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Settler movement to lobby against US ambassador (JERUSALEM POST) By MATTHEW GUTMAN 12/04/02) Source: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1039001449619 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
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 and security."

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 priorities."

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 his tenure."

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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