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Abbas On Peace With Israel

The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, is taking steps to end terrorism against Israel and bring about Palestinian statehood. The two sides have agreed to a cessation of hostilities. In an interview with the New York Times newspaper, Mr. Abbas said that Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon "now has a partner" to work with for peace.

Since he took office, Mr. Abbas has met with the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two of the main terrorist groups responsible for attacks on Israelis. According to the New York Times, Mr. Abbas said democratic reforms would help tame the radicals. "Of course they should be converted into a political party," he said. The Palestinian leader said he fired nine police and security officials in Gaza as an example to others that further terrorist attacks will not be tolerated.

Mr. Abbas said he would like to see diplomatic means used to resolve such issues as borders, refugees, and the return of prisoners. Mr. Abbas said that the Palestinians "are observing and they see progress, and they are happy with it but they want more. They want job creation, they want to eat, and they want security."

President George W. Bush says that the U.S. is committed to "a just and peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict based on two democratic states, Israel and Palestine":

"We look forward to working with a Palestinian leadership that is committed to fighting terror and committed to the cause of democratic reform. We'll mobilize the international community to help revive the Palestinian economy, to build Palestinian security institutions to fight terror, to help the Palestinian government fight corruption, and to reform the Palestinian political system and build democratic institutions."

The U.S. seeks "a democratic, independent and viable state for the Palestinian people," says Mr. Bush. And he says the U.S. is "committed to the security of Israel as a Jewish state. These objectives -- two states living side-by-side in peace and security -- can be reached by only one path: the path of democracy, reform and the rule of law."