US Refuses to Condemn Yasin’s Assassination
US Refuses to Condemn Yasin’s Assassination, Urges ‘Restraint’
The US Administration on Monday opted to be the only world power to refuse condemning Israel’s assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmad Yasin, justifying the extra-judicial crime within the context of Israeli “self-defense” against “terrorism,” but urged all sides to remain calm and exercise “maximum restraint” and denied having advance warning of the attack.
Hamas accused the United States of collusion with Israel in assassinating its leader.
“The Zionists didn’t carry out their operation without getting the consent of the terrorist American administration, and it must take responsibility for this crime,” said a Hamas statement reported by The Associated Press on Monday.
Condoleezza Rice, President George W. Bush’s national security adviser, said Israel gave the United States no advance warning of the attack.
Rice said she knew of no consultations between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Bush about any plan to target Sheikh Yasin.
But Rice, asked about US reaction to the assassination during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show, said: “Let’s remember that Hamas is a terrorist organization and that Sheikh Yasin has himself, personally, we believe, been involved in terrorist planning.”
However Rice added, “It is very important that everyone step back and try now to be calm in the region.”
“There is always a possibility of a better day in the Middle East and some of the things that are being talked about by the Israelis, about disengagement from areas, might provide new opportunities,” she said, adding, “And so I would hope that nothing will be done that would preclude those new opportunities from emerging.”
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher also said the US government was not informed before Israel killed Yasin.
Similarly White House presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said: “There was no warning given to us.”
However, the US Administration said it was “troubled” by Yasin’s assassination and urged “restraint.”
“We are troubled,” said Richard Boucher, who nonetheless reconfirmed his country’s support to Israel’s right to “self-defense” against terror and reminded reporters that Hamas was a “terrorist” organization.
Scott McClellan said it was important for “the parties to exercise maximum restraint.”
“We urge everyone to remain calm in the region,” he said. “Our policy remains the same” that those on both sides be aware of the consequences of their actions, McClellan told a White House briefing Monday.
Former US Consul General in Jerusalem and Palestine National Authority (PNA) consultant Edward Abington said Tuesday that similar US statements “are no more credible” or convincing neither to end the Middle East violence nor to reactivate the peace process.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell intended to discuss the stymied peacemaking process in a meeting with visiting Israel Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom that had been scheduled weeks ago.
On his part, Shalom said Israel was doing everything it could to coordinate with the United States. But, he told reporters after meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney, “It didn’t include this action.” Shalom was referring to the assassination of Yasin.
Shalom called the assassination of Sheikh Yasin “pure self-defense in order to protect our people.”
The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) extra-judicially assassinated the wheelchair-bound Sheikh Ahmad Yasin while leaving a mosque after he performed his predawn prayers in Gaza City early Monday.