Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, through its Institute for Public Affairs, welcomed statements made by President Bush in his weekly national radio address recognizing that in the context of Israeli-Palestinian relations in the Mideast, the onus is upon the Palestinians to take the next critical steps.
After acknowledging that “Prime Minister Sharon and the Israeli people took a courageous and painful step by removing Israeli settlements in Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank” the President stated: “Now that Israel has withdrawn, the way forward is clear. The Palestinians must show the world that they will fight terrorism and govern in a peaceful way.” President Bush further stated that the United States “remain[s] fully committed to defending the security and well-being of our friend and ally Israel [and] demand[s] an end to terrorism and violence in every form because we know that progress depends on ending terror.”
Nathan Diament, director of public policy for the Union, stated:
We welcome and appreciate President Bush’s recognition of Israel’s pain and sacrifice in undertaking to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza. We further appreciate the President’s recognition that this dramatic step by Israel must be met by the Palestinians with dramatic and decisive action before any further actions are to be undertaken by Israel. In the case of the Palestinians, a true and sustained effort to confront and dismantle the terrorist infrastructure within their midst is that essential, and unfortunately unprecedented, next step. No nation nor international organization has grounds to ask Israel for any additional steps until the Palestinians demonstrate actions in kind. Israel has more than demonstrated her capacity and willingness to act decisively. Israel and all her friends and supporters await a similar demonstration by the Palestinian community.