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11/22/03 - BUSH ON ISRAEL AND PALESTINE - 2003-11-24


The United States is committed to peace between the Israelis and their Palestinian neighbors. The U.S. seeks a viable, independent state for the Palestinian people. Palestinians, says President George W. Bush, “have been betrayed by others for too long.” And, says Mr. Bush, Israel “has lived in the shadow of random death for too long.” It deserves “security and recognition.”

“We must look at the heart of the matter,” says President Bush, “which is the need for a viable Palestinian democracy”:

“Peace will not be achieved by Palestinian rulers who intimidate opposition, who tolerate and profit from corruption and maintain their ties to terrorist groups. These are the methods of the old elites, who time and again had put their own self-interest above the interest of the people they claim to serve. The long-suffering Palestinian people deserve better.”

Those who would lead a new Palestinian state must adopt peaceful means to achieve the rights of the people and create a stable democracy. But, said Mr. Bush, it is not only the Palestinians who must make changes:

“Israel should freeze settlement construction, dismantle unauthorized outposts, end the daily humiliation of the Palestinian people, and not prejudice final negotiations with the placements of walls and fences. Arab states should end incitement in their own media, cut off public and private funding for terrorism, and establish normal relations with Israel. Leaders in Europe should withdraw all favor and support from any Palestinian ruler who fails his people and betrays their cause. And Europe’s leaders –- and all leaders –- should strongly oppose anti-Semitism, which poisons public debates over the future of the Middle East.”

“Even after the setbacks and frustrations of recent months,” says President Bush, “goodwill and hard effort can bring about a Palestinian state and a secure Israel.”

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