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ADC Welcomes Administration Re-engagement in Middle East Peace Efforts

Washington, DC — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) welcomes moves by the Bush Administration to re-engage in the search for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, and urges the government to spare no effort in developing mechanisms to end the violence and end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. ADC applauds the Administration’s decision to send its special envoy to the Middle East, General Anthony Zinni, back to the region to try once again to re-establish negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians without preconditions.
ADC President Ziad Asali said “we urge Gen. Zinni to use every aspect of American influence to ensure that the violence ends, particularly Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians, over 1,000 of whom have been killed in the past 17 months. ADC believes that the US government should not allow unrealistic preconditions, such as seven or ten days of total quiet, to prevent the resumption of serious talks between the parties aimed to securing a functional cease-fire and initiating a new round of talks designed to bring the occupation to a swift and complete end.”
ADC also welcomes new steps by the Administration to confront the brutality and counterproductiveness of Prime Minister Sharon’s policy of trying to beat the Palestinian people into accepting permanent Israeli military rule. ADC applauds Secretary of State Colin Powell’s comments on March 6, advising Sharon “to take a hard look” at his policies and saying that “if you declare war against the Palestinians and think you can solve the problem by seeing how many Palestinians can be killed – I don’t know if that leads you anywhere.” On March 4, Sharon described his policy to reporters, telling them: “It won’t be possible to reach an agreement with them before the Palestinians are hit hard. Now they have to be hit. If they aren’t badly beaten, there won’t be any negotiations. Only after they are beaten will we be able to conduct talks. I want an agreement, but first they have to be beaten so they get the thought out of their minds that they can impose an agreement on Israel that Israel does not want … They must be beaten.”
Ziad Asali said “Sharon’s quest to crush the Palestinian people with military might has been a catastrophe for both peoples. There can be and will be no military solution, and no peace absent a political process designed to end the occupation and create a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The occupation must end, violence must end, and the US government has a strong moral responsibility as well as a clear interest in helping to make this happen.”