Rice: Will a Palestinian State Fight Terrorism?

[State Department] Secretary of State Rice told the United Jewish Communities General Assembly in Nashville on Tuesday: "As you know, I was just in the Middle East, and whenever I visit Israel I am reminded of the awesome living achievement that is the Jewish state. I look out upon a nation that has made the desert bloom. I think of how a people with ancient traditions have built a prosperous, modern democracy, and how inspiring that could be for the rest of the Middle East....But most of all, ladies and gentlemen, whenever I visit Israel, I am reminded of how precious the idea of Israel is and how essential it is to defend it." "The traditional idea had focused largely on negotiating the contours of a Palestinian state, its borders, along with solutions to questions of refugees and Jerusalem - all essential for peace, but I would submit to you not sufficient for peace. What also needed to be addressed was the character of the Palestinian state. Would it fight terrorism? Would it govern justly? Would it create opportunity for its people? In our view, the security of the democratic Jewish state required the creation of a responsible Palestinian state." "Some think that this focus on democracy backfired with the election of Hamas. I disagree with that conclusion. Hamas always had power. What it never had was responsibility for power. And that is what democracy gave Hamas: a fundamental choice. You can be a political party or a terrorist group, but you cannot be both. The leaders of Hamas have made their choice. They have chosen violence. And the international community has remained united, isolating Hamas until it is ready to choose peace." "If our Arab friends of long standing truly desire peace, then they need to demonstrate to their people and to the world that they believe that Israel has a permanent home in the Middle East." "We intend to hold a serious and substantive meeting in Annapolis. Our current course is not meant to replace the roadmap, nor to supplant direct negotiations between the parties, but to take this new opportunity and to pursue peace and to protect ourselves against those with far darker designs....In Hamas' coup in Gaza, in Hizbullah's war in Lebanon, and in the rise of an aggressive Iranian regime, we see that violent extremism is evolving in new and dangerous ways."

2007-11-14 01:00:00

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