Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I'd Prefer to Target Terrorists

Proposed Mideast Conference Targets Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

A proposed high-level Middle East conference this fall to push for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians is intended to foster regional stability and speed the formation of a Palestinian state, says a senior U.S. diplomat.

At a July 16 State Department briefing, Assistant Secretary C. David Welch said the United States is supporting three efforts -- continued direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, enhanced regional security and international support to resolve a nearly 50-year-old conflict peacefully.

"We believe that this is a moment for everybody to push the ‘go’ button and try and make this work," Welch said.

President Bush announced a diplomatic and financial commitment July 16 to resolve the long-standing conflict. He said this move is intended to show U.S. support for the Palestinian leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad and the new interim government. (See related article.)

However, Bush acknowledged that for peace to work, everyone involved has to want peace.

The conference, which will be chaired by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, would be held this fall in the region with senior envoys from Israel, the Palestinian West Bank and their neighbors. Bush said those invited to attend would have to be committed to finding a "two-state" solution to the present conflict, meaning that Israel and a Palestinian state will be living peacefully together.

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