Hear No Evil, Report No Evil

It would be consonant with the mandate of President George W. Bush for US diplomatic representatives in the Middle East to monitor and to report the consistent message of the Voice of Palestine, which promotes a total war of liberation for all of Palestine, instead of ignoring it.

David Bedein

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credit David Michael Cohen
President Bush, in his State of the Union Address, spoke indirectly about the Israeli Arab conflict in the Middle East in only one context: The development and preservation of democratic government, declaring that "we also hear doubts that democracy is a realistic goal for the greater Middle East, where freedom is rare. Yet it is mistaken, and condescending, to assume that whole cultures and great religions are incompatible with liberty and self-government." In that context, Bush declared that "America is a nation with a mission, and that mission comes from our most basic beliefs. We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire."

However, the US embassy in Israel behaves as if the government of Israel should ignore its own democratic process, along with the real challenge posed by Israel?s enemies.

On December 21, 2003, US Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer, convened a press conference. The US official told the Israeli press corps that no matter what the Israeli courts decide concerning the legality of the property claims of families who had moved into "outposts" that are contiguous to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), he, as the US Ambassador, expected that Israel would abide by the American directive to evacuate these outposts, in accordance with US policy. Legal property rights were to have no play.

So there you have it: A US Ambassador to Israel, an Orthodox Jew, remains one of the strongest advocates of demanding that Israel unilaterally relinquish areas that Jews considered to be the heartland of the land of Israel. Kurtzer?s attitude even extends to Jerusalem. When asked as to whether repairs of the Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem would be considered to be ?illegal settlement activity?, his answer was affirmative. The Hurva synagogue was the largest of the 57 synagogues destroyed in the Old City of Jerusalem when the Jordanians conquered that part of the city in 1949.

Most recently, the Israeli Ministry of Justice released a memo in late December in which it stated that only out of deference to the US, the Israeli government would resume tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority (PA) for humanitarian purposes. Israel had stopped funds to the PA in April 2002, after the IDF seized documents that proved the PA had siphoned funds from humanitarian aid for Fateh terror operations. The Israeli Ministry of Justice memo noted that while there had been no change in Fateh terror, these funds were anyway being transferred to the PA at the request of the US under the stewardship of Kurtzer. The same memo noted that the PA had not stopped orchestrating terror attacks on Israeli civilians.

One of those PA-orchestrated terror attacks occurred on January 7, 2004, when Ro'i Arbel, an Israeli civilian, age 28, driving north of Jerusalem, was murdered by Arab terrorists in a drive-by shooting. Ro'i left behind five children, ages four, two and triplets who are still in incubators having just been born.

The Fateh movement, the mainstream movement of the PA and PLO, under the direct control of Arafat, Abu Ala and Abu Mazen, former Palestinian prime minister, openly took credit for the murder. That same Fateh movement is now conducting ad hoc negotiations with representatives of the "Geneva Initiative", led by Yossi Beilin, the same man who initiated negotiations with the Fateh when it was against Israeli government policy to do so. The Fateh, defined by both US and Israeli law as a terrorist organization, operates under a waiver that allows it to enter into political negotiations in both countries.

Talk about a license to kill.

Israel Resource News Agency in Jerusalem asked the spokesmen for the US embassy in Israel if the US officials would condemn the Fateh for praising and taking credit for the murder of Ro'i Arbel. We received a message from the embassy that the US Ambassador would issue no such condemnation.

Following Ro'i's murder, another Arab terrorist blew herself up at a checkpoint the next morning, killing four Israelis in the process. This, only a few days after the US Ambassador had appealed to Israeli officials to exercise restraint and not to cause humiliation of Palestinian civilians at the checkpoints coming into Israel.

Yet that checkpoint suicide attack was lauded on the official Voice of Palestine radio, the official voice of the Fateh, which operates out of Arafat's PA headquarters in Ramallah. "Citizen Rim Al-Riyashi was heroically martyred when she carried out an explosive operation at the Beit Hanoun Junction, killing four soldiers of the Occupation," declared Voice of Palestine radio in its 4 p.m. newscast, about an hour after the attack in the Gaza Strip. The style of the news item, which opened the afternoon news round-up, was more like a birthday greeting than a regular news report, stressing the woman's identity and "heroic martyrdom" (in Arabic, istish-haad) repeatedly .

The US Ambassador's office was asked for comment on the official Fateh praise for the suicide bomber . However, the US embassy spokespersons answered by saying that they were not listening to the Voice of Palestine radio.

And there you have the US State Department's foreign policy in a nutshell: If US Ambassador Kurtzer is not listening to the Fateh praise of murder, then the US government will not know about it, and the waiver for the Fateh will continue so that 'political negotiations' can continue.

In their defense, a US consular official in Jerusalem wrote to our news agency that US diplomatic services in the middle east "do not have sufficient staff, nor space to add staff under our current conditions, to have someone monitoring PBC [the Voice of Palestine - DB]?" and that the "lack of a clear condemnation by the PA leadership of the Erez bombing has not gone unnoticed and is also being raised with the PA."

However, the US consular official missed the point: It was not that the PA leadership did not issue a "clear condemnation" of the latest series of Arab terrorist acts; the PA praised these acts of terror on the radio and TV airwaves that the government of Israel granted to the nascent Palestinian Authority.

That is the message that US Ambassador Kurtzer is communicating to the White House, Congress and to the State Department itself. See no evil. Report no evil.

It would be consonant with the mandate of President George W. Bush for US diplomatic representatives in the Middle East to monitor and to report the consistent message of the Voice of Palestine, which promotes a total war of liberation for all of Palestine, instead of ignoring it. After all, the PA maintains the first media outlet since the Third Reich that praises the coldblooded murder of Jews, and that is why their message is so significant.

As President Bush emphasized in his State of the Union message, "America is pursuing a forward strategy of freedom in the greater Middle East. We will challenge the enemies of reform, confront the allies of terror, and expect a higher standard from our friends. To cut through the barriers of hateful propaganda, the Voice of America and other broadcast services are expanding their programming in Arabic and Persian ? and soon, a new television service will begin providing reliable news and information across the region."

The question remains: When will the US apply these principles in the case of Jerusalem and the people of Israel?