Rice Backtracks on PA Elections

[source: The Lekarev Report]

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice welcomed Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s statement yesterday that the government will convene Sunday, in a bid to approve the decision to allow east Jerusalem residents to vote in upcoming PA elections. She noted clearly that the decision will be approved on condition Hamas and other terror organizations will not be allowed to participate in elections.

“It remains the view of the United States that there should be no place in the political process for groups or individuals who refuse to renounce terror and violence, recognize Israel’s right to exist, and disarm,” Rice said in a statement issued by the State Department, after reports of her phone conversation earlier with PA President Abbas caused a furor. In that conversation, Rice had signalled an acceptance of Hamas as a legitimate political entity.

United States supporting Hamas


[source: The Lekarev Report]

DEBKAfile Report: Sunday night Jan 8, US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice discussed the forthcoming Palestinian elections on the telephone with Palestinian Authority chairman Abu Mazen. Jerusalem was not briefed, DEBKAfile’s political sources report.

Twelve hours later, the US consul in Jerusalem Jacob Walles visited Abu Mazen’s office in Ramallah with an oral message from President George W. Bush. According to our sources, it was a presidential guarantee that all the Palestinian parties running for election on Jan 25 would be allowed to campaign openly in East Jerusalem, eligible voters in the city would be permitted to cast their votes through local post offices, and the voter slips of all Palestinian parties without exception would be available in the balloting booths. This means that the Bush Administration has legitimized the Hamas terrorist organization as a ‘political party’.

The Israeli government was not informed of the extraordinary step taken by Bush over its head and without respect toward Israeli sovereign territory. This action is deeply disturbing.

1. The Bush administration took advantage of Ehud Olmert’s having been less than a week in the job of acting prime minister and treated his reluctance to undertake firm decisions – as long as prime minister Ariel Sharon’s condition was uncertain – as a leadership vacuum in Jerusalem. Without a word, administration officials marked the goings-on around Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem and Olmert’s slowness to rise to the challenge.

2. Olmert’s failure to come down decisively on the Jerusalem issue has a serious consequence: Washington’s intercession enables the terrorist Hamas group to fly its green flags and hold rallies on Temple Mount with its standard calls for jihad against Israel, as well as piling its voter slips at Israeli government post offices as an option for the Palestinian voter. By this device, the backhanded recognition of a Palestinian terrorist organization sworn to destroy the Jewish state has been thrust down the interim government’s throat.

3. The Bush administration showed no consideration for Olmert’s efforts to find his feet as head of government, bid for the leadership of Kadima party and fight a tough election.

Governing circles in Jerusalem were stunned by the White House action. Part of the shock derived from the Israeli ministers’ mistaken conviction that Abu Mazen would postpone the election to prevent the Hamas beating his ruling Fatah. DEBKAfile’s sources had repeatedly predicted that the White House would insist on the Palestinian vote taking place on schedule – even at the price of a Hamas win and regardless of Sharon’s indisposition and a transitional administration in Jerusalem.