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12/4/04 - BUSH ON PALESTINIAN DEMOCRACY - 2004-12-06

The United States, says President George W. Bush, "will stand with the Palestinian and Israeli peoples and help end the destructive conflict between them." Speaking in Halifax on his recent visit to Canada, Mr. Bush said, "It's a time of change and a time of hope" in the Middle East region:

"We seek justice and dignity, and a viable independent and democratic state for the Palestinian people. We seek security and peace for the state of Israel, a state that Canada, like America, first recognized in 1948. These are worthy goals in themselves, and by reaching them, we will also remove an excuse for hatred and violence in the broader Middle East."

President Bush says that, "Achieving peace in the Holy Land is not just a matter of pressuring one side or the other on the shape of a border or the site of a settlement":

"This approach has been tried before, without success. As we negotiate the details of peace, we must look to the heart of the matter, which is the need for a Palestinian democracy. The Palestinian people deserve a peaceful government that truly serves their interests, and the Israeli people need a true partner in peace."

Mr. Bush said the "destination is clear: two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security. And that destination can be reached by only one path, the path of democracy and reform and the rule of law. If all parties will apply effort, if all nations who are concerned. . .will apply goodwill, this conflict can end and peace can be achieved. And the time for that effort. . .and goodwill," said President Bush, "is now."