Settler movement to lobby against US ambassador (JERUSALEM POST) By MATTHEW GUTMAN 12/04/02)
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The settler movement and its supporters dropped hints Wednesday that
they would begin to lobby for the removal of US ambassador Daniel
Kurtzer, after he said the settlements "cripple the chances for peace
The spat comes a day after the UN called on Israel to repeal the
Jerusalem Law, which annexed east Jerusalem, which the international
organization considers occupied territory.
Kurtzer twice kicked up a storm in January when he declared that
Israel should give more money to the handicapped and less to the
settlements, and also when he indirectly urged Israeli students
to "storm the deans´ offices," in order to effect change.
Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip
leader Adi Mintz slammed what he called Kurtzer´s unwarranted
remarks. "I demand that he immediately stop, and if he is incapable
of shutting up, I will request that the government return him home,"
he told Israel Radio.
"If Dan Kurtzer wants to interfere in Israeli politics so much, as a
Jew he can request Israeli citizenship, and I´m sure that the extreme
Left movement, such as Meretz, will be happy to help," added Mintz
after saying that Kurtzer´s remarks express the viewpoint only of
Israel´s extreme Left.
Speaking at the Herzliya Conference Tuesday, the ambassador said
that "the settlements movement today is not about the future
existence of the state. Israel needs to make choices and define
Settlement activity, he said, has been harmful to peace because it
has "severely undermined Palestinian trust and hope. It preempts and
prejudges the outcome of negotiations and in doing so cripples
chances for real peace and security."
"The US has long opposed settlement activity, and, consistent with
the report of the Mitchell Committee, settlement activity must stop,"
he added with special emphasis.
According to council spokesman Ezra Rosenfeld, Kurtzer has
stonewalled every attempt to set up a meeting with the leaders of the
settlement community, which numbers about 220,000 Israelis. "He
relies on others for information, and has rebuffed us from day one of
But Foreign Ministry sources said that in the midst of the primaries
and with the arms inspection campaign in Iraq well under way, they
see little chance that any pressure will be brought to bear on the US
or Kurtzer for his remarks. The sources were completely unsurprised
by Kurtzer´s comments, delivered in front of many of Israel´s senior
government officials and politicians at the conference, because they
essentially echoed, if perhaps in more absolute terms, US Secretary
of State Colin Powell´s views.
Nevertheless, Yisrael Beiteinu MK Zvi Hendel, who in February was
rapped for calling Kurtzer a "little Jewboy" after the ambassador
made similar comments, accused Kurtzer of interfering with internal
Israeli issues well out of his jurisdiction.
"It is a impudent comment... he is talking as if we are responsible
for the deaths of Israeli children," he said. Hendel vowed to take up
the issue with Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and pressure him
to censure Kurtzer. (© 1995-2002, The Jerusalem Post 12/04/02)
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