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ZOA lobbies to isolate Iran, Abbas

The Zionist Organization of America lobbied Congress on isolating Iran and against funding the Palestinian Authority. More than 300 ZOA activists from 20 states had almost 200 meetings on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, and leading lawmakers – including Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), a long shot contender for the Republican presidential candidacy – addressed the group. The lead item for the ZOA delegates was strengthening sanctions against Iran, the signature issue for many pro-Israel groups now that Israel assesses the Islamic Republic may be less than two years away from a nuclear weapon. ZOA delegates also lobbied against renewing funding for the Palestinian Authority. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who met this week with President Bush, welcomed Bush’s announcement of the resumption of such funding as a way to bolster Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the wake of his violent break from the Hamas terrorist group. Abbas fired the Hamas-led Cabinet last week after its forces routed forces loyal to Abbas’ Fatah Party from the Gaza Strip. ZOA says Abbas is not a moderate, and wants his Fatah Party to reform its charter to remove what ZOA says are articles calling for Israel’s destruction. The Palestine Liberation Organization, where Fatah predominates, has already had such articles removed from its charter. Earlier this week, a pro-Israel dovish group, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, lobbied lawmakers to fund Abbas’ Palestinian Authority.