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4/27/03 - A PALESTINIAN CABINET - 2003-04-28

Palestinian Prime Minister-Designate Abu Mazen has proposed a cabinet. The names will be submitted for approval to the Palestinian Legislative Council. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that the U.S. welcomes the step:

“The United States also looks forward to working with Abu Mazen and with the Israelis as they begin the hard work of ending the violence and returning to a political process that can achieve the President [Bush]’s vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.”

President George W. Bush had made it clear that the Palestinians needed new leadership untainted by terrorism or corruption. “Confirmation of this cabinet,” said Mr. Boucher, “will certainly be an important step in that direction:”

“And I think that’s why we see it as an opportunity to move forward on the road map on our efforts to work with the new leadership there, to work with the Israeli government, and try to help achieve a better situation for both Israel and Palestinians.”

Perhaps the most important job of the new Palestinian leadership will be to begin the work of bringing a better life to the Palestinian people. In large part, that will depend on its willingness to take action to stop terrorist attacks. On April 24th, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at a train station in Kfar Saba, Israel. One Israeli was killed, fourteen others were injured. A breakaway faction of Yasser Arafat’s al Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the attack.

The United States is committed to working with an empowered Palestinian prime minister, and with the Israeli government, to implement a road map for peace. As President Bush said, “We believe that all people in the Middle East -- Arab and Israeli alike -- deserve to live in dignity, under free and honest governments. We believe that people who live in freedom are more likely to reject bitterness, blind hatred, and terror; and are far more likely to turn their energy toward reconciliation, reform, and development.”