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U.S. Supports Palestinian State

President George Bush said the United States strongly supports the creation of an independent and democratic Palestinian state based on the rule of law and social justice. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, President Bush shared his vision of a future for the Palestinian people:

"We must stand with the Palestinian people, who have suffered for decades and earned the right to have a homeland of their own. I strongly support a two-state solution – a democratic Palestine based on law and justice that will live with peace and security along a democrat[ic] Israel. I believe that the Palestinian people will build a thriving democracy in which entrepreneurs pursue their dreams, families own homes in lively communities, and young people can grow up with hope in the future."

Mr. Bush said the Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland, last year made a hopeful beginning toward a long-sought agreement between Israel and the Palestinians that can make statehood a reality:

"A peace agreement is in the Palestinians’ interests, it is in Israel’s interests, it is in Arab states’ interests, and it is in the in the world’s interests. And I firmly believe that with leadership and courage, we can reach that peace agreement this year."

Building a free Palestinian society is enormously demanding and requires action from all sides, said President Bush. "Palestinians must fight terror and continue to build the institutions of a free and peaceful society," he said. "Israel must make tough sacrifices for peace and ease restrictions on Palestinians." Arab states, especially the oil-rich nations must invest in the Palestinian people and move past their old resentments against Israel, he said. "All nations in the region must stand together in confronting Hamas, which is attempting to undermine efforts at peace with acts of terror and violence," said President Bush.

The goal of U.S. policy, said Mr. Bush is "a contiguous state where Palestinians live in prosperity and dignity."