There is a growing consensus behind President Bush’s vision of the State of Israel and the new State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security, as well as an urgent desire to achieve it. The violent extremism we see in the Middle East poses a grave threat to all who seek peace.
President Abbas truly desires to be a partner for peace (LET HIM SPEAK FOR HIMSELF). Prime Minister Sharon recognized this at Aqaba, and Prime Minister Olmert recognizes it now. President Abbas told his people that he could end the occupation by ending violence, that he could lead them to statehood by leading them to reform, and they elected him by a large majority. (WHEN DID HE TELL THEM THIS IN ARABIC? THAT LARGE MAJORITY HAS LONG SINCE EVAPOURATED.
The work of peace is made more complex now by the nature of the newly formed National Unity Government. (WHAT AN UNDERSTATEMENT) The Quartet’s position is clear. A path of cooperation with the new Palestinian government exists, but it is blocked by Hamas’s ( AND WHAT ABOUT FATAH) continued unwillingness to commit itself, by word and deed, to the Quartet principles – renouncing violence, recognizing Israel’s right to exist, and adhering to previous agreements and obligations. A Palestinian Authority that accepts those principles could contribute significantly to the fulfillment of their people’s longing (WHAT LONGING, THEY VOTED FOR HAMAS)for a better life and a state of their own – steps that must begin with abandoning terrorism and securing the release of Corporal Shalit.
There is, nonetheless, a path that we can and should pursue now. We will join with responsible leaders like President Abbas who are eager to make progress towards peace and the establishment of a Palestinian state. (THAT’S WHY HE SIGNED THE MECCA ACCORDS) So Prime Minister Olmert, President Abbas, and I have met for discussions and agreed on new actions to accelerate that progress.