ADC Urges President Bush to Embrace His Own Vision for Middle East Peace

Washington, DC — The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today welcomed elements of President George W. Bush’s Middle East policy speech that called for an end to Israeli occupation and settlement activity, and which reiterated earlier Administration calls for the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. ADC urges President Bush to embrace his own vision of two states and adopt a set of clear policies designed to bring the Palestinian state into being in the near future.
ADC also expressed support for the President’s call for Palestinian democratic elections, but pointed out that the conditions currently imposed by Israel make free and fair elections impossible. ADC notes that elections cannot be conducted under the kind of occupation in which there is no freedom of movement whatsoever, and in which Palestinians live in a state of siege. ADC urges the Bush Administration to ensure that Israel withdraw from areas re-invaded in recent days and weeks, and allow Palestinians freedom of movement as a necessary precursor to elections. ADC also expressed serious reservations about aspects of today’s address which put the onus for initial progress entirely on the side of the Palestinians. The Administration has to recognize that Israel must conform its behavior to UN Security Council resolutions and the 4th Geneva Convention, withdraw from re-invaded areas and end its attacks on Palestinian civilians.
ADC President Ziad Asali said, “there are important elements in Mr. Bush’s speech that all parties can work with to resume negotiations designed to end the occupation and create peace in the region. We welcome the President’s call for the creation of a Palestinian state and an end to occupation and settlements. We agree that Palestinian elections would be helpful, and that all attacks on civilians should cease at once.” Asali added, “we feel that the President has yet to fully embrace his own vision of two independent states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace, as the basis for actual US policies. Policies designed to realize that vision in the near future would, by definition, have to involve US pressure on Israel, not just the Palestinians. That, we have yet to see.”

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