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Bush On Middle East Peace

The United States will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Palestinians. Hamas, a terrorist organization that opposes Israel's right to exist, won the January Palestinian parliamentary elections. Despite that victory, “It is our belief," says U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Welch, "that it is important for the people in the Palestinian territories. . . .to have a good life in safety and security with economic well being.”

President George W. Bush says that, "In democracies, elected leaders must deliver real change in people's lives, or the voters will boot them out at the next election. This," he says, "is a lesson that the leaders of Hamas will now have to learn":

"Hamas campaigned on a platform of fighting corruption and improving social services, and that is how a Hamas government will be judged by the Palestinian people. The leaders of Hamas have a choice to make. If they want the help of America and the international community to build a prosperous, independent Palestinian state, they must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism, and work for lasting peace."

In Palestine and elsewhere, says Mr. Bush, U.S. efforts "have been guided by a clear principle":

"Democracy takes different forms in different cultures. Yet all cultures, in order to be successful, have certain common truths, universal truths: rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, a free economy, freedom of women and the freedom to worship. Societies that lay these foundations not only survive, but they thrive."

"Democratically elected leaders cannot have one foot in the camp of democracy and one foot in the camp of terror," says Mr. Bush. "The world," he says, "is waiting to see what choice Hamas makes."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.