Muslims will see Bush ‘Green Light’ for Assassination
A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said today’s assassination of Palestinian political leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi will create the impression throughout the Muslim world that President Bush gave a “green light” for the killing.
Rantisi died following an Israeli missile strike on his car Saturday, just days after President Bush met with Ariel Sharon in the White House. At that meeting, President Bush overturned decades of American diplomacy to side with Israel on issues, such as the removal of settlements and the Palestinian right of return, that had been viewed by past Republican and Democratic administrations as subject to bilateral negotiations.
In its statement, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said:
“Once again we see Ariel Sharon thumbing his nose at America’s image and interests. Sharon surely knew that this assassination, which has been universally condemned by the international community, would create the impression that President Bush gave him a ‘green light’ at their recent meeting in Washington. The State Department’s meek response to yet another act of state terrorism by Israel merely serves to confirm that impression.
“Until our leaders act in America’s interests, and not just those of a foreign state or its domestic lobby, we will continue to be viewed worldwide as a party to oppression, not as a force for freedom or justice.”
World leaders have been uniform in their condemnation of Rantisi’s assassination. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw called it “unlawful, unjustified and counterproductive.” European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana said “actions of this type are not only unlawful, they are not conducive to lowering tension.” A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said: “(Annan) reiterates that extrajudicial killings are violations of international law and calls on the government of Israel to immediately end this practice.”
America’s allies in the Muslim world are also expressing outrage at the attack and linking it to Sharon’s meeting with President Bush. Yemeni Foreign Minister Abubakr Al-Qirbi said: “The United States bears the responsibility for what happens, since after every visit by Sharon to Washington he commits more terrorism and assassinations.”
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has consistently condemned all terrorist acts, whether carried out by individuals, groups or states.