ADC Welcomes Secretary Powell’s Statement that the Occupation Must End
WASHINGTON, DC — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) strongly welcomed the declaration today by Secretary of State Colin Powell that the occupation must end and that settlement activity must end in Palestine. Secretary Powell was speaking at the University of Louisville in Kentucky on American foreign policy generally and Middle East policy in particular. Powell reiterated the steps Israelis and Palestinians must take to bring their conflict to an end, but was particularly clear that the goal of negotiations must be an end to occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Powell added that the United States demands an end to Israeli settlement activity, and urged both sides to take steps to end the violence.
ADC President Ziad Asali said, “we welcome Secretary Powell’s insistence that the occupation must not continue. This is the clearest declaration of its kind from a senior American official in many years and it is a very important step in the right direction. We agree with the Secretary that the violence must end, but we also realize that the occupation brings a structure of highly organized and extreme violence into the daily lives of ordinary Palestinians.”
ADC also welcomes Secretary Powell’s reassertion that the United States is ready to do all it can to bring about fresh negotiations and assist the parties in reaching a just and lasting peace. ADC notes that negotiations continued until the election of the Sharon government in February, and that it is the Israeli government which continues to refuse to negotiate substantive issues with the Palestinians. ADC believes that a peaceful future depends on negotiations based on the understanding that their purpose is to end the occupation in all its forms, and to bring peace to Israelis and freedom to Palestinians. ADC also welcomes Secretary Powell’s call for a just solution on the refugees that is fair and realistic, and reiterates that any such solution must involve a recognition of the right of the Palestinian refugees to return.