Arab Americans Raise Concerns with Secretary Powell
Washington, DC —Today fifteen Arab and Muslims American leaders from across the country met with Secretary of State Colin Powell to discuss the current crisis in Palestine and U.S. policy toward Iraq. The group presented policy recommendations to Secretary Powell. The recommendations included: the immediate implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1402, which specifically calls for an immediate end to Israel’s invasion and occupation of Palestinian areas and the cessation of all violence between the parties; the placement of an international peacekeeping force to provide security and protection for both parties (simultaneous with an Israeli withdrawal to pre-September 2000 positions); the setting of a specific date for resumption of security and political talks aimed at achieving a lasting resolution of the crisis based on relevant UN resolutions; the provision of immediate humanitarian relief and assistance; and, the provision of medium-term assistance to the Palestinian economy, coupled with Israeli actions to restore the viability of the Palestinian economy.
ADC President Ziad Asali, MD, characterized the meeting as “a serious, frank and substantive exchange with the Secretary.” He added that the “discussion focused on the deteriorating situation in Palestine and the need for the Bush Administration to become fully engaged in putting an end to the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people.”
“The Secretary,” according to Asali, “expressed his genuine concern for the fate of Palestinian Americans living in Palestine.” He described this issue as a “top priority issue for the Bush Administration.” Suraida Saleh, an American born in Washington, DC, was gunned down by Israeli soliders last Monday while driving in Ramallah. Zaid Khalil, an Arab American and member of ADC, was in a group of 150 international humanitarian observers who were fired upon while participating in a peaceful march. Anthony Shadid, an Arab-American correspondent for the Boston Globe and former ADC intern, was hit by shrapnel in the West Bank and required hospitalization.