Burns criticizes Israel supporters in US

It's only fair to share...Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Email this to someone

In a meeting with Israeli left-wing political activists and Palestinian


Authority cabinet ministers last week, US Assistant Secretary of State for


Near Eastern Affairs William Burns made disparaging statements regarding US


President George W. Bush's political supporters in the US, intimating that


conservatives, Christians, as well as representatives of AIPAC, the


pro-Israel lobby in Washington, lack common sense.

This was revealed in minutes of the meeting distributed by the left-wing NGO


Peace Now that were received by The Jerusalem Post.

In a meeting on May 4 with the 'Peace Coalition' at the US Consulate in west


Jerusalem, Burns spoke for just under an hour with members of the left-wing


lobby group about the Quartet's road map plan for Palestinian-Israeli


negotiations and its chances for success.

The Israeli delegation to the meeting was comprised of Labor MK Colette


Avital, Meretz MKs Yossi Sarid and Ran Cohen, Peace Now chiefs Janet Aviad,


Mossi Raz, and Moni Mordechai, as well as Yossi Beilin.

PA ministers Yasser Abed Rabbo and Ghassan al-Khatib, as well as PA


officials Nabil Kasis, Samih al-Abed, Nazmi al-J'ubi, Saman Khoury, and


Fadel Taboun represented the Palestinian side.

Burns, who held the meeting at the request of the Peace Coalition, was


joined by US Acting-Consul General in west Jerusalem Jeff Feldman. It should


be noted that in the past Burns turned down requests for a meeting with the


right-wing lobby group, the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria


and Gaza. Repeated requests by the council for meetings with US Ambassador


Dan Kurtzer have not even received a response from the US Embassy, according


to Council Spokesman Yehoshua Mor-Yosef.

Although the meeting was closed to the media, according to Peace Now


spokesman Yariv Oppenheimer who distributed the minutes of the meeting, 'Its


contents were not meant to be a secret.'

This view was disputed by Consulate spokesman Chuck Hunter, who expressed


the opinion that the contents of the meeting were in fact meant to be kept


between the participants.

According to the minutes of the meeting, Burns explained that among other


factors that stand to contribute to the success of the road map is the fact


that the US primary elections are set to begin only in October.

It has been widely reported that Bush stands to lose support among his core


voters if he is perceived as pressuring Israel to make concessions to the


Palestinians before the elections.

According to the minutes of the meeting, MK Avital 'expressed reservations


about the US Conservatives, Christians and AIPAC.'

Avital alleged that these constituencies, that are strong supporters of


Bush, 'are lobbying to torpedo the road map and suggested that the Americans


should help us [the Peace Coalition] to express our views to the American



Following this statement, Avital pressed Burns to discover whether Bush is


determined to move ahead with the road map.

In response to Avital's remarks, Burns is reported by the minutes as


assuring the meeting's participants of the president's commitment to the


plan. Burns then stated his view that 'the common sense of all peoples will


override the Conservative and Christian viewpoints once they see the road


map's potential.'

Although the participants in the meeting represent but a small fraction of


the members of Knesset, according to the meeting, Burns urged the


participants to continue with their political activities 'as new peace


attempts reflects the peoples will and will result in fundamental changes.'

Oppenheimer explained to The Jerusalem Post: 'It is important to us to show


the Americans that there are people here who want peace and that there are


Israelis and Palestinians outside of the government ministries and


decision-making circles.'

At the same time, Oppenheimer admitted that the Palestinian representatives


were in fact official PA personnel.

Hunter, who was preoccupied with Secretary of State Colin Powell's meetings


with PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday when reached for a response


to the meeting, said that aside from noting his view that the remarks were


not meant to be reported 'there is no further comment at this time.'


Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.


It's only fair to share...Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Email this to someone

No Comments

Leave a Comment