting and
engaging in violence and terror.'" Although the Arabs have not fulfilled
this obligation, the US has essentially ignored it.

"This Road Map also repeats the fundamental flaw in the Oslo accords,
requiring Israel to make concrete concessions in exchange for unverifiable
promises. Mortimer Zuckerman, past Chairman of the Conference of Presidents
had said the Road Map is filled with "pitfalls." The ADL said at the time
of the Road Map's release that 'the Road Map states that progress is
dependent on the "'consensus judgment of Quartet, and taking into account
actions of both parties and Quartet monitoring'"...if this is indeed a
"'consensus'" process, history demonstrates that three-quarters of the
Quartet - the U.N., E.U. and Russia - are far more vigorous in highlighting
Israeli violations than Palestinian infringements. There is a concern that
these entities and states may justify or underplay Palestinian violations of
their obligations and in turn pressure Israel to implement steps, such as
redeployment from territories.

"'The Road Map text implies equivalency between Israel and the
Palestinians in areas of violence and incitement...Th[e] text implies that
Israeli defensive military action against terrorists is equivalent to
Palestinian acts of terrorism against civilians. Moreover, while there is
much documented on Palestinian anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement,
there is no evidence of Israeli incitement being a problem.

"'The Road Map text implies that ending the "Israeli occupation' of
the West Bank and Gaza Strip (assuming Palestinian terrorism is under
control) is the key to Israeli-Palestinian peace. This conceptual approach
is simplistic and flawed. Ignored is the reality that since 1948 the
conflict has been about the Arab and Palestinian refusal to truly accept
Israel's right to exist...in focusing primarily on ending the "occupation"
as a measure of ending the conflict, and not paying attention to ultimate
Palestinian goals and intentions, there is a risk of Israel giving up the
tangible (land in the West Bank and Gaza Strip) for the intangible
(assurances of intentions to live alongside Israel in peace), which may be
insincere and hollow.'"

"We, at the ZOA, urge President Bush to stop pressuring Israel to
stop building Jewish homes in their ancient Jewish homeland. Instead he
should pressure Abbas to take serious actions toward peace immediately or
face the consequences of losing US aid to the Palestinians if they don't
fulfill their 11 year old Oslo and Road Map commitment to end terror and
incitement. We must be careful to wage the international war against terror
in the most effective way possible. We must also remember that history has
taught us that Winston Churchill was right when he said that "'those who
appease the crocodile will simply be eaten last.'"

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