Posted by Jeff from bgp01107368bgs.wbrmfd01.mi.comcast.net (126.96.36.199) on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 at 8:42PM :
This is interesting because when a Jew, wolfowitz, a senior official in the Bush administration expressed sympathy for the innocent Palestinians killed, AFTER expressing the "full solidarity" that the US has for Israel and our country's "unwaivering support" for Israel, the Jews jeered and booed, interrupting his speech. He was visibly shocked and surprised. It's just really interesting.
Hard-line Israeli Supporters Boo Wolfowitz
Tuesday, April 16, 2002 WASHINGTON ? At a rally attended by tens of thousands to express support for Israel, the crowd booed Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz when he expressed concern for slain Palestinian civilians.
The event was organized in support of Israel and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's recent offensive against the West Bank.
Billed as a rally to express U.S. solidarity with Israel, the event often took the tone of an anti-Palestinian event, particularly when Wolfowitz was interrupted by jeers and taunts for expressing concern about Palestinians and their suffering during the most recent conflict. He looked shocked when the crowd forced him to interrupt his speech.
"Israelis are not the only victims of the violence in the Middle East," he said. "Innocent Palestinians are suffering and dying in great numbers as well. It is critical that we recognize and acknowledge that fact."
Despite noting that for the Palestinians, the "suicide bombers are the single greatest obstacle to ending their suffering," he was booed. Most of Wolfowitz's other comments were expressions of empathy and solidarity with the people of Israel.
"Since September 11, we Americans have one thing more in common with Israelis. On that day, America was attacked by suicide bombers. At that moment, every American understood what it is like to live in Jerusalem or Netanya or Haifa," he said.
Other speakers at the rally, organized in about a week, expressed support for the recent Israeli military intervention in Palestinian-controlled parts of the West Bank.
"We are all here today for the same purpose: to support America and to support Israel," said former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. "We need to end the threat of terrorism and make sure that we stand together to accept those goals."
Later Giuliani told United Press International that Israel's leaders were among the first to express support for New York after last fall's terror attacks on the World Trade Center, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
"After the events of Sept. 11, I feel like I gained a new insight into what Israel has been going through," he told UPI. "And Prime Minister Sharon, a very close friend, was among the first to call me and express his support."
As for the political wisdom of openly supporting Israel at a time when the world has grown more critical of its military actions, Giuliani pointed to the special relationship between the two countries and their political similarities.
"There is no question that we have a common objective here," he said. "If we want to live in freedom and democracy, then we cannot allow them to terrorize our people."
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the methods used by militant groups were indicative of their true goals, and that Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat could not be trusted to work for peace.
"The means they use to accomplish their goals tell you what their real goals are," he said "Anyone who preaches the destruction of our nation, is not a partner for peace. The means and goals of Arafat are illegitimate. He doesn't want a Palestinian state next to Israel; he wants a Palestinian state instead of Israel."
The appearance of a senior Bush administration official at a rally for Israel, while Secretary of State Colin Powell was in the Middle East trying to broker a deal between parties, was considered strange by some observers.
According to government officials, Wolfowitz appeared at the White House's request. A U.S. government official said the White House called Wolfowitz "late Friday or Saturday" to ask him to speak at the rally, where it was felt a senior official was needed to represent the administration.
According to the official, Wolfowitz's speech was carefully calibrated to signal that the United States understood the Palestinian situation as well as the outrage by Israel about a recent wave of suicide-homicide bombings.
'Not Universally Popular'
"If you look at his remarks and some of the things he said it was not universally popular with the crowd," the government official said. "He made it clear we understand what's going on there."
More than 1,500 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the most recent intifada in September 2000, including at least 55 suicide-homicide bombers. Roughly 400 Israelis have been killed, including soldiers.
Wolfowitz is well known and respected in Israel. In 1991 he traveled to Tel Aviv to pressure the Israeli government not to retaliate against Iraq for Scud missile strikes, a move that would have shattered the Arab coalition carefully assembled by former President George H.W. Bush, the president's father.
Copyright 2002 by United Press International.
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