Churches for Middle East Peace provided this memo.
President Bush's Speech on Palestinian State & Peace Conference
Also available online at: www.cmep.org/Alerts/2007July17.htm
July 17, 2007
Over five years after pledging U.S. support for a Palestinian state alongside Israel, President Bush reaffirmed yesterday, in a speech - http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/07/20070716-7.html - devoted entirely to Israeli-Palestinian issues, his support for a two-state solution and announced plans to call a regional conference aimed at restarting the peace process.
The conference will "provide diplomatic support for the parties in their bilateral discussions and negotiations, so that we can move forward on a successful path to a Palestinian state". The President offered support to the new Palestinian Authority emergency government headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, including financial assistance, and outlined steps to lay the foundation for a Palestinian state with "functioning political institutions and capable security forces, and leaders who reject terror and violence". With the proper foundation, the President said that "serious negotiations toward the creation of a Palestinian state" could begin that "must resolve difficult questions and uphold clear principles" and "could lead to a final peace in the Middle East -- a permanent end to the conflict, and an agreement on all the issues, including refugees and Jerusalem."
President Bush also made clear that "Israel's future lies in developing areas like the Negev and Galilee -- not in continuing occupation of the West Bank" and that "unauthorized outposts should be removed and settlement expansion ended." A press release by Americans for Peace Now (http://www.peacenow.org/) noted that the President's call for Israel to remove unauthorized outposts and end settlement expansion "is consistent with repeated - unfulfilled - commitments made previously to the Bush Administration by the government of Israel". The full text of the President's speech is included below.
Churches for Middle East Peace has long called for serious and sustained U.S. diplomacy to help achieve a two-state solution to the conflict and has urged President Bush to make Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking an urgent priority of his Administration. This latest speech expresses a new readiness on the part of the President to focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Now, these words must be followed up with vigorous diplomacy if there is to be any real progress toward peace.
1) Call the White House Comments Line: 202-456-1111
Thank you for speech calling for a regional peace conference to advance a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As an American Christian, I support your efforts to help create a viable and contiguous Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel. Now it's essential for your Administration to follow through on this speech with serious and sustained U.S. diplomacy that can bring hope to Israelis and Palestinians that peace in the Holy Land is possible.
2) Summer Lobbying at Home
As the Congressional summer recess approaches, CMEP encourages you to make plans to visit your Representative and Senators while they are home in their states from August 6th- September 3rd. With the President's speech and plans for Secretary Rice to be in the region, there is sure to be new attention to Israeli-Palestinian issues. The Feinstein-Lugar resolution in the Senate and the Middle East Envoy resolution in the House have laid the foundation for constructive discussions with your Members and the advocacy conference of Christians United For Israel (CUFI) this week creates an even greater need for your compassionate Christian peacemaking voice. See CMEP's Summer 2007 Lobbying Guidance (http://www.cmep.org/documents/2007_summer_lobbying.htm) for help in arranging your meeting.
President Bush Discusses the Middle East
Link to speech: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/07/20070716-7.html
Churches for Middle East Peace
110 Maryland Ave. NE
Washington DC 20002