- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 31, 2011


The recent brutal murder of an Israeli family prompted 27 U.S. senators this week to urge the Obama administration to demand that Palestinian leaders stop tolerating violence against Jews.

“Palestinian incitement includes the glorification of terrorists and jihad and anti-Semitic stereotypes in the Palestinian media,” the senators said in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“We would like to know what specific steps you are taking to press for an end to this dangerous incitement,” they said.

The senators expressed shock over the March 11 murder of a father, mother and three children, including a 3-month-old girl, in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Itamar.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Palestinians for the killings and cited incitement of violence against Jews as the motive. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the murders but questioned whether Palestinians committed the crime.

In their letter, the senators cited a speech two days before the murder by Abbas adviser Sabri Saidam, who “emphasized that Palestinian weapons must be turned toward Israel.”

The Palestinian Authority, which receives about $400 million a year in U.S. aid, must “take unequivocal steps to condemn the incident and stop allowing the incitement that leads to such crimes,” the senators said.

“The Itamar massacre was a sobering reminder that words matter and that Palestinian incitement against Jews and Israel can lead to violence and terror,” they said.

Sens. Mark Kirk, Illinois Republican, and Kirsten E. Gillibrand, New York Democrat, organized the letter signed by 12 Republicans, 14 Democrats and one independent, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.


Romania must sell state-owned energy companies to promote growth in the economy and stop using them as “piggy banks” to cover government deficits, U.S. Ambassador Mark Gitenstein told investors Thursday at the Bucharest Stock Exchange.

“The key to Romania’s future is building enduring institutions that undergird your democracy and free markets, transparency and rule of law and predictability,” he said.

Mr. Gitenstein, a descendant of Romanian immigrants, praised the government for reforming pension laws, enacting a labor code, passing anti-corruption laws and recruiting honest police and prosecutors.

“I am very impressed with [those] efforts …, but it is not enough,” he said.

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