Bush Supports Israel’s Anti-Terror Front

The suicide bomb that went off outside the Jerusalem David Citadel HoteI early Wednesday, killing only the bomber, punctuated a series of extraordinarily supportive comments issued by US president George W. Bush for Israel’s fight against Palestinian terror.
debkafile ‘s political analysts note President Bush’s striking departure from the line taken by his predecessors. President Clinton, who engaged intensely and personally in Middle East peacemaking, worked according to the premise that if enough Israeli concessions were forthcoming to satisfy Palestinian national aspirations, a Middle East peace would come to pass – instead of which Yasser Arafat and his following took those concessions as a fulcrum for destructive anti-Israel terror.
Bush has condemned Palestinian violence more strongly and clearly than any world leader, in terms that invite close parallels between the anti-al Qaeda-Taliban front of America’s war on terror and Israel’s campaign against the Palestinian brand.
At a town hall meeting in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday December 4, the US president declared: “Israel’s got no better friend than the United States, as far as I’m concerned.” It was time, he said, for Arafat to crack down on Islamic militants and prove whether or not he is for peace.
His words followed condemnation of the weekend bombing attacks in Jerusalem and Haifa that killed 26 and wounded 200.
Asked in an interview with ABC News’ 20/20 if he supported Israeli retaliation, the president said: “I support Israel’s right to exist as a free nation, and I made that very clear to the prime minister of Israel.” The reference was to the White House talk between them Sunday night, December 2, before Ariel Sharon hurried home.
Reflecting Sharon’s policy axiom, Bush added: “There is no way that Israel can negotiate a peace process so long as its country is being terrorized. “
The next day, December 5, Israel’s warplanes and helicopters bombarded Palestinian Authority security locations and marooned Yasser Arafat in Ramalllah by destroying his helicopters and Gaza airport. The response from Bush was a call on America’s allies to bring terrorists to justice in order to achieve peace in theMiddle East.
“I think the Israeli people want to have peace, but we learned in such a vivid way that there are elements in the Middle East that hate the thought of peace and will be willing to use terror to derail any type of peace process.”
That day too, in another display of solidarity with Israel, the Bush administration froze the financial assets and closed the offices of a Texas-based foundation funneling money to the Palestinian Islamic extremist Hamas terror group, which sends out most of the bombers against Israeli civilians.
“The message is this,” said the president in a Rose Garden announcement: “Those who do business with terror will do no business with the United States or anywhere else the United States can reach.” He called Hamas one of the deadliest terrorist organizations in the world, which supports “the total destruction of Israel”. The group has killed hundreds of people over the years, including two Americans in the past 12 months.
A US government order shut down Holy Land offices in Richardson, Texas, Paterson, N.J., San Diego, California; and Bridgeview, Ill.Holy Land accounts of $1.9 m were frozen and its offices raided in search of evidence for the broad anti-terrorism case. Also targeted were Al Aqsa International Bank and the Beit El-Mal Holdings Company.

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