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Speaking in Jerusalem Dec. 20, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer made the connection between the growth of the Islamic fundamentalist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and Israel's promotion of the Islamic movement as a counter to the Palestinian nationalist movement. Kurtzer's comments come very close to EIR's own presentation of the evidence of Israel's instrumental role in establishing Hamas, and its ongoing control of that organization.
Kurtzer said that the growth of the Islamic movement in the Palestinian territories in recent decades-"with the tacit support of Israel"-was "not totally unrelated" to the emergence of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and their terrorist attacks against Israel. Kurtzer explained that during the 1980s, when the Islamic movement began to flourish in the West Bank and Gaza, "Israel perceived it to be better to have people turning toward religion rather than toward a nationalistic cause [the Palestinian Liberation Organization-ed.]." It therefore did little to stop the flow of money to mosques and other religious institutions, rather than to schools.
According to the Dec. 21 Israeli daily Ha'aretz, Kurtzer made these extraordinary statements at a seminar on religion and politics sponsored by Oz V'Shalom-Netivot Shalom, a largely Anglo-American organization that promotes peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein, the head of Har Etzion Yeshiva in Alon Shvut, who is an active advocate of a just regional peace, also spoke. Kurtzer said that as a result of the growth of Islam at the expense of education, there are now Palestinians who are "determined terrorists that use religious beliefs in a perverted way to appeal to the masses."
The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend
This statement is extraordinary given the fact that Kurtzer is a very senior diplomat, having held the post of Ambassador to Egypt just prior to going on to Tel Aviv. He is also an Orthodox Jew who is not shy of criticizing the extreme anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic views held by certain Arab circles. But Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rarely grants the United States' highest representative in Israel an official audience............