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Israeli columnist: Maybe U.S. ambassador should quit

Elyakim Ha’etzni, a columnist in the daily Hebrew newspaper Ma’ariv, addressed statements made by the Israeli ambassador, Daniel Kurtzer, at a convention in Herzliya. Kurtzer stated at the convention that the settlements are an unnecessary enterprise. Ha’etzni claimed that in saying this, Kurtzer is sabotaging peace.

In the article, Ha’etzni, who is a former member of Knesset and a member of the board of the Yesha council (The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza) criticized the U.S. ambassador’s speech by stating:
“After expelling the settlers, the act of settling in Judea and Samaria will be prohibited for Jews, due to their being Jewish. How does Kurtzer live with the fact that this prohibition acts upon the heart of the historical Jewish homeland?

Why is the uprooting of hundreds and thousands of Muslims from Kosovo considered ethnic cleansing and a crime against humanity, whereas the uprooting of a quarter of a million Jews is considered legitimate?”

Ha’etzni quoted the ambassador who stated that the settlers do not represent the Israeli consensus. “What about the American consensus?” he claimed. According to Ha’etzni, several American Generals and politicians addressed the subject, such as Republican leader Tom De Lay, who stated “I was in Judea and Samaria… one cannot expect the people of Israel to make territorial concessions which will render the country defenseless.”

Also quoted was General George Keegan who warned against Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria while stating that “Two armed brigades, under efficient command, can divide Israel in just a few hours.”

When addressing the oncoming war in Iraq, Ha’etzni claimed that in spite of the fact that Iraq is oppressing the Kurds’ aspiration to independence, the United States is adamant in its opposition to an independent Kurdistan. “What do the Palestinians have that the Kurds don’t?” he asked.

Ha’etzni ended his column with a question: “Mr. Ambassador, why do you express yourself here [in Israel] in a way you did not express yourself when you were an ambassador in Egypt, in spite of persecutions toward Copts [Christians], severe violations of human rights and Antisemitism? Did your personal opinions perhaps make you forget that you are subordinate to a diplomatic framework? And if this is so, maybe it would be better if you were to be substituted by a person who is not emotionally involved, and who will be able to maintain diplomatic restraint.”