JERUSALEM – A U.S. Jewish group today demanded Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice immediately retract remarks she made during a press conference in Europe two weeks ago in which she called Hamas a “resistance movement.”
In speaking to reporters in Berlin Jan. 18, Rice, discussing the situation of Palestinians prior to 2000, said, “You had Hamas, of course, sitting out as a resistance movement, not at all, by the way, involved in the politics at all.”
Rice’s comments went largely unreported by the American media.
Hamas, responsible for scores of suicide bombings, shooting attacks and rocket firings, is classified by the State Department as a terror organization. The group’s official charter calls for the murder of Jews and quotes widely from the anti-Semitic creed, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Since winning Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006, Hamas has refused to recognize Israel or denounce terrorism.
A State Department spokesman claimed Rice “forgot” to use the word terrorist when describing Hamas during her Berlin press briefing. The spokesman confirmed the State Department has not changed its policy of classifying Hamas as a terror organization.
But the Zionist Organization of America, a U.S. pro-Israel activist organization, wants more. It has asked Rice to clarify her remarks and apologize to Hamas’ terror victims.
“Calling Hamas a resistance group and not a radical Islamic terror group which murders Jews and calls for the destruction of Israel seems to reveal Rice may have some sympathy for Hamas’ cause,” ZOA President Mort Klein told WND.
“Rice makes a mockery of the American and Israeli war on Islamic terrorism. Would she ever call al-Qaida a resistance group?” Klein said.
Said Klein: “Unfortunately, this sort of inappropriate positive spin on troubling aspects of Palestinian Arab society does not seem to be an aberration, but in fact is pattern for Secretary Rice.”
The ZOA leader pointed to a speech Rice delivered in October to the American Taskforce on Palestine in which she compared the Palestinians struggle to establish a state to the woes of America’s Founding Fathers. Rice also said there can be no greater legacy for the U.S. than to create a Palestinian state and stated Palestinians live under “the daily humiliation of occupation.”
Klein said recent policies initiated by Rice have “harmed Israel’s security.” He pointed to Rice’s asking Israel to ease anti-terror roadblocks and the Secretary of State’s brokering last November of an agreement that placed the Egypt-Gaza border, once controlled by the Jewish state, into the hands of Egyptian and Palestinian security officials and European monitors.
Since Rice’s Gaza border deal was brokered, hundreds of tons of weapons have reportedly flowed from the Egyptian Sinai desert into Gaza, the border has been breached multiple times and Israeli security officials have noted hundreds of instances in which known terrorists have openly crossed into and out of Gaza. The European monitors have fled their duty several times the past few months.
One top Jewish leader told WND he was “horrified” Rice called Hamas a resistance group, but said his organization would not comment because he didn’t want to upset his relationship with the State Department.
Several other prominent U.S. Jewish groups refused to comment on Rice’s statement.
Meanwhile, a petition has been circulating on the Internet asking Rice to apologize for her characterization to the victims of Hamas terrorism, including more than 500 Israelis and 27 Americans killed by the terror group.
“The only resistance by Hamas is resisting the lives of the many innocent victims of the bus bombings and other atrocities they have perpetrated against innocent people. Condi Rice must apologize to all the families and victims affected by Hamas terrorism, stated the petition.
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