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Push For Mideast Peace


Push For Mideast Peace

President George W. Bush has announced U.S. support for the Palestinian Authority government under President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. He affirmed the U.S. commitment to a negotiated two-state solution and called for the international community to support Tony Blair, representative of the Quartet -- the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations -- which is working for a two-state solution. Mr. Bush also called for the international community to help strengthen and reform Palestinian institutions of government and develop the Palestinian economy.

To that end, President Bush announced plans for an international meeting of countries that recognize Israel's right to exist, reject violence, and are committed to all previous agreements between the countries. The meeting will review progress on building Palestinian institutions and will provide diplomatic support for negotiations between the parties to achieve progress on the path to a Palestinian state and an end to the conflict.

Mr. Bush said that the violent takeover of Gaza by the terrorist organization Hamas has presented the Palestinians with a stark choice:

"There is the vision of Hamas, which the world saw in Gaza, with murderers in black masks and summary executions, and would guarantee chaos and suffering, and the endless perpetuation of grievance. They would surrender their future to Hamas's foreign sponsors in Syria and Iran."

But there is also, he said, a more hopeful option:

"It is the vision of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad. It's the vision of their government. It’s the vision of a peaceful state called Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people. To realize this vision, these leaders are striving to build the institutions of a modern democracy."

This hopeful vision is being threatened by extremists who are committed to terrorism, oppose democracy, and continue to seek Israel's destruction.

President Bush says nations should stand with the brave men and women who are working for peace. "We must show," he says, "that in the face of extremism and violence, we stand on the side of tolerance and decency. In the face of chaos and murder, we stand on the side of law and justice. And in the face of terror and cynicism and anger, we stand on the side of peace in the Holy Land."

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